Social Science Baha

Lecture Series

Self-Determination And Its Contestations: The Indian Experience

Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya
Lecture Series LXIX
October 28, 2013

Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya
Self-Determination and Its Contestations: The Indian Experience

Self-determination has been one of the most contested principles in International Politics, Law and Governance in our times. It has meant various things to diverse set of people: the right to independence, to secede, to form a federation, to obtain autonomy, to integrate, to assimilate, etc. In short, in social sciences in general, and political science in particular, it has meant that people be allowed to decide their own political destiny. It has been emphasised that unless people are allowed the right to exercise self-determination, the possibilities of their enjoying other rights–civil, political, economic, social, and cultural–remain elusive. Articulated initially by President Woodrow Wilson and later expatiated upon by Lenin, the principle was not only incorporated in various covenants, charters, and regional conventions, but was also internalised by the erstwhile colonies of the world. The concept has had wide and varied impact. Even in the post-colonial world, the concept has not ceased to excite or inspire ‘people’. No other concept has been so powerful and steeped in creating aspirations and hopes across the world as this. Naturally then, self determination has also generated a great deal of conflict, claims and counter-claims in the contemporary world. This lecture will examine the theoretical implications of this concept in the present era with the view of locating its exercise and implications in contemporary South Asia, with a special focus on India.

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Anjoo Sharan Upadhyaya is the ICCR India Chair at the Central Department of Political Science, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. She is on deputation from Banaras Hindu University, where she is a Professor of Political Science. Prof. Upadhyaya holds a PhD from Banaras Hindu University and a Master’s from Allahabad University. She has done post-doctoral research at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington DC, and The London School of Economics. She has published extensively both nationally and internationally on issues of self-determination, ethnicity, conflict, federalism, gender, and development. She has travelled and lectured extensively in the US, Canada, Europe  and Australia.

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