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Singh, Gurharpal and Kim, Heewon (2018) 'The limits of India’s ethno-linguistic federation: understanding the demise of Sikh nationalism.' Regional and Federal Studies, 28 (4). pp. 427-445.

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From 1984 until 1993, the Indian state of Punjab witnessed a sustained insurgency by Sikh militants campaigning for a separate sovereign state. This insurgency was ultimately defeated by the overwhelming use of security force that officially resulted in the deaths of 30,000 people. By the mid-1990s, a ‘normalcy’ had returned to Punjab politics, but the underlying issues which had fuelled the demand for separatism remain unaddressed. This paper examines critically the argument that India’s ethno-linguistic federation is exceptional in accommodating ethno-nationalist movements. By drawing on the Punjab case study, it argues that special considerations apply to the governance of peripheral regions (security, religion). Regional elites in these states struggle to build legitimacy because such legitimacy poses a threat to India’s nation and state-building. In short, India’s ethno-linguistic federation is only partially successful in managing ethno-linguistic demands in the peripheral Indian states.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Sikh, ethno-nationalism, India, federalism, conflict
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of History, Religions & Philosophies > Department of Religions & Philosophies
ISSN: 13597566
Copyright Statement: © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Regional and Federal Studies on 16 Mar 2018, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2018 09:27

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