Civil Wars in South Asia: State, Sovereignty, Development


Edited by: Aparna Sundar & Nandini Sundar

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    List of Tables

    • 2.1 Size of armed forces by country 63
    • 3.1 Defence as a percentage of total government salaries and wages 84
    • 3.2 Ethnic composition of occupational categories for males aged 18–30 85
    • 3.3 Average salaries for Sinhalese males aged 18–26 (SL rupee/month) 88

    List of Figures

    • 3.1 Percentage of total income by ranked spending unit 81
    • 3.2 Sri Lanka, numerical strength of security forces, 1982–2013 84
    • 3.3 Sources of cash employment for Sinhala Buddhist men aged 18–30 with 10–11 years' education (Ampara, Trincomalee, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Moneragala, 114 observations) 86
    • 3.4 Civilian and military components of public sector employment, 1982–2012 91
    • 4.1 Transnational networks and power in Afghanistan 98


    This book originated in a workshop on Civil War in South Asia held at Delhi University in February 2010. We are grateful to the Wenner Gren Foundation and Delhi University for sponsoring the workshop, and to ICRC, New Delhi, for their support during the event. We are also grateful to Ryerson University, Toronto, Delhi University and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, Washington, DC, for providing the space and resources to prepare the manuscript for publication.

    Malay Firoz, Tanya Mathan, Chandana Anusha and Gurmeet provided invaluable logistical help in organizing the workshop. Cameron Harris, an enthusiastic intern at the Wilson Center, put together the comparative table in Chapter 2, and helped with referencing. We thank them all.

    We would like to thank Ranabir Sammadar, Felix Reategui and Michael McGovern for their help, encouragement and understanding on this volume. The contributors—some more than others—have been extraordinarily patient and cooperative. Along with the commentators and session chairs at the workshop, they have contributed to the conceptualization of the volume in significant ways.

  • About the Editors and Contributors


    Aparna Sundar is an Associate Professor at Azim Premji University, Bangalore. Her current research interests include armed conflict in South Asia, diasporas and conflict, labour and labour organizing, social movements, development and political ecology. Her monograph, Capitalist Transformation and Civil Society in a South Indian Fishery, is forthcoming in 2015.

    Nandini Sundar is Professor of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, Delhi University. She served as co-editor of Contributions to Indian Sociology from 2007 to 2011 and is on the board of several journals. Her publications include Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar (2007), published in Hindi as Gunda Dhur Ki Talash Mein (2009), Branching Out: Joint Forest Management in India (2001), and several edited volumes, including, most recently, Legal Grounds: Natural Resources, Identity and the Law in Jharkhand (2009). In 2010, she won the Infosys Prize for Social Sciences. Her current research interests include conflict in South Asia, counter-insurgency, inequality and democracy in India and the politics of law.


    Sanjib Baruah is Professor of Political Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. His publications include India Against Itself: Assam and the Politics of Nationality (1999), DurableDisorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India (2005), Postfrontier Blues: Towards a New Policy Framework for Northeast India (2007) and the edited volumes Beyond Counterinsurgency: Breaking the Impasse in Northeast India (2009) and Ethnonationalism in India: A Reader (2010). His current interests include the political economy of hydropower development in the Eastern Himalayas.

    Stephen Campbell is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. He previously worked as a researcher and writer with the Karen Human Rights Group from 2006 to 2009. He has written and published on issues of internal displacement, armed conflict and ethnic relations in Myanmar.

    Antonio Donini is a Senior Researcher at the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University, where he works on issues relating to humanitarianism and the future of humanitar ian action. He has worked for 26 years in the United Nations in research, evaluation and humanitar ian capacities. He has published widely on humanitarian policy and practice issues, including on Afghanistan. In 2004, he co-edited the volume Nation-Building Unraveled? Aid, Peace, and Justice in Afghanistan. He coordinated the Humanitarian Agenda 2015 research project which analysed local perceptions of humanitarian action in 13 crisis countries, and authored the final HA 2015 report, The State of the Humanitarian Enterprise. He has recently published an edited volume on the politicization and manipulation of humanitarian action: The Golden Fleece: Manipulation and Independence in Humanitarian Action, 2012.

    Gowhar Fazili is a PhD student at the Department of Sociology, University of Delhi. His thesis, which is in progress, is titled ‘A Sociology of Humiliation in Kashmir’. His interests include the study of societies in long drawn conflicts, problems of religion and modernity, political ecology and exploring alternatives to conventional modes of education. Most of his work as an activist, artist and scholar is focused around Kashmir.

    Haris Gazdar works on social policy and political economy issues. He has a Master's degree in Economics from the London School of Economics and has taught as well as conducted academic research in the UK, India and Pakistan. Besides his academic and consultancy assignments, he has worked on an honorary basis as adviser to research programmes, government and non-governmental organizations and political parties.

    Yasser Kureshi is a PhD student in the Department of Politics at Brandeis University, specializing in comparative politics. He is particularly interested in comparative judicial politics and comparative constitutionalism in transitioning political systems. He completed his BA at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008, majoring in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and History, and then completed his Juris Doctorate at the Boston University School of Law in May 2012. In 2009, he worked at the Collective for Social Science Research as a Research Assistant. Yasser has also interned at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Asia Society in USA.

    Alessandro Monsutti teaches anthropology and migration at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He has been a Research Fellow at the School of Oriental and African Studies (1999–2000) and Yale University (2008–2010), Grantee of the MacArthur Foundation (2004–2006) and Visiting Professor at the University of Vienna (2012). He is also Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre (University of Oxford). He has conducted multi-sited research since the mid-1990s in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to study the modes of solidarity and cooperation mobilized in a situation of conflict and forced migration. He has subsequently broadened the geographical scope of his research to include members of the Afghan diaspora living in Western countries. He is currently researching the political economy of Afghanistan through the circulation and use of transnational resources with the intention to highlight how the action of international agencies and non-governmental organisations contributes to the emergence of new forms of sovereignty and governance.

    A. Dirk Moses is a Professor of Global and Colonial History at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, and Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of German Intellectuals and the Nazi Past (2007) and has written widely on genocide in colonial contexts. His edited books include Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History(2004), Empire, Colony, Genocide: Conquest, Occupation and Subaltern Resistance in World History (2008) and The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies (co-edited with Donald Bloxham, 2010). He is finishing a book called Genocide and the Terror of History and is researching a concurrent project on The Diplomacy of Genocide. He is senior editor of the Journal of Genocide Research.

    Asad Sayeed is currently Director at the Collective of Social Science Research, a research and consulting organization based in Karachi. He completed his PhD from Cambridge University in Economics in 1995. He has been previously associated with the Social Policy and Development Centre, the Applied Economics Research Centre and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research. He also served as a Fellow at the Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, as the recipient of a scholarship from the Asia Scholarship Foundation in 2002–2003. Apart from research and consulting on social and economic policy issues, Dr Sayeed has researched institutional and political economy issues in the areas of labour markets, corruption, industrial policy, gender, health and corruption in Pakistan and Thailand. He is also involved in a number of policy-related fora instituted by the Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, and with non-governmental institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Pakistan Business Council and the Foundation Open Society Institute of Pakistan.

    Jeevan Raj Sharma is a Lecturer in the South Asia and International Development Programme at the University of Edinburgh. He has undertaken field research in Nepal and India. His research interests include labour migration, gender, social change, state, brokerage, political violence, politics and perceptions of foreign aid with an area interest in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and the Himalayas.

    Rajesh Venugopal is a Lecturer in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies at the London School of Economics. His research is on the political sociology of ethno-nationalism, ethnic conflict, market reform and development, particularly with respect to Sri Lanka. He has researched and written on post-conflict reconstruction, nationalism, development aid, private sector development and liberal peace-building.

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