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Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood download epub

by Sankaran Krishna


Epub Book: 1894 kb. | Fb2 Book: 1999 kb.

The India intervention in Sri Lanka is also studied.

The India intervention in Sri Lanka is also studied. An engagement that cost India some soldiers killed, as well as the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi.

Home Browse Books Book details, Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and. Drawing on interviews with leading players in the Indian-Sri Lankan debacle, Sankaran Krishna offers a persuasive analysis of this episode

Home Browse Books Book details, Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and. Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood. Drawing on interviews with leading players in the Indian-Sri Lankan debacle, Sankaran Krishna offers a persuasive analysis of this episode. The intervention serves as a springboard to a broader inquiry into the interworking of nation-building, ethnicity, and "foreign" policy. Krishna argues that the modernist effort to construct nation-states on the basis of singular notions of sovereignty and identity has reached a violent dead end in the postcolonial world of South Asia.

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Postcolonial insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the question of nationhood. Inscribing the nation: Nehru and the politics of identity in India. The Global Economy as Political Space, 189-202, 1994. U of Minnesota Press, 1999. Cartographic anxiety: Mapping the body politic in India. Alternatives 19 (4), 507-521, 1994. Globalization and postcolonialism: Hegemony and resistance in the twenty-first century. Race and Racism in International Relations, 151-168, 2014.

The preceding chapters examined the social constructions of India, Sri Lanka, and the two Tamil nationalist movements as contested narratives

Postcolonial Insecurities counters the perception of ethnicity as an inferior and subversive principle compared with the progressive ideal of the nation. Krishna, in fact, shows ethnicity to be indispensable to the production and reproduction of the nation itself. The preceding chapters examined the social constructions of India, Sri Lanka, and the two Tamil nationalist movements as contested narratives. Throughout, the focus was trained on the interaction between ethnicity/nation, self/other, minority/majority, inside/outside, and various other antinomies in the production and reproduction of these selfsame identities.

Postcolonial Insecurities : India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood. This ambitious work explores the vexed connections among nation-building, ethnic identity, and regional conflict by focusing on a specific event: Indian political and military intervention in the ethnic conflict between the sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

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Volume 15 Sankaran Krishna, Postcolonial Insecurities: India .

Volume 15 Sankaran Krishna, Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood. It examines the interaction between the modern enterprise of nation building and the emergence of ethnic conflict in this area by focusing on a specific event: Indian political and military involvement in the struggle between Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka. It argues that the attempt to construct nation-states on the basis of exclusionary narratives of the past and univocal vi- sions for the future has reached an impasse. Volume 13 Frangois Debrix, Re-Envisioning Peacekeeping: The United Nations and the Mobilization of Ideology. Volume 12 Jutta Weldes, Constructing National Interests: The United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Volume 11 Nevzat Soguk, States and Strangers: Refugees and Displacements of Statecraft.

This ambitious work explores the vexed connections among nation-building, ethnic identity, and regional conflict by focusing on a specific event: Indian political and military intervention in the ethnic conflict between the sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Drawing on interviews with leading players in the Indian-Sri Lankan debacle, Sankaran Krishna offers a persuasive analysis of this episode. The intervention serves as a springboard to a broader inquiry into the interworking of nation-building, ethnicity, and "foreign" policy. Krishna argues that the modernist effort to construct nation-states on the basis of singular notions of sovereignty and identity has reached a violent dead end in the postcolonial world of South Asia. Showing how the nationalist agenda that seeks to align territory with identity has unleashed a spiral of regional, statist, and insurgent violence, he makes an eloquent case for reimagining South Asia along post-national lines -- as a "confederal" space.

Postcolonial Insecurities counters the perception of "ethnicity" as an inferior and subversive principle compared with the progressive ideal of the "nation." Krishna, in fact shows ethnicity to be indispensable to the production and reproduction of the nation itself.


Comments: (2)

Burirus
Krishna explains differing views of nationalism and ethnic identity, as expressed in India and Sri Lanka. For India, some of this arises out of religious differences with Pakistan. And for both India and Sri Lanka, the issues came out of the British

decolonisation. Each had severe problems making a national identity. The bloody separation between India and Pakistan is briefly gone into.

But, albeit on a much smaller scale, Sri Lanka also showed tensions. Between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority. President Jayawardene came to power and retained it, in part by cultivating a Sinhala identity. But others like Bandaranaike also exacerbated matters, by proclaiming Sinhala to be the only language of the government. The reaction was an increasing alienation by the Tamils. Later to flare into a simmering civil war by the 1980s.

An ironic aspect of Sri Lanka is that both Sinhalese and Tamils see themselves as embattled minorities. The Sinhalese peer over the straits at India and see Tamil Nadu, with over 50 million Tamils.

The India intervention in Sri Lanka is also studied. An engagement that cost India some soldiers killed, as well as the assasination of Rajiv Gandhi.
Gribandis
Krishna grounds his book in research he did in the summers of 1992 and 1993 in which he interviewed an impressive list of Indian and Sri Lankan actors in, and observers of, the late 1980s Indian intervention in Sri Lanka. He uses this research only as a stepping stone to a wider discussion of the relationship between the third world nation-state and ethnicity, which has wide - and painful - implications for the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka. He also concludes, as have numerous other observers that
"Buttressing the example of Dravidianism in India through its obverse is the tragedy of Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism. Sri Lankan Tamils could have been folded into the national family with relative ease in the early 1950s. Yet, the majoritarian impulse of Sinhalese nationalism (and the political opportunities emergent in its wake) precluded a compromise. Sri Lanka is proof yet again that majoritarian over centralization produces both irredentist violence and precisely what it fears most - namely, partition or secession. The desire for Eelam emerges as a direct consequence of the very imagination that animates most nationalists in South Asia. In that sense, the question of Eelam is not one confined to Sri Lanka but one faced by all the nation-states in the region." (p242)
Krishna's main policy conclusion is that South Asian nations must be reimagined as pluralist, egalitarian, democratic spaces, not spaces inhabited by one language, ethnic or racial group. Unfortunately, especially for the Sri Lankan situation, he makes absolutely no recommendations about how to get there from here.
The second major problem with the book is the shocking lack of sympathy for the Sri Lankan Tamil cause in the specific, particularly surprising from one with such a thorough understanding of the dynamics of its generation. One reason for this lack of sympathy is Krishna's allegiance to pluralism.
"...in contemporary South Asia, the fiction of homogeneity reigns hegemonic over both managers of the nation-state and the many insurgent movements fighting against them. The various Eelams of South Asia share the mono-logical imagination that forever seeks to align territory with identity in a singular and final fashion. They are essentially partition redux, and for that reason they constitute the farcical sequels to the initial tragedy. Hence, most insurgent movements in the region do not constitute an alternative to the existing spatial imaginaires of the nation, nor are they worthy of support by those committed to a pluralist and democratic ethos." (p242)
I wish he had listed one insurgent movement which does provide an alternative anywhere in the world. Where is this alternative being incubated? I also wish he had given more than vague pledges of allegiance to pluralism and democracy, but concrete examples of how this new world could be created, especially in a situation of pressure from the state. If one does not have territory, how can one experiment in government? If insurgencies are simply reactions to majoritarian impulses, how are they supposed to be more than mirrors of what they oppose? If the state uses any possible class, caste, geographical or religious difference to weaken its opposition how can pluralism develop?
Also surprising is that Krishna, like most observers, interviewed for his research project those who fight the LTTE, rather than those who sympathize with them. Considering the time and place of the interviews, right after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, the few Indian sympathizers of the LTTE were probably constrained to keep their mouths shut. Not one Sri Lankan LTTE sympathizer that I can identify was interviewed. It is astonishing to me that someone as sensitive as Krishna to the manner in which discourse follows the faultlines of power would have made such a basic mistake in trying to understand the IPKF incident. It does revel, however, to what extent Krishna's focus is India rather than Sri Lanka.
The end result of having such unbalanced interviews is a failure of interpretation of the specifics of the IPKF incident on Krishna's part. Most egregious is his accusation that the LTTE leadership wanted Thileepan to die to de-legitimize the IPKF. Krishna has not gotten a handle on either the popularity of Thileepan's project in Jaffna, the urgency of the grievances Thileepan was highlighting or Thileepan's own agency in his self-sacrifice. He calls the whole thing a `macabre spectacle,' but forgets to mention that J.N. Dixit, the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo, did not believe Thileepan would actually go through with his own death. He also does not deal with the failure of the Indians to recognize or honor a non-violent, quintessentially Indian, form of protest.
Krishna's interpretation - as it is a common one - has important consequences for future attempts to solve the Sri Lankan war, because even he believes the Tamil leadership will settle for nothing less than separation under any circumstances. This interpretation will lead to less of an emphasis on coming up with acceptable provisions of an accord and more on the need to destroy an uncompromising set of demons.
We must accept that it is very difficult for outsiders to develop a balanced view of the conflict because of a severe lack of credible, accessible sources. Those most intimately involved in the struggle are too busy to write their memoirs or interpretations of events, and security concerns constrain their accessibility. No powerful outside force is available to mentor sympathetic explanations of the Tamil side in the war. The past 5 years have seen a growth in the number of websites and newspapers addressing the issues, but, commonly, these resources seem to primarily communicate with the Tamil community rather than the outside world. (Mind you, communication within the community is exceptional.) At the same time the forces working to stigmatize the Tamil resistance as `terrorists' have made it unlikely that outsiders - even academics - will go to the effort of reading and absorbing the vast number of words available through the Internet. In any case such information is no substitute for the personal relationships which breed sympathetic understanding.
All these hurdles, however, do not do away with the need to be in a dialogue to the best of our ability with all those players in the outside world who affect events in Sri Lanka to make sure true versions of events and beliefs are heard. One never knows when we'll get lucky
Postcolonial Insecurities: India, Sri Lanka, and the Question of Nationhood download epub
Politics & Government
Author: Sankaran Krishna
ISBN: 0816633290
Category: Politics & Social Sciences
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Language: English
Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; 1st edition (October 25, 1999)