State and Nation in South Asia

State and Nation in South Asia

State and Nation in South Asia

State and Nation in South Asia

Synopsis

What makes a national community out of a state? Addressing this fundamental question. Rajagopalan studies national integration from the perspective of three South Asian communities - Tamilians in India, Sindhis in Pakistan, and Tamils in Sri Lanka - that have a history of secessionism in common, but with vastly different outcomes Rajagopalan investigates why integration is relatively successful in some cases (Tamil Nadu), less so in others (Sindh), and disastrous in some (Sri Lanka). Broadly comparative and drawing together multiple aspects of political development and nation building, her imaginative exploration of the tension between state and nation gives voice to relatively disenfranchised sections of society.

Excerpt

Witnessing the transformation of Indian politics in the late 1980s and early 1990s forced me to consider questions about political communities, consensus, and identity. In this book I discuss these issues in a comparative South Asian context. This book was researched and drafted at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed at Michigan State University. Thanks to funding from the Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I was able to conduct research in Sri Lanka and India. The repository of South Asian materials at the University of Illinois facilitated my addition of Pakistan to the list of cases considered. This book is based on a variety of primary and secondary sources. In the Indian and Sri Lankan cases, these include interviews with opinion makers (writers, media persons, filmmakers, actors, and scholars) and political activists, primarily from the two Tamil communities but also from other ethnic backgrounds. Although these are cited, the individuals who were interviewed are unnamed out of regard for their privacy. Field research was not possible in Pakistan; Sindhi nationalist journals at the Illinois library were used instead of interviews. Additionally, legal texts, polemical writings, press clippings, opinion pieces, and scholarly works were referred to in all three cases.

In addition to the financial support I received from the University of Illinois, several organizations and individuals in South Asia made this project a reality. The Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Colombo was my home base during the research process. The counsel and guidance of scholars and the information resources at the follow-

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