Democracy, Power and Violence in South Asia
Joint session of Indian Sociological Society, Bangladesh Sociological Society, Pakistan Sociological Association and Sociological Society of Nepal.
There are many factors uniting the South Asian region even though its nation-states have had a history of hostility, tension and mistrust. In addition to a shared history of feudalism, colonialism and cultural diversities, South Asia is characterised by a growing population, increasing poverty, weak governance structures with feeble democratic institutions, increasing militarization and sectarianism. Politicians and political systems in the region have used the power of money, position and arms to create different forms of government: democratic, socialist, military and monarchical and have pursued national security through destructive military apparatuses, rather than sought security for citizens by actualizing their creative potential. As a consequence, power dynamics have inflated different forms of oppression and violence, either during the electoral process or while securing political party positions.
This panel discussion will bring together representatives and experts from various South Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to discuss first, how military rule, monarchy and centralized autocratic political systems have been accepted within the framework of democracy in the region. Second it will discuss how these frameworks have not been able to provide opportunities to minorities and the marginalized. Thus, groups such as Dalits, tribal, ethnic and religious minorities together with women have been in covert and overt ways barred from participating in political decision-making processes and have faced the worst forms of violence.