The No Nonsense Guide to Minority Rights in South Asia is a practical primer on issues related to minority rights in South Asian countries. The ‘minority’ in these countries is typically characterized by non-domination and powerlessness, two major markers apart from language, culture, religion and ethnicity. Hence, while defining minorities and minority rights in the region, the book examines in detail the State's role in recognition, protection, and exclusion of minorities in the socio-political context. It explores the process of ‘minoritization’, and evaluates the weaknesses of constitutional and legal frameworks that have contributed to the insecure conditions of the minorities in the region.
By taking a rights-based approach, the book clearly develops an understanding that majoritarian and authoritarian policies have always got an upper hand throughout the history of nation-building in South Asia. While elaborating on such ‘politics of recognition and inequality’ and ‘modes of exclusion’, it goes on to explore the ethnic composition of each South Asian country-India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bhutan. It presents a detailed account of the socio-economic inequality, religious and language discrimination, political under-representation and constitutional and legal oppression meted out to the minorities in these countries.
This book will be an important inclusion in the literature of Politics and International Relations, especially on Human Rights and Minority Rights. It will also be a useful guide for activists on minority rights to form strategies to counter oppression.
Chapter 2: State Ideology and Design
State Ideology and Design
In the political organization of their plural societies, South Asian states have experimented with different models, from federalism with special autonomies to unitary state structures; from multiparty democracy to partyless authoritarian and military governments; from a secular to a theocratic orientation; and from republic to monarchy. Whereas India has articulated an elaborate framework of constitutional guarantees for minority rights protection, in Pakistan, the Constitution is itself the source of discrimination and victimization. For the region's minority communities, it has been a common experience of discrimination and disempowerment resulting, in most cases, to submissive acquiescence, but in some others to resistance and revolt. For the dominant (majority) groups, minority rights are seen as challenging the state. The national security ...