Book Review: Andreas Rieck. 2015. The Shias of Pakistan: An Assertive and Beleaguered Minority

Published date01 August 2017
Date01 August 2017
Subject MatterBook Reviews
254 Book Reviews
to occupy their land and displace them from mining rich regions. During colonial
time, as Verghese mentions, it experienced two tribal revolts in 1876 and 1910
prompted by the British forest policy designed to raise revenue (p. 156). After
independence, the new government opted not to reverse many relics of the
previous British administration, including this forest policy (p. 161). Due to
the failure to reform, there were two notable postcolonial conflicts in Bastar
in the decades after independence with the raja and adivasis on the one side and
the new Indian state on the other (p. 162). The first incident occurred in 1961
and second one in 1966. March 25 is still venerated as balidan diwas or
‘Day of Martyrdom’ in the region. Gradually, the left wing extremists gained
prominence in the region due to exploitation and backwardness.
In the fifth chapter, Verghese studied the prevailing patterns of ethnic violence
which is mainly based on data prepared by Ashutosh Varshney and Steve Wilkinson.
Using the data, he found out that the districts which were under the princely states
still experiencing more communal riots when compared with those under the British
rule. His appropriation may be correct to a certain extent because with the rise of
right wing Hindu groups and their widespread presence it is difficult to make any
such concrete assessment. The last chapter focuses specifically on the Indian model
of colonialism where the British ruled with cooperation from the princely states and
mediators, instead establishing direct control over the country.
The hypothesis of Verghese is fresh and very important to study the ethnic
conflicts in India. It would have been more interesting if Verghese would
have taken one princely state ruled by a Muslim king. This would have helped to
understand how they used to handle their Hindu populace, the lower castes and
tribal population. Nevertheless, this book will certainly help the scholars who
seek to understand India and its ethnic problems.
Amit Ranjan
Visiting Research Fellow
Institute of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore, Singapore
Andreas Rieck. 2015. The Shias of Pakistan: An Assertive and Beleaguered
Minority. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. 540 pp. ISBN:
DOI: 10.1177/2347797017710751
In The Shias of Pakistan: An Assertive and Beleaguered Minority, Andreas Rieck
uncovers the interrelationships among sectarian communalists and between them
and the state that have shaped the context of the marginalization of Pakistan’s
Shias. The book begins with a summary of the history of Shias in India up to 1947
followed by a chapter on their contribution to the making of Pakistan. The next

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT