Higher research seminar with Swati Parashar: Colonial Legacies and Armed Revolts: The Maoist Movement in India
Convenors: karin.aggestam [at] svet.lu.se (Karin Aggestam) & anders.uhlin [at] svet.lu.se (Anders Uhlin)
Colonial Legacies and Armed Revolts: The Maoist Movement in India
Among several other legacies, the Indian postcolonial state inherited from its British colonial masters, was the reciprocal violence between the state and its subjects. The numerous disparate communities beyond the mainstream Brahmanical order were labelled as tribes by the colonial administration. There were a number of significant tribal revolts against the colonial state during the nineteenth and early-twentieth century; these revolts were crushed by state violence. The independent Indian state adopted colonial era laws, regulations and policies along with their orientalist undertones. This paper examines the connected histories of armed tribal and peasant revolts in India with reference to the ongoing Maoist conflict in rural and tribal areas of central and eastern India. The paper makes two interrelated arguments about the violent continuities that endure from colonial to postcolonial contexts: 1) The distrustful, hostile and alien stance of the Westphalian nation state system vis-à-vis the marginalised people that also makes the latter feel that it is violence alone which enables them to be heard. 2) The violent and repressive responses of the state to these armed revolts by those who challenge its sovereign monopoly over violence. The postcolonial state’s response is legitimised in the same idiom and justifications that mark violence against the third world in the name of the ‘global war on terror’.
Swati Parashar is Senior Lecturer in the School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, Gender, Peace and Security Centre, Monash University, Australia. Swati is interested in understanding and theorising the nature of political violence and wars in South Asia, particularly women as perpetrators and survivors of violence. Her interest in political violence is based on experiences of growing up in an India in the last two decades when state and non-state violence have been on the rise while political spaces have been marked by intense contestations among various actors. Her ongoing projects include a critical assessment of the Maoist insurgency in India and the ‘securitisation’ of development. She is also working on the politics of ‘difference’ and ‘location’ in feminist IR and post-colonial approaches.