1st Edition

Democratisation in the Himalayas Interests, Conflicts, and Negotiations

Edited By Vibha Arora, N. Jayaram Copyright 2017
    222 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    222 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    222 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

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    Democratisation is a formidable task in the Himalayan region owing to its immense cultural heterogeneity. The process of democratisation has accentuated ethnic competition, assertion of identity, and demand for ethnic homelands to protect, safeguard, and promote political and development interests of various groups.

    This volume discusses competing interests; identity politics that permeates political formations, the transformations in the traditional forms of governance and their adaption to democratic institutions; the genesis and periodic eruptions of ethnic assertions, and attempts to resolve ethnic conflict. It shows how recent efforts at deepening democratic values and implementing social justice have been resisted and contested. The book argues that the play of ethnicity, the creation of political parties and interest groups, the emergence of social movements, and the voice of protest and opposition do not indicate a crisis in democracy but comprise the instruments by which the state is pushed towards reform, welfare, and inclusive politics, and is obliged to listen to the people.

    Rich in ethnographic research, this volume will be useful to scholars and researchers of social and political anthropology, political studies, South Asian studies, Nepal and Himalayan studies, sociology, and development studies.

    List of illustrations

    Notes on contributors



    Introduction: steering democratisation and negotiating identity in the Himalayas

    Vibha Arora and N. Jayaram

    PART I Shifting selves and competing identities

    1 Seeking identities on the margins of democracy: Jad Bhotiyas of Uttarkashi

    Subhadra Mitra Channa

    2 The politics of census: fear of numbers and competing claims for representation in Naga society

    Debojyoti Das

    3 The making of the subaltern Lepcha and the Kalimpong stimulus

    Vibha Arora

    PART II Negotiating democracy

    4 Monks, elections, and foreign travels: democracy and the monastic order in western Arunachal Pradesh, North-East India

    Swargajyoti Gohain

    5 ‘Pure democracy’ in ‘new Nepal’: conceptions, practices, and anxieties

    Amanda Snellinger

    PART III Territorial conflict and after 

    6 Demand for Kukiland and Kuki ethnic nationalism

    Vibha Arora and Ngamjahao Kipgen

    7 Displacement from Kashmir: gendered responses

    Charu Sawhney and Nilika Mehrotra




    Vibha Arora is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India.

    N. Jayaram is Visiting Professor at National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, India.