Propos recueillis par Corinne Deloy
Christophe Jaffrelot et Nicolas Belorgey
In 2009, India embarked on a scheme for the biometric identification of its people. This project was conceived by IT companies based in Bengaluru. The programme’s main architect, Nandan Nilekani, was in fact the head of one of these firms. The idea behind the project was to use digital technology – and the data it enables to collect – for economic ends. But to register the entire Indian population, the State had to be persuaded to be involved in the project, later named as "Aadhaar". The rationale that secured the government’s engagement was financial: using Aadhaar would help disburse aid to the poor while minimising the "leakages" caused by corruption and duplicates among beneficiaries. Yet, possessing an Aadhaar number gradually became necessary for a number of other things, too, including tax payment. When approached to rule on this matter, the Supreme Court dragged its feet and did not seek to decisively protect people’s privacy. As for the avowed aim of the scheme itself, Aadhaar did not improve the quality of the services rendered to the poor – far from it – and its economic impact, too, remains to be proven, even if operators who believe that "data is the new oil" consider benefits in a long term perspective.
Business and politics in India have been closely connected since the colonial era, when entrepreneurs financed politicians who, in exchange, spared them some of the bureaucratic red tape. This proximity has endured after independence, even if Nehru’s official socialism subjected it to some constraints. Far from mitigating corruption, economic liberalization during the 1990s actually amplified it when large investors, attracted by the opening of the Indian market, paid huge bribes to political leaders, who often became businessmen themselves and forced public banks to lend to industrialists close to them, while businessmen were elected to Parliament, increasing insider trading. As it is observed in the modern era under Narendra Modi, be it at the national level and in his state of Gujarat, crony capitalism is well illustrated by Modi’s relationship to Gautam Adani, the rising star of Indian business. Crony capitalism has a financial cost (due to the under-taxation of companies and dubious debts on the banks’ balance sheets), a social cost (due to underpaid work and a reduction of the expenditure of education or health for lack of fiscal resources) and the environment (crony capitalists disregarding the most basic standards).
Armed combatant and leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed by the Indian Army in July 2016. This killing triggered a new phase of insurgency in Kashmir. In the Valley, the local populace started mobilizing against the Indian State in the name of azadi, (freedom). In such volatile context, the production of the national sentiment of the Kashmiris is documented from a distanciated perspective. Frontiers of the national group are explored from New Delhi, as well as the logics of differentiation and otherification of the Kashmiri group towards the Indian one. Kashmiri nationalism therefore more clearly appears in a negative definition (what a Kashmiri is not) than in a positive definition (what a Kashmiri is). The slight and incremental slip of the meaning of azadi demands is at the heart of Kashmiri nationalism. From an original demand for greater autonomy within the Indian Republic, demands of azadi now refer to the independence of the Valley – yet there are nuances that will be studied. They also convey an utter rejection of “Indianess” whether national or citizen. In that respect, New Delhi’s negating the political aspect of the mobilizations that are taking place in the Kashmir Valley has dramatically fuelled the national sentiment of the Kashmiris. The current insurgency that started in July 2016 has sped up the pace of the process. Despite the escalating tensions in the Valley, New Delhi keeps refusing to consider the political dimension of the local social movements, be they violent or peaceful. That is the reason why, beyond Kashmir and Kashmiris themselves, studying the political demands of the Kashmiri population does shed a light on the functioning of the Indian nation and the Indian state.
Christophe Jaffrelot et Jasmine Zerinini-Brotel
Haryana CSDS Team with Ashutosh Kumar
Suhas Palshikar with CSDS Team
Suhas Palshikar, Sanjay Kumar
Sanjay Kumar, Alistair Mcmillan
Pakistan was created in 1947 by leaders of the Muslim minority of the British Raj in order to give them a separate
state. Islam was defined by its founder, Jinnah, in the frame of his “two-nation theory,” as an identity marker
(cultural and territorial). His ideology, therefore, contributed to an original form of secularization, a form that is
not taken into account by Charles Taylor in his theory of secularization – that the present text intends to test and
supplement. This trajectory of secularization went on a par with a certain form of secularism which, this time,
complies with Taylor’s definition. As a result, the first two Constitutions of Pakistan did not define Islam as an
official religion and recognized important rights to the minorities. However, Jinnah’s approach was not shared
by the Ulema and the fundamentalist leaders, who were in favor of an islamization policy. The pressures they
exerted on the political system made an impact in the 1970s, when Z.A. Bhutto was instrumentalizing Islam. Zia’s
islamization policy made an even bigger impact on the education system, the judicial system and the fiscal system,
at the expense of the minority rights. But Zia pursued a strategy of statization of Islam that had been initiated
by Jinnah and Ayub Khan on behalf of different ideologies, which is one more illustration of the existence of an
additional form of secularization that has been neglected by Taylor.
The inclusion of Hindu nationalist parties in India's democratic process has not resulted in their moderation in a linear way. Since 1947, the parties have oscillated between a sectarian strategy of religious mobilization and a more moderate one respecting the secular norms of the Constitution. Whether the Hindu nationalist parties opted for the path of radicalization or that of moderation has chiefly depended on their relation with their mother organization, the RSS, the perception of the Muslims that prevails at a given time in India, of the attitude of the other parties regarding secularism and - in correlation with the variables mentioned above - of the most effective electoral tactic.
Dag Erik Berg
This paper examines how the World Conference against Racism in Durban 2001 intensified an old debate in India about caste and race. The controversy arose after the ‘National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights’ wanted to present caste discrimination in Durban as equivalent to racial discrimination. The Indian government protested, and distinguished sociologists entered the fray by claiming that race is a western concept which cannot be compared to caste, strengthening the official position. Conceptual logic became central to the debate. First, the position represents conventional knowledge, which reflects the anti-colonial attempt to define race as being irrelevant to India. But, secondly, the scholarly discourse acted to exclude oppression from the debate in clear contrast to the Durban agenda on racism and intolerance. The debate showed, broadly, how Durban represented a transformative potential by connecting global racism discourse to the moral status of an embedded postcolonial state. Further, the paper argues that the dominating conceptual focus reflects a paradigmatic individualism, which informs the scholarly approach to modern caste formations. While individualist approaches exclude Dalit rhetoric as subjective, they do not sufficiently acknowledge that the exclusionary logics inflicted on Dalits in modern bureaucratic institutions is a racial dynamic. To shed light on the Durban controversy, the paper outlines the larger background to caste in India and provides examples of Dalit discourse. It also presents the formation of the human rights network and controversial issues regarding the way they define themselves as NGOs, Dalits and Christians. These attributed properties were fundamental for the debate(s). Durban cannot be seen as an episode with tangible empirical impact. Rather, the debate was an intense moment in an ongoing historical argument about hierarchical practices and equality in India as well as about its moral status in the global community. In December 2006, however, at an international conference in New Delhi, the Prime Minister of India compared the Dalit situation to apartheid.
« Long-distance nationalism », an expression coined by Benedict Anderson, is often used in reference to transnational political activities. But the dynamics of this expatriate nationalism tend to be neglected. Mere nostalgia or even spontaneous mobilisations are evoked to explain this phenomenon. They, however, fail to explain the mechanism that lies behind « long-distance nationalism ». This paper wishes to highlight, through the example of the Hindu nationalist movements, the implication of political entrepreneurs in the country of origin and the instrumental dimension of « long-distance nationalism ». The Sangh Parivar, a network of nationalist Hindu organisations, was indeed replicated among the Hindu diaspora and its structure was litterally exported by a centralised body located in India itself. Of course, the spread of the Sangh Parivar and of its Hindutva ideology abroad was greatly facilitated by local policies like multiculturalism and by the rise of racism in the countries of emigration. A comparison of Hindu nationalist outlets in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Canada brings to light the two main factors in instilling « long-distance nationalism » : a favorable local context for ethnic mobilisation among migrants on the one hand, and a centralised organisation in the country of origin on the other hand. Eventually, the engineering of long-distance Hindu nationalism from India questions the changing nature of nationalism in a globalised world.
The rise of both India and China at the dawn of the 21st century has been one of the main strategic stakes on which many international academic and political studies have been focusing since the end of the Cold War. With an almost two-digit growth, a booming trade, an ever increasing military budget, the possession of a credible nuclear force and asserted diplomatic ambitions on regional and international arenas, the simultaneous emergence of India and China have fascinated, but also raised many interrogations throughout the world. Will this emergence and the global Sino-Indian bilateral relationship be peaceful? Are the two Asian giants entrenched in a global and enduring rivalry? After a brief overview of the concrete rise of the two Asian neighbours on the international scene, this paper will analyse this phenomenon in the light of an original theoretical corpus, the “Rivalry” literature. Marginal in Europe, but well studied in the United States since the nineties, the “Rivalry” conceptual framework will enable us to see whether the bilateral relationship established by India and China might be theoretically qualified as a “rivalry” or if the expression has been too hackneyed. 1
Between 1984 and 1995, the Indian Punjab was the theatre for a separatist insurrectional movement led by Sikh irregular armed groups. Most Sikh militants who picked up the gun against the Indian state were male, but a handful of women also took part in this armed struggle, which also enjoyed some support from Pakistan. Rather than the motivations of the fighters, it is their individual trajectories that are explored here. Following a critical biographical approach, paying attention to the silences of the actors and to the distorting effects of their ex-post testimonies, this paper aims at unraveling the familial genealogies of these militant careers, before identifying their successive sequences. Through this exercise, it is possible to shed light on individual dispositions towards engagement. However, this preliminary exercise must be followed up by an in-depth study of the conditions of actualization of these dispositions into a sustained form of commitment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the modalities of recruitment into clandestine organizations, before turning to the practical and psychological dilemmas induced by the return of these combatants to civilian life, which remain understudied. By introducing gender into the scope of the study, this paper also aims at assessing the variations between masculine and feminine ways of being and having been in clandestinity.
The Maoist movement in India began to develop in the late 1960s, taking advantage of the political space provided when the Communist Party of India (Marxist) abandoned its revolutionary fight. In the early 1970s the Maoist, also called Naxalistes, were the victims of intense factionalism and severe repression which led the militants to retreat to the tribal zones of Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, their two pockets of resistance during the 1980s. This strategy explains not only the transformation of the Indian Maoist sociology (which was led originally by intellectuals but became increasingly plebian) but also its return to power in the late 1990s. That decade, notable for economic liberalization, witnessed the exploitation of mineral resources in the tribal regions to the detriment of the interests of the inhabitants. The growth in Maoism during the 2000s can be explained also by a reunification under the banner of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) which was created in 2004.
The reaction of the government in New Delhi to this phenomenon which affects half the Indian states has been to impose repressive measures. In contrast the Maoists see themselves as the defenders of a State of rights and justice.
Christian Milelli, Françoise Hay
The arrival in Europe of Chinese and Indian firms is a recent phenomenon, yet it should be viewed as one which will last as it results from the strong economic growth of these two Asian giants. In this light it is useful to spell out the principal traits of these investors which remain largely unknown in Europe outside a narrow circle of experts and which have their own unique characteristics which are, on occasion, similar; this diversity can be explained by their unique national histories. The various modes of interaction can be explained by the manner in which these enterprises establish foreign subsidies. An examination of the impact these firms have on European economies and societies can help avoid unfounded paranoia and better address possible risks. The principal message of this paper is that it is necessary methodically and periodically to follow this phenomenon which is only in its infancy.
The post-interventionist development adopted by Indian governments from the mid-1980s onwards has enabled companies to further participate in the economic growth. Still, growth benefits are very unevenly distributed while social and environmental externalities weigh more and more on Indian society. In such a context, while public regulation tends to reduce social and environmental judicial constraints in order to encourage rapid growth of investments, civil society groups are intensifying their regulatory actions on private companies, and advocate for a balance of public policies in favor of a better protection of the social groups most affected by economic activity, and for a better protection of the environment. As a response, big companies are revising their strategies and practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR), to preserve their social legitimacy and the conciliatory attitude of the State. This study explores the recomposition of relationships and balances of power between economic actors, the State and the civil society, in a context of national modernization. It provides a detailed analysis of stakes and dynamics within public and civil society regulation, as well as companies’ self-regulations.
Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has developed around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The emerging consensus among OECD countries embedded in the 1994 WTO agreement quickly collapsed after 1999, as the EU, Japan, Korea, and other countries led a counter-movement. The battle entails several dimensions—modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity—making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. This study analyzes the stakes in the battle for global governance, the key actors, and the principal battlefields. It then focuses on the roles of two key players, the EU and Japan, and how they led the move toward a more precautionary approach. The study reveals the political mechanisms behind this transformation, emphasizing the role of emerging civil society movements as the determining trigger for policy change.
Western theories of democracy are not always helpful in studying Third World democracy. One promising way to undertake analysis is to consider democracy not as a political system but as a "language". Whilst in India the written constitution was inspired by models developed in the West, in practice Indian democracy is not based on the values of individualism associated with a liberal ideology. Indeed, initially the nation itself and, afterwards, social groups were considered as the basic units of the political process. This was particularly the case in the early post-independance period under Gandhi's inspiration for he regarded the nation as being composed of traditional communities. Later Nehru would abandon liberal values as a part of a leftist critique, one that would favorize state intervention. Nevertheless the stronger state was not able to undertake the expected redistributive measures due to the conservatism of the Congress Party "bosses " who were above all the representatives of a ruling coalition of large landholders, a capitalist bourgeoisie and the public service elite. The only real sign of progress prior to Nehru's death was the replacement of the first element by an upwardly mobile group of wealthier peasant farmers. Through her populist discourse, Indira Gandhi was able to veer Indian democracy towards greater centralisation and a more pronounced personality cult. As a result the democratic process was discredited and a State of Emergency declared in 1975. The return to democracy in 1977 did not reverse these trends, at least until the liberalisation of 1991. Today Indian democracy remains threatened by powerful groups, the Hindus and the lower castes who, in the name of "majority rights", seek to take power and keep it once and for all. This would amount to ousting minorities from the decision-making process