This book offers unique insights into the changing nature of power and hierarchy in rural Pakistan from colonial times to present day. It shows how electoral politics and the erosion of traditional patron–client ties have not empowered the lower classes. The monograph highlights the persistence of debt-bondage, and illustrates how electoral politics provides assertive landlord politicians with opportunities to further consolidate their power and wealth at the expense of subordinate classes. It also critically examines the relationship between local forms of Islam and landed power.
The volume will be of interest to scholars and researchers on Pakistan and South Asian politics, sociology and social anthropology, Islam, as also economics, development studies, and security studies.
Nicolas Martin has written by far the best account I have yet read of the Hobbesian nature of power and violence in rural Punjab. . . . He also reflects deeply on the nature of Islamist resistance to the state in Pakistan. This is anthropology of the very highest order. A must-read book.—Stuart Corbridge, London School of Economics
Nicolas Martin’s admirably researched and well-written book is a highly important contribution to our understanding of political change and continuity in the Punjab countryside.—Anatol Lieven, Georgetown University in Qatar
Not many studies inform us on what is happening in the countryside of Pakistan. Nicolas Martin does . . . Having read his excellent work one understands why the land-poor and landless try and leave for the cities in search of a better life. — Jan Breman, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
The rich local detail of this work set in the Punjab puts it beyond comparison with recent writings on Pakistan’s political economy. The book’s wonderfully descriptive material is clearly and eloquently set out and the insights from this analysis throw an altogether new light on Pakistan’s overall politics and economics. — Philip K. Oldenburg, Columbia University
…this book is a much-needed addition in the study of the ‘everyday state’ in Pakistan and makes a persuasive case against the concept of the benign patron.
Mustafa Ahmed Khan, SOAS University of London
Foreword. Acknowledgements. Introduction 1. Setting 2. Debt and Bondage 3. Electoral Politics and the Reproduction of Inequality 4. The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend 5. Elections and Devolution 6. Islam, Selflessness and Prosperity 7. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index
Exploring the Political in South Asia is devoted to the publication of research on the political cultures of the region. The books in this Series will present qualitative and quantitative analyses grounded in field research, and will explore the cultures of democracies in their everyday local settings, specifically the workings of modern political institutions, practices of political mobilisation, manoeuvres of high politics, structures of popular beliefs, content of political ideologies and styles of political leadership, amongst others. Through fine-grained descriptions of particular settings in South Asia, the studies presented in this Series will inform, and have implications for, general discussions of democracy and politics elsewhere in the world.