Political Conflict in South Asia
Author: Gerald Peiris (St John's 1962)
Publisher: University of Peradeniya
Since the termination of European dominance over South Asia in the mid-20th century people living in most parts of the region have been plagued by various types of violent political conflict - some, excruciatingly prolonged and devastating in impact - most of which have roots in the colonial legacy. These range from international military confrontations and protracted civil wars to intermittent localised riots involving rival groups with distinctive primordial or associational identities. Documentary sources of detailed information (academic writings, official records and trails of media reports etc.) on these conflicts, though available in abundance, are widely scattered, with certain sources remaining confined to archival depositories serving exclusive institutional needs. This study is the product of an attempt, sustained over many years, to gather systematise, and synthesise the information extracted from these sources, adopting, where appropriate, a comparative approach, and highlighting thematic concerns (such as the highly complex poverty-conflict interaction, the phenomenon of youth unrest and its links with outbursts of collective violence, the processes referred to as 'criminalisation of politics', ethnonationalist impediments to national consolidation, and the ramified impact of external intervention in internal conflicts of the region) of salience to an understanding of the successes and failures of the South Asian countries in their post-colonial nation-building efforts.