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+ Demonstrating State Memory The Politics of Tribe and Counterinsurgency in Mizoram and Chhattisgarh Vasundhara Sirnate University of California, Berkeley.

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Presentation on theme: "+ Demonstrating State Memory The Politics of Tribe and Counterinsurgency in Mizoram and Chhattisgarh Vasundhara Sirnate University of California, Berkeley."— Presentation transcript:

1 + Demonstrating State Memory The Politics of Tribe and Counterinsurgency in Mizoram and Chhattisgarh Vasundhara Sirnate University of California, Berkeley

2 + INSURGENCY DEFINED… “An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict”. US Army, COIN Manual Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 2

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4 + COIN personnel speak… Chhattisgarh “They eat grass…Tribes have no medicines. Their average survival age is 40 years at the maximum. They still go to local “jhad-pooch” wallahs (witch doctors).” “How will they handle things on their own?” (signalling primitivity) Mizoram “We could never have won against the Mizos, we can never win against the Nagas. They are too well disciplined. Like an army.” “They have their own institutions, justice systems, people believe in them.” Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 4

5 + Pacting in Mizoram and Chhattisgarh? Chhattisgarh “May not work” “How can you pact with these people?” “Out of the question” “Need to be kept in line” Mizoram “Good warriors” “They know how to negotiate” “Well organized” “What else can you do, fighting with them is tough” “They already have local parliaments.” Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 5

6 + Countering Insurgency Why does the Indian state pursue different counterinsurgency strategies in different regions of India? Use heavy coercion (Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir) Pact with insurgents (Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland) Sub-contract force to private militias (Chhattisgarh) Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 6

7 + Research Design Qualitative, two years, deep-tissue fieldwork. 120 interviews, snowball sample. Extensive interviews with counterinsurgency personnel Paired comparisons, comparative historical analysis Lok Sabha debates, Constituent Assembly Debates, NDC dissertations, Census from 1891, anthropological works on tribes. 7

8 + Research Design- II Data collection from Asian Recorder and the Asian News Digest ( ). Currently doing this from The Hindu newspaper. 8

9 1009 Killed by Insurgents Attacks 9

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18 + Countering Insurgency Why does the Indian state pursue different counterinsurgency strategies in different regions of India? Use heavy coercion (Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir) Pact with insurgents (Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland) Sub-contract force to private militias (Chhattisgarh) Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 18

19 + Explaining variation State-memory Location of state (border or not) Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 19

20 + State Memory Perception of groups by the state maintained over time. “beliefs, perceptions, histories and ideas about groups” “territory” (how has a group been located geographically over time, Eg. “frontier” tribesmen) 20

21 + Demonstrating State Memory Do tribes located in different geographical regions receive different political treatment? 21

22 + ‘Ungovernable’ Tribes Idea of ‘primitivity’ allows for legislations like the Criminal Tribes Act. 127 ‘communities’ notified. (across India and Pakistan). Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 22

23 + Perceiving ‘Tribe’ State ‘identifies’ tribes (groups located in inaccessible areas, nomadic) Tribe as a residual category in the Census. Anthropologists see tribe as a concept in opposition to ‘civilization’. Tribes are in an intermediate state of civilization. Primitive, inferior, lacking skills or alternatively ‘noble savages’. Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 23

24 + “People from time immemorial have been pursuing the caste system defined job-positions: weaving, carpentry and such were hereditary jobs. So there must have been hereditary criminals also who pursued their forefathers’ profession…” - James Fitzjames Stephen Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 24

25 + Tribes in India 25

26 + But not all tribes are thought of as primitive Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 26

27 + How do we know this? Two Constitutional Schedules – the Fifth and Sixth Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 27

28 + Sixth Schedule Provides for Autonomous District Councils Highest expression of tribal sovereignty Has allowed many groups to scale down their demands Mostly for northeastern states (save Manipur) Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 28

29 + Fifth Schedule Allows for only a Tribes Advisory Council (no territorial powers given) Applicable to central India (and Manipur) Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 29

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31 + Counterinsurgency in Mizoram Operation Jericho in 1966 by the Mizo National Front Political negotiations on the cards almost immediately after Pact in 1987 with the center. Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 31

32 + Counterinsurgency in Chhattisgarh against Maoists Predominantly based on force Subcontracted force to the Salwa Judum (purification hunt) 32

33 + Case 2: Chhattisgarh

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36 + Brigadier Ponwar Counterinsurgency and Jungle Warfare college

37 + Theoretical contributions of project State memory affects political treatment Insurgent group contagion States function in competitive institutional environments, generated by‘credible rivals’ (different from threats). Counterinsurgency in IndiaVasundhara Sirnate 37


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