Violence in South Asia: Contemporary Perspectives 9780367135119, 9780367321321, 9780429316845

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Table of contents :
Half Title
List of contributors
1 Introduction: genealogies of violence in South Asia
Part I Structural violence: ideologies, hierarchies and symbolic acts
2 Neither war nor peace: political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal
3 Caste violence: free speech or atrocity?
4 The representational burden of ethno-nationalist violence in Sri Lanka
5 Mapping extraordinary measures: militarisation and political resistance in Kashmir
Part II Gendered violence: rape, misogyny and feminist discourse
6 Sex, rape, representation: cultures of sexual violence in contemporary India
7 Biographies of violence and the violence of biographies: writing about rape in Pakistan
8 Violence in public spaces: security and agency of women in West Bengal
Part III Outsourced violence: mobs, insurgents and private armies
9 Violence and perilous trans-borderal journeys: the Rohingyas as the nowhere-nation precariat
10 India’s lynchings: ordinary crimes, rough justice or command hate crimes?
11 Violence, neoliberal state and the dispossession of adivasis in Central India
Part IV Cultures of violence: fractured histories, fissured communities
12 Afghanistan: military occupation, violence and ethnocracy
13 Social roots of insurgency in Kashmir
14 Islamist attacks against secular bloggers in Bangladesh
15 Democratic voice and the paradox of Nepal bandhas
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This volume explores new perspectives on contemporary forms of violence in South Asia. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and case studies, it examines the infiltration of violence at the societal level and affords a comparative regional analysis of its historical, cultural and geopolitical origins in South Asia. Featuring essays from Sri Lanka to Nepal, and from Afghanistan to Burma, it sheds light on issues as wide-ranging as lynching and mob justice, hate speech, caste violence, gender-based violence and the plight of the Rohingyas, among others. Lucid and engaging, this book will be an invaluable source of reference as well as scholarship to students and researchers of postcolonial studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural geography, minority studies, politics and gender studies. Pavan Kumar Malreddy is a researcher in English literature at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. He previously taught at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and TU Chemnitz, Germany. His publications include Orientalism, Terrorism, Indigenism (2015) and the co-edited collection Reworking Postcolonialism (2015). He has co-edited special issues with the Journal of Postcolonial Writing (2012; 2020), ZAA: Journal of English and American Studies (2014), Kairos and the European Journal of English Studies (2018), and has authored essays on terrorism, political violence and postcolonial theory in The European Legacy, Third World Quarterly, Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Intertexts, among others. Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha is Professor at the Department of English, Kazi Nazrul University, India. He was Fulbright Nehru Fellow 2018–19 at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on postcolonial governmentality, citizenship rights, political violence and the Anthropocene. His work appeared in International Journal of Zizek Studies, Parallax, Journal of Postcolonial Writing, History and Sociology of South Asia, Postcolonial Studies, Transnational Literature and Economic and Political Weekly, among others. He is co-editor of Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium and is one of the founding members of the Postcolonial Studies Association of the Global South (PSAGS). Birte Heidemann is Assistant Professor in English literature at Dresden University of Technology, Germany. She previously held appointments at TU Chemnitz and University of Bremen, Germany. Her research interests include postcolonial theory, and literary and cultural expressions of post-conflict societies. She is the author of Post-Agreement Northern Irish Literature (2016) and co-editor of From Popular Goethe to Global Pop (2013), Reworking Postcolonialism (2015) and two special editions of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Wasafiri and Postcolonial Text, among others.

“The strength of the book lies with its innovative conceptualisation and carefully selected chapters, which are based on original material and ethnographic studies. The volume captures the pulse of many contemporary issues being debated in India, such as Maoist politics, incidents of lynching, new developments in Kashmir and recent incidents of rape.” – Ajay Gudavarthy, Jawaharlal Nehru University “Whether there is more violence in South Asia today or whether it is just more visible, one cannot turn a page of a newspaper from the region without being struck by words like ‘lynching’, ‘surgical strike’, ‘cow vigilantes’, along with the older ‘riot’, ‘acid attack’, ‘murder’, ‘rape’ etc. Hence, this book is an absolutely necessary and very important scholarly intervention in South Asian literary and cultural studies.” – Tabish Khair, Aarhus University

VIOLENCE IN SOUTH ASIA Contemporary Perspectives

Edited by Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Birte Heidemann

First published 2020 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2020 selection and editorial matter, Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Birte Heidemann; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Birte Heidemann to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-367-13511-9 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-32132-1 (pbk) ISBN: 978-0-429-31684-5 (ebk) Typeset in Bembo by Apex CoVantage, LLC


List of contributors viii Acknowledgementsx   1 Introduction: genealogies of violence in South Asia Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Birte Heidemann



Structural violence: ideologies, hierarchies and symbolic acts   2 Neither war nor peace: political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal Julia Strasheim   3 Caste violence: free speech or atrocity? K. Satyanarayana

21 23 37

  4 The representational burden of ethno-nationalist violence in Sri Lanka Harshana Rambukwella


  5 Mapping extraordinary measures: militarisation and political resistance in Kashmir Mohammed Sirajuddeen


vi Contents


Gendered violence: rape, misogyny and feminist discourse81   6 Sex, rape, representation: cultures of sexual violence in contemporary India Karen Gabriel


  7 Biographies of violence and the violence of biographies: writing about rape in Pakistan Shazia Sadaf


  8 Violence in public spaces: security and agency of women in West Bengal Sanchali Sarkar



Outsourced violence: mobs, insurgents and private armies125   9 Violence and perilous trans-borderal journeys: the Rohingyas as the nowhere-nation precariat Mursed Alam


10 India’s lynchings: ordinary crimes, rough justice or command hate crimes? Harsh Mander


11 Violence, neoliberal state and the dispossession of adivasis in Central India Ashok Kumbamu



Cultures of violence: fractured histories, fissured communities175 12 Afghanistan: military occupation, violence and ethnocracy Wahid Razi and James Goodman


13 Social roots of insurgency in Kashmir Idreas Khandy


Contents  vii

14 Islamist attacks against secular bloggers in Bangladesh Ryan Shaffer


15 Democratic voice and the paradox of Nepal bandhas224 Sally Carlton Index238


Mursed Alam is Assistant Professor at the Department of English, Gour College, Uni-

versity of Gour Banga, India. His areas of research include subaltern life and politics, Islamic traditions in South Asia and the literary and cultural history of Bengali Muslims. Sally Carlton is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, and works for Citizens

Advice Bureau providing settlement support to new migrants. Previously, she was a Research Fellow through the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development programme in Nepal working on the country’s troubled post-conflict present. Karen Gabriel is Associate Professor and Head of the English Department at St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, India. She has published extensively on issues of gender, sexuality, cinema, melodrama and the nation-state, including Melodrama and the Nation: Sexual Economies of Bombay Cinema 1970–2000 (2010). James Goodman is Professor in the Social and Political Sciences at the Univer-

sity of Technology Sydney, Australia. He currently researches issues of global and climate justice and is co-editor of The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies (forthcoming). Idreas Khandy is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University, UK. His research focuses on nationalism of nations without states and incorporates an interdisciplinary approach to understand why nationalism continues to hold emancipatory promise. Ashok Kumbamu is Assistant Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA. His research and teaching interests include critical development studies, agrarian studies, social movements, environmental sociology and the sociology of health and medicine.

Contributors  ix

Harsh Mander is a human rights and peace worker, writer, researcher and teacher

who works with survivors of mass violence and hunger, homeless persons and street children. He convenes and edits the India Exclusion Report. His latest publication is Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India (2019). Harshana Rambukwella is Director of the Postgraduate Institute of English, Open

University of Sri Lanka. He is the author of Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala Nationalism (2018) and currently holds the Sri Lanka Chair, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Wahid Razi is lecturer and researcher at the University of Technology Sydney, ­ ustralia. His work focuses on various issues in sociology and includes other fields A in social sciences such as politics, political sociology, history, anthropology and law. Shazia Sadaf teaches Human Rights and Social Justice at the Institute of Inter-

disciplinary Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa. She has published in various journals, including Interventions and ARIEL. Sanchali Sarkar is a researcher based in Kolkata, India. She was awarded the AUFF

PhD Screening Grant in 2018 to work at the Department of Global Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her perspective doctoral project concerns intersectional feminist politics and mobility rights in India. K. Satyanarayana is Professor at the Department of Cultural Studies, English and

Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, India. His most recent publications are the co-edited volumes Dalit Studies (2016) and Dalit Text: Politics and Aesthetics Reimagined (2019). Ryan Shaffer is a writer and historian whose work focuses on Asian and European history, with particular interest in extremism and political violence. He is the author of Music,Youth and International Links in Post-War British Fascism: The Transformation of Extremism (2017). Mohammed Sirajuddeen holds a PhD from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. He visited the Palestine Territories, Israel, the Kashmir Valley, Bastar, Germany, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for research assignments. Julia Strasheim is a researcher at the Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation and research associate at the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, Germany. Her work on post-conflict peace processes appeared in the Journal of Peace Research, Democratization and Cooperation and Conflict, among others.


Earlier versions of some essays presented in the volume have appeared in a special issue of Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium (2017). The following essays from the special issue, including a few passages from the editorial introduction, are partially reprinted in the volume with permission: Sally Carlton, “Democratic voice and the paradox of Nepal bandhas.” Kairos 2 (1): 35–50; Karen Gabriel, “Pornography and liberation: understanding cultures of violence.” Kairos 2 (1): 109–20; Ashok Kumbamu, “Bury my heart in Bastar: neoliberal extractivism, the oppressive state and the Maoist revolution in India.” Kairos 2 (1): 15–34; and Sanchali Sarkar, “Security and agency of women in the hyper-masculine space of local trains in West Bengal.” Kairos 2 (1): 100–08. An earlier version of James Goodman and Wahid Razi’s chapter appeared in Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2016; 8 (3): 168–89) and is reprinted here with permission.

1 INTRODUCTION Genealogies of violence in South Asia Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Birte Heidemann

Violence is endemic to all societies. The “remnants of Auschwitz”, as Giorgio ­Agamben (1998) has phrased it, cut across all national boundaries. With global terrorism affecting almost every region in the world, along with the daily grind of state-sponsored violence, political uprisings, ethnic tensions, immigrant exodus, hate crimes and socioeconomic precarities, no nation in the world today can claim total immunity from violence. The recent act of terror against Muslims in New Zealand, usually known to be a peaceful country, is a pertinent case in point. As we write, the unfolding political developments in the aftermath of so-called revenge attacks on Christian minorities in Sri Lanka suggest an intricate global network of acts, actors and victims of violence at work. It is therefore futile to ruminate on a particular geography of violence as unique or region-specific; in fact, to characterise a specific region as inherently violent, in our view, is an exercise in re-Orientalism. Our analysis in this volume thus departs from the conventional wisdom of geopolitical strategists, state-sponsored think tanks or security studies specialists who swear by an essentialist cartography of violence, framing some regions – South Asia, Africa and the Middle East – as inherently, if not congenitally, violent (Ludden 2003). This volume moves away from such regionalist penchant in the existing cartographies of violence. The question that naturally arises then is: why earmark South Asia as our empirical frame of reference? As we argue, despite their abuses, regional frames allow for a closer scrutiny of the very constructed nature of neo-Orientalist discourses of violence. Moreover, as Edward Said has taught us in the context of Orientalism’s “synchronic essentialism” (1978, 240), constructed discourses have often an actualising effect on the subjects that are implicated therein. A major concern of the individual contributions featured in this volume is to recast the shared colonial genealogies of violence in the subcontinent from the vantage point of its present iterations, incarnations and transformations. However, unlike select strands of postcolonial literary criticism that preoccupy with counter-discourses to neo-Orientalist

2  Pavan Kumar Malreddy et al.

representations of migrants, Muslims and religious nationalists (Miller 2014; Kadir 2006), which fulfill a self-serving purpose of exposing the crisis in western representations of terrorism itself, the chapters in this book offer an alternative conceptual vocabulary to terrorism or normative theories of insurgency violence in an attempt to register the modalities of violence in contemporary South Asia. A number of existing studies (Basu 2005; Das 1990; Riaz, Nasreen, and Zaman 2018; Braithwaite and D’Costa 2018; Mehta and Roy 2018; Nandy 2015; Tripathi and Singh 2016; Hinnells and King 2006) engage with the genealogies of violence in South Asia – tracing its roots to colonial social engineering, histories of state formation, social stratification, ethnic divides, gender injustice and political ideologies. However, a number of these works operate within the discursive axioms of communalism, religious ideologies or the violence emanating from the clash between state and non-state actors. To date, there is no book-length study on what we describe here as forms of contemporary violence in South Asia that cannot be reduced to an easy categorisation, not least because they resist the conventional understanding of states, insurgents and communal elements as the sole agent provocateurs of violence in the subcontinent. The aim of this volume is thus to document, diagnose and index those modalities of violence that call for a conceptual revision and reorientation in the South Asian context. The very invention of the tukde tukde gangs by right-wing nationalists – in an attempt to discredit their critics as anti-national elements who allegedly wish to cut India into pieces – says as much about the splintered, diffused and even dissimulated nature of contemporary violence in South Asia. This includes, but is not restricted to, the unparalleled brutality of rapes, sodomisation, sexual violence and communal hijacking of law and justice in the name of khap panchayats (clan courts) in India; honour killings in Pakistan and Afghanistan; the continued political deadlock and anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka; the persecution of Rohingya minorities at the Bangla-Burma border; the violent legacy of the Maoist revolution in Nepal; the cow vigilantism and broad-daylight lynching of minorities in India; the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu; the politics of Hindu heritage and the de-naturalisation of Muslims in Assam in the name of National Registrars of Citizens; the attacks on adivasis, Dalits and Muslims across India; the assassination of pro-secularist bloggers, activists and journalists in Bangladesh – and the list goes on, like a horizon of eternal hostilities marked by a vicious orgy of death and destruction (Malreddy and Purakayastha 2017, 5). In the wake of such developments, it becomes abundantly clear that the nation-states in South Asia have failed to consolidate a civic-political framework that could contain the “spillage of violence” (Phillips and Cady 1996, 59) into the social domain. Today, violence continues to be used as well as usurped by both the state and non-state, communal, criminal or private actors as an immediate, if not an indispensable, tool for negotiation – in lieu of conciliation – of one’s political demands as well as civic entitlements. The task of this volume is to register the various modalities of social and political vicissitudes, which are meted out by violent responses from a whole host of actors and stakeholders – states, belligerents, secessionists, ex-insurgents, unpaid revolutionaries, communalists, anti-intellectuals,

Introduction  3

outcastes, minorities, anti-rationalists, technophobes, rapists, misogynists and microfascist elements aided by social media technologies – in the subcontinent. Each nation-state in South Asia is privy to the legacy of empire (Guneratne and Weiss 2013) as well as its colonial system, which includes common law; constitutional adherents; terrorism and sedition policies; the unresolved Kashmir dispute; accentuated social hierarchies; uneven economic structures and land tenure systems – from zamindari, mahalwari, riotwari to the English-educated Brahminical classes. For better or worse, this colonial heritage has scripted intertwined histories of the self and other, the familiar and foreign, and the commensurable and incommensurable across South Asia, as, for instance, there exist relatively uncontested linguistic states in the region, but also utterly irresolute linguistic nationalisms in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Southern Indian states. Yet, instead of transcending this colonial hauntology, South Asian nations are locked up in a legacy of mimery and mimicry, generating in the process unending battle zones of national, caste, class, linguistic or religious sovereignties. As a result, the postcolonial nation-states in the region did not evolve through generative forces or state-building as in the case of European romantic nationalism but through an emulative model of systemically internalising templates of colonial governance. The occupation of Kashmir by both India and Pakistan or the proactive role played by India in the creation of Bangladesh (1971) are prime examples of such emulative and intertwined histories of (national) belonging and unbelonging in the subcontinent. By the mid-1970s, however, India’s rise to regional dominance further compounded the entangled fates of the nation-states. India’s intervention (1987–1990) in the Sri Lankan civil war, its alleged support for the Balochistan insurgency, its soft corner for the democratic movement in Burma as well as a soft-handed approach to the Burmese junta (Egreteau and Jagan 2013, 320) – all testify to the residual ideologies of internal colonialism. Thus, in a region where V.S. Naipaul’s premonition of a million mutinies meets the ever-elusive tukde tukde gangs of the day, this volume sets out to map the parameters of violence in the interstices of the modern and the pre-modern, the historical and the contemporary, the local and the global, truth and post-truth, governance and its absence. In an attempt to delineate the emerging forms of contemporary violence in South Asia, we identify four preceding epochs of violence in South Asia that merit further attention, namely a) early colonial insurgencies (1770–1857); b) post-1857 discourses of counterinsurgency; c) partition violence; and d) post-independence violence. This epochal reading of violence in South Asia would go a long way in delineating contemporary forms of violence as a distinct phenomenon of our times, which is predicated upon the genealogical continuities between and among discourses such as “peasant uprisings”, “communalism”, “terrorism” and “national sovereignty”.

Early colonial insurgencies (1770–1857) In early colonial India, violence was privy to, legitimised by and often carried out at the behest of kings, monarchs, colonial agents and tribal chiefs. Insurgencies, as they

4  Pavan Kumar Malreddy et al.

are today, did not occupy a prominent place in the discourses of political violence, as they were immediately deemed “pre-political”, or even labelled as matters of heresy, espionage and anti-state activities that did not pose a serious threat to state sovereignty. It was not until the mid-ninetieth century that insurgencies, especially their frequent occurrence, affected a change in the way violence was discoursed. In the early and mid-nineteenth century, particularly the decades preceding the 1857 nationalist revolt, the Indian subcontinent bore witness to numerous tribal and peasant revolts. While historians and anthropologists such as Crispin Bates and Alpa Shah (2014), Ranajit Guha (1983) and Kathleen Gough (1974) have documented more than a hundred peasant and tribal uprisings during this period, in the Rampa region of Andhra Pradesh alone “more than a dozen tribal revolts occurred between 1770 and 1924” (Guruswamy 2014). The major grievances of these uprisings were of a territorial, cultural and economic nature rather than ideologically motivated ones, and as such, they could be best described in the words of Hannah Arendt as “political upheavals”, as opposed to revolutions, which arise when “people feel revulsion at affronts to human decency” (Arendt in Hansen 1993, 171).The prominent actors in these uprisings were the deposed monarchs, the disempowered landed class (zamindars), the disenchanted peasantry burdened by the colonial presence as well as their taxation policies, and the tribal populations whose existence and subsistence were threatened by the slow encroachment on forests and natural resources by outsiders (Hardiman 1992). The Halba uprising (1774–1779) is a case in point, wherein the Dongar tribals of Bastar rebelled against the Marathas and the British armies – an event that influenced the decline of the Calukya dynasty (Gajrani 2004, 18).The Paharia revolt in the preceding years (1772) served as the catalyst for a spate of tribal uprisings that led resistance against foreign aggression. Other subsequent tribal uprisings such as the Tamar revolt in Bihar (1789) and the Munda uprising in Palamau (1819–1820) followed a similar suit. The Santhal uprising (1855–1856), which is often touted as the inspiration behind the current day’s Naxalite movement, was among the most notable tribal revolts led against the dikus (non-tribals and money-lenders), the “outsiders” such as the landlords and the British in the jungles of Jharkhand and West Bengal (Sinha 1993, 36). During the same era, many peasant movements, unrelated to the territorial and culturalist protectionism of the tribal movements, were inspired by the dire agrarian and economic conditions, and the growing burden of taxation and land tenure. As the anthropologist Kathleen Gough informs us, some of the peasant movements that resorted to banditry and armed insurrection against the “fierce plunderings and revenue exactions in the countryside” include the Oudh revolt against local zamindars, the Poligars peasant uprisings in Tinnevelly (1979–1805) and the uprising of Velu Thampi in Travancore and Cochin “with professional army (sic) of 30,000 and even larger numbers of cultivators” in 1808–1809 (Gough 1974, 1396). While the anti-colonial spirit of these peasant, sovereign and tribal uprisings paved the way for the 1857 nationalist revolt, the landmark event itself resulted in a renewed discourse on violence, or rather the threat of violence as understood by the coloniser. Up until 1857, the British did not view the aforementioned tribal and

Introduction  5

peasant insurgencies as a threat to colonial sovereignty. At best, they treated most uprisings as the exegesis of “pre-political” and religious modalities of the subcontinent at large, a view that is vehemently contested by Ranajit Guha (1983) and the Subaltern Studies project.

The arrogation of sovereign law: post-1857 discourses of counterinsurgency The sheer existential threat posed by the scale and magnitude of the 1857 nationalist revolt was reason enough for the British authorities to usher in a paradigm shift in the parlance of violence. In the guise of counterinsurgency, new legal and criminal codes, sedition laws, anthropological surveys, surveillance methods and a whole host of social engineering projects were brought into effect (Bates 1995; Wagner 2017). Post-1857, the hunt for Thugees of North India, who already bore the tag of “hereditary” criminal castes, was intensified, while castes such as the Kuravers, who supposedly displayed occult symbolism and codes, became the targets of pseudoanthropological surveillance projects (Dirks 1993; Lal 1995). Subsequently, many census reports or ethnological gazettes went on to classify the Maravars and Kallars in Tamil Nadu as hereditary thieves and robbers “with great military prowess and, later on, for [their] considerable ‘criminal’ proclivities” (Dirks 1993, 72). In conjunction with such a criminalisation of potential threat, the induction of various criminal codes between 1859 and 1871, according to Lal, facilitated “surveillance and monitoring of the habitually criminal classes”, which were further aided by “innovations such as photography and fingerprinting” (1995, xi). In 1904, the Criminal Intelligence Department was established, followed by significant amendments of the Criminal Tribes Act in 1911, under which some 200 tribes were identified as hereditary criminals (Tolen 1991, 110). It is against this very backdrop that famous novels such as Rudyard Kipling’s Kim (1901) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four (1890) appeared, featuring espionage plots of the Great Game, criminal threats and the dangers presented by strangers, half-bred castes or even outcastes to the British Empire (Malreddy 2015, 19). As Moran and Johnson (2010, 7) report, not only did both Kipling and Doyle gain unrestricted access to the classified military and criminal records of the Empire, but also drew heavily from the pseudoscientific ethnographies on dangerous and “innately criminal” castes. Within this context, the Indian Council Act of 1861 served as a pretext to the induction of the Defense of India Act of 1915, which enabled direct rule from Britain and the institution of an “emergency code” for India. As Kalhan et al. inform us, “the Act authorised civil and military authorities to detain individuals or impose other restraints on personal liberty if they had ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect a person’s conduct was ‘prejudicial to public safety” ’ (2006, 127–28). Subsequently, other criminal acts and laws against sedition in 1870 and the Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act (1919) (known as the “Rowlatt Act”) formed the basis for the latter day’s Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and the Prevention Of Terrorism Act (Kalhan et al. 2006, 127–28).

6  Pavan Kumar Malreddy et al.

“Communalism” or nationalism? Partition violence If the discourses of post-1857 penology were constructed as a response to, or the need for, an active presence of sovereign violence, then the India-Pakistan partition could be best described as the violence that was borne out of the decisive absence of the same. A case in point was the “hands-off ” approach of the British military and security officers, who described the religious violence as something beyond their “control” (Kudaisya and Yong 2000, 19), a justification that they surely did not use, say, to “contain” the Jallianwala Bagh (1919) demonstrators or the Sepoy Revolt of Meerut (1857). Instead, the newly divided nations – whose borders were announced some three days after their division – were held responsible for the violence: “the Congress . . . insisted on dividing Punjab and Bengal, thus triggering disorder and uprooting, and led to the intractable problem of Kashmir” (Kudaisya and Yong 2000, 11). Conceivably, the newfound nations had little in the way of a structural discourse of what Walter Benjamin (1978) calls “mythical violence” that is privy to most modern states, or the apparatus to enforce such violence in order to apprehend the situation. In the absence of the latter, violence fell into the hands of communities, communal subjects and sectarian ideologues. Thus, as Cynthia Talbot argues, “[c]ommunal violence was itself a British construct in some analyses because many other kinds of social strife were labelled as religious due to the Orientalist assumption that religion was the fundamental division in Indian society” (1995, 693). Inversely, the partition violence was responsible for the creation of nationhood and the national subject through the making of communal bonds by which “[t]oday Indian Hindus and Muslims see themselves as distinct religious communities, essentially two separate nations occupying the same ground” (Talbot 1995, 693). Thus, a major outcome of the partition violence, according to Pandey, has been the invention of communalist subject through violence: “in India and Pakistan, as elsewhere – violence and community constitute one another . . . it is my argument that in the history of any society, narratives of particular experiences of violence go towards making the ‘community’ – and the subject of history” (2001, 4). Yet, the violence inscribed into the making of this subject of history must continually feed into the construction of both communal divisions and bonds for the nation-states to take shape, just as the Hindu-Muslim riots continued till 1964, well into the formative years of India and Pakistan (van der Veer 1996, 253). Thus, as Pandey notes, partition violence remains congenital to the formation of communities and nations in the subcontinent: Violence too becomes a language that constitutes – and reconstitutes – the subject. It is a language shared by Pakistanis and Indians (as by other nations and communities): one that cuts right across those two legal entities, and that, in so doing, cuts across not only the ‘historical’ but also the ‘non-historical’ subject. (2001, 4)

Introduction  7

Given both the pervasive and evasive nature of the partition of nations, much of the ensuing discourse on violence has focused on recording the impossible and imperceptible: gendered, familial and communal narratives of violence; the trauma of the survivors; the trials and tribulations of refugees and minorities in the newfound nations and beyond.

The limits of national sovereignty: post-independence violence Post-partition South Asia could be best described as a contested site for testing the limits of sovereignty from both ends of the spectrum – the newfound nation-states and their belligerents – be they insurgents, secessionist or external threats presented to the former. Corresponding to this, the unfulfilled promises of independence – the “nationalities question” and the marginalisation of religious, ethnic and caste minorities – gave rise to the hackneyed discourse of state vs. revolutionary violence. Added to this, post-independence South Asia bore witness to five major confrontations between India and Pakistan (1965 and 1971), India and China (1962), the Bangladesh liberation war (1971) and the civil war of Sri Lanka (1983). Each of these wars served the respective nations in the region not only as a means to test the limits of their national sovereignty, but also to enclose disparate communities, cultures and interested groups into territorial boundaries, and subject them to the rule of law (Ludden 2003). In the process, countries such as India have emerged as a dominant player in the making of regional history, with significant military interventions in the Bangladesh liberation war and in Sri Lanka. Although the two wars between Pakistan and India resulted in the “line of control” that separates occupied Kashmir, it is the residual violence of this unresolved conflict – as the two contributions on Kashmir in this volume argue – that finds a renewed significance in post-independence South Asia in the guise of insurgency and liberation for autonomy. The same holds true for the anxieties surrounding the Indo-China war in 1962, which are reflected in India’s desperate struggle to protect the sovereignty of the northeastern states (Nath 2004), and the challenge posed by the emergence of a whole host of insurgencies claiming for secessionism, including the United Liberation Front of Assam (1979), the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (1980) and the National Liberation Front of Tripura (1989). While the Khalistan insurgency (1981–1995) for a separate Punjab and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) insurgency for a separate Tamil nationstate were neutralised by brute force, the protracted nature of other ethnonationalist insurgencies such as the Baloch separatist movement (1948 to date), the Chittagong insurgency (1977–1997) and the Nepalese civil war (1996–2006) posed a daunting challenge to the newly formed sovereign states in the region. At their peak, most of these insurgencies proclaimed their own sovereignty, running parallel governments to the bona fide ones. Yet, given the asymmetric distribution of ethnic and religious groups across the region, many of these insurgencies succumbed to external interventions actively funded and armed by the

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neighbouring states that sought to attain certain strategic political advantages. India’s alleged support for the Baloch insurgency, the Chittagong insurgency (Chowdhury 2017) and the counterinsurgency of the Sri Lankan state being the prime examples, the civil war in Nepal also drew inspiration from the Maoist movement in India, which in turn received considerable support and training in guerrilla tactics from the LTTE. Although it would be impossible to provide a definition of “contemporary violence” in South Asia in temporal or epochal terms, it is entirely possible to demarcate it as a conceptual category whose prime characteristic lies in the implosion of violence within the realm of nation-states, as opposed to its external geneses of earlier forms and years: early colonial, post-1857, the partition and the postindependence. In other words, forms of contemporary violence in South Asia stem from the borders and divisions internal to the respective nations that have their external borders more or less secured. Corresponding to these developments, we identify four epoch-defining moments that foreground the forms of contemporary violence in South Asia. These include, but are not restricted to: a) the agrarian and caste violence of the post-Naxalbari era (1967); b) the 1992 Hindu-Muslim riots; c) the vigilante violence in the post-Salwa Judum context; and d) the cultures of violence of the post-Godhra massacre (2002). Each of these epoch-defining moments, which make up the mantle of contemporary violence in South Asia, has specific conceptual implications. While the post-independence insurgencies in Telangana (1946–1951) and Tebhaga (1946–1947) rose against the local caste and landed elite (jagirdars in Telangana; jotedars in Bengal), the Naxalbari (1967) and the Srikakulam (1967) uprisings induced radical left-wing ideologies under the banner of Maoism. Unlike the early Telangana peasant insurgency, which rallied under the upper-caste leadership of the Communist Party of India in an attempt to overthrow the Nizam regime, the Naxalbari uprising took up class-based, caste-based and agrarian issues as represented in the various fractions of the insurgency. While the Bihar-based Maoist Communist Center organised rural Dalits against the spate of caste violence unleashed by the upper-caste private army known as “Ranvir Sena” in the 1990s, the West Bengal and Telangana-based CPI-Marxist and Leninist party followed a “class-line”. Such ideologically motivated violence, in its veritable modes and manifestations, is a significant feature of contemporary forms of violence in South Asia. Other regional examples of this include the Marxist-led Gonobahini insurgency (1972–1975) in Bangladesh that sought to overthrow Mujibur Rahman’s regime; the Maoist insurgency in Nepal that led to the downfall of the monarchy; and the two Marxist insurrections by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna in Sri Lanka (1971; 1987) that rose against the dominance of the English-educated urban Sinhalese elite. Unlike the external geneses of violence in the preceding epochs, the aforementioned events mark the implosion of organised violence by various ideologically motivated actors championing ethno-national, linguistic and governance-related causes that are internal to the respective nation-states in South Asia. In the context of India, apart from the ideologically driven violence of the early Naxalbari (1960s

Introduction  9

and 1970s), the caste violence in the aftermath of the Mandal Commission report in 1980 – instigated by its recommendation of caste-based reservations in government and public-sector posts – marks a watershed event. Although the caste wars that ensued were largely instigated by the upper-caste elite who protested the report’s recommendations, the violence itself is said to have been spontaneous, sporadic and without an ideological anchor or an organisational impetus.Yet, it was responsible for inducing novel forms of violence such as self-immolation and public staging of suicides by some protesters, often in the midst of other peaceful protestors, in an attempt to glorify the suicides as sacrifices for a caste cause (Mahla et al. 1992, 109). Like the post-Mandal violence that gripped the public imagination of India with hitherto unforeseen forms of violence, the Hindu-Muslim riots following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992 carried the mantle of socially infiltrated and communally entrenched violence of the Mandal Commission era, as opposed to the ideologically or politically motivated violence of left-wing groups with sovereign ambitions. Although the Babri Masjid violence was clearly instigated by right-wing Hindu groups, it could well be argued that the violence that was carried out at the level of communities and neighbourhoods (Kaur 2005, 37), which resulted in the loss of some 1,200 lives, remained very much a private undertaking (Jafferlot 1999, 463). Subsequently, both the post-Mandal unrest and the HinduMuslim riots, alongside the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, became templates for the privatisation of killings in which violence was not only outsourced, but also infiltrated into the social fabric by whose means individuals could self-authorise their violent acts in the name of the greater good of their respective religion, caste or linguistic community, almost as if mimicking the mythical violence of the state. But it is perhaps the so-called white terror campaigns that were initiated by the Indian state in 2005 against the Maoists in the Bastar region, under the rubric of Salwa Judum (“purification hunt”), that announce the arrival of a new era of necropolitics in the subcontinent – which would later be deployed by the Sri Lankan state’s final offensive against the LTTE in 2009 – in which violence is blatantly outsourced to vigilante forces, private armies and social collectives motivated by ideologies of hatred and xenophobia. Supported by private enterprises such as TATA steel and ESSAR, and provided with rifles as well as a monthly salary of 1,500 rupees, a state-sponsored civilian army of 18,000 to 20,000 was unleashed upon the Maoists or its sympathisers in the Bastar region (Gupta 2009; Roy 2010). Achille Mbembe identifies such outsourcing of violence to civilians and private armies in the postcolony as a “state of siege”, which he defines as a modality of killing that does not distinguish between the external and the internal enemy. Entire populations are the target of the sovereign. The besieged villages and towns are sealed off and cut off from the world. Daily life is militarized. Freedom is given to local military commanders to use their discretion as to when and whom to shoot. Movement between the territorial cells requires formal permits. Local civil institutions are systematically

10  Pavan Kumar Malreddy et al.

destroyed. The besieged population is deprived of their means of income. Invisible killing is added to outright executions. (2003, 30) Mbembe’s thesis on necropolitics as the colonial instrument of controlling vast groups of the population by reducing them to a condition of “living dead” has gained a great deal of purchase among postcolonial critics who observe similar techniques employed not only by the postcolonial nation-states, but also by insurgents, secessionist organisations, organised criminals and private gangs (Wright 2011). Unlike the conventional understanding of violence as the clash of state and revolutionary sovereignties, a salient feature of contemporary violence in South Asia is the inversion of this very heteronomic model whereby both the state and the insurgents replicate each other. In other words, if the states, as in the case of Salwa Judum, enter the civic and private domain to organise violence, the insurgents, too, encroach upon the state or “perform” sovereignty by proclaiming autonomy or running parallel states. Thus, it would be misleading to read the contemporary modes of violence in South Asia through the conventional dichotomies of state vs. non-state violence, terrorism vs. counter-terrorism or sovereignty vs. secessionism. Such Manichean formulations, or “war of positions” – to use Gramsci’s term – remain alive and well in much of the sociological and political science discourses today, except for a few recent works that explore the communal bonding forged through violence between and among states and non-state actors (Fradinger 2010; Staniland 2014). Challenging the dichotomous impasse between the “violence of institutionalized power vs. the violence of insurgency” in the “modern excrescences of violence”, Moira Fradinger argues in the context of Latin American dictatorships that “the politicization of the dead figures a specific communal form of binding violence, an exceptional machinery that, powered by human blood, solves membership in the guise of protecting communal life” (2010, 246). In contemporary South Asia, particularly in the post-Godhra massacre context, this vigilante violence in the name of one’s threatened community invokes a similar “communal form of binding violence”, in which violence is deemed a necessary means for the ideological defence of their communities’ respective claims over territory, boundary and identity. India in particular has been a testing ground for such splintered and socially binding forms of violence. Since the privatisation of violence after the Godhra massacre (Mander 2004; Brass 2004), violence in India has assumed myriad “endosmotic” (Dabashi 2012, 222) or “post-panoptical forms”, as, for instance, in the form of gau rakshaks (cow vigilantism), “lynch-mob rashtra” (a state run by lynch mobs), “beef-politics” (where cows become the primary political signifier and anyone advocating beef consumption is termed as anti-Hindu and anti-Indian), “Hindutva Phase 2”, or “Surgical Strike” (a belligerent foreign policy that promotes military strike as a mark of national strength) in addition to violence against minorities, rationalists, left-liberal intellectuals (so-called urban Naxals) and “deviants” who do not subscribe to ethnic models of democracy and fundamentalism. Such forms of violence are, as Dabashi remarks in the context of Orientalism,

Introduction  11

essentially “endosmotic” because of their lack of an enduring or sustainable episteme, which is “conducive to various manners of disposable knowledge production predicated on no enduring or legitimate episteme” that “provide instant gratification and are then disposed of after one use only” (Dabashi 2009, 213). In South Asia, these disposable epistemologies could also be described as post-panoptical not only because the security apparatus surrounding the state violence is outsourced to private individuals and vigilante groups, but also because it is diffused into the societal level in which the neighbours of a given community (Fradinger 2010, 18) become the watchdogs of “criminal outsiders”. According to prominent commentators on Indian politics such as Ajay Gudavarthy (2018) and Shiv Vishvanathan (2018), the exclusion of Muslim minorities from the civic domain under the guise of the National Registration of Citizens (NRC) policy has been the latest addition to the ideological arsenal of majoritarian politics, one that induces soft and symbolic violence into hitherto undivided communities through technologies of biopolitical control and micro-surveillance. As Ashis Nandy has shown in Regimes of Narcissism, Regimes of Despair (2013), in recent years, contemporary forms of violence have exhibited peculiar culturalist tendencies in the subcontinent, with its deep-rooted pathologies of postcolonial struggles marked by intense confrontation between different stakeholders on religious, cultural, linguistic and economic grounds. Here, for Nandy, the encounter between structural violence and societal violence often manifests as “ ‘natural’ political self of some cultures” or as “regimes of narcissism” (2009, 168): In this respect, the killers who struck at New York on September 11, 2001, and the regimes that claim absolute moral superiority over them share some common traits. Both believe that when it comes to Satanic others, all terror is justified as long as it is counterterror or retributive justice. Both believe that they are chosen and, hence, qualified to deliver life and death in the name of righteous causes. (169) Nandy’s caveat that the answer to the question why certain cultures are prone to violence does not lie with the ethno-religious particularities of a given culture but with “the desperation that has begun to crystallize outside the peripheries of our known world as a new bonding between terror and culture” (2009, 173) forms the conceptual basis for the understanding of the forms of contemporary violence in the region. Echoing Nandy, the political theorist Banu Bargu traces the origins of the “cultures of violence” thesis to an unsavoury marriage between “[a] corollary of the religious fundamentalism argument” and “the constant presence of violence” (2014, 21) in geographies where martyrdom and the use of extreme measures to achieve political gains are normalised. Deeply connected with questions of postcolonial justice and governance in South Asia, the essays featured in this volume selectively respond to the conceptual currents outlined earlier. Organised into four thematic categories – Part 1,

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“Structural violence: ideologies, hierarchies and symbolic acts”; Part 2, “Gendered violence: rape, misogyny and feminist discourse”; Part 3, “Outsourced violence: mobs, insurgents and private armies”; and Part 4, “Cultures of violence: fractured histories, fissured communities” –, the first section is concerned with the failures, misgovernance or even the absence of state structures that led to the formation of violent ideologies, identities and events across the region. Although the volume makes every attempt to move away from rigid categorisations of state vs. insurgents or sovereign vs. revolutionary violence, it finds that it is both inevitable and indispensable to showcase the examples of such categorical formulations in select cases such as Ashok Kumbamu’s chapter discussing Naxalites or Mohammed Sirajuddeen’s chapter on Kashmir by virtue of their contextual as well as conceptual merit. Opening with Julia Strasheim’s chapter, “Neither war nor peace: political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal”, the volume contextualises the latent structural failures at the level of state governance as well as the exegesis of sovereign power in the region through the example of post-conflict violence in Nepal. Although Nepal has received much applause for its seemingly peaceful transition from monarchy and Maoist violence to democracy, Strasheim argues that “a series of formal and informal power-sharing deals negotiated as part of the peace process” have been decisive to the structural violence in the Maoist party, which succeeded in striking power-sharing deals mainly with the upper-caste Hindu elite, while marginalising minorities and ex-combatants who took to crime and other forms of organised violence against the state. Readers of Strasheim’s chapter may find Sally Carlton’s chapter on the Nepali culture of bandhas (blockades) equally relevant, which is placed in the final section of the book given its thematic insights into the infiltration of violence into the social and communal fabric of Nepal. In line with Strasheim’s critical positing of the role of religion and caste in Nepal, K. Satyanarayana’s “Caste violence: free speech or atrocity?” interrogates the soft and symbolic violence deeply embedded into legal structures of the state as well as the dominant liberal democratic ethos of “free speech”. By contextualising the recent outcry over the supposedly “draconian nature” of some aspects of the historic SC/ ST Act of 1989 that makes casteist speech an unprotected speech, Satyanarayana exposes the structural violence ingrained in the liberal human rights language that fails to distinguish complex forms of humiliation and hostility, and their relationship to soft, symbolic and physical violence. Accordingly, Satyanarayana uses two significant examples of casteist speech – Ashis Nandy’s objectionable comment on the other backward castes and the 2016 case of Dalit flogging in the town of Una in Gujarat – to expose the underhandedness of “hate speech” in relation to caste speech. Extending such forms of structural and systemic violence to Sri Lanka, Harshana Rambukwella’s chapter, “The representational burden of ethno-nationalist violence in Sri Lanka”, extends a sociological perspective to the narratives of Sri Lanka’s civil war represented by three distinct literary genres – fiction, reportage and memoir. In an extremely polarised context that is subject to structural failures, brutal forces of repression, censorship and violence from both ends of the spectrum – the state and the LTTE –, Rambukwella argues that the moral burden of

Introduction  13

representing, or bearing witness to, the violence of the Tamil minorities ultimately falls on the faculties of the imagination, and the affective and ethical relationship to the violated subjects of the war at large. However, the outcome of such morally entangled representations is rarely satisfactory. Since many of the narratives on the Sri Lankan civil war are written by diasporic writers living in Canada, Australia or the US, their transnational, or rather long distance nationalism, tends to reproduce divisive ideologies that could be used by the hardliners to suppress the secessionist aspirations of minorities as nothing more than an “international conspiracy”. The final chapter of this section, Mohammed Sirajuddeen’s “Mapping extraordinary measures: militarisation and political resistance in Kashmir” turns to the complex interplay of structural and systemic violence in Indian-occupied Kashmir, where lawlessness, statelessness and even extrajudicial killings have become part of a vicious cycle of violence. Governed by the logic of exceptionalism, the Indian state in Kashmir has inadvertently contributed to the rise of insurgency violence. For decades, as Sirajuddeen argues, the “heavy presence of India’s armed forces and the strong demands for self-determination under various guises of resistance have put the people of Kashmir in a quagmire of political repression” which stymied the peace process. Based on first-hand ethnographic fieldwork, Sirajuddeen analyses the major trends in the exceptionalist practices of the Indian state and the subsequent militarisation of Kashmir as well as the modes, modalities and reasons behind the development of militant resistance by groups such as Mujahideen, Hizb-ulMujahideen, Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, among others. Although Idreas Khandy’s chapter, “Social roots of insurgency in Kashmir”, deals with similar concerns, it leads to significantly dissimilar conclusions on the insurgent consciousness in Kashmir. Unlike Sirajuddeen’s analytical focus on insurgent violence as a response to the military apparatus of the state, Khandy draws attention to how insurgency could be conceived (and analysed) at the level of social consciousness of Kashmiri society as a whole. The second section, “Gendered violence: rape, misogyny and feminist discourse”, opens with Karen Gabriel’s chapter, “Sex, rape, representation: cultures of sexual violence in contemporary India”, which makes a timely intervention into the public debates on sexual violence in India. Focusing on the intersections of rape and pornography, Gabriel argues that porn must be understood as an economically and socially significant phenomenon that falls in the “domain of representation and commercialised sex”, cultures of misogyny as well as gender divisions engineered through global class flows of capital. Drawing on specific examples of violent events that captured the public imagination in India, including the rapes of Jyoti Singh, the rapper Honey Singh’s myogenic lyrics, the atrocious rape of 5-year-old Gudiya in 2013, and the Kathua and Unnao rape incidents in 2017, Gabriel raises pressing questions on the intersections of pornography and rape. The banning of the production and consumption of porn in India – despite being the world’s third-largest consumer of porn – has led to peculiar forms of sexual violence through “filmed rape, molestation, [and] sexual harassment” that are not only distributed as porn but are also “inflected by the logic of rape”. Inversely, Gabriel challenges the notion that

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porn is a means of sexual liberation, given that the “subject-bodies” of porn “also become the sites on which the tensions of intersecting identities of gender, race, class, nationality and ethnicity are staged, eroticised and sold”. Shifting the coordinates to Pakistan, Shazia Sadaf ’s chapter, “Biographies of violence and the violence of biographies: writing about rape in Pakistan”, focuses on the problems of writing and publishing accounts of rape and personal experience of sexual violence in Pakistan. Especially when collaborated or co-written with western journalists, such narratives have the opposite effect of being liberatory or making a positive contribution to the feminist and other social movements in the South Asian context. Focusing on one such example, Mukhtaran Mai’s memoir In the Name of Honour (2006), Sadaf takes the reader on a compelling tour d’horizon of the discourses of post-9/11 gendered Orientalism of Islam in South Asia, while drawing attention to the invitations as well as the agenda of western publishing houses to publish the tales of the victims of rape or sexual violence, and a wave of resistance to the latter by critics and religious groups who wish to defend the image of Islam and rescue it from the distortions and misrepresentations in the West. Challenging these two dominant currents, Sadaf argues that the biographies of violence are themselves subject to violence at various levels of representation: “to the actual acts of violence, and secondly, the violence of their voyeuristic packaging”. Reflecting on such an inward gaze of violence in the gendered public domain in India, Sanchali Sarkar’s chapter, “Violence in public spaces: security and agency of women in West Bengal”, provides an insightful reading of public as well as media discourses on violence by men against the commuters in “women-only” compartments and “women-only” trains. Although women-only trains do offer commuters a sense of safety, Sarkar argues that they also become an easy target for violence by men. To that end, Sarkar’s essay offers rich examples from her media ethnography of relevant violent episodes in women-only trains. The third section, “Outsourced violence: mobs, insurgents and private armies”, turns to some of the most pressing aspects of organised violence in the region. Mursed Alam’s chapter, “Violence and perilous trans-borderal journeys: the Rohingyas as the nowhere-nation precariat”, sheds light on how the postcolonial state, in addition to being an active instigator of violence in itself, engineers the ideologies of insider and outsider, self and other, native and foreign, national and antinational, and infiltrates violence into the social, ethnic and communal fabric of its subjects so that the latter carry out violence on its behalf. Alam in particular draws attention to the complicity and collusion between the so-called Saffron Revolution in Burma and the Buddhist groups that have emerged as active political participants in the general elections of 2015, leading to Aung San Suu Kyi’s ascension to power. The subsequent alliance between Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, and the Buddhist monks, most notably their leader U Wirathu, has led to a silent pogrom against Rohingya Muslims in the Arakan state. After their flight to Bangladesh and India, as Alam observes, Rohingyas did not fare any better, given the deep-seated suspicion of Rohingyas both at the level of the states and the communities. While in India they were subject to the suspicion of terrorism, or

Introduction  15

supporting Pakistani outfits; in Bangladesh, Rohingyas were treated as a burden and an external problem at best. In the Indian context, Harsh Mander’s chapter, “India’s lynchings: ordinary crimes, rough justice or command hate crimes?”, tracks the nature and scope of socially outsourced violence to a spate of hate crimes which he classifies into three distinct categories: spontaneous group murders, rough justice and hate lynching. Contesting the populist notion that lynching is a form of rough or rogue justice, Mander goes on to compare lynchings in India with racially motivated hate crimes against African Americans in the US. Based on the cases carefully documented by the organisation Karwan e Mohabbat (Caravan of Love), Mander chronicles multiple cases of lynching since the Bharatiya Janatha Party’s rise to power. Implicit to Mander’s argument is the majoritarian community’s voluntary undertaking of lynching as its “local prerogatives of race, class, honour, gender and crime control” in which notions of masculinity, dominance and communal belonging are both normalised and moralised. In a similar vein, Ashok Kumbamu’s chapter “Violence, neoliberal state and the dispossession of adivasis in Central India”, draws attention to one of the longest-running armed insurgencies in postcolonial history: the Maoist movement in India. In a critical but appreciative reading of Nandini Sundar’s recent work, Still Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar (2016), Kumbamu reworks the Marxist theory of state – from its Hegelian underpinnings to neoliberal extractivism – to argue that the historical geneses of India’s Maoist insurgency cannot be understood without an adequate theorisation of state violence and its outsourcing to private entities in the interest of extractionism. In an in-depth analysis of multiple empirical and anthropological sources, Kumbamu reveals the extent to which private armies such as Salwa Judum and warfare programmes such as SAMADHAN contribute to the aggravation of the conflict rather than to a committed resolution. The final section, “Cultures of violence: fractured histories, fissured communities”, takes stock of the communal as well as cultural entrenchment of outsourced violence.Wahid Razi and James Goodman’s chapter, “Afghanistan: military occupation, violence and ethnocracy”, unravels the “inter-ethnic elite bargaining”, often actively encouraged by foreign interests in the country, that led to an institutionalised oligarchy in the post-9/11 context.Yet, the political violence in Afghanistan is centred on “social clientelism, founded on kinship networks rather than ethnicity”. Given that formal political structures of the country are much invested in Islam and nationhood rather than ethnicity, Razi and Goodman draw attention to the disjunctures “between the country’s ethnic elites and would-be constituents” that shape, and are shaped by, everyday forms of violence in Afghanistan. Idreas Khandy’s chapter,“Social roots of insurgency in Kashmir”, offers an equally refreshing analysis of the conflict in Kashmir by rejecting security studies discourses that see violence and terrorism as a clash between authorised and unauthorised violence of the state and non-state actors, respectively. Against this, Khandy suggests that, in Kashmir, “an entire population” could be deemed “insurgent rather than the armed insurgents as being parasitic on the population for support and longevity”. Tracing the emergence, activities and transmutations of political organisations

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such as Political Conference (PC) or All Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front (PF), among others, Khandy employs Doug McAdams’s model of “insurgent consciousness” to argue that the decades of brutal state repression in Kashmir have led to a deep embodiment of “insurgent action” in Kashmir, which is “carried out in the form of poetry, graffiti wars . . . foot-dragging, music, satire, heckling, and even meme-making”. Ryan Shaffer’s chapter, “Islamist attacks against secular bloggers in Bangladesh”, locates yet another dimension of these socially rooted cultures of violence in what he calls “cultures if impunity”. According to Shaffer, the spate of attacks against secularists between 2013 and 2016 reflects the growing unease between secularism and the status quo of Islam in an increasingly polarised society. Although bloggers only make up a small group of people and are “not representative of wider society, . . . the polarising political climate with a culture of violence, a culture of impunity and government weaknesses have shaped the violence against these easy targets”. Showcasing yet another dimension of the cultures of violence in the region, Sally Carlton’s chapter, “Democratic voice and the paradox of Nepal bandhas”, examines the disabling impact of bandha culture (strikes, blockades and shutting down of businesses and services) on Nepal’s economy and the functioning of its democratic institutions at large. Although bandhas are not illegitimate forms of protest, the sheer frequency with which they are staged, combined with high levels of unpredictability, have the debilitating effect of circumventing negotiation, “curtailing the freedoms and choices of others, inflicting physical and emotional violence on the population”.

Acknowledgement This publication has received support from a grant (for Pavan Kumar Malreddy) by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – German Research Foundation: MA 7119/1–1.

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Introduction  17

Chowdhury, Khairul. 2017. “Narratives of Nation, War, and Peace in South Asia: An Interview with Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma from the Chittagong Hill Tracts.” Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium 2 (1): 121–45. Dabashi, Hamid. 2009. Post-Orientalism: Knowledge and Power in Time of Terror. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. ———. 2012. The Arab Spring:The End of Postcolonialism. London: Zed Books. Das,Veena, ed. 1990. Mirrors of Violence: Communities, Riots and Survivors in South Asia. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Dirks, Nicholas B. 1993 [1987]. The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Doyle, Arthur Conan. 1982 [1890]. The Sign of Four. London: Penguin. Egreteau, Renaud, and Larry Jagan. 2013. Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma: Understanding the Foreign Relations of the Burmese Praetorian State. Singapore: NUS Press. Fradinger, Moira. 2010. Binding Violence: Literary Visions of Political Origins. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Gajrani, Shiv. 2004. History, Religion and Culture of India. Delhi: Isha Publishing House. Galvan-Alvarez, Enrique. 2018. “Performing Sovereignty: War Documentaries and Documentary Wars in Syria.” European Journal of English Studies 22 (2): 204–16. Gough, Kathleen. 1974. “Indian Peasant Uprisings.” Economic and Political Weekly 9 (32–34): 1391–412. Gudavarthy, Ajay. 2018. “The Sangh Sees the NRC as a Device to Target Muslims All over India.” The Wire, August 18, 2018. Guha, Ranajit. 1983. Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Guneratne, Arjun, and Anita M. Weiss, eds. 2013. Pathways to Power: The Domestic Politics of South Asia. London: Rowman & Littlefield. Gupta, Smita. 2009. “Mind the Drill.” Outlook, November 16, 2012. www.outlookindia. com/article.aspx?262704. Guruswamy, Mohan. 2014. “Ironing Out Iron Ore Royalty Issues.” Business World, April 22, 2019. 08-11-2014-75930/. Hansen, Phillip B. 1993. Hannah Arendt: Politics, History and Citizenship. Cambridge: Polity Press. Hardiman, David. 1992. Peasant Resistance in India, 1858–1914. New York: Oxford University Press. Hinnells, John, and Richard King, eds. 2006. Religion and Violence in South Asia: Theory and Practice. London: Routledge. Jaffrelot, Christophe. 1999. The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics. New Delhi: Penguin. Kadir, Djelal. 2006. “Comparative Literature in an Age of Terrorism.” In Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization, edited by Haun Saussy, 68–77. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Kalhan, Anil, Gerald P. Conroy, Mamta Kaushal, and Sam Scott Miller. 2006. “Colonial Continuities: Human Rights,Terrorism, and Security Laws in India.” Columbia Journal of Asian Law 20: 93–234. Kaur, Ravinder. 2005. “Mythology of Communal Violence: An Introduction.” In Religion, Violence and Political Mobilisation in South Asia, edited by Ravinder Kaur, 19–45. New Delhi: SAGE. Kipling, Rudyard. 2010 [1901]. Kim. London:Vintage. Kudaisya, Gyanesh, and Tan Tai Yong. 2000. The Aftermath of Partition in South Asia. London: Routledge.

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Lal,Vinay. 1995. “Introduction.” In The History of Railway Thieves, with Illustrations and Hints on Detection, edited by M. Pauparao Naidu, i–xxvii. Gurgaon:Vintage Press. Ludden, David. 2003. “Presidential Address: Maps in the Mind and the Mobility of Asia.” The Journal of Asian Studies 62 (4): 1057–78. Mahla, V.P., S.C. Bhargava, R. Dogra, and S. Shome. 1992. “The Psychology of SelfImmolation in India.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry 34 (2): 108–13. Malreddy, Pavan Kumar. 2015. Orientalism, Terrorism, Indigenism: South Asian Readings in Postcolonialism. Thousand Oaks, CA and Delhi: SAGE. Malreddy, Pavan Kumar, and A.S. Purakayastha. 2017. “Cultures of Violence and (a)himsaic Historiography: The Indian Subcontinent, a Million Mutinies Again?” Kairos: A Journal of Critical Symposium 2 (1): 3–14. Mander, Harsh. 2004. Cry, My Beloved Country: Reflections on the Gujarat Carnage 2002 and Its Aftermath. Noida: Rainbow Publishers. Mbembe, Achille. 2003. “Necropolitics.” Translated by Libby Meintjes. Public Culture 15 (1): 11–40. McBratney, John. 2005. “Racial and Criminal Types: Indian Ethnography and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four.” Victorian Literature and Culture 33 (1): 149–67. Mehta, Deepak, and Rahul Roy, eds. 2018. Violence and the Quest for Justice in South Asia. New Delhi: SAGE Publishing India. Miller, Kristine A. 2014. Transatlantic Literature and Culture after 9/11: The Wrong Side of Paradise. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Moran, Christopher R., and Robert Johnson. 2010. “In the Service of Empire: Imperialism and the British Spy Thriller, 1901–1914.” Studies in Intelligence 54 (2): 1–22. Naipaul,V.S. 1990. India: A Million Mutinies Now. London: Heinemann. Nandy, Ashis. 2009. “Terror, Counter-Terror, and Self-Destruction: Living with Regimes of Narcissism and Despair.” In Civilizational Dialogue and World Order: The Other Politics of Cultures, Religions, and Civilizations in International Relations, edited by Michális S. Michael and Fabio Petito, 167–80. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ———. 2013. Regimes of Narcissism, Regimes of Despair. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Nath, Monoj Kumar. 2004. “Mapping North East on India’s Foreign Policy: Looking Past, Present and Beyond.” The Indian Journal of Political Science 65 (4): 636–52. Pandey, Gyanendra. 2001. Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism and History in India. Vol. 7. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Phillips, Robert Lester, and Duane L. Cady. 1996. Humanitarian Intervention: Just War vs. Pacifism. London: Rowman & Littlefield. Riaz, Ali, Zobaida Nasreen, and Fahmida Zaman, eds. 2018. Political Violence in South Asia. London: Routledge. Roy, Arundhati. 2010. “Walking with the Comrades.” Outlook, March 29, 2010. Roy, Rahul, and Deepak Mahta, eds. 2018. Violence and the Quest for Justice in South Asia. London: SAGE. Said, Edward W. 2003 [1978]. Orientalism. New York: Pantheon. Sinha, Surendra P. 1993. Conflict and Tension in Tribal Society. Delhi: Concept Publishing. Staniland, Paul. 2014. Networks of Rebellion: Explaining Insurgent Cohesion and Collapse. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Talbot, Cynthia. 1995.“Inscribing the Other, Inscribing the Self: Hindu-Muslim Identities in Pre-Colonial India.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 37 (4): 692–722. Tolen, Rachel J. 1991. “Colonizing and Transforming the Criminal Tribesman:The Salvation Army in British India.” American Ethnologist 18 (1): 106–25.

Introduction  19

Tripathi, Rama, and Purnima Singh, eds. 2016. Perspectives on Violence and Othering in India. New Delhi: Springer. van der Veer, Peter. 1996. “Writing Violence.” In Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community and the Politics of Democracy in India, edited by David Ludden, 250–69. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Vishvanathan, Shiv. 2018. “Citizenship and Compassion.” The Hindu, August 6, 2018. www. compassion/article24609480.ece. Wagner, Kim. 2017. Rumours and Rebels: A New History of the Indian Uprising, Oxford: Peter Lang. Wright, M.W. 2011. “Necropolitics, Narcopolitics, and Femicide: Gendered Violence on the Mexico-US Border.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36 (3): 707–31.


Structural violence Ideologies, hierarchies and symbolic acts

2 NEITHER WAR NOR PEACE Political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal Julia Strasheim

Introduction Academics and practitioners alike often evaluate Nepal’s post-conflict peace process since 2006 as a success. For instance, former Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General in Nepal, Ian Martin, called the early political developments after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2006 a “remarkable peace process” (Martin 2008), and Tesser (2007) argued that the CPA was “widely hailed as historic”. More recently, German Ambassador to Nepal Roland Schaefer declared that the decade of peacebuilding “should make all Nepalis proud” (My Republica 2017). This positive view of Nepal’s peace process exists for a good reason. Since the end of the ten-year-long civil war between the government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) rebel group in 2006, Nepal has undergone an impressive transformation from a centralised and authoritarian Hindu kingdom to a federalist, secular republic. In November 2006, the Maoists and the governing political parties signed the CPA to end the “People’s War”. In this agreement, the warring parties decided among other things on implementing a power-sharing transitional government for an interim period of two years. In 2008, the term of the transitional government ended with elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA) that the Maoists won. In 2013, however, citizens had to vote for a second CA after the first one failed to promulgate a new constitution. International donors overall evaluated this 2013 vote as being conducted in a peaceful, free and fair manner (USAID 2017). The second CA then promulgated a new constitution in September 2015. Some argued the document marked a historic “end of the peace process”, a final milestone the former warring parties had left to complete (in: Strasheim 2018). In 2017, the term of the second CA ended in elections won by a remarkable coalition of two former adversaries: the Maoists and the United Marxist-Leninists (UML), who

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merged in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Local elections in 2017 produced the most inclusive governing bodies Nepal has ever seen, with many former civil society activists elected into office. However, an overly positive portrayal of Nepal’s peace process only tells part of the whole story. In particular, it neglects the many manifestations of post-conflict violence that have emerged over the past decade and that remain a daily experience for a significant part of the population. Manifestations of post-conflict violence include (1) “criminal activities by gangs and organized crime groups in urban areas” (The Asia Foundation 2017, 124) and border regions.1 These groups make use of the abundance of small arms still circulated in Nepal and are often supplied with weapons by the same sources that provided arms to the Maoists during the war (Small Arms Survey 2013). In addition, (2) violent clashes among armed groups with or without political affiliations – of which the number and size are poorly understood – are an ongoing problem (Small Arms Survey 2013). Among others, (3) spontaneous violent protests and riots directed against state authorities or members of other identity groups with the intent to cause physical harm or property damage, and (4) violence by security forces as a precedent or response to such riots waged against individuals or groups (such as ethnic or caste minorities) are equally prevalent. For instance, as the constitution was promulgated in 2015, protests erupted in the Tarai – a regional home to many identity groups, including those who identify as Tharu or Madhesi.2 They argued that the constitution adds to their already pervasive discrimination. The government reacted to protests by mobilising the Nepal Army for the first time since the end of the People’s War. As a result, more than 60 people were killed in clashes with security forces and activists (International Crisis Group 2016). In the wake of these developments, the main research question underpinning this chapter is: how, and in what ways, could the occurrence of these manifestations of post-conflict violence in Nepal be explained? To answer this question, I begin by briefly introducing the main theoretical concepts that underpin my research and by reviewing existing explanations in the literature with regard to violence in post-conflict societies. I then build an argument how post-conflict political order and power-sharing can spur new violence. After that, I outline the historical context to Nepal’s peace process. Then, in my empirical analysis, I show that the political order created in post-conflict Nepal, chiefly the several formal and informal power-sharing agreements implemented as part of the peace process between 2006 and 2017, is a key structural explanation for post-conflict violence. These deals were successful in ending the war between the Maoists and the government by ensuring that elites have access to economic and political benefits and by thus decreasing their motivation to remobilise for war: they made peace more lucrative than violence. However, these deals (1) furthered the disintegration of Maoist party structures, which in turn enabled the mobilisation of disillusioned ex-combatants into organised criminal and armed groups. They also (2) re-established a political order that de facto ensures the state and its resources are controlled by a small group of high-caste, Nepali-speaking Hindu men from the central hill region.

Neither war nor peace  25

At the same time, minority communities from the Tarai and other regions remain marginalised, and they have as a result resorted to violent riots that have often taken an ethnic turn. Finally, I show that it is difficult to frame these manifestations of violence as distinct categories and discuss how both are conceptually and empirically interlinked. For my empirical analysis, I largely rely on original material collected in expert interviews and focus group discussions conducted during two rounds of field research in Nepal. My first round of fieldwork took place in September and October 2015, shortly after the 2015 earthquakes and as the new constitution was promulgated in the midst of violent protests in the Tarai and a de facto border blockade by India. While this allowed me to gain first-hand insights into a very politicised environment, it was often difficult to access key stakeholders of the peace process, such as members of the Nepali Congress (NC) or UML who were engaged in coalition talks. I returned to Nepal in April and May 2017 when I was able to alleviate some of the interviewee bias that occurred in 2015. In sum, I conducted 55 expert interviews with representatives of the political parties and government (in particular with members of the NC, UML and Maoists); Maoist ex-combatants and commanders; representatives of all security institutions such as the Nepal Army (NA), Nepal Police (NP), and the Armed Police Force (APF); representatives of key institutions of the peace process, such as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC); as well as academics, civil society activists, journalists, development workers or diplomats. In addition to interviews, I conducted three focus group discussions with Maoist ex-combatants, ex-combatants who were integrated into the NA and “regular” NA soldiers, and I also draw on existing scholarship, policy reports and news articles for my analysis.3

Violence in post-conflict societies What is peace and how is it possible to achieve peace in the aftermath of war? This question is at the core of peace and conflict research since the early days of the discipline (Galtung 1969). Researchers commonly distinguish concepts of positive and negative peace. Negative peace means defining peace as the absence of physical violence, whereas a positive peace concept means understanding peace additionally entails “desirable” features such as justice, democracy or equality (Simons and Zanker 2012). Both concepts have faced critique: evaluating peace merely as the absence of violence merges different versions of peace into one by conflating phases in which warring parties disarm to implement a peace deal with those in which parties regroup for combat (Florea 2012). Assessing peace as a combination of the absence of violence and the presence of features such as justice or equality, however, may turn it into an ideal unrealistic to achieve in reality. Here, I conceptualise a successful peace process as one in which causes of war have been addressed, not by fully resolving them, but by “ensuring the tensions that gave rise to violent conflict in the first place have been channeled into peaceful . . . mechanisms” (Westendorf 2015, 38).

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But even such a “realistic” understanding of peace is difficult to produce in practice. In many societies in which civil war has formally ended, violence remains a daily experience for the population (Suhrke and Berdal 2011). Even where peace processes have managed to prevent a relapse into war, they are often unsuccessful in creating “basic hallmarks of security and stability” (Westendorf 2015, 2). Rather, they entrench conditions of “neither war, nor peace” and “high levels of instability, fragility and inequality” (Licklider 2001, 697). Often, forms of organised, political violence that emerge after war are only indirectly linked to the dynamics and “master cleavage” (Kalyvas 2006) of a previous war itself. What factors give rise to post-conflict violence? As during war, perpetrators in post-conflict societies have different motives for participating in violence. Among the causes of post-conflict violence are economic factors such as poverty, economic inequality or unemployment, which can lead to manifestations of violence such as street crime, burglaries or theft. Theories of post-conflict violence that focus on identity factors highlight the continued presence of ethnic, religious or gender inequalities (Handrahan 2004). Socio-cultural reasons include the presence of “cultures of violence” after civil war, when the use of violence has become normalised in the society as a whole as well as particularly among traumatised ex-combatants who return home to their communities (cf. Schulhofer-Wohl and Sambanis 2010). This is also linked to rising levels of gender-based violence after war, and studies have found a “rise in domestic violence, sex trafficking, and forced prostitution in post-conflict areas” (Manjoo and McRaith 2011, 11). Structural factors linked to post-conflict violence include political order and institutions (e.g. Ansorg and Kurtenbach 2017). The reform of institutions in postconflict states is among the most common strategies pursued by donors to prevent a relapse into violence: if civil war occurs because groups face exclusion and violently rebel to address this exclusion, reforming state institutions is a viable response, so that post-conflict politics are more inclusive to have a pacifying effect. If this does not happen, manifestations of violence directed against a post-conflict political order and its institutions may include violent protests and riots by minority communities. One of the most common institutional cures against violence implemented after war is therefore power-sharing governments that allocate decision-making power between warring parties or ethnic groups so as to offer elites guaranteed representation in state institutions (Hartzell and Hoddie 2003). The prevalent view is that this prevents new war because it alleviates economic and political security concerns of elites by distributing government offices among them (Mattes and Savun 2009). But scholars have also pointed out negative effects of power-sharing. On the elite level, power-sharing between a set of warring parties does not solve conflicts with those parties and party elites that are excluded from “partial peace” deals (Nilsson 2008). In some cases, power-sharing can even offer excluded warring party elites new motivation to mobilise for war, as it rewards the use of violence with political office (Tull and Mehler 2005). On the societal level, power-sharing increases the hopes particularly of minorities that their political exclusion will be alleviated if it brings into power rebel leaders who have mobilised minorities into their military

Neither war nor peace  27

ranks by promising political change and an end to discrimination. But once power is shared in the capital, many former rebel elites begin to neglect their followers and participate in government mostly for rent-seeking incentives and personal gain (Haass and Ottmann 2017). If gains from power-sharing fail to trickle down, this can add to the (re-)politicisation of minority grievances and new violence. Finally, among ex-combatants in particular, this described negligence by rebel elites can contribute to frustration among former combatants, a disintegration of rebel command structures, and increased levels of revolt and violence by ex-combatants (Themnér 2011).

A history of violence and political order in Nepal What kind of political order should rule Nepal is a question that has concerned the country for centuries. Until 1769, the area of what is Nepal today was ruled by several small kingdoms. That year, King of Gorkha Prithvi Narayan Shah enforced a national monarchy under the Shah dynasty after conquering many of these kingdoms, including the one ruled by the Malla dynasty in Kathmandu (Whelpton 2005). The territorial expansion campaign of the Ghorkas continued after Prithvi Narayan Shah died in 1775, but it reached its limits when the East India Company disputed their claim to the Tarai in 1814. The ensuing Anglo-Nepali War ended in 1816 with the Treaty of Sugauli that established Nepal’s modern boundaries, forcing the Gorkhas to accept large territorial concessions. This spurred intra-elite disputes and a situation “favorable for a strong leader to . . . seize control” (Malagodi 2013, 74). This leader was Jang Bahadur Rana, who seized power in the 1846 Kot Massacre, ending the rule of the Shah dynasty. Rana and his brothers introduced a deeply unequal political system of hereditary prime ministers within their family that systematically benefited members of the Khas Brahmin and Chhetri castes (Hachhethu 2007). They also stripped the king of all power, reserving the monarchy only for the legitimacy it offered (Ganguly and Shoup 2005). The Rana Period lasted for 104 years. Opposition began to grow only in the late 1940s. It found a partner in King Tribhuvan, who was unhappy with his “status as a pampered puppet” and willing to cooperate with the emerging political parties, such as the NC (Whelpton 2013, 39). In 1950, he fled to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu to seek asylum – thus deriving the Ranas of any royal legitimacy – and the NC’s military wing started a violent uprising in the Tarai. The 1951 Delhi Accord (mediated by India) reinstated Tribhuvan to power and called for a constitutional monarchy as well as for free and fair elections in 1959. The NC won this vote, but Nepal’s experiment with a democratic order was short-lived: 18 months later, new King Mahendra suspended the constitution and dismissed the government, and, in 1962, promulgated the Panchayat constitution, which banned all political parties. The end of the Panchayat system came in 1990, when citizens demanded free and fair elections in what is known as the Jana Andolan I, or First People’s Movement. King Birendra eventually bowed to public pressure, lifting the ban on political parties and promulgating a new constitution in 1991. This

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document largely reflected the demands of civil society – such as the introduction of multi-party democracy under constitutional monarchy – but “in a compromise with the palace and the generals, confirmed Nepal as a Hindu state and the king as the supreme commander of the army” (Einsiedel, Malone, and Pradhan 2012, 7). The representation of minorities in government actually decreased compared with the Panchayat period, while high-caste Hindus from the central hill region monopolised their grip on power (Lawoti 2010). Nepal’s political order in the 1990s was then characterised by a series of shortlived and relentlessly reshuffled governments that failed to spread economic growth or political stability. It was then, in February 1996, that the Maoists began an insurgency against the state. The first years of the conflict were marked by a low fatality rate. The rebels were only fighting the NP as Birendra refused to deploy the army, also because he perceived the insurgency “as a useful tool against the politicians who had forced him to yield power in 1990” (Whelpton 2005, 207). A change to this limited conflict came in June 2001, when Crown Prince Dipendra shot his father and nine other members of the royal family before committing suicide. Birendra’s brother Gyanendra ascended the throne and ordered the army to fight the Maoists, which led to a steep rise in battle deaths. In February 2005, King Gyanendra fired the prime minister. This royal coup united the Maoists and the mainstream political parties against the palace and set the stage for a Jana Andolan II in April 2006, which in turn spurred peace talks between the parties and the Maoists, culminating in the signing of the CPA in November 2006. In May 2008, the first CA and the new government led by prime minister and former Maoist rebel leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or “Prachanda”, voted to abolish the monarchy, turning Nepal into a republic.

Political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal Nepal’s post-conflict political order between 2006 and 2017 can essentially be characterised as being guided by two features: (1) the introduction of several formal and informal power-sharing deals that ensure none but the three main parties – the Maoists, NC and UML – have de facto access to the highest offices of the state and the resources that come with them; and (2) the upholding of a strategy to endlessly reshuffle cabinets that copies the governing style of the 1990s. The post-conflict political order began with the 2006 peace accord, in which the Maoists and the mainstream parties agreed on a transitional government to rule until first post-conflict elections. They distributed cabinet positions among them and, in early 2007, joined an interim legislature that included all 209 sitting members of the previous House of Representatives and reserved 73 seats for the Maoists and 48 seats for civil society (International Crisis Group 2006). Following the first post-conflict elections in 2008, a series of informal powersharing deals was negotiated primarily among the Maoists, NC and UML. These deals often did not reflect akin policy preferences among the parties, but merely a wish to stay in power. A good example for this governance style is the deals reached

Neither war nor peace  29

between the new constitution in September 2015 and the legislative elections in November and December 2017. The UML’s Khadga Prasad “KP” Oli was sworn in as prime minister in October 2015 in a bid supported by the Maoists – even though both parties had held starkly different policy positions before, for instance with regard to the key topic of Nepali politics since 2006: the type of federalism suitable for Nepal (Strasheim 2018). But the Maoists withdrew from the coalition in July 2016, accusing Oli of “failing to honor a power-sharing deal” and handing over the post of prime minister to Prachanda (Sharma 2016). Oli resigned, and the Maoists struck a deal with the NC, making Prachanda prime minister until June 2017, when he handed the post to the NC’s Sher Bahadur Deuba. This series of formal and informal power-sharing deals between 2006 and 2017 helped end the civil war between the Maoists and the central government. It did so by awarding above all the Maoist leaders with positions in power they could use for economic gain and to reduce uncertainties about their political future. For instance, several of my interview partners – and many Nepalis in private conversations – said that as soon as Maoist senior leaders such as Prachanda or Baburam Bhattarai joined the interim government, they used their control of institutions as a “vehicle for private enrichment” (Pfaff-Czarnecka 2005, 164). A development worker recalled how Nepalis like “to point out the residences of the [Maoist] leadership”; and a former NC minister remembered that the Maoist leaders became “the richest people” leading “the richest party within one year”.4 After joining the transitional government, the Maoists also soon and successfully demanded a constitutional amendment in order to change the proposed mixed electoral system, so that proportional representation would be reinforced at the expense of first-past-the-post elements. This was purely because the “Maoists became concerned about their chances at the polls” (Freedom House 2008). The former NC minister recalled that the Maoists insisted on changing the electoral law as “they thought through proportional rule they will get more seats”.5 While power-sharing thus helped end the civil war, forms of post-conflict violence have become endemic in Nepal, and the post-conflict political order has added to this phenomenon in at least two ways. First, the Maoists’ partaking in powersharing – and how they have made use of the deals struck in the post-conflict period by using them for personal gain – has added to frustration and disillusionment among ex-combatants about their leaders’ prioritisation of personal economic gain over caring for the needs of their fighters. This in turn alienated combatants from the political leadership and aided the recruitment of ex-combatants into organised criminal and armed groups. In particular, Maoist leaders were accused of stealing “state resources meant for the upkeep of combatants for several years”, leading to a “sense of betrayal among former fighters” (Adhikari and Gautam 2014, 80). Some argued this was a willful strategy of Maoist leaders who wanted to intentionally keep an unsatisfied and potentially violent group of ex-combatants as a bargain in negotiations (Bleie and Shrestha 2012). The frustration is especially high among former child soldiers who accuse the Maoist leadership of refusing UN-sponsored training programmes designed for them because they thought they could get better

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deals.6 For instance, a civil society leader said ex-combatants had “lost everything on a personal level”.7 Two development workers and an ex-combatant explicitly used the term “disillusioned” to label the feeling among former fighters with regard to their leaders and said ex-combatants felt “betrayed by Prachanda [and] Bhattarai” as they were made promises during recruitment that did not materialise.8 A former NA general said that combatants were “badly used by their political leaders. They gave their lives, but they got nothing in return”, echoing the words of a former child soldier who said he felt “used by the Maoist leadership”.9 Several ex-combatants said it was “frustrating” to see that leaders had become rich but had stopped pushing for the interests of former fighters.10 There is evidence that this internal disintegration of the Maoist party and of its formerly strict top-down chain of command and levels of discipline, combined with the disillusionment among ex-combatants, added to their mobilisation into new armed movements and organised crime structures (K.C. 2012). While the Maoist leadership remains (although at times ambiguously) committed to the peace process, around 2007, concerns arose that a radicalised Maoist youth wing called Young Communist League was engaging in street violence and quasi-policing activities (United Nations 2007). In the early post-conflict period, Maoist ex-commanders also directly participated in illegal logging, resulting in illicit trade and the deforestation of large-scale areas (Felbab-Brown 2013). The lack of support chiefly for former child soldiers, complaining that Maoist leaders had abandoned them, as well as for ex-combatants who were not integrated into the NA and have faced poverty and unemployment,11 meant these groups were especially vulnerable to joining criminal gangs (Bogati 2015) or armed groups with often radical ethnic or political agendas. The disintegration of the Maoist movement that experienced several splits in the post-conflict period also meant that disgruntled ex-commanders created splinter parties and quasi-criminal groups that have carried out violent activities in the Tarai or far-eastern Nepal,12 or that have threatened to start another revolution (Subedi 2014). For instance, a “typical response to disillusion with the leadership” for ex-combatants was to ally themselves with the Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist (CPN-M) splinter party (Robins, Bhandari, and Ex-PLA Research Group 2016, 51). The CPN-M was by 2011 “engaging in widespread acts of terrorism”, including “instances serious enough to require hospitalization of the victims, all political activists of rival parties” (Marks 2017, 84). In 2012, it incorporated “a significant number of ex-combatants as members” while allegedly reactivating structures for a new military organisation (Subedi 2014, 55). Other manifestations of post-conflict violence that the various power-sharing deals in Nepal have contributed to are local violent conflict and riots that have often taken on an ethnic turn. During the war, the Maoists recruited ethnic minorities into their ranks with the promise to end their long-standing discrimination. Madhesis, for instance, were promised an autonomous Madhesh federal province (Kantha 2011). Joining the post-conflict power-sharing interim government, the Maoists at first delivered on their promise. For instance, among the 73 people representing the Maoists in the transitional legislature were eleven Dalits, 20 Madhesis

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and 23 Janajatis. When the Maoists in 2007 successfully pushed for setting the seat ratio distributed through proportional representation and first-past-the-post in the electoral law at roughly 60 to 40, this was seen as a gain for minorities (Ogura 2008). And when the Maoists integrated 1,441 ex-combatants into the NA in 2013, this was regarded as a first step in making institutions traditionally dominated by high-caste Hindus more inclusive. In the early days of the peace process, it thus often looked like the power-sharing agreements in Kathmandu would prove beneficial for ethnic minorities all over Nepal. Ever since, however, minority activists argue the Maoists have abandoned their ideals, broken their promises to ethnic groups, used power-sharing only for rent-seeking and, together with NC and UML, created a political order in which minorities are once again excluded while high-caste Hindus from the hills are systematically favored. While the relationship between minorities and the state thus has always been difficult, in the post-conflict period it was the Madhesi-Maoist relationship that has angered many activists.13 According to a Madhesi civil society leader, the Maoists “left the agenda of the marginalized groups”, thus “the fault [for the protests] mostly lies with the Maoist party, not the government, the NC or UML”.14 The first time this political order and style of government added to post-conflict violence was in 2007.15 Then, the interim constitution negotiated by the Maoists and the mainstream parties – all members of the Brahmin and Chhetri castes (Jha 2014) – failed to address demands for a Madhesh province. This prompted protests that escalated into violence (killing more than 30 people) when a Madhesi protestor was shot by Maoist cadres. After this Madhesi Andolan, years of talks about federalism held primarily in the series of power-sharing cabinets and between the Maoists, NC and UML failed to address minority demands in any meaningful way. In 2013, the Maoists lost the election to the second CA after failing to deliver on their promises to minorities who ensured their victory in 2008, and after displaying rent-seeking in the power-sharing government in the same style as the political forces they had fought during the war.16 In 2015, the Maoists entered a deal with the NC and UML, accepting terms for geography-based federalism in the new constitution and thus abandoning their support for an ethnic Madhesh province. This was instantly challenged by Madhesis and other minority groups who had not been meaningfully included in the constitution-making process (International Crisis Group 2016) and argued that a “narrow coterie of senior party leaders” in the power-sharing government had reached a compromise “behind closed doors” (Ghale 2015). Almost 60 people died in ensuing clashes between security forces and activists. The parliament, as a result, approved constitutional amendments that reacted to some of the Madhesi demands, but many activists saw these changes as insufficient and tensions repeatedly escalated into more violence. Observers today argue that the Madhesi conflict will be the most pressing security issue in Nepal for many years to come.17 But it is vital to understand that the documented manifestations of violence in Nepal cannot be framed as distinct categories: both are conceptually and empirically interlinked. Just as minorities filled

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the ranks of the Maoists during the war, some of the violence in the 2015 protests has been linked to Maoist ex-combatants who are now in turn engaged in radical ethnic movements (Robins, Bhandari, and Ex-PLA Research Group 2016). Tackling post-conflict violence in Nepal thus must acknowledge the different layers of grievances that fuel such violence.

Conclusion Political stakeholders in Nepal often tend to express a strong sense of pride when talking about the many successes of the country’s peace process – and rightly so. They have managed to bring to an end the civil war between the Maoist rebel group and the central government, disarm and demobilise the Maoist military structures, integrate a substantial number of ex-combatants into the NA, hold a series of free and fair elections and, in 2015, promulgate a new constitution that underlined Nepal’s transition from a centralised Hindu kingdom to a federal, secular republic. Having said that, besides these significant achievements, several forms of violence – such as organised crime, clashes among armed groups, riots or violence by state security forces – have become endemic to Nepal’s post-conflict period. Why? This chapter has demonstrated that while post-conflict violence has many socio-cultural or economic explanations, one factor that has contributed to such violence in Nepal is the political order established in the post-conflict period. In particular, the chapter emphasised the formal and informal power-sharing deals negotiated primarily among the three major political forces that have dominated Nepali politics since 2006: the Maoists, NC and UML. Between the peace agreement in November 2006 and first post-conflict elections in 2008, these parties – together with some smaller political groups – entered a power-sharing interim government in which they distributed cabinet positions among one another and were guaranteed seats in the legislature. This bought particularly the Maoists into the peace process, because it ensured their leaders had access to state resources and made participating in the peace process more lucrative than war. Since 2008, there is no de jure guarantee for government posts in Nepal, but the parties have entered a series of informal deals that de facto guarantee their continued access to power. This political order has contributed to a rise in post-conflict violence in at least two ways. First, and linked to research on violence by ex-combatants (Themnér 2011), the Maoist leaders’ participation in power-sharing and their prioritisation of personal gain over the interests of combatants has furthered the disintegration of Maoist party structures, enabling the mobilisation of disillusioned ex-combatants into criminal and armed groups. Second, the power-sharing deals in Kathmandu have politicised minority groups who were promised an end to their widespread discrimination. The deals effectively re-established the political order of the 1990s that de facto ensures the state and its resources are controlled by a small group of high-caste Hindu men from the central hill region, while marginalising minority groups and spurring violent riots that have often taken on an ethnic turn.

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While this chapter has briefly discussed two factors and mechanisms that have led to the rise in the number of armed groups, criminal gangs and more or less spontaneous violent riots in Nepal, the variety of factors that have contributed to these developments still remain poorly understood. Future research should thus particularly explore alternative political, socio-cultural or economic explanations for post-conflict violence in Nepal, and engage in debates how further instruments of the peace process – such as the design of the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programme – have spurred this violence. Furthermore, future work should also dive more deeply into the conceptual and empirical interlinkages of different manifestations of violence.

Notes 1 INT-01, retired Inspector General, Nepal Police (NP), 26.04.2017; INT-02, UML Member of Parliament, April 27, 2017. 2 Tharus and Madhesis are two among many identity groups in Nepal who have long articulated anger against political elites for failing to alleviate their discrimination. Who constitutes as Tharu or Madhesi is disputed (Pandey 2017). I refer to Tharus as an ethnic group indigenous to the southern and far-western Tarai that makes up about 7 per cent of the total population. I refer to Madhesis as Muslims and caste-based Hindus living largely, but not exclusively, in the Tarai who “maintain close linguistic, cultural, [and] ethnic ties” with families in northern India (Jha 2014, 166) and who make up approximately 35 per cent of the total population. 3 To select interview partners, I used a mix of snowball sampling and specific targeting. To avoid gatekeeper bias, I relied on different entry points to interviewees, such as the help of a local peace-building NGO, several academics from Tribhuvan University and members of the development community. My interviews and focus group discussions took place in Kathmandu, Patan, Kirtipur and the Kavrepalanchok district, and with some development workers and diplomats via phone or in Berlin. Because of the sensitive nature of the topics discussed, most interviewees wished to remain anonymous. I refer to them thus not by name, but with a description of their role during the peace process as well as with a short code so as to indicate when the same person is quoted more than once. I recorded about half of the interviews on tape, but some interviewees felt uncomfortable with being recorded and I then relied on taking notes. For about one third of the interviews I had to rely on the help of an interpreter, who I trained by discussing my questionnaire and instructing them to translate back to me every few sentences, so that as little information as possible would get lost. 4 INT-03, development worker A, September 23, 2015; INT-04, former NC minister, October 12, 2015. 5 INT-04. 6 FGD-01, Maoist ex-combatants, April 23, 2017; INT-02. 7 INT-05, civil society leader A, October 5, 2015. 8 INT-03; INT-06, development worker B, September 23, 2015; INT-07, Maoist excombatant, October 10, 2015. 9 INT-08, former NA general, September 29, 2015; INT-09, former child soldier, May 2, 2017. 10 FGD-01. 11 INT-09; FGD-01; FGD-02, Maoist ex-combatants integrated into the NA, April 28, 2017. 12 INT-10, NA General, May 15, 2017. 13 INT-11, retired Madhesi police officer, May 15, 2017.

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1 4 INT-12, Madhesi civil society leader, September 2, 2015. 15 INT-13, retired NP Additional Inspector General, May 2017. 16 INT-14, diplomat, September 22, 2015; INT-15, civil society leader B, October 19, 2015; INT-16, UN official, October 13, 2015. 17 INT-17, APF Deputy Inspector General, April 25, 2017.

Works cited Adhikari, Aditya, and Bhaskar Gautam. 2014. Impunity and Political Accountability in Nepal. Kathmandu: The Asia Foundation. Ansorg, Nadine, and Sabine Kurtenbach. 2017. “Introduction: Institutional Reforms and Peace Building.” In Institutional Reforms and Peacebuilding: Change, Path-Dependency and Societal Divisions in Post-War Communities, edited by Nadine Ansorg and Sabine Kurtenbach, 1–18. New York: Routledge. The Asia Foundation. 2017. The State of Conflict and Violence in Asia. San Francisco, CA: The Asia Foundation. Bleie,Tone, and Ramesh Shrestha. 2012.“DDR in Nepal: Stakeholder Politics and the Implications for Reintegration as a Process of Disengagement.” Tromsø: Centre for Peace Studies. Bogati, Subindra. 2015. Assessing Inclusivity in the Post-War Army Integration Process in Nepal. Berlin: Berghof Foundation. Einsiedel, Sebastian von, David Malone, and Suman Pradhan. 2012. “Introduction.” In Nepal in Transition: From People’s War to Fragile Peace, edited by Sebastian von Einsiedel, David Malone, and Suman Pradhan, 1–37. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Felbab-Brown, Vanda. 2013. Getting Smart and Scaling Up: The Impact of Organized Crime on Governance in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Nepal. New York: Center on International Cooperation, New York University. Florea, Adrian. 2012. “Where Do We Go from Here? Conceptual, Theoretical, and Methodological Gaps in the Large-N Civil War Research Program.” International Studies Review 14 (1): 78–98. Freedom House. 2008. “Freedom in the World 2008: Nepal Country Report.” Freedom House. (accessed 26 August 2019). Galtung, Johan. 1969. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6 (3): 167–91. Ganguly, Sumit, and Brian Shoup. 2005. “Nepal: Between Dictatorship and Anarchy.” Journal of Democracy 16 (4): 129–43. Ghale, Shradha. 2015. “Why Nepal’s Janajatis Feel Betrayed by the New Constitution.” The Wire, October 27, 2015. Haass, Felix, and Martin Ottmann. 2017. “Profits from Peace: The Political Economy of Power-Sharing and Corruption.” World Development 99 (November): 60–74. Hachhethu, Krishna. 2007. Madhesi Nationalism and Restructuring the Nepali State. Kirtipur: Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University. Handrahan, Lori. 2004. “Conflict, Gender, Ethnicity and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.” Security Dialogue 35 (4): 429–45. Hartzell, Caroline, and Matthew Hoddie. 2003. “Institutionalizing Peace: Power Sharing and Post-Civil War Conflict Management.” American Journal of Political Science 47 (2): 318–32. International Crisis Group. 2006. Nepal’s Peace Agreement: Making It Work 126. Kathmandu and Brussels: International Crisis Group.

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———. 2016. Nepal’s Divisive New Constitution: An Existential Crisis. Kathmandu and Brussels: International Crisis Group. Jha, Prashant. 2014. Battles of the New Republic: A Contemporary History of Nepal. London: Hurst. Kalyvas, Stathis N. 2006. The Logic of Violence in Civil War. New York: Cambridge University Press. Kantha, Pramod K. 2011. “Maoist-Madhesi Dynamics and Nepal’s Peace Process.” In The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Revolution in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Mahendra Lawoti and Anup K. Pahari, 156–72. New York: Routledge. Lawoti, Mahendra. 2010. “Evolution and Growth of the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal.” In The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal. Revolution in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Mahendra Lawoti and Anup K. Pahari, 3–30. New York: Routledge. Licklider, Roy. 2001. “Obstacles to Peace Settlements.” In Turbulent Peace: The Challenges of Managing International Conflict, edited by Chester A. Crocker, Fen Osler Hampson, and Pamela R. Aall, 697–718. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press. Malagodi, Mara. 2013. Constitutional Nationalism and Legal Exclusion: Equality, Identity Politics, and Democracy in Nepal. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Manjoo, Rashida, and Calleigh McRaith. 2011. “Gender-Based Violence and Justice in Conflict and Post-Conflict Areas.” Cornell International Law Journal 11 (44): 11–31. K.C., Manoj Kumar 2012. Identifying Effective Measures to Combat Organized Crime in PostConflict Nepal: A Case Study from Kathmandu. Kathmandu: Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Marks, Thomas A. 2017. “Terrorism as Method in Nepali Maoist Insurgency, 1996–2016.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 28 (1): 81–118. Martin, Ian. 2008. “Nepal: A Remarkable Peace.” The Guardian, August 28, 2008. Mattes, Michaela, and Burcu Savun. 2009. “Fostering Peace after Civil War: Commitment Problems and Agreement Design.” International Studies Quarterly 53 (3): 737–59. My Republica. 2017.“German Envoy for Publicizing Nepal’s Peace Process Success Abroad.” My Republica, October 25, 2017. german-envoy-for-publicizing-nepals-peace-process-success-abroad/. Nilsson, Desirée. 2008. “Partial Peace: Rebel Groups Inside and Outside of Civil War Settlements.” Journal of Peace Research 45 (4): 479–95. Ogura, Kiyoko. 2008. Seeking State Power: The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). Berlin: Berghof Foundation. Pandey, Krishna. 2017. “Politicising Ethnicity: Tharu Contestation of Madheshi Identity in Nepal’s Tarai.” The South Asianist 5 (1): 304–22. Pfaff-Czarnecka, Joanna. 2005. “No End to Nepal’s Maoist Rebellion.” Focaal – European Journal of Anthropology 46: 158–68. Robins, Simon, Ram Kumar Bhandari, and Ex-PLA Research Group. 2016. Poverty, Stigma and Alienation: Reintegration Challenges of Ex-Maoist Combatants in Nepal. Berlin: Berghof Foundation. Schulhofer-Wohl, Jonah, and Nicholas Sambanis. 2010. Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Programs. An Assessment. Stockholm: Folke Bernadotte Academy. Sharma, Gopal. 2016. “Ahead of No-Confidence Vote, Nepal’s Prime Minister Resigns.” The Wire, July 25, 2016. Simons, Claudia, and Franzisca Zanker. 2012. Finding the Cases That Fit: Methodological Challenges in Peace Research. Hamburg: GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies. Small Arms Survey. 2013. Legacies of War in the Company of Peace: Firearms in Nepal. Geneva: Small Arms Survey.

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Strasheim, Julia. 2018. “No ‘End of the Peace Process’: Federalism and Ethnic Violence in Nepal.” Cooperation and Conflict 54 (1): 83–98. Subedi, Dambaru B. 2014. “Ex-Combatants, Security and Post-Conflict Violence: Unpacking the Experience from Nepal.” Millennial Asia 5 (1): 41–65. Suhrke, Astri, and Mats Berdal. 2011. The Peace in Between. London: Routledge. Tesser, Lynn. 2007. Prospects for a Successful Peace Process in Nepal: Internal and International Perspectives. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace. Themnér, Anders. 2011. Violence in Post-Conflict Societies. Remarginalization, Remobilizers and Relationships. New York: Routledge. Tull, Denis M., and Andreas Mehler. 2005. “The Hidden Costs of Power-Sharing: Reproducing Insurgent Violence in Africa.” African Affairs 104 (416): 375–98. United Nations. 2007. Report of the Secretary-General on the Request of Nepal for United Nations Assistance in Support of Its Peace Process. S/2007/235. New York: United Nations. USAID. 2017. Final Evaluation of USAID/Nepal Strengthening Political Parties, Electoral and Legislative Processes Project. Washington, DC: United States Agency for International Development. Westendorf, Jasmine-Kim. 2015. Why Peace Processes Fail: Negotiating Insecurity after Civil War. Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Whelpton, John. 2005. A History of Nepal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2013. “Political Violence in Nepal from Unification to Janandolan I.” In Revolution in Nepal: An Anthropological and Historical Approach to the People’s War, edited by Marie Lecomte-Tilouine, 27–74. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Interviews and focus groups cited INT-01, retired Inspector General of the NP, April 26, 2017. INT-02, UML Member of Parliament, April 27, 2017. INT-03, development worker A, September 23, 2015. INT-04, former NC minister, October 12, 2015. INT-05, civil society leader A, October 5, 2015. INT-06, development worker B, September 23, 2015. INT-07, Maoist ex-combatant, October 10, 2015. INT-08, former NA general, September 29, 2015. INT-09, former child soldier, May 2, 2017. INT-10, NA general, May 15, 2017. INT-11, retired Madhesi police officer, May 15, 2017. INT-12, Madhesi civil society leader, September 28, 2015. INT-13, retired Additional Inspector General of the NP, May 2, 2017. INT-14, diplomat, September 22, 2015. INT-15, civil society leader B, October 19, 2015. INT-16, UN official, October 13, 2015. INT-17, Deputy Inspector General of the APF, April 25, 2017. FGD-01, Maoist ex-combatants, April 23, 2017. FGD-02, Maoist ex-combatants integrated into the NA, April 28, 2017.

3 CASTE VIOLENCE Free speech or atrocity? K. Satyanarayana

It is time we realised that there is a permeable boundary between the symbolic violence of such a cartoon [an Ambedkar cartoon] and the tolerance of such cartoons by academics on the one hand, and atrocities like Bathani Tola, Melavalavu, Chunduru or Khairlanji on the other. ( The Hindu 2012; from a petition on the Ambedkar cartoon controversy)1

In a recent report on India, Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international nongovernmental organisation for human rights, expressed its concern over the misuse of draconian laws such as the sedition provisions of the Indian penal code, the criminal defamation law and other laws relating to hate speech. In its list of laws that criminalised “peaceful expression” (Human Rights Watch 2016), HRW included the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, (hereafter SC/ST Act). HRW observed that section 3(1) (x) is vague and overbroad, and its application bans speech that “intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate” (Human Rights Watch 2016) a member of a Scheduled Caste or Tribe. Section 3(1) (x), as it is interpreted, proscribes humiliating speech but not hateful speech. In HRW’s view, humiliating speech should not be curbed, however offensive it is, but hateful speech that directly incites hatred or violence should be declared a punishable offence. Recognising the Act as “one of the most important pieces of legislation for the protection of Dalits” (Human Rights Watch 2016), it recommended to the Indian Parliament that section 3(1) (x) of the SC/ ST Act, 1989, and certain other new provisions of the Act be amended or revised to protect free speech.2 These provisions, it is observed, are vaguely worded and overly broad and are likely to be misused to curb free speech. The HRW report rightly identified that the SC/ST Act, 1989, codified casteist speech (casteist abuse,

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caste slur, name calling, symbolic acts of disfiguring the statues, portraits etc.). It thematises the opposition between free speech and casteist speech in the liberal framework of human rights. Making a subtle distinction between hate speech and humiliating speech, HRW observes that casteist speech is humiliating speech but it is not assaultive speech and, therefore, it should not be classified as a punishable crime. In other words, casteist speech is unprotected speech. HRW’s report provides us an excellent opportunity to examine the liberal notion of free speech, the inadequacy of hate speech laws to conceptualise casteist speech and the historic significance of the SC/ST Act, 1989. HRW’s report rightly identified the contradiction between free speech and casteist speech, which is a key issue in several recent public controversies in India such as burning the effigy of Dalit leader Krishna Madiga in a public protest (2008), the Ambedkar cartoon controversy (2012), Ashish Nandy’s objectionable comments (2013) and similar incidents. Drawing on some of the debates around these public controversies, I revisit the debates on caste violence in the context of Dalit social movements and the historic enactment of the SC/ST Act, 1989. My attempt in this essay is to highlight the significance of the legal conception of caste speech, the inseparability of physical caste violence and non-physical (verbal and symbolic) violence and the limitations of the liberal framework of free speech/hate speech. I argue that casteist speech is both violent and incites violence. The anti-atrocities law, I suggest, was enacted to resolve this historical tension between personal liberty and caste-based community rights. The notion of casteist speech is not widely used. Dalit activists, advocacy groups and human rights groups use this notion of casteist speech to describe the everyday acts of humiliation in Indian villages and small towns. Abusing disadvantaged caste groups such as SCs and STs in the name of their caste, spreading caste hatred, assertions of caste superiority and pride, gestures of caste power and authority, and acts of vandalism of the symbols of the SCs and STs are some examples of casteist speech. These acts of abusive speech, aggressive body language and psychological humiliation are routinised and normalised. Casteist speech has strong similarities with the category of racial speech in the American context (Delgado 1993). It was argued that racial insult caused racial stigmatisation and undermined the dignity and selfworth of members of a racial minority.The insights from Critical Race theorists are relevant to locate casteist speech in its history and the context of power relations. Following Critical Race theorists, one could argue that the acts of casteism are not isolated instances of discrimination but systemic, structural and cultural. Let us return to HRW’s critical view that certain sections of the SC/ST Act, 1989, are likely to curtail free speech. In HRW’s view, section 3(1) x of the Act bans any expression that “promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will against members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes” (Human Rights Watch 2016). Similarly, another new section 3(1) v in the amended SC/ ST Act, 2015, curbs any expression that “disrespects any late person held in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes” (Human Rights Watch 2016). The case of sociologist Ashis Nandy was cited to illustrate the

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misuse of section 3(1) x to penalise free speech. Nandy was booked in January 2013 under section 3(1) (x) of the SC/ST Act, 1989, for making an observation that “the SC/STs and OBCs [Other Backward Classes] were among the most corrupt today” (Human Rights Watch 2016) at Jaipur Literary Festival. He later clarified his view and apologised. Based on a report by PEN International on Nandy’s case, it is observed that Nandy’s negative comments, however offensive, do not amount to acts of discrimination or violence. Therefore, HRW suggests provisions dealing with casteist speech (negative comments) in the SC/ST Act, 1989, be amended. It cited specific clauses in the proposed new Act of 2015 such as section 3(1) (r): “intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe in any place within public view”;3 3(1) (u): “by words either written or spoken or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise promotes or attempts to promote feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will against members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes”; and 3(1) (v):“ by words either written or spoken or by any other means disrespects any late person held in high esteem by members of the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes.”4 It is argued in the HRW report that certain provisions dealing with casteist speech could be classified as humiliating speech, which is different from hateful speech that directly incites physical violence. The report further points out that “disrespectful speech, or expression that promotes negative feelings, however offensive, is not the same as incitement to acts of hostility, discrimination, or violence, and as such should not be subject to criminal penalty” (Human Rights Watch 2016). In other words, the contentious provisions of the SC/ST Act penalise humiliating speech. This penalisation of humiliating speech, the HRW report notes, amounts to banning freedom of expression. It is relevant to examine the categories of free speech and hate speech used by the HRW, which recommended that certain clauses of section 3(1) of the SC/ ST Act be amended to “bring it in line with ICCPR article 20” (Human Rights Watch 2016). In this attempt to read caste violence in the global context of free speech and hate speech provisions of the UN, the specific context and history of caste violence is erased. As per Article 20(2) of ICCPR,“any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law” (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1976 [1966]). In this formulation, hate speech involves mocking of disadvantaged minority groups based on their collective belonging and identity. Its effects include the dehumanisation and ghettoisation of minorities. It reinforces the social divisions and boundaries between the dominant and the disadvantaged groups. In other words, hate speech is unrestricted as long as it does not cause direct physical harm and, therefore, it is part of the liberal right to freedom of expression. In this doctrine of free speech, speech or even hate speech by itself can never constitute harm, but it is the actions that occur as a result of that speech which may be harmful. Individual autonomy and self-development are essential aspects of the doctrine of free speech. Any restriction of free speech will violate the moral right of individual citizens as self-governing agents.

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The doctrine of liberal free speech (including some forms of hate speech) was challenged by Critical Race theorists who argued that racial labelling and racial abuse may result in psychological and physical consequences. Richard Delgado argues that “ ‘More speech’ frequently is useless because it may provoke only further abuse or because the insulter is in a position of authority over the victim. . . . When victimized by racist language, victims must be able to threaten and institute legal action” (1993, 95). In this view, the moral injury caused by hate speech is recognised, and legal action is suggested as a possible solution to deter such racial speech. In the well-known case “R.A.V. vs. City of St. Paul” (1992), the US Supreme Court ruled that the burning cross in front of a black family’s house was the free expression of a viewpoint within the marketplace of ideas. Judith Butler rejected this defense of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. She argued that the burning of a cross in front of the house of a black family erases the racist history of the convention of cross-burning and strips the family of its blackness. Along with Critical Race theorists, she further observes that it is impossible to distinguish between hateful remarks and injurious speech (Butler 1996, 208–9). In light of the foregoing discussion, it is clear that casteist speech is not recognised as a violation of human rights in the global category of hate speech.There was no formal legal category of hate speech in India. Some sections such as 153A, 153B, 295A, 298 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code and related provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure have some similarity with the hate speech law. But these provisions deal with communal hatred (“outraging religious feeling” and “promoting enmity between religions”) and public order (Narrain 2016). They do not address insults in the name of caste. Given the limitations of liberal doctrines of free speech and the related hate speech, one could argue that casteist speech is very different from hate speech. Hate speech laws in India deal with spreading hatred and negative feelings among religious groups. These laws empower the state to regulate this speech and restore peace in society. The communities have no powers under this law to claim physical and non-physical violence and get redressal in a court of law.5 No specific communities are identified as a victim under this law, and the protection of ‘the public’ is the obligation of the state. Casteist speech vilifies, humiliates and dehumanises the Dalits, and it damages the entire group’s self-esteem and confidence. Acts and practices such as verbal abuse, social stigma, social boycott, stereotyping, display of caste superiority and other symbolic gestures are part of the structural subjugation of the Dalits.The feudal structure of caste hierarchy produces casteist speech, and it is inseparable from acts of physical violence and cultural subordination. Precisely for this reason, the SC/ST Act is enacted as a separate law to address the specificity of casteist speech and violence. It recognises the SCs and STs as disadvantaged, while the latter can invoke this law and settle civil society disputes. The absolute freedom of speech and expression is regulated by the state of India. Therefore, regulation of casteist speech is consistent with the scope of article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution (Liang 2004).6

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Reading certain sections of the SC/ST Act as hate speech law and examining its validity in terms of free speech doctrine poses a number of problems.These provisions are read out of context, while ignoring the social context of caste society, the identity of the victims, the perspective of the Dalits and the content of the Act and its practice. Before I attempt to contextualise the enactment of the SC/ST Act, 1989, let us take note of Ambedkar’s observations on caste violence. According to Ambedkar, the caste system ordered caste groups in “a descending series of each meaner than the one before” (quoted in Dangle 1992, 224), and the prohibitions and limits are set to show people of their unequal rank in society.7 It is this graded inequality of Hindu feudalism that conditioned social relations in Indian society. In the light of this analysis, Ambedkar argued that caste violence is not just physical violence. Participating in the debate on the First Amendment to the Indian Constitution in 1951, he supported that the freedom of expression be subjected to “reasonable restrictions” to protect the rights of disadvantaged minorities. He identified social boycott and denial of drinking water as examples of non-physical violence. He puts it thus: I came to know two specific instances. Supposing, for instance, there is trouble – I am giving some concrete cases which have happened – and there is trouble between the Scheduled Castes and caste Hindus in a particular village and the caste Hindus conspire together to proclaim a social boycott on the Scheduled castes, preventing them from obtaining any kind of supplies, preventing them from going into the fields, preventing them from going into the jungles to collect fuel, then I want to know from Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Kunzru whether they want this, as an offence, to be regarded by the state as such or not. (Ambedkar 1997, 370) The dominant-caste Hindus come together to impose certain penalties against the disadvantaged Dalits using the social divisions in the village context. These penalties or prohibitions, mostly oral instructions, deprive Dalits of livelihood, food and work. The direct consequence of social boycott is the denial of the fundamental right to live. Is this an offence, Ambedkar asks. In a similar context, some caste Hindus dropped some poisonous weeds in the well.The Scheduled caste who drank the water suffered from the effect of the poison. Is this act considered “incitement to violence” or harm and injury of one community against another? (Ambedkar 1997, 371). Ambedkar anticipated the legal codification of casteist speech in his remarks. He rejected the view that casteist speech is humiliating speech and, therefore, it should be considered unrestricted speech.The SC/ST Act draws its legal basis from the principle of “reasonable restrictions” in line with Ambedkar’s thinking. The context and conditions that led to the enactment of the SC/ST Act, 1989, and the language and categories used in the text of the Act are historically and politically significant. The massacres of Dalits in Kilvenmani (1968) in Tamil Nadu, Belchi (1977) in Bihar and Karamchedu (1985) in Andhra Pradesh inaugurated

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a new debate on the role of caste power and caste identities in unleashing brutal forms of violence against the Dalits. In response to this phenomenon of mass killings of Dalits in the 1970s and 1980s, Dalit movements emerged and articulated new questions such as self-respect and human dignity (Srinivasulu 2002). Following the public debate on caste violence and violation of Dalit rights, the Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCR Act) was found to be inadequate to prevent atrocities.8 A new law was demanded to effectively deal with the new situation. The SC/ ST Act, 1989, was passed with an aim to prevent atrocities against the members of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Act has several new provisions such as non-bailable arrest, social boycott of the upper-caste culprits, attachment of properties of the perpetrators of violence and punitive action against the police for dereliction of duty. It created institutional mechanisms such as the setting up of special courts for speedy trial, state-level monitoring committees, immediate relief and rehabilitation measures and legal aid for the victims. The SC/ST Act marks a shift from the old framework of “civil rights” in the PCR Act to the protection of human dignity. It was presumed in the PCR Act that it is the practice of untouchability that imposed “religious and social disabilities” and inflicted insults, abuses and physical or verbal violence against the Scheduled Castes. In this view, untouchability is a social custom, and it imposes “disabilities” (PCR Act). The problem of the Scheduled Castes is explained in terms of social, religious and cultural customs of the old feudal social order. The PCR Act enables the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) to overcome these “disabilities” of old culture/tradition and exercise their civil rights enumerated in the Constitution. The PCR Act does not recognise the role of caste order, and the authority and power of the upper castes in the maintenance and perpetuation of caste divisions as well as in the enforcement of caste distinctions by punitive violence. The Scheduled Castes are socially discriminated against and often excluded from the social and religious spheres or public institutions. This social exclusion and demeaning treatment of the Scheduled Castes cannot be explained in terms of “disabilities”. The newly drafted SC/ST Act, 1989, categorised caste violence and brutality as “atrocities”. The term “atrocity” literally means an act of cruelty, brutality and a crime. It is in the SC/ST Act that the term “atrocity” acquires a new meaning as a crime of caste brutality or abuse. Dalit activists, intellectuals and advocacy groups, through their campaigns against caste-based massacres and violent attacks, contributed to this new meaning and understanding of the term “atrocity”. The Dalit understanding of “atrocity” as an act of assertion of upper-caste power is clearly reflected in the SC/ST Act when it underlined the caste basis of violence, identified its perpetrators as “non-SCs and STs” and its victims as “SCs and STs”.9 While the presumed subject of the PCR Act is the citizen figure, the subject of the SC/ST Act is the figure of the Scheduled Caste or the Scheduled Tribe, not the unmarked citizen figure.The Act does have “civil rights” provisions, but the significant part of the Act enumerates the rights of the minorities such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The realisation of citizenship by restoring humanity to the SCs and STs is the larger aim of this Act. Commenting on liberal rights, Karl

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Marx observed that “every member of the nation is an equal participant in national sovereignty” and far from abolishing these real distinctions “the state only exists on the presupposition of their existence [real distinctions]” (Marx 2008 [1844]). In other words, the SC/ST Act recognises the real social distinctions and it aims to resolve the historical tension between personal liberty of individuals and equality of the marginalised communities in India’s liberal democracy. The SC/ST Act, 1989, textualises many forms of caste violence (physical, verbal, symbolic and psychological) and declares these practices as punishable crimes. It has a number of provisions aimed at curbing casteist speech. Given the historic significance of this Act, let us briefly list the provisions of the Act before discussing provisions on casteist speech. The Act makes an inventory of repugnant practices and enforceable rights: forcing members of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance; dumping excrement, waste matter, carcasses or any other obnoxious substance in their premises or neighbourhood with an intention to cause injury, insult or annoyance; forcibly removing their clothes and parading them naked or with painted face or body; wrongfully occupying their land and interfering with their rights; compelling members of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe into forced or bonded labour; corrupting or fouling the water of any spring, reservoir or any other source ordinarily used by members of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe; denying them access to a place of public resort; using force or assault to dishonour a SC/ST woman’s modesty; being in a position of power to sexually exploit a SC/ST woman; implicating members of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe in false criminal cases or fabricating false evidence against them; and insulting or intimidating them with a view to humiliate them in public. In addition to these provisions, the recent amendments to the Act in 2015 add more provisions to the list of atrocities: garlanding with footwear; parading naked or semi-naked; removing clothes; tonsuring of head; removing moustaches; painting face or body; abusing by caste name in any public place; compelling to dispose or carry human or animal carcasses; compelling to dig graves; forcing to do manual scavenging; disrespecting any late persons held in high esteem by SCs and STs; dedicating SC/ST women as a Devadasi to a religious institution or similar practices; using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature towards SC/ST women; attempting to promote feelings of enmity and hatred against SCs and STs and so on. The SC/ST Act recognises the Dalit aspiration to be treated as a human person as well as a citizen. It declares the will of the state to protect the respect due to a human person and also guarantee the citizen’s rights to resources, public spaces and institutions. It carefully makes a catalogue of violations of human dignity, which includes practices of segregation and isolation, degrading customs and acts of discrimination. It clearly presumes human status of the victims and adopts a new standard of conduct: human dignity. At one level, the Act is a law to prevent atrocities but at another level, it is about imagining a new human person who has a will, rationality and dignity and is also entitled to enjoy rights as a citizen. It is significant to note that the SCs and STs are named as victims of caste and other forms of social domination. The use of terms such as “forcing”, “compelling”, “denying”,

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“fabricating”, “wrongfully occupying” and “intentionally humiliating” imply that the dominant caste groups are the perpetrators of violence and the SCs and STs are the victims. The text of the Act and its subject position is informed by a contemporary Dalit point of view shaped by their struggle against mass killings of Dalits. I take up one of the significant aspects of the Act: provisions relating to speech acts, humiliating practices and disfiguring of cultural symbols. The text of the SC/ST Act does not distinguish between casteist speech (insults and verbal abuses in the name of caste) and physical violence. The Act declared casteist speech illegal and punishable. It included provisions dealing with public humiliation of SCs and STs: name calling and caste slur; using words, acts or gestures of a sexual nature and spreading feelings of hatred and enmity against the SCs and STs. It also banned acts of symbolic violence such as desecrating statues and memorials representing eminent persons or historical events. It is difficult to draw a line between casteist speech and physical violence in the case of caste conflicts. According to the caste order, low and high status of the caste groups, the graded segregation of the castes in the villages, the stigmatisation of Dalit castes as untouchables and the ritual and customary life are well defined and known to all sections of people in the villages and other locations. Any violation of caste norms by the Dalits and other subordinated castes is not tolerated by the dominant caste groups. In other words, any demand for equal treatment, dignity and respect is considered a violation of caste code and affront to the caste authority. It is this everyday caste context that makes casteist language – name calling, insults, caste slur, social boycott, segregation and isolation – “normal” and “natural”. The moment the victims of the caste society disobey, refuse or challenge caste norms, the dominant caste resorts to physical attacks and mass killings. The Karamchedu (1985) and Chunduru (1991) massacres began as verbal altercations between individual Dalits and individual members of the dominant castes (Srinivasulu 2002). In both cases, the oral exchange between the Dalits and the dominant castes ended up as a violent physical conflict. Therefore, it is wrong to isolate casteist speech and other forms of non-physical violence from physical violence in the caste context. So far, I have argued that the acts of casteist speech are inseparable from incidents of caste violence. Next, I cite cases booked under section 3(1) x and other sections dealing with casteist speech. Section 3(1) x has been invoked to criminalise many acts of public humiliation, discrimination and violent attacks, including some instances of offensive speech. Repugnant acts such as forcing SC/ST persons to drink urine and eat human excreta, garlanding them with footwear, parading them naked or semi-naked, removing their clothes, tonsuring heads, removing moustaches, painting face or body and abusing them by caste names in the public spaces clearly attract the provision of 3(1) (x).10 HRW’s recommendation to amend 3(1) (x) of the Act ignores the context of caste relations and caste power. It has not backed its claim by any study that examined how this provision has been used and how it has been effective or not to contain crimes of public humiliation. Let us revisit the case of sociologist Ashis Nandy and the recent atrocity of Dalit flogging in Una, a town in Gujarat, as two widely publicised cases booked under 3(1) x.

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PEN International and HRW describe Ashis Nandy’s derogatory comment that the OBC, SC and ST people are “the most corrupt” as free speech (Outlook 2013). They cite ICCPR’s Article 20(2) to defend Nandy’s right to speak. Dalit commentators, however, criticised Nandy’s generalisation of SC, ST and OBC castes as “most corrupt” as an instance of casteist speech.11 Nandy and his defenders rejected charges of stereotyping of the disadvantaged social groups and turned the same argument on its head. They described Dalit critics as “easily offended”, “intolerant” and “undemocratic”. Charging Dalit critics with authoritarianism and censorship of free speech, Nandy is presented as a victim who was deprived of his right to free expression. The irony is that in the name of freedom of expression, liberal and right-wing intellectuals have come together to ridicule Dalit critics for their lack of reason and humour. Seeking legal remedy under the SC/ST Act was considered an instance of authoritarian suppression of free speech. Dalit activists were advised to have a dialogue with Nandy. The dispute is between Dalit activists and Nandy, with no direct involvement of the state. But the Dalit activists are equated with the state and attributed powers of censorship. In this liberal discourse of free speech (hurt sentiments, hatred, enmity etc.), the caste context, the role of caste identities, the power relations between caste groups and class distinctions are obscured. The fact that the Indian Constitution provides for “reasonable restrictions” of free speech and the SC/ST Act is enacted based on the same constitutional provisions is completely set aside in this debate (Poduval 2013).12 Human rights lawyer Colin Gonsalves responded to HRW’s recommendation to amend section 3(1) x and other clauses, saying: “This is a very profound proDalit provision precisely because it takes cognisance of the close link between caste insults and violence. . . . The Ashis Nandy case may or may not fall within the purview of this provision, but you cannot make a case for revising a law based on one case involving a celebrity.This is a very shallow analysis by HRW, and I am surprised by it” (quoted in Sampath 2016). Other commentators observed that the global norm of free speech does not take cognisance of the caste realities in India and, therefore, India can frame its own laws to ban casteist speech or harmful speech. It was further pointed out that the SC/ST Act is constitutionally sound, and there are courts to check misuse of any law (Sampath 2016). In fact, Nandy was granted a pre-arrest bail by the Supreme Court, and his rights are protected. The 2016 case of Dalit flogging in the town of Una in Gujarat attracted wide attention (Teltumbde 2016). Criminal cases were booked under several sections of the SC/ST Act, 2015, including 3(1) r (it was 3(1) x under the old Act of 1989). At around 10 am on July 11, 2016, four members of a Dalit family were allegedly beaten by a group of gau rakshaks for skinning dead cows in a village near Una. A group of 25 to 30 youth belonging to the dominant Savarna castes came on bikes and started abusing the Dalit youth with caste-based derogatory words and then started beating up the four Dalit youths with sticks and rods. The youths were forcibly taken to the nearby Una town. After tying them to the backside of a car, the attackers removed their shirts and hit them with sticks and iron pipes in the public place. Then, they took the four victims from the Una bus stand to the Una police station.The attackers

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videotaped the entire incident and posted it on social media. The police registered a case under various sections of IPC, including 3(2) (v) of SC/ST Act, 2015. Crimes booked under section 3(2) (v) and IPC are punishable by imprisonment for ten years or more.When there were demands for a special probe by Crime Investigation Department (CID), the case was reinvestigated and another charge sheet was filed. The CID booked cases under IPC as well as sections 3(1) (e), (r), (s), (u), 3(2) (5a) and 3(1) (d) of the SC/ST Act, 2015 (Merinews 2016). The attackers in this case were charged for parading the Dalit youth naked or semi-naked, removing clothes, abusing in the name of caste, abusive speech, promoting feelings of ill-will or hatred and also intentional humiliation. The separation of casteist speech from physical violence is difficult to make in this case.Violation of human dignity, public humiliation, verbal abuse and physical violence are all combined in this ghastly attack. The case of Dalit flogging is an example of a new form of violence by lynch mobs after the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government came to power in the Central Government. In the name of cow protection, vigilante groups unleashed hatred against Muslims and other minorities, and indulged in physical attacks and mob murders.13 The Una incident was presented as a case of cow protection and the Dalit victims as Muslims. Casteism in India takes the form of mob violence and reveals the majoritarian character of the Hindutva political forces and the Indian state. The political consolidation of majoritarian ideology assumes a violent form and translates into communal hatred, physical attacks and lynchings in contemporary India. The dominant caste groups such as the Rajputs mask their casteist attacks under “cow protection” and try to contain the moral outrage of the society against Dalit killings. Interestingly, the Una case produced unexpected results and strengthened the unity of Dalits and other minorities. The Una victims challenged the caste society by giving up traditional occupations of removing cow carcasses. They asserted human dignity and regained the moral stature of a dignified community. The amended SC/ST Act, 2015, added several new sections, which include new forms of violence against the SCs/STs. It is widely known that Ambedkar statues, photos and portraits are routinely damaged or defiled so as to humiliate the SC community and to incite violence. Statues of Ambedkar and other Dalit statues or symbols have been disfigured, damaged and desecrated by garlanding with chappals. The defilement of an Ambedkar statue and the consequent Dalit killings in the Ramabai Ambedkar colony in 1997 is one such example (Narula 1999). On July 11, 1997, residents of a Dalit colony in Bombay found their Ambedkar statue garlanded with sandals. Shocked by this disrespect and denigration of Ambedkar, Dalits complained to the police and began gathering on the Eastern Express highway in front of the colony. As the protesters blocked the highway, members of the Special Reserve Police Force (SRPF) led by Sub-Inspector M.Y. Kadam arrived and opened fire on the people walking on the road in front of the colony and also on people in the small lanes inside the colony. They killed ten and injured 26 Dalits in an unprovoked and caste-motivated firing. This ghastly incident is not an isolated one as desecration of Ambedkar statues is a daily affair in India.These attacks are aimed at humiliating the

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Dalit community as a group and their sense of shared dignity. Several incidents of disfiguration or desecration of Ambedkar statues led to violent protests, destruction of public property and killings of Dalits. It was observed in a fact-finding report on the Ramabai Nagar killings:“To anyone who knows the symbolic importance of the Dr. Ambedkar statue for Dalit identity and the deep and ingrained relation the Dalits have with Dr. Ambedkar’s ideology, to the role he and his leadership played in giving them self confidence and a place in human society – its socioeconomic political arena – the reaction (emotional) can be easily understood, justified, and rationalized” (quoted in Narula 1999, 128).14 These acts of vandalism created a sense of alienation and frustration among the marginalised Dalits and are suggestive of the rejection of human status and equality to the Dalits.These acts of disfiguring symbols and physical violence are part of the structural violence against the disadvantaged Dalits. The question of respect and recognition are closely connected to the socioeconomic status and political power of the Dalits in India.15 In another case, Krishna Madiga, a Dalit leader and founder of Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MRPS), led a protest (2008) against Andhrajyothy, a widely circulated Telugu daily in Hyderabad (The Times of India 2008). As a leader and citizen, Madiga was said to have been insulted and humiliated after reading a frontpage article in Andhrajyothy, describing the SC, ST and BC leaders as “parasites” and “puppets” in the hands of political parties. Without naming any leader, the article castigates the leader of the weaker sections for playing into the hands of the ruling political party. Andhrajothy defended itself by saying that the article was written to save the weaker sections from the treacherous moves of the political parties and their own leaders. The readers could easily make out that the article is aimed at some individual Dalit and Bahujan leaders. In June 2008, Krishna Madiga and his followers attacked Andhrajyothy’s offices in Hyderabad and other places in Andhra Pradesh, and burned furniture and copies of the newspaper. This attack was widely discussed as an attempt to curb freedom of the press. In response to the attack, the staff of Andhrajyothy and its reporters participated in a protest rally and burned Krishna Madiga in effigy. The effigy, it was said, was beaten up with chappals and burnt on the public road. Madiga filed a case under 3(10) x of the SC/ST Act, 1989. The editor of the newspaper and two reporters were arrested and sent to jail. There was a hue and cry about the misuse of the Act when someone is booked for humiliating an effigy in public. This attack was widely discussed as an attempt to curb freedom of the press. It is ironic that the key issue of the debate was press freedom but not the violence of the printed word and violation of dignity and moral debasement of a Dalit leader and the community. I have focused on cases that involved casteist speech and physical violence. The cases are filed under the SC/ST Act sections on casteist speech, but these acts are viewed as instances of symbolic and psychological violence and not accepted as caste violence in the public debates. The Act itself was criticised and the perpetrators of this violence represent themselves as victims of unruly mobs and their intolerance. This debate is at the stage of registering cases, but these cases will not survive prosecution and conviction.

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In lieu of a conclusion The SC/ST Act is significant in many ways. It criminalised casteist speech and treated physical and non-physical forms of violence together as offences (Chakma 2015, 31–35). By filing cases under the SC/ST Act, Dalit activists and people have started a public debate on non-physical forms of violence as caste violence. This debate will empower the SCs and STs to intensify their battle for human dignity and worth. Given the structure of power relations, the upper-caste control of the institutions of the police and the judiciary, the conviction rate in the SC/ST atrocity cases may continue to remain low. The discourse of freedom of expression is put into the service of the dominant caste groups to obscure caste context and the play of caste power: The SC/ST victims are turned into intolerant mobs, violent groups and publicity mongers. They are as powerful as the state, and they impose censorship, create caste clashes and are undemocratic. There may be some exceptions to this general discursive logic of the upper castes facing charges under the SC/ST Act. The upper castes appear as innocents and victims of misuse of law. The arguments of misuse of the Act are in fact a cover to deny the role of caste in the psychological and moral violence against Dalits. This discursive logic reinforces the sub-human status of the SCs/STs and disqualifies them for liberal citizenship. In a recent Supreme Court ruling, the argument of misuse was cited to dilute special provisions of the SC/ST Act (Sampath 2018). Under the pretext of the misuse of the Act, the figure of the citizen is invoked as the normative subject of law. Some of the special provisions of the Act were diluted to protect the rights of “innocent non-SC citizens”.The Indian Constitution recognises “reasonable restrictions” to free speech and special provisions to the minority speech. The SC/ST Act was enacted to address inequalities created by the normative citizen figure, and the route to citizenship to Dalits is through recognition of caste identity and caste violence – physical and non-physical. The SC/ST Act is historic in this context.

Acknowledgements Earlier drafts of this paper were presented at IIT, Delhi, in 2016 and NIAS, Bangalore, in 2019. I thank Simona Sawhney for her feedback and critical comments. I have benefitted from discussions with my colleagues Satish Poduval, Madhava Prasad, Uma and Parthasarathy in the course of writing this paper. Editors Pavan Kumar Malreddy, Anindya Sekhar Purkayastha and Birte Heidemann have commented on this chapter and helped revise it. However, I am responsible for any errors.

Notes 1 A petition submitted to Prof. Sukhadeo Thorat, Chairperson, NCERT Textbooks Review Committee, by Dalit and non-Dalit writers, scholars and activists. 2 The original SC/ST Act was passed by the Parliament in 1989. The HRW report refers to sections in the SC/ST Act, 1989 and also proposed amendments to the Act in 2015.

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Currently, the amended Act in 2015 is the law in force. I have tried to clarify this point in my essay. 3 This clause is 3(1) x in the SC/ST Act, 1989. 4 The SC/ST Act was amended and is now called the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015. 5 These laws are rarely used to contain caste conflicts and violence. 6 The first amendment to the Indian Constitution in 1951 strengthened state regulation over freedom of speech by adding Article 19 (2) which states: “Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause 1 shall affect the operation of any existing law insofar as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the sub clause in the interests of the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency, or morality or in relation to contempt of court, defamation, or incitement to an offence”. 7 Ambedkar makes this observation in his historic speech addressed to the gathering at Mahad in 1927. 8 The Indian Parliament enacted the Untouchability Offences Act in 1955 which was amended in 1976 and renamed the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act. 9 The Act clearly mentions the perpetrators of violence: “Whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe” and refers to the victim as “a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe”. 10 It is reported that the police routinely apply section 3(1) x to a number of crimes such as mob attacks, sexual assaults against SC/ST women, barring from temple entry, killings of SC/STs, destruction of property and denial of access to public spaces. Dalit activists and NGOs observed that the provision 3(1) (x) is widely used because the punishment under this provision is only six months of imprisonment. 11 For a critical review of the Nandy controversy and the debate, see Satyanarayana (2013). 12 Satish Poduval makes this point in his YouTube video titled, “Freedom of Speech vs. Deepening Democracy”. 13 Mohammed Akhlaq was lynched in Dadri (2015) for allegedly possessing beef, Mustain Abbas was murdered in Haryana (2016) while transporting newly purchased bullocks and two Muslim cattle traders and a 12-year-old boy were hanged from a tree in Jharkhand. For a report on these lynchings, see Imam (2018). 14 Cited in a report by the National Alliance of People’s Movements titled, “A Report and Statement of Facts on the Incidents of Atrocity against Dalits in Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Mumbai (Bombay), on July 11, 1997”. 15 The upper castes objected to the signboard that says “The Great Chamar, village Gharkoli, Welcomes you”. This incident in March 2016 in West Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district led to the spread of the Bhim Army.

Works cited Ambedkar, B.R. 1997. “Dr. Ambedkar as India’s First Law Minister and Member of Opposition in Indian Parliament (1947 to 1956).” In Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches. Vol. 5, 370–71. Mumbai: Government of Maharashtra. Butler, Judith. 1996. “Burning Acts: Injurious Speech.” The University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 3 (1): 199–221. Chakma, Nalori Dhammei. 2015. Equity Watch 2015: Access to Justice for Dalits in India. New Delhi: Swadhikar – National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. (accessed 13 December 2018). Dangle, Arjun, ed. 1992. Poisoned Bread. Hyderabad: Orient Longman. Delgado, Richard. 1993. “Words That Wound: A Tort Action for Racial Insults, Epithets, and Name Calling.” In Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech and the First Amendment, edited

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by Mari J. Matsuda, Charles R. Lawrence III, Richard Delgado, and Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, 89–110. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Human Rights Watch. 2016. “Stifling Dissent:The Criminalization of Peaceful Expression in India.” (accessed 3 September 2018). criminalization-peaceful-expression-india. Imam, Sharjeel. 2018. “Are Cow-Related Hate Crimes against Muslims Only a ‘New India’ Phenomenon?” The Wire, August 22, 2018. cow-lynching-muslim-internet-state-sanction. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 1976 [1966]. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (accessed 13 December 2018). www.ohchr. org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx. Liang, Lawrence. 2004. “Reasonable Restrictions and Unreasonable Speech.” Sarai Reader 04: Crisis/Media: 434–40. (accessed 12 December 2018). original/e8cc962416f0a1f2da6bc009347fa387.pdf. Marx, Karl. 2008 [1844].“On the Jewish Question.” Marxists Internet Archive (accessed 10 December 2018). Merinews. 2016. “Police Distorted Facts in Una Dalit Flogging Case: CID.” March 5, 2016. Narrain, Siddharth. 2016. “Hate Speech, Hurt Sentiment, and the (Im)Possibility of Free Speech.” Economic & Political Weekly II(1): 119–26. Narula, Smita. 1999. “The Ramabai Killings.” In Broken People: Caste Violence against India’s Untouchables, 127–38. New York; Washington, DC; London; Brussels: Human Rights Watch. Poduval, Satish. 2013. “Dr. Satish Poduval on Freedom of Speech vs. Deepening Of Democracy.” Dalit Camera, July 1, 2013. Sampath, G. 2016. “SC/ST Act Curbs Free Speech: HRW.” The Hindu, (accessed 4 September 2016). Sampath, G. 2018. “A Pattern of Impunity: On the SC/ST Act.” The Hindu, May 4, 2018. Satyanarayana, K. 2013. “The Question Casteism Still Remains.” The Hindu, February 5, 2013. cle4379305.ece. Srinivasulu, K. 2002. “Caste, Class and Social Articulation in Andhra Pradesh: Mapping Differential Regional Trajectories.” Overseas Development Institute, September 1, 2002. www. Teltumbde, Anand. 2016. “Dalit Protest in Gujarat.” Economic & Political Weekly, August 6, 2016. The Hindu. 2012. “Humour Is by No Means Exempt from Prejudice.” The Hindu, June 8, 2012. udice/article3501903.ece. The Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Act. 1955. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. (accessed 18 December 2018. The%20Protection%20of%20Civil%20Rights635748995396817343.pdf. The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Atrocities Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. (accessed 5 November 2018). http://ncsk.

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The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Atrocities Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2015. The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. (accessed 12 November 2018). http://ncsk. The Times of India. 2008. “Andhrajyothy Editor Held.” June 25, 2008. https://timesofindia. Outlook. 2013. “What Ashis Nandy Actually Said at JLF.” January 30, 2013. www.outlookin


Introduction: the subjective experience of terror Dinesh trudged towards a section of the coastline that was enclosed by a circle of these hills, forming a kind of private, isolated beach. . . . The sand wasn’t fully wet but moist enough still to form clumps, and kneeling down he began to dig a small pit in the sand. . . . Not far away, in the camp and scattered beyond were hundreds of rotting bodies, their parts strewn across the ground . . . but in spite of this freely spilling blood and flesh it was still important, Dinesh felt, that his excreta be properly disposed of. (Arudpragasam 2016, 24)

In Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage (2016), a visceral narrative of the last phase of Sri Lanka’s bloody 30-year conflict, its young male protagonist Dinesh makes a ritual out of a mundane bodily function – relieving himself. Amidst the carnage that surrounds him, this ordinary daily physical act achieves a disproportionate significance. Dinesh seeks a secluded beach for privacy and risks his life, in a deadly war zone, to relieve himself. This marks one instance in a story that continuously invests the mundane with extraordinary significance. Arudpragasam’s narrative strategy is compelling. In a post-war scenario where violence and the effects of violence have become normalised, this desperate individual search for a sense of the ordinary – in contrast to mass suffering and statistics of war casualties – dramatises violence and its implications. The narrative is also a literally embodied one – with Dinesh’s body becoming the site on which violence is humanised and rendered palpable. The Story of a Brief Marriage is one of a number of compelling fictional, semifictional and documentary narratives in English that have emerged in the aftermath of the 2009 military conclusion to Sri Lanka’s civil war. Collectively these

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narratives explore the human cost of the conflict and, in numerous ways, they contribute to the “humanizing” of the scale and suffering, which is often rendered in terms of impersonal official statistics. In a sharply divided society where much of the Sinhala majority community refuses to recognise or chooses to ignore the suffering experienced by the Tamil community – what Judith Butler has called “frames of recognition” or how some forms of suffering are rendered more legitimate than others – these narratives have a number of implications. They bear witness and testimony in a war that has been described as a “war without witnesses” (Amnesty International 2009). They have become part of a complex discourse of human rights violations and transitional justice which is intertwined with Sinhala and Tamil nationalism, and the international human rights discourse. Therefore, while these narratives are primarily testimonies of human suffering under inhuman conditions, they are also part of a larger fabric of the politics of representation. The representational burden carried by these narratives is not confined to their humanistic narrativisation of violence and suffering but marked by a larger politics where they both reinforce and disrupt tropes of violence and suffering that have a long colonial genealogy, extending well into what Achille Mbembe (1992) calls the “postcolony”. I argue that these narratives intervene in a dual burden of representation of violence and terror. At one level, these narratives critique the excesses of nationalist violence and the oppressive structures of the state but at the same time, they also become part of a larger discourse about violence and “Third World” societies. This chapter explores three texts produced in the immediate aftermath of 2009: Anuk Arudpragasam’s The Story of a Brief Marriage (2016); Rohini Mohan’s The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War (2015); and Ajith Boyagoda’s A Long Watch: War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka (2016). The three narratives were selected because they represent three very different genres of writing and points of view about the conflict. The Story of a Brief Marriage is a fictional account of the last bloody phase of the conflict in 2009 when thousands of Tamil civilians were cornered on a sliver of land bordered by the Nandikadal Lagoon on one side and the sea on the other. Some had voluntarily moved to this location as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), the militant group fighting for a separate Tamil state, retreated from the advancing Sri Lankan state forces, while a large number were coerced into moving. The Tigers forcibly held this population as a human shield, while the Sri Lankan forces officially declared the area a “nofire” zone though it was shelled regularly, resulting in heavy civilian casualties. The book won the DSC Prize for South Asian literature in 2017, received much critical attention and became part of the larger narrative of war-crimes allegations and the need for accountability and justice in post-war Sri Lanka. Though a fictional narrative, it participates in a genre of conventional representations of war and violence that “bear testimony”. As Mary Louise Pratt (1988) has argued, such narrative conventions can serve to naturalise ideological perspectives and in this case erases or subdues the distinction between “fact” and “fiction”. This is true to different extents in all three narratives.

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The Seasons of Trouble by Indian journalist Rohini Mohan is based on victim accounts and is classified as journalism. It was published to much critical acclaim and won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize in India. Documenting stories of three victims, the narrative provides significant social and political commentary about the conflict. The third narrative explored in this chapter is A Long Watch – the story of Commodore Ajith Boyagoda, the most high-ranking Sinhala military officer held in captivity by the LTTE. A Long Watch covers a period ranging from Boyagoda’s captivity from 1994 to 2002 to the post-war time. In both subject matter and the time period covered, therefore, A Long Watch is different than the other two narratives. It is the perspective of a Sinhala military officer as opposed to Tamil combatants or civilians, and it covers a period long before the conflict escalated to the level witnessed in 2009.

From democratic icon to postcolonial trouble hot spot: Sri Lanka in historical and sociological narratives In British colonial narratives, Sri Lanka is usually seen in terms of a society to which traditions of democracy and civility were bequeathed by the West. Historian John Rogers (1990) traces this in terms of a three-stage model used in colonial history writing. Within this model, pre-colonial Sri Lanka is seen as having attained high civilisational status during the time of the kingdoms of Anuradhapura and Pollannaruwa from about 4 BC to about AD 11. Thereafter, the country experienced something similar to the dark Middle Ages of European history, and the arrival of European colonisers in the sixteenth century marks a turn in this narrative, with British colonial occupation in the nineteenth century signaling the entry of modernity. The Eurocentric progressivism inherent in this narrative has had a pervasive influence on Sri Lankan historiography. Of particular significance was the establishment of modern governmentality on the island. G.C. Mendis, a historian from the 1960s, describes the Colebrooke-Cameron constitutional reforms of 1833 under British rule in the following manner: the river of life in Ceylon was practically stagnant. . . . He [Colebrooke] searched for the causes that obstructed this flow, and came to the conclusion that it was not British rule but the continuity of the ancient system. Therefore, he made recommendations to liberate Ceylon from the burden of its past heritage. (Mendis 1967 [1957], 139) Such views were widely prevalent among English-educated Sri Lankans, especially the political class that inherited power in the aftermath of colonialism (Rambukwella 2017). These views were, however, not limited to Anglicised elements of Sri Lankan society but circulated among vernacular educated intelligentsia as well because of the influence of education and mechanisms of colonial knowledge production and their appropriation by locals. While some sought to interrupt the

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Eurocentricism of the colonial narrative by substituting nationalist awakening as the culmination of this historical trajectory, the essential premises of the argument remained the same (Rambukwella 2018). In the immediate aftermath of independence in 1948, Sri Lanka featured prominently in First-World commentary as a model of successful, peaceful transition from colonial rule to democratic governance (Wickremasinghe 2006, 332). The country’s economic indicators were good, most governments followed a social welfare policy and most of the governing class were western-educated and seen as inheritors of western codes of civility and conduct. For instance, one of Sri Lanka’s most controversial post-independence politicians, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, was admired for his eloquence in English and for his liberal ideals, though he was instrumental in providing leadership to an anti-minority Sinhala nationalist discourse which led to Sinhala being made the sole official language of the country in 1956 – a move that is widely attributed to having led to political and social disenfranchisement of the Tamil community and marked the beginning of institutionalised majoritarian Sinhala nationalism in the country (Manor 1989; De Votta 2004; Wilson 1994). The duality of Bandaranaike’s political persona represents a larger colonial discourse about “communalism” in the country. It relates to what Mendis, the historian quoted earlier, and many other commentators see as a kind of incipient modernisation of the polity. Referring to the Colebrooke reforms, Mendis further observes that “the river of life on the whole moved mainly on the surface. The changes that resulted did not penetrate deeper than the English-educated middle class who alone adopted new ideas” (1967 [1957], 140). However, “communalism” can also be seen as a discourse that was the result of British governmentality. Much of British political intervention in the form of constitutional reform on the island was marked by tension between instituting and erasing what it saw as communal difference. As in other parts of the colonial world, institutional mechanisms such as the census were used to gather information and classify the Sri Lankan population into governable and manageable units. Scholars have described this as the “generation of communal identities” (Nissan and Stirrat 1990) – a process whereby the identities of the census gain legal, political and social meaning for the people who are governed because various rights and entitlements begin to inhere to these identities.

Postcolonial trouble hot spot In 1958, two years after Bandaranaike was elected to power, Sri Lanka witnessed its first “racial riots” – partly because of the enactment of the controversial language policy of making Sinhala the sole official language and Bandaranaike’s subsequent attempt at corrective action by attempting to share power with the Tamil minority through a federal structure (Vittachi 1958). From this point onwards, the story of a peaceful transition from colonial rule to democratic polity began to crumble. Economically the country was unable to deliver on the promise of decolonisation and there was widespread dissatisfaction, particularly among the rural educated youth both in the south of the island, where most of the Sinhala majority lived, and in

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the north, which was mostly inhabited by the Tamil community. In 1972, Sri Lanka experienced a Maoist-style Sinhala youth insurrection in the south. The left-ofcentre government of the time bloodily suppressed the insurrection using extrajudicial violence. While terror was not a term associated with either 1958 or 1972, both incidents marked how the postcolonial state utilised violence to maintain its legitimacy. This is in essence Achille Mbembe’s (1992) notion of the “postcolony” wherein structures of power and politics of inclusion and exclusion are extended from the colonial to the postcolonial state. However, both these moments of terror did not necessarily mark Sri Lanka as a trouble hot spot in international discourse. It is with the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983 that Sri Lanka becomes part of an international discourse on terror and violence. Both in popular discourse as well as academic scholarship, ethno-nationalist conflict and its attendant violence become the dominant frame through which Sri Lanka is understood post-1983; a frame that persists almost 25 years on as evidenced by the discourses that emerged in the aftermath of the 2009 conclusion to the war. Prominent Sri Lankan Marxist scholar Newton Gunasinghe (1996) remarked in the immediate aftermath of the 1983 violence that ethnicity and by extension ethno-nationalism will come to frame Sri Lankan scholarship. This was a prescient observation because just as violence is a category that has increasingly come to mark Sri Lanka in scholarly and popular discourse, so has nationalism become a kind of convenient shorthand to describe Sri Lanka’s social and political reality. In fact, one could argue that nationalism, violence and terror are seen as allied categories. Nationalism in the “Third World” is seen as endemically violent, and violence in turn is seen as begetting a twisted form of nationalism. Much Sri Lankanist scholarship produced in the aftermath of 1983 took nation and nationalism as natural categories through which to understand the country. While all of this scholarship cannot be lumped together, a distinct methodological and conceptual orientation of looking at the country as a troubled nation-state can be seen. Much of this scholarship was sensitive to how ethno-nationalist conflict and identities were the product of contingent historical circumstances rather than hoary enmities among people. However, nation and nationalism were categories that came to “naturally” define much of this scholarship (Rambukwella 2018). Within this framework, the nuances of careful scholarship were often lost in overarching narratives about endemic nationalist violence in the Third World.

The Story of a Brief Marriage: the affective dimension of conflict Arudpragasam’s narrative is fictional and therefore the “truth” it represents is more affective than factual, whereas narratives like the following, which document human rights abuses in Sri Lanka during the last phases of the war and its aftermath, make a different kind of truth claim: Sri Lanka’s brutal 26-year civil war between the government forces and separatists from the Tamil minority ended with a government victory in

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May 2009. During the war, both sides committed gross human rights abuses, including war crimes, for which no one has been held accountable. (Amnesty International n.d.) This is typical of the kind of language used by a range of international governmental and non-governmental agencies. As Alan Keenan (2007) has argued, there is a discourse of “evenhandedness” that shapes such statements – attempting to place the blame on both the state as well as the Tamil Tigers.The language is also guarded and sanitized, conveying a sense of factual objectivity. Such statements also exist on a continuum. Some are more direct in accusing the Sri Lankan state of committing genocide. For instance, The Sydney Morning Herald reviewing the book Sri Lanka’s Secrets by journalist Trevor Grant describes the last phase of the war as genocide: The Tamils of Sri Lanka continue to undergo a process of genocide, a fact frequently noted by Grant. At a full session of the Rome-based Permanent Peoples Tribunal held in Bremen, 7/10 December 2013, to consider evidence gained over three years found, “. . . that the State of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils”. (Haigh 2014) As a journalist, Grant’s claims aspire to a status of factual objectivity. However, as in any conflict – especially in Sri Lanka’s context which has been termed a “war without witnesses” – such statements are always contested by counter narratives. The Sri Lankan state and Sinhala groups in the diaspora have consistently resisted the characterisation of the last phase of the war as a deliberate and targeted attack on Tamil civilians.The state’s favoured narrative is that of a “just war” fought against a ruthless and brutal terrorist group. It is in this context that The Story of a Brief Marriage and the affective dimension that it brings to the representation of the conflict can be positioned. Arudpragasam’s narrative and its reception is informed and shaped by the larger discourse of war, genocide and its denial. An interview with Arudpragasam in The Pacific Standard begins by invoking a contradiction between Sri Lanka’s idyllic image and the reality of its conflict-ridden history: Sri Lanka is easy to pinpoint on a map – it hangs like a teardrop off the subcontinent of India – but its recent history is far more difficult to describe. The Sri Lankan Civil War stretched from 1983 to 2009, splitting the island between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers. By the war’s end, approximately 100,000 civilians had died. (Zuckerman 2016) This is the opening paragraph of the interview, and it is placed immediately below a picture of the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy in central Sri Lanka, which is considered the most holy site for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The picture is tranquil and aesthetically pleasing because the Temple is fronted by the Kandy Lake.The cumulative

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effect of the text and the picture therefore heightens the incongruity of the context and also relates to an Orientalist trope that has figured in many discussions of Sri Lanka’s modern political history – the contradiction between its “pacifist” Buddhist heritage and history of violent political conflict. The Story of a Brief Marriage, therefore, enters into a ready-made frame of reference about the Sri Lankan conflict and especially the concluding period of the war in 2009. What the novel does very effectively is to humanise the conflict. It provides little or no contextual information or historical or sociological commentary about the conflict. Instead, it focuses intensely and viscerally on a single day and night in the life of a young man, Dinesh, caught up in the war. The premise of the story itself captures the tragic consequences of war. An old man proposes his daughter, Ganga, to Dinesh in a desperate bid to ensure her survival. The “marriage” is rendered surreal by the circumstances in which it takes place. Dinesh and Ganga briefly experience the intimacy of marriage amidst the constant shelling and threat to life in the war zone until Ganga’s death from shelling. The violence of conflict is literally embodied in the narrative. There are a number of sequences in the novel where both bodily deprivation and suffering as a result of injury are described with visceral intensity: Most children have two whole legs and two whole arms but this little sixyear-old that Dinesh was carrying had already lost one leg, the right side from the lower thigh down, and was now about to lose his right arm. Shrapnel had dissolved his hand and forearm into a soft, formless mass, spilling to the ground from some parts, congealed in others, and charred everywhere else. (Arudpragasam 2016, 1) With this intense focus on the body and the elevation of the mundane to an extraordinary plane, the narrative provides a human dimension to the conflict that the more “factual” narratives about the conflict are unable to. However, it is here that the complicated and liminal position occupied by a fictional narrative like The Story of a Brief Marriage in the larger discourse about Sri Lanka’s conflict becomes apparent. As a number of reviews of the book note, it is a finely crafted story of human suffering in a time of conflict (Freeman 2016; Semple 2016). Arudpragasam himself observes the lack of historical or sociological depth was a conscious choice – the anonymity of the characters avoids their explicit politicisation (Holmberg 2016). Arudpragasam is also keenly aware that by writing in English, he is at a double remove from the conflict. In almost every interview he has given, he speaks of the elite privilege of his upbringing and how it shielded him from the conflict (Holmberg 2016). He is also critically conscious how easily a narrative like The Story of a Brief Marriage can be absorbed into Orientalist tropes about conflict in the non-western world. While Arudpragasam is self-conscious about the politics of representation, the critical reception of the book is undoubtedly shaped by a larger context where the Sri Lankan conflict, or a certain populist version of it, is well known internationally.

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Arudpragasam is able to anonymise his characters and write a book with little historical or sociological context precisely because of the internationalisation of the conflict. This is in a way the tragedy of representing conflict in a place like Sri Lanka in a language like English because it is almost impossible to escape the larger representational tropes that shape the reception of such war narratives.

The Seasons of Trouble: “factional” representation of conflict The Seasons of Trouble by Bangalore-based, critically acclaimed journalist Rohini Mohan occupies a different place to Arudpragasam’s novel in the discourse of terror. As one review introduces the book, “it helps fill the yawning information gap created by the Sri Lankan government in the final months of the 26-year-long civil war” (Moores 2014, 17). Written by a journalist, the truth it claims is factual. However, Mohan’s narrative is not a typical journalistic account but one which delves substantively into the lives of its three protagonists – Darva, a young Tamil man in the south of the country; his mother, who struggles for justice; and Mugil, who joins the Tigers as a child soldier. It is in Mohan’s ability to build comprehensive life stories about her three characters that elevates The Seasons of Trouble from a standard journalistic narrative to a genre-defying category which is informed by “fact” but also builds a richly detailed account of the lives of its protagonists. Mohan’s narrative deals with both the concluding phase of the war and its aftermath in a society in which minorities continue to face discrimination. Invoking Judith Butler’s notion of grievability, one may conclude that in the Sri Lankan post-war context only certain lives and deaths are acknowledged. This is partly the reason Sri Lanka’s post-war situation has been described as a “victor’s peace” (Höglund and Orjuela 2011). Since the conclusion of the war in 2009, the Sinhaladominated state’s initial narrative was that there were absolutely no human rights violations and that the state conducted a “clean” war against terror. Because of international pressure and changes in the domestic political context, there is now a reluctant admission that some “collateral” damage might have occurred. There is an official ban on commemorating the war dead in the north of the country, and this censorship is used to nurture a culture of impunity. As The Seasons of Trouble notes, “[t]he state . . . came down hard on former combatants and . . . did not invest time or money in rehabilitation and counselling in the detention camps. . . . Instead, it criminalized any recollection of the past” (Mohan 2015, 45). The dark irony of grievability here is that many Sinhala people feel that Sinhala suffering is equally unrecognised and rendered illegitimate in international human rights discourse because of the perception that the Tamil community are the legitimate victims given their minority status in the country. This irony is further compounded when one considers that Mohan’s text written in English and published outside Sri Lanka has little impact for the Tamil community living within Sri Lanka. Like Arudpragasam’s narrative, the impact of such writing about terror in Sri Lanka is mostly to an audience outside of Sri Lanka. They have little impact within the

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country where there is a triumphalist discourse of Sinhala glory accompanied by a onedimensional view of the Tamil Tigers as a terror group. In many of these narratives, the Sinhalese are the legitimate victims (Karunanayake and Waradas 2013). One exception was the Sinhala translation of ex-Tamil combatant and women’s wing leader Thamilini’s autobiography Thiyunu Asipatha Yata (Under the Razor-edged Sword) in 2016. However, even this text was received as the remorse of a “rehabilitated” ex-Tamil combatant by the Sinhala mainstream. However, unlike Arudpragasam’s narrative, the sociological and historical commentary in Mohan’s narrative is, arguably, effective in providing a more nuanced view of the conflict. For instance, in the case of Mugil, the child combatant, the narrative depicts how she is initially attracted to a kind of adventurous culture the Tigers fostered in the north, particularly for young women: The girls rode motorcycles and wore jeans; they could stand up to any man. . . . Mugil started to wave to the older girls when they passed by on bicycles or motorbikes; when the akkas waved back or smiled, it made her day. (Mohan 2015, 28) Rather than a flattened view of the north under Tamil Tiger administration, The Seasons of Trouble shows how the Tigers built an effective administration with its own social welfare structures. Tamil youth found hope and purpose in the movement. As seen through Mugil’s eyes, [t]he Tigers – alternatively called the Eelam Movement – became the biggest employers in the region, hiring people for their courts, cooperative societies, banks, vegetable farms, orchards and teak plantations, to work in publishing, filmmaking and engineering, to fish and drive. If you were a cadre, the movement took care of everything, from your underwear to your housing. . . . The movement leaders wanted a Tamil homeland in which no one would starve, beg or steal. (Mohan 2015, 25) This is one of many such instances in which the narrative gives sociological insights into the Tiger movement, its formation and operation. Rather than depicting the north under the LTTE as either a romantic utopia of radical struggle or a repressive terror-ridden landscape, The Seasons of Trouble provides insights into life in the north.This sociological and historical depth is an important corrective to the standard narratives about war and terror that largely frame the discussion about Sri Lanka. It is within this broader view of the north that the narrative places terror. Mugil’s story captures the transformation of a radical liberatory movement into one that is repressive of the very people it claims to represent. As the Sri Lankan state forces hem in the Tigers and recruitment becomes difficult, the tragedy of forced child conscription and its consequences become apparent: These children were being sent to face a real army when they could barely lift their guns. . . . It didn’t seem to fit the larger cause.Was this how the Tigers

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had been fighting in the last few months? Was this how they expected to win? With scared children? They were girls born into the war and its terrors, not its beginnings or causes. (Mohan 2015, 38–39) One of the more disturbing sequences in the narrative happens towards the end where Mugil is a helpless witness to the rape and murder of these child soldiers: She had been sent to guard the line with the girls for as long as possible. . . . Looking down, she wasn’t sure what she could do anymore. Below her, the carnage was over. Five naked girls, their bodies twisted in the last moments of struggle, lay still in the mud. (Mohan 2015, 39) The matter-of-fact rendition of this scene of extreme violence parallels the way in which The Story of a Brief Marriage documents the extreme suffering Dinesh experiences. However, framed by the book’s larger narrative canvass, this representation of violence has a contextualised quality that resists its absorption into an Orientalist narrative about a terror-ridden Third World. The Seasons of Trouble traverses a fine line between journalistic truth and the affective truth of fiction and in doing so is able to produce a narrative that captures both the sociological and historical sources informing the Sri Lankan context and the suffering it produced. It is not a bland “even-handed” narrative of the kind Keenan (2007) speaks of. It clearly chronicles the suffering of the Tamil community and the machinery of repression unleashed by a Sinhala majority state but does so while resisting a universalising discourse about violence and conflict.

A Long Watch: the politics of terror The main protagonist of A Long Watch, Commodore Ajith Boyagoda was an anomaly in the discourse about the war in the Sinhala south. A narrative that successive Sinhala governments in power built up around the war was the idealised image of the ranawiruwa, or war-hero. Initially the idea of the ranaviruwa was restricted to soldiers who performed extraordinary feats of bravery. However, as the war escalated and governments intensified their recruitment drives, all military men became defined as ranaviruwas (Kahandagama 2015). Particularly towards the concluding phase of the war in 2009, the Sinhala public discourse was saturated with the notion of all military men being war-heroes engaged in an ironically termed “humanitarian” operation to liberate ordinary Tamil people from the clutches of the Tigers. The military was eulogised and idealised in song, film, journalism and much of popular cultural production. Placed within this context, the story of Commodore Boyagoda is the antithesis of the standard war-hero. He was captured by the Tigers, treated well given his symbolic capital and when released spoke of his humane treatment during captivity – a narrative that the Sinhala collective consciousness in the south was not ready to

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hear. As Sunila Galappatti notes in an interview, when people got to know she was writing Boyagoda’s memoirs, a standard question was whether he suffered from Stockholm syndrome, which was quickly followed by questions about Boyagoda’s integrity and whether he was a traitor – doubts, Galappatti confesses, she struggled with as well (Galappatti 2017). Galappatti goes on to say that she chose the style of narration – a lean style of writing – mostly to allow Boyagoda’s voice to be heard with little mediation and imposition of her own judgement. Galappatti’s reflections speak to the complexities inherent in representing a complex figure like Boyagoda, who fails to fit the standard frames of terror and violence in a conflict situation. If one were to invoke Butler’s notion of grievability again, just as much as the Sinhala south was indifferent to Tamil suffering, a figure like Boyagoda would garner little sympathy. As Boyagoda notes: I was to have eight years alone to go over my actions and events of that night. I had repeated need of defending myself against the allegations of negligence at best or treachery at worst.You know the old saying of course – the captain never abandons the ship. The captain goes down with the ship. I had made a decision to abandon it. (69) What Boyagoda’s story demonstrates is that, while the global discourse on terror positions societies like Sri Lanka in a narrative of terror that has a deep colonial genealogy, within the nation-state there are equally homogenising narratives about terror. For the Sinhala south, Tamil militancy and figures like Boyagoda who are seen as sympathetic to the Tamil cause are part of a nationalist discourse on terror – a terror that poses an existential threat to the Sinhala nation. However, here again the medium of writing matters. As a book published in English and by an international publisher, the impact of Boyagoda’s story is largely outside of Sri Lanka. How can Boyagoda’s story be placed in relation to the other two narratives discussed in this chapter? Both the other stories deal with the lives of Tamils, the primary victims of the conflict and the group that historically suffered institutionalised violence within the Sinhala-majority Sri Lankan nation-state – though Muslims and other minority groups also faced persecution and suffering in post-independence Sri Lanka. Boyagoda’s story speaks only briefly and indirectly of Tamil suffering. He comments on the scorched-earth tactics of the army – commenting on the devastation in an island in the north Boyagoda says he saw “the mentality of a Sinhala army walking through a Tamil village. Whatever they saw, they destroyed” (45). However, from an international perspective, what A Long Watch does provide is cadence to standard and well-worn narratives about the conflict. At one level, it humanises the Tigers. While there was and is significant international sympathy for the Tamil cause as an oppressed minority, in the post-9/11 context, neither the Tamil Tigers nor their use of terror were seen positively. But Boyagoda’s account portrays the Tigers as an organisation that was compassionate towards its prisoners: “LTTE paramedics came to see us every day.Yes, every day, in every place we were

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held” (128). Individual Tigers are described as “gentle and soft-spoken” but at the same time, they could be “reputedly one of the best and most ruthless bomb experts the LTTE had” (170), like Newton, one of Boyagoda’s jailers. A Long Watch does not homogenise Sinhala society. In much of the fictional and non-fictional work about the Sri Lankan conflict, there is a sense of a hoary enmity between the Sinhala and Tamil communities. This is particularly apparent in narratives in which little space is given to sociological or historical commentary. For instance, as Suvendrini Perera (1999) has pointed out in Shyam Selvadurai’s Funny Boy, which visualises the conflict through the eyes of its young gay protagonist Arjie, Sinhala-Tamil enmity is seen in essentialised terms. A Long Watch, however, captures a much more dynamic view of Tamil-Sinhala relations. After Boyagoda’s release and the conclusion of war in 2009, he learns of the death of the wife of one of his captors, George Uncle. The affective bond between former captor and former inmate is rendered in the unassuming and understated style of the book but captures the nuances of how Sinhala and Tamil identities co-exist despite ethnonationalist conflict. “George Uncle’s eyes filled with tears and he called to his children. . . . He told his children who I was and how, even after being his prisoner, I had come to see him. I laughed and said, ‘This is the way in Sinhala culture – we don’t hold grudges’ ” (Boyagoda 2016, 221). A Long Watch fashions through the troubled conscience of its protagonist, Commodore Ajit Boyagoda, a complex narrative of the contradictory compulsions that shape the Sri Lankan ethno-nationalist conflict. Neither the Tamil nor the Sinhala communities are villains or heroes, and despite the war and terror, life continues and even thrives – even in captivity. But the narrative is not a liberal human exercise in proclaiming the “humanity” of all communities in Sri Lanka. Clearly a greater part of the moral burden of the conflict lays on the Sinhala-dominated state and by extension a Sinhala society either complicit or indifferent to the suffering of Tamils. But the narrative does not translate this into an Orientalist homogenising discourse of racialised ethnic conflict, informed by atavistic communal histories. Instead, it shows that conflict, and moments that overcome such conflictual histories, lie in the everyday and the mundane.

Conclusion: the paradoxes of representing conflict and terror Representing conflict and terror in a charged context like Sri Lanka is informed by a number of contending and competing discourses. At one level is a wellestablished narrative with colonial antecedents about ethno-nationalism in the non-western world and its violent outcomes and expressions. From the partition violence of India, which folds the Indian decolonising struggle into a story of the inevitable descent of independent India into ethno-religious conflict, to the Sri Lankan narrative of a peaceful transition to independent democratic rule which nevertheless falters as the country slides into ethno-nationalist violence, one can discern the long shadows of Orientalist representational tropes which see the

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non-West as endemically violent. But beyond this Orientalist frame is also the repressive and coercive presence of the state. In the Sri Lankan context, the terror of the Tamil Tigers is always framed by the terror of the state, and the three narratives discussed in this chapter, with different orientations, question and critique the terror deployed by a majoritarian state while also questioning the terror inflicted by a militant group that claims to represent the interests of a persecuted minority. Written in English and published by and large for an international audience, these narratives participate in but also disrupt standard frames of terror in the non-West. In a conflict as internationalised as Sri Lanka’s, all three narratives feed into a complex web of transnational nationalism – especially informed by an influential Tamil diaspora based in Canada, the UK, Australia, parts of Europe and the US. For such groups, narratives like these have an instrumental use to push a much-needed and important call for justice but more insidiously, these narratives can also be used to push a divisive Tamil nationalist agenda which finds little traction within the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. At the same time, the existence of such narratives in English can be used for equally instrumental purposes by the hard-line Sinhala nationalist lobby as evidence of an international conspiracy to suppress the Sinhala majority and to support Tamil secession. For the Sinhala nationalist lobby, raising the spectre of an international conspiracy is a means to block any form of progressive political reform.Therefore, the representation of terror is shaped by paradoxical compulsions. Terror must be represented in order to document and capture the emotional truth of the suffering of a persecuted minority.Yet, in doing so, particularly in the English language, there is always a risk that such representations of terror will be absorbed by pre-existing frames of reference about violence in the non-West. None of the three narratives completely escapes this paradoxical burden of representation, but all three are critically self-reflexive of this paradox. In choosing narrative styles that are understated and anchored in the mundane and the everyday, they acknowledge this burden of representation and signal their critical distance from it. Their moral conundrum is that they all speak from a particular place – Sri Lanka – but a place where the identities they represent are marginalised and excluded. But, at the same time, their critique of this place – this nation-state – is painfully aware of how an Orientalist gaze may interpret and appropriate the terror they speak of to undermine the very identities they seek to uphold and provide a sense of dignity to.

Works cited Abeysekera, Ananda. 2004. “Desecularizing Secularism: Post-Secular History, Non-Juridical Justice, and Active Forgetting.” Domains 1: 71–120. Amnesty International. 2009. “Sri Lanka: Amnesty Condemns ‘War Without Witnesses’ as Journalists Prevented from Reporting the Conflict.” March 6, 2009. uk/press-releases/sri-lanka-amnesty-condemns-war-without-witnesses-journalists-pre vented-reporting (accessed 20 November 2018). ———. n.d. “Sri Lanka Human Rights: Human Rights Concerns.” countries/sri-lanka/ (accessed 24 November 2018). Arudpragasam, Anuk. 2016. The Story of a Brief Marriage. New York: Flatiron Books.

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Boehmer, Elleke, and Stephen Morton, eds. 2010. “Introduction: Terror and the Postcolonial.” In Terror and the Postcolonial, edited by Elleke Boehmer and Stephen Morton, 1–24. London: Blackwell. ———. 2010. Terror and the Postcolonial. London: Blackwell. Boyagoda, Commodore Ajith as told to Sunila Galappatti. 2016. A Long Watch:War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka. London: Hurst. Butler Judith. 2009. Frames of War:When is Life Grievable? London:Verso. De Votta, Neil. 2004. Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Freeman, Ru. 2016. “A Brave Debut Novel about the Sri Lankan Civil War.” The New York Times, October 9, 2016. gasam-story-of-a-brief-marriage.html. Galappatti, Sunila. 2017. “Did He Go Stockholm?” Brick: A Literary Journal 98. https:// (accessed 10 December 2018). Ganeshanathan, V.V. 2016. “Nothing Can Be Done: V.V. Ganeshanathan Interviews Anuk ­Arudpragasam.” Los Angeles Review of Books, October 16, 2016. https://lareviewofbooks. org/article/nothing-can-done-v-v-ganeshananthan-interviews-anuk-arudpragasam/ (accessed 20 November 2018). Gunasinghe, Newton. 1996 [1984]. “May Day after the July Holocaust.” In Newton Gunasinghe: Selected Essays, edited by Sasanka Perera, 204–5. Colombo: Social Scientists Association. Gunesekera, Romesh. 1994. Reef. London: Riverhead Books. Haigh, Bruce. 2014. “Sri Lanka’s Secrets: How the Rajapaksa Regime Gets Away with Murder by Trevor Grant.” Sydney Morning Herald, December 5, 2014. entertainment/books/book-review-sri-lankas-secrets-by-trevor-grant-is-chronicle-ofgenocide-20141201–11shqn.html. Hammer, Joshua. 2015. “The Terrible War for Sri Lanka.” The New York Review of Books, March 5, 2015. Ho, Elaine, and Harshana Rambukwella. 2006. “A Question of Belonging: Reading Jean Arasanayagam through Nationalist Discourse.” Journal of Commonwealth Writing 41 (2): 61–81. Höglund, Kirstine, and Camilla Orjuela. 2011.“Winning the Peace: Conflict Prevention after a Victor’s Peace in Sri Lanka.” Contemporary Social Science 6 (1): 19–37. Holmberg, Liana. 2016. “The Rumpus Interview with Anuk Arudpragasam.” The Rumpus, September 26, 2016. Karunanayake, Dinidu, and Thiyagaraja Waradas. 2013. What Lessons Are We Talking About? Reconciliation and Memory in Post-Civil War Sri Lankan Cinema. ICES Research Paper 10. Colombo: International Centre for Ethnic Studies. Keenan, Alan. 2007. “The Temptations of Evenhandedness: On the Politics of Human Rights and Peace Advocacy in Sri Lanka.” In Non Governmental Politics, edited by Michel Feher, 88–117. New York: Zone Books. Khandagama, Anushka. 2015. “Victorious Soldier: Portrayal of Militarized Masculinities in Sri Lankan Pro-war Films.” Nivedini: Journal of Gender Studies 20. Colombo: Women’s Education and Research Centre (WERC). Manor, James. 1989. The Expedient Utopian: Bandaranaike and Ceylon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mbembe, Achille. 1992. “Provisional Notes on the Postcolony.” Africa:The Journal of the International African Institute 62 (1): 3–37. Mendis, G.C. 1963 [1957]. Ceylon Today and Yesterday: Main Currents of Ceylon History. Colombo: The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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Mohan, Rohini. 2015. The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War. London:Verso. Moores, Alan. 2014. “The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War.” September 15, 2014. Booklist. Nissan, Elizabeth, and R.L. Stirrat. 1990. “The Generation of Communal Identities.” In Sri Lanka: History and the Roots of Conflict, edited by Jonathan Spencer, 19–44. London: Routledge. Ondaatje, Michael. 2000. Anil’s Ghost. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Perera, Sasanka. 1995. Living with Torturers and Other Essays of Intervention: Sri Lanka Society, Culture, and Politics in Perspective. Colombo: Social Scientists Association. Perera, Suvendrini. 1999. “Unmaking the Present, Remaking Memory: Sri Lankan Stories and a Politics of Coexistence.” Race and Class 1 (1/2): 189–96. Perera, S.W. 1997. “Attempting the Sri Lankan Novel of Resistance and Reconciliation: A. Sivanandan’s When Memory Dies.” Sri Lanka Journal of the Humanities 23 (1): 13–27. Perera, Walter. 1995. “Images of Sri Lanka through Expatriate Eyes: Romesh Gunesekera’s Reef.” The Journal of Commonwealth Literature 30 (1): 63–78. Pratt, Mary Louise. 1988. “Conventions of Representation: Where Discourse and Ideology Meet.” In Taming of the Text: Explorations in Language, Literature and Culture, edited by Willie van Peer, 1–20. London: Routledge. Rambukwella, Harshana. 2017. “Locations of Authenticity: S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka and the Search for Indigeneity.” Journal of Asian Studies 76 (2): 383–400. ———. 2018. The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala Nationalism. London: University College London Press. Rogers, John D. 1990. “Historical Images in the British Period.” In Sri Lanka: History and the Roots of Conflict, edited by Jonathan Spencer, 87–106. London: Routledge. Said, Edward W. 1978. Orientalism. London: Penguin. ———. 2002. “Punishment by Detail.” Al-Ahram, August 2002, 8–14. http://weekly.ahram. Scott, David. 1999. Refashioning Futures: Criticism After Postcoloniality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Selvadurai, Shyam. 1994. Funny Boy. New Delhi: Penguin. Semple, Maria. 2016. “The Story of a Brief Marriage.” Publishers Weekly, July 11, 39–40. Sivanandan, Ambalavaner. 1997. When Memory Dies. London: Arcadia Books. Spencer, Jonathan. 1990. “Introduction: The Power of the Past.” In Sri Lanka: History and the Roots of Conflict, edited by Jonathan Spencer, 1–18. London: Routledge. van der Veer, Peter, and Carol Breckenridge. 1993. Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. Vittachi, Tarzie. 1958. Emergency ’58:The Story of Ceylon Race Riots. London: Andre Deutsch. Walter, Eugene Victor. 1969. Terror and Resistance: A Study of Political Violence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wickremasinghe, Nira. 2006. Sri Lanka in the Modern Age: A History of Contested Identities. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Wilson, A. Jeyaratnam. 1994. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and the Crisis of Tamil Bationalism 1947– 1977: A Political Biography. London: Hurst. Zuckerman, Jeffrey. 2016. “A Small Window of Consciousness: An Interview with Anuk Arudpragasam.” Pacific Standard, September 16, 2016. news/a-small-window-of-consciousness-an-interview-with-anuk-arudpragasam.

5 MAPPING EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES Militarisation and political resistance in Kashmir Mohammed Sirajuddeen

Introduction: the nature of the Indian state in Kashmir There is a common consensus among some sections of Kashmiris that the Indian state operates as a fatalistic force in Kashmir, unleashing repression and relentless violence (Duschinski 2010; Duschinski and Hoffman 2011). It has, over the years, suspended all scope of democratic procedures by killing political dissent. As a living example of failed politics of governance, in the past decades, Kashmir has been turned into a laboratory of extrajudicial violence. Even if the killings are counted in the thousands, there is a visible lack of concern and provision for mass atrocities in the rights discourse of the Indian subcontinent. State-sponsored violence is sustained by strategic cover-ups that characterise Kashmiris as terrorists. All spaces of adjudication processes of justice are met with agendas of the ruling political class, both within and outside of Kashmir. The arrest of the prominent human rights activist Khurram Parvez (Sirajuddeen 2016) in September 2016 is just one example of how securitisation has systemically eroded the spaces of democracy and deliberations in Kashmir. While enforced disappearances have become a norm for more than a decade, secret interrogations of detainees in torture houses and notorious detention centres continue to be a common practice. According to a latest report, there are more than 471 torture centres in operation across Kashmir (Lost Kashmir History 2017). Crude militarisation compounded with overt and covert operations of intelligence agencies constituted the modus operandi of collective violence, as detailed in a report (Essa 2015) compiled by the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS). As a new norm of state response, fake encounters and shoot-atsight are now popular combating technologies used by the security forces. At the onset of massive protests in recent years, especially after the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani in 2016, the Indian state has been engaging in more overt acts of killing to justify the existence of what it regards as dangerous bodies.

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My ethnographic sources in the Jammu and Kashmir government revealed to me that the extrajudicial killings provided an opportunity for misusing power and expropriation of resources in Kashmir.The extension of fake encounters in Kashmir at the line of control is reminiscent of violence in Bastar, often buoyed by rewards in cash and kind for the officers involved. This offensive strategy of what Parvez Imroz (Sirajuddeen 2017b) called the Brahminical Hindu state is also accompanied by promotions, kickbacks, nepotism and a silent war for fetching the defense expenditure at the cost of priceless Kashmiri lives. Even sexual violence is added to the litany of injustices as the victims of Kunan Poshpora1 are yet to be brought to justice. On the other hand, recent cases like Shopian and Handwara proved to be instances of circumstantial exposure and of consequent state denials.2 In all, prominent activists in Kashmir estimated around 7,000 incidents (Ashraf 2016) of sexualised and gendered violence in the past decades. Since the coming of massive movements against militarisation, Kashmiris have openly expressed that they have no faith in the Indian Constitution, and many are not even enthusiastic about Article 370.3 Kashmiris point out that a total demilitarisation, especially in civilian localities, is the only panacea for the contemporary impasse.4 In the wake of these developments, Kashmiri people also throw light on the lack of internal consensus in action-oriented programme against the forces of militarisation. As far as the resistance leadership is concerned, Kashmiris say that there is no unity of vision.5 Rallying people on crucial livelihood issues other than protest mobilisation is considered a huge lacuna.While mainstream political parties betrayed the promises, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is said to be following traditional mechanisms of resistance. Critical of Hurriyat’s position, a Kashmiri youth lambasted that “they wait for each casualty to occur and then give a call for protests but generally no breakthrough comes though”.6 It is also alleged that Hurriyat barely heeds the suggestions from mainstream civil society groups. In an exclusive conversation I had with Burhan Wani’s mother, she asserted that “within Hurriyat, there should be leaders who are not selfish. They should be faithful like the ‘mujahideen’ who even sacrifice their life. Before the ‘shahadat’ of Burhan, there were discrepancies in the Hurriyat attitude but due to the grace of ‘Allah’ and because of Burhan’s ‘shahadat’, everyone united and now the public follows them” (Sirajuddeen 2017a). With the emergence of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) actions since the 2016 unrest, there appears to be political unity among the various constituents of protests in Kashmir. But this does not translate into a broader coordination on the ground. Barring the calls of agitation, the leadership is faced with the charges of not being sensitive to the questions of economy, social anomalies and job creation. At the onset of these untenable developments, drawing from firsthand interviews and ethnographic work conducted between 2016 and 2018, this chapter provides a detailed account of the militarisation, discourses of security and counterinsurgency activities in Kashmir, with a particular focus on state violence as well as the origins, development and recruitment of Kashmiri youths into various militant groups in operation today. A central aim of this chapter is thus to provide a detailed account of the faces and facets of violence at both ends of the spectrum: the state and the militants.

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Governance and exceptionalism Multiple anomalies arising out of governance issues in India had led to a blanket use of the instruments of securitisation from the borderlands to the contested terrains inside India. In this sense, if the “State-Maoist interface’’ in Chhattisgarh propped up questions on governance failure as a consequence of neoliberal hegemony, then Jammu and Kashmir are perhaps the prime site where sovereignty of the Indian state is both tested and contested. The northeast, on the other hand, remains another troubled terrain, where the “Indian nation” is still coming to grips with the question of “integration”. In each of these cases, let alone the contested landscape of Indian Muslims, the “national security” doctrine and its “exceptionalist” logic have remained chief instruments of policing, control and militarisation of dissident zones. In political theory, the debate on exceptionalism runs along a parallel trajectory: the juridicoconstitutional exceptions and exceptions beyond juridico-constitutional order. Giorgio Agamben characterised the collusion and complicity between the two states of exceptions as interdeterminacy between democracy and absolutism which brings forth the separation of “force of law from law, a mystical element by means in which law sought to annex anomie itself ” (Agamben 2005, 38, 39). Among other scholars, Aditya Swarup contends that a modern state of exception is the result of the clash between democratic-revolutionary discourses rather than the absolutist discourse as is widely claimed, wherein a state of exception immediately assumes a constructionist or political character (Swarup 2008). Within this, according to Swarup, the idioms of war are figuratively held in support of extensive powers of the government.Yet, “exceptionalism” is often understood outside of the juridical and executive realms: disorder/anomie resulting from forces other than the state such as shifts and fluctuations in economy. This has led to a renewed understanding of exceptionalism as “social, physical and mental conditions in different contexts” (Sirajuddeen 2015, 90). Accordingly, Clinton Rossiter argues that democracies of the modern world employ various measures to institute “normality” in situations of perceived abnormality (Rossiter 1948). In such cases, the language of abnormality is invoked to adjust the phases of crisis by augmenting more power to the state and leaving people with fewer rights. The exceptionalist mode brought forth by the extended governance tends to be seen not as an interim measure but as an integral aspect of the liberal democratic project. Among Indian scholars such as Ujjwal Kumar Singh, Jinee Lokaneeta and Ajay Gudavarthy, there is a general consensus on the emergence of a new normative order wherein exceptions become a permanent feature of the contemporary democratic process.This new normative stems from strategic reformation of state-led institutions in order to forge the means of a “top-down” nationalism that would eventually erase difference, pluralism and dissent.The coming of the imperial war on terror and the consequent global discourse that supplied newfound forms of “counter-terrorism” are a glaring example of this, wherein many nations have replicated the American discourse – from India to Sri Lanka to the Philippines – to suppress dissent and difference, and to respond to security challenges that are both external and internal to the nation.

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It is pertinent to note here that exceptionalism in India has straddled between the discourse of juridico-constitutional order and the peculiar state actions emerging out of security concerns. By virtue of the postcolonial specificity of the Indian state, as Jinee Lokaneeta argues, contemporary absolutism in Indian state behaviour has also a pre-history: “exceptional laws in India are not linked to any one event (9/11 or 13/12) but rather have existed as a parallel system of governance from colonial to post colonial times . . . extraordinary laws were integral to the very functioning of colonial rule” (2012, 166–67). The draconian measures of exception such as sedition, martial laws or states of emergency introduced by the colonial regimes still persist in India, as exemplified during the emergency rule (1975–1977) under the Indira Gandhi regime. Lakaneeta argues that many exceptionalist measures invoked in postcolonial India were particularly in response to insurgencyrelated activities in “Kashmir, the North East, Punjab, and Andhra Pradesh, which have gradually been linked to a global threat of terrorism” (2012, 166–67). Arguing that such extraordinary measures limit the constitutional sovereignty vested in the constituents, Ajay Gudavarthy holds that exceptionalism has now become a new mode of governance in India, and it includes: [t]he combination of use of extraordinary laws such as the TADA, POTA, AFSPA, and Sedition Laws, among many others, with extrajudicial killings, torture and cases of disappearance, custodial deaths and even sexual violence by the armed forces.These modes of governance are aimed at militant armed struggles in Kashmir, North East India and Maoists in many parts of India. (2014, 9) Gudavarthy also argues that any governance outside the high politics of representing democracy is near-complete exceptionalism (9). “Exceptionalism” in India thus can be historically traced back to a combination of colonial and postcolonial militarist practices that sought to suppress dissent and resistance, and the new modes of “domesticating” securitisation discourses in the wake of the global war on terror. The pervasive use of draconian security laws – right from the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and other sedition acts – have been prime examples of the normalisation of exceptionalism in India in the name of internal security, a discourse that closely espouses the global discourses on terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Why is militancy proliferating? There is an oppressive structure in which Kashmiris are engulfed, and within which the Indian state maintains exceptionalism as the technology of governance. As a counterpoint, the rebellion in Kashmir through extra-parliamentary tactics is a wellaccepted norm in Kashmir today. Earlier, the scope of militancy was different, as there were less coherent outfits. After the fall of Burhan, militant ranks got reorganised and disciplined. The popularity and support the militants have received since

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then made the organisation more sophisticated. Burhan, rather than being an active militant, was also a strong stimulator of resistance culture.With the innovations in the operations of the armed forces, militant mobilisation also took a new form. During the reign of Burhan as the commander, militant activism was confined to pockets of Pulwama and other places in South Kashmir. But the appealing leadership by Burhan’s team and the emergence of educated militants such as Riyaz Naikoo and Mannan Wani gave the Mujahideen (Holy Warriors) an inspirational leadership. At the same time, the plurality of militant organisations in Kashmir makes a compelling case for the uniqueness of ideological differences and political convergence. Foreign militants are admitted on the basis of factors such as religion and politics. They cross the border well prepared for direct warfare. But their entry into the landscape of Kashmir is a subject matter of controversial debates that ranges from porous borders to the corruption perpetuated by a political-bureaucratic nexus. Many in Kashmir believe that there indeed persists corruption at the higher levels of the state apparatuses of both India and Pakistan. A youth who belonged to the village of the popular militant Sameer Tiger confirms that this “nexus functions at a higher level. Corrupt bureaucracy, the police, and the opportunists in the ranks of ‘freedom fighters’ are working together to ‘mobilize’ and ‘demobilize’ innocent Kashmiri youth caught in conflict” (Sirajuddeen 2017d). The Indian authorities, on the other hand, are chiefly concerned about sealed borders, with every inch under tight surveillance. But there are porous borders that make infiltration possible, and foreign militants are well accepted in Kashmir because of their sacrifice for the cause of Azadi (liberation).

Over ground workers Militancy in Kashmir is sustained by different types of Over Ground Workers (OGWs). OGWs are the people who help militants without arms, and they are in good numbers all over Kashmir. Wherever there is an encounter between militants and armed forces, the whole village of that area comes out in support of the militants and tries to shelter and even save their Mujahideen (in that sense, members of the whole village are OGWs). But from a lay Kashmiri perspective, OGWs are “the ones who help the militants in their resistance”.7 This mainly includes the networking, militant communication, transportation of arms to different places, and provision of food and shelter till the time they are away from hideouts. When militants are trapped in the houses of remote villages, the members of that house are not necessarily OGWs. But there are persons and families with knowledge of hideouts and shelters who are invariably OGWs. This differentiation is important given the fact that if militants or armed forces come with guns, the families in the villages are bound to give shelter or accept the terms, respectively. They also facilitate the youth who wish to join the tanzeem (organisation). They also inform the militants about the ground situation as to when to come and when to go, and provide the militants operational intelligence. Crucial is their study of the moves of the armed forces in the localities of the Kashmir Valley to pass important communications on offensive strikes on to the militants. Another functional aspect of OGWs is their

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role in providing food and shelter to the militant groups. This function is crucial given the fact that most of the militants are trapped by the armed forces in Kashmiri homes. Whichever city or village they travel and stay in, militants are mostly welcomed by the local residents, who provide their Mujahideen with meals. But at the same time, they have anxieties about attacks by the armed forces. For instance, a youth from South Kashmir observes that “militants offer money for the food and shelter provided and the families hesitate to take such offers.”8 Those who want to join the militants get in touch with OGWs, which suggests that the divide among militants, OGWs and protestors is commonplace. The possession of guns is the only marked difference among them. A militant’s family is sometimes said to be in touch with militants.9 Friendly relationships also become a source of militant recruitment. After militant Naveed Jatt plotted his escape from the Central Jail in 2018, the security establishment concluded that militants might be directly recruited in jail. Periods of unrest yield benefits for militants through OGWs. While militants are trapped in gunfights, many times they are killed in Kashmiri homes during their stay for food and shelter. Militant communication to the public is carried out through social media platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook. Press statements to journalists are another medium of communication.

Ideological cultivations: the political and the religious Most of the militant organisations in Kashmir are aided by Pakistan, and they tend to propagate an approach conducive to the latter’s foreign policy. This standpoint vigorously entrenches the idea of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. Their slogan is Kashmir banega Pakistan (“Kashmir will become Pakistan”). But there is also a variant of militancy that seeks an independent Kashmir devoid of both Indian and Pakistani control in establishing an Islamic Caliphate. Currently, this variant is manifested through the organisation Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind headed by ex-Hizbul-Mujahideen Commander Zakir Musa.This faction believes that Kashmir should be an Islamic State based on the Sharia and stands as an antithesis to the Kashmiri nationalism discourse. Unlike nationalist militants, their slogan is Kashmir banega Dar as Salam (“denoting supremacy of the religion”). This new group rejects outright the accession-secession discourse. Their main influence is Zakir Musa Tral, who hails from Noorpura Village near Avantipora, and his admirers from other parts of Kashmir have also joined the group. Examples of erstwhile militants such as Mugees Ahmed Mir and Easa Fazli show the expansion of their networks in urban centres like Srinagar.Wall writings (graffiti) of this group are visible in Shalteng area (near Sirnagar), Trall (Pulawama district), areas of Kulgam district, areas of Anantnag district, Pulwama Town, Shopian Main and other places of the Kashmir Valley. On a more visible plane, they are politically stimulated by the ideas of Ghazwae-Hind. According to Husain Haqqani, “[r]adical Islamists invoke the Hadith (the oral traditions attributed to the Prophet Muhammad) to prophesize a great battle in India between true believers and unbelievers before the end-times” (Haqqani 2015). Haqqani further maintains that “the Ghazwa-e-Hind divinations became a

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staple of the Islamist discourse after the launch of jihad in Indian-controlled parts of Kashmir in 1989” although “the idea of Ghazwa-e-Hind as a war against the contemporary Indian state has not been universally accepted, it continues to feature in the jihadist discourse” (Haqqani 2015). A Kashmiri youth from South Kashmir asserted that the proponents of Ghazwae-Hind “are less in number, and their number will not exceed a dozen”.10 Critics like Hurriyat, on the other hand, say they are strengthening the “occupation forces”. In this context, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai lamented that “the people of Kashmir have no international agenda and they only want to secure freedom from illegal occupation of India” (KMS News 2018). While Sehrai conceded that the “Azadi camp in Kashmir does not have a global agenda and has nothing to do with the Daesh and its ideology”, he also stated that those “raising ISIS flags are strengthening the roots of occupation in Kashmir” (Early Times n.d.). Prominent human rights activist Parvez Imroz opined that it is a “self-defeating” proposition that Kashmir is becoming an “Islamic State”. Those who argue this leave no scope for “self-determination” and they undermine our cause. Unlike other South Asian turmoil, outfits like Taliban [have] no much influence in Kashmir and the visible militant group “Hizbul-Mujahideen” is based on indigenous cadre base. (Sirajuddeen 2017b) Here, it is pertinent to note that the religious discourse of militancy is not exclusive to the groups preaching the Caliphate. Even political militant groups like Hizb-ulMujahideen use a religious language of operations. Moreover, when a militant is killed, irrespective of their ideological leanings, people come out onto the streets, as the primary goal of the militants was to drive military forces out of Kashmir. For that matter, for a common Kashmiri, “whoever fights against India is a hero”.11 Firstly, in the 1990s, it was open to the extent that militants used to attend the marriages of their relatives. Secondly, the presence of armed forces those days was not as visible as today.There were few military camps which made it easy for rebellious Kashmiris to join the ranks. The era of the 1990s also bore witness to a wave of political passion. People were fascinated with the possession of guns and more importantly borders were open, which facilitated military training. A crucial factor that contributed to the militant wave of the past decades was the widespread state atrocities in the guise of massacres, random killings and enforced disappearances.12 This might have spurred individuals from all age groups to join the militant ranks. Another significant reason for this development was that the option of militancy was not an end in itself. Many exit routes were available for militants such as government-instituted schemes of surrender and rehabilitation. Parvez Imroz, for instance, asserts that [d]uring the early 1990s, militancy was a result of an emotional outburst, a sentimental reaction and the State responded with a heavy hand and it was

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an ugly phase. Even after militancy receding and reaching a “low” in scale and spread, state repression continues unabated. Militancy in present Kashmir is organised by “Hizb-ul-Mujahideen” and “Lashkar”; their method is qualitatively different in the sense that they rely on “romanticism” and “glorification” techniques to gain mass support. (Sirajuddeen 2017b)

Militancy as a political option Mature youth consider militancy a political toll for structural change and religious inspiration under the auspices of fighting oppression.The youth who join the militants hope that something will change with the pressure exerted by guns and violence, and believe that the government would come to the table. Even if political results of physical sacrifices are not yielded, they maintain that the eternal benefit of hereafter or afterlife is more precious since religion sanctions the legitimate fight against injustice. Having said that, these young militants are devoid of proper training. And while they are well aware of the fact that more than ten lakh Indian soldiers are stationed to check their movement, they still strive to carry out the armed struggle to a logical conclusion. Generally, the extrajudicial violence perpetrated by the armed forces creates an atmosphere of vengeance that leads young Kashmiri minds to take revenge of the injustices committed. Mujahideen are considered a divine force in large parts of Kashmir. On every occasion that a promising militant cadre is killed in a police encounter, massive protests erupt across the Kashmir Valley. Religious sites and the Friday prayers in congregation become the public sphere of rage against the Indian state where passionate slogans such as Islam ke Mujahido, Hum Tumhaare Saath he (“O Warriors of Islam, We are with you”) are raised. At the same time, there are many in Kashmir who believe that the militants who propagate the Islamic Caliphate are in fact aided and sustained by the Indian state.13 Such a tactic, they believe, helps the Indian state to show the world, and particularly the United States, that it is an ally in the war against the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. This, in turn, according to some sections of Kashmiris, would help the forces of occupation to delegitimise the indigenous struggle for self-determination waged by the people of Kashmir.14

The public talk on militancy In Kashmir, if a youth wants to join the militants, it takes months to find out the source of organisation. Firstly, the concerned youth may talk to his friends and dig up sources. He may try to get contacts in the militant-affected areas and make frequent visits to the places of convergence that would give him entry points. Recruitment is either a one-way process or a two-way process, that is, Kashmiris aspiring to join the militants or the militants attempting to recruit the former. Currently, the main militant outfit in Kashmir is Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM). The

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youth who are not able to reach HM are trapped by other outfits like Lashkare-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. Most of the time, militant organisations are not particular about the consistency of a cadre given that recruitment is a bottom-up process of voluntary association in the solidarity of struggle. The case of Majid Khan, a young football player who joined militant ranks and then voluntarily returned to the mainstream, is a glaring example of this.The tanzims therefore does not recruit people as a zero-sum game, since the recruitment is flourishing out of the material conditions of resistance against the Indian state. According to some sources,15 HM maintains a principle of recruitment irrespective of the differences of identity, religion, caste or sect. While Lashkar-e-Taiba do not accommodate Shia Muslims, Jaish-e-Mohammed also follow a Shia exclusionary pattern. This may be because these two militant outfits are operating from Pakistan, funded and managed by particular handlers. During an earlier phase, the resistance was headquartered in Srinagar and Budgam, but now South Kashmir became volatile following massive public unrests occurring since 2008. The consequent excess of the armed forces in South Kashmir resulted in the deterioration of conditions of livelihood in the Kashmir Valley to which a spontaneous reaction was the emergent armed struggle championed by a predominantly young section of the population. At present, armed struggle against the Indian state has transformed into a popular culture of heroic resistance against the military occupation. To join the ranks of the Mujahideen is more like a social norm in the Kashmir Valley, especially in the southern districts like Pulwama and Shopian. There are three ways in which militants of the Kashmir Valley are trapped. Generally, there are inherent traps in the open gunfights with the armed forces. This may happen unexpectedly or as part of attacks from either side. Secondly, militants are trapped in the homes they visit for food and shelter, where an informer intelligence input gives the armed forces an opportunity to conduct Cordon and Search Operations (CASO). Informers and underground networks of the Indian state are in every city and village. Thirdly, militants are caught through a formal state intelligence network. OGWs arrange money for militants. In each village, the people who would like to contribute secretly transfer money to the OGWs. There is no financial generation through extortion. Sometimes weapons come from beyond the borders, and militants also snatch weapons from armed forces during clashes. At present, casualties are found more among militants because of their lack of training. “Kashmiri militants don’t have a culture of hiding in jungle, in jungle resides the dacoits”,16 exclaimed a Kashmiri youth when asked about militants. Moreover, given the severe conditions of weather, it is difficult for the militants to hide in jungles even in summer. It is said that most of the time the militants are among the people. At the same time, the armed forces have recently busted many militant hideouts in jungles as well. A middleaged Kashmiri man has informed this author that “[i]f the jungles were the point of operation, the fight would have happened in jungles”,17 but in the jungles, they may not get public support.

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Civil society and resistance18 In the political turmoil of 2016, Kashmir witnessed an intense clash between militants and the military unlike the sentimental reactions of the early 1990s. As opposed to the previous unrests of 2008 and 2010, this time Kashmiris knew why the protests were important and were highly motivated by the zeal of “sacrifice”. While earlier protests were primarily issue-based and triggered massive outburst of discontent, in 2016, the discontent permeated every nook of Kashmiri life and was considered a fight for survival that did not leave the more pertinent political issues like “Pandit-Sainik colonies” to the back burner. The “unrest phase” also witnessed a militant attack in the Uri Army Camp in September of that same year in which Indian soldiers were killed and security forces in India allegedly carried out a “surgical strike” beyond the “border” to destroy what they termed as “terror launch pads”. Even though the killing of Burhan sparked the unrest, signs of major outbursts were simmering in Kashmir since early 2016 when the alleged “Handwara molestation” (Chakravarty 2016) by army personnel had popped up in Kupwara. The state was able to contain it by force before it budded into an upheaval, but public anger spilled into the open with the fall of Burhan in early July 2016 (Dasgupta 2016). For Kashmiris, Burhan was a revered “mujahid” who is considered the “hero” of the growing discontent against state violence (Kuchay 2016). The significance of Burhan lies in his role in bringing this discontent to the forefront through protracted glorification of what Kashmiri people call “resistance”. It seems that the resistance leadership streamed by the Hurriyat Conference is fully aware of the historical precedents of the “national resistance” movements around the globe. They believe that until and unless the “sacrifices” are glorified, the movement will not consolidate into full swing. For that matter, the “Burhan moment” in Kashmir’s recent history will not only be remembered as a case of spontaneous outburst with severe cascading effects on India’s security establishment, but also as a testimony to the “ill treatment” meted out to people of Kashmir in the past decades. In the past three decades, myriad stories about the cycle of state-sponsored violence in Kashmir have come to the fore. In the early 1990s, human rights activism in Kashmir was a limited exercise.The emergence of organisations such as the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) and later, the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) introduced to Kashmir a new culture based on a belief in “non-violent” resolution of conflict. They wanted the right to dissent and the due processes of democratic institutions to be kept alive and accessible to all. As far as extrajudicial violence (Iqbal 2015) is concerned, various patterns emerged as a result of mass massacres, enforced disappearances, sexual violence and torture. Although Truth and Reconciliation Commissions were appointed to investigate cases of enforced disappearances in other parts of the world, in Kashmir, such initiatives have been a far cry from reality. On the contrary, since the mid-1990s, a state-sponsored vigilante force popularly known as Ikhwans (or renegades) was introduced, much to the aggravation of violence across the state. While the militants hunted by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen eventually surrendered, anti-social elements

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also joined the “informal” force created by the Indian Security Forces. By virtue of weapons, power and institutional backing of special cells aided from Delhi, these groups reigned terror and extorted money in Kashmir.19 In Kashmir, human rights activism has gained momentum since the campaigning of APDP from 1994 onwards. Reportedly, thousands have become the victims of enforced disappearances (Imroz 2005), but the government at various junctures did not concede the number to be beyond 4,000. When JKCCS was formed in the 2000s, their volunteers started dealing with all kinds of human rights violations, bringing the cases of enforced disappearances as well as the discovery of mass graves to public attention. State crimes in Kashmir, which once were systematically institutionalised, have now become a policy. It is only vibrant civil society activism that sought accountability for crimes by relentlessly documenting human rights violations. An “early day motion” (Parliament UK 2012) tabled in the British Parliament, dated January 2012, had commented on the discovery of 6,000 unmarked graves, the majority of which are believed to contain the bodies of thousands who had been deemed as disappeared in Kashmir. The European Parliament had passed a resolution (Ashraf 2016) on July 10, 2008, offering technical expertise and monetary assistance for conducting DNA tests to help identify the bodies. By engaging with both Indian and global civil society, activists in Kashmir sought to move forward in bringing justice for the victims through concrete demands. The human rights collectives in Kashmir also believe that theirs is a case of “occupation” and express an innate desire to bring an end to the current “disciplinary state”. Like the popular perceptions in Kashmir, these groups also point to “broken promises” with regard to the question of self-determination. Moreover, the mutual relationship of these organisations with other political groups is based on “consensus and differences” that converge upon democratic culture. While they constantly expose the “violations” by security forces, they do not fully ignore the “mistakes” committed by militants in Kashmir.

Time to introspect20 The “resistance peak” in Kashmir therefore is reminiscent of what Parvez Imroz calls “Newton’s law”, as “every action has an equal and opposite reaction which the security establishment has to bear in terms of its behavior” (Sirajuddeen 2017c). According to Imroz, the government is thus losing the “state of mind” in Kashmir, and it seems that “no one can stop an idea whose time has come” (Sirajuddeen 2017c). Human rights defenders claim that the past few decades were marred with institutional injustice in Kashmir. For instance, after the 2010 unrest, only a few cases of state crimes were allowed to be questioned institutionally for which justice has not yet been delivered. In that respect, given the nature of crackdowns in 2016, there seems a negligible space for legal interventions with impartial results. Kashmir is unique of all conflict zones in terms of day-to-day surveillance technologies and militarisation. Why else is it that a grossly disproportionate military force is maintained in Kashmir? Why is it that protests in Kashmir are always met with military

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actions, while demonstrations in Haryana or the Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu were met with softer actions?

The limits of justice in Kashmir In the 2017 Srinagar Lok Sabha bypoll, Kashmir witnessed the lowest recorded polling in history. During the run-up to the election days, the chairman of the International Forum For Justice & Human Rights (IFJHR), Jammu Kashmir, Mohammed Ahsan Untoo, validated his opposition to the elections in the following manner: “What is the need of electing a government incapable of even fulfilling the mandate of an enquiry commission?”21 Under the conditions of what Kashmiris call “occupation”, a lecture on justice is an empty shell. Institutional justice in Kashmir is nothing but a mockery that diluted the veracity of crimes committed by state agents, thereby preventing it from public debate. Since the 1990s, thousands of Kashmiris were systematically shunned from the doorsteps of state institutions. Victims and survivors of state violence were left disappointed, without compensation or rehabilitation. While perpetrators were let go scot-free, government, court and public institutions in Kashmir turned out to be mere spectators. Impunity in Kashmir is predicated on a dominant national ideology of mainland India that supplements extraordinary measures of formal as well as informal variety. Politics over Kashmir are framed in the binary vision of “us” and “them” that effectively erases any common ground in history, institutions and international law. Genuine concerns arising from the Valley were met with a brutality that collapsed legality from its core, maiming thousands of Kashmiris openly and underground. Khurram Parvez remarks how “extrajudicial violence in Kashmir started on day one”; since then, “democracy and occupation is incompatible”, as Kashmir witnessed a permanent state of exception in which the courts ceased to work and coercive arms interpreted the law.22 It is therefore important to recall here that in 2012, the UN’s Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns had asked India to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which was deemed a symbol of excessive state power, if not an antithesis to democracy (Dhar 2012), an appeal the Indian state barely acknowledged.Victims and survivors of state violence believe that Kashmir is more a “hell” than “paradise” and a perpetual “state of hell” in the Valley provides a lifeline to the catastrophic right-wing politics of the Indian mainland. It also kept alive the decades old bilateral antagonism with respect to Pakistan. What we find in Kashmir is many barricaded army camps stretching from the international borders to the interiors of South Kashmir. For the same reason, everyday life in Kashmir is filled with anomalies of securitisation as exemplified in gruesome tortures, extrajudicial killings, detentions, trials, shutdowns, protests, stone pelting and psychological stress disorders.

Notes 1 Kunan and Poshpura, known popularly as “Kunanposhpora”, are the two villages of the Kupwara district in the northern Kashmir Valley which stand as a symbol of sexual violence committed by Indian soldiers. It is reported that from February 23–24, 1991, mass

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rape and torture were carried out by military personnel – four belonging to Rajputana Rifles and 68 to Mountain Brigade – in the villages of Kunanposhpora. 2 Shopian and Handwara are two instances of sexual violence in Kashmir. 3 Article 370 acted as a centre point of debate with respect to the plausibility and implausibility of the “separateness” of Jammu and Kashmir from mainland India.The clause was injected into the constitutional discourse with an intent to safeguard the autonomy and distinctness of the people of Kashmir. 4 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 5 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 6 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 7 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 8 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 9 Burhan’s mother informed the author that she met her son while the latter was an active militant. 10 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 11 Recorded in interview by the author with a Kashmiri man in Tral, Pulwama. 12 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in Srinagar. 13 This view was expressed by a section of Kashmiri youth. 14 Recorded in interviews by the author with Kashmiri youth in South Kashmir. 15 A person from South Kashmir anonymously shared with this author a part of his conversation with a neighbour of Burhan Wani’s family. 16 Recorded in an interview by the author with a Kashmiri man from Tral. 17 Recorded in an interview by the author with a Kashmiri man from Budgam district. 18 This section is based on my commentary that was published as “Speaking of Human Rights in a ‘Resisting Valley’: Kashmir Before the UN Review” (Sirajuddeen 2017c). 19 Recorded in an interview by the author with Abrar Falahi, a Kashmiri who resides in Delhi. 20 Based on (Sirajuddeen 2017c). 21 Recorded in an interview by the author with Mohammed Ahsan Untoo. 22 I interviewed Khurram Parvez at the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society [JKCCS] Office, Srinagar, in the first week of May 2016 (Sirajuddeen 2016).

Works cited Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Ashraf, Ajaz. 2016. “Do You Need 700,000 Soldiers to Fight 150 Militants? Kashmiri Rights Activist Khurram Parvez.”, July 21, 2016. Chakravarty, Ipsita. 2016. “Stories of Handwara: The Events of April 12 and Its Aftermath Remain Clouded in Mystery.”, May 17, 2016. stories-of-handwara-the-events-of-april-12-and-its-aftermath-remain-clouded-inmystery Dasgupta, Piyasree. 2016. “Who Was Burhan Wani and Why Is Kashmir Mourning Him?” Huffpost, July 11, 2016. Dhar, Aarti. 2012. “U.N. Asks India to Repeal AFSPA.” The Hindu, March 31, 2012. www. Duschinski, Haley. 2010. “Reproducing Regimes of Impunity: Fake Encounters and the Informalization of Everyday Violence in Kashmir Valley.” Cultural Studies 24 (1): 110–32. Duschinski, Haley, and Bruce Hoffman. 2011. “Everyday Violence, Institutional Denial and Struggles for Justice in Kashmir.” Race & Class 52 (4): 44–70.

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Early Times. n.d. “ISIS Flags in Kashmir ‘Help’ Delhi, What about Pak Flags? Hurriyatwala Sehrai Speaks.” March 23. Essa, Azad. 2015. “India ‘Covering Up Abuses’ in Kashmir: Report.” Aljazeera, September 10, 2015. Gudavarthy, Ajay. 2014. Maoism, Democracy and Globalization: Cross-Currents in Indian Politics. New Delhi: SAGE Haqqani, Husain. 2015. “Prophecy and the Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent.” Hudson Institute, March 27, 2015. Imroz, Parvez. 2005. “Kashmir: Enforced Disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir.” afad-online. org, January 1, 2005. Iqbal, Javid. 2015. “Structures of Violence.” Greater Kashmir, September 18, 2015. www. Kashmir Media Service. 2015. “Kashmiris Have No Global Agenda, Only Want Freedom: Sehrai.” March 22, 2015. Kuchay, Bilal. 2016. “A Hero’s Farewell.” Kindle, July 18, 2016. LKH Desk. 2017. “Seven Infamous Torture Centers in Kashmir.” Lost Kashmir History, May 7, 2017. Lokaneeta, Jinee. 2012. Transnational Torture: Law, Violence, and State Power in the United States and India. New Delhi: Orient Black Swan. Rossiter, Clinton. 1948. Constitutional Dictatorship: Crisis Government in The Modern Democracies. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Sirajuddeen, Mohammed. 2015. “Juridico-Constitutional Exceptions and Beyond: A Perspective from India.” AD Valorem 2 (1): 88–97. ———. 2016. “We See Plurality of Voices against Indian State in Kashmir . . . This Is the Beginning of a Revolution: Khurram Parvez.”, September 19, 2016. http:// ———. 2017a. “A Conversation with Burhan Wani’s Mother in Kashmir.” Café Dissensus Everyday, March 27, 2017. sation-with-burhan-wanis-mother-in-kashmir/ ———. 2017b. “Army Camps in Kashmir Have Succumbed to ‘Mandir’ Culture: Parvez Imroz, Chief, JKCCS.”, April 17, 2017. html ———. 2017c. “Speaking of Human Rights in a ‘Resisting Valley’: Kashmir Before the UN Review.”, March 31, 2017. ———. 2017d. “Two Shades of Pulwama Youth: A Walk Talk on Kashmir Conflict.” Café Dissensus Everyday, April 4, 2017. two-shades-of-pulwama-youth-a-walk-talk-on-kashmir-conflict/ Swarup, Aditya. 2008. “Sovereignty, Law and the State of Exception: Analysing Agamben in the Indian Context.” Nalsar Student Law Review, July 4, 2018. cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=adityaswarup UK Parliament. 2012. “Kashmir Graves.” January 17, 2012. 2010-12/2607


Gendered violence Rape, misogyny and feminist discourse

6 SEX, RAPE, REPRESENTATION Cultures of sexual violence in contemporary India Karen Gabriel

Framing the issues In 2012, impelled by the fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student, Jyoti Singh in Delhi (also known as the Nirbhaya rape case),1 Kamlesh Vaswani, an advocate of the Indore High Court, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition, which triggered a fresh controversy around pornography in India. The petition argued an explicit link between porn and harm: specifically, gender-based violence, rape and assault and social, cultural and moral degradation. It referred to the growing prevalence of porn in the electronic domain that was based on the fact that the organisation of porn production in India has seen a sea-change, from the professional soft-porn productions of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, to the steadily and rapidly increasing volume of professional, semi-professional and amateur porn that began to appear with the spread of digitalisation, the Internet and cheap mobile technology. The petition noted that the volume of porn available worldwide, and the formats and platforms in which it is available, have increased considerably, triggering a dynamic that has impacted most societies, and often adversely. The main prayer of the petition – to “treat watching of porn videos and sharing as non-bailable and cognizable offence” – was accompanied by arguments about the adverse social, cultural and moral effects of porn, especially on minors. On the matter of the ban, the court bench led by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu, noted the “hydra-headed” nature of porn but ruled out banning porn, saying that it could not stop adults from exercising their fundamental right to personal liberty to watch it within the privacy of their room. The bench also remarked that it was not desirable to do so. The government concurred with the court, observing that while child pornography must be banned, “we cannot be present in everyone’s bedroom” (Pandey and Ghosh 2015). The PIL’s claim that porn led to sexual assault and violence had its takers and critics and remains an unresolved debate.The arguments favouring porn,

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sometimes misleadingly, conflated sex with porn,2 but otherwise remained chiefly about the need to rein in a rape culture (as the following remark shows) and protect the constitutional right to free speech and expression:3 This ban which seems to be in line with the thinking that porn somehow perpetuates sexual violence is lip service to resolving the issues of violence against women and can only appeal to the morality of the misogynistic Indian who doesn’t want to recognize the entrenched rape culture in our society. (Sharma 2015) The arguments against porn in India, too, centre on the relationship between porn and sexual violence, and on the detriment porn causes to culture and moral standards. This chapter first introduces some issues around the analysis of pornography itself and then examines the arguments around the relationship between porn and violence. Pornography is a highly controversial and widespread commercial enterprise whose annual turnover remains impressive despite a reported “slowdown in sex entertainment trade” that followed the Internet boom.4 A 2011 study noted that the world pornography revenue – which includes revenues from sources such as Internet websites, magazines, cable, in-room hotel movies and sex toys – was calculated at about $97 billion in 2006. Despite difficulties in obtaining figures and the variations in available estimates, the figures remain substantial and constitute a legitimate if somewhat unstable index of the commercial size and scale of the industry.5 The renowned secrecy of this industry protects it and generates the uncertainty around both numbers  (how much money and how many people are involved) and practices (the nature of financial work and other kinds of transactions) in the industry. The industry’s relations to violence, which I outline later, must be understood in the context of these details. Nevertheless, the size and scale of the pornography business, even at the lower end of the spectrum, suggest that far from being the relatively modest business that it once was, porn has now mushroomed into a corporate-scale business. Porn has a very substantial presence in India (Gupta 2016). Illustratively of the size and presence of the industry in India, during a hearing of Vaswani’s petition in August 2014, the government stated that there were approximately 40 million such websites and on blocking one, a new one popped up. Vaswani’s petition itself noted that every second 28,258 people are watching porn online. Again, the attorney general correctly argued that there are no geographical frontiers to the Internet; it is a borderless space and is therefore very difficult to monitor and regulate. The significant increase in both the size of the porn business and in the availability and useconsumption6 of porn may be understood to be a direct consequence of three key developments: (1) the global Internet boom; (2) the introduction of technological,

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structural and economic convergence in the media;7 and (3) the big development in the telecom sector and the increasing usage of mobile data. Regarding the first, there has been a dramatic media shift in porn – away from print and the analogue – to the web and the digital. The word “porn” now mostly brings to mind professionally made, “imported”, hardcore digital porn and not the locally made varieties. There is a long and visible history of soft porn cinema in India.8 While there were as many as 75 soft porn movies made with approximately 10 lakh each in the decade of the 2000s, after the Internet boom, “hardly 10–12 films of this kind are made a year. Providing content for websites is not very lucrative, but it helps us tide over the crisis” (Ram 2006). It must be remembered that the online shift globally was enabled only by the second development: changed technologies, transformations in business, economic and structural models caused by convergence. Finally, while in “2013, around 39 per cent of Pornhub’s India traffic came from mobiles, in 2017, it grew to an overwhelming 86 per cent” (Mitter 2018). According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), buoyed by cheaper smartphones, faster connectivity and affordable services, the number of mobile Internet users in India touched 478 million by June 2018 (PTI 2018). According to industry estimates, in a year and a half of Reliance Jio’s existence, porn traffic grew a massive 75 per cent and watch time spiked 60 per cent (Mitter 2018). Aruna Sundararajan, chairperson, Telecom Commission, and secretary, Department of Telecommunications, notes that India is first in the world in terms of mobile data consumption (Kumar 2018). Thus, technological change has driven porn as much as porn has driven technological change. In fact, as we will see, the relationship between porn and technology may be witnessed in the phenomena of “free” and amateur porn. We have seen that digitalization, which has meant both the creation of platforms and significant Internet penetration, has led to a surge in (porn per se and) amateur porn in particular, with ordinary people, using their access to both the Internet and platforms, uploading free pornographic narratives or even sexually explicit images or clips of themselves. This has impacted on the organised production of porn logistically, economically and idiomatically. However, the digitalisation of porn accounts for how and why “free porn”, apart from existing in the first instance, is not free but is simply porn that is monetised via the Internet in ways that elude the average surfer (Johnson 2011). These developments were possible only because digitalisation and convergence have together solved two of porn’s biggest challenges: distribution and privacy. What one means by this is that the classic convergence cluster of the worldwide web, the multimedia personal computer and especially the development of the mobile phone or PDA facilitate a somewhat seamless and discreet transfer of adult content anywhere and at any time. The individually handheld smart mobile phone has effectively brown-bagged porn almost entirely. In short, digitalisation and convergence have rendered porn available globally, and any time, and anywhere that is connected, and on a single-use personal device at that.9 We then see that both the production and use-consumption of pornography is intimately related to the development of technology per se and, specifically, to communication technologies (Coopersmith 1998, 96). Further, technological, structural

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and commercial convergence has delivered remarkable impetus to the transnational spread of digital porn. Consequently, although the size and the dynamism of the web contributes to making accurate estimates of Internet porn difficult, a “2005 Wordtracker report found that the first six of the top ten, and ten of the top twenty search terms on a majority of web metacrawlers were pornographic in nature” (Nayar 2010, 128). Again, 2016 data from the website Pornhub reveals that India has the third-largest porn traffic in the world. While this may be a function of population size, there is no gainsaying that the Internet has indeed “created an unprecedented opportunity for individuals to have anonymous, cost-free, and unfettered access to an essentially unlimited range of sexually explicit texts, still and moving images, and audio materials” (Fisher and Barak 2001, 312). And we have already noted that the introduction of “inexpensive and unlimited cellular plans” of the kind Jio offered is responsible for the growth of porn access in India (Mitter 2018). For these reasons, it may be successfully argued that the spread of porn is not purely consumer driven; it is rather the result of substantial tie-ups between porn and other industries. Paul Saffo, director of the Institute for the Future, has said that [t]he simple fact is porn is an early adopter of new media. . . . If you’re trying to get something established . . . you’re going to privately and secretly hope and pray that the porn industry likes your medium. (quoted in Chmielewski and Hoffman 2006) The links between the larger corporate world and the porn business have been demonstrated by different sources. Illustratively, according to a report published by PBS-Frontline, “Yahoo! actively entered into business arrangements with adult companies and directly profited from porn on the web” (PBS-Frontline n.d). Again, there is the instance of Francis Koenig’s 2005 porno-capitalism initiative that has promoted and mainstreamed investments in “sin stocks”, by matching big-money investors with adult entertainment companies. Koenig’s Vicex Fund, which had assets totalling almost $21,117 million invested in 97 different holdings in 2013, was advertised as the “only pure sin stock mutual fund”.10 These holdings include tobacco (Philip Morris, Lorillard, British American Tobacco), defence and weapons giants like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, and beer companies such as Carlsberg A/S and Molson Coors. Even while the investments in vice and sin funds are largely anonymised, they are increasingly being marketed aggressively and openly, as attractive, acceptable and recession proof (Gabriel 2017). The substantial interest in the industry has led to a corresponding increased visibility.

Rape porn and the violence of pornography There is a general increase in the occurrence and tolerance, if not acceptability, of overtly sexual themes and images in the public domain. While increased sexual visibility is not a problem in itself, the pornification of sexuality has been understood to be problematic.This has been noted and referred to variously as the pornification

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of media, the mainstreaming of pornography, the pornographising of everyday life, the pornification of culture and the “pornographication of mainstream capitalist culture”. These refer to the exponential increase and normalisation of sexual explicitness and sexual content that was, until recently, considered either obscene or pornographic. The gesture here is obviously towards the overwhelming audiovisual pornographic material available. The pornographic idiom is even being seen as chic as in the case of pole dancing which is frequently recommended to women as part of a fitness cum gender-sexual grooming regimen.11 We see the pornographisation of everyday life in the Raj Shetye case as well. In this particular case, fashion designer Shetye displayed startling photographs from his project “The Wrong Turn” on his online portfolio. These photographs pornified the 2012 fatal rape of Jyoti Singh (Nirbhaya) by eroticising the rape.They showed a female model dressed in high-end fashion, being held down on the floor and struggling with two men who grip her arms. In another photo, two men pin her down on the bus seats while she simulates struggle. Although Shetye took these down following general sharp protests, the photographs were carried by various other media outlets and were widely publicised. In a similar vein, just days after the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case, rapper Honey Singh earned the well-deserved epithet “King of Rape Rap” on the basis of his songs, some of which had violently misogynistic lyrics. These lyrics glorified sexual assault and abuse, and became the basis of “a censorious e-campaign and [Honey Singh was] stuck with an FIR alleging obscenity and incitement to crimes against women” (Gabriel 2016, 207). His lawyer Pragyan Pradip Sharma issued a denial notice on behalf of Singh, which carried little credibility. The lyrics themselves, like the Raj Shetye photo-project, demonstrated the extent to which the idiom of violent, masculinist and misogynistic sexualities has become mainstream in India, as elsewhere. In fact, shortly after the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case, three BJP state ministers from Karnataka, one of whom held a portfolio for women and child development, had to resign after being caught by the media watching porn in the local assembly, while it was in session. In response to the incident, Renuka Chowdhary, Congress Party member and a former minister for Women and Child Development, observed that [w]e live in a country where there already is this social mindset that women are disposable commodities and are seen as transferable properties. . . . It really is troubling that the people who are in positions of power and have the responsibility to change things actually have the same mindset and are busy watching porn. ( The Telegraph 2012) Renuka Chowdhary’s observation about the commodification of women in India assumes specific significance in the light of production and dissemination of what has been referred to as a rape culture within (and outside of) India.This rape culture has led to the proliferation of non-consensual porn (NCP) in the form of rape porn and revenge porn.

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There have been attempts to link rape and sexual assault with porn. For instance, in the atrocious rape of 5-year-old Gudiya, the accused stated on national TV that they watched porn films before raping the child. In a similarly appalling incident, another 5-year-old girl was gang-raped in East Delhi after the accused allegedly watched porn clips. According to police, both the accused drank and watched porn films on Manoj’s mobile phone at Pradeep’s house and then left for Manoj’s house in Gandhinagar around 6 pm. They drank again on their way to Manoj’s house and reportedly made up their mind to have sex (India Today 2013). It is not possible to derive from this that all rapes, whether of minors or adults, are porn-driven. It is, however, possible to derive from reports that there are many cases of rape and sexual assault. An NDTV report dated May 5, 2018, simply stated that “over one lakh cases of sexual assault on minors are still pending in trial courts, according to an affidavit filed by the government in Supreme Court” (Kapoor 2018). According to government figures in 2017, a child is raped every 15 minutes in the country, and unfortunately, the conviction rate for child rape in 2016 was under 30 per cent. While the latest Ordinance of the Government (April 22, 2018) asks for the death penalty for child rapists and a two-month period for investigation and a two-month period for trial, the government concedes that even with the earlier timeline of one year for POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012) crimes, the pendency rate is very high: 90 per cent of the cases did not reach the conviction stage. The impetus for the government ordinance came principally from the Kathua and Unnao rape incidents. In the 2018 communally inflected Kathua case, an 8-year-old girl, Asifa Bano, who belonged to the Bakherwal nomadic community, was kidnapped, drugged, held in a temple premises at Kathua, repeatedly gangraped over a week and then killed. The main accused, Sanji Ram, was the priest of the family temple where the incident took place. He had the support of the Bar Association of Kathua district which supported the Hindu Ekta Munch which in turn has the support of the ruling BJP. The bar association protested on the court premises and, despite massive police presence, stopped Crime Branch officials from entering the court to file the charge sheet against the rapists. Eventually, the Central Bureau of Investigation took over the probe and filed the charge sheet. A total of eight people, including four police officers, have been arrested so far. Two of the police officers were held on charges of attempting to destroy evidence and cover up the incident. It is not known whether there are any videos of this particular rape, but the victim’s name and ‘Kathua Rape Victim’ were trending on key porn websites. It is this relation between sexual violence and porn that is deeply disturbing and also evident in several cases. Whether or not porn inspires rape and sexual assault, rape videos are regularly being circulated as porn in India. Recent newspaper reports have noted the rise in rape videos across the country. The Al Jazeera report “A Dark Trade: Rape Videos for Sale in India” (Ashraf 2016) foregrounds the ways in which “rape videos” are cheaply and easily available.These videos, which are often stolen off phones at phone repair shops, are used to blackmail women. In 2015, Sunitha Krishnan took the issue of circulating rape videos as porn before the Supreme Court. Commenting on the

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videos, she noted that “[i]n another video, spanning 8.5 minutes, there is a gang-rape of a girl by five culprits who are shown smiling, cracking jokes, recording the act and taking photos while they go about sexually assaulting the victim” (Nair 2016). On March 15, 2019, the video of a gang rape of an Odia girl along with sexually explicit photographs of her were uploaded on social media. Following the ongoing Pollachi sexual assault cum blackmail incident in February 2019,12 the police have reportedly found dozens of videos showing women being abused on the suspects’ mobile phones (Stalin 2019; Sukumar 2019). Commenting on the spurt in gang rapes and the videographing of these, in Uttar Pradesh, activist Sunitha Krishnan notes that [i]n shops across UP, which has witnessed a spurt in gang rapes, including the sensational Bulandshahar case, gang rape videos are being sold in the hundreds, perhaps thousands, every day. Depending on the exclusivity of the clips, which are 30 seconds to even 5 minutes long, they are priced anywhere from Rs50 to Rs150. (Nair 2016) The issue here then is not simply the mainstreaming of pornography, but the deeply problematic ways in which porn in certain contexts is being severely inflected by the logic of rape. Robert Jensen, describing much of what characterises digital pornography and not specifically “rape pornography”, notes that these acts: are saturated with cruelty toward women; they sexualize the degradation of women. While most of us would agree those are negative emotions, they are powerful emotions. And in a patriarchal society in which men are conditioned to see themselves as dominant over women, such cruelty and degradation fit easily into men’s notions about sex and gender. . . . They tell me that [sic] there’s no cruelty in a woman’s being penetrated in an aggressive fashion by three men who call her a whore throughout the sex. They tell me that when five men thrust into a woman’s mouth to the point she gags, slap a woman in the face with their penises, and ejaculate into her mouth and demand that she swallow[s] it all, there’s no degradation. (Jensen 2008) As I noted at the start, Kamlesh Vaswani, who has petitioned for a total ban on pornography, argued the explicit link between pornography and harm – specifically gender-based violence, rape and assault – and social, cultural and moral degradation. The petition drew its argument from, among other things and sources, the alleged confessions of rapists who stated that they watched porn before raping Jyoti Singh. The problem with this argument is that it discounts the fact that rape as a form of patriarchal sexual violence predates porn. The ban then seemed to be more in line with the thinking that porn somehow perpetuates sexual violence is lip service to resolving the issues of violence against women and can only

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appeal to the morality of the misogynistic Indian who doesn’t want to recognize the entrenched rape culture in our society. (Sharma 2015) However, there is little gainsaying that Jenson’s observations, like Sunitha Krishnan’s and Patel’s are valid: there is a steep rise in sexualised images of degradation and violence against women.13 These may be of various kinds. Erika Lust, a self-identified “feminist” pornographer, observes that mainstream porn is being made mainly by chauvinistic men, and that it degrades women. She goes on to add that it functions as sex education for both boys and girls and therefore also becomes an inculcation into specific modes of gendering.14 Despite her acknowledgement of a set of grave feminist concerns regarding mainstream porn, it is significant that her films continue to feature debasing mainstream tropes that Jenson identifies, for example, the “money shot”. Again, there are locally made videos of Indian women who clearly do not know that they are being filmed. In these, the secret staging is often a part of (the pleasures of) the video. In many of the videos in which women are being filmed with their knowledge but without their consent, they can be seen weeping and protesting continually. There are also clips of women who keep trying to hide their sometimes-tearful faces while being filmed. In this sense, at least in the Indian case, it is not so much that porn is the basis, or cause, of sexual violence, as that sexual violence seems to be the basis of (the production of) porn. So even while there may not be any direct causal relationship between rape and pornography, the pornographisation of rape that has increased post-digitalisation and intensified Internet penetration has nuanced and complicated the link between porn and rape.

Pornography and/as liberation? The mainstreaming, normalisation and glamorisation of pornography and the “unprecedented flirtation with the codes and conventions of the pornographic” (McNair 2013, 12) has been observed by scholars such as Sheila Jeffreys (2009), Gail Dines (2011) and Jeff Hearn (2009). This mainstreaming has gone hand in hand with the contemporary popular neoliberal mythology that pornography and the commercialisation of sex and sexualities are signs of liberation and indices of freedom and agency. There are at least four related reasons for this development. The first is that sexuality and desire have been the target of capitalist entrepreneurship – the business of transforming desire and sexuality into commodities – for a while, both directly as sex toys, porn, etc., and indirectly, as in advertising (see, e.g., McNair 2013, 5). Second, commercialised sex is being spoken of as revolutionary and liberatory. Ekman notes that historian of ideas Susanne Dodillet speaks of commercialised sex as “an active choice on the part of a strong-willed woman”, those selling sex are “business-minded individuals” and “feminists who can show other women the way” (Ekman 2013, 8). They are thus role models for today’s women, and prostitution is consequently “an enterprise with revolutionizing potential” (8). In a similar vein, Australian scholars Chris Ryan and Michael C. Hall completely

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bypass the materialities of practices and multi-layered structural inequities, and claim rather outrageously that the meeting between a western man and a Thai woman in a Bangkok brothel is an encounter between two marginalised people, two outsiders, “two liminal peoples, peoples separated from the mainstream of society” (2001, 22). But then scholars of a libertarian bent have typically tended to argue that the sale of sex is an agentic act and should not be regarded as a form of victimhood. The libertarian understanding that pornographic representations have the potential to debunk heteronormative and heterosexual regimes and have a sexually emancipatory effect on consumers and society, while valid and even important, is incomplete. It has led to the popular treatment of porn as a purely representational phenomenon, a “symbolic”, “transgressive fantasy”, disconnected from “real sex or violence” and its conditions of production. Pornographers get constructed as exemplary feminists and the pornographised as model agents. Ekman (2013) has remarked on how this exemplifies a reparative reading of a situation in which what is actually the coercive commodification of the self is seen as a properly agentic and empowering act. In fact, it is necessary to see that in the ceaselessly multiplied desires on screen, we find not just a validation of the Foucauldian perverse, but the ways in which our desires have been “(pre)scripted in and by the grand historical metatext of late technocapitalism” (Uebel 1999), which, one may safely say, rests on the continued affirmation and consolidation of long-sedimented and gendered distributions of power and privilege. The near-omnipresence of the money shot in electronic porn alerts us to the fact that cyberspace and cyberporn do not always function as liberatory modes of expression or radical modes of desire. Rather, they also serve to modulate, limit and even proscribe some forms of desires that may arguably be designated liberatory. In short, there is an enduring coincidence among social power, visibility, representational power and validation. As Hearn (2009) notes, Internet and Communication Technologies are not neutral, but exist within and create material, social and sexual relations.The third cause, which possibilises the second and the fourth, is the dislocation of porn from the chain of commercial-sexual activities of which it is otherwise an integral part. This links to the fourth cause, which is the understanding of porn purely as a set of representational practices, with no reference to the conditions of its production, which will be elaborated shortly. It must be said here that the excesses of porn are a particularly difficult phenomenon to address, as porn falls within the fields of both representation and of commercialised sex. It has thus been meaningfully argued that since porn is constituted within the field of representation, it is to be covered by free speech laws and therefore enjoy all the consideration that expression enjoys, including freedom from regulation and bans. This stand seeks to safeguard the individual’s right to privacy and freedom from state surveillance and excesses. This argument is crucial and of particular importance in view of the fact that governments are growing increasingly conservative, and are eating away at these rights. Consequently, while the right to privacy needs to be stringently defended, matters become complicated when it extends from the consumer’s right to use-consume pornography to the pornographer’s right to make, distribute and monetise pornography, especially when that

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pornography is violent or misogynistic, or when rape videos are circulated as porn, and when pornography is understood to be part of a chain of commercialised sex. Often, as in the Indian case, access to and use-consumption of porn, which are legal, are separated from production and dissemination, which remain illegal.The importance of the argument that mere access to and use-consumption of sexually explicit material cannot be criminalised is crucial. But for the democratic impulse inherent here to be fully asserted, pornography must also be recognised as a form of paid sex and, therefore, in need of investigation into and attention to the many implicit, explicit and complex questions of the power relations involved, the exercise of such power, questions of bodily integrity, choice and consent, issues around work conditions, exploitation, violence and even criminality. To ignore the understanding of it as purchased sex and sex work is to misread the phenomenon and to expose the already precarious and gendered labour to the risks of an unregulated and possibly violent or criminalised operational place. This becomes especially significant in the context of ever-evolving transnational interactive communication technologies, the recognition that the distinction between sex work and pornography is decisively blurred, and new and emerging information about the porn industry. For example, the TAMPEP 2009 study on migration and sex work noted that the sex industry is linked to human trafficking, which is in turn associated with transnational organised crime. TAMPEP also observed “a strong bi-directional link between pornography and prostitution” (2009), which indicated that prostitution and pornography are interlinked, transnational businesses that tend to be connected to organised crime and criminals. It went on to note that approximately 70 per cent of the prostitutes in the EU are migrants – some of whom may be undocumented migrants – who, riskily, “might have to cross borders many times to provide sex services in different countries” (Schulze et al. 2014, 8). The situation is similar in the case of the “traditional trafficking of Nepalese girls to Indian brothels” (Joffres et al. 2008, 2) for commercial sexual exploitation. Joffres et al. also remark the presence of such practices in Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Uttaranchal and Hyderabad. What is common in all cases is that the women tend to be poor and precarious. TAMPEP’s observation about the bidirectional links between pornography and prostitution reinforces the understanding that porn must be treated as commercialised sex and not as representation alone; while the link between precarious persons and commercialised sex advises us as to the vulnerability of the constituencies involved in high risk occupations like the sale of sex. These constituencies include both men and women, but the porn industry typically remains male-centric both in its organisation and in its orientation, placing women at risk in a host of ways. Furthermore, sex work of any kind is very low in the hierarchies of occupations worldwide and also has a history of being correlated with other forms of marginalisation and precarity. Kempadoo (2016) has explored the ways in which many women, although coerced and violated in the global sex trade, are simply like migrant women who seek to make a livelihood for themselves and their families in a world shaped by unequal relations of power along various axes. The criminalisation of the women engaged in activities involving sex work, particularly when they

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are migrants, magnifies their precarity. Already risky occupations are further compromised by the self-seeking commercial investment in these, the global neoliberal ethos, policies and practices that have promoted high degrees of inequality, violence and precarity in work and life. Agathangelou (2004) has shown how peripheral states such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Rumania, Russia and Belarus facilitate the migration of female domestics and sex workers to more affluent and economically dominant countries, thereby marking the complicity of states in the dynamics of such mobility and labour practices. In the case of India, the production and dissemination of porn are banned, and women are frequently being coerced and tricked into being a part of sex tapes. According to (Sudhir 2016), India has emerged as a supply centre to meet an ostensible “global demand” for videos of this kind. The women involved typically tend to be from poor and marginalised segments. Agathangelou (2004) remarks on the ways in which the reproductive labour of women – where reproductive labour includes both the labour power and the actual (commodified) self of the worker – is exploited and commodified by income-rich states within the International Political Economy. Porn may be seen to articulate social prejudices and hierarchies in the syntax of desire and desirability: sexualising and eroticising inequalities and prejudice. We see therefore, that the neoliberal ethos is imbricated in emotional and intimate lives, and ascribes value to subject-bodies and the labour they perform.This is particularly significant for the understanding of how both globalisation and capitalism “impact directly and often violently on the bodies of actual people” (in Pettman 2000, 52). These processes are inscribed on and reproduced by bodies (Penttinen 2008). Thus, while commercial sex may be viewed by some as being outside the heteronorm (which it is not), it in fact reproduces gendered, sexualised, racialised, communal, international and classed power equations. Furthermore, triumphalist narratives about sex and porn workers can obscure the risks and exploitation involved in the porn industry. Many porn stars comment on their need for drugs and alcohol to sustain them while they do porn to combat the fatigue or the pain or the experience itself.15 They have gone on to draw attention to the fact that in gonzo porn, for instance, there are no condoms, and it tends to be more violent, extreme, risky and episodic. The notion that sex is about pleasure and not about risk at all remains a powerful false persuasion. The situation in India regarding the conditions in which what passes for porn is being made is troubling. Unlike the situation in economically affluent and socially more equitable democratic societies, in India, where the production and distribution of pornography is banned and therefore illegal and criminalised, and its use-consumption highly stigmatised, and the shame of discovery too damaging for victims, there is no regulation and little remedy. Consequently, exploitative financial, health and labour practices continue in a business that is underground and very grey. We have already seen how many locally made amateur productions show explicit coercion, intimidation, violence and brutality, with no signs of being simulated or acted. According to Mr. Sharaff, Additional Commissioner, Indian Police Service, Andhra Cadre in a personal communication, the largest number of complaints to the police

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in Andhra Pradesh, on the matter of sexual offences, pertains to revenge porn. He remarked that many young women’s lives were destroyed when clips of them were either uploaded or circulated in an MMS format. There was sufficient corroboration of the added observation that there are several clips of sexual acts in which the woman’s absence of consent is unmistakable. While viewing such (commonplace) clips, the spectator may be confronted or overwhelmed by his or her complicity in the violence of that particular mode of production. However, the possibility that such forms of violence may simply be seen as routine or even erotic was evident in the Raj Shetye incident. Protections and remedies are very difficult given the extreme stigma around both sex and pornography, and this prevents victims from filing complaints under the Criminal Procedure Code. However, rather paradoxically, this stigmatisation has instead resulted in the fact that a very large proportion of purportedly “Indian” porn on the Internet is in the form of videos made either (a) secretly, with hidden cameras, and without the knowledge (let alone consent) of those being filmed, or (b) with the knowledge of the participants, but under duress – that is, filmed rape, molestation, sexual harassment – and uploaded and circulated as pornography. The precarity of the populations who are thus targeted and the methods adopted to ensure the supply of such services must be factored into an assessment of pornography as a phenomenon. Such exploitative and violent practices, and the representations of them, only serve to exacerbate the cultures of sexual violence, as they become the most pervasive kind of sexual representation available to the user-consumers (especially frequent ones) of “Indian” pornography. The argument advanced in this piece is not that all porn is violent or that porn necessarily encourages violence. It is rather that – notwithstanding arguments that pornography and the commercialisation of sex and sexualities are signs of liberation and indices of freedom – gender and sexual violence are inherent to the commodification of women’s bodies and that capitalistic political economic regimes tend to be gendered and encourage both commodification and gender-based violence. It is therefore imperative to locate pornography within the political economy of its transactions and to think about it as a link in the chain of commercialised sex and not as a disconnected and purely representational phenomenon.

Notes 1 On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, Jyoti Singh, was fatally assaulted, tortured and gang raped in a moving bus by six men. She died 13 days later. The incident caused widespread national and international protests and condemnation. It led to several state and central governmental initiatives to ensure the safety of women. It also resulted in the formation of a judicial committee by the central government which was headed by Justice J.S.Verma. The committee was required to submit a report within 30 days to suggest amendments to criminal law that would, among other things, ensure that sexual assault cases are dealt with sternly. 2 Pulp fiction writer Chetan Bhagat’s tweet exemplifies this: “Don’t ban porn. Ban men leering, ogling, brushing past, groping, molesting, abusing, humiliating and raping women. Ban non-consent. Not sex” (quoted in Majumder 2015). 3 See, for instance, DNA Web Team (2015).

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4 Paul Fishbein of the Adult Video News Media Network (quoted in Johnston 2007). Note also that even though the child pornography industry in the US, being illegal, does not report its annual sales to the Securities and Exchange Commission, US government analysts in 2006 said that the child porn business makes about $20 billion a year (Bialik 2006). 5 In her cautionary note, Kamala Kempadoo points out that it is virtually impossible to come up with precise figures for the informal activities, and specifically those that constitute “sex work”, “yet when it comes to sex work and prostitution, few eyebrows are raised and the figures are easily bandied about without question” (2003, 144). However, it is necessary to note that precise figures are hard to come by in any research into grey areas. See, for instance, Crowther-Dowey and Fussey (2013). 6 Throughout this article – and in this investigator’s work in general – the term “user-consumer” is used to indicate the subject as dual receiver of porn, undertaking two related but distinct actions, viz., the physiological act of using the physical object of porn (film, book, photograph, picture) and the ideological act of consuming its representations. 7 “Convergence refers to a range of phenomena and a series of changes that characterise the communications industry in particular. It refers broadly to the processes of (a) technological convergence [. . .] the merger of delivery platforms and the corresponding application and protocol convergence that this involves [. . .] (b) institutional convergence which includes changed business models and the convergence of industries (computing, communications and entertaining)” (Gabriel 2013, 201–2). For a discussion of convergence, see Jenkins (2006), Budki (2008) and Gabriel (2013). 8 See, for instance, Kumar (2006). See also Srivastava (2007). 9 The case of three Indian members of parliament from the ruling party, the BJP, having to resign from parliament in 2012 because they were caught by media cameras watching porn in parliament, illustrates this point. See The Telegraph (2012). 10 “Sin” and “vice” stocks are stocks that profit from investing in industries that are considered to be either unethical or undesirable such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, gaming, weapons and adult entertainment. Some examples of these are the Ladenburg Thalmann Gaming and Casino fund, Fidelity Select Leisure and Seven Deadly Sins Portfolio. See Sloan (2007) and Elmerraji (2012). 11 See Duits and Zoonen (2006), who speak of aspects of this as “porno-chic”. 12 In the Pollachi incident, a woman survivor told police the men – whom she knew – trapped her in a car on 12 February, before removing her top without her permission and filming her on their mobile phones. They then warned her if she did not cooperate, they would release the video. They used the video to blackmail her for two weeks, till she eventually told her parents and the police. See, for instance, BBC News (2019). 13 Vibhuti Patel remarks on the post-Nirbhaya discussions around the influence of pornography in valorising sadomasochistic relations between men and women. She says that “[t]he masses, spanning four generations, have started discussing misogyny, barbarism, the influence of pornography in valorising sadomasochistic relations between men and women” (Patel 2013). 14 See Lust’s TEDx talk “It’s Time for Porn to Change” (2014). 15 See, for instance, Crissy Moran’s “Porn: When the Camera Stops” (2010). |

Works cited ABC News. 2010. “Porn: When the Camera Stops.” ABC/Nightline, watch?v=sZTKLFvDglE. (accessed 25 August 2019). Agathangelou, Anna. 2004. The Global Political Economy of Sex: Desire, Violence, and Insecurity in the Mediterranean Nation-States. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Ashraf, Asad. 2016. “A Dark Trade: Rape Videos for Sale in India.” Al Jazeera, October 31, 2016.

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Fisher, William A. and Azy Barak. 2001. “Internet pornography: A social psychological perspective on Internet sexuality.” The Journal of Sex Research 38 (4): 312–323. Available from: social_psychological_perspective_on_Internet_sexuality (accessed 6 April 2019). BBC News. 2019. “Pollachi ‘Sex Blackmail Gang’Victim’s Name Revealed.” March 15, 2019. Bialik, Carl. 2006. “Measuring the Child-Porn Trade.” The Wall Street Journal Online, April 18, 2006. Budki, Sandeep. 2008. “BROADCAST: Convergence Is the Key.” Goldbook 2008 Edition. (accessed 6 July 2018). Chmielewski, Dawn C., and Claire Hoffman. 2006. “Porn Industry again at the Tech Forefront.” Los Angeles Times, April 19, 2006. business/fi-porn19. Coopersmith, Jonathan. 1998. “Pornography, Technology and Progress.” Icon 4: 94–125. Crowther-Dowey, Chris, and Pete Fussey. 2013. Researching Crime: Approaches, Methods and Application. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Dines, Gail. 2011. Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. Dines, Gail, and Jean M. Humez, eds. 2011. Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Critical Reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE. DNA Web Team. 2015. “No Ban on Watching Porn in Private: Government Tells Supreme Court.” DNA, August 10, 2015. Duits, Linda, and Liesbet van Zoonen. 2006. “Headscarves and Porno-Chic.” European Journal of Women’s Studies 13 (2): 103–17. Ekman, Kajsa Ekis. 2013. Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self.Translated by Suzanne Martin Cheadle. Melbourne: Spinifex Press. Elmerraji, Jonas. 2012. “5 Sinful Stocks to Buy.” The Street, April 11, 2012. www.thestreet. com/story/11491428/1/5-sinful-stocks-to-buy-for-2012-gains.html. Gabriel, Karen. 2013. “Changing Frames: Globalisation and Convergence in Bombay Cinema.” In Mass Media and Society in Post-Globalization Period: Issues & Approaches, edited by P.K. Bandhopadhaya and Rajesh Das, 197–214. Kolkata: Union Bridge Press. ———. 2016. “Sexuality, Mediation, Commodification:The Business of Representation.” In Sentiment, Politics, Censorship:The State of Hurt, edited by Rina Ramdev, Sandhya Devesan Nambiar, and Debaditya Bhattacharya, 207–23. New Delhi: SAGE. ———. 2017. “Power of Porn Cultures.” In The Transnational Institute Sixth Annual State of Power Report, edited by Nick Buxton, 1–12. Amsterdam:Transnational Institute. www.tni. org/stateofpower2017. (accessed 25 August 2019). Gupta, Apar. 2016. “3 Legal Cases That Threaten Open Internet.” DailyO, September 20, 2016. Hearn, Jeff. 2009. “Hegemony, Transnationalisation and Virtualisation: MNCs and ICTs.” Conference Paper. Changing Men and Masculinities in Gender Equal Societies. Roskilde University. (accessed July 2016). India Today. 2013. “Gudiya’s Rapists Watched Porn on Mobile before Brutalizing Her.” April 23, 2013.–23. Jeffreys, Sheila. 2009. The Industrial Vagina: The Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade. London: Routledge.

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Jenkins, Henry. 2006. Convergence Culture:Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press. Jensen, Robert. 2008. “The Cruel Boredom of Pornography.” Countercurrents, October 20, 2008. Joffres, C., E. Mills, M. Joffres, T. Khanna, H. Walia, and D. Grund. 2008. “Sexual Slavery without Borders: Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation in India.” International Journal for Equity in Health 7 (22): 1–11. Johnson, Jennifer A. 2011. “Mapping the Feminist Political Economy of the Online Commercial Pornography Industry: A Network Approach.” International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics 7 (2): 189–208. Johnston, David Cay. 2007.“Indications of a Slowdown in Sex Entertainment Trade.” The New York Times, January 4, 2007. html. Kapoor, Sonal Mehrotra. 2018. “Why Speedy Probe and Fast-Track Trial for Child Rapes Seem a Far Cry.” NDTV, May 5, 2018. Kara, Siddharth. 2009. Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery. New York: Columbia University Press. Kempadoo, Kamala. 2001. “Freelancers, Temporary Wives, and Beach-Boys: Researching Sex-Work in the Caribbean.” Feminist Review 67: 39–62. ———. 2003. “Globalizing Sex Workers’ Rights.” Canadian Women’s Studies 23 (3): 143–50. ———. 2016. “Revitalizing Imperialism: Contemporary Campaigns against Sex Trafficking and Modern Slavery.” Cadernos Pagu 47. 0008. (accessed August 2018). Kumar, Amit. 2006. “The Lower Stall: The Sleaze-Sex Film Industry in India, an Introduction.” Spectator 26 (2): 27–41. Kumar, V. Sanjeev. 2018. “Internet Economy to Surge to $500 Billion by 2022.” The Hindu Business Line, March 9, 2018. Laing, Mary. 2015. “Queer in/and Sexualities.” In Queer Sex Work, edited by Mary Laing, Katy Pilcher, and Nicola Smith, 13–23. New York: Routledge. Lust, Erika. 2014. “It’s Time for Porn to Change.” TEDxVienna. watch?time_continue=7&v=Z9LaQtfpP_8. (accessed June 2018). Majumder, Sanjoy. 2015. “India Porn Ban: How the Government Was Forced to Reverse Course.” BBC News, August 8, 2015. McNair, Brian. 2013. Porno? Chic! How Pornography Changed the World and Made It a Better Place. New York: Routledge. Menon, Anoop. 2018. “How Sick Are We? In a Shocker, J&K Kathua Rape Victim’s Name Emerges as Top Search on Porn Website.” The New Indian Express: Indulge, April 16, 2018. Miller, Michael E. 2015. “California Porn Stars Could Soon Have to Wear Protection. Eye Protection, That Is.” The Washington Post, May 29, 2015. news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/29/california-porn-stars-could-soon-have-to-wearprotection-eye-protection-that-is/?utm_term=.dd451b0e9aaf. Mitter, Sohini. 2018. “India Attempts to Curb Porn – Is It Working and What It Means for Reliance Jio and Other Telcos.” YourStory, November 6, 2018. https://yourstory. com/2018/11/india-bans-porn-working-means-reliance-jio-telcos.

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Nair, Harish V. 2016. “Activist Sunitha Krishnan Likely to Raise Issue of Rape Videos in Supreme Court.” India Today, August 22, 2016. sunitha-krishnan-rape-vidoes-uttar-pradesh-336450-2016-08-22. Nayar, Pramod K. 2010. An Introduction to New Media and Cybercultures. London: Blackwell. Pandey, Sidharth, and Deepshikha Ghosh. 2015. “ ‘Can’t Be Present in Everyone’s Bedroom’: Centre to Supreme Court on Banning Porn Sites.” NDTV News, August 10, 2015. www. Patel, Vibhuti. 2013. “Gender under the Spotlight in India.” East Asia Forum, February 2, 2013. ———. 2014. “Campaign against Rape by Women’s Movement in India.” Deporte, Esuli, Profughe (DEP) 24: 36–47. Patel.pdf. (accessed July 2018). PBS-Frontline. 2002. “The Mainstream Corporations Profiting from Pornography.” www. (accessed August 2019). Penttinen, Elina. 2008. Globalization, Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: Corporeal Politics. London: Routledge. Pettman, J.J. 2000. “Writing the Body: Transnational Sex.” In Political Economy, Power and the Body, edited by Gillian Youngs, 52–71. Basingstoke: Palgrave. PTI. 2018. “Mobile Internet Users in India Seen at 478 Million by June.” The Hindu Business Line, March 29, 2018. Ram, Arun. 2006. “The Big Screen, Sleaze Shifts Online.” DNA, December 3, 2006. www. Ryan, Chris, and Michael C. Hall. 2001. Sex Tourism: Marginal People and Liminalities. London: Routledge. Schulze, Erika, Sandra Isabel, Peter Mason, and Maria Skalin. 2014. Sexual Exploitation and Prostitution and Its Impact on Gender Equality. Brussels: European Parliament. Sharma, Riddhima. 2015.“Rape Culture and Porn Ban in India.” Feminism in India, August 4, 2015. Siegel, Dina. 2009. “Human Trafficking and Legalized Prostitution in the Netherlands.” Temida 12 (1): 5–16. Sloan, Paul. 2007. “Getting in the Skin Game.” CNN Money, February 13, 2007. http:// index.htm. Srivastava, Sanjay. 2007. Passionate Modernity: Sexuality, Class, and Consumption in India. London: Routledge. Stalin, J. Sam Daniel. 2019. “In Pollachi Sex Scandal Video, Accused Describe How Women Were Targeted.” NDTV, March 14, 2019. Sudhir, T.S. 2016. “In India, Disturbing Rise of Rape Videos for Sale Is Keeping Victims from Reporting Crime.” The Huffington Post, November 6, 2016. www. Sukumar,Varun. 2019. “Pollachi Sex Scandal Rocks Tamil Nadu.” Sify News, March 15, 2019. hbia.html.

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TAMPEP. 2009. Netherlands Country Report. January 8, 2009. document/netherlands-country-report-2009. The Telegraph. 2012. “Three Indian MPs Caught ‘Watching Pornography on Smartphone in Parliament.” The Telegraph, February 8, 2012. news/asia/india/9069158/Three-Indian-MPs-caught-watching-pornography-on-smart phone-in-Parliament.html. Uebel, Michael. 1999. “Toward a Symptomatology of Cyberporn.” Theory and Event 3 (4). (accessed July 2018).


A Pakistani woman who ventures to write a memoir about personal experiences of physical or emotional violence faces a doubly daunting prospect.1 Firstly, to project her voice beyond a society that is the primary source of her oppression, she needs to have the language and means to reach a global audience. Secondly, this need places her in a vulnerable position because she has to deal with a post-9/11 commercial book industry in the western world that offers only two “Eurocentrically slanted slots” (Kahf 2006, 78) for Muslim women; regardless of the specificity of her personal experiences, the standardised package that reaches the readers once it goes through the publishing “machine” is either a “Victim Story” or an “Escapee Story” (78). The choice of writing in English has historically been regarded as an apt reflection of Macaulayism by nationalists in the previously colonised Indian subcontinent. By extension, Anglophone writers have often been categorised as native informants in the postcolonial period. In the aftermath of 9/11, the Pakistani readership has been particularly reactionary to women’s “human rights biographies” that are co-written with western journalists because their stories of violence are suspect to appropriation for political causes – also because such memoirs are thought to demonise their religious-cultural beliefs and magnify the failures of the state. The fact that there are very few publishers in Pakistan for fiction or autobiographical writing in English has played into the hands of western publishers. Bina Shah, one of the few English fiction writers published locally, talks about the woes of publishing in Pakistan and complains that “[p]ublishers and agents abroad are not that interested in Pakistani writing. . . . And once the ‘war on terror’ changes focus or locus, Pakistan will no longer be ‘terrorist flavour of the month’ and there will be even less attention on whatever commercial fiction might have served that need” (Shah quoted in Rafi 2013). However, while fiction authors have faced a

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scramble to publish internationally, Pakistani women who have been victims of violence have been actively solicited by western journalists to co-author their stories as testimonies. These neo-Orientalist writings are in demand by the publishing industry because the victim/escapee package feeds into the white saviour complex and enhances the book’s marketability in a period defined by the war on terror. There are important lessons to be learnt from the situation that Pakistani Muslim women writers find themselves in.They need to ensure control over their narrative: both in resisting the pressures of the editors about content, and if their works are translated, in securing a local bilingual interpreter to help the author “push against the rut of expectations” (Kahf 2006, 81). Since internationally published memoirs by Pakistani women are mostly co-authored because of language barriers, these writings are likely to become cogs in much bigger wheels of media imperialism and are often “mediated in complex ways” (Abu-Lughod 2013, 89). As a result, when these writings are read in book clubs or in other organised reading groups in the West as testimonies of female oppression, the narratives are often mistaken by the reading public to be irrefutable versions of truth. Thus, they fuel a “gendered Orientalism” and consolidate the idea of an “IslamLand” (Abu-Lughod 2013, 88) that has little basis. There is an equally negative role played by “merciless Muslim readers” who indiscriminately see every successful woman writer’s work as catering to western agendas and blame them for misrepresenting their culture and religion (Kahf 2006, 82). More specifically, in Pakistan, where a post-9/11 religious sentiment is heightened, reporting genuine women’s rights abuses has fanned a defensive version of Islamic nationalism. This ‘Talibanisation’ of opinion is not limited to the general public. Several prominent theorists and academics have also raised similar concerns about “sensationalist biographic tell-all books” (Zine, Taylor, and Davis 2007, 273) since 9/11 and the way narratives by and about Muslim women have been increasingly commodified, circulated and uncritically consumed, particularly in the West. As part of this process, a proliferation of books promising to take the Western reader “behind” or “beyond” the veil of Muslim society and “demystify” the lives of Muslim women have been fodder for a fetishistic voyeurism rooted in the Orientalist and Western feminist preoccupation with “unveiling” Muslim women’s bodies and lives . . . Playing the role of the “native informant” some Muslim feminist scholars have also framed their analysis of Islam and gender in imperialist feminist terms, thus replicating, rather than undermining, the colonial discourse on Muslim women. (Zine,Taylor, and Davis 2007, 272–73) The relationship between biographies of violence and human rights is more complex than the sum content of these narratives. The politics of their publication and marketing raise human rights concerns of a different sort than the kind that these

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books relate the stories of. Readers must therefore heed the complexity of these writings by recognising the double violation caused firstly, by the actual acts of violence, and secondly, by the violence of their voyeuristic packaging. I’m still trying to help out President Bush by tracking down Osama bin Laden. . . . But I did come across someone even more extraordinary than Osama. . . . I firmly believe that the central moral challenge of this century, equivalent to the struggles against slavery in the nineteenth century or against totalitarianism in the twentieth, will be to address sex inequality in the third world – and it’s the stories of women like Ms. Mukhtaran that convince me this is so. So although I did not find Osama, I did encounter a much more ubiquitous form of evil and terror: a culture, stretching across about half the globe, that chews up women and spits them out. (Kristof 2004, emphasis added) There are two issues that arise from newspaper articles like Nicholas Kristof ’s in The New York Times just quoted: firstly, western media’s authority in policing Third World countries under the umbrella of human rights; and secondly, its audacity in promoting a sweeping damnation of cultural values by highlighting one woman’s story. By connecting Osama bin Laden’s search with Mukhtar Mai’s discovery, and comparing both to be equally valid and important justifications for US intervention in Pakistan, this news report demonstrates how the embroilment of women in the war on terror has impacted the human rights discourse. Mukhtaran Mai’s memoir In the Name of Honour (2006) written in collaboration with Mary-Therese Cuny, with a foreword by Nicholas Kristof, can be taken as a case in point to unpack these issues. Mai’s story is that of a victim of a tribal honour code. Claimed to have been gang-raped by order of a tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s alleged relationship with a woman from another clan, Mukhtar Mai spoke out with the help of international media, fighting for justice in Pakistani courts. Her case brought to global attention the clash between religious and secular views of women’s rights in Pakistan’s ideological battlefield. Although her real story evoked countrywide outrage and sympathy in Pakistan, in a now familiar reception pattern, the printed memoir triggered a religious and nationalistic defensiveness on part of the Pakistani public.The book was denounced for serving western agendas, since it painted Pakistan as lawless and unmindful of human rights protection. Pakistanis opined that such books disregarded the many positive efforts of human rights activists within Pakistan, and once again glorified the intervention of international NGOs as white saviours, protecting “brown women” from the honour codes set in place by “brown men” (Spivak 1993, 93). Mukhtar Mai’s memoir is rightly regarded as an important human rights document because it charts the journey of a Pakistani woman’s fight for justice against rape. Nevertheless, without dismissing Mai’s courage or downplaying the horror of her rape, this memoir has also been criticised as a product of media sensationalism. Written jointly with the French journalist Marie-Therese Cuny, it has triggered

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several questions, from journalistic ethics in the initial reporting of this story to the violence caused in response to its publication. Mai is from Meerwala, a remote village in Northern Punjab in Pakistan, and belongs to the “peasant Gujar caste” (Mai and Cuny 2006, 1). The village is dominated by the local clan of Mastois, who are said to be powerful farmers. Although there are different versions of her gang-rape story, depending on the witness accounts from either side, the generally held opinion is that Mukhtar’s brother Shakur was accused of having had sexual relations with Salma of the Mastoi clan. According to Mukhtar’s memoir, her father Faridullah, her uncle and the Mullah of the local mosque were in despair because the Mastois were refusing reconciliation for Shakur’s crime in the village council. Shakur, however, claimed that his crime was fabricated after the Mastoi men who sodomised and beat him became scared that he was going to talk to the police. Mukhtar backs Shakur’s version in her book: My father went to file a complaint with the police. Outraged that a Gujar peasant has defied them by sending policemen to their very doorstep, the proud Mastois have slightly modified their story: now they accuse Shakur of raping Salma. . . . They claim that my brother has committed zina-bil-jabar, which in Pakistan means the sins of rape, adultery, or sexual relations without the sanctity of marriage. . . . Zina may be punishable by death, according to the Islamic code of sharia, so the police have locked up Shakur not only because he is accused of a serious crime but also to protect him from the violent Mastois, who want to take justice into their own hands. . . . We know that the Mastois always take their revenge on a woman of a lower caste. (Mai and Cuny 2006, 3–4) As a final chance to placate the members of the council, Mukhtar was told she was chosen to go and ask for forgiveness for her brother because she taught the Koran and was “respectable” (Mai and Cuny 2006, 2). However, on June 22, 2002, when she reached there, instead of reconciliation, there was retaliation. Four men dragged her into a barn, with the village looking on, and raped her repeatedly. She was then thrown outside the hut, “half-naked”, and the rapists tossed out her shalwar (local baggy trousers) after her (Mai and Cuny 2006, 10). A week after the incident, local imam Abdul Razzaq spoke against the horrific honour rape in his Friday sermon and brought Pakistani journalist Mureed Abbas to the village, who was the first to break the story in a local newspaper. Following widespread condemnation by the public as well as women activists within Pakistan, the international media caught up with Mai’s story when Owais Tohid of the BBC reported it on July 3, 2002, followed by Brian Bennett’s report in TIME Magazine on July 8, 2002. Mukhtar Mai became an international media sensation. Under pressure from both international media and human rights groups, the Pakistani government rushed the six accused Mastoi men through the faster anti-terrorism courts,2 sentencing all to death on August 31, 2002 (Mai and Cuny 2006, 73), which is an exceptionally quick processing time for the Pakistani criminal justice system. The government also offered

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Mukhtar Mai Rs.500,000 in compensation, with the help of which Mukhtar set up a girls’ school in her native village. Round-the-clock police protection was provided by the government, guarding her house because she feared retaliation from the Mastois. Three years later, following an appeal, five out of the six men charged originally were acquitted by the Lahore High Court in 2005, citing insufficient evidence as the reason. The punishment of the sixth man was reduced from a death sentence to life imprisonment. On March 11, 2005, the Federal Shariat Court in Pakistan intervened and took suo motto action to suspend the decision of the Lahore High Court on March 11, supported by the argument that Mai’s case should have been tried under the Islamic Hudood laws (BBC 2005). Within three days, the Supreme Court of Pakistan overruled the Federal Shariat Court, stating that it did not have the authority to challenge the decision of a High Court. Instead, the Supreme Court decided to hold a retrial in response to Mai’s appeal and suspended the men’s acquittal till the new hearings. However, in 2011, the Supreme Court, too, upheld the decision and acquitted the alleged rapists, causing outrage among human rights activists within and outside of Pakistan. Since then, Mukhtar Mai has achieved the impossible by affecting a change in Pakistan’s rape laws, leading to President Musharraf signing the Protection of Women Bill approved by the parliament on November 15, 2006. Under this bill, rape has been brought under the Pakistan Penal Code rather than the Islamic Sharia, and a judge can decide whether to try rape cases in a criminal court or an Islamic court. While this means that the punishment of adultery is more lenient if treated as a criminal offence, adultery is still punishable by death under the Hudood Laws. However, there are still loopholes in the application of this law, and the Islamic political parties are violently opposed to the bill, still fighting to get it overturned (Khan 2006; Hassan and Farooq 2016). Mai has also won numerous awards, both in Pakistan and internationally. Pakistan’s government awarded Mai the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal for bravery on August 2, 2005. On November 2 of the same year, Glamour magazine named Mukhtar Mai Woman of the Year (Walsh 2005). In April 2007, Mai received the North-South Prize (2006) of the Council of Europe for her contribution to human rights (Dawn 2006). Laurentian University in Canada awarded Mai an honorary doctorate degree in 2010 (Sudbury Star 2010). The New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof ’s politically charged foreword leads the reader into Mukhtar Mai’s translated memoir in English.While he repeatedly accuses the Pakistani government of being complicit in Mukhtar’s oppression and the injustices she has faced, the introduction does nothing to acknowledge the role of ordinary Pakistani men and women who helped her, nor local activists who fought for Mukhtar’s rights before the intervention of western figures like himself. Going a step further, Kristof insists that when he went to see Mukhtar in her village for a news report, “she took me aside and pretty much begged me to help”, after which he wrote a column that moved a deluge of American readers who wanted to come to her aid (Mai and Cuny 2006, ix). About local support he is less forthcoming, even though Mukhtar’s own account is appreciative of the help that

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she received from the Pakistani public. Rather, he uses blanket statements which suggest that violent practices such as nose-cutting are “a common Pakistani punishment administered to women in order to shame them forever”, and that all women who are raped generally kill themselves in Pakistan (Mai and Cuny 2006, xiv-xv). This view has trickled into subsequent media reports, resulting in irresponsible generalisations on the cultures of violence in Pakistan.3 In her article critiquing Kristof ’s book Half the Sky, which also features Mukhtar Mai’s story as one of many accounts of the oppression of Third World women, ­Sayantani DasGupta worries about “voyeurism and exotification: the way that global gender violence gets made pornographic” (2012) in such books and is concerned about the lack of clarity in the goal of such exhibition from which the reader receives nothing more than a sense of relief that their own lives are not as bad as the women in the book. Moreover, DasGupta is of the opinion that the act of watching suffering from a distance limits action rather than propelling it. As Susan Sontag so aptly words it: Compassion is an unstable emotion. It needs to be translated into action, or it withers. . . . If one feels that there is nothing “we” can do – but who is that “we”? – and nothing “they” can do either – and who are “they” – then one starts to get bored, cynical, apathetic. (2003, 99) The result of these accounts of gender-based injustice is that counterproductive formulations of some countries as lacking the capability or willingness to protect their women are pressed into the mind of readers. This only serves to “reinforce rather than undermine global patriarchy, while justifying paternalization, intervention – and even invasion of these ‘lesser’ places – by the countries of the Global North” (DasGupta 2012). Pakistani readers and academics alike have had reservations about the reporting of Mai’s story and the politicisation of her memoir. Fawzia Afzal-Khan, for instance, shares an anxiety with other scholars who reside and work in the Global North about “the circulation of orientalist tropes” about Muslim women which is the performative – that is to say, iterative – trope of the individual heroine, fighting bravely against a uniformly and always-already patriarchal, oppressive culture coded this way because of its adherence to Islam, exemplifies a (faux) feminism that undergirds and contributes to Islamophobia and the concomitant military adventurism in Muslim lands by the US and its allies. . . . Such a “feminism”, therefore needs to be recognized and unmasked, clearing the path to more progressive futures. (Afzal-Khan 2015, 153) Such opinions have been labelled as non-progressive and defensive. However, criticism of how Mai’s story has been publicised offers important insights and must be

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taken seriously. Mai herself is a double victim: firstly, of a crime against her body; and secondly, the subsequent commodification of her ordeal. In The Problem of Speaking for Others, Linda Alcoff points out that when people in positions of privilege take on the voice for an underprivileged group, the result is only a reinforcement of the oppression they are trying to speak against (1991, 7), and [w]hen writers from oppressed races and nationalities have insisted that all writing is political the claim has been dismissed as foolish, or grounded in ressentiment, or it is simply ignored; when prestigious European philosophers say that all writing is political it is taken up as a new and original “truth”. . . . The rituals of speaking that involve the location of speaker and listeners affect whether a claim is taken as a true, well-reasoned, compelling argument, or a significant idea. (1991, 13) The reservation of Pakistanis about women’s memoirs in which western women do the speaking for them is often dismissed as the reaction of a nation unwilling to promote change, and its leadership is blamed for propagating this view. For instance, Kristof gives two reasons for the Pakistani government’s grievance with Mukhtar’s story in his foreword, at least one of which reads like childish attention seeking on the part of the government. Firstly, he writes, “they feel she is displaying Pakistan’s dirty laundry in public, embarrassing her country” and secondly, that “they are resentful that an uneducated peasant woman from Punjab village is celebrated as a hero, getting more attention than they are” (Mai and Cuny 2006, x; emphasis added). This view infantilises the Pakistani government and questions its decisionmaking ability. Although President Parvez Musharraf responded to questions about Mukhtar Mai’s alleged detention by the Pakistani government in his official blog “Write to the President”, admitting his high-handedness in stopping Mai’s travel to Washington for a conference, he clarified that “in [Mai’s] case I felt that Pakistan was being singled out without taking into consideration the government’s efforts to assist in her ordeal” (Musharraf 2005). Kristof ’s foreword reflects this because he chooses to ignore the many comments in Mukhtar’s story about the Pakistani community being aware of, and willing to counter problems like rape through their own initiative without being made to feel like a helpless Third World nation relentlessly chastised by the international media. As both Kahf (2006) and Yu (2010) point out, the supportive role of Mukhtar’s father, the village imam, the judge who spoke with Mukhtar and the Pakistani journalist who first reported her story were all overlooked in media reports. Madiha Kark’s study of Mukhtar Mai’s rape case criticises the lack of context in the representation of her story by reporters. Kark’s scrutiny of articles in The Washington Post and The New York Times shows that most reporters made sweeping statements about the corruption and lack of serious initiative by the Pakistani police in acting against Mai’s rapists. Kark notices that “[m]issing from these reports were statistics and the poor salary structure of Pakistani police officials” (2013, 42)

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which are contributing factors to their limitations. Also missing, according to her, are the inclusion of prominent progressive voices of Pakistani politicians who spoke up in Mai’s defence, therefore giving a very “lopsided” view to the reporting (46). The sharp interest of western journalists in the publication of Mukhtar’s memoir is evident in “A Note to the Reader” by publisher Philippe Robinet at the start of the Washington Square Press edition. He writes that at the end of his “arduous journey” to the remote village of Meerwala, he and his colleagues met with Mukhtar Mai and her friend Naseem Akhtar, who were both “amazed that we had come all the way from France to suggest to Mukhtar Mai that we should write a book together, a book that would help her in her struggle” (Mai and Cuny 2006, v). Robinet also says that it took several hours of discussion till they all agreed that the book would be written in collaboration with Marie-Therese Cuny, “a writer who has long dedicated herself to the cause of women’s rights” and would be published in France (vi). Robinet admits that there were challenges in representation because “Mukhtar Mai speaks only Saraiki and can read or write no other language” (vi). The conversation between Cuny and Mai was facilitated by two other intermediaries, Mustafa Baloch and Saif Khan who translated Mai’s words to Cuny, who “transformed Mukhtar’s emotions, thought, and impressions into this book, despite the hurdle posed by the great disparity of language” (vi). The voice of Mai is thus thrice removed. According to Yu, one must heed the many layers of mediation that have been invested in Mai’s memoir because she “has been doubly silenced by both the local and global forces” (2010, 19). Mai’s narrative has been constructed in such a way by her mediators as to highlight the importance of feminist intervention from women’s rights groups from outside of her own culture, which is shown by the media to be destructively patriarchal. Afzal-Khan explains that a rescue narrative “enacts, through the image of the ‘suffering other’, not so much a politics of the other’s accessing her ‘voice’ but the presence and self-recognition of the western feminist who has rushed to that other’s rescue, whether through aid agencies, or through performances in the other’s name, or through ‘activist’ writing and publishing” (2015, 159). Afzal-Khan terms this “neo-liberal pity politics” (159) to be counterproductive in transnational feminist discourse.Yu makes a similar argument that, while media versions of Mai’s story are examples of neo-Orientalism in the way they sensationalise the barbarity of tribal communities in Pakistan, the memoir is reflective of gender politics in the way that it emphasises the role of female activists in helping Mai find her identity. Therefore, although Mai’s story is one of courage and resilience, her brave deed is shown to have been facilitated by women’s rights activists and “has provided ideal raw material for editors and publishers to craft a successful story and demonstrate the triumph of the human rights campaign” (Yu 2010, 14). One such local woman was Naseem Akhtar, the daughter of one of the policemen stationed outside Mai’s house. Akhtar was studying law and quickly intervened with an offer to take on the role of a mentor who would aid Mai’s quest for justice. In the memoir, she is shown as Mai’s saviour. Mai is convinced that “Naseem isn’t

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the kind of person who would have imposed herself on [her], like some of the people who’ve been attracted by [her] ‘notoriety’ ” (Mai and Cuny 2006, 83). In Mai’s memoir, Naseem becomes both a guide and a spokesperson for her. Naseem tells Mai: “You are like a baby” (85). Most of the stories of injustices to women in Pakistan and statistics from the reports of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan appear in the memoir as part of Naseem’s project to educate Mai (122). But Naseem’s effect on Mai in this story is dubious. Mai doubts her own strength in Naseem’s presence, for instance when she says, “[m]y lack of education cripples me. . . . But Naseem knows what to say” (86). This does not fully reflect Mai’s courage in having spoken up even when she did not have formal knowledge of law like Naseem does. Naseem’s is a feminist stance, one that is western in its ideas. Naseem’s assistance infantilises Mai and “affirms [Naseem’s] superiority at least in class and education by capitalizing on Mai’s disadvantages of being of victim status” (Yu 2010, 14–15). Mai’s transformation into a poster-woman for feminists in the West is achieved with Naseem’s help, whom she calls “my sister in struggle” (Mai and Cuny 2006, 89). Naseem accompanies her in travels outside Pakistan, and several images show her standing alongside Mai with famous figures such as Hilary Clinton.4 In a way, Mai has “helped” Naseem as much as she has aided Mai by providing her with projection and fame through the international media. It is important to note that while Mai and Cuny’s narrative acknowledges the positive support of several local men during and after the ordeal, Kristof ’s politically worded piece at the start of the memoir and the book club discussion questions included at the end defeat the purpose of giving Mukhtar agency by telling her own story in her own voice. Moreover, the title of the memoir in English, In the Name of Honor, brings into focus only the dark side of Pakistani culture of violence rather than highlighting the individual bravery of a woman who is a product of that same culture. While the media representations of this story are driven by cultural imperialism, the memoir has become a human rights document. Different narrated versions of the incident overshadow not only the purity of Mai’s voice but ignore the intersectional dimensions of the story as well. The voices of Salma, allegedly raped by Shakur, and Taj Mastoi, the mother of one of the alleged rapists, are absent in this memoir. With the media attention focused on Mukhtar’s rape, which horrified and captivated readers’ minds because it was “sanctioned” by a village council (Jirga) and as such was a blatant demonstration of the lapse in Pakistani state control, journalists conveniently forgot Salma, who also claims to have been raped by Mai’s brother Shakur. Both through the lack of clear evidence and her lack of agency in the larger international drama played out about Mukhtar’s rape, Salma has been silenced. If what she claims is true, hers is an individual incident of rape, and in this instance, seems to have been unjustly dismissed even by Mukhtar herself. Salma is just as likely to be tried in the Shariat Court for fornication if she cannot prove her rape, which makes her motives in fabricating a rape rather unlikely. In her memoir, Mukhtar almost casually suggests that Salma was a “wild” and “supposedly virgin” (Mai and Cuny 2006, 54; emphasis added) girl who very likely seduced her brother,

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saying that “[g]irls are supposed to keep their eyes modestly cast down, but Salma – she does whatever she wants. She is not afraid to be looked at, and she even makes sure she is!” (54). Mukhtar’s version of the story states that after Shakur was allegedly caught flirting with Salma, her clan kidnapped him, and afterwards beat and sodomised him as an act of revenge. The clan then fabricated a story about Shakur having had sexual relations with Salma so that he could be prosecuted and sent to jail. Mai adds that Salma “may well have said something provocative” to him to lead him on, and that she is sure her brother has done no wrong (14–15). Later, investigations have cast doubt over the truth of the whole story, including Salma’s rape, Shakur’s age at the time and the reasons leading up to Mukhtar’s rape. Salma Syed’s study about the lapse of journalistic ethics in the reporting of Mukhtar Mai’s story follows two versions of the incident. Syed examines Mukhtar’s version against the news editor Bronwyn Curran’s, reported in her book Into the Mirror:The Untold Story of Mukhtar Mai (2007). As the news editor of Agence France Press (AFP) in 2002, responsible for all news coverage from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Curran was the one who spread Mukhtar’s story internationally (Syed 2003, 29). Curran later revisited the case and after reading all the court trial procedures and evidences both from the initial trial in 2002, and the appeal trial in 2005, she concluded that Mukhtar’s story was reported irresponsibly by journalists, and that the actual events of July 22, 2002, were very different. Curran’s extensive report includes an interview with Taj Mastoi, the mother of Abdul Khaliq, one of the alleged rapists, who reveals that as a way of settling the score for Salma’s rape by Shakur (Mai’s bother), Mukhtar had been married in a verbal Nikah (Islamic marriage) ceremony to Abdul Khaliq on June 22, 2002, which was consummated during a three-night period before the reported rape incident (Curran quoted in Syed 2003, 33). Taj Mai was harshly critical of the role of the international media in glorifying Mukhtar’s one-sided story. Syed writes that, in November 2005, when Curran interviewed the Mastoi, it was three years after the actual rape and Taj Mastoi, whose two sons were accused of raping Mai, was a widow in her sixties. A third son was convicted of Shakur’s rape, and two of the sons-in-law were accused of sanctioning the gang rape of Mai, leaving Taj alone to support 18 children and women, earning “less than a dollar a day” (Curran quoted in Syed 32–33). Taj told Curran, “You come here to talk to me, but I don’t want to talk to anyone! There is no justice for me. No one wants to hear or tell our reality” (Curran quoted in Syed 33). In this sense, activists who struggle for human rights awareness only free one subaltern voice at the expense of doubly silencing other women like Taj Mastoi. As Syed observes, even “[w]hile Curran has excellent points in her book and casts doubt on the validity of the hastily thrown-together trial, at the end of the day there is also no proof that Mai was not raped and no proof that Salma Mastoi was raped” (68; emphasis in original). Pakistan’s legal system has been blamed for not providing speedy justice in cases of violence against women. Most of the commentary prompted by Mukhtar Mai’s account, which charts the failure of the judicial system in Pakistan, lacks an examination of the historical background of the penal code inherited by the country

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that caused a collision between imperial and nationalist patriarchal interests which mostly impacted women. While the fact remains that the Pakistani government has failed to address the loopholes in the system, a historically grounded reading of the context helps in identifying how the problems have arisen and what might be done to rectify the shortcomings that stand in the way of the provision of justice in rape and honour-killing cases. Wasti makes an interesting historical study of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) drafted by the British Government between 1835 and 1837 and enforced in 1860, which did not consider honour killing or honour-based revenge as “a cultural issue related to the Indian subcontinent, nor a socio-religious matter that belonged to a particular community or communities living in a particular geographical area but a universally practiced phenomenon wherein men kill the men who commit adultery with their wives” (Wasti 2010, 362). Before the promulgation of the new regulations (IPC) by the British, the Islamic Criminal Law practiced in India did not show any leniency towards rapists or honour-killers under Qisas law.5 However, the British “under the provision of the grave and sudden provocation” allowed leniency in such cases because it was agreed during the drafting that “a violation of honour may stir up suddenly such a great passion in the hearts of the men that may kill the one who by words or actions committed such indecencies” which in time made honour crime generally regarded as acceptable under the IPC (Wasti 2010, 364–65). This resulted in an institutionalisation of the Jirga system through a “hybrid law” in the 1860s which merged tribal arbitration with British law and a “supreme Jirga” was established, under which the “ ‘barbaric’ customs that British law had opposed now became ‘humane’ methods for mediation, including encouraging them to exchange women as a means to settling disputes” (Detho and Barras 2004, 21–22). After the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the IPC was adopted in Pakistan without alterations and became the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) (Wasti 2010, 370). But following the setting up of the Federal Shariat Courts by President Zia-ul-Haq under his Islamisation project in 1980, which incorporated select Islamic laws into Pakistani law, there has been some discrepancy between the laws of the two parallel court systems in Pakistan. This often causes confusion because “under section 338-F of the PPC judges are required to take guidance from the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah while deciding cases under qisas and diyat law, on the other hand the constitution obliges them to accept the decisions of the Supreme Court as binding on them” (Wasti 2010, 404). In Mai’s case, it is not so much direct negligence of a system that caused the delay in justice but the complicated structure of the judiciary in Pakistan. Karkera (2006) notes that the judicial system failure in Mai’s case must not be treated as separate from its larger historical context. Because Pakistani law is based in both Anglo-Saxon (High Court) and Islamic law (Shariat Court), Mai’s case is a good example of this struggle. Both the Lahore High Court and the Shariat Court had jurisdiction over the case because it involved a crime under Islamic law, and the judiciary had to resolve the conflict between the two types of laws. Furthermore, the authenticity of witness testimonies

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was compromised because they had to be translated from the vernacular in English and were signed by villagers who were mostly illiterate and could not verify the written content (Karkera 2006, 172). The problems of illiteracy, language barriers and translation cause much miscommunication and delay in court trials and in recording accurate testimonials of violence against women. Added to this problem was the continuing acceptance by the state of the Jirga system in the Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas that allowed tribal elders to administer quick justice in the border areas of Pakistan, making it difficult to decide the jurisdiction under which cases were handled. This is another colonial legacy. When the British took over Northern India, they found it hard to control the local tribes and adopted a “live and let live” policy in the tribal areas that held their separate legal status under Article 247 of the Pakistan Constitution until May 2018 (Ali and Rehman 2001, 44–45). The resulting complications can be seen in cases like Mai’s, exemplifying the multiple reasons why violence against women in Pakistan exists. Mukhtar Mai’s memoir has proved both problematic and beneficial. There is no doubt that it serves to “discover” tribal injustices and violence against women in remote parts of Pakistan that need to be brought to light and has prompted action on the part of the judiciary. Her bravery has helped other children in Meerwala get access to education for the first time through the schools Mai set up with help from the government of Pakistan and donations by international NGOs. Also, since memoir writing is an act of healing besides being a testimony to a crime (Peters 2012, 19), it has been a healing process for Mai herself because it has allowed her to purge her grief. However, the way this memoir is often read overlooks what Schaffer and Smith (2004) identify as the key role of localised stories of injustices that may not always employ a modernist human rights discourse as it is understood in the West and “can trouble established interpretations of rights violations, shift definitions and framings of human rights, and test modes of advocacy” (2004, 229). Also, as Mansfield (2012) points out, the revelation of truth by itself is not enough to trigger a positive response towards a solution. Rather, the uncovering of human rights violations results in strong (and sometimes violent) reactions justified by the mere act of revelation alone. Mai has lived in fear under police protection for years, even when she was celebrated for her bravery in revealing her story. The shame associated with recounting such an ordeal and living in the same society after the hype of her publicity died down is a difficult position to be in, and she is constantly under a threat of violence because of her action, even though she is admired as an icon for women’s rights. As an epilogue, it is pertinent to mention a more recent incident in Pakistan that almost mirrors Mai’s ordeal of more than a decade ago. On July 18, 2017, a panchayat of 40 men convened in Muzaffarabad after the rape of a 12-year-old girl. They ordered the initial rape victim’s brother to rape the 17-year-old sister of the accused as an act of retributive justice. After the incident, the parents of the second rape victim filed an investigation report to the police on July 20, followed by a second report on July 24 by the first victim’s family, although they had

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initially wished not to disclose the matter (Gabol 2017). The news was widely reported by the international media6 during the first week, and Pakistani police arrested 20 men charged with the crime. However, it remains to be seen whether justice will finally be served. Mai’s response to the recent rape in Geo News on July 27, 2017, was as follows: “My 15 years of struggle and effort to highlight this injustice has gone to waste. Nothing I said or did was of any use.” Thus, the question remains how long women will continue to be pawns to serve national and international agendas, and whether the discovery of their stories helps their cause, or simply exacerbates violence against the women whose stories are made public.

Notes 1 Some of the points mentioned here also appear in the author’s previously published chapter “Divergent Discourses: Human Rights and Contemporary Pakistani Anglophone Literature” (2018). 2 Anti-terrorism courts were established in Pakistan in 1997 under the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. 3 See, for example, news reports like this: “In Pakistan, it is customary for victims of rape to take their own life rather than shaming their family”, Laurentian said in a release. “In this instance, however, Mukhtar (Mai) Bibi found the courage to file a criminal complaint against the perpetrators, an act of bravery unheard of in one of the world’s most adverse climates for women.” (Sudbury Star 2010). 4 See, for instance, a photograph taken at the Girls Learn International Summit in 2006. 5 “Qiṣāṣ (retribution) is concerned with crimes against the person such as homicide, infliction of wounds and battery. Punishment by retribution is set by law but the victim or his next of kin may waive such retribution by accepting blood money or financial compensation (diyah) or by forgoing the right altogether. Because of this waiver, it has been suggested that this crime is in the nature of a private injury, more akin to a tort than to a crime involving a public interest or concern” (Ziadeh, n.d.). 6 Among these were reports by the BBC (2017); Saifi and Westcott (2017); Schipp (2017); and Multan (2017), to name a few.

Works cited Abu-Lughod, Lila. 2013. Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Afzal-Khan, Fawzia. 2015. “The Politics of Pity and the Individual Heroine Syndrome: Mukhtaran Mai and Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.” Performing Islam 4 (2): 151–71. Alcoff, Linda. 1991. “The Problem of Speaking for Others.” Cultural Critique 20 (20): 5–32. Ali, Shaheen Sardar, and Javaid Rehman. 2001. Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Minorities of Pakistan: Constitutional and Legal Perspectives. Richmond: Curzon. BBC. 2005. “Rape Ruling in Pakistan Suspended.” March 11, 2005. ———. 2017. “Pakistan Village Council Orders ‘Revenge Rape’ of Girl.” July 26, 2017. Bennett, Brian. 2002. “A Violation of Justice.” Time, July 8, 2002. time/magazine/article/0,9171,300692,00.html. Countess, Jamal. 2006. “Girls Learn International Summit 2006: Dr. Naseem Akhtar and Mukhtar Mai with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.” WireImage for Glamour Magazine

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(photograph). (accessed 20 August 2019). Dasgupta, Sayantani. 2012. “ ‘Your Women Are Oppressed, but Ours Are Awesome’: How Nicholas Kristof and Half the Sky Use Women against Each Other.” Racialicious, October 8, 2012. DAWN. 2006. “Mukhtar Mai Nominated for the North-South Prize.” July 5, 2006. www. Detho, Iqbal, and Amélie Barras. 2004. “The Mechanics of ‘Honour’ in Pakistan.” Asian Human Rights Commission. Article 2 3 (5): 20–24. Gabol, Imran. 2017. “Police Arrest 20 Panchayat Members Who Ordered ‘Revenge Rape’ in Multan.” DAWN, July 26, 2017. Hassan, Daniyal, and Omar Farooq. 2016. “Women’s Protection Bill – A Case of Men’s Insecurities.” DAWN, March 14, 2016. Kahf, Mohja. 2006. “On Being a Muslim Woman Writer in the West.” Amman: Islamica Magazine 17: 78–85. Kark, Madiha. 2013. Understanding Indian and Pakistani Cultural Perspectives and Analyzing Us News Coverage of Mukhtar Mai and Jyoti Singh Pandey. Denton, TX: UNT Digital Library. (accessed 20 August 2019). Karkera, Tina. 2006. “The Gang-Rape of Mukhtar Mai and Pakistan’s Opportunity to Regain Its Lost Honor.” Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 14 (1): 163–76. Khan, Ilyas M. 2006.“Why Is a Pakistani Bill to Protect Women Unpopular?” BBC, March 17, 2006. Kristof, Nicholas D. 2004. “Sentenced to Be Raped.” The New York Times, September 29, 2004. Mai, Mukhtaran, and Marie-Therese Cuny. 2006. In the Name of Honor: A Memoir. Translated by Linda Coverdale. New York: Washington Square Press. Mansfield, Nick. “Human Rights as Violence and Enigma: Can Literature Really Be of Any Help with the Politics of Human Rights?” In Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature, edited by Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg and Alexandra Schultheis Moore, 201–14. New York: Routledge. Multan.2017.“Pakistan Revenge Rape:Four More Arrested.”KhaleejTimes,July 27,2017.www. Musharraf, Pervez. 2005. “The President Responds.” Write to the President, June 29, 2005. TPRespondsQsComplDetail.aspx?WTPresidentQsID=293. Owais,Tohid. 2002. “Protests over Pakistan Gang Rape.” BBC, July 3, 2002. Peters, Julie Stone. 2012.“ ‘Literature’, the ‘Rights of Man’, and Narratives of Atrocity: Historical Backgrounds to the Culture of Testimony.” In Theoretical Perspectives on Human Rights and Literature, edited by Elizabeth Swanson Goldberg and Alexandra Schultheis Moore, 19–40. New York: Routledge. Rafi, Haneen S. 2013. “Tales of Woe.” DAWN, May 19, 2013. 1027397/tales-of-woe-2. Sadaf, Shazia. 2018. “Divergent Discourses: Human Rights and Contemporary Pakistani Anglophone Literature.” In Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing, edited by Aroosa Kanwal and Saiyma Aslam, 138–50. London: Routledge. Saifi, Sophia, and Ben Westcott. 2017. “Pakistani Village Elders Order Retaliatory Rape of 17-Year-Old Girl.” CNN, August 1, 2017. pakistan-revenge-rape/index.html.

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Schaffer, Kay, and Sidonie Smith. 2004. Human Rights and Narrated Lives:The Ethics of Recognition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Schipp, Debbie. 2017.“Pakistan Villagers Ordered ‘Revenge Rape’ of Teenage Girl.” au, July 28, 2017. Sontag, Susan. 2003. Regarding the Pain of Others. New York: Picador. Spivak, Gayatri C. 1993. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, edited by Patrick Williams and Laura Chrisman, 66–111. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester. Sudbury Star. 2010. “Laurentian to Honour Courage of Rape Victim.” The Sudbury Star, September 29, 2010. Syed, Sana Salma. 2003. A Gang Rape in Pakistan: Analyzing International News Coverage Through the Lens of Ethics. Master’s Thesis. The University of Texas at Arlington. Walsh, Declan. 2005. “Pakistani Rape Victim is Glamour’s Woman of Year.” The Guardian, November 2, 2005. pakistan. Wasti, Tahir H. 2010. “The Law on Honour Killing: A British Innovation in the Criminal Law of the Indian Subcontinent and Its Subsequent Metamorphosis under Pakistan Penal Code.” South Asian Studies 25 (2): 361–411. Yu,Yilin. 2010. “Reframing Asian Muslim Women in the Name of Honor: Neo-Orientalism and Gender Politics in Mukhtar Mai’s Constructed Narratives.” Asian Journal of Women’s Studies 16 (4): 7–29. Ziadeh, Farhat J. n.d. “Criminal Law.” Oxford Islamic Studies Online. www.oxfordislamicstud (accessed 20 August 2019). Zine, Jasmin, Lisa K. Taylor, and Hilary E. Davis. 2007. “Reading Muslim Women and Muslim Women Reading Back: Transnational Feminist Reading Practices, Pedagogy and Ethical Concerns.” Intercultural Education 18 (4): 271–80.

8 VIOLENCE IN PUBLIC SPACES Security and agency of women in West Bengal Sanchali Sarkar

This essay focuses on women’s right to mobility in local trains in West Bengal and the different forms of gendered violence which women experience in the course of their daily commutes. The public sphere is generally considered to be the central pillar of democracy; it is a space that enables all individuals to go about freely, exercising their freedom without being threatened or restrained. In her book On Revolution (1990), Hannah Arendt links the public space with that of “public freedom”. But in this context, such space is severely contested, if not constrained, since the culture of public movement, particularly public transport in West Bengal and other states in India have two major repercussions for women commuters. First, the public space is structured, organised and arranged in such a way that it is entitled to men, and secondly, it unapologetically normalises violent behaviour, making the issue a women’s problem. This continuous nature of violence is precisely the defining characteristic of violence against women in present times. There is no denying the fact that there are more gruesome acts of violence which take place in these sites, but it is these everyday acts of violence and normalisation that often go unnoticed, which is why the emphasis of the public discourse is always on how a woman should correct her behaviour if she is to share the space with men. Women’s public freedom is often faced with unbounding resistance which presents constant hurdles for women to overcome. Even though freedom of movement is a basic human right in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, women in India do not fully exercise their right to mobility like their male counterparts because of existing gender barriers, which often result in sexual violence of varying degrees. Mobility and accessibility are unevenly distributed in society, causing unfavourable situations for women. Although the local trains act as an extremely important mode of conveyance in West Bengal, and the rest of India, bridging the rural and the urban in the state, they also posit as a potential site for gendered confrontation by relegating

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women to the status of mere trespassers who are gradually encroaching on a male domain. Madhavi Desai, in her introduction to Gender and the Built Environment in India, writes: Because a woman’s spatial range is kept limited, she is often anxious about travelling alone to new places or unknown areas even in her own city. Thus, the physical structure of a city reflects and reinforces inequalities of its social structure through not being equally accessible to both. (Desai 2007, 12) Desai’s assessment that the physical structure of the city (or here, the decisionmaking surrounding the implementation of certain forms of public transport) is a glaring reflection of the dichotomous impasse of the Indian social structure, which is guided by deep-seeded paternalistic norms in the policy and legal frameworks. In India, transport is traditionally a male-dominated sector, more so because gender is yet to be fully integrated in the mainstream of the infrastructure discourse. It is apparent that women and men have different transportation needs because of their respective travel behaviours, but unfortunately, the public transport space is unrestrictedly male, and it is only women who need to be accommodated a place in this androcentric domain. Although with the gradual increase of women’s employment, this hyper-masculine transport space is being accessed by women commuters more frequently than before, it “has not automatically translated into greater rights to public space for women” (Phadke, Shilpa, and Sameera 2009, 186; emphasis in original). The local train compartments tend to act like a microcosm in which the workings of the male/female, mind/body binaries play out in the open, and thus render the function of the space extremely complex. General Recommendation 19 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee states that violence against women is “a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men” (UN General Assembly 1992).Therefore, violence that takes place in these spaces poses a serious threat to the general freedom of mobility of women commuters.Violence has become a pervasive factor of women commuters’ lived experiences. The social construct of accumulated fear of violence is exercised in the socio-gendered division of public space, and the site of the public transport, in this case, the railways. In West Bengal, two compartments (bogies) are allotted only for women in local trains, while the other bogies are designated as ‘general’, which are open to all passengers. Most women, however, prefer to board the women-only compartments. Why? Because the heterogeneous nature of the general compartments distributed throughout the space of the bogie posits a threat for women commuters who are always in fear of being physically (and verbally) harassed. Added to these fears, the women-only compartments get overcrowded because of the increased number of women commuters travelling every day. The personal spaces of women are always

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being intruded by leering, passing comments and groping (by men).When women board the general compartments, they are often seen as trespassers, in a space to which they do not belong. This particular space mirrors the broader picture of Indian society’s pattern in general wherein women are given a confined space to fit themselves in – be it in the household, schools or in the public domain – while men enjoy an extensive space to go about with their lives. Public transport, too, is not exempt from exercising these systemic gendered prejudices, which has been a result of constant conditioning. The way in which public spaces are designed in West Bengal further highlights the fact that women are not meant to move in such spaces freely, and even if they do, it should be for limited hours, and limited to particular places. The private/public dichotomy has been challenged ever since women started stepping outside their confined domestic sphere, but, as Phadke, Shilpa and Sameera note: So long as women’s presence in public space continues to be framed within the binary of public/private and within the complexity layered hierarchies of class, community, and gender, an unconditional right to public space will remain a fantasy. (2009, 186) The women in the severely and unapologetically masculine public space are always haunted by the “shadow of sexual assault” (Ferraro 1996, 670). The Centre Against Sexual Harassment (CASA) defines sexual assault as a crime that includes: stalking, unwanted touching, obscene gestures, voyeurism, unwanted sexual comments or jokes, sex-related insults, pressuring for dates or sex, indecent exposure, being forced to watch or participate in pornography, offensive written material, and unwanted offensive and invasive interpersonal communication through electronic devices or social media. (CASA Forum 2014, 1) Female commuters in West Bengal are daily prey to unwanted touching, obscene gestures, leering, groping, getting secretly filmed and various other forms of sexual violence according to various recent reports. A woman in the public space often feels vulnerable to unwarranted invasions of her physical self, vacillating from mere objectification on the one hand to violent crime on the other – a condition which contributes to women’s fear and insecurity in the hyper-masculine public space of the general compartments of the local trains in West Bengal. In 1998, a railway campaign was launched by women’s groups based in Delhi to ensure women’s safety in public transport. This was followed by a directive to the railway authorities of India by the National Human Rights Commission to take action to ensure a safe travelling space for women commuters. The idea behind the campaign was to reclaim women’s right to mobility. The directive

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was triggered by a report filed by a Delhi-based women’s group, Jagori, which was of a personal experience: As we were coming back from the Sixth National Conference of Women’s Movements in India in Ranchi on January 1, 1998, our group of ten women were harassed on the Tata-Muri Express.Three army soldiers, who consumed alcohol throughout the thirty-hour journey, sang rude songs, directed lewd stares, called out names and obstructed our paths as we passed by. Upon arriving at New Delhi Railway Station, one of the last women to get off the train (a member of Jagori) was physically assaulted by one of the drunken men. When she retaliated by slapping him, he shouted obscenities and hit her. Although we immediately located a Railway Protection Force (RPF) person, he was of no help and let the offenders go without even asking for their identification. It took ten of us four hours to file an FIR after this and ensure that the culprits be traced! The case was registered with the NHRC, and in civil courts, and then finally taken over by the Army’s Court of Inquiry. (Bhattacharjya 2002, 26) Unfortunately, most of the time, such cases are not addressed. In a crowded local train, in a space that is steeped in anonymity, it is hard to figure out who exactly is the perpetrator. Railway authorities are rarely approached with complaints. The anonymity of the space being the mitigating factor, fellow passengers often retreat from extending a helping hand, hardly intervening in the matter, a condition that is typical of the “bystander effect”,1 which can be defined as the phenomenon [which] is not a reflection of human heartlessness; it’s more that our sense of personal responsibility is inversely proportionate to the number of people around us. When we see nobody else intervening, it normalizes and enforces an idea that there isn’t a way to help – or maybe that help just isn’t needed. (Bliss 2015, emphasis in original) The fact that the local trains are incredibly overcrowded makes such reaction, or rather non-reaction, an acceptable norm in an already polarised space. Because of this passivity to counter a criminal act, sexual harassment is increasing in local trains: “This silence on the part of fellow passengers can be seen as communicating to the perpetrator that their behaviour is acceptable, hence not being challenged, which is likely to give them the confidence they require to continue” (Mitra-Sarkar and Partheeban 2011). The nature of the general compartments is by default hetero-masculine. Most of the time, women are told, women told to board the women-only compartment, that they have an exclusive space to travel in and that boarding the general compartment would only hinder male passengers. In West Bengal, the general compartment is typically equated with “gents” by many men and women, and women

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who get violated in that space would only have themselves to blame since they are the ones who trespassed into the male zone. But one needs to understand what is lacking here is a paradigm that would allow one to grasp the different forms of violence, be it physical, social and cultural, as aspects of a unified phenomenon. Of the many offensive behaviours that women are made to experience, manspreading2 – a neologism referring to the way men sit in public transport, spreading their legs wide apart and taking up more than one seat – is a common one in local trains, the underground rails, buses and other modes of transport, which makes fellow women passengers sit uncomfortably. The issue is yet to be highlighted as a serious concern in India, especially in West Bengal, since it is considered harmless even by many women, and most of the times not even acknowledged as a serious enough problem to be given due attention. In a country where sexual offences are often trivialised, it is natural that a casual brush of a man’s thigh with that of a woman’s would only be downplayed in public discourses. As a result, misbehaviour, such as manspreading and other sexual violations in the scope of the local trains in West Bengal, have been normalised to such an extent that most women are subject to self-censoring their feelings, that is, whether an experience they believe is wrong would at all be deemed wrong – legally or otherwise. In West Bengal, and broadly in India, there is a dearth of awareness about such issues. In some cities in the United States, transport authorities have put up posters discouraging manspreading and demanding proper posture when travelling in public transport. In Spain, too, transport authorities have been attentive to the issue and requested men to do away with manspreading.Various feminist campaigns have been criticising manspreading which invited counter-criticism from men’s group, calling it sexist. It would be erroneous to consider manspreading as just a casual misbehaviour. This, of course, has its origin in the gendered conditioning of how men and women are expected to behave: men spreading their legs wide apart, while women crossing their legs in a lady-like manner and squeezed into the tiniest of spaces, both literally and figuratively. In West Bengal, the common trend is that women tend to avoid travelling in the general compartments unless they are accompanied by a male companion. Increasing cases of women being teased, harassed and molested in public transport have prompted the West Bengal government to introduce an all-women local exclusive train, named Matribhumi (“land of the mother”), in 2009. Gender-­ transport has been in existence as early as 1912 when it was first introduced in Japan but discontinued after the Second World War, only to be re-introduced in Tokyo in 2002. In India, gender-exclusive transport was first ­introduced in Mumbai, which marked its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2017. In West Bengal, the Matribhumi local became instantly popular among women commuters, but much to the fury of their male counterparts. In keeping with feminist concerns, segregation on the basis of biological sex always raises more questions than it can answer. Research on gender and transport in developing countries has been on the rise, although most researchers tend to ignore the socially and culturally constituted segregation that reflects upon transport needs. Considering the precarious situation of women in the domain of public transport, the Matribhumi local initiative received

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mostly positive responses from women and feminist circles; however, there were some negative reactions. Some thought that this benevolent gesture was degrading women’s purpose of fighting for equality for so long. Interestingly, the introduction of the Matribhumi local brought the effective positioning of gender and transport into the limelight as a crucial feminist agenda. Yet, what problematised this model was the recent introduction of three general bogies to the Matribhumi local by the Railway Ministry, which resulted in a massive resistance from women commuters who were reluctant to let go of their exclusive space, even though the general bogie is allotted for every passenger, irrespective of their gender. On this note, it is also important to point out that many protesting women were attacked by men. Tumpa Guha of Duttapukur, an employee of a private bank, was quoted saying: “We are not against all men. But many ogled at us, made lewd remarks and even molested some of us on train. What is the assurance that men, if allowed to enter Matribhumi, will not resort to such behaviour?” (Yengkhom 2015). Having pointed out that, among the protestors of August 2015, many women had no qualms about including general bogies in the Matribhumi local. In fact, some of the passengers themselves approached railway authorities to allow their male relatives and friends to board the all-women train. How can, then, the question of segregated space in local transport be resolved? Is the call for segregated spaces, which refuses to blur the lines between men and women, a viable one for the feminist cause? Or is it a step backwards from neutralising such divided space? According to Julie Babinard, a senior transport specialist from the World Bank, “women-only initiatives are not likely to provide long-term solutions as they only segregate by gender and provide a short-term remedy instead of addressing more fundamental issues” (CNN 2014). Babinard further emphasises that gender-exclusive transport is not a solution to safeguard women from any sort of indignity. Across the world, the primary motive behind introducing women-only transportation is to prevent sexual assaults. In West Bengal, however, there is another important factor that came into play in the Matribhumi local initiative, that is, the case of the economically challenged women.The Matribhumi local has encouraged many economically challenged women from remote parts of Bengal to commute to the city to earn their living, without having to worry about harassment. Although gender segregation may not solve the problems that women commuters face in local trains, it might provide a short-term solution for women’s safety. Yet, the fact that women-only trains or compartments are promoted as safe is a glaring admission on the part of transport authorities that the general compartments are unsafe, a notion which has been normalised over the years. Again, the structural presumption here is that it is only women who need to be aware of safe or unsafe places, instead of keeping men’s behaviour at check. Ironically, there have been reports of male passengers getting thrown off the Matribhumi local. In November 2014, a 40-year-old man named Dipak Sharma was allegedly pushed off a running train by a woman constable of the Railway Protection Force (Kolkata Bureau 2015). Despite knowing that they would be fined, men board the Matribhumi local as an escape from having to travel in heavily crowed local

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trains. But on many occasions men have boarded the Matribhumi locals or existing women-only compartments in the late hours just to harass women commuters. In an event that took place in January 2017, a female resident of Mathurapur in the district of 24 Parganas was thrown out of a women-only compartment by two men when she tried to stop them from gang-raping her (Chanda 2017). No railway police were present at the time of the incident. Most of the time, during late hours, the scarcely populated women’s compartments become extremely unsafe for women to travel.Yet, without a doubt, the women-only compartments and the women-only trains let women feel at ease with themselves in the space they occupy, allowing them to defy gendered conventions in public spaces, for instance, keeping the chest fully covered to avoid physical contact, dressing in a way which would not lure men to make advances, and being responsible for their own behaviour and conduct that would not make male commuters violate them. Most of the time, women keep their bags in front of their breasts to avoid being groped while boarding the general compartments or standing in a crowded space. But in a country like India, which is still steeped in gendered prejudices, these are only short-term solutions. Not merely in terms of the gendered conventions, the local trains in West Bengal, as elsewhere in India, are fraught with other lines of divisions. For instance, the Matribhumi locals have, like other women-only trains, overlooked the fact that LGBTQ commuters are also continuously teased, harassed and attacked in the homophobic space of the local trains, by both men and women. The compartment in local trains often excludes transgenders and other gender-variant identities who cannot be placed on either side of the gender binary. Transgender women are often restricted from boarding the women’s compartment or the Matribhumi locals. The fact that they are designated citizens of the country is never brought into consideration when it comes to basic facilities. The issue around Male to Female (M-T-F) contributes to the ongoing debate among Gender Critical Feminists, a school of radical feminists, who are reluctant feminists, reluctant to open up their space to transgender women. “In India, where 5.5 million women enter the workforce each year, more than 50 per cent express high concerns about the safety of their commute” (Villa 2014) because of the lack of awareness to protest. Most women learn to live with the situation, accepting that it is inevitable. Though there are a number of women’s support groups that are willing to extend a helping hand in the fight against gender discrimination in local trains, women commuters need to step forward without any inhibition to protest against offensive behaviour that they are made to face while travelling in local trains. This is where another line of divide occurs between educated middle-class women and downtrodden, uneducated, domestic female workers. Both sections of women share the same space in local trains and the same problems concerning their safety, but not the awareness that is required to combat discrimination. Although not all educated middle-class women go on to file complaints, they are able to articulate their experiences and share them on social media and various other forums about women’s experience in public transport. Female domestic workers do not have the same privilege to make their voices heard. Such

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problems cannot be addressed by just creating women-exclusive public spaces, but by probing into structural problems concerning female literacy which would help women to protest against sexual harassment: “The literacy rate of West Bengal is 77.08, according to 2011 census. The rank of the state is twentieth in terms of literacy among all Indian states.The rate is just 3.07% higher than [the] national average” (Chattaraj and Chand 2015, 5). Women from Bongaon, Chakdah, Shantipur, Canning, Sonarpur, Bandel, Chinsurah and adjacent areas travel in the early hours to reach Shealdah and Howrah stations and return home late after work. During late hours, all-women trains do not guarantee foolproof security, as there have been instances in which many men board women-only trains just to commit crimes. Government Railway Police (GRP) are positioned at every station, yet crimes happen. In sum, the Matribhumi locals have only curbed sexual violence but failed to obliterate it. In a report published by Parichiti – a women’s organisation whose main objective is to assert the identities and claim the rights of women who are unrepresented and underrepresented in public discourse and action – a domestic worker named Parul, who travels daily for work from Diamond Harbour to Dhakuria, states the following in an interview: We are poor people, sir; there is nothing for poor people in India. If I don’t buy a ticket and get caught, I will be dropped in an unknown place where there are no trains, but we can’t complain about our safety and cleanliness. (Roy 2017) When women domestic workers are caught without tickets, the rail authorities behave atrociously, stripping them, if necessary, to collect money from them. One of the domestic workers was reported saying: Once I was caught by a ticket checker, paid Rs. 250 and was let go. A girl was once strip searched by lady ticket checkers during her menstrual period. If you’re caught, they strip you naked to look for money. (WSA Final Report, 9) Parichiti has been persistently working on women domestic workers who travel to Kolkata to earn their living, by reporting their experiences. They launched a safe travel campaign for women domestic workers, collaborating with Jagori. Women in general are victims of exploitation in local trains, and domestic women workers are treated in the most regressive manner possible.To make the space in local passenger trains safe for women to travel, authorities must be strict in implementing punishments against offenders. The Matribhumi local in West Bengal has been a welcome move that has made daily commutes for women relatively safe and comfortable. But a women-only train is a highly contested subject since it undermines women’s space and functioning of their agency among men on an equal platform. To ensure women’s safety, the space within the trains is not the only concern that needs to be addressed but the general infrastructure of the railway stations which requires

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a major overhaul with well-lit areas, availability of clean public toilets and proper security along the entire route of the commute. Considering that Indian railways boast of being “the lifeline of the nation” – which is rightly so, since most of the people in India depend on railway services for their daily needs – women commuters should be made to feel an integral part of that “lifeline” without having to fear for their safety. Local trains must be a safe way to travel for women without them having to fear being harassed or violated, and it should be a collective effort on the part of everyone to make it happen. Women must start to physically reclaim the space that rightfully belongs to them.

Notes 1 The term was first coined by psychologists in the US in the 1960s after dozens of people supposedly witnessed 28-year-old Kitty Genovese being stabbed to death in a brutal attack outside her New York apartment but did nothing. 2 The word was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in August 2015.

Works cited Arendt, Hannah. 1990. On Revolution. London: Penguin. Bhattacharjya, Manjima. 2002. “The Railway Campaign Fighting Sexual Violence on Trains.” Manushi 130: 25–30. Bliss, Laura. 2015. “Assault on the Subway: What Can a Bystander Do?” Citylab, March 27, 2015. CASA Forum. 2014. What Is Sexual Assault. (accessed 25 August 2019). Chanda, Aishik. 2017. “Bengal Woman Thrown out of Moving Train for Resisting Rape.” New Indian Express, January 25, 2017. jan/25/bengal-woman-thrown-out-of-moving-train-for-resisting-rape-1563371.html. Chattaraj, Kunal Kanti, and Susanta Chand. 2015. “Literacy Trend of West Bengal and Its Differentials: A District Level Analysis.” IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science 20 (9): 1–19. CNN. 2014. “Where Are the World’s Most Dangerous Transit Systems for Women?” CNN Travel, October 29, 2014. Desai, Madhavi, ed. 2007. Gender and the Built Environment in India. New Delhi: Zubaan. Ferraro, Kenneth F. 1996. “Women’s Fear of Victimization: Shadow of Sexual Assault?” Social Forces 75 (2): 667–90. Kolkata Bureau. 2015. “Man Dies after Fall from Women-Only Train.” The Hindu, November 19, 2015. Mitra-Sarkar, Sheila, and P. Partheeban. 2011. “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here: Understanding the Problem of ‘Eve Teasing’ in Chennai, India.” Transportation Research Board Conference Proceedings 2 (46): 74–84. Phadke Shilpa, Shilpa Ranada, and Sameera Khan. 2009. “Why Loiter? Radical Possibilities for Gendered Dissent.” In Dissent and Cultural Resistance in Asia’s Cities, edited by Melissa Butcher and Selveraj Velayutham, 185–204. London: Routledge.

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Roy, Sudipo. 2017. “How Safe are Kolkata Local Trains? Hanging Women Fighting for Dignity.” News: India & You, October 3, 2017. how-safe-is-kolkata-local-trains/. UN General Assembly. n.d. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. 11th Session, 1992. recomm.htm. (accessed 25 August 2019). Villa, Monique, and Laura Bates. 2014. “The Right to Feel Safe: Women Should Be Able to Use Public Transport without Fear.” New Statesman, October 29, 2014. www. WSA Final Report Parichiti Kolkata. 2012. Safety of Commuting Women Domestic Workers in Local Trains of Kolkata. (accessed 26 August 2019). Yengkhom, Sumeti. 2015. “Men on Our Train? No Way, Say Matribhumi Women.” The Times of India, August 21, 2015. (accessed 25 August 2019).


Outsourced violence Mobs, insurgents and private armies

9 VIOLENCE AND PERILOUS TRANS-BORDERAL JOURNEYS The Rohingyas as the nowhere-nation precariat1 Mursed Alam

In South Asian countries, violence has different trajectories and ontological enumerations ranging from ethno-political, structural, religio-cultural, caste and gender to epistemic templates. Within this context, the rise of ethno-democracy and majoritarianism coupled with post-9/11 securitisation and Islamophobia have led to violence on the otherised marginalities and “foreign bodies”, and new border regimes with changing calculus of techno-political control have taken shape. The postcolonial nation-state, one that emerged from the regimes of colonial violence, has gradually evolved into an agent of violence itself. At the onset of this colonially inherited violence of the postcolonial-colonising state, this chapter attempts to understand the violence perpetrated on the Rohingyas in Myanmar and their travails in Bangladesh and India where they sought refuge after being brutally driven out from Myanmar in a bid to deepen ethnic territorial control. The Rohingyas are perhaps the most persecuted ethnic minority in the world and, according to the United Nations, the recent persecution of the Rohingyas by the Buddhist Myanmar military amounts to ethnic cleansing and genocide. The development of Myanmar as an “ethnocratic state” has unleashed a cycle of state violence on the Rohingyas, often manipulating legal instruments in the process and in cahoots with non-state religious actors. Characterised as “Asia’s new boat people”, the Rohingyas have become “stateless in the world of nation-states” (Chaudhury and Samaddar 2018, 2, 5). This chapter takes stock of their statelessness, or nowhere-nation condition, and their consequent precarious and uncertain life in order to analyse its implications for postcolonial theory today. The first section of this chapter focuses on the becoming of the Rohingyas as stateless Homo sacer in Myanmar in the wake of the military violence unleashed upon them. Following this, the chapter engages with their relocation and negotiation as refugees in Bangladesh and India, further highlighting the fact that their attempts to escape violence and statelessness remain largely unfulfilled even in their refuge and exile. In the context of

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these developments in South Asian border politics at large, this chapter reflects on the recent debates on postcolonial subalternisation (Chatterjee 2012; Chakrabarty 2013; Chibber 2013; Ganguly 2015; Chandra 2015), making a theoretical claim that a “new project” on subalternity in South Asia must emerge from the vantage point of forced migration, refugees and stateless people. According to The Oxford Handbook of Refugees and Forced Migration (2016), there is a lack of consensus among scholars about who is a refugee and how to define and understand forced migration. However, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2017 estimated the number of forcibly displaced populations worldwide to be approximately 65.3 million, among whom 21.3 million are living as refugees in developing countries (Farzana 2017, 1). Thus, forced displacement and statelessness have become critical issues in the current historical conjuncture. Statelessness is a legal condition in which a person is denied nationality or citizenship of any country. Article 1 of the 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons defines a stateless person as someone “who is not considered as a national by any state under the operation of its law” (quoted in Bloom, Tonkiss, and Cole 2017, 55). Although this legal definition of statelessness, called de jure stateless, covers those who are not given citizenship automatically at birth or who fail to get it through the legal provisions of a state, there is the category of de facto stateless, or stateless persons in practice – those who are not formally denied or deprived of nationality but, because of lack of proper documents, or despite documents, are denied access to various human rights that a citizen normally enjoys (Majumdar 2018, 109). In light of these definitions, the stateless Rohingyas, who are fleeing ethnic and religious persecution in Myanmar and undergo constant travails in their countries of refuge, have become a nowhere people, or what I call a “nowhere-nation precariat”. The concept of precariat, as developed by Guy Standing (2011, 2012), designates those social groups and classes who are forced to live a precarious and insecure life as a consequence of the changing social and economic policies pursued by the states under neoliberal economic regimes – groups such as youth engaged in casual works; the unemployed; the disabled and the elderly entering into insecure, under-paid jobs; the migrants, the criminalised, etc. They have a “precarious job, without a sense of occupational identity or career in front of them, they have no social memory on which to draw, no shadow of the future hanging over their relationships, and have a limited and precarious range of rights” (Standing 2012, 591). Standing thus conceptualises the precariat in the context of the neoliberal economic hegemony. However, the figure of the precariat as one who has no economic or social security and bears limited or no rights can also, I argue, be extended beyond the context of neoliberal capitalist oppressions to understand those social groups who are forced to a life of precarity and insecurity by state violence or to the victims of majoritarian and xenophobic politics. I, therefore, propose to extend and re-contextualise this concept to designate the stateless Rohingyas as one of the prominent figures of the contemporary precariat who have been violently denied political, social and economic security in their own

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country, that has rendered their lives as most insecure, precarious and uncertain, not only in Myanmar but also in their countries of refuge. India, Bangladesh and Myanmar have a shared colonial history and, before the borders of modern nation-states separated them, they shared the same border under colonial rule. These three countries along with Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Thailand comprise a geography of violence in terms of the Rohingya Muslims. Dubbed as “Asia’s new boat people”, reminiscing the Vietnamese boat people, their stateless, precarious condition is often compared with that of the Palestinians under occupied territory (Chaudhury and Samaddar 2018, 5, 11). Following Caitlin Ryan’s categorisation of the Palestinians in the occupied territory, Madhura Chakrabarty suggests that the stateless non-citizens can be termed as “subjected non-subjects” – without rights, but not without the state’s disciplinary interventions and discrimination (Chakrabarty 2018, 109). The Rohingyas, who currently live in a state of legal limbo, are subjected to biopolitical control by the coercive state apparatus. For an analysis of the precarious condition of the Rohingyas in South Asia, we need to understand the context and the history of the production of statelessness of the Rohingyas in Myanmar which amounted to virtual displacement of all their rights in their place of origin and in subsequent countries of refuge. The following section outlines the history of the Rohingyas in postcolonial Myanmar and their legal dismemberment that led to the cycle of violence as well as their persecution.

Ethnocracy, state violence and the production of the Rohingyas as Stranger The Rohingyas are an ethnic, religious and linguistic minority in Buddhist-majority Myanmar as well as in their province, Rakhine (formerly known as Arakan). At the heart of the persecution and discrimination of the Rohingyas, as Azeem Ibrahim points out, is “the shifting legal definition of the Burmese citizenship” (2016, 48). After the independence of Myanmar from British colonial rule, the Rohingyas in the newly established nation-state of Myanmar were placed in a special category compared with other ethnicities. Although the democratic government of Prime Minister U Nu in the 1950s accepted that the Rohinyas were an indigenous ethnic group, the 1947 Constitution did not grant them full citizenship. Why were the Rohingyas the only group to be singled out? The 1947 revolt of the Rohingyas for independence and the supposed 1948 petition by Rohingya representatives to the government of Myanmar for inclusion of Rakhine/Arakan to East Pakistan might have led to suspicion about their loyalty to the state of Myanmar. However, the Rohingyas’ revolt pales in comparison with other revolts by Shans, Karens, Chins and other frontier minorities in Burma for secession. With reference to the Rohingyas, there was a pervasive anti-Muslim sentiment arising from colonial rule, given that Muslims were given a preferred treatment and easy facilitation of immigration from India which deprived the Burmese of employment. But other Muslim minorities, both in Rakhine and other parts of Myanmar, were given full

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citizenship (Ibrahim 2016). Perhaps the issue of migration from India was a vexed one. However, the Rohingyas were more or less viewed as one of the groups in Myanmar’s multi-ethnic fabric, and it was expected that their legal citizenship status would be resolved soon. As per Article 11 (iv) of Myanmar’s Constitution, the Rohingyas were given National Registration Certificates (NRCs), with full legal and voting rights. They were told that they need not apply for the citizenship certificate because they were one of the indigenous races who had lived in Burma since time immemorial. From 1948 to 1961, between four and six Rohingyas served as members of parliament and even after General Ne Win’s military coup in 1962, which established direct military rule in Myanmar, they remained in parliament as supporters of the Burma Socialist Programme Party. The main targets of discrimination during this period were those who were viewed as Indian migrants and were treated as foreigners. However, as Azeez Ibrahim writes, “this distinction between the labour migrants and the Rohingyas was slowly eroded after the military took over in 1962” (Ibrahim 2016, 50). Although the military rule initially did not directly attack the Rohingyas and some continued to sit in parliament supporting the military’s Burmese Road to Socialism project up until 1965, the situation changed steadily thereafter. In the wake of the 1974 Emergency Immigration Act, which imposed ethnicity-based identity cards or the NRCs, the Rohingyas were only provided with Foreign Registration Certificates (non-national cards). This move of the military regime is viewed as a diversionary tactic resulting from the failure of the Burmese Road to Socialism project and the economic crisis.Thus, the Rohingyas became a soft target for diverting people from pressing economic hardships, a pattern which would be repeated frequently. Article 145 of the 1974 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma defined citizenship as “[a]ll persons born of parents both of whom are nationals of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma” (quoted in Ibrahim 2016, 50). As Rohingyas had not been treated as formal citizens in 1947, they were not citizens of the state. Their NRCs of 1947 were also replaced with Foreign Registration Certificates. The 1977 Operation Nagamin, which marked the first concerted attempt by the military to discredit the Rohingyas as foreigners, led to a sudden rise of violence against the Rohingyas by the Buddhist community and the army and, as a result, more than 200,000 refugees fled to Bangladesh in 1978 (Ibrahim 2016, 52). The next crucial legal step was the 1982 Burmese Citizenship Law in which different categories of citizenship were assigned to ethnic groups on the basis of their residence in Burma since 1823, before the British takeover. This was a vital step in rendering the Rohingyas as strangers in their own country as citizenship was only granted to those ethnic groups who were thought to have lived in Burma before the British annexation. Within this context, the denial of citizenship rights to the Rohingyas was often justified by referring to the erroneous perception that the Rohingyas were actually Bengalis who were brought by the British as labourers, and that the ethnic Rohingya identity was made up later by them to attain citizenship. Although the Muslims in the Arakan province had lived there since the

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beginning of the MraukU dynasty (1430–1785), if not before, it is also alleged that the so-called Rohingyas had not lived in the province prior to British rule. Thus, under the 1982 legislation, the Rohingyas were denied citizenship based on the ethnic classification of 1947, as they had not been designated as belonging to the core ethnic group of the new state. However, the ambiguity surrounding the whole process allowed the Rohingyas to participate in the 1990 election. The denial of citizenship meant restrictions on movement, lack of access to education, loss of land and an increase in violence which led to the rise of refugees fleeing to Bangladesh. In the aftermath of the 1988 political revolt (in which Buddhist monks supported agitating students and played an active role) and the subsequent electoral defeat of and annulment of the 1990 election result by the military, persecution and violence against the Rohingyas increased. The 1991–1992 period witnessed 250,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh against the backdrop of forced labour, beatings, rape, land confiscation and the creation of a non-Rohingya settlement on the land taken from the Rohingyas and often built by the forced labour of the Rohingyas (Ibrahim 2016, 52). Bangladesh, too, forcibly returned the Rohingyas in violation of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or more specifically, the 1951 Refugee Convention. Those who returned found their land taken over by the military for building army camps or settlement of non-Rohingyas which renewed tension and subsequent repression of the Rohingyas and their migration to Bangladesh. Thus, there is a “racial aspect to the overall pattern of legal discrimination against the Rohingyas” (Ibrahim 2016, 53).Those who fled to Malaysia remained stateless refugees, as Malaysia would not return them or give them proper refugee status. Myanmar’s return to democracy (2008–2015), instead of solving the problem, has indeed worsened the crisis for the Rohingyas. After the Saffron Revolution, in which Buddhist monks participated, there was a close alliance between the National League for Democracy (henceforth NLD) and Buddhist organisations. While the NLD is very much focused on the personality of Aung San Suu Kyi, for the mass base, it has to depend on Buddhist monks. The well-organised Buddhist groups, many of whom demand expulsion of the Rohingyas, exerted considerable influence over the NLD’s practical politics. Thus, the NLD-Buddhist alliance has been destructive to minorities like the Rohingyas, as the ideological leaders advocating their persecution came from Buddhist monks who demanded the tying up of citizenship with Buddhism. Thus, attacks on Rohingyas, whether by the military or Buddhist groups, became a public way of showing their commitment to Buddhism. And the saddest thing about the attacks on the Rohingyas, as has been reported in the global media, is the indecipherable silence of the leader of the NLD, Suu Kyi. Buddhist groups like the 969 Movement, which demand a religiously pure state, have not only galvanised an ideological opposition to the Rohingya Muslims but are intent on preventing the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) or the NLD to turn towards more humane policies. Under this extremist group and pressure from their leaders, especially monk U Wirathu, Rohingya Muslims were targeted in the name of cow protection, their shops were boycotted, inter-faith

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marriage involving the Rohingyas was banned and forced child control measures aimed at Muslim minorities were implemented. Such actions by Buddhist groups have spurred on the already existing religious-ethno-nationalism which sought to identify Myanmar as religiously Buddhist and ethnically Burman. The 2012 massacre of Rohingyas which started with the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman by three Muslims and quickly evolved into a public campaign against their entire community, can also be termed as ethnic cleansing. The NLD is in alliance with regional ethnic Rakhine parties such as the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) and the Arakan National Party (ANP) which want to expel the Rohingyas. The campaign was widespread and organised through social media, which projected the Rohingyas as a moral threat. There was widespread violence against the Rohingyas, often supported by security forces, resulting in the relocation of the Rohingyas to internal refugee camps (Ibrahim 2016). Many Rakhine political leaders have sought to make refugee camps permanent and have repeatedly denied the Rohingyas the means to earn a living except through precarious work. Locals, too, are attacked if they help or associate with the Rohingyas. The 2014 Census did not allow the Rohingyas to be enrolled if they did not identify themselves as “Bengalese”.The result was the loss of identity cards which is then used as a justification for throwing the Rohingyas into camps. Taken together, persecution and exclusion of the Rohingyas have been normalised, leading to their desperate journeys in search of shelter or means of living, either in Bangladesh or other countries. Many have fallen prey to human traffickers and work as slaves in Thailand’s prawn fishing industry. The uncovering of mass graves in 2015 at the Thailand-Malaysia border points to the violence unleashed upon displaced Rohingyas in the trafficking camps (Holmes 2017). In the following section, I would contextualise their precarious life in exile, particularly in Bangladesh, where they are caught up between regimes of hospitality and control, between reluctant invitation and violent rejection.

Hospitality and control: the Rohingyas in Bangladesh For the overwhelming majority of the Rohingyas fleeing religious persecution and ethnic violence in Myanmar, Bangladesh is their first destination. Located across the River Naf, Bangladesh seems to be preferred for easy accessibility and the cultural, linguistic and religious affinities between the Rohingyas and the Chittagonian Muslim Bengalis. The latest exodus of the stateless Rohingyas to Bangladesh started on August 25, 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on the Rohingyas following an attack by a group of armed Rohingyas called Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on the police and military posts, killing twelve officers.The Myanmar government declared ARSA a terrorist group, and in the crackdown that followed at least 7,000 Rohingyas were killed between August 25 and September 24, 2017, alone (Albert and Chatzky 2018). According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this has resulted in more than 723,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh, most of whom arrived in

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Bangladesh in the first quarter of the crisis. An estimated 12,000 reached Bangladesh during the first half of 2018. With the existing 300,000 Rohingyas who fled to Bangladesh because of ethnic violence in the past three decades, the total number of Rohingyas in Bangladesh has now reached more than one million (Bearak 2017). The vast majority of the Rohingyas seeking refuge in Bangladesh during the influx have been children, with more than 40 per cent under the age of 12. The Rohingyas in Bangladesh sought shelter in the two refugee camps of Kutupalong and Nayapara in Cox’s Bazar district.With these new spontaneous settlements, Kutupalong has become the largest refugee settlement in the world, with more than 600,000 people living in an area of just 13 square kilometres, with consequences for infrastructural and other basic services. Bangladesh has not acceded to the 1954 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons or its 1967 Protocol, and in the absence of a legal and administrative framework for refugees, the fate of the Rohingyas in Bangladesh depends on the changing ideology and electoral calculus of the political regimes in the country. They are therefore not recognised as refugees but rather as Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN), which denies them the legal status of a refugee and the concomitant rights. Despite the already mentioned cultural, linguistic and religious similarities between the Rohingyas and the Chittagongian Bangladeshis, and despite the historical fact that the Arakan and Chittagong region were once under one administrative unit, the Bangladeshi government views them not as Bengalis but as temporary asylum seekers who must return to Myanmar. The Bangladeshi government’s view, as Kazi Fahmida Farzana points out, can be summed up into three points: (1) the Rohingyas flee the repressive policies of the Myanmar authorities in Arakan, (2) they are economic migrants and (3) the Rohingyas tend to go abroad using Bangladesh as their transit route (Farzana 2017, 64–65). Thus, the Bangladeshi government invariably treats the Rohingya issue as an external problem and holds that the refugees must eventually be repatriated. After the first refugee exodus in 1977, the Bangladeshi government treated the Rohingyas sympathetically and set up camps along the border of the River Naf to the side of Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf highway. As the Bangladeshis had been treated hospitably by its neighbour (India) during its independence struggle in 1971, the newly established state of Bangladesh took the opportunity to show its hospitality to the Rohingya refugees who were fleeing persecution just like the Bangladeshis had a few years back. However, the Bangladeshi government viewed it as a temporary measure, which implied that the refugees would need to return to Myanmar soon.The Bangladeshi government started diplomatic attempts with Myanmar and consequently an agreement was signed in July 1978. The bilateral agreement holds that Myanmar would repatriate those “lawful residents of Burma” that have an NRC and family group photo. This, however, was indicative of the Myanmar government’s reluctance to repatriate, largely because the Rohingyas were denied NRCs because of strict citizenship laws. It was agreed that after repatriation, both countries would work together to prevent the “illegal crossing of the border by the persons from either side” (quoted in Farzana 2017, 67). When the repatriation

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process began, very few returned voluntarily. However, with the simplification of the repatriation process later, there was a sudden rise in the number of those who returned. The news (or rather rumour) that there was vacant land to offer as per the repatriation agreement and that there had been improvement in security might have led to this sudden rise and by December 29, 1979, a total of 187,197 refugees returned to Myanmar (Farzana 2017, 68). The second major exodus of refugees happened in 1992 when the UNHCR took part in providing relief and helping to repatriate the Rohingyas. Once again, the Myanmar government agreed to the repatriation proposal but did not take the Rohingyas back as citizens but as “temporary residents of Arakan”. Even in this phase, there was criticism of the repatriation process, and many humanitarian reports pointed out the non-voluntary nature of repatriation. However, the Bangladeshi government denied the use of force.Why did Bangladesh accept the proposal when the Rohingyas were not repatriated as citizens? Perhaps, the Bangladeshi government thought that such an agreement would at least resolve the issue temporarily, if not permanently. On October 30, 2018, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed an agreement in Dhaka to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar; it was scheduled to begin on November 15. Despite concerns expressed by various rights groups about the continuing adverse and hostile situation for the Rohingyas in Myanmar, the Bangladeshi government decided to go ahead with the plan and started registering the Rohingyas; this generated fear among those residing in the camps that they might be sent back. The human rights group Fortify Rights reported that Bangladeshi security forces threatened and physically assaulted the Rohingya leaders to collect so-called Smart Cards containing biometric data (Fortify Rights 2018). The Smart Cards were being issued from June 2018 onwards by the UNHCR and the Bangladeshi government for proper documentation of the refugees and to ensure better access to services and assistance. The cards affirm in writing that the Bangladeshi government will not force returns to Myanmar. However, this generated fear among the Rohingyas that they might be repatriated based on the verification mechanism of the cards. According to Fortify Rights (2018), in November, a man even tried to commit suicide after hearing that his family was on the list of the 2,000 Rohingyas to be sent back. Most of them fear that they might be killed or would return to an uncertain and threatened life in Myanmar, with their land confiscated, houses burnt down and without the assurance of citizenship. Myanmar officials held that those who return would be placed in temporary “transit camps” and would be sent to their respective villages after verification of their address. However, many of the villages from which the Rohingyas fled are now being used as military camps and other infrastructural projects. The scheduled repatriation on November 15 failed because those who were supposed to be sent back hid in different camps and nearby jungles to escape repatriation. This has further put the process of repatriation initiated by Bangladesh and Myanmar under question. As of now, Bangladesh is continuing the diplomatic efforts with Myanmar to ensure a “voluntary, safe and dignified” return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar. This is the third repatriation process since the

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Rohingya influx began in the 1970s and in all likelihood, it will not be resolved soon (Bhuiyan 2018). The Rohingyas in Bangladesh live a tenuous life in the overcrowded camps, without proper sanitation, health facilities, freedom of movement and livelihood. They often get help from the locals, for example, in enrolling their children in regular schools and colleges, benefitting from the status and influence of the Bangladeshis. However, their presence also creates tension among local community members who have divided opinions about the Rohingyas. For some, the daily commodities and services became costlier because of the excess of demand and short supply generated by the huge number of refugees (Bhattacharyya 2017). An Xchange survey on the Bangladeshi perspective, which shows how the two communities are getting on with each other, also points out security concerns and complaints by the locals such as an increase in robbery and drug trafficking after the arrival of the Rohingyas. The survey concludes: The government’s focus on a policy of repatriation rather than integration, has made it difficult for both communities to mix in healthy and meaningful ways and move forwards; both communities have been left to their own devices to survive and co-exist, which can be seen in the concerns expressed by the local Bangladeshi communities in the survey results. (Xchange 2018) On the other hand, the Rohingyas provide cheap labour. Although they are not allowed to work, the Rohingyas often participate in informal markets, which further alienate them from the local community. The view that the Rohingyas steal the jobs of the locals can also be found in the way Bangladesh views the issue of the “boat people” in Malaysia. The younger Rohingyas who are frustrated with the constricting life in the camps and lack of job opportunity become desperate to escape and try to migrate to Malaysia or India. Madhura Chakrabarty’s (2018) interview with Rohingyas from Bangladeshi camps shows that parents in the community often find their teenage boys missing, and only later they come to know that their sons tried to migrate to Malaysia. Because Bangladesh is one of the highest migrant labour-exporting countries in the world, those Rohingyas illegally migrating to Southeast Asian countries for jobs caused consternation about foreign remittances.The repeated reference to the push and pull factor by Bangladeshi officials who claim that the Rohingyas abuse Bangladesh as a launching pad for migrating to another country clearly undermines the pressing issue of the Rohingyas as political asylum seekers and projects them as economic migrants with financial calculations behind their migration (Chakrabarty 2018, 113–14). Chakrabarty further points out that much of the writing of Bangladeshi scholars and the mainstream media look at the Rohingyas from an internal security perspective. Thus, the Rohingya camps in Bangladesh are viewed as recruiting grounds for Islamist militants, and the Rohingyas are often characterised as “threatening the moral and economic fibre of Bangladeshi society” (Chakrabarty 2018, 114). The arrival of Rohingyas is

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thus viewed as destabilising the border region and damaging the strategic bilateral relation with Myanmar (Chakrabarty 2018, 115). In other words, the Rohingyas, whether in the camps or outside, whether documented or unregistered, have to straddle a life of insecurity and precarity, and have to deal with harassment and constant fear of being sent back to Myanmar. According to Fahmida Farzana: Within Myanmar they are stateless, and beyond the border, in Bangladesh, they are refugees. Rohingya refugees, documented or undocumented, in Bangladesh suffer doubly, from statelessness and refugee-hood. For those in refugee camps have no idea when their refugee-hood will end. For Rohingyas who live outside the camps as illegal migrants, their plight and risk is even greater. Although staying in one place, their movements are highly restricted, and their life is put in stringent confinement. (2017, 81) Thus, to escape such confinement, the Rohingyas try to migrate to Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia or Thailand. More often than not, they seek refuge in India, which the subsequent section examines further.

The Rohingyas in India: infiltrators and security threat? The stateless Rohingyas come to India mainly via Bangladesh after staying there for some time, often a few years, in search of security and livelihood. The precarious condition in the camps in Bangladesh and lack of employment opportunities as well as increasing hostility towards them by the Awami League Government make them desperate to cross the border of the northeastern part of India, often through the help of human traffickers. They come to India as refugees, as asylum seekers and for livelihood. But their desperate journeys end up in slums and unauthorised colonies, with no access to proper sanitation, food, drink and shelter. Although it is difficult to determine the exact number of Rohingyas in India – given the huge number of undocumented refugees and asylum seekers – available figures put the number between 40,000 and 50,000 (Chaudhury and Samaddar 2018, 4). Rohingyas in India are distributed across various parts of the country. Because India did not ratify the 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons or the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, it does not have a formal refugee policy in place. However, India ratified such international bodies as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 (ICCPR) in 1979; the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 1965 (CERD) in 1968 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which India participated in drafting, and also acceded in 1979 to The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (ICESCR) that seeks to ensure certain social, economic and cultural rights to refugees. India has also allowed cooperation with the UNHCR, which provides Refugee Status Determination (RSD) cards to

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the refugees to ensure various protections and rights for them in India. In 2011, the Indian government announced Long Term Visas (LTV) for Rohingyas and Afghan refugees, and by December 2015, India had issued more than 98 LTVs to Rohingya refugees (UNHCR 2016). However, although India has often been praised by the UNHCR for its tolerant approach towards refugees, the lack of a formal policy framework makes the refugees increasingly vulnerable to the changing political climate of the country. Thus, refugees often receive what Ranabir Samaddar calls “calculated hospitality” (quoted in Chaudhury and Samaddar 2018, 120), that is, a game of care and power. The 1955 Citizenship Act of India followed the jus soli mode of citizenship, meaning “right of the soil” for everyone “born in India on or after 26 January, 1950, regardless of their descent, ethnicity, or national identity” (quoted in Chaudhury and Samaddar 2018, 136). However, these inclusive citizenship laws were changed with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1987, and citizenship was based on the jus sanguinis mode. Citizenship claims were further restricted by the New Amendment of 2004 that forbade “illegal migrants” from acquiring citizenship through citizenship registration and naturalisation. Thus, following the 1946 Foreigners Act and the Indian Passport Act of 1929, India categorises anybody who enters its territory without valid documents as an “illegal immigrant”. On January 8, 2019, Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 that seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the current BJP regime in Assam seeks to give citizenship only to the Hindus out of the 40 lakh-odd people who were not included in the National Register of Citizens (NRC).These changes, if finally approved, will have huge ramifications for refugees and asylum seekers in India, particularly for the Rohingyas, who are seen primarily as Muslims; infiltrators, potential security threats, if not veritable contaminators of the moral fabric of the nation. After coming to India, the Rohingyas depend on informal family networks to get a place to stay. They often try to go to Hyderabad, believing that the city’s large Muslim community would welcome them. Their other destinations include the camps in New Delhi (perhaps because of the UNHCR office) and Jammu. However, not all Rohingyas directly approach the UNHCR after coming to India. Lack of knowledge of the presence of the UNHCR, poverty and continuous migration, as Sahana Basavapatna points out, are major problems (Basavapatna 2018, 53). The UNHCR, for its part, takes a long time to complete the process of Refugee Status Determination (RSD), issuing many with an “under consideration certificate” only, which causes many illegal subjects to stay with their relatives who might already have UNHCR cards. This situation exposes them to the threat of being picked up by the police or undermines their bargaining power in the job market. Getting a job is difficult as language, legality and cultural barriers get in the way. And the Rohingyas often depend on middlemen, landlords and humanitarian agencies to secure odd jobs such as domestic workers, security guards, rag pickers, etc. Although they may get material help from Muslim organisations and international aid agencies, this does not facilitate their acceptance among the local community in the charged atmosphere of suspicion. Sometimes even the mandate refugees are

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spoken of in a single breath as Bangladeshis. Suchismita Majumdar, in her study of the jailed Rohingyas in West Bengal, points out that sometimes Rohingyas with refugee cards are arrested when they move out of Delhi to meet their relatives in jails in West Bengal. Thus, even the refugee card cannot guarantee a safe and hospitable environment. The Rohingyas in India are viewed as a security threat, often alleged with links to terrorist organisations in Pakistan. Although there has been no proof, Rohingyas are always suspected as a potential target of radicalisation, or as drug peddlers who are connected with human trafficking. Thus, whenever there is a bomb blast at a religious site, especially at Buddhist or Hindu sites, the media promptly pronounces judgement, resulting in witch hunts of the Rohingyas in and across various slums. For instance, after the Bodh Gaya blasts in July 2013, there were raids in the Rohingya camps in Hyderabad, Telangana. The situation worsened when, in November 2014, Khalid Mohammed, a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for links to the blast in Khagragar of Burdwan district in West Bengal. This put the entire community under suspicion. On February 10, 2018, there was a suicide attack on the Indian Army base camp in Sunjwan, Jammu. In the assembly, BJP MLA and Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly Kavinder Gupta directly blamed the Rohingyas in Jammu for this: “Had these Rohingya refugees not been around the camp, the attack would not have taken place” (quoted in Sofi 2018). Following this, there was also an attack by the crowd on the refugee settlement area. Here, it is important to note that the politics between Jammu and Kashmir come into play, as the Rohingyas are viewed as threatening the demographic profile of Hindu-majority Jammu. At a press conference on April 7, 2017, Rakesh Gupta, president of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, declared the Rohingyas “criminals” and threatened to launch an “identify and kill movement” if the government did not deport the refugees (Javeed 2018). In October 2018, India deported to Myanmar seven Rohingya Muslims who did not hold UNHCR cards and were deemed illegal immigrants. Officials hold that India does not recognise the UNHCR card, having rejected the UN’s stand that the deportation of Rohingyas violates the principle of non-refoulement – sending back refugees to a place where they face danger. State authorities have been asked to prepare biometrics of the Rohingyas living in India so that they can be repatriated (Pasricha 2018). “Anyone who has entered the country without a valid legal permit is considered illegal”, said A. Bharat Bhushan Babu, a spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs. “As per the law”, he continues, “anyone illegal will have to be sent back. As per law they will be repatriated” (quoted in Das 2018). The majoritarian agenda pursued by the current regime of the Narendra Modi and Amit Shah duo rendered the issue of repatriation of the Rohingyas along with the migrants from Bangladesh a populist measure for garnering electoral dividend for the general elections in April and May 2019. Addressing an election rally in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on October 6, 2018, BJP chief Amit Shah asserted that all illegal immigrants were “like termites eating into the nation’s security”.

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Shah further added, without specifically mentioning any group of migrants: “Elect us back next year and the BJP will not allow a single one of them to stay in this country” (quoted in Das 2018). No wonder the future of the Rohingyas in India remains uncertain and tenuous.

Being stateless: where else can they go? Rethinking the subaltern after the refugee crisis What does this violent story of the persecution and precarious existence of the Rohingyas signify about the postcolonial nation-state, and what implications does it hold for subaltern or postcolonial theory today? The category of the postcolonial nation, envisaged as a category of resistance and unified struggle, has gradually ended up becoming a tool of violent electoral supremacy, ethnic nationalism and majoritarianism, resulting in virulent forms of state bio-power in the Foucauldian sense. The postcolonial state controls, regulates and even wages war against those who are marked as the deviant, abnormal or the internal enemy. To reinforce the same logic of bio-power, as Georgio Agamben (1998) has argued, the state renders those considered a threat to state policies to bare life or to the status of Homo sacer – an entity that is delegalised and/or disowned by the state so that such a life does not come under any legal protection. This is a complete form of statelessness that becomes vulnerable to all types of possible persecution. Thus emerges, as Anindya Sekhar Purakayastha and Saswat S. Das argue (2017, 36) in a different context, the incarnation of the postcolonial state as a Prospero-state that brackets Caliban as an alien in his own land – a situation that demands serious rethinking of initial postcolonial theorisations of the nation-state. In a bid to address some of these questions, this chapter has attempted to narrate the seemingly un-narrated or under-narrated (i.e. the refugee question) in the parlance of existing postcolonial theoretical coordinates that subtend dominant academic positions on postcolonial studies. So far, postcolonial theory or subaltern historiography have justifiably raised the peasant question or the class/caste/gender question in its argumentative templates, but the stateless/state-persecuted refugee as a new subaltern category is yet to be addressed by postcolonial thinkers. The partition of the Indian subcontinent did result in an unprecedented exodus of refugees, something postcolonial critics have engaged with, but the contemporary refugee crisis seems different in its nature and in geopolitical ramifications. The Rohingya refugees, like their Syrian and African counterparts, evoke neo-imperial and xenophobic implications, something rather new in its manifestation which requires new forms of theorisation of citizenship, bordering and subalternities. Even the very category of the subaltern, which figures as an axiomatic category in any configuration of postcolonial or decolonial theory, needs to be reconfigured in view of the crisis diaspora and the precarious bare life of the contemporary Homo sacer – the stateless, the minorities, xenophobia victims and the war subalterns in Syria, among others. The Subaltern Studies project was launched in the 1980s with the specific aim of rectifying the “elitist bias” in postcolonial historiography. It sought to bring in

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the voices of the hitherto unrecognised “subaltern social groups and classes”, such as the peasants, the adivasis, etc., as the “makers of their own history”, autonomous of elite intervention. The project continued for three decades, with twelve volumes published by Oxford University Press and Permanent Black, gaining worldwide recognition. However, in his 2012 article, “After Subaltern Studies” in Economic and Political Weekly, Partha Chatterjee, a prominent member of the project, declared that it is over. He asserted that, although the questions raised by Subaltern Studies are still relevant, the methodological and conceptual framework offered by the collective is insufficient to address contemporary political realities and subjectivities. Chatterjee therefore deliberates on “new projects” (44) in changed times to rethink the subaltern. As if responding to Chatterjee’s call, in an essay titled, “Subaltern Studies in Retrospect and Reminiscence” (2013), Dipesh Chakrabarty importantly distinguishes between Subaltern Studies as the series of publications initiated by Ranajit Guha and Subaltern Studies as a theoretical discourse. The latter, Chakrabarty writes, is “not dead or extinct by any means” (23). The publication of Vivek Chibber’s Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital (2013) stoked a heated debate on the relevance of the analytical frame of subaltern theory and in the aftermath, there have been attempts (Ganguly 2015; Chandra 2015) to rethink the subaltern question in the present conjuncture. In his recent writings on the “politics of the governed” and “political society”, Chatterjee (2004, 2011) has sought to reframe the debate on subaltern politics. In his formulations, the rights-based contractarian notion of citizenship can hardly account for the politics of the vast number of the population that negotiate with the state and various agencies for securing minimum entitlement for eking out their survival. Chatterjee’s idea of political society or the politics of the governed – distinct from civil society which is based on legal-juridical claims – fail to offer any solution to massive humanitarian crises like that of the Rohingyas. The notion of politics of the governed proves inadequate to address the plights of stateless people such as the Rohingyas who are violently denied any formal citizenship which even the political society (the postcolonial populace), in Chatterjee’s words, can claim. Such violent denial of basic citizenship rights severely affects the negotiating agency of the stateless, often resulting in counterviolence, such as that of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army. It may also lead to perilous trans-borderal journeys and a subsequent life under constant threat of being driven out in their countries of refuge. This therefore marks a deficit in Chatterjee’s theory of the politics of the governed, as the stateless are not even governed – just pushed to the brink of nowhereness, rendering them as unrecognised non-subjects into a non-space of the non-governed. In her seminal work, The Origins of Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt traces the production of “homelessness on an unprecedented scale, rootlessness to an unprecedented depth” (Arendt 1976, vii) in the first half of the twentieth century to the totalitarian ideologies and movements such as anti-semitism, Stalinism and imperialism. Arendt calls these new groups of people in Germany the “heimatlosen”, the stateless. In the context of competing foundationalist ideologies and internal incoherences in postcolonial nation-state formation, it is entirely possible

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to apply Arendt’s idea of “heimatlosen” to the Rohingyas, thereby calling for a reconceptualisation of the category of the subaltern in postcolonial discourse. The Subaltern Studies project replaced elitist historiography with subaltern historiography, but the categorical baggage of the project is inadequate, to say the least, in the wake of the recent crises of the displaced, the migrants and the nowhere people. There is a grave need for renewing and/or reconceptualising the category of the subaltern through a critique of ethno-regionalism or identity-centric border vigilantism in order to bring trans-borderal and global solidarities to the forefront rather than the foundational categories of the postcolonial nation.

Note 1 An initial draft of this chapter was read at the Postcolonial Narrations Postgraduate Conference on Moving Centers & Traveling Cultures organised by Goethe University, Frankfurt, in 2018. The author thanks the organisers and participants of the conference for their comments on the paper. He has immensely benefitted from the critical comments and suggestions on the earlier drafts by the editors of the present volume.

Works cited Agamben, Georgio. 1998. Homo Sacer. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Albert, Eleanor, and Andrew Chatzky. 2018. “The Rohingya Crisis.” Council on Foreign Relations, December 5, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019). Arendt, Hannah. 1976. The Origins of Totalitarianism. San Diego, CA; New York; London: Harcourt Brace & Company. Basavapatna, Sahana. 2018. “Where Do #IBelong?: The Stateless Rohingya in India.” In The Rohingya in South Asia: People without a State, edited by Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury and Ranabir Samaddar, 43–73. New York: Routledge. Bearak, Max. 2017. “Bangladesh is Now Home to Almost 1 Million Rohingya Refugees.” The Washington Post, October 25, 2017. wp/2017/10/25/bangladeshisnowhometoalmost1millionrohingyarefugees/?noredirect= on&utm_term=.afd4b9a2f508. (accessed 21 August 2019). Bhattacharyya, Rajeev. 2017. “In Bangladesh Local Living near Rohingya Camps Hope for Quick Repatriation of Refugees.” The Wire, December 13, 2017. external-affairs/locals-living-around-rohingya-refugee-camps-in-bangladesh-hope-forquick-repatriation. (accessed 21 August 2019). Bhuiyan, Humayun Kabir. 2018. “Rohingya Repatriation: ‘Do the Write Thing’, Bangladesh Writes to Myanmar.” Dhaka Tribune, December 3, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019). Bloom, Tendayi, Katherine Tonkiss, and Phillip Cole, ed. 2017. Understanding Statelessness. London: Routledge. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2013. “Subaltern Studies in Retrospect and Reminiscence.” Economic and Political Weekly 48 (12): 23–27. Chakrabarty, Madhura. 2018. “Rohingya in Bangladesh and India and the Media Planet.” In The Rohingya in South Asia: People without a State, edited by Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury and Ranabir Samaddar, 109–33. New York: Routledge.

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Chandra, Uday. 2015. “Rethinking Subaltern Resistance: Subaltern Politics and the State in Contemporary India.” Journal of Contemporary Asia 45 (4): 563–73. Chatterjee, Partha. 2004. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New Delhi: Permanent Black. ———. 2011. Lineages of Political Society: Studies in Postcolonial Democracy. New York: Columbia University Press. ———. 2012. “After Subaltern Studies.” Economic and Political Weekly 47 (35): 44–49. Chaudhury, Sabyasachi Basu Ray, and Ranabir Samaddar, ed. 2018. The Rohingya in South Asia: People without State. New York: Routledge. Chibber,Vivek. 2013. Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital. New York:Verso. Crabapple, Molly. 2018. “Where Else Can They Go?” New York Review of Books 19 (65): 14–16. Das, Krishna N. 2018. “India’s Rohingya Refugees Struggle with Hared, Fear as First Group Is Expelled.” Reuters, October 7, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019). Express News Service. 2018. “The Most Unwanted: A Gripping Account of Rohingya Refugees Living in India.” The Indian Express, June 26, 2018. article/india/the-most-unwanted-a-gripping-account-of-rohingya-refugees-living-inindia-4464103/. (accessed 21 August 2019). Farzana, Kazi Fahmida. 2017. Memories of Burmese Rohingya Refugees: Contested Identity and Belonging. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Elena, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sigona, ed. 2016. The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Fortify Rights. 2018. “Bangladesh: Protect Rohingya Refugees, End Threats and Intimidation.” November 12, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019). Ganguly, Debjani, ed. 2015. “The Subaltern after Subaltern Studies” (Special Issue). South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 1 (38). Hirsch, Asher, and Nathan Bell. 2017. “What Can Hannah Arendt Teach Us about Today’s Refugee Crisis?” Border Criminologies, October 10, 2017. (accessed 21 August 2019). Holmes, Oliver. 2017. “Thailand Convicts Traffickers after 2015 Mass Grave Discovery.” The Guardian, July 19, 2017. (accessed 21 August 2019). Ibrahim, Azeem. 2016. The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide. London: Hurst. Javeed, Auqib. 2018. “Pall of Fear Engulfs Rohingya in Jammu: ‘Where Will We Go, What CanWeDo’.” The Citizen, March 4, 2018. tail/index/3/13183/Pall-of-Fear-Engulfs-Rohingya-Camps-in-Jammu-Where-WillWe-Go-What-Can-We-Do. (accessed 21 August 2019). Kannabiran, Kalpana, ed. 2016. Violence Studies. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Knowles, Caroline. 2017. “Strangers at Our Door.” Ethnic and Religious Studies Review 41 (8): 1512–13. Majumdar, Suchismita. 2018. “The Jailed Rohingya in West Bengal.” In The Rohingya in South Asia: People without a State, edited by Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury and Ranabir Samaddar, 91–108. New York: Routledge. Pasricha, Anjana. 2018. “Rohingya Refugees in India Rattled after First-Ever Deportations.” Voa News, October 14, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019).

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Purakayastha, Anindya, and Saswat S. Das. 2017. “Shakespeare in Dantewada: Rescuing Postcolonialism through Pedagogical Reformulations and Academic Activism.” In Postcolonial Justice, edited by Anke Bartels et al., 37–59. Leiden: Brill. Rabinow, Paul, ed. 1994. Ethics Volume 1: Essential Works of Foucault 1954–1984. London: Penguin. Regan, Helen, and Salman Saeed. 2018. “ ‘If We Go, They Will Kill Us’, Rohingya Refugees Fear Repatriation to Myanmar.” CNN, November 15, 2018. https://edition.cnn. com/2018/11/15/asia/rohingya-repatriation-myanmar-intl/index.html. (accessed 21 August 2019). Samshad, Rizwana. 2017. Bangladeshi Migrants in India: Foreigners, Refugees, or Infiltrators. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Singh, Deepak K. 2010. Stateless in South Asia:The Chakmas between Bangladesh and India. New Delhi: SAGE. Sofi, Umar. 2018. “Amid Rumours and Violence, Rohingya Refugees Dream of Safety in Jammu.” The Wire, November 27, 2018. (accessed 21 August 2019). Standing, Guy. 2011. The Precariat:The New Dangerous Class. London; New York: Bloomsbury. ———. 2012. “The Precariat: From Denizens to Citizens?” Polity 44 (4): 588–608. UNHCR. n.d. “Bangladesh Rohingya Emergency.” (accessed 21 August 2019). ———. 2016. “LTV Procedure for Refugees Expedited in India.” UNHCR, January 16, 2016.<e mid=1. (accessed 21 August 2019). Xchange Foundation. 2018. “The Rohingya amongst Us: Bangladeshi Perspectives on the Rohingya Crisis Survey.” August 28, 2018.

10 INDIA’S LYNCHINGS Ordinary crimes, rough justice or command hate crimes? Harsh Mander1

The world has become a more frightening and dangerous place in which to live for minorities of various kinds – for religious, national, racial, linguistic, ethnic and sexual minorities, and for left and liberal dissidents. Growing numbers of people are voting, in country after country, for leaders who stoke hatred against minorities and other oppressed groups, crush opposition by left and liberal dissenters, wave the flag of an aggressive and exclusionary nationalism, and advocate belligerent militarism against other nations. In countries such as Brazil, the United States, Hungary, Russia, Turkey and India, such right-wing, authoritarian leaders are being elected to form governments, with surging support from their chauvinistic political parties which legitimise hatred against minorities and criminalise liberal and left dissent. In others, such as France, Germany and Scandinavian countries, they may not have succeeded in capturing power, but their expanding electoral appeal signals a rising constituency of hate in more and more nations of the world. As a consequence, fear, violence and state bias have become increasingly normalised for minorities in a number of countries. Targeted are people of colour as well as religious, ethnic and sexual minorities, and immigrants. In countries in which Muslims constitute a minority, major targets of hostilities typically are Muslims. Liberal defenders of these communities in the media and civil society are also intimidated, attacked and gagged by these groups and governments. Countries across South Asia show similar disturbing trends, making it increasingly more fraught and dangerous to live as a minority. Religious identity is a particularly divisive fault line in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. This chapter examines the surge of lynching in India in recent years and asks whether this represents a form of hate violence which particularly targets minorities, against the background of growing hate and bigotry against minorities in India. It demonstrates that, especially in the years since the election of the new government in 2014, which has traditionally aligned with the Hindu-centric narrative of

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the Indian nation, there has been a rise in this particular form of hate violence that targets religious and caste minorities. It is popularly called “lynching”, a word which has entered the popular discourse in India in these years for the first time to describe the growing incidents of frenzied attacks by mobs against people mainly because of their religious or caste identity, of being Muslim and, in some cases, of being Dalit. This rise is part of a larger surge of hate crimes that is corroding social peace and trust. Despite this, the rising tide of hate violence in India has not significantly attracted global attention, even less censure. The chapter attempts to understand the specific character of rising hate crimes in India expressed in the form of lynch attacks and other targeted crimes. It seeks to identify the nature of these crimes, what are the spurs, who are the victims and perpetrators, and how the state responds. To that end, it draws insights from the comparative historical experience of lynching in other parts of the world.

Hate violence in India Hate violence targeting religious, caste and gender minorities is not new in India. India’s independence in 1947 was also the time of the violent partition of the country and the creation of Pakistan, during which Hindu-Muslim riots claimed between a quarter of a million (Varshney 2002) and a million lives (Dalrymple 2015). Violent clashes and attacks based on religious identity, most often targeting religious minorities, especially Muslim, but also on occasion Sikh and Christian minorities, continued after independence. According to a careful compilation by Steven Wilkinson and Varshney (Varshney 2002), the number of persons killed in Hindu-Muslim violence between 1950–1955 was at least 7,000. If these figures are brought up to date and deaths from violence against Sikh and Christian minorities are added, then the numbers of people who died as a result of communal violence in India could be significantly more than 10,000.2 There is no accurate official data of casualties by lynch attacks and hate crimes during the second decade of the twenty-first century, the period under study in this chapter. In reply to a question in Parliament, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir affirmed in July 2018 that “[t]he National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain specific data with respect to lynching incidents in the country” (Ministry of Home Affairs 2018). To counter what we believed was the deliberate official obscuring of the nature and scale of this kind of hate crime, a credible data journalism portal called India Spend launched what it called the Citizen’s Religious Hate-Crime Watch (HateCrime Watch for short) on October 30, 2018, supported by news portal News Click and a people’s campaign for secularism Aman Biradari (with which, for full disclosure, this author is associated).This fact-checker tracks those crimes that target an individual or group of individuals because of their religious identity. The Hate-Crime Watch currently is based on an analysis of 310 incidents of hate crimes motivated by religious hatred, which resulted in 101 deaths and 741 injuries

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occurring between 2009 and 2018. It has sourced these mainly from English-language press reports. The actual numbers of hate crimes and of fatalities are likely to be higher, perhaps much higher, because many incidents of hate crimes, particularly those that are not fatal, are ignored by the national press − and because the police often attempt to disguise these crimes, even when they result in fatalities, as ordinary murders and assaults, or even road traffic accidents, unwilling to acknowledge that these are motivated by religious hatred. The numbers of hate crimes which target people because of their caste, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and race are not included in this citizen watch. Even so, it is admitted that the number of persons killed in all such hate crimes in this period are likely to be far less than those killed in even a single major episode of mass communal violence. What then makes this present form of targeted hate violence, through lynch mobs and occasional solitary attacks, so worrying? Every episode of mass communal violence of the past, however grave, was still bound by geography and by time. In other words, it would occur in a particular area and would unfold over hours, days, or in the rare instance of the Gujarat communal carnage of 2002, weeks. Although the devastation and loss that it wreaked would continue, the episode would end. The difference with the new phase of lynch mobs and solitary hate crimes is that it is no longer bound by geography and time. The message that it communicates is that now, if you are of the targeted community, you are no longer safe in any place, and at any time.You can be attacked in your home, as a mob can enter it and check what meat is being cooked, and bludgeon you to death on the suspicion that it is cow meat. Only for being visibly Muslim, you can be lynched on a train, while walking down the road, at your workplace or a park.This fear, and the enabling role for these attacks, I argue, are the markers of these crimes.

The rise of the lynch mob in India Barely a week after the election of a new government in May 2014, computer engineer Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh was lynched on June 2, 2014, on the streets of the city of Pune for no reason except that he was Muslim (Kulkarni and Haygunde 2014). Such hate crimes have continued, peaking in the year 2018. Initially, not many observers detected a pattern in these hate crimes. My colleagues and I did a very quick scan of the English-language newspapers online for just over one and a half years between March 2015 and January 2017 (Mander 2018b). In March 2015, a mob of 6,000 people, including male and female college students, marched to the jail in Dimapur, Nagaland; broke into the jail; pulled out a Muslim man charged with rape; stripped, beat and stoned him; tied him to a scooter and dragged him several kilometres to the city square; hung his naked body publicly and videotaped the lynching. On May 30, 2015, in Birloka in Khimsar Tehsil of Rajasthan’s Nagaur district, 60-year-old Abdul Ghaffar Qureshi was killed after rumours spread that he had killed 200 cows for a feast. Pictures of carcasses were spread on social media. Young men gathered in the thousands in the fields of Kumhari village and brutally murdered him (Irony of India 2017). On August 29, 2015, this time in Chilla

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village, near east Delhi’s Mayur Vihar, just adjacent to the country’s capital, residents clashed with five truck drivers who were reportedly transferring buffaloes to a slaughterhouse in Ghazipur (Irony of India 2017).Then, on September 28, 2015, in the village of Dadri close to Delhi, Mohammad Akhlaq was bludgeoned to death by his neighbours and his son badly injured on the charge that he had beef in his refrigerator. In October 2015, in Karhal in Uttar Pradesh, villagers held protests when news spread that a cow had disappeared from a field near the village and was taken away for slaughter (India TV News 2015). An angry mob stripped and then beat two men (50-year-old Mohammad Shafiq and 27-year-old Mohammad Kalam) who were alleged to have stolen the cow; however, other reports indicate that the cow died of natural causes and was sold to the two men by the owner (Mogul 2015). Member of the Legislative Assembly Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid was assaulted when he walked into the Legislative Assembly House in Jammu for allegedly hosting a beef party in October 2015 (Ehsan 2015). The same month, on October 6, 2015, in Karnataka, a cattle trader had a narrow escape after Bajrang Dal activists attacked him with metal rods on a rumour about a stolen cow (Mondal 2015). On October 9, 2015, in Udhampur, in Jammu and Kashmir, truck driver Zahid Ahmad was killed in a petroleum bomb episode after communal tensions brewed in the state, following independent MLA Engineer Rashid’s “beef party” at the MLA Hostel in Srinagar ten days earlier and subsequent rumours of cow slaughter from different parts of the state (The Tribune 2015). On October 17, 2015, a 20-year-old from Saharanpur was allegedly killed in Sarahan by villagers who believed he was involved in the smuggling of cattle, police said. Four others, alleged to be part of the same smuggling gang, were beaten up (Sharma 2015). On January 15, 2016, in Harda, Madhya Pradesh, two couples were attacked by members of a Gauraksha Samiti for allegedly carrying beef (Firstpost 2016). On March 18, 2016, in Latehar, Jharkhand, two Muslim cattle traders were lynched, allegedly by cattleprotection vigilantes in Balumath forests. The attackers killed 32-year-old Mazlum Ansari and 12-year-old Imteyaz Khan, who were found hanging from a tree (B. Abraham 2016). Then, on April 2, 2016, the mutilated body of Mustain Abbas was found in a drain near Masana village in Kurukshetra, Haryana.The vehicle in which Mustain, a father of four, was travelling back home after buying bulls from Sharif Garh in Haryana, was stopped and fired upon by alleged Gau Raksha Dal members (Janwalkar and Verma 2016). On June 2, 2016, in Rajasthan, four individuals were apprehended by police for allegedly transferring beef illegally.They attempted an escape, but two of them were caught by the mob and one was stripped naked and beaten badly (Parihar 2016). Then, in Gir Somnath (Una), Gujarat, four Dalits were stripped and beaten by Shiv Sena members for skinning a dead cow, on June 12, 2016 (Times of India 2016a). On July 26, 2016, two Muslim women were slapped, kicked and abused over beef rumours by a mob led by cow vigilantes at a railway station near Mandsaur in BJPruled Madhya Pradesh (The Citizen Bureau 2016). NDTV aired a report which showed a group of organisation members forcibly stopping a truck on the outskirts of Pune, Maharashtra, on July 31, 2016, yanking the driver out, snatching his phone

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and pushing his truck to a police station. The report stated: “They together work as extortionists, forcing the poor cattle traders to part with their money. An even bigger fact is that most of the cows that they capture are not seen in the goshalas.They sell it outside and make money out of it. So, the aim of these gauraksha senas is not really cow protection” (Beef Janata Party 2016). On August 5, 2016, in Lucknow, two Dalits were thrashed for refusing to remove cow carcasses. The Dalit workers were protesting against the growing attacks on the community since the Una attack (Irony of India 2017). On August 10, 2016, in Amalpuram, East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, two Dalits were thrashed on charges by so-called cow vigilantes of killing their cows. It was later found that the cows were safe, and the victims were removing the skin of a dead cow given away by its owner. Hindu Jagarana Vedike activists intercepted and attacked two men with sharp weapons in Hebri, Udupi district, on August 18, 2016, alleging they were transporting calves to an abattoir, a senior police official said. Praveen Poojary, 29, succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Bramhavar, where his friend Akshay Devadiga, 21, was also admitted – he was out of danger (India Today 2016). On August 20, 2016, a 15-year-old Dalit boy was allegedly beaten up by two men in Bhavda village of Daskroi Taluka in Ahmedabad district ostensibly because his father refused to dispose of cattle carcasses in the village, according to the police (Hindustan Times 2016a). On August 24, 2016, in Mewat, Haryana, ten alleged gau rakshaks (self-styled “cow protectors”) killed a Muslim couple in their thirties – Rasheedan and Ibrahim. Two other members of their family, Ayesha and Jafruddin, were seriously injured, a 21-year-old woman and a 16-year-old girl from the family were gang-raped for allegedly eating beef (Sen 2016). On September 13, 2016, again in Ahmedabad, 29-year-old Mohammad Ayyub Mev was admitted to VS Hospital after he was beaten up by unidentified persons on SG Highway on the night of September 13, after his vehicle met with an accident. A calf which he was allegedly carrying in the car died in the mishap. Ayyub’s brother Imran alleged that he was beaten up on suspicion that he was transporting cows for slaughter (Hindustan Times 2016b). On September 25, 2016, in Banaskantha, Gujarat, a five-month pregnant Dalit woman and her husband were assaulted by half a dozen upper-caste men for refusing to clear a cow carcass at Karja village (Times of India 2016b). On January 20, 2017, a group of gau rakshaks stopped four trucks carrying buffaloes on the Jaipur-Gurgaon expressway and beat up the transporters, sending one of them to hospital with injuries. Police booked the transporter for allegedly cruel conditions regarding how the cattle were packed in the truck, but no case was registered against the gau rakshaks (India Times 2017). Most of these attacks did not attract significant public notice and censure. The Dimapur incident, of the young man being pulled out from a jail, reminiscent of such lynch attacks in Latin America, occasioned only transient national attention. However, the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq in a village close to Delhi on the charge that he stored beef in his home did result in widespread outrage, and many leading writers and artists returned their awards to the government in protest. Despite the mounting numbers of such attacks, mostly in the name of protecting cows, the central and most state governments maintained denial, refuting that these

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represented a rising graph of hate crimes. I have not been able to find an equivalent word for lynching in most Indian languages, except Bengali (ganapitaai), and the latter is because Calcutta had seen in earlier decades many incidents of rough justice when lynch mobs would beat to death men caught pick-pocketing. But in the years 2016 to 2017, the word “lynching” rose in the public discourse and its horrors registered increasingly in popular conscience and discussion.The history of the deployment of the term “lynching” globally shows its origins in America in the 1780s, its spread to Britain and France in the 1830s, to Mexico in the 1850s and to Japan in the 1920s (Carrigan and Waldrep 2013); it is remarkable that it entered popular discourse in India a century later. The year 2017 saw a series of hate attacks which established further that the rise of these hate crimes had grown into a national contagion. On March 19, 2017, cow vigilantes attacked workers of a restaurant owned by a Muslim in Jaipur, claiming that he organised beef parties. On April 1, 2017, Pehlu Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer, was stopped on a busy highway when he was transporting dairy cows and calves which he had bought at a cattle market near Jaipur and was thrashed to death by a mob. His driver was allowed to go when he identified himself as a Hindu. On April 21, a nomadic family of Muslim Gujjars was attacked by a mob while they were travelling with their cows and goats in Jammu (Dey 2017). On June 22, teenaged boy Junaid Khan was lynched on a train near Delhi as he returned after Eid shopping. On June 29, coal trader Alimuddin Ansari was lynched on a busy market square in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh district. The official BJP position still remained that there was no pattern of lynchings in the name of the cow by empowered Hindutva mobs, and that these were statistically trivial stray events. “There has been an attempt by rival parties and sections of the media to stoke a persecution complex among minorities based on rare, isolated events”, said BJP spokesperson Narasimha Rao. “Propaganda by vested interests has miserably failed because it is unreal, fabricated and fictional” (Dhar 2017).

Notes from the Karwan e Mohabbat Deeply troubled by evidence of what we saw to be rising hate crimes, I made a call for journeys of solidarity visiting families of persons struck down by hate violence in what was called the Karwan e Mohabbat, or the Caravan of Love. Between September 2017 and March 2019 (the time of completing this article), the Karwan had made 27 journeys to 15 Indian states. I quote here from just one column that I wrote about the Karwan (Mander 2017b): The harrowing journey of our caravan of love laid bare a country both divided and devoid of compassion. People are compelled to live with fear and hate, and a hostile state, as normalised elements of everyday living. An old farmer in Uttar Pradesh lost his son transporting cattle to a lynch mob. The police did not even register this as a lynch killing, the killers are untraced, and he has not even seen his son’s post-mortem report. He said to us, his face lined with sorrow, “Maine sabar kar liya”. I have learned to endure.

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Attempting love, atonement, conscience and justice, the Karwane e Mohabbat intersected India from east to west, traversing Assam, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.The landscape changed – paddy fields, areca nut groves, sugarcane fields, millet farms, arid wastelands. But the stories we heard in state after state were frighteningly similar. We found widows, mothers, fathers and children, numbed with incomprehension at the ferocity of loathing and violence that had snatched from them their loved ones. How could parents of two boys in Nagaon, Assam, come to terms with the lynching of their sons by a mob from their neighbouring village, accusing them of being cow thieves? Why would they gouge their eyes out and cut off their ears? Why would complete strangers stab Harish Pujari 14 times near Mangalore, pulling out his intestines, only because they mistook him for a Muslim when he was riding pillion behind his Muslim friend (Mander 2017c)? Dalits are viciously attacked by upper-caste neighbours to crush any assertion. Single women remain vulnerable to incredible medieval cruelty by family and neighbours, branded as witches. Christians in tribal regions are subjugated by violence targeting their priests, nuns and places of worship, and by laws criminalising religious conversions. But the foremost targets of hate violence by lynching and police killings are Muslims, and it is they who have most abandoned hope. Against Muslims, the hate weapon of choice is public lynching. We read of lynching of blacks in America as public spectacles, watched by white families having picnics. In today’s India, this same objective of lynching as public performance is accomplished with the video camera. Most lynch attacks are filmed by the attackers, with images of their victims humiliated, cringing, begging for their lives. In a particularly horrifying incident in Jharkhand, in a busy market square in Ramgarh, a mob stops the car of a Muslim man. A huge pile of red meat – the size of the body of a full cow – appears on the street, the mob claiming that they “seized” this from the car. He is filmed as they beat him to death. Laughing faces of attackers appear in the video. They upload the videos even as they lynch the man and torch his car. His young son sees the video of his father being lynched on his mobile even as the lynching is under way. We found families that were bereaved by hate violence, bereft of hope of either protection or justice from the state.We heard from almost all the 50 families we met during our travels in eight states that the police registered criminal charges against the victims and treated the accused with kid gloves, not opposing their bail or erasing their crime altogether. A lynch mob, for instance, attacks a vehicle transporting cattle, killing some of the transporters. The police register criminal cases of illegal cow smuggling, animal cruelty and rash driving against the victims. But it obliterates completely the fact that the men were lynched. Or, in other cases, it mentions anonymous mobs who are never caught. The families of people attacked by lynch mobs sometimes do not even file a complaint with the police, because far from getting justice, the police would register criminal charges against them. Even more worrying, we found that in Haryana for the past two years, and in Western Uttar Pradesh since Adityanath became chief minister, the police have increasingly taken

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on the work of the lynch mob. There are tens of instances in both states in which the police themselves kill Muslim men, charging them with being cattle smugglers or dangerous criminals, and claiming that they fired at the police. In Gujarat, police officers publicly lynch an adivasi man charged with cow slaughter on two market squares until he soils his clothes with his excreta and then dies. And, unlike lynching, targeted police killings have barely registered in the national conscience (Jha 2017). We found Muslim victim survivors crushed, isolated and despairing. And we found in all these local communities profound and pervasive failures of compassion. We encountered very little acknowledgement, regret or remorse among the upper-caste Hindu communities in any of the states we travelled. In Nuh, Haryana, a young Muslim man said, “A poisonous wind is blowing through our country. I feel a stranger in my own homeland.” One remarkable feature that we found common to almost all instances of lynching is that these crimes are videotaped by the perpetrators and circulated widely and avidly on social media. These are clearly acts of performative violence, public exhibitions of the humiliation of their enemy communities, designed to send out a clear social message of what the targeted community has been reduced to as they beg the mob in vain for their lives. They signal that the perpetrators regard these not to be crimes but acts of masculine valour and Hindu nationalism, and that they are assured of their impunity: that they will not be punished but instead celebrated as heroes. The videos are also expedient for drafting new recruits to militant Hindu supremacist formations like the Hindu Yuva Vahini founded by the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh,Yogi Adityanath.

Ordinary crimes, rough justice or hate crimes? In contemporary times, as stated in the opening of this paper, we find the rise of right-wing regimes that are hostile to minorities in many countries, and these result in several policies that reflect official distrust, hostility and exclusion of minorities. But we have not found examples in any other country of this resulting in a concerted pattern of lynch attacks against minorities, as is being observed in India. However, lynching is by no means unique to India. It has occurred and continues to occur in many countries, and there is a great deal of scholarship which tries to make sense of this. Lynching is defined in many ways by scholars, but we see it as extra-legal assaults and/or murders to exercise social control (Pfeifer 2017, 1), entailing death or severe physical harm, and usually involving public spectacles of incredible cruelty (Berg and Wendt 2011, 5). Pfeifer studies lynching in many parts of the world and concludes that it is grounded in local prerogatives of race, class, honour, gender and crime control (Pfeifer 2011, 20). It is a part of a “regime of fear” exerted by local power holders. There is no space here for an extensive review of the scholarship about lynching the world over. But there appear in the literature three broad kinds of lynching (often with overlaps). The first is lynching as occasional and random criminal acts without any patterns or regularity to signal a significant social phenomenon. The

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second is lynching as “rough justice”, of people who are often but not always disadvantaged, who are frustrated by failures of legal justice, attacking people alleged frequently to be petty thieves or responsible for sexual crimes. The crowds take the law into their own hands by cruelly killing the alleged criminal. Indonesia has seen many such killings by local communities of alleged thieves (Bakker 2017), adulterers and homosexuals (Jaffrey 2017). Police are informed ahead of time about planned lynchings, and local leaders also authorise tacitly these acts (Varshney 2008). As in India, lynchings are a way for dominant groups to assert their dominance, signalling their willingness to defend themselves and their interests even if it means going against national law. Another similarity is the rise of the Internet as a vehicle to spread fear and a steady stream of photos and messages that instigate public violence (Bakker 2017). Modern China also saw tacit official support for mob killing of people deemed worthless local “roughs” or subversives (Guo 2017). Post-apartheid South Africa has seen instances of spectacular killings, like “necklacing”, or placing a tyre full of petrol around the neck of alleged criminals and setting this on fire (Smith 2017). In many parts of Africa, mob violence represents a highly organised form of vigilantism, where vigilante leaders assume the power and legitimacy that the state is unable to claim (Berg and Wendt 2011, 12). Lynchings are predicated on localised notions of crime and punishment – they are never spontaneous or isolated but rather embedded within larger cultures of violence. In Brazil, it is a form of popular justice to punish criminals which is closely tied up with notions of masculinity (Berg and Wendt 2011, 12). Underlying all of these acts of lynching is the ideology of popular justice; it represents to itself a form of communal self-defence against crime that is unchecked by the state (Berg and Wendt 2011, 4). The third kind of lynching is of hate crime, particularly of the variety that was seen in the American South between the abolition of slavery and the First World War. These are often dressed up as rough justice by claiming that the victim was guilty of heinous crimes such as rape or murder, but in practice the dominant motive is to target people because of their subordinate identity, to convey a message of violent dominance. Indonesia also saw lynch killings of Ahmadi Muslims who are seen as blasphemers, and also as suspected leftist groups (Bakker 2017). As stated earlier, confronted with criticism for the rising graph of incidents of communal and caste lynching, the union government in India initially responded with denial, claiming that these incidents were statistically trivial, and ordinary breaches of law and order which occur in every regime. It was only vested interests, they claimed, which conflate the present regime specifically with growing incidents of lynching. In reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha about the number of incidents of lynching in 2017, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir did not report a single case of lynching for that year, and small numbers in earlier years. As news of these incidents grew, spokespersons of the ruling party began to acknowledge these episodes of violence – often in television debates – but still characterised these as routine breakdowns of law and order which have occurred under the watch of every government. Not just the nature but also the scale of these hate crimes remains obscured and bitterly contested, because of the official policy

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of the National Crime Records Bureau not to keep a separate record of hate crimes or lynching. Moreover, as Abhishek Dey, who looked closely at five hate crimes that made the headlines in 2017, concluded, India is undercounting religious hate crimes and also failing to invoke a crucial section of the law (Dey 2017).This is Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, which prohibits and lays down punishment for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, caste and community, and acting in ways that are prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony. If applied in all hate crimes, it would be a useful index to gauge the prevalence of religion-based hate crimes in India. But he found that this section was not applied in any of these cases.

Command hate crime When evidence of the national spread and regularity of these attacks had become incontrovertible, supporters of the ruling establishment then spoke of these as forms of rough justice by people outraged by the killing of cows and the alleged sexual perfidy of Muslim men targeting Hindu women, termed “love jihad”. In many debates in television studios (including some in which I also participated), the view that they now put forward was that there was spontaneous anger because people (mostly Muslim and Dalit) do not obey laws that ban cow slaughter, and, therefore, in frustration aggrieved Hindus are taking the law into their own hands. In the global experience of lynching, as noted earlier, we do find many instances of lynching as rough justice – most notably in Latin America and Indonesia – of crowds of often disadvantaged people. However, what we are witnessing in India is not rough justice but hate crimes by dominant groups against religious and caste minorities, much more akin to the lynching of blacks in the American South in the last decade of the nineteenth and first decades of the twentieth centuries. The charge that the victims are criminals are found in both American and contemporary Indian lynching. But these are most often based on rumours and overwhelmingly target people of religious and caste minority identities. A hate crime is one in which crimes are committed against a person primarily not because of what a person might have done, but because of what they are. In communal lynching, a person is attacked for the alleged transgressions, real or imagined, past or present, of others of her or his identity. Jurist Upendra Baxi speaks to Alison Saldanha and Karthik Madhavapeddi of India Spend of the nature of lynching as hate crime unfolding in India: “In cases of xenophobic and communal lynching, one person’s body becomes a site of history. The person is not lynched for his or her own conduct, but for the past conduct of others. In allowing this to happen the administration and the law proceeds to become a programme of revenge” (in Saldanha and Madhavapeddi 2018). India’s current ruling party has a penchant for conflating the majoritarian religious ethos with those of the nationalist ethos, which are hostile to the country’s religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians. Lynching can be understood as an instrument of subjugation of these “enemies” of the nation’s religious majority.

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Between 2010 and 2017, Muslims were the target of 52% of violence centred on bovine issue and comprised of 84% of those killed in such incidents as reported in English-language press (Abraham and Rao 2017). Overall, Muslims, who comprise 14 per cent of India’s population, were the victims in 62 per cent of cases of religious violence recorded by Hate-Crime Watch since 2009. What were the triggers for these episodes of hate violence that targeted religious identities? Approximately 30 per cent of the attacks that are included in Hate-Crime Watch are done in the name of cow protection. Fourteen per cent are to protest inter-religious relationships. Nine per cent are spurred by allegations of religious conversions. In several of the remainder, the reasons are not confirmed. In 64 per cent of violence related to inter-faith liaisons, the victims were Muslim. Christians constitute just a little more than 2 per cent of the population but are victims in 14 per cent of the cases of religious violence, mainly attacks on churches and prayer-spaces, on priests and nuns, and on lay-believing Christians. Hindus, by contrast, are more than 80 per cent of India’s population, but were only 10 per cent of the victims of hate crimes based on religious identity after 2009. The story is reversed when we look at the identities of the perpetrators of violence. In 86 per cent of the cases of hate crimes in which the religion of the alleged perpetrator is known, these were Hindus. Only in 13 per cent of incidents, the attackers were Muslim. Among the cases in which the details of the attackers’ political affiliations are known or reported, as high as 83 per cent of the hate crimes were by attackers who were allegedly affiliated with right-wing organisations with Hindutva ideologies closely affiliated with the ruling BJP party, including Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuva Vahini and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, among others; as well as being directly members of the political parties of the BJP and its ideological sibling, the Shiv Sena. Members of the Bajrang Dal were found to be involved in the largest number of hate crimes. And of the 30 cases of hate crimes in which Bajrang Dal members were alleged to have participated, Hate-Crime Watch shows that 29 took place after 2014 (Saldanha and Madhavapeddi 2018). Robert Thurston suggests that lynchings happen whenever societies experience a rapid deterioration of political stability and legitimacy (in Berg and Wendt 2011, 71). Pfeifer (2017, 1) similarly notes that lynching occurs under conditions of social flux (perceptions of a crisis of the legal order, rapidly shifting rural to urban arrangements, public authorities who have effectively lost legitimacy and fragile states where the state does not have a full monopoly on violence.) These conditions do not seem to apply to India in the twenty-first century. In India, the nation-state is strong, even muscular when it wants to be, has high capacity and still has fairly high legitimacy. The crisis that underlies lynching has been manufactured by a regime that wishes in practice (even if not in letter) to reverse the constitutional guarantee of equal rights to all citizens regardless of their faith, and recraft India into a Hindu state, which privileges the majoritarian ethos. Lynching in the American South has many striking similarities to lynching in the second decade of the twenty-first century in India. In America, it was a project to violently establish white supremacy, contrary to the established regime of liberal democracy. Lynchings were forms of race-baiting, a response to

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black assertiveness (Clarke 1998), and just as in India, these are ways of baiting religious and caste minorities, mostly Muslims and Dalits. In India, lynching aims at establishing the dominance of the majoritarian religious group, in subversion of the constitutional guarantees of equal rights to people of every faith. Ernst Fraenkel speaks of a framework of constitutional anarchy in America, of how the federal government chose not to intervene in lynchings while maintaining its sovereign authority and its politics of accommodation, and how the federal government deflected its own accountability on these crimes. Each of these apply substantially to the Indian case (Fraenkel in Kato 2016, 18). Daniel Kato (Kato 2016) speaks of the “racialized state”, as in India, we can speak of the emergence of a majoritarian Hindu state. Robert Dahl goes further to describe the federal government’s “active policy of non-enforcement” (Dahl 1956, 41). Nothing can describe better the refusal of the police in India to register cases against lynch attackers. This active policy of non-enforcement, Dahl explains, was more a political agreement mired in comity rather than a legal principle of incapacity. It is not that the state cannot act because it lacks the authority or resources to impose its will; it chooses not to act. Leigh Binford and Nancy Churchill observe that what distinguishes Latin American lynching from American lynching is that it lacked the support of the state (Binford and Churchill in Carrigan and Waldrep 2013, 2). A century later, this indeed is what most distinguishes the incidents of lynching in contemporary India: namely, the tacit, sometimes open support to this lynching, especially when the victims are Muslim, of the law enforcement authorities. Hate-Crime Watch also has only partial information about whether legal action was taken against the perpetrators of the hate crimes. But the information that is available is disquieting. In at least 23 cases recorded in Hate-Crime Watch so far, or about a tenth of the cases, the police had not filed even a first information report against the perpetrators. At the same time, in at least a fifth of the cases, or 53 cases, first information reports have also been filed against the victim. In cow-related hate crimes, the police in at least a third of the incidents have also arrested the victims of the attacks (Saldanha and Madhavapeddi 2018). What India is witnessing is not just localised and spontaneous random hate crimes. Instead, India Spend found that 97 per cent of cow-related attacks since 2010 occurred after the new government came to power in 2014. Likewise, Hate-Crime Watch found that as many as 90 per cent of religious hate crimes since 2009 have occurred after the election of the present government. This points compellingly to the conclusion that an environment has been created under the watch of the present government in which people feel safe, enabled, even encouraged to act out their hate and attack religious minorities. It is in this sense that I would characterise lynching in India as command hate crime.

Lynching as performative symbolism Some of the most powerful similarities between nineteenth- and twentiethcentury American and twenty-first century Indian lynching is its performative

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character. I quote here Amy Louise Wood at length: Lynching, she said, assumed a “tremendous symbolic power precisely because it was extraordinary and, by its very nature, public and visually sensational”. In these “hundreds, sometimes thousands, of white spectators gathered and watched as their fellow citizens tortured, mutilated, and hanged or burned their victims in full view”. These “deaths were themselves representational, conveying messages about racial hierarchy and the frightening consequences of transgressing that hierarchy. African Americans, however, did not need to see a lynching to be terrorized by it, to feel . . . that ‘penalty of death’ hanging over them at every waking moment” (Wood 2009, 2). In India, this same performative symbolic power has been attained, as observed earlier, with the video camera. Almost every lynching investigated by the Karwan was videotaped by the perpetrators and supporters, which they triumphally widely circulated online.The perpetrators signal by this that they are assured of their impunity because, despite their posting their images committing murder online, they will be valorised as “nationalist” heroes of the Hindu nation, in which union ministers garland people convicted of lynching, or wrap their bodies in the national flag when one of them dies of illness in prison. They seek through these videos also to convey to the community what the victim have been reduced to, begging vainly for their lives from their powerful attackers. As Wood recalls: “Even one lynching reverberated, traveling with sinister force, down city streets and through rural farms, across roads and rivers. . . . To be black in this time was to be ‘the victim to a thousand lynchings’ ” (Wood 2009, 1). In the same way, each lynching in India is reverberating to every inner-city and rural Muslim ghetto: to be Muslim in India today is to be victim to 10,000 lynchings. India sometimes creates its own specific cruelties. Untouchability and caste atrocities are two of these. Domestic violence is a worldwide malaise, but India alone has innovated the cruelty of the burning of brides for dowry. In the same way, whereas politically encouraged bigotry and hatred against minorities is growing into a malign global epidemic, will India’s dubious contribution to this be its spate of communal mob lynching targeting its religious minorities and disadvantaged castes?

Notes 1 In this essay, I have drawn in part from two of my recent articles, “New Hate Crime Tracker in India Finds Victims are Predominantly Muslim, Perpetrators Hindu” (2018a) and “India: Journey to the Sites of Lynchings across States, the Karwan-e-Mohabbat Found a Stark Waning of Compassion and Solidarity” (2017a). Additionally, I am grateful for the research support extended by Paaritosh Nath, Nidhi Sen, Vidit Verma, Sonal Sharma, Sahana Kaul and Mihika Chanchani. 2 It is estimated that approximately 3,000 Sikhs were killed in attacks after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards in 1984 in Delhi alone. In 2002, estimates of people killed in a major communal massacre in Gujarat vary between 1,000 and 2,000.

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Works cited Abraham, Bobins. 2016. “Two Muslim Cattle Traders Hanged to Death in Jharkhand by Suspected ‘Cow Protection Vigilantes’.” India Times, March 19, 2016. news/india/two-muslim-cattle-traders-hanged-to-death-in-jharkhand-by-suspectedcattle-protection-vigilantes-252255.html. Abraham, Delna, and Ojaswi Rao. 2017. “84 Per Cent Dead in Cow-Related Violence since 2010 are Muslim, 97 Per Cent Attacks after 2014.” IndiaSpend, June 28, 2017. https:// Bakker, Laurens. 2017. “Lynching, Public Violence, and the Internet in Indonesia.” In Global Lynching and Collective Violence.Volume 1: Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, edited by Michael J. Pfeifer, 10–33. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Beef Janata Party. 2016. “Gau Rakshak-Police Nexus.” Facebook, July 31, 2016. Berg, Manfred, and Simon Wendt. 2011. Globalizing Lynching History. New York: Palgrave. Carrigan, William D., and Christopher Waldrep. 2013. “Introduction.” In Swift to Wrath: Lynching in Global Historical Perspective, edited by William D. Carrigan and Christopher Waldrep, 1–10. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. Clarke, James W. 1998. “Without Fear or Shame: Lynching, Capital Punishment and the Subculture of Violence in the American South.” British Journal of Political Science 28 (2): 269. Dahl, Robert. 1956. A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Dalrymple, William. 2015. “The Great Divide: The Violent Legacy of Indian Partition.” The New Yorker, June 25, 2015. the-great-divide-books-dalrymple. Dey, Abhishek. 2017. “India is Undercounting Religious Hate Crimes by Failing to Invoke a Crucial Section of the Law.” Scroll, December 30, 2017. article/863176/2017-india-is-undercounting-religious-hate-crimes-by-not-. Dhar, Sujoy. 2017. “Attacks on India’s Minority Muslims by Hindu Vigilantes Mount.” USA Today, May 5, 2017. Ehsan, Mir. 2015. “J&K: Assaulted MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid Detained.” Indian Express, October 10, 2015. ineer-rashids-supporters-detained-during-march-to-assembly/. Firstpost. 2016. “Another Beef Row: Cow Protection Group Attacks Couple in Madhya Pradesh.” January 15, 2016. Guo, Weiting. 2017. “A Different Kind of War: Summary Execution and the Politics of Men of Force in Late-Qing China.” In Global Lynching and Collective Violence. Volume 1: Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, edited by Michael J. Pfeifer, 34–77. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Hindustan Times. 2016a. “Dalit Boy Beaten up in Gujarat after his Father Refused to Remove Carcass.” August 20, 2016. ———. 2016b. “Man Thrashed by Suspected Cow Vigilantes in Ahmedabad Dies.” September 16, 2016. India Times. 2017. “ ‘Gau Rakshaks’ Strike Again! Cattle Trucks Attacked, Man Thrashed on Jaipur-Gurgaon Expressway.” January 20, 2017.

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gau-rakshaks-strike-again-cattle-trucks-attacked-man-thrashed-on-jaipur-gurgaonexpressway-269875.html. India Today. 2016. “BJP Worker Killed by Cow Vigilantes.” August 18, 2016. IndiaTV News. 2015.“After Dadri, Cow Slaughter Rumor Sparks Mulayam’s Mainpuri.” October 10, 2015. Irony of India. 2017. “Trail of Blood: Complete Timeline of Cow Vigilante Violence in the Last 2 Years.” Catch News, April 7, 2017. Jaffrey, Sana. 2017. “Justice by Numbers.” New Mandala, January 12, 2017. www.newmandala. org/justice-by-numbers/. Janwalkar, Mayura, and Sanjeev Verma. 2016. “Uttar Pradesh Cattle Transporter’s Murder Is Family’s Mystery.” Indian Express, May 24, 2016. india-news-india/kurukshetra-cattle-transporter-murder-cbi-2816094/. Jha, Satish. 2017. “Two Gujarat Cops Booked for Custodial Death of a Tribal.” Indian Express, September 7, 2017. Kato, Daniel. 2016. Liberalizing Lynching: Building a New Racialized State. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kulkarni, Sushant, and Chandan Shantaram Haygunde. 2014. “Muslim Techie Beaten to Death in Pune, 7 Men of Hindu Outfit Held.” Indian Express, June 4, 2014. http:// Mander, Harsh. 2017a. “India: Journey to the Sites of Lynchings across States, the Karwan-eMohabbat Found a Stark Waning of Compassion and Solidarity.” Jesuit Educational Association South Asia, November 11, 2017. ———. 2017b. “Through a Caravan, Darkly.” Indian Express, November 18, 2017. https:// ———. 2017c. “Karwan-e-Mohabbat: When a Lynch Mob Killed a Young Hindu Man Mistaken to be Muslim.” DailyO, October 10, 2017. story/1/19429.html. ———. 2018a. “New Hate Crime Tracker in India Finds Victims Are Predominantly Muslim, Perpetrators Hindu.” Scroll, November 13, 2018. new-hate-crime. ———. 2018b. Partitions of the Heart: Unmaking the Idea of India. London: Penguin. Ministry of Home Affairs. 2018. “Incidents of MOB Lynching.” July 25, 2018. http://pib.nic. in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1540061. Mogul, Priyanka. 2015. “India Beef Controversy: Fresh Violence in Uttar Pradesh over Rumours of Cow Slaughter.” IB Times, October 9, 2015. Mondal, Sudipto. 2015.“Bajrang Dal Attacks K’taka Cattle Trader.” HindustanTimes, October 9, Parihar, Rohit. 2016. “Seven Calf Smugglers, One of Their Assaulters Arrested in Rajasthan.” India Today, June 2, 2016.

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Pfeifer, Michael J. 2011. “Extralegal Violence and Law in the Early Modern British Isles and the Origins of American Lynching.” In Globalizing Lynching History, edited by Manfred Berg and Simon Wendt, 19–34. New York: Palgrave. ———. 2017. Global Lynching and Collective Violence. Springfield, Chicago: University of Illinois Press. Saldanha, Alison, and Karthik Madhavapeddi. 2018. “Our New Hate-Crime Database: 76% of Victims over 10 Years Minorities; 90% Attacks Reported since 2014.” Fact Checker, October 30, 2018. Sen, Jahnavi. 2016. “After Double Murder and Gangrape, Haryana Authorities Allegedly Seek to Protect Accused.” The Wire, September 7, 2016. dingerheri-gangrape-murder/. Sharma, Ashwani. 2015. “20-Year-Old from Saharanpur Killed in Himachal Village for ‘Smuggling Cattle’.” Indian Express, October 17, 2015. cle/india/india-news-india/saharanpur-youth-allegedly-involved-in-cattle-smugg ling-lynched-in-himachal/. Smith, Nicholas Rush. 2017. “New Situations Demand Old Magic: Necklacing in South Africa, Past and Present.” In Global Lynching and Collective Violence. Volume 1: Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, edited by Michael J. Pfeifer, 156–84. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. The Citizen Bureau. 2016. “First Beef Attack on Women: Mob Assaults Muslim Women over Beef Rumour in MP.” The Citizen, July 27, 2016. Detail/index/1/8314/First-Beef-Attack-On-Women-Mob-Assaults-Muslim-WomenOver-Beef-Rumour-In-MP. The Tribute. 2015. “Trucker Injured in Petrol Bomb Attack Dies; Violence Erupts in Valley.” October 18, 2015. Times of India. 2016a. “4 Dalits Stripped, Beaten up for Skinning Dead Cow.” July 13, 2016. ning-dead-cow/articleshow/53184266.cms. ———. 2016b. “Pregnant Dalit Woman Attacked for Refusing to Remove Cow Carcass.” September 25, 2016. Varshney, Ashutosh. 2002. Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India. New Haven, CT:Yale University Press. ———. 2008. “Analyzing Collective Violence in Indonesia: An Overview.” Journal of East Asian Studies 8 (3): 341–59. Wood, Amy Louise. 2009. Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890– 1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.


Introduction Over the past 50 years, social scientists, journalists and writers have published numerous articles and books on the dynamics of revolutionary politics in India. In the past decade itself, more than 50 books have appeared (Shah and Jain 2017). Among them, Nandini Sundar’s The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar (2016) stands out for its insight into the Maoist movement. Previously, the majority of the books on the movement were either journalistic or literary studies. But Sundar grounds her book in reality, drawing on people’s experiences of numerous incidents, personal encounters and observations. She uses socio-historical sources – court orders, police records, government documents, human rights organisations’ reports or Maoist party official documents – combined with ethnographic field research and critical reflections to provide a compelling and heart-rending narrative of state violence and the dispossession of adivasis1 in the undivided Bastar district (which, in 1999, was divided into three districts: Bastar, Dantewada and Kanker) of the state of Chhattisgarh. For the past two decades, Sundar has been a witness to the ongoing process of “the annihilation of a people [i.e., adivasis] and their way of life” (Sundar 2016, xv) in Bastar. She has informed the world about the harrowing violence inflicted upon adivasis in Bastar by the Indian state and its vigilante groups. She candidly mentions in her Preface: “This book is written because, in the absence of justice, at least the truth must be on record” (xv). This chapter, placing Sundar’s work in a broader politico-economic context, critically examines and analyses how systemic violence in conjunction with neoliberalism has dispossessed adivasis, and how the majority of adivasis in Bastar have become the Maoists participating in anti-systemic politics to defend their lives, resources and self-respect.

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The Maoists and the Adivasis On May 25, 1967, an adivasi peasant uprising began in Naxalbari – a small village in the Siliguri subdivision of Darjeeling district,West Bengal – hence the name, the Naxalite movement, or the Naxalites. To further develop and sustain the momentum of the movement, the communist revolutionaries officially announced a new party, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) [CPI (ML)], on April 22, 1969. Based on its characterisation of Indian society as semi-colonial and semifeudal, the CPI (ML), rather than taking up the insurrectionist path, followed the Protracted People’s War strategy of the Chinese revolution. The CPI (ML) explicitly declared that its objective was to seize political power through an armed agrarian revolution. As Charu Mazumdar, the founding General Secretary of the CPI (ML), envisioned, the Naxalite movement spread across the country, sustained for 50 years and sent tremors through the landscape of Indian politics. Despite many setbacks, the movement has spread to 16 out of 29 Indian states. And, it not only influenced the Indian Left (Chibber 2006) but also intimidated the exploitative, oppressive ruling class, who realised that the ultimate threat to their class rule could only come from the Naxalites.With this clarity in mind, former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh on several occasions publicly announced that the country’s biggest internal security threat came from the Naxalites (Sundar 2016). Since its inception, however, the Naxalite movement has undergone much transformation, having been fragmented into several parties based on differences in strategies and tactics in advancing the revolution (Roy 1975; Banerjee 1984; Ray 1988; Venugopal 2013). One among such parties, the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) People’s War [CPI (ML) PW] in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh has emerged as a major Naxalite party. At the same time, all revolutionary parties have been attempting to overcome their internal differences in the interest of a common goal. As part of those efforts, in August 1998, the CPI (ML) Party Unity, another Maoist party that had a very strong presence in Bihar and parts of Madhya Pradesh, merged with the CPI (ML) PW. In September 2004, the Maoist Communist Centre, which had a strong base in Bihar, merged with the PW party.Together they formed a new unified party, the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Further unification of revolutionary parties occurred in May 2014, when the CPI (ML) Naxalbari merged with the CPI (Maoist) – hereafter, I refer to all as Maoists. The Maoist movement in Bastar started with the decision of the erstwhile CPI (ML) PW to develop guerrilla zones to expand its activities into other parts of the country. With that vision, the Maoists drafted an historical document titled, “Perspectives for a Guerrilla Zone”, in 1979. Guided by this stance, in 1980, the PW party sent their first six-member squad to undivided Bastar, a region in Central India, at the time about the size of Kerala. How did the revolutionaries enter into the lives of adivasis, and how did they become a “threat” to the Indian state? Sundar (2016) explains that when the Maoists first arrived, they took some time to understand adivasi lives and culture. The squad members had worked mostly in the feudal

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conditions of Telangana before entering Bastar. At the outset, they were able to identify a class enemy. And it was easy to mobilise people along class lines. But the class structure in adivasi communities is different. The Maoists found it difficult to use tactics of class struggle that had worked elsewhere among the Indian peasantry (Sundar 2016, 53). As Sundar describes, the squads conducted numerous village meetings and even surveyed villages to better understand the local class structure. In the initial phase, they put a concerted effort into making the existing government work for the adivasis. They mobilised people to fight for the minimum wage. They ordered teachers and healthcare workers, who take salary but never worked in villages, to serve rural people. They challenged forest officers, revenue officers and police who harassed people or demanded bribes. They fought against the corrupt and dysfunctional system. And they lived up to their principles by demonstrating commitment to the people (Sundar 2016, 54). Following the tradition of Jana Natya Mandali, a cultural organisation that propagates the Naxalite politics in lay language through songs and stage performances, the squads used songs to educate adivasis about politics and cooperative development, superstitions, alcohol consumption and gender equality. Songs became an effective tool of political communication for the squads. Sundar notes that “villagers would joke with the guerrillas, threatening not to feed them till they sang for their supper. Initially, the revolutionaries asked only for leftovers, but later people themselves decided they deserved fresh cooked food” (2016, 54). As the squads started working with adivasis, their social relationships strengthened. Adivasis started seeing the revolutionaries as part of their social fabric and began to approach them for help with all kinds of problems from land issues to marital disputes. Rather than working as “Robin Hoods”, the Maoists mobilised and organised adivasis to fight for their own cause. Since 1995, they have been building a new administrative structure consisting of the revolutionary people’s committees (RPCs) or the Janathana Sarkar (People’s Government). As a result of this, the old regressive power structures (such as pargana majhis, or old administrative units) have gradually disappeared. To protect the Janathana Sarkar and advance the revolution, the Maoists strengthened their “three magic weapons”: the party, the army, and the united front (People’s War 2014). In terms of the army, the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) was built with a designated task of fighting state forces. Adivasi women’s recruitment into the Maoist party is important and has been on the rise. They constitute 40 per cent of the PLGA (Myrdal 2012). In addition to fighting forces, the Maoists subsequently developed several mass organisations such as the cultural organisation Chetna Natya Manch; the peasants and workers’ wing Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (DAKMS); and the women’s organisation Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan (KAMS). With about 100,000 active members, KAMS is the biggest, most active and dynamic women’s organisation in the entire country (Roy 2011). In addition to building various organisations for adult members, the Maoists have been mobilising adivasi children into the children’s organisation Krantikari Adivasi Bala Sangathan (KABS). However, the Maoists claim that children do not

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participate in combating activities but work as “messengers” in the Maoist intelligence network at the ground level. Contrary to the uproar in the mainstream media, Sundar observes that “the children take immense pride in their work” (2016, 75). According to Sundar, not surprisingly, adivasis comprise more than 90 per cent of the Maoist rank and file in Chhattisgarh. According to Sundar, the Maoists now conduct all their party meetings in the adivasis’ language, Gondi. In this protracted process of revolution, as Sundar reports, the fine line between Maoists and adivasis has eventually disappeared. Gautam Navlakha and Aish Gupta write: “The people [in Bastar] do not perceive a divide between the two. The claimed disconnect between the Maoists and the people is as unreal as the rift between the people and the State (which is carrying out a savage war for ‘development’) is real” (2009, 23). But not everyone agrees with the notion that all adivasis are Maoists (Shah 2012). Social anthropologist Alpa Shah holds that “the Maoists were far from an Adivasi movement but consisted of leaders, cadres and sympathisers from a range of different castes and classes brought together in a political organisation around class struggle which reflected the transforming history of recruitment” (2013, 493). Shah argues that adivasis do not necessarily join the Maoist party with the understanding of its politics, but do so based on their subjective interpersonal relationship between them and the Maoists. From a moral economy perspective (Scott 1976), Shah contends that the driving force for adivasis to join the Maoists is not the objective conditions of their lives, but the “relations of intimacy” between them through kinship, family relationships and friendship. Furthermore, she suggests, “the Maoist success in developing relations of intimacy is simultaneously dependent on the Indian state’s ideology of domination and exploitation” (Shah 2013, 499; emphasis added). Moreover, based on her ethnographic research, Shah points out that the “relations of enmity” (in a similar way as the relations of intimacy) among families and friends also resurface in the Maoist party. She offers the idea of enmity relations to explain why some adivasis go into and come out of the Maoist party. Paradoxically, she suggests that Hindu right-wing organisations also use the relations of intimacy for mobilisation (500). For Sundar, however, kinship and family relationships may explain why some individuals join the Maoists, but not hundreds of villages under the conditions of state terror. She suggests that anthropologists should examine and analyse “how the movement originates, is sustained or dissipates under certain conditions” (2013, 365). Moreover, echoing Mao (1968 [1927]) that “a revolution is not a dinner party or writing an essay”, Sundar reminds Shah that “the Maoists are not a social club, but a political party” (365) who are fighting the oppressive state system. Critiquing Shah’s extrapolation of subjective factors pertaining to the growth and sustenance of the Maoist revolution, Sundar comments: “one wonder[s] if Shah has understood anything about Maoist ideology or practice, or even the implications of her own fieldwork” (2013, 362). Of course, there is a component of “humaneness” (Shah 2017) in the movement, but that is not based on subjective or intimate relationships. As Azad, the official spokesperson of the Maoist party who was killed in a fake encounter in June 2010, once mentioned: “In a class society, where the ruling classes fiercely crush the oppressed at every step, real humanity entails fierce hatred for the

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oppressors. There can be no love without hate; there is no all-encompassing love” (Azad 2010, 8).Thus, “humaneness” or “relations of intimacy” need to be understood within the framework of class struggle. Moreover, despite her ethnographic evidence, Shah’s (2017) binary construction that the Maoist leadership belongs to “upper” castes and the cadre belongs to “lower” castes and adivasi is deceptively simplistic. Paani (2015) observes that from a socio-cultural perspective, adivasis still identify as adivasis; from a political standpoint, however, they see themselves as Maoists. At the same time, Maoists also transformed their revolutionary practice in order to incorporate the humane aspects of adivasi culture. With the political orientation of the Maoists, it could well be argued that adivasis are in the process of being transformed from a “class in itself ” to a “class for itself ” (Paani 2015). The social construction of adivasis as “innocent” people and apolitical subjects by some commentators is nothing but a cultural determinist anthropological myth.This is a serious attempt to undermine their political agency. Some observers assert that adivasis are aware of what the revolutionary movement entails and what it would bring to them. However, this consciousness is not uniform among adivasi members of the Maoist party (Paani 2015; Myrdal 2012; Navlakha and Gupta 2009). In this context, the state, some human rights organisations and the mainstream media accuse the Maoists of forcing “innocent” adivasis into their party without any concrete evidence. During a month-long field research in the Maoist stronghold, Paani asked an adivasi about the allegations of the state: “Did the Maoists force you to join them?” The adivasi responded by questioning: “If they brought me in forcefully, then why would I stay here and talk with you now” (2015, 73). While expanding their party into new areas in Bastar, the Maoists initiated alternative administrative and developmental systems through the Janathana Sarkar (JS). The JS operates through eight departments or governing systems: financial, defence, agriculture, judicial, education-culture, health, forest protection and public relations. For example, the agricultural department focuses on land distribution, cooperative agricultural activities, collective building of ponds, seed and grain banks, biodiversity conservation and farm credit without interest (Sundar 2016; Paani 2015; Myrdal 2012). All JS departments work in a coordinated manner for effective functioning. From past experience with the revolutionary people’s committees in North Telangana, the Maoist party knows that exclusive focus on welfare activities may lead to economism, which, as Lenin (1988 [1902]) strongly cautioned in What Is To Be Done, can pose a grave threat to the revolutionary movement (Paani 2015). Keeping this in view, the Maoist party has been constantly educating JS members to transcend economic motives. Even in the sphere of culture and gender relations, rather than imposing their “modernist” principles on adivasis, Maoists educate and dialogue with the people to reconsider and disavow some oppressive “traditional” customs and superstitions (Sundar 2016, 81). Overall, the Maoist movement has transformed the lives of adivasis. Drawing from her 26 years of research experience in the region, Sundar unequivocally states: If there is one major change the Maoists have introduced, it is to give people a new confidence. Citizens of the Maoist state now look in the eye and

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shake hands, compared to the evasive glance with which adivasis traditionally greeted strangers. And it is thanks to the Maoists that the rest of India now knows of the existence and incredible bravery of the people of Bastar. (2016, 86) While acknowledging the enormous contribution of the Maoist movement to adivasis, Sundar also poses critical questions about revolutionary violence. But it is not difficult for someone like Sundar to find answers for such questions. In fact, her elaborate account of the repressive nature of the state and its crude methods of terror as presented throughout her book offers some indisputable answers.

Neoliberalism, extractive capital and state violence Neoliberalism, according to David Harvey, is a “creative destruction” (Harvey 2006) and a system of “accumulation by dispossession” which is a new form of primitive accumulation (Harvey 2003, 2006). He emphasises that the mechanisms of the processes of primitive accumulation and accumulation by dispossession are more or less similar.Yet, in the age of neoliberal globalisation, the old methods of dispossession have been modified, and a few new ones invented in order “to play an even stronger role now than in the past” (Harvey 2003, 147). The new mechanisms have been created “in the name of neo-liberal orthodoxy” (148), Harvey contends, while identifying four major mechanisms of accumulation by dispossession: privatisation, financialisation, the management and manipulation of crises, and state redistributions (Harvey 2003, 2006). These new mechanisms have intensified and broadened the scope of the accumulation of capital. As Marxist historian Ellen Wood argues, in the age of neoliberal imperialism, although capital, technology and commodities can flow across space and time without barriers, they certainly need political “stability” and market “predictability” in the places where they finally reach (Wood 2003, 17). A conceivable apparatus or institution that could effectively provide such an environment is the nation-state. The nation-state provides legal and institutional frameworks, keeps social order, protects the private property system, manages financial transactions, enters into international agreements and treaties, acts as a financial crisis manager or saviour and so on (Wood 2003, 17; Harvey 2003, 2006). Therefore, in today’s globalised economy, the nation-state is more relevant than ever before to provide all these “daily regularities or the conditions of accumulation that capital needs” (Wood 2003, 20). In this global politico-economic context, imperial forces use economic as well as extra-economic power (i.e. military power) to indirectly govern the new avenues of investment and dispossession through a comprador bourgeois class and a subordinate state system (Harvey 2003, 139, 2006). For example, the subordinate state system in the Global South, which is semi-colonial or neo-colonial, facilitates the extraction of cheap human and extra-human resources in favour of global monopoly capital. In this process, the state acts as an interventionist, mostly using brutal force to grab resources if there is any resistance from the people. In addition, it provides a conducive regulatory regime by removing all legal and institutional

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hurdles. Scholars call resource extraction in the age of neoliberalism (or, in some contexts, post-neoliberalism) by different names: “extractivist imperialism” (Veltmeyer 2016a, 2016b; Veltmeyer and Petras 2014), “neoliberal extractivism” (Fast 2014) and “neo-extractivism” (Acosta 2013; Burchardt and Dietz 2014; North and Grinspun 2016). In each conceptualisation, the state plays an active role in creating conditions for the endless accumulation of capital in which exclusion (or dispossession) and extraction operate dialectically. As Fast argues, “exclusion must often precede extraction” (2014, 34), This is exactly what has been happening in India, particularly in Bastar. For the Indian state, resource extraction is the main goal in Bastar, and the presence of the adivasis is the main hindrance to achieving this objective. Like any other adivasi areas in the country, the Indian state neglected Bastar in terms of infrastructure development, health, education and basic welfare programmes (Sundar 2016). Not surprisingly, neither the British colonial administration nor the Indian government ever developed proper topographic maps of the region. Nevertheless, the Indian state and transnational corporations (TNCs) identified abundant mineral reserves in Bastar. The mineral reserves include: coal, iron ore, bauxite, platinum, corundum, dolomite, limestone, diamonds and manganese. In addition, Bastar has a variety of timber and non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as tamarind, Mahua flowers and seeds, sal seeds and gum. Natural resources contribute about 10 per cent of Net State Domestic Product in Chhattisgarh (Lahiri-Dutt 2014; Nagaraj and Motiram 2017). To tap into this mineral wealth, transnational, as well as Indian corporations have signed hundreds of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the government of Chhattisgarh. Between 2000 and 2011, the government signed 121 MoUs, with a projected investment of $31.9 billion (Grover 2018). To execute these MoUs and extract resources, the state has been attempting to remove the adivasis from their land. But adivasis are not alone; the Maoists are with them. Moreover, adivasis are ready to resist the “MoUists” with a revived spirit of the 1910 Bhumkal (earthquake) rebellion against British colonial rule (Roy 2011). In the context of today’s corporate land grabbing, adivasis and Maoists alike rally under their slogan “Jal, jangal, jameen” (adivasi rights over water, forest, and land), izzat (self-respect) and adhikar (political power) (Roy 2011; Paani 2015). To clamp down on the adivasi-supported Maoist movement, the state is using various notorious counter-revolutionary strategies practiced earlier, such as the creation of “new villages” and “strategic hamlets” in Malaysia and Vietnam, to eliminate the communists. The main idea behind these strategies is to evict people from their land, natural environment and social fabric, and relocate them to a new locality where they find themselves to be strangers. Through this process of alienation, the state wanted to control the people and undermine their support to the revolutionaries. Metaphorically speaking, this is nothing but a strategy of “separating the ‘fish’ from the ‘sea’ in which they ‘swam’ ” (Weil 2011, 6). Sundar draws parallels between imperial “strategic hamletting” in Vietnam and Malaysia and “the mass burning and grouping of villages” (2016, 17) in Bastar. The state

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first implemented this strategy in 1990 and 1991, creating and acting through a vigilante group called Jan Jagran Abhiyan (JJA). The name suggests that the aim of this group is to raise people’s awareness. In contrast, the JJA forced people to rally against the Maoists; killed many adivasis, whom they suspected were supporters of the Maoists; raped women and burned their houses. Although the infamous Congress leader, Mahendra Karma, led the JJA in its initial phase, Hindu fundamentalist organisations and the Communist Party of India (CPI) also lent support to such atrocities. The state gave complete support, financially and otherwise, to the wanton destruction of adivasi lives. In 2005, the JJA changed its name to become Salwa Judum (which means “purification hunt” in Gondi). The main aim of this group has been to dismantle the base of the Maoists, the sanghams (local organisations). They forced adivasis to join the Salwa Judum and killed whoever resisted. The Salwa Judum continued its rampage, looting adivasi houses, burning villages and raping women. Whereas the JJA destroyed only targeted houses in a village, the Salwa Judum burnt down the entire intended village.To aid them in “hunting”, the state deployed paramilitary forces, border security forces and local police forces to intensify its attack on the Maoists. Fearing brutalities, many adivasis fled to the neighbouring states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Others are forced to live in so-called relief camps. Instead of relief, inhabitants would be welcomed by brutal tortures and inhuman conditions. Raping women and keeping them as sex slaves became routine practices. Sundar quotes a fact-finding report in which an adivasi woman describes what the Salwa Judum and security forces said to her after a gangrape: “You are a Naxalite, and we have taught you a lesson today” (2016, 124). Women were raped irrespective of their age. Wives were raped in front of their husbands, mothers were raped in front of their children, and children were raped in front of their parents. With impunity, the so-called relief camps have in effect been turned into brutal death camps or “rape centers” (People’s March 2007). Sundar writes: “Fortunately, adivasi society, unlike the rest of ‘civilised’ India, does not stigmatise women who have been raped, and many have subsequently got married” (2016, 125). While state mercenaries are scorching everything that adivasis own, Hindu fundamentalist organisations such as Gayatri Parivar and Christian organisations have been trying to influence and convert them into their respective religions. In addition to promoting the criminal gang of Salwa Judum, the state also created an auxiliary force called the Special Police Officers (SPO), recruiting local adivasi and non-adivasi youth, as well as former Maoists into the SPO force. There are no set criteria (including minimum age, education or training requirement) to be an SPO, only willingness to assist paramilitary forces as well as the Salwa Judum in their counter-revolutionary activities (Asian Center for Human Rights 2013). The state government pays their salaries but never makes them accountable for their heinous crimes. As Sundar points out, whenever SPOs and the Salwa Judum go to adivasi villages, they do not come back without burning houses and raping and/or killing women (2016, 197).This notoriety has become normalised in Bastar. There is no punishment, and no one is made accountable for these crimes.To deter

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this unconstitutional system, civil rights activists and scholars, including Sundar, approached the Supreme Court in 2007. In 2011, in its judgement, the Supreme Court’s bench consisting of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar (recalling Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and its scathing critique of colonialism in Africa) stated: Through the course of these proceedings, as a hazy picture of events and circumstances in some districts of Chhattisgarh emerged, we could not but arrive at the conclusion that the respondents were seeking to put us on a course of constitutional actions whereby we would also have to exclaim, at the end of it all: “the horror, the horror”. (The Supreme Court of India. Nandini Sundar and Others vs. State of Chhattisgarh, Writ Petition (Civil) No 250 of 2017, 4) In their judgement, the Supreme Court ordered the government of Chhattisgarh to disband the SPO force and cease all support to other anti-constitutional activities aimed at destroying the Maoist movement. But, as Sundar (2016) describes, within a month, instead of implementing the court order, the government passed the Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Armed Police Force Ordinance and regularised SPOs by changing their name and weapon status. Moreover, the government equipped them with more sophisticated weapons and even increased their salaries. Again, in 2013, the government changed the name of the force to the District Reserve Guard. Whatever the avatar of the beast, it is still doing the same thing in the same old cruel way. All these undeterred criminal activities clearly demonstrate that there is no constitutional punitive system in place. The state-legalised terror took reign over Chhattisgarh. In addition to these auxiliary forces, the Indian state, in 2009, launched a nationwide coordinated attack on the Maoists – Operation Green Hunt – using the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Forces (BSF), the IndoTibetan Border Police (ITBP) and specialised police forces such as Greyhounds along with the local police.The main goal of this operation is to hunt and kill Maoists and enclose the land. While implementing the third phase of Operation Green Hunt, in 2017, the Indian government also announced a low-intensity warfare (LIW) strategy, abbreviated as SAMADHAN: Smart leadership, Aggressive strategy, Motivation and training, Actionable intelligence, Dashboard-based key performance indicators, Harnessing technology, Action plan for each theatre and No access to financing. In addition to all these efforts, the Indian state also brought in new draconian laws to terrorise Maoist sympathisers, journalists, civil rights activists, researchers and the general public. While the state moves aggressively forward on the military front, basic welfare programmes are not being delivered. As Sundar (2016) explains, prisons are overcrowded, mostly with adivasis awaiting trial. School buildings are being occupied by paramilitary and auxiliary police forces. Healthcare facilities are nowhere in sight. Other state welfare programmes are implemented only to the bare minimum extent.

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Exposing the large-scale blatant atrocities of the state, Sundar also criticises the Maoists for their violent actions. Placing the state and the Maoists on the same plane, she argues: One might well turn around and note that what the adivasis of Bastar had received for their armed struggle was permanent occupation by CRPF camps, and thousands of deaths, rapes and arrests. On the other hand, it is true that had they not resisted, the area would have been occupied by mines, steel plants and dams at a faster rate. Either way, it is a question of the pace and intensity with which occupation takes place, not whether it will happen. (Sundar 2016, 288) Sundar goes on to say that “[t]he choices we are offered instead are the impossible dream of armed revolution or the soul-numbing acceptance of armed repression” (2016, 290). This “neutral” position of equating state violence with revolutionary violence is not new. For instance, human rights activist Balagopal spoke and wrote about this aspect on numerous occasions (see, e.g. Balagopal 2006). But the question that still remains is how to change the violent nature of the state and the exploitative and extractive nature of capital, which have been trying to alienate (if not annihilate) adivasis from their jal, jangal and jameen. On the question of Maoist violence, Azad categorically states: The violence of the Maoists, which is preceded and provoked by the violence of the oppressors, is not really the main issue; justice is. If Naxalite violence is to be discussed, it should be in the context of violence pervading every aspect of our system. If not seen in this framework, one falls prey to the abstract bourgeois concept that “violence breeds violence”, without understanding the structural causes of violence. (2010, 6) Sundar criticises the Maoists’ election boycott tactic, which she believes, sometimes “appears opportunistic” (2016, 242). She finds that Maoists are “unable to appreciate even the symbolic importance of elections as a moment of mobilisation for popular demands or for the expression of popular anger, leave alone the necessity of working both inside and outside elected bodies” (240). Again, this is not a new proposition put forward by Indian intellectuals (Banerjee 2009). In response to these appeals or criticisms, the Maoists have clarified many times their longstanding position on parliamentary democracy and electoral politics. Their spokesperson, Azad, clearly elucidates: “The parliament is no democratic institution (as in countries that have been through a democratic revolution – a bourgeois democracy) but has been instituted on the existing highly autocratic state and semi-feudal structures as a ruse to dupe the masses” (2010, 2). He further clarifies that their party, as a response to the “futility of the very system of parliamentary democracy and the drama of elections”, use the tactic of election boycott “to enhance the awareness

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of the people regarding the futility and irrelevance of elections to their lives and in solving their basic problem” (46). After chronicling the state violence in Bastar, Sundar does not want to end her book with a gloomy picture. Thus, in the book’s epilogue, she paints a dreamy image of a new Bastar, in which “a new constitution gave all people the right to decide how they wanted their resources to be used” (2016, 349).Yet, the question that still remains unanswered is: how does this “impossible” dream come true without challenging the existing oppressive state?

Conclusion Why India is waging a war in Bastar can only be understood by situating the war in the context of the changing dynamics of neoliberal imperialism and its relationship with the Indian capitalist class and its state apparatus. In the semi-colonial Indian context, a political-economic concept that offers us appropriate analytical tools to fathom the underlying factors of the war is neoliberal extractivism. Extractivism is an age-old process that the colonial power used for the expropriation and exploitation of marginalised people and their resources. However, this process has various manifestations across (geopolitical as well as social) space and time. Although extractive methods and dynamics have changed in the neoliberal age (Acosta 2013), what remain intact are the ruthless plunder and violence and the enclosure of the commons. Without having the benefit of this broader perspective, Sundar’s emphasis on inhuman methods of state violence may generate some sympathy for adivasis from liberal advocates, but it does not provide a comprehensive understanding of why India is waging a war in Bastar. In the age of neoliberalism, the state has been rolling back from its responsibility on the public welfare front, while, at the same time, aggressively moving forward to protect the interests of the capitalist class. In essence, the state’s role has reduced to what Louis Althusser referred to as a “permanent watchman, night and day” who sees that “class struggle – that is, exploitation – is not abolished, but, rather, preserved, mainlined, and reinforced, for the benefit, naturally, of the dominant class” (Althusser 2006, 125; emphasis in original). In other words, the bourgeois state uses all of its “legitimized” mechanisms to provide feasible conditions for capital to grow, reproduce and accumulate further. In this “parliamentary form of robbery”, as Marx (1990, 885) said in his discussion about the enclosure of the commons, “the history of their [the dispossessed] expropriation is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire” (875). To conclude, in Bastar, when adivasis attempt to claim ownership over their jal, janga and jameen, the state deploys terror forces to dispossess them from their territory.When adivasis resist extractive capital, they are branded “extremists”. And when adivasis exhibit strong resilience, they are tortured even more. When adivasi women stand for izzat, adhikar and gender equality, they are raped and killed. When civil rights activists support adivasis, their voice is brutally stifled. These horrors remind us of the predicament of Native Americans, as described in Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (1970). However, adivasis in Bastar are still standing tall on

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their hills, as if echoing the chant of the Sioux (Native Americans of the Black Hills in South Dakota who fought against US expansionism and extractivism): The Black Hills is my land and I love it And whoever interferes Will hear this gun. (Gilbert 1968, 43; quoted in Brown 2009, 316) Unlike Native Americans, however, adivasi resistance in Bastar is buoyed by the presence of the Maoists.

Acknowledgements I thank Michael Gismondi, Berch Berberoglu, Gunaretnam, Mai-Maree Hansford, Katherine Carroll and Vicki Bamford for their helpful comments and suggestions. I am also grateful to Henry Veltmeyer, Varavara Rao and Pinaaka Paani for their encouragement. The content of this paper is solely my responsibility and does not represent the views of my institution, Mayo Clinic, USA.

Note 1 Adivasis are officially recognised as the tribal people or the first dwellers of India, although they use their own vernacular terms such as Gondi or Koya to identify themselves.

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Cultures of violence Fractured histories, fissured communities

12 AFGHANISTAN Military occupation, violence and ethnocracy Wahid Razi and James Goodman

The 2001 invasion, occupation and subsequent anti-Taliban war have created a strong pressure to ethnocratic rule in Afghanistan.The logic of alliance-building and counterinsurgency after the invasion forced a heavy reliance on ethnically defined militia groups.Yet, ethnocracy, defined as rule by the dominant ethnic group, albeit in alliance with subordinates, does not align well with Afghan political traditions. The identity of the Afghan state has historically centred on an interaction among regional or tribal solidarity, nationalism and Islam, rather than ethnicity per se. This essay discusses the interaction among these forms of solidarity in Afghan history. It offers a brief history of ethno-national politics in the country and discusses other forms of socio-political solidarity centred on clientelism and kinship networks. It outlines the ethnicisation of elite politics during the occupation, as the military alliance introduced an informal model of inter-ethnic power-sharing into the workings of the Afghan state. In its final sections, the essay assesses post-occupation political dynamics beyond ethnicisation. It argues that pressure for inter-ethnic bargaining and for non-ethnic political contention appears to be strengthening in the context of a would-be pluralist state, as defined by the 2004 Afghan Constitution, and with the formal end of US occupation. The essay ends by assessing possibilities for ethno-political de-alignment, for enabling political contention within a broadly nationalist and Islamic political field, enabling a sustained de-escalation in political violence.

Afghanistan and empire Whilst never colonised,Afghanistan is an artefact of imperial rivalry. This is a critical factor in understanding its prospects. In the first instance, imperial power defined its territory. With the British failure to incorporate Afghanistan by invasion, the eastern border of Afghanistan defined the limit of the British Empire in the nineteenth

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century. British efforts focused on delimiting the state through territorial acquisition. The eventual loss of eastern territory from Afghanistan to British India was defined in a one-page document in 1893 that established the “Durand line” (Biswas 2013). Nineteenth-century British-Russian rivalry was mirrored in the 1970s and 1980s with the Pakistan-US alliance against the Soviet-backed Afghan government. A Soviet military guarantee for the Afghan government in 1978 enabled the US to lure the Soviets “into the Afghan trap”, to “give the USSR its Vietnam war”, as Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security advisor, put it (Gibbs 2000). The effect of this was to create a decade-long civil war in which the US armed and funded warlords and Islamists (which later rebounded on the US with the formation of Al Qaeda) would come to dominate. The assumption that foreign policy manipulations could only have consequences for the people living in those contexts was rudely shattered.The ensuing war on terror very clearly demonstrated the extent to which the US and its allies were threatened by Al Qaeda insurgency (Goodman 2013). The UN-sanctioned goal of rooting out governments hosting Al Qaeda or groups deemed to be its associates was interpreted by the US as a green light to invade Taliban-held Afghanistan and led to a more than decade-long US occupation of the country (Williamson 2001). This brought the US and its allies into new state-building roles in Afghanistan, and the country has remained highly internationalised. Again, the future of Afghanistan sits at the centre of a global empire – its future circumscribed by external forces. Not least among these is Pakistan, which was rehabilitated as a US partner in the war on the Taliban; concerns about military dictatorship and nuclear proliferation were set aside, and even ongoing collaboration between elements of the Pakistani state and the Taliban was overlooked. In the process, a neighbouring country that has a strong interest in a weakened Afghan state has gained an important role in influencing the future of the country (Fair and Gregory 2013; Maley 2016). Pakistan, in fact, may exercise a veto power on state stability in Afghanistan. Since 2005, these issues have been brought into sharp focus with the growing power of the Taliban, which has repositioned itself as a national liberation movement at war with the occupying forces and their appointees (Kamel 2015). Reflecting this, the Afghan government opened negotiations with the Taliban for the transition to US withdrawal in 2014. A key element of this was the recognition of de facto Taliban control over large segments of the country. The Taliban continues to strengthen its hand by alternating between political violence and negotiations, and this has persisted since the 2014 US withdrawal, partly driven by external interests (Maley 2016).

A brief ethno-political history Modern Afghanistan emerged under the Persian Empire in the mid-eighteenth century, with Kabul as its capital since 1775. Internal conflict among the ruling tribal elites culminated in the rise of Dost Muhammad Khan, a tribal leader, who

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gained control as Amir (prince) in 1826. Dost Muhammad’s descendants then ruled the country for the next 150 years (Axworthy 2009; Barfield 2010). During the nineteenth century, Afghanistan became a competing ground for geopolitical influence between the British and Russian empires (Fremont-Barnes 2014). Russia invaded large parts of Central Asia, including the northern parts of Afghanistan, seeking access to the Indian Ocean (Tripodi 2010). Trying to insulate colonial India, British troops invaded Afghanistan in 1839 and were defeated, withdrawing in 1842. With Russian advances into Central Asia, the Afghan Amir signed a friendship treaty with the Russians, precipitating a second British invasion in 1878. Afghanistan became a protectorate of the British Empire in 1880 under a treaty assigning control of the country’s external relations to the British, and later, in 1893, the Amir recognised the “Durand Line” which consigned half of the country’s territory, and half of its Pashtun population, to British India, rendering Afghanistan landlocked (Balachandar 2012). In the early twentieth century, Afghanistan embarked on its own national development program. In 1919, the Amir precipitated the third Anglo-Afghan War, which ended Afghanistan’s protectorate status, allowing the country to become fully independent. The constitution was drawn up in 1923, based on the French model, and the Amir (now King Amanullah Khan), sought to westernise the country, including the adoption of a European dress code. The Islamic authorities opposed the new dispensation and in 1929 overthrew the king with the help of the army (and supported by the British) (Hiro 1995). Within that year, a new king was installed, Nadir Shah, and the country was renamed the Islamic state of Afghanistan. The king was assassinated in 1933 and his son, Zahir Shah, ruled until 1973. In these 40 years of political stability (1933–1973), Afghanistan experienced some degree of modernisation, emerging as a constitutional monarchy under its 1964 Constitution, although the country remained one of the world’s least developed. Geopolitically, during World War II, Afghanistan was neutral, and in the Cold War it was closely aligned with the Soviet Union. At the same time, the United States developed close military ties with Pakistan. In 1973, a former prime minister, Daoud Khan, staged a successful coup against Zahir Shah, installing a republican administration while the king was in Italy (remarkably, the king was to return to the country to legitimise the transition of power after the US invasion in 2002 and died in 2007). Daoud Khan was then himself ousted in 1978 in a military coup led by the Marxist-Leninist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) (Rubin 1995; Dimitrakis 2013). Divisions in the PDPA started to emerge, and fearing the collapse of the regime, the Soviet Union signed a treaty of friendship with the government in 1978, guaranteeing military assistance in the event of a threat to the country’s territorial integrity (Krivosheev 1997).The regime became further factionalised and was threatened by hostile forces internally and on the Pakistani border (Khan 2011). The Soviet state bolstered the regime, and at the end of 1979, several thousand troops were sent as direct military “assistance” and a new, more pro-Soviet president, Babrak Karmal, was installed (Hassan 1995).

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The Soviet-backed regime sought to align socialism with Islamic social justice, using Russian financial aid. However, the presence of more than 120,000 Russian troops in Afghanistan inflamed nationalistic sentiments, and forceful resistance was unified into the Afghan Mujahideen (Holy Warriors), backed by the Pakistan state. The ensuing nationalist war displaced more than six million Afghans into surrounding countries. From 1985, under Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviets encouraged power sharing with the Mujahideen and in 1986 installed Muhammad Najibullah as PDPA president to negotiate a truce and enable Soviet forces to withdraw, which they did in 1989 (Kaplan 2001). The constitution was revised in 1990 to remove references to communism, re-founding Afghanistan as a “unitary and Islamic state”, and Najibullah remained in power until 1992 when Russian aid ceased. His execution in 1996, after four years of civil war, announced the arrival of the Taliban regime. During this period, ethnic violence became increasingly prevalent in a transition from ideological politics to identity politics linked to militarisation (Sharma 2017). Militarised ethnic blocs, headed by warlord elites, came to dominate the political landscape during the Taliban period, and after.

The meaning of ethnicity in Afghanistan Historically, the Afghan polity has oscillated across combinations of nationalism and Islam, with institutions variously centred on monarchical, democratic and theocratic power. Political violence has, though, become more linked to ethnicity since the Soviet withdrawal. The concept of ethnicity in Dari, the dominant Afghan language, is most closely expressed in the term Qawm, which refers to a group of people who have a common ancestry, common language and culture, and a shared history and heritage. However, in Afghanistan, more markedly than in many other places, the meaning of ethnicity is blurred and shaped by other forms of identification. As Schetter observes, through the nineteenth century, “identities [were] derived from tribal origin, religious or sectarian belonging, social status and profession”, noting these “societal boundaries and group formation altered in place and time” (2005a, 5). Despite strong cross-border ethnic links, for instance for Pashtuns into Pakistan, for Tajiks in Tajikistan and Uzbeks with Uzbekistan, there has been no serious movement for secession or irredentism in Afghanistan (unlike in other postcolonial contexts) (Adeney 2008). Regional powers have intervened to support ethnicised proxies, Pakistan for Pashtuns, Iran for Hazarras and Tajiks, but this has not translated into an irredentist political project. Afghan nationalism, in this respect, is dominant. Civil conflicts, including state violence and nationalist insurgencies, have been the main source of political violence, not ethnic conflict. These conflicts have hollowed out national elites: the Soviet invasion in 1979, with the subsequent civil war and eventual installation of the Taliban in 1996, saw an exodus especially of urban middle classes into neighbouring refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan; four million people returned after the 2001 invasion, but, as noted, under occupation the country’s elites failed to generate economic autonomy and instead became

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increasingly orientated to international aid flows. As the security situation deteriorated from 2005, the exodus began again, increasing numbers to three million in Pakistan alone (which announced mass forced repatriation in 2016; Admadi and Lakhani 2016). During these periods of conflict, everyday structures of kinship and clientelism had been central: “informal social security systems have been of critical importance in Afghanistan” (Schütte 2009, 479). Family and kinship are the major means of support in times of crisis and offers a foundational form of identity, linked with regional and tribal affiliations. In a country where civil society and the state are weak, kinship governs the individual’s life and activities (Wimmer and Schetter 2003). In Afghanistan, when people refer to their family, they generally mean their extended family, often across a kin-based network with several hundred members, linked through strong social and economic bonds (Tapper 1991). Kinship links with wider clientelist structures. These have their origins in the originally feudal system of Arbab wa Rayat (client and patron). In this system, family or tribal leaders, landholders or employers, provide protection for the individuals that depend on them. Such protection creates an obligation for the Rayat or client, who must show their absolute loyalty to the Arbab (patron) when required. There are also more informal structures of community duty for the well-off. In most neighbourhoods, there are individuals who support their locality, as part of their religious observance. Under the name of Khairat or baraie Khada (charity in the name of God, or because of God), respected and wealthy members of a locality devote an amount of their daily income to the poorer members of their neighbourhood. With the breakdown of state authority and civil conflict since 1979, dependence on these systems of mutual obligation has spread, so that many Afghans are now somehow connected by a powerful patron. Sharan argues these relations “characterise the daily politics of contemporary Afghanistan . . . in which selective benefits are distributed to individuals or groups in exchange for loyalty or political support”; they then “link factional elites and their regional-ethnic or tribal clients to the state” (Sharan 2011, 1119). He characterises the post-invasion political settlement as centring on the accommodation and legitimation of ethno-regional elites, producing a heightened ethnicisation of politics. In the context of on-going military conflict, kinship, clan membership, tribal relations, religious obligation, local codes of honour and customary means of conflict resolution have become more important. As Schetter argues, “[t]he permanent conditions of war since 1979 did not impair the significance of family, but the increased insecurity strengthened the role of kinship and clientelism. Distrust grew to such an extent that clientelism spread to almost every sphere of the Afghan society” (2005a, 10). In the cities, informal sources of social obligation have been weaker, especially amongst those internally displaced by conflict, leaving “a deep sense of insecurity for the urban poor”, and approximately 80 per cent of the urban population relying on informal sources of livelihood and shelter (Schütte 2009, 479). Informal clientelism as a social practice is distinct from state corruption, which is extensive and has deeply corrosive effects (Braithwaite and Wardak 2013). Rangelov and Theros found that the “system of governance gives rise to an acute sense of injustice among ordinary Afghans, as they

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witness the contrast between their own deprivation and daily struggle for survival, and the growing wealth of a privileged group of officials and power brokers” (Rangelov and Theros 2012, 236). State security is contracted to foreign security companies, which employ local sub-contractors, often former Mujahideen commanders and warlords, who have the power to enforce bribery. Funds are routinely exported: in 2011, US$ 4.6 billion of declared funds left Afghanistan via Kabul airport, an amount equivalent to the country’s entire state budget for that year (Rangelov and Theros 2012; Shahrani 2015). Another consequence of the decades-long internal conflict is the emergence of strong informal justice systems. This “legal pluralism” reflects the lack of trust in an often-corrupted state, or simply the absence of state authority (Wimpelmann 2013). The rule of law established post-2001 has been set up in combination with tribal and Islamic sources of legal authority. More or less institutionalised, informal justice varies across regions and population groups. Afghan Pashtuns, for instance, live under three regimes – Afghan law, the tribal rule of Pashtun Wali and the Islamic Sharia – with community judges arguing all three are compatible. Often considered the ideal type of informal justice is the image of the Jirga. Jirga is a Pashto word for a purpose-specific gathering of entrusted men tasked to make a decision or resolve a dispute.Through discussion, the representatives agree upon a settlement to restore honour, to which the parties are expected to adhere; women rarely participate and may themselves become part of the compensation package, a practice called baad. Since 2001, various efforts at reforming and formalising these “hybrid” arrangements have not been successful, forcing a continued pragmatic use of informal structures in the context of the on-going Taliban insurgency (Wimpelmann 2013).

Occupation, warlordism and ethnocracy When global and regional powers intervene in Afghanistan, they have invariably assumed the existence of ethnic division. One example is Tomsen’s account of US diplomacy in the region, which highlights great power manipulations in the country; in doing so, it exposes assumptions about ethnic rivalry, especially in the immediate post-communist civil war (Tomsen 2011). Intervention, whether to favour one ethnic group over another, or to “manage” inter-ethnic relations, pre-empts the possibility of other foundations for political solidarity, be they tribal, religious, regional or national. External observers often assume that ethnic groups have a clear and distinct identity and read local conflicts as ethnic disputes. One journalist recently replicated the recurrent claim about Afghans, that “historically when they haven’t been united fighting outsiders, they’ve been fighting each other” (Campbell 2013). Certainly, political institutions are dominated by Pashtuns. Under the British Empire, Pashtun elites were favoured as a bulwark against Russian influence: “Pashtuns were privileged in all areas and dominated the military; Tajiks were left with the economic sector and the educational institutions, whereas the Hazaras were marginalised in general” (Schetter 2005a, 7). Political power since the eighteenth century has almost exclusively been held by Pashtuns, and the creation of a Pashtun

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state extending into Pakistan has been pursued by the leadership, for instance, under Prime Minister Sardar Muhammad Daoud Khan, in the years between 1953 and 1963. Reflecting these legacies, political conflict is often attributed to Pashtun domination and assumes primordial ethnic identification. Such accounts then drive policy, especially in relation to state-building efforts by the Soviet Union after 1979, and later under the US from 2001. Consecutive Soviet-aligned governments in Kabul had warned people of foreigners’ plans to divide the country on ethnic lines.There was some degree of truth in this as both Iran and Pakistan had an interest in ethnicising the war and funded ethnic proxies to achieve this (Pstrusinska 1990). Iran supported mainly Hazaras, based on their religious connection, and the Tajiks because of their language and cultural connection; Pakistan supported Pashtun groups because of their shared Pashtun heritage. Warlords themselves, seeing no other basis for their legitimacy, would assert ethnic leadership to convince foreign donors they had a broad constituency within Afghanistan.The Soviet Union labelled the rebel groups as the agents of foreign countries aiming to divide Afghanistan on ethnic lines. Once again, there was some truth in this as many of the so-called Mujahideen were in close association with foreign funders. With the Soviet invasion, fear of ethnic conflict was commonplace: the regime attempted to de-ethnicise the state, but Pashtun elites persisted (Roy 1986). The collapse of the PDPA regime from 1992 led to civil war, but it was not a war among ethnic groups, rather between rival warlords and their respective militias (Giustozzi 2012). During the civil war, thousands of people lost their lives, but ethnic groups kept relative peace with one another.The main ethnic victim of the civil war was the Hazara Shia minority, although anti-Hazara attacks also reflected religious sectarianism. Post-1996, the Taliban regime was Pashtun-led and systematically repressed Shia Muslims and in particular the Hazaras in a number of cities in Afghanistan, on a sectarian basis.With the collapse of the Taliban government and the US war in Afghanistan in October 2001, there was once again speculation over the possibility of ethnic war. Yet, since 2001, there has been relatively little in the way of ethnic conflict, especially given the scale of dislocation and conflict in the country. Ethnic displacement that had occurred in northern Afghanistan under the Taliban, in favour of Pashtuns, was reversed, with the expulsion of an estimated 20,000 Pashtuns from 2001 (Schetter 2005b). Another exception concerns a number of clashes between the nomadic Pashtun tribes and Hazaras around Bamyan, reflecting intensified competition between the groups for access to water and land, and a range of sectarian anti-Hazara attacks, including by Taliban militants on Hazara refugees in Pakistan. The relative absence of ethnic conflict post-2001 contrasts with the ethnicisation of state power. Following the US invasion, the new architects of the state sought to unify the polity and publicly downplayed ethnic division. The international community, the United Nations and supporting NGOs sought to ensure that all ethnic groups would have a role in the political and social life of the country (Wafayezade 2015, 15). In practice, though, state power was used to translate the power of contending militias into modes of ethnic leverage: power blocs were de-militarised, but also ethnicised. As Schetter argues, “every Afghan was

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assigned to a certain ethnic affiliation: the ‘Uzbek Dostum’, the ‘Pashtun Karzai’, the ‘Tajik Rabbani’ or the ‘Pashtun Zahir Shah’ ” (Schetter 2005a, 10). UNSC Resolution 1378, adopted on November 14, 2001, had defined the framework for the post-Taliban administration, giving “strong support” for a government that was “broad- based, multi-ethnic and fully representative of all the Afghan people” (UN 2001). Afghan allies of the US met at the International Conference on Afghanistan in Bonn on December 5, 2001, selecting Hamid Karzai to head the Afghan Interim Authority. The conference drew up an “Agreement on Provisional Arrangements” which stated the interim administration had to have “due regard to the ethnic, geographic and religious composition of Afghanistan”. Reflecting this, Karzai’s cabinet was informally a form of power-sharing, composed of eleven Pashtuns, eight Tajiks, five Hazaras, three Uzbeks and two members of other ethnic groups. Once installed in government as legitimate rulers, these ethnomilitary leaders then positioned themselves as ethnic representatives, with a call on government posts (Mukhopadhyay 2014). As outlined by Ali, the breakdown was as follows: “Ahmad Shah Massoud’s and Burhanuddin Rabbani’s Northern Alliance became today’s Jamiat-e- Islami, a primarily Tajik organisation. Uzbeks organised under Rashid Dostum’s Junbesh-e-Milli. Abdul Ali Mazari’s followers were now under the Hazara Hezb-e-Wahdat. And Pashtuns followed Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami. . . . The Mujahidin, the resistance who fought against the communist government, was fractioned into groups aligned to ethnicity as well. For instance, mainly Tajiks followed Ahmad Shah Massoud, Hazaras were led by Abdul Ali Mazari, Uzbeks and Turkmens were behind Abdul Rashid Dostum, and Pashtuns were with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar” (2015, 10). There was no necessary public support for these political blocs: many Afghans actively opposed the leadership of these organisations. For example, in 2003, Hezb-i-Islami was banned as a terrorist organisation by the UN, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, dubbed the “butcher of Kabul” for his actions during the civil war, was barred from entry into Afghanistan. His accord with the Afghan government in 2016 led to his attempted rehabilitation, but there is little evidence of public support for him, amongst Pashtuns or nonPashtuns (Rasmussen 2016).

Islam, Afghan nationalism and the constitution The 2001 Bonn meeting, which defined the framework for the post-invasion polity, was heavily influenced by would-be ethnic leaders who (ironically) stressed the need to prevent ethnic conflict in the country. A prominent role in all peace negotiations was granted to these leaders, who then built an ethnic oligarchy within the structure of the state, sharing government positions among them while selling other lucrative positions within government departments to clients. This informal ethnic power-sharing structure was entrenched in the new state but is viewed with disdain by the wider public, which is generally excluded from its material benefits. The informal elite accommodation was a legacy of alliance-building under the US occupation and contrasted with the formal constitutional arrangement post-2004.

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The formal constitution was promulgated at a national deliberative conference, a Loya Jurga, held in Afghanistan in late 2003, and explicitly sought to institutionalise nationally shared foundations for solidarity beyond ethnic loyalty. In the first instance, the constitution was grounded in religious solidarity as the key foundation for political solidarity. It centralised power in an “Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state” (A.1) and defined a civic Islamic political culture, embedded in non-authoritarian models of Islam, allowing for religious freedom for other religions as well as across Islamic traditions: Shia, Sunni, Sufi. The constitution expressed a mode of an inclusive political Islam in contrast with a doctrinaire political Islam, in non-civic mode, where one interpretation of religious culture is asserted above others. The constitution grounds its legal authority in Islam – it is only sovereign insofar as it is compatible with Islam. It was declared in the year 1382 on the Islamic calendar and names Afghanistan as an Islamic republic, requiring all law to conform to Islamic “tenets and provisions”. The constitution asserts a version of Sharia law (religious law) that is compatible with human rights norms: provisions for the supreme court state that ordinarily it acts in “pursuance of Hanafi jurisprudence, and, within the limits set by this Constitution” (Article 130). Hanafi is a School of Sunni law practiced in much of Central Asia where law is interpreted by both secular and religious authorities (Warren 2013). Reflecting this, the six members of the supreme court are appointed by elected politicians (named by the president, endorsed by parliament), not by the religious orders. Legal pluralism is accommodated, with the courts required to “apply Shia jurisprudence in cases involving personal matters of followers of the Shia sect in accordance with the provisions of the law” (Article 131). The framework for education exemplifies the model, in requiring a “unified educational curricula based on the tenets of the sacred religion of Islam”, along with “curricula for schools on the basis of existing Islamic sects in Afghanistan” (Article 45). Freedom of religion is asserted within this framework, with Article 2 stating the “followers of other faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rituals”: with the “bounds of the law” defined by Islam, religious freedom rests on respect for Islam. As such, political parties may only be established that do not “contravene the Holy religion of Islam” (Article 35). There is support for ethnic diversity, but tribalism and sectarianism are outlawed. While centralising power, the 2004 Constitution recognised Afghanistan as a multi-ethnic country (Article 4). At the same time, it explicitly forbids tribalism and sectarianism, stating the “formation and operation of a party on the basis of tribalism, parochialism, language, as well as religious sectarianism shall not be permitted” (Article 35). Ministers were not to “use their positions for linguistic, sectarian, tribal, religious or partisan purposes” (A80). With the state defined as impartial, the constitution recognises ethnic identities, at Article 4 stating “[t]he nation of Afghanistan shall be comprised of Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkman, Baluch, Pachaie, Nuristani, Aymaq, Arab, Qirghiz, Qizilbash, Gujur, Brahwui and other tribes”.

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Article 6 then recognises the equal status of “all ethnic groups and tribes”. This is reflected in language policy which institutionalises Pashto and Dari as first and second languages and any local language as the third language (Article 16). The national anthem “shall be in Pashto with the mention of ‘God is Great’ as well as the names of the major ethnic groups of Afghanistan” (Article 20).This recognition of local languages and tribal affiliations was, interestingly, one of the most contentious issues at the constitutional Loya Jirga, precipitating a walk-out by 40 per cent of the delegates (Adeney 2008). Despite recognition of ethnic diversity, there is no entrenched requirement for regional autonomy. A structure of provincial district and municipal councils is established, only with devolution of power as required (Article 137). Since 2004, provincial councils have been constituted and have sought increased powers and resources, though they remain relatively weak and exist at the behest of the central state (Adeney 2008). They may, though, develop to displace centre-peripheral tensions from ethnicised competition for central resources into regionally grounded aspirations and priorities. These local versions of the state offer the possibility of cultural provincialism, local democracy and hence legitimation, in the exercise of devolved local powers within a unitary state. In practice, however, and reflecting the military occupation, effective power has remained centralised in the presidency. Beyond religion and ethno-regional identification, the constitution also vests its authority in national political solidarity. Here, the foundation for solidarity is the state itself, legitimised as an expression of the Afghan nation. Legitimacy may be claimed in terms of a value commitment, vested in human rights norms and national citizenship, and in terms of representation as expressed in elected national assemblies and the elected presidency. In terms of representation, the 2004 Constitution vests considerable power in the directly elected president, who selects two vice-presidents, appoints ministers, defines policy and appoints provincial governors. It also establishes a directly elected lower house “of the people”. The parliamentary electoral system is majoritarian, with more than one candidate per constituency, elected under the Single Non-Transferable Vote system. In addition, an upper house “of elders” is constituted from provincial and district councils, with a third of its membership appointed by the presidency. The lower house holds the legislative power; the upper house takes a more advisory role. Judicial authority is vested in an independent supreme court, which is responsible for enforcing constitutional protections for the citizenry. The court is to entrench human rights, nondiscrimination and civil and political freedoms, qualified by undefined “duties”, and by a broader “public interest” (Articles 22; 23; 24). National identification is bolstered by a development mandate, with some guarantee of social security. At Article 6, the state is committed “to create a prosperous and progressive society based on social justice, preservation of human dignity, protection of human rights, realisation of democracy, attainment of national unity as well as equality between all peoples and tribes and balance development of all areas of the country”. Health and education is a special focus, with a commitment to “free preventative healthcare and treatment of diseases” (Article 52) and for the provision of “educational institutes

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free of charge by the state” (Article 43). Beyond this there is some declaratory commitment to help develop industries and agriculture (Article 17). Set against this, some key clauses seem more directed at the interests of the occupiers than at the impoverished population. Under Article 10, the constitution requires the state to “encourage, protect as well as ensure the safety of capital investment and private enterprises in accordance with the provisions of the law and market economy”. This neoliberal constraint on policy is bolstered by Article 11, which imposes a requirement that the central bank be independent and Article 40 which protects property from confiscation. Under Article 41, foreign ownership of immovable property is not permitted, but leasing “for the purpose of capital investment” is. And perhaps most importantly, security crises can trump the constitution, with the president, as head of state, explicitly vested with a specially defined power to declare a “state of emergency” where “protection of independence and national life become impossible through the channels specified in this Constitution” (A143). Overall, the 2004 Constitution clearly seeks to define and entrench crossnational solidarities, whether Islamic or nationalist, recognising local, tribal and ethnic identification within the framework of the state. Ethnicity is subsumed into the national structure and outlawed as a basis for political mobilisation. On this basis, the country has so far embarked on three electoral cycles, with elections in 2004, 2009 and 2014. The outcomes of these elections in terms of de-ethnicisation are hotly debated.

Democracy and ethnic de-alignment? The role of the central state mapped out in the 2004 Constitution is one of managing and correlating ethnic identifications. As noted, in the context of the Taliban insurgency, pragmatic alliance-building led to informal power-sharing structures for rule. As with power-sharing arrangements more generally, these informal arrangements have had the potential to ethnicise the state as an ethnocracy, institutionalising what may be more fluid identifications (Lijphart 1977). As noted, the 2004 Constitution is explicitly aimed at overcoming ethnic division and preventing ethnocracy, and articulates an amalgam of Islamic and national solidarity to achieve this. Arguably, the implementation of the constitution could open up new possibilities for cross-ethnic bargaining and allow the creation of new forms of nonethnicised, national-level political antagonism. A strong narrative of de-ethnicisation, as reflected in voting patterns, is widely claimed. The majoritarian electoral system is said to encourage cross-ethnic alliance-building in the presidential election given that the dominant Pashtun group only claims at most 40 per cent of the national electorate. Nonetheless, ethnicisation in the 2004 presidential election was extensive.This serves as a baseline, directly reflecting the initial ethnicisation of formal inter-party politics. In 2004, the overwhelming majority of voters cast their vote for a co-ethnic candidate: 95 per cent of Pashtuns voted for Karzai, 90 per cent of Uzbeks for Dostum and 80 per cent Hazaras for Mohaqiq; there was a similar ethnicisation in the 2005 parliamentary

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election. Giustozzi argues that the main drivers for this were the absence of ideological disputation in the country’s first election since the Taliban regime, along with weak class formation, low state capacity and the impact of external influences (2015).The relative lack of political antagonism in the context of the Taliban insurgency may have been a contributing factor. The 2009 election was seriously corrupted by the incumbent president, with about a fifth of the votes invalidated.The 2014 presidential election was also extensively corrupted, requiring a full recount. Yet, it is also seen as signalling a new departure, as Mobasher notes, “the scale of cross-ethnic voting in the Afghan election of 2014 was extraordinary” (2016, 369). In this context, inter-ethnic bargains appeared to unravel in a wider context of political contention. Elections have “not followed the neat simplistic ethnic logic of the kind often projected as the eternal fact of Afghan social political life” (Sharma 2017, 151). Rather, they have a life of their own, shaped by a wide range of contingent, non-ethnicised matters. For Sharma, ethnicity is seen as a changing resource, with post-2001 demands for ethnic parity positioned as a political manoeuvre. Certainly, ethnicity has become more salient in elite bargaining but at the same time, Islam and the idea of the nation have strengthened as identifiers. The result is a potentially complementary set of national, ethno-regional and religious solidarities, producing an amalgam, a co-national ethno-religious identification allowing a sustainable process of deescalation in political violence.

Conclusions In 2010, the US Defence Secretary and the US Brigadier General in Afghanistan debated their reliance on what they termed “thugocracy” in Afghanistan as a necessary evil in their struggle against Taliban-style “theocracy” (quoted in Shahrani 2015, 296). One question that arises in the context of the 2014 election and the 2015 US military withdrawal is whether that US-sponsored “thugocracy” is now in transition to “ethnocracy” or “democracy”. The signals are mixed, but there is certainly evidence of a changing political landscape. One key factor, as argued here, is the relative weakness of ethnic identification in Afghan society, both historically and currently. Non-ethnic and localised affiliations appear to have gained greater social importance in the context of on-going civil conflict. In contrast, ethnic identification is more confined to elite-level bargaining, where it serves as a proxy for military rivalry. At the same time, the constitution and growing autonomy following the US withdrawal appears in some respects to have facilitated cross-ethnic bargaining, disrupting bloc formation. As inter-elite rivalry gives way to strategic alliance-building, we can expect stronger cross-ethnic ideological engagement, especially on national development concerns relating to gender and poverty. From this perspective, Afghan politics may be moving into a post-ethnocratic phase and towards the form of Islamic democracy envisaged under the constitution. Afghanistan’s long history of inter-ethnic relations, overlaid with religious and national solidarities, and hinging on local-level loyalties and obligations, has not

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readily embraced ethnicised politics. Despite the ethnicisation of militias and elites, and a history riven with social dislocation and conflict, the country has not, as a rule, experienced ethnic conflict on the scale common in parallel contexts.The long period of externally funded warlordism, civil war and then occupation instituted a model of inter-ethnic and ethnocratic rule; yet, this appears to have been only weakly entrenched in Afghan society. The logic of US occupation, of sustaining a military alliance against an increasingly nationalist Taliban insurgency, underpinned the continued ethnicisation of politics. As argued here, there is some evidence that this model of political rule may be receding with the end of the occupation and the return of political independence. This suggests a strong relationship between occupation and ethnocracy, potentially relevant to other contexts. Certainly, wider research points to the corrupting effect of military occupation, especially in undermining prospects for strengthened identification with nationallevel elites (Braithwaite and Wardak 2013). With the end of occupation, there are signs of a revival of a national-level political culture. Against this, there are inherent dangers of ethnic hegemony in the centralised winner-takes-all model, as reflected in the electoral system and the presidential structure. But there is always a risk of ethno-regionalist alienation, as Adeney points out, arguing for much stronger guarantees of multi-ethnic power-sharing (2008). This approach assumes (and, we would argue, imputes) abiding ethnic identification and may have the effect of institutionalising inter-ethnic rivalry. The informal elite model of ethnic-military accommodation established in 2001 may be now in the process of being superseded by new forms of political bargaining and national-level contention. In this context, new political blocs may emerge, grounded in the deep structural stratification of Afghan society, claiming the capacity to displace the militarised ethnocracy of the occupation period. As the Afghan people gain greater control of their political destiny, after decades of occupation and militarisation, there appears to be a new dynamism.

Acknowledgement A version of this article was previously published in Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, in a Special Issue on “Ethnocracy” in 2016 (8 (3): 168–89). The refereed journal is online and open-access, and the article appears here with full permission of the journal’s editorial team.

Works cited Adeney, Katherine. 2008. “Constitutional Design and the Political Salience of ‘Community’ Identity in Afghanistan: Prospects for the Emergence of Ethnic Conflicts in the PostTaliban Era.” Asian Survey 48 (4): 535–57. Admadi, Belquis, and Sadaf Lakhani. 2016. “The Forced Return of Afghan Refugees and Implications for Stability.” United States Institute for Peace, January 13, 2016. publications/2016/01/forced-return-afghan- refugees-and-implications-stability.

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Ali, Frishta. 2015.“Afghanistan: The Rise of Ethnic Consciousness through History; A Comprehensive Overview of the Origin of the Afghan Conflict.” Working Paper, Leibnitz Institute, January 16, 2016. ssoar- 2015-ali-Afghanistan_the_rise_of_ethnic.pdf?sequence=1. Axworthy, Michael. 2009. The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior. London: I.B. Tauris. Balachandar, S. 2012. “India’s role in Afghanistan: Past Relations and Future Prospects.” Foreign Policy Journal, 30 November. January 20, 2016. https://www.foreignpolicyjournal. com/2012/11/30/ indias-role-in-afghanistan-past-relations-and-future-prospects/ MEA. Barfield, Thomas. 2010. Afghanistan: A Cultural and Political History. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Biswas, Arka. 2013. The Durand Line: History, Legality and Future. New Delhi: Vivekananda International Foundation. Braithwaite, John, and Ali Wardak. 2013. “Crime and War in Afghanistan.” The British Journal of Criminology 53 (2): 179–96. Campbell, Eric. 2013. “Foreign Correspondent.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, September 17, 2013. Defence Committee for Malalai Joya. 2016. “Speech to the 2003 Loya Jirga.” January 18, 2016. Dimitrakis, Panagiotis. 2013. Secret War in Afghanistan. London: I.B. Tauris. Fair, Christine C., and Shaun Gregory, eds. 2013. Pakistan in National and Regional Change: State and Society in Flux. London: Routledge. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory. 2014. The Anglo Afghan Wars 1839–1919. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. Gibbs, David N. 2000. “Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect.” International Politics 37 (2): 233–46. Giustozzi, Antonio. 2012. Empires of Mud: War and Warlordism in Afghanistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ———. 2015. “Processes of Ethnicization in Today’s Afghanistan.” In Afghanistan: Identity, Society and Politics since 1980, edited by Micheline Centlivres-Demont, 211–14. London: Tauris. Goodman. James. 2013. “Humanitarian Collective Security: Restoring Order?” Global Networks 133: 45–62. Hassan Kakar, M. 1995. Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979–1982. Berkeley: University of California Press. Hiro, Dilip. 1995. Between Marx and Muhammad: Changing Face of Central Asia. New York: Harper Collins. Kamel, K. 2015. “Understanding Taliban Resurgence: Ethno-Symbolism and Revolutionary Mobilization.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 15 (1): 66–82. Kaplan, Robert D. 2001. Soldiers of God:With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. New York: Vintage. Khan, Riaz Mohammad. 2011. Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict, Extremism, and Resistance to Modernity. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. Krivosheev, G.F. 1997. Soviet Casualties and Combat Losses in the Twentieth Century. London: Greenhill Books. Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Maley, William. 2016. “Afghanistan on a Knife-Edge.” Global Affairs 2 (1): 57–68. Mobasher, Mohammad B. 2016. “Understanding Ethnic-Electoral Dynamics: How Ethnic Politics Affect Electoral Laws and Election Outcomes in Afghanistan.” Gonzaga Law Review 51 (2): 356–415.

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Mukhopadhyay, Dipali. 2014. Warlords, Strongman Governors, and the State in Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pstrusinska, G. 1990. “Afghanistan 1989 in Sociolinguistic Perspective.” Central Asian Survey, Incidental Paper Series 7. Rangelov, Iavor, and Marika Theros. 2012. “Abuse of Power and Conflict Persistence in Afghanistan.” Journal of Conflict, Security and Development 12 (3): 227–48. Rasmussen, S. 2016. “ ‘Butcher of Kabul’ Pardoned in Afghan Peace Deal.” The Guardian. October 3, 2016. Roy, Oliver. 1986. Islam and Resistance in Afghanistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rubin, Barnett. 1995. The Fragmentation of Afghanistan. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Schetter, Conrad. 2005a. “Ethnicity and the Political Reconstruction in Afghanistan.” ZEF Working Paper Series 3, University of Bonn. ———. 2005b. “Ethnoscapes, National Territorialisation, and the Afghan War.” Geopolitics 10 (1): 50–75. Schütte, Stefan. 2009. “Informal Insecurity in Urban Afghanistan.” Iranian Studies 42 (3): 465–69. Shahrani, Nazif. 2015. “The Impact of the 2014 U.S.-NATO Withdrawal on the Internal Politics of Afghanistan: Karzai-Style Thugocracy or Taliban Theocracy?” Asian Survey 55 (2): 273–98. Sharan, Timor. 2011. “The Dynamics of Elite Networks and Patron-Client Relations in Afghanistan.” Europe-Asia Studies 63 (6): 1109–27. Sharma, Raghav. 2017. Nation, Ethnicity and the Conflict in Afghanistan: Political Islam and the Rise of Ethno-Politics 1992–1996. London: Routledge. Tapper, Nancy. 1991. Bartered Brides: Politics, Gender and Marriage in an Afghan Tribal Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tomsen, Peter. 2011. The Wars of Afghanistan: Messianic Terrorism,Tribal Conflicts, and the Failures of Great Powers. New York: Public Affairs. Tripodi, Christian. 2010. “Grand Strategy and the Graveyard of Assumptions: Britain and Afghanistan, 1839–1919.” Journal of Strategic Studies 33 (5): 701–25. United Nations. 2001. “Security Council Endorses Afghanistan Agreement on Interim Arrangements Signed Yesterday in Bonn.” Resolution 1383–2001, December 6, 2001. Wafayezade, M. Qasim. 2015. “Ethnic Politics and Youth Political Participation in Afghanistan.” Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Afghanistan Peace Initiatives, Berlin, September. Warren, Christie S. 2013. “The Hanafi School.” Oxford Bibliographies Online, May 28, 2013. Williamson, Myra. 2001. Terrorism, War and International Law: The Legality of the Use of Force against Afghanistan in 2001. Aldershot: Ashgate. Wimmer, Andreas, and Conrad Schetter. 2003. “Putting State-Formation First: Some Recommendations for Reconstruction and Peace-Making in Afghanistan.” Journal of International Development 15 (5): 525–39. Wimpelmann, Torunn. 2013. Nexuses of Knowledge and Power in Afghanistan: The Rise and Fall of the Informal Justice Assemblage.” Central Asian Survey 32 (3): 406–22.


Introduction: insurgency in theory Following the paradigm of the securitised state, security studies scholars define insurgency generally as a movement that involves violent armed groups, mostly non-state actors, fighting against states. Of late, owing to this ideological alignment with the state, the line between “insurgency” and “terrorism” has become increasingly blurred to the extent that the terms are often used interchangeably in the literature.Yet, we must re-examine the question of what an insurgency encapsulates, and why insurgencies develop, to arrive at an understanding of how they do so. An emphasis on violence in insurgencies has distorted the definition and meaning of the phenomenon. Some of the most well-known works that have come out of the security studies tradition uncritically take violence to be the defining feature of any insurgency. Non-violent aspects of insurgencies are barely acknowledged or elaborated upon. Insurgency is regarded as a phenomenon that is confined to groups of people (political elites) who share a worldview, or perhaps an ideology, and seek to wrest power from a rival group. The phenomenon is not given the standing of a project that may have the support of the society, which is taken as a passive spectator. The state is portrayed as a victim of insurgencies, with legitimate justifications to put an end to them. Examples of such works include Ian F.W. Beckett (2001), Bard O’Neill (2005), David Galula (2006) and Jeremy Weinstein (2007). Insurgencies are portrayed as the fallout of a state’s weakened monopoly over violence (Mackinlay 2002, 2009) or as terrorist proxies of rival states (Fowler 2005, 103). While most analyses take violence as the defining feature, the tendency to equate such political violence with outright terrorism has of late begun to gain traction. For instance, James Khalil (2013) justifies the interchangeable usage of insurgency for terrorism and vice-versa, by assuming the “presence of violent acts” as a defining feature of an insurgency and, of course, terrorism. Once an insurgency

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is conflated with terrorism, the causes for the supposed terrorism are proffered from a rational-choice lens, making the phenomenon a zero-sum game. The supposed causes include weak/failed states, the need to belong, superpower foreign policies, religion, crime, ideology, greed, fear and socioeconomic grievances.2 Such arguments are teleological and problematic as they reify erroneous and top-down ideological views about insurgencies, which almost portray the Weberian state as a victim. Lastly, if violence were to be taken as the defining marker of an insurgency, it is essential to address how the perpetration of such violence is justified. Any act of violence that seeks to achieve political goals, hence deemed political violence, can be justified on deontological or consequential grounds or a combination of both as Garrett O’Boyle (2002) has so eloquently pointed out. However, as Michael Fowler (2005, 4–5) highlights, the Weberian state labels any act of violence as terrorism instead of uncovering and addressing the root of violence. The logic behind such labelling is two-fold: (a) to delegitimise the violence perpetrated by the opponents of the state and (b) to reinforce its position as the sole entity with a monopoly over “legitimate” violence. In short, the tendency of International Relations (IR)/security studies scholars studying insurgencies is to essentialise the phenomenon with violence, and the subsequent analysis then focuses on locating the drivers, methods and measures that the state must take to counter such violence. This is where the analysis that follows diverges: it takes a novel approach by considering an entire population as insurgent rather than the armed insurgents as being parasitic on the population for support and longevity.

Conventional views about insurgency in Kashmir Existing literature that analyses the ongoing insurgency in Kashmir takes the view that is thoroughly grounded in the security studies tradition and its associated discourse. Firstly, the insurgency is taken to have erupted between 1989 and 1990 (Bose 2007, 254; Staniland 2003; Rai 2018), which is the time when armed rebellion gained currency in Kashmir. Thus, insurgency in Kashmir is reduced to its violent armed facet alone. Even observers such as A.G. Noorani (1996, 2059) who are sympathetic towards Kashmir’s self-determination movement take 1989–1990 to be the beginning of the insurgency. Less sympathetic scholars such as Anand Mohan (1992, 299) label the insurgency outright as “terror” backed by Pakistan. Secondly, the insurgency in Kashmir, once reduced to its armed dimension alone, is taken to have “abruptly broken out after forty-two years of Indian rule” (S. Ganguly 1996, 80), making it seem as though before 1989 there were no insurgent undercurrents in Kashmir. Sumit Ganguly’s (1999, 20) thesis of “political mobilisation and institutional decay” holds that insurgency in Kashmir is a result of the paradox between Indian democracy and political mobilisation of Kashmiris, which Pakistan was more than happy to exploit and hijack along religious lines, thus subtly diminishing Kashmiri political agency. By dismissing incidents

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of profound political significance before 1989 as mere mishandling of the situation in Kashmir on the part of the Indian state (S. Ganguly 1996, 1999) and the subsequent violent upheaval as Pakistan’s adventurism in Kashmir (R. Ganguly 1998), these analyses end up missing the larger picture. With 1989 being marked as the beginning of the insurgency in Kashmir, the resistance of Kashmiri people towards the Indian state before 1989 is labelled as “alienation” (Puri 2008, 60–68). By adopting such analytical positions vis-à-vis the insurgency in Kashmir, it is hardly surprising that the explanations proffered to unmask the reasons for the “sudden insurgent upheaval” or the “alienation” end up reifying statist narratives or tread the well-worn tracks of modernisation theory. It is hardly surprising that such analyses endorse statist solutions to address what is essentially a matter of suspended political sovereignty. Some sophisticated academic explanations put the blame squarely on the interventions of the Indian state that undermined the democratic process in Kashmir (Bose 1997, 30–54; Widmalm 2002, 56–92). While Bose and Widmalm reject the narrow socioeconomic role of Pakistan in fomenting “insurgency” in Kashmir, their approach nevertheless takes the success of the democratic process in Kashmir to mean integration with the Indian state. The entry on Kashmiri insurgency in James Forest’s edited volume Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies (2001) is perhaps the most myopic and disconnected from reality. The entry, which labels the insurgency as “[f]ull-blown separatist Islamist violence against India” (Sahukar 2007, 514), reads as if it were a PR piece for the Indian security establishment. Furthermore, conventional analyses (Hoodbhoy 2003) do not give adequate recognition to the political agency of Kashmiris in the ongoing insurgency and take India and Pakistan as the only active actors within the dynamics of the insurgency. Although Pakistan’s involvement in Kashmir’s insurgency cannot be denied, armed groups aided by Pakistani deep-state must not be taken as the drivers, and the kernel of the insurgency, as some works such as Jamal (2009) and Tankel (2013) have done. The rationale for Pakistan’s involvement, that is, its claim of being one of the stakeholders in Kashmir’s political future, and likewise the perception of Kashmiris of Pakistan as their sole ally in Kashmir’s quest for self-determination, must be given due consideration and not taken as the absence of Kashmiri agency in the insurgency. The only concern that appears to be important in such analyses is the “eruption” of violence and how that could have been avoided or how it can be managed/eradicated now. The far more important factor at the heart of insurgency in Kashmir is the paralysed political agency, and hence sovereignty, of the people of Kashmir, which I believe has not received ample attention. The analysis in this chapter takes the “interrupted political agency and sovereignty” of Kashmir as the central domain and the wellspring of all subsequent insurgent actions, non-violent as well as violent. Hence, in the subsequent sections of this chapter, a social movement theory grounded approach is adopted which offers a much more holistic and coherent picture of the ongoing insurgency in Kashmir.

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Insurgency as a “social movement” Insurgencies, in reality, progress in phases, and violence is one such phase. Phases of an insurgency before, post to, or concurrent with the violent phase are more critical for its success and longevity. The chapter argues that the organic participation of people in these phases and also in the violent phase is the essence of any insurgency.Though “other” phases may seem latent and inconsequential as violence is assumed to take centre stage, it is the “latent and inconsequential” phases where the insurgency thrives and makes the society at large realise its insurgent potential. Because not all the members of a beleaguered society or population may be capable of undertaking or executing violent acts, the inability to take part or organise violent action, however, should not be interpreted as docility or passivity on the part of a society or an individual. An absence of contribution to violent acts must not be equated to a lack of insurgent potential among such populations. Insurgency being a dynamic, multi-layered process cannot be tied down to the single aspect of violence alone.Violence in insurgencies is usually the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and when all the attention is directed to this aspect, the larger reality and dynamics of the phenomenon go unnoticed and remain unaddressed, thus leaving room for future violent upheavals. The ongoing insurgency in Kashmir is no different; it has arrived at its current stage through a series of phases that have transformed it and in the process made it more resilient. To make sense of the insurgency’s affective appeal and people’s emotional and material commitment to it, the phenomenon must be interpreted as the movement of the right to self-determination in its entirety. The invocation of the discourse of “self-determination”, especially political self-determination, squarely gives the Kashmiri insurgency a nationalist orientation. It is, therefore, plausible to interpret the insurgency, locally known as Tehreek-e-Azadi (freedom movement), as a nationalist insurgency that is deeply rooted in the society and older than both Indian and Pakistani states, as Kashmiri scholar Inshah Malik (2019, 22) has pointed out. The stated objective of the insurgency in Kashmir is that of “self-determination”, and the fact that it truly is the objective of the insurgency is acknowledged even by unionist-electoral politicians such as Farooq Abdullah (Hussain 2017). Furthermore, the stated objective continues to be reiterated (Kashmir Reader 2018) by the Hurriyat Conference3 leaders, who have of late rebranded themselves as the “Joint Resistance Leadership” (Kirmani 2016). The discourse of “self-determination” pegged to the aspirations of establishing an independent state is thoroughly nationalist in predisposition, orientation and execution. Only by taking the Kashmiri insurgency as a variant of nationalism or a nationalist movement can we appreciate its social depth, longevity and resilience and understand its evolution from a vision of liberation shared by a minority of intellectuals to an aspiration pervasive throughout the “social imaginary”. Furthermore, interpreting nationalism as a social movement is logically and functionally consistent as it allows us to take the nationalist social agency as a

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focal point in the larger context of its socio-historical roots (Goodman 2010, 6). Also, the significance of contentious politics (McAdam,Tarrow, and Tilly 2001, 227) in nationalism puts the phenomenon right at the heart of the tradition of social movements. The definition of social movements that this chapter embraces is the one offered by Charles Tilly who sees them as a “distinctive form of contentious politics” (2004, 3), which involve “collective making of claims that conflict with someone else’s interests”, usually a government’s or a state’s.

The social roots of insurgency Taking the case of insurgency in Kashmir, I use Doug McAdam’s political process model as my point of departure to understand the raison d’être of the Tehreek (local name for the insurgency in Kashmir) through the lens of social movement theory. The political process model (Figure 13.1), developed by McAdam (1982), holds that, in addition to broad socio-political processes, three sets of factors are vital for the emergence of a social insurgency. The strength of the model lies in the fact that it takes structural as well as agential factors into account to explain the emergence and workings of a social insurgency. The factors that engender a social insurgency as outlined by the model are political opportunities, indigenous organisational strength and cognitive liberation (40). All these factors occur concurrently and do not necessarily follow a chronology. I believe that by using McAdam’s model, a far richer understanding of the Kashmiri insurgency – one that pays ample attention to

FIGURE 13.1 

McAdam’s political process model

Source: Adapted from McAdam (1982)

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the movement’s nuances throughout its development and visible manifestations – can emerge (Figure 13.2).The model allows us to place the agency of the non-elite Kashmiri people at the centre of the ongoing nationalist insurgency, the agency that in the first place allows them to exploit the malleable nature of the structural power they find themselves subjected to. Moreover, the model also gives ample room to include subjective dimensions such as “solidarity, and lived experiences” into our analysis; these dimensions play a significant role in engendering what McAdam calls “insurgent consciousness” (1982, 49). Lastly, the political process model allows us to analyse and understand the violent aspects of the Kashmiri insurgency, particularly of 1989–1993, in their right context, and dispel the myopic notions of taking such aspects as the essence of the insurgency or as the beginning of the insurgency. According to McAdam (1982, 40–43), the power relations within a political structure at any given time are not absolute and the changes in power distribution engender “political opportunities” for those who contest the status quo. Changes in the power distribution in a political structure vary both temporally as well as spatially, giving challengers more opportunities to execute collective actions. McAdam takes wars, industrialisation, international power equations and major demographic changes as some of the events that form the broad socioeconomic processes, which over a long period become the wellsprings of an insurgency. The disruption caused by these processes in the hegemonic position of the dominant party puts the insurgents in an enhanced position of political advantage which in turn raises the costs of repressing insurgent action for the dominant party. Furthermore, as Michel

FIGURE 13.2 

Political process model applied to the nationalist insurgency in Kashmir

Source: Author’s model

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Foucault (1978, 95–96) observed, resistance and power co-exist in an entangled manner so that power itself breeds the resistance that seeks to alter the power relation. Therefore, from a Foucauldian perspective, the push and pull element of a power relation ensures that the status quo is changeable; however, the amount of change any resistance is willing to settle for varies among situations. To make the best of the political opportunity, an “indigenous organisational network” (43–48) that becomes the source of members, solidarity, communication channels and leaders must be in place for an insurgency to emerge. McAdam notes that while these two factors provide the necessary “structural potential” for the collective political action of insurgencies, they would be ineffective in the absence of what he calls “cognitive liberation”. Cognitive liberation in the model of McAdam refers to a “subjective referent” that allows the “challengers” to interpret the shifting political conditions as a set of “meaningful” events, which “communicate the prospects” or the need for collective action. McAdam dubs these “cognitive cues” as “insurgent consciousness” (49). This insurgent consciousness (IC) refers to the awareness that “challengers” come to possess as part of the development of the insurgency. IC involves being aware of, firstly, the changing political conditions and concurrent opportunities such changes engender, and secondly, the crucial role of the “system” in sustaining the status quo and thus delegitimising the system (Ferree and Miller 1985, 44). Additionally, according to McAdam, for an insurgency to be long-lasting and successful, it must be able to maintain organisational resources at an optimum level. Ironically, the quest for a stable supply of organisational resources may also be the insurgency’s Achilles heel in the form of oligarchisation, co-option and waning indigenous support (56). Finally, McAdam notes that the perception of an insurgent movement as a threat or an opportunity varies over time, which suggests that the nature of an insurgency itself may change over time specifically in terms of goals and tactics (57). However, the model cannot be applied verbatim to the Kashmiri insurgency; the need for tweaking the model is duly recognised. Firstly, McAdam’s model seeks to explain the insurgent behaviour of minorities, but in the present case the insurgent population is not a minority group; it is the powers at whom the insurgency is directed who are a minority. It must be noted that here the minority-majority dichotomy is not based on religious beliefs, cultural positions or class alignment; it is the antagonistic politics of the insurgent population and the partisans of the status quo that lie at its roots. Furthermore, as “self-definition” is one of the important criteria of “being a nation” (Smith 2005, 97) and the fact that Kashmiris consider themselves to be, what Guibernau calls a “nation without a state” (1999, 16–18), such “self-defining” acts allow Kashmiris to cast off the minority label attributed to them within the larger Indian polity. The constant rejection of India’s sovereignty over Kashmir makes Kashmiri nationalism a new kind of social movement that challenges the so-called postcolonial order in South Asia. Secondly, as Doowon Suh (2001, 437) has pointed out, a political opportunity is not measured by the insurgent population against any objective benchmark; such opportunities are shaped by the population’s subjective interpretations of the prevailing situation.

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Lastly, this chapter proposes that the ongoing nationalist insurgency in Kashmir has arrived at a stage where it can be equated with what Charles Taylor calls a “social imaginary” (2004, 23). Taylor argues that a social imaginary is an understanding shared by a large number of people as opposed to a minority of elites, and this understanding enables common practices to emerge and a widely shared sense of legitimacy. Taylor further argues that a social imaginary “incorporates a sense of normal expectations we have of each other, the kind of common understanding that enables us to carry out the collective practices that make up our social life” (24). Following this, it can be argued that once the “insurgent consciousness” of a population becomes one of the central values of the social imaginary, a vast majority, if not the whole, of the society becomes insurgent. In such a situation, each individual insurgent understands what is expected of him or her, what practices enjoy societal legitimacy (such as stonepelting, spontaneous strikes etc.), and this insurgent consciousness enables autonomous action to adopt novel methods without needing a central organisational hierarchy.

The roots and development of insurgency in Kashmir In the context of Kashmir, the socioeconomic and political developments of significance that planted the seeds of the nationalist insurgency began in the early 1950s when the political future of Kashmir was taken hostage by the sweet talk of “secularism and democracy” (Cockell 2000, 328) by Nehru-led India. The honeymoon between Kashmir’s Sheikh Abdullah and India’s Jawaharlal Nehru did not last long. The Kashmiri “right to self-determination”, which they were meant to exercise over the provisional accession of the state to the dominion of the newly created India, was at the heart of the Abdullah-Nehru breakup and the former’s ouster from power. By mid-1953, Abdullah had begun to question India’s secular credentials as a result of the rise of right-wing Hindutva forces in the Indian polity and on June 9, 1953, the working committee of the National Conference proposed four alternatives to settle the question of Kashmir with “Independence for the whole State” (Das Gupta 1964, 206; emphasis in original) being one of the alternatives. The talk of independence from Abdullah, who Nehru believed was the only person capable of delivering Kashmir to India (Taseer 1986, 161), unsettled the Indian state to the extent that it permanently shed its cloak of moral high ground and began to put alternative measures in place to merge Kashmir with India. The measures were executed with the ouster and the subsequent arrest of Sheikh Abdullah in August 1953. Even before Abdullah’s ouster, the majority of Kashmiris, owing to the memories and experiences of participating in the Abdullah-led Quit Kashmir Movement in 1946, had developed an acute sense of political awareness. Furthermore, in Kashmir the number of young, educated people, acquainted with ideas of modernity, had grown substantially since the mid- to late 1940s. This section of the youth population was not only politically aware – as is corroborated by the existence of many political associations such as the Kashmir Kisan Mazdoor Conference, the Kashmir Socialist Party and the Kashmir Awami Conference (Korbel 1954) – but they also

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harboured aspirations of upward social mobility, something they considered mutually exclusive with acquiring modern education. At the time of his ouster, Sheikh Abdullah was at the height of his popularity regardless of the dictatorial manner in which his party was running the state (Korbel 1954, 286–88), owing largely to the pro-peasant and massively progressive land reforms that he had introduced in the early 1950s (Hussain 2017, 100). The “land to the tiller” reforms earned Abdullah what Everett Hughes has dubbed the “master status” (1945, 357). This master status in the case of Abdullah was Bab (beloved father) (Para 2018, 168), which overshadowed his friendship with Nehru for which he was earlier criticised and labelled as a “puppet of the Congress” (102). The coup d’état drew wide protests across Kashmir, which the state repressed by force, causing many casualties (Korbel 1954, 243). These developments laid the foundations for what John Cockell has termed the “autonomous insurgent consciousness” (2000, 326). The unceremonial overthrow and arrest of Sheikh Abdullah, who was by then fondly called Sher e Kashmir (Lion of Kashmir) as well as Bab and eulogised in slogans such as “Yee Kari Tee Kari, Bab Kari, Bab Kari” (“Whatever needs doing, Bab will do himself ”) (Para 2018, 245) provided the “cognitive cues” to Kashmiris. These cognitive cues engendered an “insurgent consciousness” amongst the people of Kashmir that enabled them to locate the causality of Kashmir’s uncertain political predicament external to it; that is, in the integrationist policies of the Indian state. The insurgent consciousness also enabled the people of Kashmir to recognise that the Indian state was seeking to unilaterally integrate Kashmir with the Indian domain, which delegitimised the system, as Ferree and Miller (1985) have observed. The incarceration of Sher e Kashmir further reinforced his master status. His peers highlighted his incarceration as an act of ultimate “sacrifice” for the “self-determination” of the people of Kashmir, thus essentially making Sheikh Abdullah one of the first faces of the nascent Kashmiri nationalist insurgency as it had already begun in the “hearts and minds” of the people of Kashmir. However, the “political opportunity” for the nascent nationalist insurgency to publicly reject India’s sovereignty over Kashmir came a decade later in 1963 when India’s client administration faced the first mass test of its legitimacy and failed at it spectacularly. Supported by many of Abdullah’s peers, whose loyalties had been bought, a pliant Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad took charge of the government of autonomous Kashmir as its prime minister (Schofield 2003, 93), thus marking the beginning of the patron-client relation between the governments of New Delhi and Kashmir that continues to bulldoze the Kashmiri aspirations of self-determination. Bakshi ran the affairs of Kashmir for a decade and carefully took measures to entrench a social base for himself while doing New Delhi’s bidding concerning the talk of self-determination. Under the aegis of the Naya Kashmir (new Kashmir) programme, the Bakshi government undertook a “modernisation” and an “integrationist” programme in Kashmir, which he and his patrons in New Delhi hoped would wean the people in Kashmir off their obsession with “self-determination” and call for a plebiscite. This programme received generous financial assistance from New Delhi, and the results were urbanisation, infrastructural development,

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expansion of the education system and generation of employment in the state. At the same time, however, Bakshi’s tenure was synonymous with the brutal suppression of dissent, political opposition and press (Schofield 93–97). The strategy of modernisation, on the one hand, and repression on the other proved to be a selfdefeating endeavour as the state was preaching one thing and practising another; power, therefore, lit the spark of the resistance that continues to challenge it. The intervention by the Indian state in what were essentially the “internal affairs” of the autonomous state of Kashmir provided the impetus for the emergence of numerous political organisations that rejected the unilateral integrationist efforts taken to incorporate Kashmir into the newly formed India. One such political organisation was the Political Conference (PC), which was established on June 19, 1953, almost two months before Abdullah’s ouster. The PC championed the cause of plebiscite, even though Pakistan supposedly backed it, Gockhami (2011, 114) points out. The PC remained active until 1963 and played an instrumental part in entrenching the concept of “plebiscite” in the public psyche and political vocabulary of the people of Kashmir. The PC emphasised its commitment to the idea of the plebiscite and deliberately made foreign dignitaries an audience of their discourse through Urdu weeklies such as Johaar and an English fortnightly The Free Thinker (Gockhami 116–17). Another political organisation that championed the cause of plebiscite in Kashmir was the All Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front (PF), founded by Mirza Afzal Beg in 1955. The core organising principle of the PF was its avowed commitment to the resolution of the political impasse in Kashmir through a “free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations Organisation” (Gockhami 2011, 64–65). A large number of youth, including the nationalist pioneer Muhammad Maqbool Butt, from a newly formed middle class became the central driving force of the plebiscite movement. Collectively, the PC and PF laid the foundations of the “indigenous organisational strength” necessary for the insurgency to become widespread. While the Bakshi administration attempted to lure the masses through the spectacle of economic progress, both the PC and PF highlighted the repression and the undemocratic character of the government. In fact, PF member Ghulam Mohiuddin Hamdani told a journalist from The Daily Telegraph that the Bakshi government had turned Kashmir into a “vast concentration camp” (Gockhami 2011, 73). The continued incarceration of PC and PF leaders and militaristic persecution of all political activity contributed to the popularity of plebiscite politics, weakened the Delhi-supported government to the extent that it virtually enjoyed no legitimacy and further reinforced the Kashmiri “insurgent consciousness”. According to Faheem (2016), the PF popularised slogans such as Azadi ya maut (freedom or death), thus intrinsically linking the denial of “self-determination” to death. The underground political activities of the PF in the face of state repression managed not only to keep the flame of “self-determination” alive, but also the sentiment thrived rapidly. The repression was so extreme that by 1958 some groups such as The J&K Youth and Students League were already advocating an armed insurrection to change the status quo (Gauhar 1998, 135).

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By 1963, Bakshi had outlived his usefulness to the Indian state, as he was not in favour of further integration of the state with the Union of India. Bakshi’s successor, Khwaja Shamsuddin, was a casualty of the massive protests that rocked Kashmir following the mysterious disappearance and subsequent reappearance of the Moi-i-Muqaddus (the Holy Relic) (Gauhar 1998). The Holy Relic recovery agitation brought renewed energy to the plebiscite demand and brought new actors such as Molvi Farooq to the political arena who had hitherto been a fence sitter. GM Sadiq took over as the head of Kashmir’s government after Shamsuddin, with Delhi’s blessings. Aware of the brewing discontent because of the repression the Bakshi administration had unleashed, and the mass protests during the Holy Relic incident, Sadiq adopted a comparatively liberal governing attitude (Kanjwal 2017, 305–6). The relatively liberal attitude of Sadiq administration meant more freedom for the press in Kashmir, which proved to be a boon for the pro-plebiscite voices as they were able to reach much broader audiences. Kanjwal (2017) argues that Bakshi’s state-building project had failed to have the impact it was designed to have; instead, the support for plebiscite had never been as strong as it was immediately after Bakshi’s departure from power. New political organisations such as the Awami Action Committee led by Molvi Farooq compounded the problems for the client government. The spring of the Kashmiri nationalist insurgency had by the mid1960s already arrived as the people of Kashmir had turned the weakened state of Kashmir’s client administration into a political opportunity and demonstrated an overwhelming appetite for a “political plebiscite” through scores of “daily plebiscites” in the form of widespread protests. The nationalist insurgency from thereon shifted gears and became more open to using violent tactics against the Indian state. Global political events such as the Vietnam War, the Algerian independence movement and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation’s struggle against Israel began to leave a bearing on the minds of young, politically inclined Kashmiris. One such young Kashmiri was Mohammad Maqbool Butt, who has become an icon of Kashmiri nationalist insurgency because of the highly unusual ideas he espoused for his time. His commitment to Kashmiri “self-determination” may have cost him his life, but it continues to inspire Kashmiris to this day, which is evident in the “master status” of Baba-e-Qoum (Father of the Nation) posthumously ascribed to him (The Kashmir Walla 2018). If the dominant mood on the streets of Indian-administered Kashmir (IaK) had already rejected India’s rule/claim over Kashmir, the activities of Butt and his colleagues in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) were arriving at similar conclusions concerning Pakistan’s rule/claim over Kashmir. Quoting one of the close confidantes of Butt, Jeffrey Kile argues that the side-lining of Kashmir calls for “self-determination” at Tashkent decisively changed Butt’s ideology concerning the “liberation” of Kashmir (2008, 67). Kile further argues that influenced by the Algerian revolution and the insurgency literature of Mao and Che Guevara’s “foco theory”, Butt and his aides founded the National Liberation Front (NLF) in 1965 to liberate Kashmir through an armed struggle. Before the third India-Pakistan war in 1971, the NLF made big news by hijacking the Indian aircraft Ganga from Srinagar (IaK). Butt

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claimed responsibility for the hijacking and changed the terms of the discourse surrounding the politics of Kashmir significantly. Kile argues that the hijackers became heroes for the Kashmiri nationalist insurgency not only in PaK but also in the diaspora, thus effectively “liberating” the struggle for “liberation of Kashmir” from national spaces of India and Pakistan into the transnational space of diaspora (72– 74). The happenstance involvement of the diaspora at this critical juncture became even more important given the humiliating defeat Pakistan suffered at the hands of India in the 1971 war, which had a catastrophic impact on plebiscite politics in IaK. Sheikh Abdullah, who had until 1968 proudly carried the baton of “self-determination” in Kashmir, was by 1975 decisively co-opted by Indira Gandhi–led India through the Kashmir Accord. The accord not only disbanded the PF as a political organisation in IaK but also annihilated Sheikh Abdullah’s master status – from Lion of Kashmir he transformed into a sell-out overnight. The idea of plebiscite and self-determination, however, continued to remain the kernel of the nationalist insurgency, thereby dispelling the notion that the insurgency was leader dependent. The nationalist insurgency’s aspiration for self-determination had become popular to the extent that it no longer depended on the endorsement of the so-called tallest leader of Kashmir (Faheem 2016). Such is the irony of history that two empty graves, one at Srinagar’s “Martyr’s graveyard” (Aslam 2008) and another at his native village Trehgam (Rather 2019), await the remains of Maqbool Butt, and the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdullah in the vicinity of the Hazratbal Shrine remains under state protection. The nationalist insurgency clearly has won the battle for the hearts and the minds of the people of Kashmir, reducing India’s exercise of sovereign power over Kashmiri bodies and space to a spectacle of military occupation, which not only specialises in dehumanising the occupied but also simultaneously excels at obfuscating its “occupier” status (Osuri 2017;Visweswaran 2012).While the nationalist insurgency is yet to gain any significant concessions from the Indian state, McAdam may be tempted to declare it a failure. However, as Suh (2001) argues, the parameters of success and failure in social movements are subjectively interpreted; the failure of the gargantuan Indian state to annihilate the Kashmiri insurgency can only be interpreted as a success for the latter and allowed it to become the defining feature of the Kashmiri “social imaginary”.

Conclusion: Tehreek as a “social imaginary” The death of Sheikh Abdullah marked the beginning of dynastic politics in Kashmir, as his son Farooq Abdullah ascended to power after him. The installation of client regimes in Kashmir had by then become a norm, something Farooq had made his peace with. The rigging of elections in 1987 is generally held as the event that triggered the onset of armed and violent insurgency in Kashmir. However, this chapter has demonstrated that the seeds of the nationalist insurgency were sown in the early 1950s, and the phenomenon only moved from strength to strength in subsequent years. The main faces kept changing, and the tactics of the insurgency definitely evolved as the Indian state continued its attempts to bulldoze the

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Kashmiri “insurgent consciousness” into submission through repression in the form of massacres and torture, and the dazzling lights of neoliberal economic progress. The message the Indian state essentially puts out is that siding with the insurgency will land people in notorious torture centres such as Papa II, whereas accepting Indian authority over the life-body of the population guarantees the dividends of the Indian economic carnival. Regardless of such pressures, the nationalist insurgency tethered to the idea of self-determination and plebiscite continued to attract more people and charismatic partisans.The violent apex of the insurgency appeared in the 1990s, the militarised response to which expanded the legitimacy crisis of the regional client administrations and reinforced the organisational capacity of the Kashmiri society through the discourse of Azadi (freedom) and the insurgent consciousness of collective suffering. In fact, Cockell notes, “India lost the minds of the Kashmiris in 1987 with corrupt electoral practices and their hearts in 1990 with the internal deployment of armed forces” (1993, 168).These factors collectively made a commitment to Tehreek the central value of the Kashmiri “social imaginary”, such that an individual’s status in society is now directly linked to their stance vis-à-vis the Tehreek. A vivid example is the attitude in Kashmir towards Sajad Lone, an erstwhile pro-Tehreek figure who has now joined the pro-India bloc of politicians. By taking the current stage of Kashmiri insurgency or Tehreek as the central value of the social imaginary, it becomes clear why it is plausible, as Cockell argues, to think that the insurgency can instrumentalise any means and ideologies for attaining the goal of self-determination (169). The insurgents of the ongoing insurgency, which is deeply ingrained in the Kashmiri social imaginary, are not only ill-trained, armscarrying rebels, but also every member of the society is an insurgent. Insurgent action at this stage is carried out in the form of poetry, graffiti wars (Dharma 2016), foot-dragging, music, satire, heckling and even meme-making.The following quote taken from an article written by the PhD-scholar-turned-armed-insurgent Manan Wani best captures the pulse of the insurgent Kashmiri nation: We are soldiers we don’t fight to die but to win, we don’t feel dignity in death but we do feel dignity in fighting (Indian) occupation, its military might, its oppression, its tyranny, its collaborators and most of all its ego and if/when we die while fighting all this, we do feel dignity in that death. By “we”, I mean every Kashmiri and by “Kashmiri” I mean every citizen of J&K, who is fighting the occupation in one or other way, not just the men with gun. . . . We are all soldiers of resistance. (Wani 2018) This insurgent Kashmiri society no longer needs directions from a leadership group to organise collective action in the form of spontaneous protests and shutdowns to contest the hegemony of the Indian state and its local clients. In fact, the reverse is true; it is the Joint Resistance Leadership who are now continuously on the vigil to be on the same page vis-à-vis Tehreek’s strategy and goals with the insurgent

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population. This is demonstrated almost on a daily basis as the insurgent population replicates scenes of Dunkirk by putting themselves in the way of lethal force to rescue armed insurgents whenever/wherever they get trapped in a firefight against the counterinsurgency grid deployed by the Indian state. In light of this, the massive exhaustion of resources by the Indian state’s counterinsurgency grid on the “winning hearts and minds” (WHAM) doctrine through counter-insurgency (COIN) programmes such as Operation Sadhbhavana (Bhan 2014, 120–55) appears to be a plausible strategy. However, the insurgent consciousness pervasive in Kashmiri society reduces it to nothing more than frivolity and self-indulgence on the part of the Indian state.

Notes 1 “Kashmir” in this chapter refers to the Indian-administered area of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu Kashmir. Since Kashmir province is the most populous, the most politically significant province and the hub of the insurgency in the region, it is justifiable to take Kashmir province as the main focal point of policy and hence the subject of discussion in this work. 2 See James Forest (2007) and Tore Bjørgo (2005). 3 The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is an umbrella organisation composed of different nationalist organisations represented most visibly by the trio of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohammed Yasin Malik and Umer Farooq.

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Introduction In 2015, Bangladesh was facing a crisis, as several rationalist bloggers were murdered by Islamists. The bloggers criticised Islamic extremists and promoted secular values, exercising free speech and advocating for the founding constitutional principles of the country. Ansar al-Islam, previously known as Ansarullah Bangla Team, publicly boasted it was behind some of the murders and claimed to be part of Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. The government appeared powerless to prevent the murders, and the attacks forced other critics of Islam into hiding, demonstrating shortcomings in Bangladeshi governance and limiting secularism in the public sphere. The violence was a symptom of a broader ideological struggle from the long-standing and unresolved debate about Islam and secularism in the nation. Bangladesh is at once both a secular and Islamic nation. Differing interpretations of religion’s role in the country and drawing from opposing historical narratives, religion has consistently been a flashpoint that politicians and religious figures have exploited. Cultures of impunity and violence as well as the broader South Asia context have been compounded by an overwhelmingly Muslim majority, poverty and religious-political activism where both secularism and Islam have been enshrined in the official discourse. As Johan Galtung described, when “violent structure” is “institutionalized and the violent culture internalized”, then “direct violence also tends to become institutionalized, repetitive, ritualistic, like a vendetta” (Galtung 1990, 302). Indeed, this is the case in Bangladesh where violence is influenced by cultural issues, including religion and politics, and has been repeated and institutionalised. Established explicitly as a secular nation in its founding documents, the country’s current constitution declares it is based on the principles of “secularism” while also declaring the “state religion of the republic is Islam” (Constitution of Bangladesh 2019). This paradox is an ongoing debate in Bangladeshi society, which combined with other local and broader factors manifest in violence.

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This chapter explores secularism and religious extremism in Bangladesh by examining violence against rationalist bloggers who have criticised Islam and promoted secularism. It argues that while the number of attacks is relatively small, violence against secular bloggers represents a long-term public debate about the role of Islam and secularism in Bangladesh and is shaped by other factors such as weak governance, hostile relations between opposing political parties and the legacy of authoritarian rule. The chapter first explains the role of religion in Bangladesh, including during independence and the War of Liberation, and describes how religion has been a rallying issue for politicians despite Bangladesh’s origins under a secular government and constitution. Next, it offers an historical analysis of Islamist militancy by reviewing scholarly works. Then, it focuses on how violent extremists have targeted politicians and secular activists, as the government remained largely powerless to prevent the attacks. The group of bloggers is small and not representative of wider society, but the polarising political climate with a culture of violence, a culture of impunity and government weaknesses have shaped the violence against these easy targets. The chapter concludes with a discussion about how the tension between a claimed secular and religious state is compounded by a multitude of problems ranging from poverty to the unavailability of education.

Political history Bangladesh is presently one of the most densely populated countries, and its citizens are overwhelmingly Muslim. With a population of more than 150 million, the 2011 census recorded 89.7 per cent were Muslim, 9.2 per cent were Hindu, 0.7 per cent were Buddhist and 0.3 per cent were Christians (Guhathakurta 2016, 316). While these factors have a significant role in shaping Bangladeshi politics and society, the country’s unique history and geography have also laid the roots for some of the unresolved issues. Bangladesh is the majority of the Bengal region in South Asia; the Bengal region was divided in 1946, with West Bengal included in independent India and East Bengal becoming East Pakistan and later the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971 following the War of Liberation. Bangladesh underwent significant transformations with governments, populations, religions and economy during the twentieth century. Willem van Schendel argues that three significant “shocks” of the century were the 1943 famine, the 1947 partition and the 1971 war (Van Schendel 2009, 269).The British colonial era of exploitation and racial order was built on earlier forms of imperialism, such as the Mughal Empire, that brought Islam to the Bengal Delta.Van Schendel explains the 1943 famine that resulted in about three and half million deaths was caused by the colonial administration preparing to leave and destroying tens of thousands of boats that the peasants needed to procure their food and an economy fearing a Japanese invasion. The next major shock was the trauma of the 1947 partition and independence when East Bengal became part of Pakistan. The new state was “founded upon religious nationalism” (Van Schendel 2009, 107) but failed to inherit the central state governing institutions and was actually two linguistically

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and culturally diverse territories. The last shock was the 1971 War of Liberation when East Pakistan became independent Bangladesh after decades of discrimination and neglect from West Pakistan. In the years following the 1971 war, Bangladesh faced great social, political and economic difficulties. A mostly rural population with little industrialisation, Bangladesh had about 20 million internally displaced people and a politically divided population living in a heavily damaged country. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (known as Mujib), leader of the Bangladesh Awami League, was a significant Bengali political figure who campaigned for decades in favour of Bengali autonomy and then independence. Following his release from prison by Pakistan, he became Bangladesh’s first president advocating for secularism and socialism, but economic problems continued.Van Schendel argues that during this era national identity was regional wherein the people “were Bengalis first and Muslims next”, and the new society sought to be ordered on democracy, socialism and secularism, with Islam a significant part of the culture and “a matter of personal faith” (2009, 183). Amena Mohsin explains that “religion had been used as the main tool of domination of the Bengalis by the Pakistani regime” and “the rhetoric of religion” was used by Pakistan to carry out “genocide” so secularism was “a logical outcome of the spirit of the liberation war in Bangladesh” (2013, 335). The first constitution was based on the four principles of democracy, secularism, nationalism and socialism (Riaz 2008, 10). Specifically after independence, secularism was “understood” as the “separation of religion and politics” (Sikand 2013, 338). During the country’s first general election, held in March 1973, Mujib remained popular, but as van Schendel notes, “Islamic right-wing parties were banned” which meant “all opposition parties stood to the left of the Awami League” (2009, 179). Discontent spilled over with protests as there was little space for political dissent and by 1974 “starvation, begging and distress migration were on the rise”, which led to Mujib declaring a state of emergency that concentrated even more power with the president (Van Schendel 2009, 180). The coup of 1975 set Bangladesh down a new path that stressed the importance of Islam. In August 1975, Mujib and dozens of his family members were killed by junior officers in the Bangladeshi army, and the state was governed by the military. The country’s new leader, Major-General Ziaur Rahman (known as Zia), returned nationalised businesses to private owners, promoted capitalism, encouraged private investment and restructured the economy (Ali 2009, 408). When Zia was assassinated in 1981, he was followed by General Hussain Muhammad Ershad, who led the country from 1982 until 1990. Ziauddin M. Choudhury explains that Zia was responsible for moving Bangladesh “into a more rightist, Islam-leaning country” and “he began indiscriminate recruitment of political elements, from hard core leftists to religious rights, including people who had opposed the creation of Bangladesh” (2009, 12). In 1977, the constitutional principles were amended so “secularism” was replaced with “absolute trust and faith in the Almighty Allah” as well as additional references to Allah were added (Riaz 2008, 12). Religion became ubiquitous as the governing “elite emphasized the Islamic way of life in order to retain

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its position” while Islam was “constantly being nurtured and strengthened among Bangladeshis through the family, mosques, religious and other educational institutions, spiritual leaders, shrines, religious meetings, congregations and groups, Islamic festivals, the mass media, Islam-oriented literature and political parties” (Huque and Akhter 1987, 225). Ali Riaz argues Islam and secularism have had differing meanings for supporters and false narratives have been used to, for example, present Islamisation from the top-down, but the reality is Bangladesh’s “complex historical and contemporaneous developments require a far more nuanced understanding than treating them as simple opposites, and relying on a facile description of the situation” (2018, 315). The 1990s marked a new era in Bangladesh with the return of democracy. After more than a decade of military government, pressure from civil society activists succeeded following a massive protest against Ershad, and in 1991 the country held a general election. The three main parties were the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by Ziaur Rahman in 1978 and led by his widow Khaleda Zia; the Awami League led by Mujib’s daughter Sheikh Hasina; and the unpopular Jatiya Party led by Ershad. Zia and the BNP were the election victors, defeating the Awami League 31 to 28 per cent, establishing the two parties’ dominance in politics until the present day (Siddiqi 2011, 13). In the 1996 general election, the Awami League won with 38 to 34 per cent over the BNP, and the BNP defeated the Awami League in 2001 with 41 over 40 per cent (Siddiqi 2011, 13). Riaz argues that the Awami League made political inroads by moving to the right using “Islamic jargon and religious verbiage”, and the domination of the two parties “demonstrated that ideological cohesion among the rightist and Islamist political parties was strong, and that the center-right coalition was far better organized than their secular counterparts” (2008, 20). The BNP and Awami League’s ideology and success at different times reflected the polarised divisions. Dina Mahnaz Siddiqi explains the BNP “embraced an explicitly Muslim, Bangladeshi identity”, and the two parties’ rivalry deepened in the 1990s and became “firmly entrenched in the social fabric of everyday life” (2011, 8, 13), whereas the most electorally significant Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, played a key role in shaping Bangladeshi politics. Having collaborated with the Pakistani army in 1971, the Jamaat-e-Islami supported the BNP but also sided with the Awami League at different moments for political expediency. Simultaneously, the state was politicised and corrupted by the parties, with checks, balances and oversight proving ineffective. Siddiqi argues “Bangladeshis now live in an environment in which politics has been criminalized while crime itself has been politicized” (17). The Awami League is officially secular and socialist, but it has avoided drastically altering the government based on those platforms. Hasina has been the prime minister since 2009, winning in the 2014 general election when the major parties boycotted, and in the controversial 2018 general election. In 2005, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court declared the constitution’s Fifth Amendment of 1979 that removed secularism was illegal, and the court’s ruling was upheld in 2010 by the appellate court (Bhuiyan 2017, 211–12). In 2011, parliament amended the

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constitution, restoring secularism, among other changes (Liton and Hasan 2011). Yet, significantly, the Awami League left the preamble that references Allah and retained the section that declared Islam was the country’s state religion (Liton 2011). Hasina explained the lines would stay because “they reflect the beliefs of the people” (Tusher 2010). Meanwhile, she pledged to address violent religious extremism and declared the country is a “secular democracy” and resisted further efforts to punish “blasphemy” with the death penalty (Gladstone 2011 and Ethirajan 2013).

Islamists and militancy Political violence in Bangladesh increased in the new millennium, with extremists taking advantage of social, political, cultural and international circumstances. Violence not only has a chilling effect, silencing potential opponents, but it also undermines the government and rule of law. Data from the University of Maryland’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism has tracked nearly 1,700 terrorist incidents in Bangladesh, with a noticeable uptick of activity after 2013 (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism 2018). Having been a member of the BNP’s ruling coalition from 2001 to 2006, Jamaat-e-Islami is the most prominent Islamist party, but there are many other groups with varying levels of extremism and involvement in violence. Zayadul Ahsan and Pavitra Banavar describe how during this era, “the BNP not only overlooked the alarming rise of militancy but also assisted it fearing it might lose the votes of the Islamic minded people” (2011, 83).Yet, as Md. Shamsul Islam points out, Islamist militants are not the only source of political violence as leftist militants and even the government, such as the police’s elite Rapid Action Battalion, were linked to extrajudicial killings and torture (2011, 39). Indeed, the broader issue of political violence “is inherently connected to the political culture of the country” (Islam 2011, 42). Islamist politics have also shaped society and culture in Bangladesh. Riaz explains that Islamists have made changes to all three levels of private and public education in Bangladesh, shifting strategies and appealing to “affluent sections of the society through new models of primary level educational institutions” (2011, 132). Similarly, Riaz and Muhammad Abu Naser highlight Islamist impact on popular culture with attention to mobilisation efforts that have employed new forms of cultural expressions and demonstrate the Islamists’ “flexibility and adaptability” (Riaz and Naser 2011, 149). Furthermore, Sreeradha Datta argues “Islamic militancy in Bangladesh has been largely home-grown; has emanated from, and thrives on, domestic issues and agendas” ranging from domestic economic marginalisation and Islamic values (2007, 169). The proliferation of Islamist militancy in Bangladesh has been due to a convergence of several local circumstances. Riaz argues that Islamist militancy in Bangladesh emerged from decades of “a conservative Islamization process” with a hegemonic crisis in the ruling classes, legitimacy crises in the military governments, secular political parties’ seeking political expediency and an “ineffective resistance

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of civil society” (2008, 29). He finds that Islamist militancy is firmly connected to the socio-political environment, the criminalisation of politics, the state’s absence in key areas, sympathy from the civil administration and Islamist goals in popular culture (Riaz 2008, 44). Specifically, the culture of impunity seemingly provided “a free reign” to the ruling party’s “supporters to deal with the opposition” while the state administration was used “to intimidate the citizens,” which “institutionaliz[ed] violence” (48). These factors converged, and the shared interests between mainstream and militant Islamists helped create a culture of violence. Shahab Enam Khan argues that the absence “of a formalized governmental framework to counter terrorism and extremism has often led to disjointed, inconsistent or counter-productive measures” and the “polarized political situation in Bangladesh and politicization of state institutions” has allowed “extremist groups to thrive” (2017, 212). At the turn of the century, two significant events marked a change in the government’s approach to terrorism. Zayadul Ahsan and Pavitra Banavar describe how the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States marked a shift in the Bangladeshi government as it sought to align more closely with the United States (2011, 85). The government “proscribed its militant groups in 2005” and prosecuted terrorists to demonstrate its commitment to democracy and counterterrorist efforts to the international community (86). This was prompted by the August 2005 terrorist attacks when 450 bombs were detonated in a coordinated plot throughout the country (Riaz 2008, 95). Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh was behind the attacks and issued a pamphlet that, in part, “urge[d] the government of Bangladesh” to “introduce the rule of Allah in this country” (Riaz 2008, 119, 131). The government reacted by banning Islamist groups and prosecuting militants. However, terrorist attacks and assassinations targeting political opponents, government officials and judges continued (Riaz 2008, 94). Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism units and intelligence agencies have been widely criticised for being reactive as well as politicised and corrupted (97). Notably, the main elite police force, the Rapid Action Battalion, established in 2004, has been accused of extrajudicial murders and abuse. Amena Mohsin explains that Bangladesh’s “single person rule” and the government’s “use of intelligence to mull its political opponents has taken the professionalism out of these institutions” (2016, 357).

Rationalist attacks In February 2015, an American visiting Bangladesh was brutally murdered on the streets of Dhaka, which brought international attention to the politics of Bangladeshi national identity and put pressure on the Bangladeshi government (Shaffer 2015, 32–34). Avijit Roy, an American originally from Bangladesh, and his wife, Rafida Ahmed Bonya, were attacked by machete-wielding assailants after leaving a book fair, and Roy later died at a hospital. Roy was an author who founded the Mukto-Mona (Free Mind) blog in 2001 as a Bengali-language platform for humanists, atheists, rationalists and sceptics “to promote science, rationalism, secularism, freethinking, human rights, religious tolerance, and harmony amongst all

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people in the globe” (Mukto-Mona 2018). Roy, son of noted Bangladeshi scientist Ajoy Roy, publicly criticised religion, and his most well-known Bengali book, Biswasher Virus, compared religion to a virus (Tran and Banerjee 2015). The attack followed threats from Farabi Shafiur Rahman, a figure connected to Jamaat-e-Islami, who said Roy would suffer the same fate as Ahmed Rajib Haider, a Bangladeshi atheist blogger who was killed in 2013. The brutal manner in which Roy was murdered and that he was an American drew international media attention along with help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Khan 2015a). Outlets from around the world reported on the crime, and some stories linked it to other issues of religious-fuelled violence and limited rights for religious minorities and atheists in other countries (Sanchez 2015). The domestic context of the violence reveals the tightrope the Awami League walked on to appease the party’s religious supporters as well as efforts to punish their political opponents. Scholar Habibul Haque Khondker links the violence against Roy and others to an “ideological shift” during 2013 in which a crowd of about 500,000 gathered in Dhaka and Hefazat-e-Islam presented a list of 13 demands, including that the government “reinstat[e] several Islamic principles in the constitution” (2016, 28). The Islamists were there to “protest the alleged persecution of Islamists and to protest the so-called anti-Islamic blogs posted by the socalled ‘atheist’ bloggers” who were participating in the Shahbag Movement similar to the “Occupy Movement” (28). Shahbag Movement supporters, including active bloggers and social media users, favoured harsher punishment, including death, for “war criminals” from the War of Liberation (28). Khondker explains, Islamists saw the bloggers as “engaged in anti-Islamic propaganda” and were broadly labelled “atheists” (29). The Shahbag Movement reflects Bangladesh’s robust civil society and long history of activists who have successfully demanded change. Since the birth of the country, activists have engaged in a variety of initiatives that have sought to pressure the government in power. Notably, widows of intellectuals who were killed during the 1971 war “were the only group which protested the repatriation of Pakistani Prisoners of War” without guarantees that they would be held accountable for massacres (Guhathakurta 2004, 134). In the decades since, Bangladesh has seen a proliferation of civil society groups and movements that have lobbied for justice, equality and democracy. The Shahbag Movement is one of the largest protests in recent Bangladeshi history and is significant because the movement’s demands for executing 1971 war criminals provoked government action and Islamist reaction. Following the movement’s origins in Dhaka during February 2013 and its popularity across the country, the government quickly responded by passing laws that “not only allow petitioners to challenge a sentence if it appears to be less than what is due”, but “also make way for swift execution of death sentences and enables the prosecution of any and all organizations’ involvement in the 1971 war crimes” (Diya 2013). While the government was investigating war crimes, which included members of Islamist parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami, it was also investigating bloggers

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for violating existing laws against offending Islam. The Awami League government launched the International Crimes Tribunal in 2010 which continues until present, resulting in dozens of convictions, including the death sentence and execution of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdul Quader Mollah (Shaon 2018), while individuals criticising religion were also a target for the government. Notably, in April 2013, four bloggers – Asif Mohiuddin, Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Moshiur Rahman Biplob and Rasel Parvez – were arrested and “charged with using information technology for whipping up religious emotions and hurting religious sentiments” (bdnews24. com 2013). The number of atheists in the overwhelmingly Muslim-majority nation is small, and efforts to promote rationalist thought and secular government are accomplished by individuals who can devote their time and energy and are willing to accept the risk. After Roy’s murder, The Daily Star illustrated the threat for the activists and culture of impunity: “In the last 16 years, deadly attacks aiming to kill were carried out on at least five such men, including the likes of prominent intellectuals Shamsur Rahman and Humayun Azad, and none of those incidents ended up with justice being served to the victims” (The Daily Star 2015). Nonetheless, there have been notable examples of atheists who have been outspoken and other cases where lesser-known individuals have worked to further the rationalist movement in smaller ways. One of the most high-profile rationalists who endured significant threats to her life was medical doctor Taslima Nasrin, whose novel Lajja was banned by the Bangladeshi government in 1993, and she fled the country in response to a fatwa over her criticisms of Islam. Nasrin made India her home because of the cultural similarities but was then forced to leave the country by Indian officials for eventually the United States (Nasrin 2016, xii, 97, 317). Others seeking to promote secularism in Bengali translate well-known texts for distribution in Bangladesh. For example, Kazi Hassan translated and published an unauthorised version of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, for which Dawkins declared he would not seek royalties or payment but would promote it globally (Hassan 2015). Following the arrest of secular bloggers, the murders began shifting the social narrative and further endangered free speech and secularism. The earliest blogger murdered in the recent crisis was Ahmed Rajib Haider in February 2013 when two assailants hacked him to death with machetes in front of his residence. The choice of weapons is due to availability, which unlike countries such as the United States where people can readily purchase guns, access to arms in Bangladesh is through more difficult black and grey channels (Riaz and Bastian 2011, 155). Haider was not only an atheist but also Jamaat-Shibir, an Islamist party, publicly reported that he supported the Shahbagh Movement and called for war criminals to receive the death penalty.The month before, blogger Asif Mohiuddin was stabbed but survived; this attack received little media attention before he was arrested by the government in April 2013 for using the Internet to criticise Islam and Muhammed. By 2014, threats against people advocating secularism and atheism reached a new level. In March, Bangladesh’s first online bookstore,, stopped selling books by Avijit Roy in response to a direct threat posted on Facebook that included

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the business’s address. In November, threats were put into action when assailants killed Shafiul Islam, a professor at Rajshahi University, with machetes outside his home. After the murder, a posting on Facebook by a group called Ansar al-Islam Bangladesh 2 claimed responsibility: “Our Mujahideens have killed an ‘atheist’ of Rajshahi University who had banned wearing burqa in his department” (Dhaka Tribune 2014). Warning that other “anti-Islam” people would be next, the account also posted an image of Shafiul Islam, Rajib Haider and Ashraful Alam crossed out with the word “finished” and a photo of blogger Asif Mohiuddin. The murder provoked an outpouring of support from Islam’s colleagues, calling for police to arrest the perpetrators.Within days, nearly a dozen people were arrested, including Humayun Ahmed, principal of the Jamaat-e-Islami–linked Islamia Degree College. The case continued to be a mystery and by 2015, prosecutors alleged Islam was killed “over a rivalry with a female officer of the accounts department”, but the accused and other staff denied even knowing Islam, stating “the law enforcers were trying to protect the real killers” (Khan 2015b). In 2015, there was a series of murders that targeted critics of Islam. In February, Avijit Roy’s murder was the first of the year and brought international attention to the persecution of atheists in the country. One month later, in March, Oyasiqur Rahman was killed outside his home by two madrasa students who were captured and said they killed him for his criticism of Islam (Khan 2015c). Rahman was an avid Facebook poster and blogger critical of religious fundamentalism and had recently protested Roy’s murder by writing “#IamAvijit” and “WordsCannotBeKilled” on Facebook. In May, Ananta Bijoy Das, another secular blogger, became the third person in three months to be targeted and killed. Das was an active blogger on Roy’s Mukto-Mona website, and a twitter account of “Ansar Bangla 8” claimed Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent was behind his murder and threatened that further “atheist bloggers” would be killed. The sequence of homicides and alleged connection of terrorism prompted the US State Department and human rights groups to issue statements condemning the murders and urging the Bangladeshi government to solve the crimes and protect targeted people. The murders continued in the summer with blogger Niloy Neel, whose real name was Niladri Chatterjee, being hacked to death by four men outside his home. A Facebook user and writer on the Istishon blog, Neel was critical of extremism, demanded justice for the murdered bloggers and was a member of the Bangladesh Rationalists’ Society. An email purportedly from Ansar al-Islam, which claimed affiliation with Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, stated that it was behind the murder, but the police investigation led only to the arrest of eight suspects and no progress towards prosecution. A letter sent to the media included a list of 19 names of people threatened with death, including Nur Nobi Dulal, who founded the blog, for being “satanic bloggers”, “enemies of Islam and madrasa education” and “atheists” ( 2015). In October, Faisal Arefin Dipan, who established and operated Jagriti Prokashony, a publishing house, was hacked to death in his Dhaka office. Dipan had published a wide variety of Bengali professional and popular audience books, including

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some about secularism and atheism by Avijit Roy. The same day Dipan was murdered, Ahmedur Rashid Tutul of Shudhdhoswar, as well as two writers present, were attacked for publishing books on secularism, atheism and rationalism, but survived. In response, protests were held, with people criticising the government’s failure to arrest and prosecute the murderers.Tutul explained how the events were a defining moment for Bangladeshi publishers: In the Boi Mela [Ekushey Book Fair] in which Avijit was murdered, a publishing house had been banned. We strongly protested that at the time. But after Dipan’s murder, in the Book Fair of 2016, yet another publishing house was banned. Its publisher was arrested; he still hasn’t been able to return to work. One does not need to imagine how much self-censorship is being exercised by those who had similar works in the line – one can simply look at the list of published books. It is unclear when these publishers will be able to work freely again. ( The Daily Star 2017) Emboldened by the successful attacks and law enforcement’s lack of progress, in 2016 Islamist extremists turned their attention to other minority groups beyond atheists and rationalists. The banned neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh was linked to several 2016 murders of foreigners and religious minorities, including Hindu priest Jogeshwar Roy, Hindu tailor Nikhil Joarder and Buddhist monk Maung Shue U. The murder of Xulhaz Mannan, a human rights activist, founder of Bangladesh’s only homosexual-themed magazine and employee of the United States’ diplomatic mission, generated international attention about the ongoing deaths. Ansar al-Islam claimed credit for killing Mannan and his friend for “practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” ( 2016). The most spectacular and well-planned plot was the coordinated July 2016 attack at the Holey Artisan Bakery in a wealthy area of Dhaka where five trained militants killed 22 individuals who were mostly foreigners. The militants were killed during a government raid, but the investigation revealed 21 other people were involved in plotting the attack. The following month, “mastermind” Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-Canadian and head of the neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, and two other militants were killed in a gunfight with authorities. Arrests of other militants and associates followed months later as the level of violence against secularists and religious minorities dropped. The government and law enforcement were under domestic and international pressure to solve the murders. The New York Times reported that from February 2013 to June 2016 a minimum of 39 people were murdered and cited Monirul Islam of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit, explaining the murders “were organized by two militant Islamic groups that have gathered volunteers and recruits, trained them and eventually seeded them into cells run by a commander” (Anand and Manik 2016). He said the neo-Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team (also known as Ansar al-Islam) were behind many of the attacks and murders. In 2015, two

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members of Ansarullah Bangla Team were sentenced to death for killing Haider, and five others were given prison terms. Redwanul Azad Rana, the group’s leader, was the “mastermind” of the plots, being arrested and convicted despite fleeing the country. Rana also reportedly “master-minded” the attacks on Avijit Roy, Asif Mohiuddin and planned violence against two teachers. Following the conviction for Haider’s murder, the Dhaka Tribune stated in January 2016: “a total of 183 cases relating to militancy have been deposed of with sentencing deaths to 69 militants, life terms to 162 and different jail terms to 239 others while 364 more cases are now under trial” (Dhaka Tribune 2016). Since then, investigations and counter-terrorism efforts continued, with further arrests and suspects dying in gunfights with law enforcement, but others, such as former military officer Syed Mohammad Ziaul Haque, who is accused of being behind Roy’s murder, have yet to be located. As this recent history demonstrates, violence against secularists in Bangladesh follows current domestic and global trends. Radicals are empowered by the domestic political climate wherein government leaders associated with secularism also pay deference or adopt religious concepts and symbolism. Meanwhile, weak governance and poverty in a society that repeatedly experienced violence fueled by religious and political elements has helped enable violent attacks against secular bloggers; global trends of brutal religious violence and radical ideas, on the other hand, more readily circulate across borders as a result of technology, which radicalises socially and politically marginalised populations of society. The convergence of these issues along with well-organised groups whose leaders escape arrest only perpetuates cultures of violence and impunity.

Conclusion Cultures of impunity and violence have pervaded Bangladesh and played a significant role in shaping the violence surrounding the unresolved secular-Islamic debate about national identity. More than ideology and religiosity, the cycle of violence is compounded by political polarisation, weak governance and economic issues. The terrorists’ targeting of self-described rationalists, free thinkers and atheists is a violent expression of unresolved national identity. Additionally, the Islamists’ success in targeting and killing a small and rather unpopular group of bloggers demonstrates that the Awami League, the main self-described secular party, has been largely powerless in preventing the attacks.Yet, the subsequent prosecutions also show the government’s limited ability to respond to specific violence and groups, but more cynically the government has prosecuted and neutralised opponents while outspoken atheists have been largely silenced because of safety concerns. The Awami League and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have dominated Bangladeshi government since 2009 but ultimately have failed to resolve the secularismreligion polarisation. As Bangladesh struggles with political, social and economic issues, several notable secularists have fled the country, stopped blogging and avoided advocating for secular principles. Ajay Roy, father of Avijit Roy and noted physicist, remarked three years after his son’s death: “The only thing that matters

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is the progress of the investigation. Cases like these can boost the government’s image. Our judicial system is supposed to run according to the law. When this actually happens, morals and integrity are established.When criminals run free, it is bad for the society” (Rabbi 2018b). The people of Bangladesh have many different challenges that would be difficult for economically prosperous and fully literate societies. Yet, the lack of education and wealth are not the sole contributors to Islamist attacks against secularists, but scholars have noted personal grievances and issues can “trigger” a person towards violent extremism (Riaz and Parvez 2018, 957). What the people of Bangladesh will do to curtail the murder of people who advocate for atheism, rationalism and secularism is not clear. Massive rallies, petitions and media attention have proved largely ineffective in the face of forceful Islamist reaction. The current trajectory for atheists, rationalists and secularists in Bangladesh looks bleak.

Works cited Ahsan, Zayadul, and Pavitra Banavar. 2011. “Who Are the Militants?” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 71–90. New York: Routledge. Ali, Shaikh Maqsood. 2009. From East Bengal to Bangladesh: Dynamics and Perspectives. Dhaka: The University Press Limited. Anand, Geeta, and Julfikar Ali Manik. 2016. “Bangladesh Says It Now Knows Who’s Killing the Bloggers.” New York Times, June 8, 2016. bangladesh-killings-bloggers.html. Arman, Tanbir Uddin. 2018. “PM Hasina: Those Who Were behind My Arrest Will Be Held Accountable.” Dhaka Tribune, March 27, 2018. politics/2018/03/27/pm-hasina-behind-arrest-will-held-accountable. Associated Press. 2015. “Secular Publisher Hacked to Death in Latest Bangladesh Attacks.” The Guardian, October 31, 2015. faisal-abedin-deepan-bangladesh-secular-publisher-hacked-to-death. Bandarban, S. Bashu Das. 2016. “Buddhist Monk Murder: Police Eyeing 3 Possible Causes.” Dhaka Tribune, May 16, 2016. police-eyeing-3-possible-causes-buddhist-monk-murder. “Bangladesh.” 2018. National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. (accessed 24 August 2019). ime&casualties_type=&casualties_max=&country=19&count=100. 2013. “4 Bloggers Charged 2 Weeks after Detention.” April 17, 2013. https:// ———. 2015. “19 Bloggers, Ministers, Teachers, Ganajagaran Mancha Organisers Threatened with Death.” August 12, 2015. ———. 2016. “AQIS Claims It Killed Bangladesh LGBT Activist Xulhaz Mannan and His Friend, Says SITE.” April 26, 2016. aqis-claims-it-killed-bangladesh-lgbt-activist-xulhaz-mannan-and-his-friend-says-site. Bhuiyan, Jahid Hossain. 2017. “Secularism in the Constitution of Bangladesh.” The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 49 (2): 204–27. Choudhury, Ziauddin M. 2009. Assassination of Ziaur Rahman and the Aftermath. Dhaka: The University Press Limited.

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Constitution of Bangladesh. 2019. “The State Religion.” Article 2A, Part I. (accessed 24 August 2019).§ions_ id=24549. Datta, Sreeradha. 2007. “Islamic Militancy in Bangladesh: The Threat from Within.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 30 (1): 145–70. Dhaka Tribune. 2014. “Shafiul Murder: Militants Claim Responsibility on Facebook.” November 16, 2014. ———. 2016.“69 Militants Get Deaths, 163 Life Terms, 244 Jails.” January 1, 2016. www.dhaka Diya, Sabhanaz Rashid. 2013. “Why Shahbag Matters.”, February 23, 2013. Ethirajan, Anbarasan. 2013. “Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Rejects Blasphemy Law.” BBC, April 8, 2013. Galtung, Johan. 1990. “Cultural Violence.” Journal of Peace Research 27 (3): 291–305. Gladstone, Rick. 2011. “Grandmotherly Bangladesh Leader Unfazed by Problems at Home.” New York Times, September 23, 2011. Guhathakurta, Meghna. 2004. “Women in Peace-Building.” In Women, Bangladesh and International Security: Methods, Discourses and Politics, edited by Imtiaz Ahmed, 131–39. Dhaka: The University Press Limited. ———. 2016. “Religious Minorities.” In Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and Mohammad Sajjadur Rahman, 316–24. New York: Routledge. Hasan, Kamrul. 2015. “Another Blogger Murdered in Dhaka.” Dhaka Tribune, August 7, 2015. ed-in-dhaka. Hassan, Kazi. 2015. “The God Delusion (Bengali Translation).” Richard Dawkins Foundation, July 27, 2015. Huque, Ahmed Shafiqul, and Muhammad Yeahia Akhter. 1987. “The Ubiquity of Islam: Religion and Society in Bangladesh.” Pacific Affairs 60 (2): 200–25. Islam, Md. Shamsul. 2011. “Political Violence in Bangladesh.” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 27–45. New York: Routledge. Khan, Mohammad Jamil. 2015a. “FBI to Join Search for Avijit Killers.” Dhaka Tribune, February 28, 2015. ———. 2015b. “RU Teacher Murder Mystery Solved, Claim Police.” Dhaka Tribune, May 11, 2015. der-mystery-solved-claim-police. ———. 2015c.“Oyasiqur Killed for Anti-Islam Writings.” Dhaka Tribune, March 30, 2015. www. Khan, Shahab Enam. 2017. “Bangladesh:The Changing Dynamics of Violent Extremism and the Response of the State.” Small Wars & Insurgencies 28 (1): 191–217. Khondker, Habibul Haque. 2016. “Nationalism and the ‘Politics of National Identity’.” In Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and Mohammad Sajjadur Rahman, 28–39. New York: Routledge. Labu, Nuruzzaman. 2017. “Maj Zia Ordered Killing of Blogger Avijit at Ekushey Book Fair.” Dhaka Tribune, November 21, 2017. crime/2017/11/21/maj-zia-ordered-killing. Liton, Shakhawat. 2011. “Father of the Nation, Display of His Portrait to Return.” The Daily Star, February 16, 2011.

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Liton, Shakhawat, and Rashidul Hasan. 2011. “Caretaker System Abolished.” The Daily Star, July 1, 2011. McKirdy, Euan, and Sugam Pokharel. 2016. “Bangladesh Court Hands Down Death Sentences for Blogger Killing.” CNN, January 1, 2016. bangladesh-death-sentences-blogger-murder/index.html. Mohsin, Amena. 2013. “Secularism as Religious Tolerance.” In The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics, edited by Meghna Guhathakurta and Willem van Schendel, 334–35. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ———. 2016. “The Challenges of Intelligence Oversight: Bangladesh and Pakistan in Comparative Perspective.” In Intelligence, National Security, and Foreign Policy: A South Asian Narrative, edited by A.S.M. Ali Ashraf, 347–60. Dhaka: Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs/Department of International Relations, University of Dhaka. Mukto-Mona. 2018. “About Mukto-Mona.” (accessed 24 July 2019). Nasrin, Taslima. 2016. Exile: A Memoir. Translated by Maharghya Chakraborty. Gurgaon: Random House India. Niloy, Suliman. 2016. “How JMB Evolved to ‘Neo JMB’.”, August 17, 2016. Rabbi, Arifur Rahman. 2017. “Blogger Rajib Murder Mastermind Arrested.” Dhaka Tribune, February 20, 2017. blogger-rajib-murder-fugitive-arrested. ———. 2018a.“Two Years of Holey Artisan Attack:The Militants and Their Roles in the Attack.” Dhaka Tribune, July 1, 2018. two-years-of-holey-artisan-attack-the-militants-and-their-roles-in-the-attack. ———. 2018b. “Ajay Roy: I Have No Choice but to Wait for Justice.” Dhaka Tribune, February 25, 2018. ajay-roy-no-choice-wait-for-justice. Riaz, Ali. 2008. Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: A Complex Web. New York: Routledge. ———. 2011. “Islamist Politics and Education.” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 115–35. New York: Routledge. ———. 2018. “More than Meets the Eye: The Narratives of Secularism and Islam in Bangladesh.” Asian Affairs 49 (2): 301–18. Riaz, Ali, and Jessica Bastian. 2011. “Islamist Militancy in Bangladesh: Regional and ExtraRegional Dimensions.” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 153–67. New York: Routledge. Riaz, Ali, and Muhammad Abu Naser. 2011. “Islamist Politics and Popular Culture.” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 136–52. New York: Routledge. Riaz, Ali, and Saimum Parvez. 2018. “Bangladeshi Militants: What Do We Know?” Terrorism and Political Violence 30 (6): 944–61. Roy, Avijit. 2015. “The Virus of Faith.” Free Inquiry 35 (2): 59–62. Sanchez, Ray. 2015. “Prominent Bangladeshi-American Blogger Avijit Roy Killed.” CNN, February 27, 2015. Shaffer, Ryan. 2015. “Bangladesh: A Backgrounder.” Free Inquiry 35 (5): 32–34. Shaon, Ashif Islam. 2017. “Full Text of Blogger Rajib Murder Verdict Released.” Dhaka Tribune, May 28, 2017. ———. 2018. “Eight Years of War Crimes Trials.” Dhaka Tribune, August 18, 2018. www.dha

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Siddiqi, Dina Mahnaz. 2011. “Political Culture in Contemporary Bangladesh: Histories, Ruptures and Contradictions.” In Political Islam and Governance in Bangladesh, edited by Ali Riaz and C. Christine Fair, 7–26. New York: Routledge. Sikand, Yoginder S. 2013. “The Tablighi Jama’at.” In The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics, edited by Meghna Guhathakurta and Willem van Schendel, 336–44. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. The Daily Star, 2015. “Free Thinkers Targeted Repeatedly.” May 1, 2015. www.thedailystar. net/top-news/free-thinkers-targeted-repeatedly-74621. The Daily Star. 2017. “In Conversation with Ahmedur Rashid Chowdhury Tutul.” November 24, 2017. Tipu, Md Sanaul Islam. 2017. “No Progress in Niloy Murder Investigation in 2 Years.” Dhaka Tribune, August 7, 2017. no-progress-made-two-years-blogger-niloys-murder/. Tipu, Md Sanaul Islam, and Kamrul Hasan, 2017. “Arrested Ansar al-Islam Militant Confesses to Killing Blogger Avijit Roy.” Dhaka Tribune, November 19, 2017. www.dhakatrib Tipu, Md Sanaul Islam, and Arifur Rahman Rabbi. 2018. “Three Years of Avijit Murder: Police Still Clueless about Main Perp Zia’s Whereabouts.” Dhaka Tribune, February 26, 2018. Tran, Mark, and Subhajit Banerjee. 2015. “Avijit Roy, the Blogger Who Wouldn’t Back Down in the Face of Threats.” The Guardian, February 27, 2015. 2015/feb/27/avijit-roy-islamist-threats-before-death-dhaka-machetes-shafiur-rahman-farabi. Tusher, Hasan Jahid. 2010. “ ‘Bismillah’ and Islam as State Religion to Stay.” The Daily Star, January 6, 2010. US Embassy in Bangladesh. 2016. “Statement by Ambassador Bernicat on the Killing of Xulhaz Mannan.” April 25, 2016. Van Schendel, Willem. 2009. A History of Bangladesh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Introduction While protest in many ways epitomises the democratic principles of freedom of expression and association, it can simultaneously challenge other democratic ideals. This ability to both exemplify and undermine democracy results in a tension within the concept of “protest”. This tension is especially apparent in the bandhas (general strikes) prevalent in many South Asian nations: they can empower and give voice to marginalised groups but can also unsettle the very system which enables this agency. The word “bandh” is Hindi for “closed” or “to stop” – and as the name suggests, this form of protest disrupts daily life by shutting down vital services, including transport and commerce. Bandhas can be called by groups seeking a platform for their policies or grievances, but also by groups striving to boost their profile or support base within a political system perceived of as ineffective and weak. Ranging in scale from localised to nationwide, bandhas typically encourage large crowds of placard-waving, sloganshouting protestors onto the streets, and as such exemplify the “fraught relationship” between crowds and political legitimacy (Chatterjee 2016, 295). Although it is possible to interpret bandhas as an indispensable instrument in the toolbox of democracy because they give people a voice, using Nepal as a case study, this chapter argues that bandhas in fact cause substantial harm to democracy by circumventing processes of negotiation, curtailing the freedoms and choices of others, inflicting physical and emotional violence on the population and crippling fragile economies. The country’s reliance on bandhas, the chapter further argues, stems from Nepal’s contextual particularities and its problematic and incomplete transition to democracy.

Bandhas in Nepal Bandhas are a frequent occurrence in Nepal, particularly in urban centres, in the Tarai region on the border with India and in the country’s eastern and western

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regions far from the control of the capital, Kathmandu. For example, in 2010, it was recorded that Nepal experienced as many as 1,205 general strikes (Shrestha and Chaudhary 2013, 4). In May 2012, amid the confusion and tension surrounding the deadline for the Constituent Assembly (CA) to complete the constitutiondrafting process, a Far West bandha was granted the “dubious honour” of being Nepal’s longest shutdown, having lasted more than one month (Himalayan News Service 2012b). Such statistics need to be treated with some caution. The exact number of bandhas which take place across Nepal is difficult to determine because of uncertain and continually changing details such as when and where bandhas will occur and under whose auspices, and whether bandhas will in fact go ahead as scheduled, with unsophisticated means of publicising bandhas (leading to a reliance on word of mouth) and varying degrees of bandha observance ranging from complete to minimal.The absence of accurate, up-to-date bandha information complicates an already complicated situation, as locals do not necessarily hear of a proposed bandha, rarely know whether a scheduled bandha will take effect and can remain ignorant of the severity of the protest until they leave their homes.1 The uncertainty surrounding the implementation of bandha varyingly results in frustration, stress or exhaustion. Although exact bandha statistics are difficult to determine, it is undeniable that bandhas are commonplace in Nepal as a form of protest. Once the recourse solely of trade unionists (International Labour Organisation 2008, 3), bandhas are now unhesitatingly called by state and non-state actors, including student unions, transport unions, civil society bodies, indigenous groups and, especially, political parties. As with many other phenomena in Nepal, bandhas have become politicised, largely in response to the particularities of a country which has for decades been struggling to adopt and subsequently adjust to democracy. The political, religious, geographic, economic, cultural and social context of present-day Nepal impacts hugely on the country’s ability to transition to democracy.Within this context, this chapter argues that protestors’ reliance on bandhas as a key political instrument can be construed variably as a response to the failure of democracy to fulfil the hopes and expectations of its supporters, an attempt to benefit from the opportunities which democracy presents, and a misinterpretation of the idea of democratic sovereignty. It is Nepal’s context that both causes and is caused by the country’s relationship with democracy, which firstly alienates and disillusions groups and eventually incites them to call for and implement bandhas.

Bandhas in context: Nepal’s path to democracy Understanding Nepal’s bandhas necessitates an understanding of the country’s context and of the troubled path to democracy that underpins it; over the past few decades, the country has witnessed periods of increased democratic activity interspersed with periods of regression. The first tentative step towards democracy was taken in 1950, with the overthrow of the Rana regime and the subsequent instalment of King Tribhuvan and his Council of Ministers (Levi 1954). A decade

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later, and despite holding the country’s first parliamentary elections in 1959, King Mahendra dissolved parliament and introduced a Panchayat (“no party”) system which lasted three decades. Following bandhas and street violence in Kathmandu and elsewhere around the country throughout March and April 1990 – an action that became known as the “People’s Movement” (or Janaandolan) – King Birendra lifted the ban on political parties and instated K.P. Bhattarai of the Nepali Congress to head an interim government tasked with preparing a new constitution and holding a general election (Bharadwaj, Dhungana, and Upreti 2004, 61), effectively introducing constitutional monarchism to Nepal. The resulting political shift did not necessarily, however, generate development and benefits for the general population, especially people in rural areas (Routledge 2010, 1281). The persistent social inequity strengthened support for alternative political pathways, including the revolutionary visions espoused by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the CPN(M). The violence underpinning the party’s ideology eventually resulted in a decade of civil conflict (1996–2006) fought between the CPN(M) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal (known by his nom de guerre Prachandra) and Baburam Bhattarai and the forces of the monarchy.The Maoists had large-scale support from certain sectors of Nepali society, particularly the impoverished rural population which was disillusioned with unfulfilled promises of change via democratic means. The Maoists also consciously promoted the cause of ethnic minority groups (or Janajatis) and thus enabled them to mobilise politically at a national level (Ismail and Shah 2015, 115); without the conflict, it is unlikely that indigenous issues would have become so central to Nepal’s political agenda (Adhikari and Gellner 2016, 2024). Considering the appeal of Maoism in Nepal and India in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, one analyst determined three key reasons. Firstly, the movement is tactically effective in that small groups of ideologues can take control of isolated rural areas and have direct impact – in contrast to other forms of political reform (including democracy) which require compromise and time (DeBlieck 2006, 12–14). Secondly, Maoism both encourages extremism and can be moulded to suit contextual particularities, so that Maoist parties can emphasise issues of most concern to their loyalty bases. Thirdly, Maoism focuses on enabling the rural poor – who in Nepal had largely missed out on benefits from political and economic development prompted by democratic reforms (DeBlieck 2006, 2, 35). Ostensibly, the Maoists were fighting for the establishment of a People’s Republic of Nepal and for greater equality in a country with huge social, economic and political disparities. Characterised by gross human rights violations committed by both sides, including rape, torture, the abduction of children for soldiering and forced disappearances, the conflict’s tensions fluctuated depending on decisions taken by political elites. Some of these key decisions included King Gyanendra’s deployment of the Royal Nepalese Army against the CPN(M) in 2001 which resulted in vastly increased numbers of casualties and internally displaced peoples, his decision in June 2004 to reinstate certain political parties, and his subsequent dismissal of government and issuing of a state of emergency on February 1, 2005.

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This final action prompted increased cooperation between the political parties of Nepal, which in November 2005 produced the Twelve-Point Agreement signed by the CPN(M) and other parties calling, among other demands, for the instatement of a Constituent Assembly (CA). Following a successful attempt to boycott local elections called by the king in February 2006, momentum for reform continued to increase throughout March and April, culminating in the “Second People’s Movement” (or Janaandolan II), a 19-day mass protest. In response, on April 24, the king reinstated the parliament he had dismissed four years earlier. The conflict ended in November 2006 with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Nepal’s return to peace has spurred the latest development in its quest for democracy: in May 2008, the country’s first CA voted to instate the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. The decision eliminated the Kingdom of Nepal and brought centuries of monarchical rule to an end, and in name clearly declared the country a democracy. Despite these decisions, the CA proved unable to finalise a constitution even after four deadline extensions – in large part because it was unable to agree on how to structure Nepal into federal states (with the issue of states based on and named for ethnicity and identity proving particularly divisive; Adhikari and Gellner 2016, 2011) – and it was subsequently dissolved in May 2012 by then Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Elections for a second CA were held nearly 18 months later, in which the Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) – CPN(UML) – relegated the CPN(M), which had dominated the 2008 elections, to opposition (Adhikari and Gellner 2016, 2011).2 Pushes for democratic change in Nepal, whilst stemming largely from the educated elite, have relied on the power of mass demonstration and been driven by thousands of people marching in the streets, with the two People’s Movements most notable in this regard. As one researcher has recognised, to challenge unjust political situations, Nepalis have been required to contest and physically occupy urban space (Routledge 2010, 1294). Hence, just as public protest is currently defining the country’s relationship with democracy, so too has public protest been central to Nepal’s gradual and hard-fought transition towards this political system. While mass demonstrations can on the one hand be interpreted as differing markedly from the violence inherent to the revolutionary ideals of groups such as the CPN(M), bandhas, on the other hand, possess the inescapable potential for – indeed, even expectation of – violence. In fact, the combination of public participation and the undercurrent of violence has led one analyst to argue that bandhas actually constitute a means of fundamentally legitimising violence as a force for political change (Chatterjee 2016, 295).

Bandhas in context: inequalities in Nepal Of Nepal’s many barriers to democracy, one of the most serious is the inequality resulting from its multi-tiered social structure, in which identifiers such as gender, ethnicity, caste, religion, language, geographic location and region hugely affect

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individuals’ lives. Non-elites have long been discriminated against and excluded from accessing Nepal’s resources and power, including in recent times. According to one analyst, the period between 1990 and 2002 was one of “exclusionary democratisation” during which the political participation of marginalised groups actually declined, despite advances in democratic practice (Lawoti 2008, 364–66). Political developments since the end of the conflict seem to have helped reverse this trend, but truly meaningful incorporation of minority groups into Nepali politics is yet to be achieved. In terms of gender, cultural and religious norms attribute particular characteristics to notions of “femininity” and “masculinity” (and alongside this conceptualisation, distinct demands, expectations, behaviours and roles) which in turn feed the country’s norms in a continually self-perpetuating cycle. Whereas women tend to be viewed as homekeepers and mothers, men fill leadership positions within both the private and public spheres. This social positioning means that Nepali boys and men often receive greater access to opportunity, education, employment, health care and representation than their female counterparts. Gender-based violence, a symptom of this inequality, remains a problem in Nepal, although there are some signs that the situation is improving (Paudel and de Araujo 2017, 334). Several positive steps have been taken towards gender equality in recent years, for example the introduction of a gender quota of 33 per cent women within the CA, which indicate that government policy is becoming more gender-inclusive. Yet, while policy may be changing, it will take a long time for cultural norms and stereotypes to keep pace.3 In addition to gender divisions and inequalities, the Nepali population is divided into castes and ethnic groups, which are further divided into clans. High-caste Bahun and Chhetri Hindu men from the Hills region have traditionally controlled the country’s resources (Lawoti 2008, 366);4 however, in recent years, in parallel with Nepal’s move towards greater democratic freedoms and equality, groups previously oppressed because of their caste, ethnicity or religion have begun to vocalise and assert their demands in challenge to the past system (Sharma 2014). It has been suggested that in some cases these identities have been actively created by individuals seeking a shared group connection in response to the changing socioeconomic and political context of Nepal, and the changing needs of its people, instead of emerging organically long ago (Fisher 2007, 158–59). Some researchers have even claimed that the recent emphasis on identity politics in Nepal – and the resulting challenge posed to the traditional political elite – has prompted people of the Bahun and Chhetri castes to publicly assert their identity (Adhikari and Gellner 2016, 2014). Attempting to appease all these rising voices – many of whom resort to bandhas as a means of indicating their disillusionment – is proving a major challenge for the government of Nepal. The Madheshi ethnic group from the Tarai region constitutes one major case in point. Whilst changes proposed after the Second People’s Movement promised improvements for several disadvantaged groups (Paudel and de Araujo 2017), it was not clear how Nepal’s reinstated democracy would benefit the Madhesh (or indeed,

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other Janajati). In response, large numbers of Madhesh participated in an uprising in January to February 2007 that lasted for 21 days. This protest condemned “Hill” politics (a reference to the political primacy of the Hill region of Nepal over the Tarai and mountain regions) and promoted, among other demands, regional ethnonationalism and self-determination as the basis for the post-conflict restructuring of Nepal. In this way, protestors both challenged traditional conceptualisations of Nepali nationalism (e.g., the pre-eminence of Nepali over other languages) and sought greater political inclusion for their hitherto-marginalised community. The protest was so effective that the government was obliged to amend the interim constitution (only promulgated on January 15, 2007) to declare federalism as central to its political agenda (Hachhethu 2007). However, despite this commitment, and despite continued agitation from the various Madheshi political parties over the years, the practice of instating federalism has proven elusive in Nepal – not least because people’s region-based identities do not necessarily correspond with their ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic and other identities. Compounding the divisions within Nepali society is the fact that people living in different regions, and in rural versus urban areas, have immensely different opportunities in terms of access to and distribution of education and wealth. As a result of these opportunities, there is a constant influx of people into the cities, where traditionally defined gender, caste, ethnic and religious roles are starting to change. Kathmandu – home to the majority of Nepali political and civic elite, students and international aid workers – is rapidly changing, with social change appearing alongside physical and economic change such as increasing food and rent prices, incessant traffic and constant construction.5 In villages, however, where customs are much more closely observed (and where the majority of Nepal’s predominantly agriculturally based population lives), traditional identifiers still delineate an individual’s place in society. This urban/rural divide, complicated by Kathmanducentric policies and businesses and by the geographic inaccessibility of much of rural Nepal, seriously challenges the ability of the government of Nepal to implement democracy. As one of the poorest countries in the world, perhaps the most insurmountable hurdle in Nepal’s path to democracy is its crushing poverty.6 Circumstances which might be considered fundamental to democracy and to the development which democracy requires – such as universal education, universal health care, sustainable farming practices, the planning and construction of infrastructure and environmental care – are far removed from the daily reality of most Nepalis. Only with the eradication of immediate challenges (especially the procurement of food and fuel for survival) can thought and energy be spared for abstract concepts and long-term projects. In this way, while poverty is obviously a key development challenge, it also restricts the progress of democracy. Politically, Nepal is also extremely divided.The major political parties have vastly differing histories, policies and ideals, ranging across the political spectrum from the CPN(M) on the far left to the CPN(UML) to the centrist Nepali Congress. The persistence of pre-conflict political interests into the post-conflict era (Rasaratnam

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and Malagodi 2012, 300) as well as intra- and inter-party tension and distrust, further polarise the parties and hinder their ability to compromise and even dialogue. Without the possibility to seriously and effectively debate, political parties have resorted time and again to bandhas and other forms of protest to simultaneously demonstrate their disapproval for others’ policies and emphasise the level of public support for their own. Not surprisingly, these tactics have been especially employed at times of particular crisis, such as in the lead-up to and following the dissolution of the first CA in May 2012 after its inability to finalise the constitution. The challenges of domestic Nepali politics are further complicated by weak state institutions and by the presence of many external actors in Kathmandu, which each espouse their own views regarding Nepal’s transition to democracy (Bhatta 2013, 170). Another serious issue facing Nepal is corruption, particularly among the country’s political, military and economic elite, with the country ranked 124 of 180 countries on Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International 2018). Such practices prevent the government of Nepal from properly implementing democracy, with the country’s already limited wealth diverted from public funds into individual pockets. Much of this money is pilfered from international aid donations, which have been flowing into Nepal for more than 50 years. Despite receiving one of the highest aid budgets in the developing world, the country has proven unable to effectively manage these funds, demonstrating poor aid absorption capacity and a lack of commitment to true political reform. Weak governance lies at the heart of Nepal’s failure to successfully distribute aid, as donations are most effective in countries with mechanisms in place to encourage investment and entrepreneurship (Sharma 2011, 96–97). Such mechanisms are not guaranteed in Nepal, and the general lack of transparency and accountability allow mismanaged aid programmes to go undetected. The contextual particularities of Nepal in the early twenty-first century both fuel and compound the country’s troubled relationship with democracy. In a country of widespread poverty; entrenched gender, social, cultural and religious inequality; political hostility; incompetence and dishonesty; and chronic shortages of food, drinking water, petrol, cooking gas and other basic necessities, innumerable issues prompt groups to protest. Rather than seek solutions through dialogue, however, these groups tend to resort to the use of general strikes. The appeal of bandhas lies in both the perceived ineffectiveness of dialogue in Nepal as well as in the visible success of bandhas. In an effort to normalise life as quickly as possible and with minimal disruption, the government of Nepal usually agrees to meet with bandha organisers – and often grants their demands. According to a USAID report, this concessive behaviour is largely because the government responds to the threat and use of violence (Michel, Walsh and Thakur 2009, 7–8). Nepal’s current dependence on protest over dialogue is evidence of the country’s incomplete transition to and adoption of democracy.This political system entitles people to voice their concerns; in resorting to bandhas, however, agitators actually challenge the processes of negotiation through which democracy functions.

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The impact of bandha Despite the effectiveness of bandhas as a tool of political empowerment, voice and manipulation – and the unintended improvements in air quality resulting from restricted vehicular movement (Fransen et al. 2013; Pudasainee et al. 2010) – the repercussions of general strikes are immensely damaging. Most obviously, bandhas negatively impact the economy. On a personal scale, shutdowns directly affect all wage earners, but particularly small-time entrepreneurs and agriculturalists whose businesses suffer with each day of closure. As one of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal can ill afford the negative consequences of bandhas at the national level either. Similarly, a 2013 report from the Nepal Rastra Bank estimated that, at a cost of 1.8 billion Nepali rupees per strike day, bandhas negatively impacted GDP growth rates (Shrestha and Chaudhary 2013, 11–12). In addition to the immediate implications of bandhas on Nepal’s economy, there are also long-term economic consequences, most notably in the tourism and investment sectors. Particularly in today’s difficult economic climate, Nepal’s political instability, of which bandhas are the most obvious physical manifestation, deter would-be foreign investors (WFP Nepal 2009, 1) – although Nepal Rastra Bank determined that bandhas were not the “primary repelling factor” in this regard (Shrestha and Chaudhary 2013, 15). Without external financial support and skills, the country has little hope of effectively capitalising upon its potential (particularly its natural resources) and improving livelihood opportunities for its population. Bandhas are in this way detrimental to the country’s future; without the infrastructure and employment generated by investment, Nepal’s people are unlikely to experience the economic benefits which democracy can bring. Just as bandhas disrupt everyday life for Nepalis, so too do they impact upon people holidaying in Nepal. Shutdowns thus negatively affect a key source of income: tourism. Although “tourist only” transport is supposedly guaranteed safe passage during bandhas, the closure of shops and attractions and severe travel restrictions colour visitors’ experiences. In reaction to the particularly disruptive shutdowns of May 2012, sources reported a 40 per cent drop in tour bookings and significant declines in hotel bookings.7 Nepal Rastra Bank also reported that bandhas have impacted tourist numbers (Shrestha and Chaudhary 2013, 16). Direct causal links exist between Nepal’s bandhas and declining tourist numbers, constituting a harmful revenue loss for the country. In recognition of the potential damage of bandhas to the tourism industry, major political parties committed in early 2011 – Nepal Tourism Year – not to call general strikes; however, this promise was not upheld (Shrestha and Chaudhary 2010, 5). The impacts of bandhas on tourism are particularly detrimental given that the industry is in the process of reinventing itself following the socio-political changes of post-civil war Nepal. The abolition of the monarchy is gradually dispelling the distinctive international image of Nepal as the “Himalayan Kingdom” or the “Hindu Kingdom”, which has the potential to damage the country’s tourism

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industry (e.g., through declining numbers of Hindu pilgrims). In parallel with the shift from monarchy to federal democratic republic has been the rise in calls for ethnic and regional autonomy, challenging the supremacy of Nepal’s highly centralised bureaucracy. With tourism operating almost exclusively out of Kathmandu, the possibility of de-centralisation poses a further threat to the industry. Tourism in Nepal is thus undergoing a radical self-appraisal and marketing to maintain tourist demand in the face of fundamental changes to its image (Bhandari 2010; Bhandari and Bhandari 2012). The disruption of tourists’ holidays because of bandhas complicates and challenges these attempts. With their ability to absolutely halt all travel and business, bandhas generate many serious problems besides economic concerns, primarily because services are closed and essential items can be neither delivered nor obtained. People are restricted from accessing even the most basic provisions. Services such as rubbish collection and banking are halted, and in some instances paper and ink shortages have forced local media outlets to stop printing newspapers, restricting people’s access to information (Pariyar 2012).The cost of the few available supplies often increases sharply because of high demand and the augmented price of transportation. General strikes tangibly affect people’s daily lives – most drastically, the lives of Nepal’s poorest – especially in terms of basic needs and security (WFP Nepal 2009, 1). In this way bandhas threaten the basic tenants of democracy, people’s fundamental human rights. The health repercussions of bandhas can also be serious. Firstly, doctors and patients are prevented from travelling to hospitals; although ambulances are often exempt from travel restrictions, movement is hampered by the unavailability of petrol and diesel (INSEC Online Desk 2012b). Secondly, medical supplies diminish, as illustrated by the urgent call in late May 2012 for blood donations in Kathmandu, following two weeks of on-off bandhas and demonstrations in the capital which prevented people from reaching donation centres (Himalayan News Service 2012c). In the most serious cases, people have died because of travel restrictions or lack of medicine.8 In a country where mental health is largely ignored, the psychological and emotional trauma inflicted by bandhas has not been researched; yet, the isolation, fear and violence which shutdowns engender undoubtedly have significant repercussions on the population’s mental well-being. In exposing the population to immediate and long-term health risks, bandhas harm the very people whose rights their organisers allege to protect. In addition to the paralysis engendered by bandhas, there is also the more immediately harmful violence which often accompanies the strikes. Clashes sometimes occur between representatives of different political or ethnic groups, or between protestors and state security forces. The majority of violence, however, is perpetrated by “bandha enforcers” who through implicit or explicit threats ensure people adhere to the imposed shutdown. The price for bandha defiance can be high, with the most common retribution being physical assault of individuals combined with vandalism or arson of their property. This state of quasi-lawlessness similarly facilitates opportunistic crime. The volatility of the situation and its accompanying violence adds to many bandhas an element of danger and unpredictability. This latent violence suggests on the one hand social dissatisfaction and a perceived lack

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of alternatives for self-expression, but on the other hand perhaps also points towards some inherent aggression within Nepali culture and society. Occasionally, bandha enforcers have inflicted punishment on people including medical staff, journalists, INGO (international non-governmental organisations) staff and human rights activists, who have generally been exempt from movement restrictions. Physicians travelling to their jobs were threatened, detained and beaten by police during the general strike called in early April 2006 by political parties against the monarchy, resulting in the physicians holding their own protests for the reinstatement of democracy in the country (Pandey 2006). Similar instances occurred during the riotous three-day Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) shutdown of May 2012, which demanded identity-based federalism as the basis for the new constitution. In response to the threats and interrogation of its staff and the vandalism of its vehicles, on May 24 the Ambulance Operators’ Association (AOA) refused to operate (Sapkota 2012). On the same day, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) issued a statement demanding state authorities protect journalists in their quest to provide the public with information (INSEC Online Desk 2012f). Such comments underscore the risks inherent in providing essential services during bandhas. According to some researchers, although the majority of political parties view the media as fulfilling an essential “watchdog” role, journalists and their work have at times been targeted during strikes because of their ability to influence public opinion (Miklian and Tveite 2007, 854). For example, in preparation for a 2007 bandha, the separatist Madhesi Tigers of Nepal issued a press release – apparently without irony – demanding that journalists cease operations for the duration of the planned four-day shutdown and indicated their prerogative for violence should this demand be ignored (Miklian and Tveite 2007, 856). Given that freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy, particularly the attacks on media personnel illustrate how bandhas challenge democratic ideals. The security situation during general strikes is especially alarming as police are generally unable to control bandha violence, hindered by both its widespread scale and its accompanying mob mentality. Additionally, many security personnel, particularly those in isolated regions with little chance of backup support, are reluctant to conduct arrests, having themselves often been attacked and intimidated (Michel, Walsh, and Thakur 2009, 4). As a result of police fear and ineffectiveness – and undoubtedly also of police corruption and sympathy for protesting groups – acts of violence and destruction which occur during bandhas are rarely punished. This seeming lack of accountability contributes to the negative impact of bandhas upon the population and also demonstrates how the use of general strikes undermines democracy and the rule of law.

Conclusion Nepali and foreign NGOs, as well as economic bodies such as Nepal Rastra Bank, have recognised the need to change the current bandha culture in order for Nepal to further its development. For example, in May 2012, the highly regarded Nepali

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human rights organisation Informal Service Sector (INSEC) released a statement in response to the ongoing bandha in the Far West, urging, “[s]ince dialogue is the only medium to resolve a dispute, we call on the Government to immediately begin dialogue with various groups which have called for bandhas” (INSEC Online Desk 2012c). The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in response to the same strike, declared that while every citizen is entitled to publicly express their demands, the rights of others should not be compromised in the process (INSEC Online Desk 2012a). It further suggested that the government prepare a law to regulate bandhas, not as a message of acceptance but because the situation had become so serious that action was required (Himalayan News Service 2012a). Such organisations have a difficult task ahead, however, if they are to try and alter Nepal’s bandha culture: the power of general strikes is seared into the nation’s conscience. This article has argued that while bandhas can undoubtedly support democratic principles by providing agency to groups otherwise marginalised within Nepali politics and society, they can also cause irrevocable physical, economic and emotional harm and thus challenge democracy’s very foundations.Yet, would-be protestors are drawn to bandhas because in the divisive and tense political environment of early twenty-first century Nepal, they lack alternatives to express their opinions and because past experience has demonstrated that the demands of bandha organisers are often granted. Nepal’s current preoccupation with bandhas is an obvious manifestation of the country’s failure to fully implement and understand democracy; the culture of general strikes appears to have developed in part from a distorted interpretation of democratic freedoms. The most concerning outcome of Nepal’s reliance on bandhas, however, is that the feelings of fear and demoralisation engendered by strikes are increasingly discouraging people from trusting in the democracy for which they originally took to the streets in protest. Nepal has many serious crises to address before the country can be considered wholly democratic – not least the repercussions of ten years of civil conflict and the pressures of entrenched gender, caste and ethnic divisions, extreme poverty, interparty tension and impasse, and endemic bureaucratic corruption. The issue of ethnicity politics, in particular, remains problematic; the argument over dividing and naming federal states may be symbolically important but ultimately diverts attention from the real issue of fair division of resources among Nepal’s peoples (Ismail and Shah 2015, 119). Until Nepal’s most vulnerable populations benefit from the reforms and development which democracy can engender, it is likely that groups will continue to use bandhas as a vehicle for expressing their discontent – and will, in doing so, further prolong the country’s transition to functioning democracy.

Notes 1 There are several websites and Facebook pages which try to keep Nepalis with Internet access informed of current bandha trends. These sites are not necessarily overly useful, however; for example, the URL of one prominent website ( is no longer valid, and a Facebook page called “Routine of Nepal banda” (www.facebook. com/officialroutineofnepalbanda/) devotes itself to “useful information, social awareness

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posts, quotes and funny trolls” when there is no bandha information to report (www. 2 The 2013 elections were deemed as having been “remarkably well conducted” by election watchdog, the Carter Center (2013). 3 As one example of the distinction among democratic principles codified in Nepali law but not followed in practice: in December 2011, a Dalit (“untouchable”) man was beaten to death, ostensibly for touching an oven belonging to someone from a higher caste. The incident was well reported in the Nepali news; see, for example, News in Nepal (2011).The caste-related murder directly violated the Caste-based Discrimination and Untouchability (Crime and Punishment) Bill passed on May 24, 2011, prohibiting caste-based acts of discrimination in both public and private arenas. Nepal also has a National Dalit Commission, whose objectives are to increase Dalit participation in the mainstream community and improve conditions for Dalits (National Dalit Commission 2017). 4 Having analysed participation in electoral and other forms of political activity in the aftermath of the royal massacre in 2001, Wagle determined that economic power was a key motivator for participation (2006, 391). 5 The influx of international aid workers to Kathmandu has resulted in inflation and a twotiered economy in which many Nepalis cannot participate (Bhatta 2013, 174–75). 6 World Bank figures indicate that 25.2% of Nepal’s population lives below the national poverty line (The World Bank 2018). 7 According to the sales and marketing director of Kathmandu’s most famous hotel, the Yak and Yeti, 375 room-nights were cancelled over the last two weeks of May 2012. The Annapurna Hotel, another of Kathmandu’s five-star accommodation options, recorded a loss of 150 room-nights over a similar period (Nepal Mountain News 2012). 8 For example, on May 14, 2012, a 70-year-old woman with anaemia, Jaumati Swar of Siddeshwor Village District Committee in Achham, died because she could not be taken to the district hospital for treatment (INSEC Online Desk 2012d). Ten days later, a 4-yearold boy died in Pyuthan, Sari VDC-3, after an accident because no ambulance was able to reach him in time (INSEC Online Desk 2012e).

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Fransen, Michelle, Jonathan Pérodin, Jun Hada, Xin He and Amir Sapkota. 2013. “Impact of Vehicular Strike on Particulate Matter Air Quality: Results from a Natural Intervention Study in Kathmandu Valley.” Environmental Research 122: 52–57. Hachhethu, Krishna. 2007. “Madheshi Nationalism and Restructuring the Nepali State.” Draft conference paper for Constitutionalism and Diversity in Nepal, August 22–24, Kathmandu. Himalayan News Service. 2012a. “Act Sought to Regulate Bandhs.” The Himalayan Times, May 23, 2012. ———. 2012b. “Far-west Sees Longest Bandh: Life Paralysed for Over a Month.” The Himalayan Times, May 26, 2012. ———. 2012c. “Blood Shortage Looms.” The Himalayan Times, May 28, 2012. INSEC Online Desk. 2012a. “NHRC Concerned on the Effect of Bandh on Normal Life.” INSEC Online, May 3, 2012. ———. 2012b. “Strike Hits Normal Life Hard in Far West.” INSEC Online, May 7, 2012. ———. 2012c. “INSEC Calls on Bandh Organizers to Call off Strikes, Sit for Dialogue.” INSEC Online, May 10, 2012. ———. 2012d. “Bandhs Continue to Affect Life Nationwide.” INSEC Online, May 15. ———. 2012e. “Bandhs Continue to Cripple Normal Life Nationwide.” INSEC Online, May 24, 2012. ———. 2012f. “Journalists Targeted Amid Protests in Nepal: CPJ.” INSEC Online, May 24, 2012. International Labour Organisation (ILO). 2008. “Decent Work Country Programme for Nepal 2008–2012.” International Labour Office, Kathmandu. Ismail, Feyzi, and Alpa Shah. 2015. “Class Struggle, the Maoists and the Indigenous Question in Nepal and India.” Economic and Political Weekly 50 (35): 112–23. Lawoti, Mahendra. 2008. “Exclusionary Democratization in Nepal, 1990–2002.” Democratization 15 (2): 363–85. Levi, Werner. 1954. “Political Rivalries in Nepal.” Far Eastern Survey 23 (7): 102–07. Michel, James, Barry Walsh, and Mihir Thakur. 2009. “Nepal Rule of Law Assessment: Final Report, September 2009.” Rule of Law Division, Office of Democracy and Governance (DCHA/DG/ROL) United States Agency for International Development, August 19. Miklian, Jason, and Ingvill H. Tveite. 2007. “On the State of Media Violence in Nepal.” Strategic Analysis 31 (5): 853–60. National Dalit Commission. 2017. “Objectives.” August 25, 2019. en. Nepal Democracy. n.d. “Civics in Nepal (Contemporary Society Course) Unit 3: Civic Education.” activities. Nepal Mountain News. 2012. “Strikes Show Colour with Flurry of Cancellations in Hotels, Tourism Industry.” Nepal Mountain News, May 21, 2012. cms/2012/05/21/strikes-show-colour-with-flurry-of-cancellations-in-hotels-tourismindustry/. News in Nepal. 2011. “Dalit Killed for Touching Oven of Hotel in Kalikot.” News in Nepal, December 13, 2011. Pandey, Kaushal Raj. 2006. “Doctors in Nepal Take Part in Democracy Protests.” British Medical Journal 332, April 22, 2006. Pariyar, Sur Bahadur. 2012. “Bandhs Force Media Houses to Halt Publication of Papers.” INSEC Online, May 26, 2012.

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Paudel, Jayash, and Pedro de Araujo. 2017. “Demographic Responses to a Political Transformation: Evidence of Women’s Empowerment from Nepal.” Journal of Comparative Economics 45: 325–43. Pudasainee, Deepak, Balkrishna Sapkota, Amit Bhatnagar, Seong-Heon Kim, and Yong-Chil Seo. 2010. “Influence of Weekdays, Weekends and Bandhas on Surface Ozone in Kathmandu Valley.” Atmospheric Research 95: 150–56. Rasaratnam, Madurika, and Mara Malagodi. 2012. “Eyes Wide Shut: Persistent Conflict and Liberal Peace-Building in Nepal and Sri Lanka.” Conflict, Security and Development 12 (3): 299–327. Routledge, Paul. 2010. “Nineteen Days in April: Urban Protest and Democracy in Nepal.” Urban Studies 47 (6): 1279–99. Sapkota, Sabitri. 2012. “Ambulances to Stay off the Road in Protest of Vandalism.” INSEC Online, May 24, 2012. Sharma, Kishor. 2011. “Foreign Aid, Governance and Economic Development in Nepal.” Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration 33 (2): 95–115. ———. 2014. “Politics and Governance in Nepal.” Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration 34 (1): 57–69. Shrestha, Min Bahadur, and Shashi Kant Chaudhary. 2013. “The Economic Cost of General Strikes in Nepal.” Nepal Rastra Bank Working Paper 20. Transparency International. 2018. August 25, 2019. The World Bank. 2018. “Nepal.” February 10, 2018. nepal. Wagle, Udaya R. 2006. “Political Participation in Kathmandu: Who Participates and Why It Matters.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 29 (3): 369–93. WFP Nepal. 2009. “Struck Out: The Everyday Economic and Livelihood Impact of Bandhs and Strikes in Nepal.” WFP Nepal: Food for Thought 1.


Abbas, Mureed 103 Abbas, Mustain 147 Abdullah, Farooq 203 Abdullah, Sheikh 199, 200 Adeney, Katherine 189 adivasis 2, 15, 161 – 5 affective dimension of conflict 56 – 9 Afghan Constitution 177 Afghan Interim Authority 184 Afghanistan: brief ethno-political history 178 – 80; democracy and ethnic de-alignment 187 – 8; and empire 177 – 8; ethnocracy and 182 – 4; Islam, Afghan nationalism and the constitution 184 – 7; meaning of ethnicity in 180 – 2; occupation 182 – 4; overview 177; warlordism and 182 – 4 Afghan Mujahideen (Holy Warriors) 180 Afghan Pashtuns 182 Africa 1 African Americans 15, 156 Afzal-Khan, Fawzia 105, 107 Agamben, Giorgio 1, 69, 139 Agathangelou, Anna 93 Agence France Press (AFP) 109 Ahir, Hansraj 145, 152 Ahmadi Muslims 152 Ahsan, Zayadul 213 – 14 Akhlaq, Mohammad 147, 148 Akhtar, Naseem 107 – 8 Alcoff, Linda 106 Algerian independence movement 202 Al Jazeera 88 All Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front (PF) 16, 201

All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) 68 Al-Qaeda 13, 74, 178, 209, 217 Althusser, Louis 170 Aman Biradari campaign 145 Ambedkar, B. R. 37 – 8, 41, 46 – 7, 49n7; cartoon controversy 38; statues 46 – 7 Ambulance Operators’ Association (AOA) 233 Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act (1919) 5; see also “Rowlatt Act” Andhrajyothy 47 Anglo-Afghan War 179 Anglo-Nepali War 27 Anglophone writers 100 Ansar al-Islam 209, 217, 218 – 19 Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind 13, 72 Ansari, Alimuddin 149 Ansari, Mazlum 147 Ansarullah Bangla Team 209, 218 – 19 anti-Muslim riots: in Sri Lanka 2 anti-semitism 140 anti-Sikh riots 9 Arakan National Party (ANP) 132 Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) 132, 140 Arbab wa Rayat system 181 Arendt, Hannah 4, 115, 140 – 1 Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 78 Armed Police Force (APF) 25 arrogation of sovereign law 5 Arudpragasam, Anuk 52, 53 Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) 76 – 7 Awami Action Committee 202 Awami League 219 Azad (Maoist party spokesperson) 163 – 4, 169

Index  239

Azad, Humayun 216 Azadi (liberation) 71, 204 Babinard, Julie 120 Babri Masjid, demolition of 9 Babu, Bharat Bhushan 138 Bajrang Dal 147, 154 Baloch, Mustafa 107 Balochistan insurgency 3 Baloch separatist movement 7 Banavar, Pavitra 213 – 14 Bandaranaike, S.W.R.D. 55 bandhas: impact of 231 – 3; inequalities in Nepal and 227 – 30; in Nepal 224 – 5; Nepal’s path to democracy and 225 – 7 Bangladesh: Islamists and militancy 213 – 14; liberation war in 7; political history 210 – 13; rationalist attacks 214 – 19; Rohingyas in 132 – 6 Bangladesh Awami League 211 Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) 212 – 13 Bangladesh Rationalists’ Society 217 Bano, Asifa 88 Bar Association of Kathua 88 Bargu, Banu 11 Bastar region 4, 9, 68, 160 – 71 Bates, Crispin 4 Baxi, Upendra 153 BBC 103 Beckett, Ian F.W. 192 “beef-politics” 10 Beg, Mirza Afzal 201 Benjamin, Walter 6 Bennett, Brian 103 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) 15, 46, 87, 88, 138 – 9, 147, 149, 154 Bhattarai, Baburam 29 – 30, 227 Bhattarai, K.P. 226 Bhumkal (earthquake) rebellion 166 Binford, Leigh 155 bin Laden, Osama 102 biographies of violence 100 – 12 Biplob, Moshiur Rahman 216 Birendra, King 226 Birendra, King of Nepal 27 – 8 Biswasher Virus (Roy) 215 Bodh Gaya blasts 138 Border Security Forces (BSF) 168 Bose, Sumantra 194 Boyagoda, Ajith 53 British American Tobacco 86 British Empire 5, 179, 182; Afghanistan and 177 – 8 British India 178 British Parliament 77 Brown, Dee 170

Brzezinski, Zbigniew 178 Buddhism 131 Burma Socialist Programme Party 130 Burmese Citizenship Law 130 Burmese Road to Socialism project 130 The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar (Sundar) 160 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (Brown) 170 Butler, Judith 40, 53, 59 Butt, Muhammad Maqbool 201, 202 “bystander effect” 118 Calukya dynasty 4 Carlsberg A/S 86 caste violence 37 – 47 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 168 Centre Against Sexual Harassment (CASA) 117 Chakrabarty, Dipesh 140 Chakrabarty, Madhura 129, 135 Chatterjee, Niladri 217 Chatterjee, Partha 140 Chetna Natya Manch 162 Chhattisgarh Auxiliary Armed Police Force Ordinance 168 Chibber,Vivek 140 child pornography 83 Chittagong insurgency 7 Choudhury, Ziauddin M. 211 Chowdhary, Renuka 87 Chunduru massacre 44 Churchill, Nancy 155 citizenship 130; liberal 48 Citizenship (Amendment) Act 137 Citizenship Act of India 137 Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 137 Citizen’s Religious Hate-Crime Watch see Hate-Crime Watch civil society and resistance 76 – 7 Clinton, Hilary 108 Code of Criminal Procedure 40 Cold War 179 colonialism 3, 54, 168 command hate crime 153 – 5 commercialised sex 13, 90, 92, 94 Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) 233 communal bonding 10 communalism 2 – 3, 55; and nationalism 6 – 7 Communist Party of India (CPI) 8, 167 Communist Party of India (Maoist) 161 Communist Party of India (MarxistLeninist) 8, 161 Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) 23, 30, 226 Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) 227

240 Index

Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) 23 conflict: affective dimension of 56 – 9; “factional” representation of 59 – 61; paradoxes of representing terror and 63 – 4 Conrad, Joseph 168 Constitution of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma 130 Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee 116 Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) 136 Cordon and Search Operations (CASO) 75 corporate land grabbing 166 Council of Europe 104 counterinsurgency, post-1857 discourses of 5 Crime Investigation Department (CID) 46 Criminal Intelligence Department 5 Criminal Tribes Act 5 Critical Race theorists 38, 40 “cultures if impunity” 16 “cultures of violence” 11 Cuny, Marie-Therese 102, 107 Curran, Bronwyn 109 Dabashi, Hamid 10 Dahal, Pushpa Kamal 28 Dahl, Robert 155 The Daily Star 216 The Daily Telegraph 201 Dalit flogging 46 Dalits, massacres of 41 – 2 Dandakaranya Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan (DAKMS) 162 “Dark Trade: Rape Videos for Sale in India, A” report 88 Das, Ananta Bijoy 217 Das, Saswat S. 139 DasGupta, Sayantani 105 Datta, Sreeradha 213 Dattu, H. L. 83 Dawkins, Richard 216 Defense of India Act of 1915 5 Delgado, Richard 40 Delhi Accord, 1951 27 democracy: and Afghanistan 187 – 8; and ethnic de-alignment 187 – 8 Desai, Madhavi 116 Deuba, Sher Bahadur 29 Devadiga, Akshay 148 Dey, Abhishek 153 Dhaka Tribune 219 Dines, Gail 90

Dipan, Faisal Arefin 217 – 18 Dipendra, Crown Prince of Nepal 28 Dodillet, Susanne 90 Dostum, Rashid 184 Doyle, Arthur Conan 5 Dulal, Nur Nobi 217 “Durand Line” 178, 179 early colonial insurgencies (1700–1857) 3 – 5 East India Company 27 Economic and Political Weekly 140 Ekman, Kajsa Ekis 90 – 1 “elitist bias” 139 Emergency Immigration Act 130 Erika Lust 90 Ershad, Hussain Muhammad 211 – 12 ESSAR 9 ethnic de-alignment, Afghanistan 187 – 8 ethnocracy: Afghanistan and 182 – 4; and the production of the Rohingyas as Stranger 129 – 32 Eurocentric progressivism 54 European Parliament 77 exceptionalism, governance and 69 – 70 extractive capital: neoliberalism and 165 – 70; state violence and 165 – 70 “extractivist imperialism” 166 Facebook 72, 216 – 17 factional representation of conflict 59 – 61 Farooq, Molvi 202 Farzana, Fahmida 136 Farzana, Kazi Fahmida 133 Fast, Travis 166 Fazli, Easa 72 Federal Bureau of Investigation 215 Federally and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pakistan) 111 Federal Shariat Courts, Pakistan 110 First Amendment 40 First World War 152 Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals (FDMN) 133 Foreigners Act of 1946 137 Foreign Registration Certificates (nonnational cards) 130 Forest, James 194 Fortify Rights 134 Foucault, Michel 197 – 8 Fowler, Michael 193 Fradinger, Moira 10 Fraenkel, Ernst 155 Free Thinker,The 201 Funny Boy (Selvadurai) 63

Index  241

Galappatti, Sunila 62 Galtung, Johan 209 Galula, David 192 Gandhi, Indira 9, 70, 203 Ganguly, Sumit 193 Gau Raksha Dal 147 gau rakshaks (cow vigilantism) 2, 10, 45, 148 Gayatri Parivar 167 Gender and the Built Environment in India (Desai) 116 gender-based violence 83, 228 “gendered Orientalism” 101 gender-exclusive transport 119 General Recommendation 19 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee 116 Geo News 111 Ghazwa-e-Hind 72 – 3 Glamour magazine 104 global terrorism 1 God Delusion,The (Dawkins) 216 Godhra massacre 10 Gonobahini insurgency 8 Gonsalves, Colin 45 Gorbachev, Mikhail 180 Gough, Kathleen 4 governance and exceptionalism 69 – 70 Grant, Trevor 57 Great Revolt 4 Gudavarthy, Ajay 11, 69 – 70 Guevara, Che 202 Guha, Ranajit 4, 5, 140 Guha, Tumpa 120 Guibernau, M. Montserrat 198 Gujarat communal carnage of 2002 146 Gunasinghe, Newton 56 Gupta, Aish 163 Gupta, Kavinder 138 Gupta, Rakesh 138 Gyanendra, King of Nepal 28 Haider, Ahmed Rajib 215, 216 Halba uprising (1774–1779) 4 Half the Sky (Kristof) 105 Hall, Michael C. 90 Hamdani, Ghulam Mohiuddin 201 Hanafi (School of Sunni law) 185 Haqqani, Husain 72 Haque, Syed Mohammad Ziaul 219 Harvey, David 165 Hasina, Sheikh 212 – 13, 219 Hate-Crime Watch 145, 154 hate speech 12, 37 – 41

hate violence in India 145 – 6 Hazara Hezb-e-Wahdat 184 Hearn, Jeff 90, 91 Heart of Darkness (Conrad) 168 Hefazat-e-Islam 215 Hekmatyar, Gulbuddin 184 Heyns, Christof 78 Hindu: feudalism 41; fundamentalist organisations 167; nationalism 151 Hindu Ekta Munch 88 Hindu Jagarana Vedike 148 Hindu-Muslim riots 9 “Hindutva Phase 2” 10 Hindu Yuva Vahini 151, 154 Hizb-ul-Mujahideen 13, 73 Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) 74 – 5 Holey Artisan Bakery attack 218 honour killings: in Afghanistan 2; in Pakistan 2 Hughes, Everett 200 human dignity 43 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan 108 Human Rights Watch (HRW) 37 – 9, 45, 48n2 Hurriyat Conference 76, 195 Ibrahim, Azeem 129 Ibrahim, Azeez 130 ICCPR 45 ideological cultivations 72 – 4 Ikhwans (renegades) 76 imperialism 101, 108, 140, 165 Imroz, Parvez 68, 73, 77 India: command hate crime 153 – 5; hate violence in 145 – 6; lynching as performative symbolism 155 – 6; Maoists and the adivasis 161 – 5; neoliberalism, extractive capital and state violence 165 – 70; notes from the Karwan e Mohabbat 149 – 51; ordinary crimes, rough justice or hate crimes 151 – 3; pornography and/as liberation 90 – 4; rape porn and violence of pornography 86 – 90; rise of lynch mob in 146 – 9; Rohingyas as infiltrators and security threat 136 – 9; SC/ST  Act 12, 37 – 48, 48n2, 49n4 Indian Constitution 40 – 1, 68; First Amendment to 41 Indian Council Act of 1861 5 Indian Left 161 Indian Parliament 37 Indian Passport Act of 1929 137 Indian Penal Code (IPC) 40, 110, 153 Indian state in Kashmir 67 – 8

242 Index

India Spend 145, 153, 155 Indo-China war 7 Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) 168 inequalities in Nepal 227 – 30 insurgency: as a “social movement” 195 – 6; social roots of 196 – 9 International Conference on Afghanistan, Bonn 184 International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 39, 136 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 136 International Crimes Tribunal 216 International Forum For Justice & Human Rights (IFJHR) 78 Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) 85 In the Name of Honour (Mai) 14, 102, 108 Into the Mirror:The Untold Story of Mukhtar Mai (Curran) 109 Islam 184 – 7, 185, 209, 210, 216 Islam, Md. Shamsul 213 Islam, Monirul 218 Islam, Shafiul 217 Islamic Caliphate 72 Islamic Criminal Law 110 Islamic Hudood laws 104 Islamic nationalism 101 Islamic Sharia 104, 182 Islamic State 13, 74 Islamists and militancy 213 – 14 Islam ke Mujahido, Hum Tumhaare Saath he (“O Warriors of Islam, We are with you”) slogan 74 Islamophobia 127 Jagori (women’s group) 118, 122 Jaipur Literary Festival 39 Jaish-e-Mohammed 75 Jallianwala Bagh incident 6 Jallikattu protests in Tamil Nadu 2 Jamaat-e-Islami 213 Jamal, Arif 194 Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS) 67, 76 – 7 Jana Andolan I (First People’s Movement) 27 Jana Andolan II 28 Jana Natya Mandali (cultural organisation) 162 Janathana Sarkar (JS) 162, 164 Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna 8 Jan Jagran Abhiyan (JJA) 167 Jatiya Party 212 Jatt, Naveed 72 Jeffreys, Sheila 90 Jensen, Robert 89 – 90

Jirga 110 – 11, 182 J&K Youth and Students League 201 Joarder, Nikhil 218 Johaar 201 Johnson, Robert 5 Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) 68 Junbesh-e-Milli 184 Kadam, M.Y. 46 Kahf, Mohja 106 Kalam, Mohammad 147 Kalhan, Anil 5 Kallars 5 Karamchedu massacre 44 Kark, Madiha 106 Karkera, Tina 110 Karma, Mahendra 167 Karmal, Babrak 179 Karwan e Mohabbat 149 – 51 Karwan e Mohabbat (Caravan of Love) 15 Karzai, Hamid 184 Kashmir: civil society and resistance 76 – 7; conventional views about insurgency in 193 – 4; governance and exceptionalism 69 – 70; ideological cultivations 72 – 4; insurgency as “social movement” 195 – 6; insurgency in theory 192 – 3; limits of justice in 78; militancy as a political option 74; nature of the Indian state in 67 – 8; over ground workers 71 – 2; public talk on militancy 74 – 5; reasons for militancy proliferating 70 – 1; roots and development of insurgency in 199 – 203; social roots of insurgency 196 – 9; Tehreek as a “social imaginary” 203 – 5; time to introspect 77 – 8 Kashmir Accord 203 Kashmir Awami Conference 199 Kashmir banega Dar as Salam slogan 72 Kashmir banega Pakistan (“Kashmir will become Pakistan”) slogan 72 Kashmir Kisan Mazdoor Conference 199 Kashmir Socialist Party 199 Kathua rape incident 88 Kato, Daniel 155 Keenan, Alan 57, 61 Kempadoo, Kamala 92, 95n5 Khalil, James 192 Khaliq, Abdul 109 Khalistan insurgency 7 Khan, Daoud 179 Khan, Dost Muhammad 178 – 9 Khan, Imteyaz 147 Khan, Junaid 149 Khan, Majid 75

Index  243

Khan, Pehlu 149 Khan, Saif 107 Khan, Sameera 117 Khan, Sardar Muhammad Daoud 183 Khan, Shahab Enam 214 khap panchayats (clan courts) 2 Khondker, Habibul Haque 215 Kile, Jeffrey 202 – 3 Kim (Kipling) 5 King Amanullah Khan 179 Kipling, Rudyard 5 Koenig, Francis 86 Kot Massacre 27 Krantikari Adivasi Bala Sangathan (KABS) 162 Krantikari Adivasi Mahila Sangathan (KAMS) 162 Krishnan, Sunitha 88 – 9, 90 Kristof, Nicholas 102, 104 – 5, 108 Kuravers 5 Lahore High Court 104 Lajja (Nasrin) 216 Lashkar-e-Taiba 75 Laurentian University, Canada 104 Lenin,V.I. 164 LGBTQ commuters 121 liberal free speech 39 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) 7, 8, 53 Lockheed Martin 86 Lokaneeta, Jinee 69 – 70 Lone, Sajad 204 Long Watch:War, Captivity and Return in Sri Lanka, A (Boyagoda) 53, 61 – 3 Lorillard 86 “love jihad ” 153 Loya Jurga conference 185 – 6 LTTE 12 lynching: defined 151; as performative symbolism 155 – 6; rise of 146 – 9 “lynch-mob rashtra” 10 Madhavapeddi, Karthik 153 Madhesi 24, 233 Madhesi Andolan 31 Madhesi Tigers of Nepal 233 Madiga, Krishna 38, 47 Madiga Reservation Porata Samiti (MRPS) 47 mahalwari (land tenure system) 3 Mahendra, King of Nepal 27, 226 Mai, Mukhtaran 14, 102 – 9, 111, 112n3 Majumdar, Suchismita 138 Malik, Inshah 195 Mandal Commission report 9

Mannan, Xulhaz 218 manspreading 119 Mao 202 Maoism 8, 226 Maoist Communist Center 8, 161 Maoist revolution in Nepal 2 Maoists, India 161 – 5 Mao Zedong 163 Maravars 5 Martin, Ian 23 Marx, Karl 42 – 3, 170 Massoud, Ahmad Shah 184 Mastoi, Taj 109 Matribhumi train 119 – 22 Maung Shue U 218 Mazari, Abdul Ali 184 Mazumdar, Charu 161 Mbembe, Achille 9 – 10, 53, 56 McAdam, Doug 16, 196 – 8 Mendis, G.C. 54, 55 Mev, Mohammad Ayyub 148 Middle Ages 54 Middle East 1 militancy: Islamists and 213 – 14; as a political option 74; proliferating, reasons for 70 – 1; public talk on 74 – 5; reasons for proliferating 70 – 1 Mir, Mugees Ahmed 72 Mobasher, Mohammad B. 188 Modern Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies 194 Modi, Narendra 46, 138 Mohammad, Bakshi Ghulam 200 Mohammed, Khalid 138 Mohan, Anand 193 Mohan, Rohini 53 Mohiuddin, Asif 216, 217, 219 Mohsin, Amena 211, 214 Moi-i-Muqaddus (the Holy Relic) 202 Mollah, Abdul Quader 216 Molson Coors 86 Moran, Christopher R. 5 MraukU dynasty 131 Mughal Empire 210 Mujahideen 13 Mujahideen (Holy Warriors) 71 Mujibur Rahman 8 Munda uprising in Palamau 4 Musa, Zakir 72 Musharraf, Parvez 104, 106 Muslims 1 “mythical violence” 6 Naikoo, Riyaz 71 Naipaul,V.S. 3 Najibullah, Muhammad 180

244 Index

Nandy, Ashis 11 Naser, Muhammad Abu 213 Nasrin, Taslima 216 National Conference 199 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) 145, 153 National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) 117, 234 National Investigation Agency (NIA) 138 nationalism, communalism and 6 – 7 National League for Democracy (NLD) 14, 131 National Liberation Front (NLF) 7, 202 National Register of Citizens (NRC) 2, 11, 137 National Registration Certificates (NRC) 130 National Socialist Council of Nagaland 7 national sovereignty 3; limits of 7 – 16; postindependence violence 7 – 16 Navlakha, Gautam 163 Naxalbari 8, 161 Naxalites 161 NDTV 88, 147 Neel, Niloy 217 negative peace 25 Nehru, Jawaharlal 199, 200 neoliberal extractivism 166, 170 neoliberal globalisation 165 neoliberal imperialism 165 neoliberalism 160; extractive capital and 165 – 70; state violence and 165 – 70 “neo-liberal pity politics” 107 neo-Orientalism 107 Nepal: bandhas in 224 – 5; history of violence and political order in 27 – 8; inequalities in 227 – 30; path to democracy and bandhas 225 – 7; political order and postconflict violence in 28 – 32; violence in post-conflict societies 25 – 7 Nepal Army 24 Nepal Communist Party (NCP) 24 Nepalese civil war 7 Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) 233 Nepali Congress (NC) 25 Nepal Police (NP) 25 Nepal Rastra Bank 231, 233 Ne Win 130 New York Times,The 102, 104, 106, 218 NGOs 111, 183 Nijjar, Surinder Singh 168 Nirbhaya rape case 83, 87 Nizam regime 8 non-timber forest products (NTFP) 166 Nu, U. 129

O’Boyle, Garrett 193 occupation, Afghanistan 182 – 4 “Occupy Movement” 215 Oli, Khadga Prasad “KP” 29 O’Neill, Bard 192 On Revolution (Arendt) 115 Operation Green Hunt 168 Operation Nagamin 130 Operation Sadhbhavana 205 ordinary crimes, rough justice or hate crimes 151 – 3 Orientalism 10; “synchronic essentialism” 1 The Origins of Totalitarianism (Arendt) 140 Over Ground Workers (OGWs) 71 Oxford Handbook of Refugees and Forced Migration,The 128 Oxford University Press 140 Paani, Pinaaka 164 Pacific Standard,The 57 Paharia revolt 4 Pakistan: Constitution 111; Penal Code (PPC) 104, 110; rape in 100 – 12 Palestinian Liberation Organisation 202 Parichiti (women’s organisation) 122 partition violence 6 – 7 Parvez, Khurram 67 Parvez, Rasel 216 Pashtun Wali 182 Patel,Vibhuti 90, 95n13 PBS-Frontline 86 peasant uprisings 3 PEN International 39, 45 People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) 179 – 80, 183 People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) 162 “People’s Movement” (Janaandolan) 226 “People’s War” 23 Perera, Suvendrini 63 Permanent Black 140 Persian Empire 178 “Perspectives for a Guerrilla Zone” 161 Phadke, Shilpa 117 Philip Morris 86 POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012) 88 Poligars peasant uprisings in Tinnevelly 4 Political Conference (PC) 16, 201 political Islam 185 political order and post-conflict violence in Nepal 28 – 32 “political upheavals” 4 politics of terror 61 – 3 Poojary, Praveen 148

Index  245

Pornhub 85 – 6 porno-capitalism initiative 86 pornography: and/as liberation 90 – 4; rape porn and violence of 86 – 90; violence of 86 – 90 positive peace 25 Postcolonial Theory and the Spectre of Capital (Chibber) 140 post-conflict societies, violence in 25 – 7 post-independence violence 7 – 16 power-sharing governments 26 Prachanda 28 – 30, 226 Pratt, Mary Louise 53 Prevention Of Terrorism Act (POTA) 5, 70 Problem of Speaking for Others,The (Alcoff) 106 Prophet Muhammad 72 Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCR Act) 42 Protection of Women Bill 104 Protracted People’s War strategy 161 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) 83 public talk on militancy 74 – 5 Pujari, Harish 150 Purakayastha, Anindya Sekhar 139 Pushpa Kamal Dahal 226 Qawm 180 Qisas law 110 Quit Kashmir Movement 199 Quran 110 Qureshi, Abdul Ghaffar 146 Rahman, Farabi Shafiur 215 Rahman, Shamsur 216 Rahman, Sheikh Mujibur 211 Rahman, Ziaur 211, 212 Rakhine Nationalities Development Party (RNDP) 132 Ram, Sanji 88 Ramabai Nagar killings 46 – 7 Rana, Jang Bahadur 27 Rana, Redwanul Azad 219 Ranada, Shilpa 117 ranaviruwas 61 Rangelov, Iavor 181 “Ranvir Sena” 8 Rao, Narasimha 149 rape in Pakistan 100 – 12 rape porn 86 – 90 Rashid, Sheikh Abdul 147 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh 154 “R.A.V. vs. City of St. Paul” 40 Raytheon 86 Razzaq, Abdul 103 Reddy, B. Sudershan 168 Refugee Convention, 1951 131

Refugee Status Determination (RSD) cards 136 Regimes of Narcissism and Regimes of Despair (Nandy) 11 Reliance Jio 85 re-Orientalism 1 Riaz, Ali 212 – 13 riotwari (land tenure system) 3 Robinet, Philippe 107 Rogers, John 54 Rohingyas: in Bangladesh 132 – 6; being stateless, where else can they go 139 – 41; ethnocracy, state violence and production of Rohingyas as Stranger 129 – 32; in India 136 – 9; as the nowhere-nation precariat 127 – 41; rethinking subaltern after the refugee crisis 139 – 41 Rossiter, Clinton 69 “Rowlatt Act” 5; see also Anarchical and Revolutionary Crimes Act Roy, Ajoy 215 Roy, Avijit 214 – 15, 216 – 17, 218, 219 Roy, Jogeshwar 218 Royal Nepalese Army 226 Russian Empire 179 Ryan, Caitlin 129 Ryan, Chris 90 Saffo, Paul 86 Saffron Revolution 14, 131 Said, Edward 1 Saldanha, Alison 153 Salwa Judum (“purification hunt”) 9, 167 Samaddar, Ranabir 137 SAMADHAN 15, 168 Sameer Tiger 71 Santhal uprising (1855–1856) 4 Schaefer, Roland 23 Schaffer, Kay 111 Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 see SC/ST Act Scheduled Castes (SCs) 38 – 42, 49n4 Scheduled Tribes (STs) 38 – 42 Schetter, Conrad 180, 183 SC/ST Act 12, 37 – 48, 48n2, 49n4 Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War,The (Mohan) 53, 59 – 61 “Second People’s Movement” (Janaandolan II) 227 – 8 Second World War 119 Sehrai, Mohammad Ashraf 73 Selvadurai, Shyam 63 Sepoy Revolt of Meerut (1857) 6

246 Index

sexual assault: Centre Against Sexual Harassment (CASA) on 117; defined 117 “shadow of sexual assault” 117 Shafiq, Mohammad 147 Shah, Alpa 4, 163 – 4 Shah, Amit 138 – 9 Shah, Bina 100 Shah, Nadir 179 Shah, Prithvi Narayan 27 Shah, Zahir 179 Shahbag Movement 215, 216 Shaikh, Mohsin Sadiq 146 Shamsuddin, Khwaja 202 Sharma, Dipak 120 Sharma, Pragyan Pradip 87 Sharma, Raghav 188 Shetye, Raj 87, 94 Shiv Sena 147, 154 Shuvo, Subrata Adhikari 216 Siddiqi, Dina Mahnaz 212 Sign of Four,The (Doyle) 5 Singh, Honey 13, 87 Singh, Jyoti 13, 83, 87; see also Nirbhaya rape case Singh, Manmohan 161 Singh, Ujjwal Kumar 69 Smart Cards 134 Smith, Nicholas Rush 111 “social imaginary” 199 Sontag, Susan 105 South Asia 1 Soviet Union 179, 183 Sri Lanka: affective dimension of conflict 56 – 9; civil war 3; from democratic icon to postcolonial trouble hot spot 54 – 5; “factional” representation of conflict 59 – 61; in historical and sociological narratives 54 – 5; A Long Watch 61 – 3; paradoxes of representing conflict and terror 63 – 4; politics of terror 61 – 3; postcolonial trouble hot spot 55 – 6; The Seasons of Trouble 59 – 61; The Story of a Brief Marriage 56 – 9; subjective experience of terror 52 – 4 Sri Lanka’s Secrets (Grant) 57 Stalinism 140 Standing, Guy 128 stateless person: de facto stateless 128; defined 128; de jure stateless 128 state violence: extractive capital and 165 – 70; neoliberalism and 165 – 70; and production of Rohingyas as Stranger 129 – 32

Still Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar (Sundar) 15 Stockholm syndrome 62 Story of a Brief Marriage,The (Arudpragasam) 52, 53, 56 – 9 Subaltern Studies project 5 Suh, Doowon 198, 203 Sundar, Nandini 15, 160, 161 – 70 Sundararajan, Aruna 85 Sunnah 110 Supreme Court of Pakistan 104 “Surgical Strike” 10 Suu Kyi, Aung San 14, 131 Swarup, Aditya 69 Sydney Morning Herald,The 57 Syed, Salma 109 “synchronic essentialism” 1 Talbot, Cynthia 6 Taliban 178, 183, 188 Taliban-style “theocracy” 188 Tamar revolt in Bihar 4 TAMPEP 2009 study 92 Tankel, Stephen 194 TATA steel 9 Taylor, Charles 199 Tehreek as a “social imaginary” 203 – 5 Tehreek-e-Azadi 195 terror: paradoxes of representing conflict and 63 – 4; subjective experience of 52 – 4 terrorism 1 – 3, 10, 14, 15, 70, 192, 193, 214, 217 Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act 5 Tesser, Lynn 23 Tharu 24, 33n2 Theros, Marika 181 Thiyunu Asipatha Yata (Under the Razor-edged Sword) (Thamilini) 60 Thugees of North India 5 “thugocracy” 188 Thurston, Robert 154 Tilly, Charles 196 TIME Magazine 103 Tohid, Owais 103 transnational corporations (TNCs) 166 Transparency International 230 Treaty of Sugauli 27 Tribhuvan, King of Nepal 27 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) 25, 76 Tutul, Ahmedur Rashid 218 Twelve-Point Agreement 227

Index  247

UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness 136 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons 128, 136 Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) 131 United Liberation Front of Assam 7 United Marxist-Leninists (UML) 23, 25 United Nations 127, 183 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons 133 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) 128, 132 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 115, 136 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 70 Unnao rape incident 88 Untoo, Mohammed Ahsan 78 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 131 Uri Army Camp attack 76 US Constitution 40 US State Department 217 US Supreme Court 40 U Wirathu 14 van Schendel, Willem 210 – 11 Varshney, Ashutosh 145 Vaswani, Kamlesh 83 – 4, 89 Vicex Fund 86 Vietnam War 202 violence: of biographies 100 – 12; caste 37 – 47; hate 145 – 6; partition 6 – 7; of

pornography 86 – 90; in post-conflict societies 25 – 7; post-independence 7 – 16; in public spaces 115 – 23 Vishvanathan, Shiv 11 Vishwa Hindu Parishad 154 Wani, Burhan 67 – 8, 70 – 1, 76 Wani, Manan 71, 204 warlordism, Afghanistan 182 – 4 War of Liberation 210 – 11, 215 Washington Post,The 106 Weinstein, Jeremy 192 West Bengal, women in 115 – 23 Western publishing houses 14 What Is To Be Done 164 WhatsApp 72 Widmalm, Sten 194 Wilkinson, Steven 145 Wirathu, U 131 women in West Bengal 115 – 23 Wood, Amy Louise 156 Wood, Ellen 165 World Bank 120 World War II 179 “Wrong Turn, The” 87 Yogi Adityanath 150, 151 Young Communist League 30 Yu,Yilin 106 – 7 Zakir Musa Tral 72 zamindari (land tenure system) 3 Zia, Khaleda 212 Zia-ul-Haq 110