South Asia has become the site of major civil or internal wars, with both domestic and global consequences. The conflict in Kashmir, for example, continues to make headlines, while those in the Northeast and central India simmer, though relatively unnoticed. There appears to be no clear resolution to the civil war and occupation in Afghanistan, even as Nepal and Sri Lanka work out their very different post-war settlements. In Bangladesh, the war of 1971 remains a political fault line, as the events around the War Crimes Tribunal show.

This volume demonstrates the importance of South Asia as a region to deepening the study of civil wars and armed conflicts and, simultaneously, illustrates how civil wars open up questions of sovereignty, citizenship and state contours. By engaging these broader theoretical debates, in a field largely dominated by security studies and comparative politics, it contributes to the study of civil wars, political sociology, anthropology and political theory.

This volume is one of the few books that is genuinely and equally representative of scholarship across South Asia, contributing not just to the study of civil wars, but also to the study of South Asia as a region.

Contextualizing Civil Wars in South Asia

Contextualizing civil wars in South Asia

In this chapter, we provide a background to the major civil wars in South Asia to help in contextualizing the chapters that follow, and to illustrate the entanglement of diverse factors in their origins, duration and conclusion; the regional interconnections of these wars; the way in which they flow from the particular contours of the state in South Asia; how they challenge state sovereignty, and their impact on civilians.

While classifying the conflicts by the causal factor with which they are most closely identified, we also show how the different factors blur into each other. For heuristic purposes, our broad categories include: civil wars born out of regional, linguistic or ethnic discrimination (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka); ...

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