Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial (In)securities, and Gender(ed) Representations in South Asia's Nuclear Policies

Citation:

 

Das, Runa. 2010. “Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial (in)securities, and Gender(ed) Representations in South Asia’s Nuclear Policies.” Social Identities 16 (6): 717–40. doi:10.1080/13504630.2010.524780.

 

Author: Runa Das

Abstract:

Through a comparative study of India and Pakistan's national security discourses, this article explores the linkages between post-colonial India and Pakistan's nationalist/communalist identities, configurations of masculinities, and gendered representations underpinning their nuclear (in)securities. This paper contends that the colonial politics of place-making in the sub-continent has not only inscribed a process of ‘othering’ between these states but has also facilitated the rise of divergent visions of post-colonial nationalisms, which, at each of their phases and with particular configurations of masculinities, have used women's bodies to re-map India-Pakistan's borders and national (in)securities. This article particularly draws attention to a new form of gendered manipulation in South Asian politics in the late 1990s, whereby both states, embedded in colonial notions of religious/cultural masculinities, have relied on discourses of Hindu/Indian and Muslim/Pakistani women's violence and protection from the ‘other’ to pursue aggressive policies of nuclearization. It is at this conjectural moment of a Hinduicized and Islamicized nationalism (flamed by the contestations of a Hindu versus an Islamic masculinity) that one needs to provide a feminist re-interpretation of India-Pakistan's nationalist identities, gendered imaginaries, and their re-articulation of national (in)securities – that represents a religious/gendered ‘otherness’ in South Asia's nuclear policies.

 

Keywords: nationalism, communalism, gender, representations, nuclear insecurity, South Asian politics

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Femininity/ies, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India, Pakistan

Year: 2010

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