Political violence has remained an integral part of South Asian society for decades. The region has witnessed and continued to encounter violence for achieving political objectives from above and from below. Violence is perpetrated by the state, by non-state actors, and used by the citizens as a form of resistance. Ethnic insurgency, religion-inspired extremism, and ideology-driven hostility are examples of violent acts that have emerged as challenges to the states which have responded with violence in the form of civil war and through violations of human rights disregarding international norms.

This book explores various dimensions of political violence in South Asia, namely in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Each chapter either speaks to an important aspect of the political violence or provides an overall picture of the nature and scope of political violence in the respective country. Political violence is understood in the larger sense of political, that is, above and beyond institutions, and also as an integral part of social relationships where social norms and the role of individual agency play seminal roles. The contributions in this book incorporate both institutional and non-institutional dimensions of political violence.

Exploring how everyday life in South Asian states and societies is transformed by the engagement with violence through direct and indirect methods, this book adopts an interdisciplinary framework; diverse methods are employed – from ethnographic readings to more macro level analyses. The phenomenon is explored from historical, sociological, and political perspectives. This book will be useful as a supplementary text in courses on South Asian Studies in general and South Asian Politics in particular.

chapter |12 pages


Perspectives on political violence in South Asia
ByAli Riaz, Fahmida Zaman, Zobaida Nasreen

chapter 1|13 pages

A taxonomy of political violence in South Asia

ByAli Riaz

chapter 2|12 pages

Towards a relational view of political violence

ByDavid Jackman

chapter 5|15 pages

State violence and the everyday

The ecology of suspicion and distrust
ByZobaida Nasreen

chapter 6|23 pages

Communal violence in India

Strategies for prevention
ByMaya Chadda

chapter 7|13 pages

The politics of Muzaffarnagar violence in 2013, Uttar Pradesh, India

ByMujibur Rehman

chapter 8|17 pages

State violence and youth resistance

Perspectives from Indian-held Kashmir
ByHafsa Kanjwal

chapter 9|15 pages

Maoism and political violence of the People’s War in Nepal

BySubho Basu

chapter 10|16 pages

Strategic logic of political violence in Pakistan

ByFarhat Haq

chapter 11|15 pages

Island of violence

Sinhalese Buddhist majoritarianism and ethno-religious conflict in Sri Lanka
ByNeil DeVotta

chapter 12|20 pages

Political violence and post-colonial state building in Sri Lanka

ByNirmal Ranjith Dewasiri