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Analysing Theoretical Models

Achin Vanaik

By Anuradha M. Chenoy and Kamal A. Mitra Chenoy
Penguin Books, New Delhi, India, 2011, pp.320, Rs.350.00


This is a high impact low fuss book. Within its covers the authors provide a remarkably comprehensive and lucidly written survey of the three geographical zones where armed conflicts are currently taking place within IndiaJ&K, the Northeast trouble spots of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Bodoland, and the Maoist resistance in the central forested regions of the countryone sixth of the countrys area in all. By the objective standards established by the Geneva Conventions these are all armed conflicts but are never described as such by the Indian government. The preferred labels are insurgency, militancy, terrorism, etc., because otherwise New Delhi could be held much more strongly to account for its behavioural disregard for the norms and rules of warfare as laid down in these Conventions. That would not do any good to the image that elite India and the state that succours this elite would like to present to the worldof an India that is not only rising but which proudly declares itself as the largest and enduringly vibrant of democracies!    This volume provides a more sobering picture of Indian reality. In nine carefully wrought chapters the authors take up and critique various theoretical models claiming to generally explain such armed conflicts; explore the political economies of the three conflict zones pointing out similarities and dissimilarities (there is also an historical overview of the Khalistan movement); highlight the gender dimensions and implications of such conflicts; locates their root causes while also describing the history, organizational makeup and programmatic perspectives of the various armed groups confronting the Indian state. Finally, the iniquities and brutalities of the Indian state itself are faithfully recorded and succinctly analysed. This is rich fare made highly accessible to both the serious scholar and the interested lay reader.    The vantage point from which this book is written reflects the intellectual and activist backgrounds of the authors. One is the coauthor of what has become an established reference work elucidating and defending a human security approach in opposition to conventional/traditional conceptions of security and its pursuit that only serve to rationalize and justify a states amoral pursuit of the national interest externally, and of maintaining law and order at all costs internally. The other is, besides his academic standing, a longstanding civil liberties activist who has participated in producing any number of reports detailing the violations of human rights by both state and nonstate protagonists as well ...

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