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The Politics of Refugees in South Asia

Partition and post-colonial migrations—sometimes voluntary, often forced—
have created borders in South Asia that serve to oppress rather than protect.
Migrants and refugees feel that their real homes lie beyond the borders, and
liberation struggles continue the quest for freedoms that have proved to be elusive
for many. States scapegoat refugees as “outsiders” for their own ends, justifying the denial of their rights, while academic discourse on refugees represents
them either as victims or as terrorists. Taking a stance against such projections,
this book examines refugees’ struggles for better living conditions and against
By analyzing protest and militarization among refugees, the book argues
that they are neither victims without agency nor war entrepreneurs. Through
interviews, surveys, and statistical analyses, it shows how states have manipulated refugee identity and resistance to promote the ideal of the nation-state,
thereby creating protracted refugee crises. This is evident even in the most
humanitarian state intervention in modern South Asia—India’s military
intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971.

Navine Murshid