What are the key sources of extremism and violence in post-colonial democracies? What forms of resistance and political mobilisation exist to offer hope for a progressive future in Pakistan and India? These are some of the questions that will be discussed and debated in this panel involving three activist-scholars.
India and Pakistan are two of the largest countries in South Asia. The neighbouring states are marked by volatile relations and have fought numerous wars. However, both of the countries – one seen as a stable democracy and another as one that is marked by struggle between military and civilian parties – have witnessed a conspicuous rise of extremism and violence against religious minorities, marginalised castes, the working classes and ethnonational people who have a contested relations with the State.
Professor Dibyesh Anand is the Head of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster in London. He is the author of monographs 'Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination and Hindu Nationalism in India and the Politics of Fear' and has published on various other topics. He is currently working on colonial practices of postcolonial states, with special focus on India in Kashmir and China in Tibet. Follow him on Facebook.
Dr Nitasha Kaul is a novelist, academic, poet, economist and artist. Her novel 'Residue' (Rainlight, 2014), shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize, deals with themes of (Kashmiri) identity, nation-state borders, and absence. Her first book was a scholarly monograph on economics and philosophy titled 'Imagining Economics Otherwise: encounters with identity/difference' (Routledge, 2007). Currently, she teaches in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster. She continues to write and speak on issues of democracy, political economy, neoliberalism, Kashmir, nationalism in India, populism, and Bhutan.
Dr Taimur Rahman is an academic, activist and musician (in the band Laal). He is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences. As the lead singer for Laal, Taimur campaigns against religious extremism and uses music to promote the rights of workers, recently visiting over 130 schools for the underprivileged and playing to over 40,000 to bring peace, tolerance and progressive ideas to Pakistan. He is also one of the leaders of the Mazdoor Kissan Party. He is the author of the book 'The Class Structure of Pakistan'.
This event is based on the Centre for the Study of Democracy's Post-colonial politics, development and emerging powers research theme. In addition to other issues, this investigates how religion, history, territoriality, political economy, militarisation, democratisation and resistance have contributed to a volatile politics that disconnects states and people. The explicit focus is on engagement with communities and impacting upon public debates around these contentious subjects.