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Ethnic Conflict in Central Asia
ISBN : 8177555529
Author : Geeta Lakshmi
Pages : 240 pp
Year of Publishing : 2002
Binding : Hardbound
Publisher : Cosmo Publications
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The book is an excellent piece of comprehensive research carried out on a very significant issue – Ethnic Conflict in Central Asia. This region provides ideal cases for studying ethnic conflict due to its strategic location. The present work is the first ever-successful attempt made to study the problem in question from a comparative perspective. Tibet and Kazakhstan are the two cases considered for this purpose. Under Communist rule, both Tibetans and Kazakhs suffered great losses-in terms of human lives, destruction of cultures, under development of native languages and attacks on religion and its manifestations, ultimately reducing them to minorities on their homelands. This book analyses the nationalities policies of the two communist regimes – China and Soviet Union – mainly focusing on developments since 1980s. The study reveals that the four modernization processes in China, Perestroika and glasnost in Russia gave more freedom to minority populations besides strengthening ethnic separation.
Concepts and methods from comparative studies, sociology, political sciences are widely used to make this study topical and relevant today. The main body of the study is historical analysis of ethnic conflict concepts and ethnic identity, as the two cases under study are rich in Buddhist and Islamic cultural identities.
The book is organized into seven chapters including a very balanced introduction. During the course of the study, the nature, content and consequences of ethnic demonstrations in Tibet (centered in Lhasa) and in Kazakhstan (Alma-Ata, Novy Uzen) are described in detail and compared with each other. Towards the end, the book views the emergence of central Asian states as a result of ethno-nationalist re-assertions and explains Tibet’s failure to achieve a similar status in comparative terms. Three maps, four appendices and select bibliography are highly useful and provide historical data and chronology regarding Tibet and Kazakhstan for further researches.
Conceptualization of the thesis and the conscientious attempt to collect necessary empirical data substantiate the discussions throughout the study. This work will no doubt prove to be a source of inspiration and enlightenment to the budding research scholars in this area. In letter and spirit, it is a valuable contribution to the existing literature.