Competing Conceptions of Nationhood: The Cultural Dimensions of India-Pakistan Conflict and the Subcontinental Security Dynamics

By H.M. Sanjeev Kumar.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cultural constructions have been a profound influence in fashioning the contours of global politics for a long time and contestations of identity have formed a critical sub-cultural variable in shaping its dominant patterns. Identity-based conflicts are one of the crucial components of international relations, and competing foundations of macro-social identity, such as religion, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, tribe and region have featured deeply in determining their matrix. Therefore, the diverse interpretations of nation and nationalism have been perilous for both internal and external security of polities. India-Pakistan adversarial relations, embedded in diverse expositions of nationhood and nationalism, are a fitting illustration of this phenomenon. The rudimentary forces, impelling the geopolitical conflict that has dragged the histories of both the countries down a static uni-directional path, are neither political nor military. Rather, they must be traced in the larger socio-cultural and psychological antecedents dating back to the days of partition. The juggernaut of globalization, with an inherent tendency to traverse territorial spaces and transgress trajectories of cultural sub-structures, induces demographic disembeddedness, dislocation of identity, and a sense of disengagement from the roots of origin. This accentuates identity contestations and deepens divergent assertions of nationhood and nationalism. In the subcontinent, it was the dichotomy between Hindu nationalism and subcontinental Muslim nationalism that formed the substratum of the fierce inter-state antagonisms that persists to this date. The forces of globalization have contributed towards heightening this competing vision, posing serious threats to subcontinental security.

Keywords: Subcontinental Muslim Nationalism, Hindu Nationalism, Two Nation Theory, Subcontinental Security, Nationalism, Nationhood, Globalization

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 9, pp.203-212. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 625.563KB).

Dr. H.M. Sanjeev Kumar

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Allahabad, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India

His area of specialization is democratization in South Asia, India-Pakistan relations and Subcontinental Security; nuclearisation of South Asia; and the role of the United States in subcontinental politics. His areas of interest also include contemporary issues involving Multi-Culturalism; World Order post-9/11; Globalization; the Role of Political Parties in shaping India’s Foreign Policy, etc. He has published extensively in these areas in journals of international/national repute. Currently he is availing the prestigious UGC Inter University Centre’s Research Associateship in Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla, where he is working on ethno-political conflicts in South Asia. He teaches Western Political Philosophy, Political Theory and International Relations to students from undergraduate/postgraduate classes, besides supervising doctoral research.

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