India-South Asia Interface raises the fundamental question: How does one make sense of South Asia? Conventional wisdom defines it primarily in terms of regional and international politics. The failures of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) are emblematic of that wisdom. Marking a departure from such approaches, Partha Ghosh makes the case that more than merely a political construct South Asia must be understood as a shared social consciousness. Through chapters that explore topics such as threats to democracy, religion and politics, the place of Kashmir, different conceptions of regionalism, the roles of America and China, and the issue of refugees and migrants, he demonstrates that there is no escape from reinventing the region from a people’s perspective. Only this way can South Asia retrieve its soul and replace its cynicism and despair with expectation and hope.
Based primarily on Ghosh’s research articles and newspaper columns written over the last five years, the volume can be viewed as an intimate statement of his understanding of the region; an understanding that has matured through decades-long interactions with the region’s academics, politicians, and the so-called ‘man on the street’. In some sense, the volume is also a semi-autobiographical treatise, which spells out Ghosh’s systematic evolution as a confirmed South Asianist. The region’s destiny ought to be wrested, he therefore argues, from the hands of its political leaders and returned to the common men and women of the region.
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Table of Contents
1. In Search of a Region 2. Religion and Politics 3. Kashmir Imbroglio 4. Illegal Immigration and the North-East 5. Islamophobia 6. Chinese Elephant in the Room 7. SAARC: Hoping Against Hope 8. Negotiating an Uncertain World 9. South Asia in Perspective: Some Memories, Some Reflections
Partha S. Ghosh is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi.