Armed Militias of South Asia: Fundamentalists, Maoists and Separatists

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Laurent Gayer, Christophe Jaffrelot
Columbia University Press, 2009 - History - 276 pages

A conventional interstate war has not menaced the Indian subcontinent for more than a decade. Nevertheless, the region has seen its share of terrorism, civil war, military repression, and guerilla violence, in which armed paramilitary militias and insurgents commit terrible crimes against civilians and the state. For those who hope to understand the ideologies driving these groups, as well as their social organizations and strategies, Laurent Gayer and Christophe Jaffrelot have assembled leading theorists and experts on the politics of South Asia and Myanmar to create a comprehensive text for analytical and comparative study.

Fundamentalists such as Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal, the Khalistanis of Punjab, the Sunni SSP in Pakistan, and the Islamist militias in Bangladesh are similar to the Maoists and Naxalites of Nepal and India in one essential way: they all use violence to control society, challenge state authority, and impose a particular worldview. Governments are equally adept at exploiting these groups, though their actions undermine the state and disrupt its monopoly on legitimate violence. Granting short-term power to fundamentalists, Maoists, and separatists has serious long-term consequences, as demonstrated by Indira Ghandi's patronage of the Sikh militancy, which later engineered her assassination.

Shedding light on the deep complexities of these troubling partnerships, Armed Militias of South Asia critically guides readers through the conflicts of Kashmir, Punjab, Sri Lanka, and other violent hotspots across the subcontinent.

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About the author (2009)

Laurent Gayer is a researcher in political sociology at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). He is also a research associate at the Centre d'Etudes de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud in Paris.

Christophe Jaffrelot is senior research fellow at CNRS and teaches South Asian politics and history at Sciences Po. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Caste in North India, Dr. Ambedkar and Untouchability: Fighting the Indian Caste System, and The Hindu Nationalist Movement in India, which the New York Review of Books called a "scholarly tour de force."

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