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Peace Is About Justice

Jayati Srivastava

Edited by Samir Kumar Das
Sage, Delhi, 2005, pp. 315, Rs. 380.00

VOLUME XXIX NUMBER 12 December 2005

The volume under review, edited by Samir Kumar Das, is the second in the series of volumes published under the South Asia Peace Studies series. The book takes a broader view of peace – as an integral part of rights, justice and democracy – rather than just confining it to war, conflict and security issues.      The chapters in this volume overwhelmingly conclude that rather than viewing an accord as a culmination of the peace process, it should be viewed as either a continuation of the same conflict or its metamorphosis. Accord “is only a moment in the process, which by no means inexorable or irreversible” (p 13).      The essays under section one engages in theorizing peace and can be seen as “experiments in a new sociology of peace” which are aimed at an understanding of peace rather than peace itself (p 17).       Ranabir Samaddar discusses the difficulties in adopting the maximalist model of accommodation, friendship and understanding in the context of South Asia, especially in relation with the multi-dimensional conflict scenario between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. He then goes into the discernible laws of understanding in the region and offers an alternative model of partnership and friendship for postcolonial South Asia. He argues that peace has to be decoupled from the stranglehold of territoriality. To capture the politics of understanding, Samaddar underlines the dynamic relationship between inequality, dialogue and trust.      Oren Yiftachel’s essay highlights the highly ethno-territorial nature of the Zionists and Palestinian nationalism. The chapter traces the historical roots of Palestinian-Israel nationalism and also captures the evolution of the conflict over a period of time. Unlike the dominant meta-theories of nationalisms (Hobsbawm, Gellner, Anderson and Smith) which Oren Yiftachel dwells upon at some length, the Zionists and Palestinian nationalism privileges dynamics and intricacies of collective space over national time, culture or economy. Here territory acts as the kernel of the nation where wide range of symbols and values and practices are intimately attached to national identity contextualize in a specific location, which captures the histories, cultures and desired destinies of both these nationalities.      Pradip Kumar Bose dwells upon the anthropology of reconciliation which the author argues generally comes as an appendage to the study of conflict and war rather than being the focus of the studies and thinking on peace. While touching upon some historical attempts at reconciliation across many nations and also the theoretical underpinning in the process of reconciliation, Bose ...

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