OICSD Event: Nationalism and its discontents: excluded and stateless in Modi’s India

Speakers: Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Dr. Nikita Sud, Mirza Waheed, Prof. Subir Sarkar, Meena Kandasamy, Dr. Sneha Krishnan

Nationalism and its discontents: excluded and stateless in Modi’s India

Date: Thursday, 20 Feb, 17:00 - 19:30
Venue: Flora Anderson Hall, Somerville College
Drinks reception: 19:00 onwards


In its second term, the Modi government’s “bold” moves have sought to change the constitutional character of India. This event focuses on two prominent state interventions to springboard a broader discussion about democracy, citizenship, nationalism and statelessness: first, the revocation of Kashmir’s special constitutional status and second, the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which links Indian citizenship to religion. In response to both state actions, protests of varying lengths, scale and intensity have broken out across the country. These have been met with intense state repression, including police brutality, communication blackouts and curfews. In light of these deteriorating state-citizen relations, this panel discussion brings together experts from a diverse fields — academia, literature, science — to discuss the implications for the Indian polity.

Paths to Citizenship, Paths to Statelessness.
Keynote address by Professor Niraja Gopal Jayal, Centennial Professor, Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics, and professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University
The talk will discuss the implications of the CAA for the constitutional vision of citizenship in India, dwelling briefly on the clandestine legislative pre-history of this amendment. It will also analyse the potential impact of the CAA-NRC combination, on not just formal legal, but also substantive citizenship. 



Chipping away at political community in Gujarat
Dr. Nikita Sud, Associate Professor of Development Studies, University of Oxford

The making and unmaking of citizenship and belonging are the bedrock of the Gujarat model. Development is just the veneer. To understand the ambition driving Modi's New India, turning to the alma mater is instructive.


The Long Siege of Kashmir
Mirza Waheed, journalist and novelist
Kashmir, forcibly annexed, silenced and surveilled faces an existential threat like never before. What does the history of the Kashmiri people tell us about what might happen next?

The reaction of scientists
Prof. Subir Sarkar, Professor of Theoretical Physics, University of Oxford

“One of the most striking achievements of the Narendra Modi- led Bharatiya Janata Party government, which, surprisingly, it has missed boasting about, is its success in having brought scientists down from their ivory towers” (Editorial, The Telegraph, 8 Apr 2019). The speaker will briefly discuss these developments and its implications..

The Tamil question of citizenship
Meena Kandasamy, poet and writer

On the exclusion of Tamils from Sri Lanka in the Citizenship Amendment Act and the Sri Lankan model of demographic manipulation, where rendering someone stateless is a first step towards eventual annihilation.


Dr. Sneha Krishnan, Associate Professor in Human Geography and Tutorial Fellow at Brasenose College.

*Format: Keynote address (25-30 minutes), followed by panellists (10 minutes each), followed by moderated discussion and Q&A

To attend, please register here: https://www.some.ox.ac.uk/event/nationalism-and-its-discontents/