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State and Nation in South Asia

Swarna Rajagopalan
State and Nation in South Asia
ISBN: 978-1-55587-967-9
ISBN: 978-1-62637-500-0
2001/233 pages/LC: 2001019069

"A substantive contribution to the issues of identity in the political arena.... [It can]be easily recommended not only to political scientists, but also to non-state political actors and policy-makers who are engaged in community building processes, Afghanistan being one recent example."—Stella Seibert, Contemporary South Asia

"The role of the state and nation has been etched very beautifully and comprehensively by the author."—Surinder K. Shukla, Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics

"Rajagopalan successfully provides an innovative approach to first-order concerns of the subcontinent."—Paul Wallace


What makes a national community out of a state? Addressing this fundamental question, Rajagopalan studies national integration from the perspective of three South Asian communities—Tamilians in India, Sindhis in Pakistan, and Tamils in Sri Lanka—that have a history of secessionism in common, but with vastly different outcomes.

Rajagopalan investigates why integration is relatively successful in some cases (Tamil Nadu), less so in others (Sindh), and disastrous in some (Sri Lanka). Broadly comparative and drawing together multiple aspects of political development and nation building, her imaginative exploration of the tension between state and nation gives voice to relatively disenfranchised sections of society.


Swarna Rajagopalan is a political scientist based in Chennai, India. Her publications include Re-distribution of Authority: A Cross-Regional Perspective (coedited with Jeanie J. Bukowski).


  • National Integration as Community Building.
  • State, Identity, and Ethnicity.
  • State Intervention and Integrative Strategies.
  • Building Communities Out of States: Two Principles.
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