Pressures on the internal unity of India : the case of Punjab

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Mark B. Rosenberg

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

John F. Stack

Third Advisor's Name

Farrokh Jhabvala


Sikhs, Punjab, Political activity

Date of Defense



The crisis of unity in multiethnic societies may be indicative of strained relations among various ethnic groups. Economic competition by a minority arouses resentment and envy in the dominant group. When the political development lags behind social and economic development, ethnicity is introduced into politics. If the system fails to resolve issues through institutional arrangements violence may become a mode of communication among these groups and the minority may attempt to secede.

The case of India provides an excellent example of particularistic associations. The Sikhs have played a significant role in the division of the subcontinent and the development of the economy, Tensions have resulted in violence and counter-violence by both minority and majority groups. India has failed to introduce institutional changes to fulfill the promises made by the secular constitution. The Hindu dominance and discrimination in case of Sikhs can not be denied. While the issues still remain, India faces the risk of secessionist movements not only by Sikhs but also by other regions where minorities feel having been discriminated.



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