There seems to be no end to the growing number of victims of civil war, terrorism, guerrilla warfare and military repression on the Indian subcontinent, despite the absence of interstate wars over the past ten years. These conflicts often involve armed paramilitary militias or insurgents of one sort or other, and it is their ideology, sociology and strategies that the contributors to this book investigate. Whether based on ideological motives - such as the Maoists and Naxalites in Nepal and India - or invested with a fundamentalist religious mission - the Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal in India, the Sunni SSP in Pakistan, or Islamist militias in Bangladesh - all these movements use violence to exercise social control, challenge the authority of the state and impose their own particular world view. Although they seek also to undermine the state, depriving it of the monopoly on legitimate violence that it supposedly holds, governments are equally adept at exploiting them to make them serve their own ends. For the authorities, these movements can be useful tools for their pursuit of both moral and social order.
However delegating power to such groups for short term political gains can be an extremely risky enterprise, as demonstrated by Indira Gandhi's patronage of the Sikh militant group that later assassinated her. "Armed Militas of South Asia" is the first comprehensive book of its sort and will be required reading for all those interested in the politics of the subcontinent and Myanmar.
Laurent Gayer is a researcher with the Centre des Sciences Humaines in New Delhi; Christophe Jaffrelot is Director of CERI (Sciences Po,Paris) and the author of several acclaimed books on South Asia published by Hurst.
Introduction-(Laurent Gayer and Christophe Jaffrelot) | The Naxalites of Bihar: Between Arms and Urns-(Nicolas Jaoul) | Maoism and the Ethnic Factor in Nepal's People's War-(Gilles Boquerat | The LTTE: A Movement of Liberation and National Oppression-(Chris Smith) | Myanmar's Militia: Between Insurrection and Maintenance of Order-(Renaud Egreteau) | The Hizb-ul Mujahidin of Kashmir, Imaginaries and Clientelism-(Amelie Blom) | The SSP, Herald of Sunni Militancy in Pakistan-(Mariam Abou Zahab) | Islamist Militia in Bangladesh: Symptoms of a Weak State?-(Jeremie Codron) | The Hindutva Brigade and Cultural Policing-(Christophe Jaffrelot) | Militia of Khalistan: Servants and Users of the State-(Laurent Gayer) | Conclusion-(Laurent Gayer and Christophe Jaffrelot)