South Asia

Organized Panel Session

People’s Struggles Against Injustice: Global Aspects of Local Resistance in South Asia

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

Almost one-quarter of the world population lives in South Asia, and a vast majority of them are persistently struggling to overcome the limits of their livelihood, dignity, rights, and representation imposed by the caste and gender that they are born in. The papers presented in this panel covers the entire spectrum of resistance, ranging from every day and electoral politics to armed struggle that plays out alongside state structures and processes that oppose them. They show (a) how caste and gender remains central to all of them (b) how the state actors and institutions manage these popular grievances.


Bownas and Bishokarma focus on economic roots of social movements in Nepal, highlighting how marketization of traditional occupations galvanized caste groups into demanding greater political representation. Such caste-based political mobilization, Murmu argues, is, however, rare in West Bengal (India) because the erstwhile left government had successfully obfuscated the caste-based discriminations under the veneer of classless camaraderie. Sen’s paper shows how the Maoists, unlike the parliamentary Left in West Bengal, reinforced homegrown caste and gender-based cleavages by the universal class-based mobilization strategy in a way that energized grassroots and inadvertently invigorated the democracy they had wanted to overthrow. Verniers examines why gender parity in representation at the local level does not remedy low representation of women at the state and national assemblies of India. This interdisciplinary panel with its methodologically diverse papers generates insights on questions of resistance, representation, diversity and inclusion for academics, activists and policy makers in South Asia and beyond.

Send Email for Rumela Sen

N Chandrasekhar Rao

Institute of Economic Growth

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Richard Bownas

University of Northern Colorado, United States

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Ratna Bishokarma

Independent Scholar, Nepal

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Maroona Murmu

Jadavpur University, India

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Gilles Verniers

Ashoka University, India

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