Re-Interrogating Civil Society in South Asia: Critical Perspectives from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh [1 ed.] 0815385269, 9780815385264

This book offers an overview of the history and development of civil society in three major nations of South Asia – Paki

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Re-Interrogating Civil Society in South Asia: Critical Perspectives from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh [1 ed.]
 0815385269, 9780815385264

Table of contents :
Half Title
Endorsement Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
Preface and acknowledgements
Chapter 1: Dissemination of civil society in South Asia: Introductory considerations
The concept of civil society in South Asia
Recent changes in civil society
The South Asian setting
New threads in the role of civil society in South Asia
Covid-19 and religion 2
Part I: Multifaceted and local civil societies in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
Chapter 2: Building civil society in colonial India during the long nineteenth century
Chapter 3: Civil society in India: What is it and where is it going?
Civil society: definitional conundrums
Evolution of civil society in India
Social movements
Civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
Civil society in India: recent trends in the NGO sector
Shrinking spaces? Challenges before Indian civil society
Chapter 4: Clearing misconceptions about civil society in Pakistan
Civil society in Pakistan
Introduction of civil society in perspective
Historical background
Existing laws for registration of NGOs
The state of NGOs/civil society organizations 1956–2013
The state of NGOs/INGOs/civil society during the PML-N (2013–2018) and PTI (2018–) governments
Civil society on social media
Chapter 5: Civil society, human rights and political antagonism in Bangladesh
The state and NGOs: a perspective
The wider political terrain
The landscape of NGOs: the horizons of delivery
Human rights organizations: the ‘radical ‘reformers
Laws and politics
The consequences of dissent
Part II: Civil society’s multiple hues and roles
Chapter 6: Thieves and khoji s in a non-state, collectivist system of justice under transformation : An example from a village of Southern Punjab, Pakistan
Systems of justice: relational collectivism and individualism
Relational collectivism
Interaction between individual and relational-collective systems of justice, parallel use of plural systems
Thieves and khoji s: empirical data
Background: thieves and their image
Learning the trade
Housebreakers, grain thieves and cattle rustlers
Cattle rustling, individualism and relational collectivism
Khojis: trackers of thieves
Difference between experienced and inexperienced thieves
How the khoji art is learnt
Women as chors and khojis
Changing scenario of the villages
Introduction to overall changes
Changes in panchayats
Challenges for khojis and chors
Concluding comments
Chapter 7: Dilemmas facing civil society institutions in Pakistan: A case for organized labour
The paradigm of the labour movement
Historical ideological context
Labour policies under different regimes
Future trajectories of labour policies and implementing laws
Concluding remarks and challenges
Chapter 8: Bureaucratic empowerment as a tool for reproduction of inequalities
Bureaucratized empowerment in practice
How did we get there? Consequences of economic liberalization
Class matters
Chapter 9: Entertaining the possibility of society’s radical transformation : A personal view of Women Front (1974–1976)
The history
Published materials
Situating the ‘us’
Why WF?
Student wing
Factory work
Children’s literacy school
Flood relief
Cultural events
Co-operation with other groups
Where did it go?
Chapter 10: The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan: Ideology and functioning
I – Ideological choices
Democracy versus dictatorship
Secular and inclusive state versus a state defined by religion
II – Principles of functioning
Non-hierarchical functioning and democratic inclusion
Non-partisan/non-political affiliation
Rejection of external funding
The future of the Women’s Action Forum: critical questions
Chapter 11: Madrasas and religious maslak s as a case of skewed civil society in Pakistan
Political aspects of madrasas
Maslak s in the larger context of civil society in Pakistan
Ahl e-Hadith, Markaz al-Taiba in Muridke and Markaz Qadsia at Chowburji in Lahore
Ja’afri Shi’a Islam
Jama’at Islami
Other cases of collaboration and formalized networks between the maslak s
Perspectives for the future
Chapter 12: Striving for space in Pakistan under COVID-19
Part I: religious factions
Part II: tension between the state and civil society groups
Regulation of NGOs
Laws and policies introduced in last two decades
Civil society under COVID-19
Archival sources
Newspapers and weekly magazines
Part III: Civil mobilization among ethnic and linguistic minorities
The chapters
Chapter 13: The organization of the writers’ community as a linguistic minority : The Santal tribe
Approaches to civil society
The Santali writers
Examples of Santali writers as addressing a public sphere
Associational life
Examples of government regulation interference with the public sphere
Chapter 14: Imagining Santal rationality as empowerment
The development of Santal ideas about surplus and wealth
From social critic to the idea of rationality of action
Fieldwork evaluation 9
Indigenous knowledge
Contexts of experience and the emergence of a rational actor
How do men experience innovation?
Why social knowledge proves a failure
Value-oriented rationality and women’s agency
Women as ritual actors
Consumption, redistribution and the ambiguous gift
Women’s rights and women’s agency
Women’s agency and literacy
Chapter 15: Santals : Language, lyricism, emotions and identity
Santali language and a history of the creation of its script
A brief ethnographic note on the Santals
The spoken word and sung tunes: resonances in the heart
Orality against the trajectory of modernity in Santal society

Citation preview

Re-Interrogating Civil Society in South Asia

This book offers an overview of the history and development of civil society in three major nations of South Asia – Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – from colonial times to the present. It examines the liberalization of civil society since the 1980s, the needs it created for civil action, the professionalization of civil society organizations, and the extent to which civil society may benefit society at large in the context of local, national and global transformations in the economy, political regime and ideology. The reader will find new insights on the interaction between the liberalization of multifaceted civil societies in the three countries, presenting contrasts such as restrictions put on women’s organizations or labour unions and acceptance of religious organizations’ activities. The volume looks at forms of transfer of civil society models, representation and democratic legitimacy of civil society organizations such as nongovernmental organizations, government organized NGOs and faith-based organizations, along with the structuring of civil society through legal frames as well as female, religious, and ethnic mobilizations around language and literature. Using wide-ranging empirical data and theoretical analyses, it deals with civil society issues relating to human rights and political challenges, justice, inequality, empowerment, and the role of bureaucracy, women’s movements, and ethnic and linguistic minorities. It also presents early responses to the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, which created significant pressure on the states and on civil society. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of political studies, development studies, sociology, public policy and governance, law and human rights, as also to professionals in think tanks, civil society activists and NGOs. Peter B. Andersen is Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Rubya Mehdi is Senior Researcher at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark and has been Visiting Professor at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. Amit Prakash is Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.

Coming at a critical time when civil society in South Asia is facing multi-faceted challenges, this anthology is useful in many respects. While tracing the past milestones and analysing the present malaise, this brilliantly conceived and executed volume provides insights into what possibly could be done to keep the role of civil society intact and ensure its relevance in future. Syed Jaffar Ahmed, Institute of Historical and Social Research, Karachi, Pakistan As the world in general and South Asia in particular descend into deeper political and social turmoil, questions pertaining to the complexity, the real and perceived roles, and the multiple dimensions of what has come to be known as Civil Society take on heightened significance. This book is a very timely and perceptive study of this vibrant phenomenon as it has come to distinctively evolve in South Asia. From its western philosophical roots and constructs as well as its colonial antecedents, the authors astutely analyse the fascinating development of Civil Society into something organic, multifarious, contested, persecuted, defiant and emancipatory. Osama Siddique, Author of Pakistan’s Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice This edited volume is an example of uniformly excellent scholarship, adopts a varied set of approaches to dissect the nature and impact of civil society in Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. Its thorough coverage of various types of civil society by well-established experts is a must-read for scholars and students with an interest in civil society studies in South Asia. Ashok Swain, Professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden

Re-Interrogating Civil Society in South Asia Critical Perspectives from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh Edited by Peter B. Andersen, Rubya Mehdi and Amit Prakash


First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Peter B. Andersen, Rubya Mehdi and Amit Prakash; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Peter B. Andersen, Rubya Mehdi and Amit Prakash to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this book are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or editors. The analyses, interpretations, data and figures based on research material are intended here to serve general educational and informational purposes and not obligatory upon any party. The editors have made every effort to ensure that the information presented in the book was correct at the time of press, but the editors and the publisher do not assume and hereby disclaim any liability with respect to the accuracy, completeness, reliability, suitability, selection and inclusion of the contents of this book and any implied warranties or guarantees. The editors and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind to any person, product or entity for any loss, including, but not limited to special, incidental or consequential damage, or disruption alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by omissions or any other related cause. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-815-38526-4 (hbk) ISBN: 978-0-367-75439-6 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-16249-0 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by SPi Global, India


Contributors ix Preface and acknowledgements xiii 1 Dissemination of civil society in South Asia: Introductory considerations




Multifaceted and local civil societies in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh


2 Building civil society in colonial India during the long nineteenth century



3 Civil society in India: What is it and where is it going?



4 Clearing misconceptions about civil society in Pakistan



5 Civil society, human rights and political antagonism in Bangladesh




Civil society’s multiple hues and roles 6 Thieves and khojis in a non-state, collectivist system of justice under transformation: An example from a village of Southern Punjab, Pakistan RUBYA MEHDI



viii  Contents 7 Dilemmas facing civil society institutions in Pakistan: A case for organized labour



8 Bureaucratic empowerment as a tool for reproduction of inequalities



9 Entertaining the possibility of society’s radical transformation: A personal view of Women Front (1974–1976)



10 The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan: Ideology and functioning



11 Madrasas and religious maslaks as a case of skewed civil society in Pakistan



12 Striving for space in Pakistan under COVID-19




Civil mobilization among ethnic and linguistic minorities


13 The organization of the writers’ community as a linguistic minority: The Santal tribe



14 Imagining Santal rationality as empowerment



15 Santals: Language, lyricism, emotions and identity



Index 293


Karamat Ali, a founder member and currently Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), is a veteran trade unionist and labour movement activist. He also has been a leading participant in the peace process between India and Pakistan and in the South Asian Region. In the early 1990s, he launched global initiatives to promote and strengthen peace initiatives at both governmental and civil society levels. Ali has received many prestigious awards in recognition of his work, including the Didi Nirmala Deshpande Award for Peace and Justice (2013), the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia (ACHA) award (2008) and the Bulleh Shah (2007). Charles W. Amjad-Ali is Senior International Advisor and works for labour and human rights at the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research in Karachi, Pakistan. He has a distinguished international career in social justice, ethics and theology, and has spent a lifetime working and writing on labour issues, including publication of the first assessment of the Pakistani labour situation in the post-Soviet period. With a PhD and a ThD, he has published over 20 books and more than 600 articles around the world. Morten Koch Andersen is based at the Center for Global Criminology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and specializes in the interdisciplinary study of the nexus between corruption and human rights. He has published on this issue for more than a decade, with a special interest in political mobilization, violence, rule of law practices, impunity and citizenship. He has a PhD in international development studies, Roskilde University, and has worked with anti-corruption activists and human rights defenders in, among others, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, Libya, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Peter B. Andersen is Associate Professor in the Sociology of Religions at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and has a PhD. His main interest is the transformation of religion in modernity. He has written or edited five books as well 50 articles and chapters. In Europe, he has worked with surveys and is a member of the European Value Survey. In India, he has specialized on the Santal and Bodo tribes and interreligious contact.

x  Contributors Boro Baski is a trustee of the Ghoshaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust and co-founder of a non-formal Santal school, Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram, near Santiniketan, West Bengal, India. The school takes an innovative approach to Santal education, combining the needs of poor Santal village children with Tagore’s emphasis on learning through play, music, arts and mother tongue. With a PhD, he has translated three books and has written several articles on Santal culture and development in Indian and international journals and edited volumes. Kumkum Bhattacharya is Professor (retired), Department of Social Work, Visva-Bharati University, West Bengal, India, and has over 40 years of teaching and 30 years of research experience in the area of culture-personality studies and among the Santals. Ranjit K. Bhattacharya is former Director of the Anthropological Survey of India and Professor of Anthropology at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. He has extensive research experience among minorities and tribes in India. Marine Carrin is Director of Research (emeritus) at the Centre d’Anthropologie Sociale, Université (CNRS) in Toulouse, France. She has published extensively on Adivasis of Central India as well as on the bhuta cults in Karnataka. Her broad foci include symbol, ritual, language and community with politics often a subtext. Sumona DasGupta is a political scientist by training and currently an independent researcher, writer, consultant and trainer based in New Delhi, India. She has written extensively on issues around critical security studies, peace and conflicts, democracy and dialogue and politics in South Asia with a focus on India. She has taught in the Department of Political Science, Loreto College, Kolkata and was Assistant Director of the New Delhi-based Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace. She is a member of the Calcutta Research Group and has served as Chair of the International Advisory Group (IAG) of INCORE, University of Ulster, in Northern Ireland. She was lead researcher for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) for the EU project on ‘Cultures of governance and conflict resolution in Europe and India’. James Jaffe is a Fellow of the Institute for Legal Studies and Affiliated Professor of the Center for South Asia at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. He is also Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. He holds a PhD from Columbia University and has published on British labour and social history, as well as on the legal history of India. An annotated volume on collected documents related to the history of the Indian panchayat is forthcoming. Rubya Mehdi is a senior researcher at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, from where

Contributors  xi she earned her PhD from the faculty of Law. She has been Visiting Professor at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan. A renowned specialist on the legal system in Pakistan, she has published extensively in the field of Muslim legal traditions, legal pluralism and gender issues, for which she was awarded the Kafkatten prize in 2006. Her publications include three books and four anthologies. She is editor of Naveeñ Reet: Nordic Journal of Law and Social Research. Shafqat Munir Ahmad is a researcher, policy analyst, and humanitarian and development professional. Currently, he is associated with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Islamabad, Pakistan as a Research Fellow/Director, Resilient Development Programme. He earned his PhD in Pakistan Studies (Human Rights Policy and Influencing) from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He has served with Oxfam GB, Actionaid Asia and the UNDP/UNMC Regional Centre, Bangkok as well as with Pakistan’s leading English daily, The News. Amit Prakash, Professor of Law and Governance at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, and holds a PhD from SOAS, University of London. He has published widely in national and international journals, monographs and edited volumes. His areas of research include politics of development and identity; critical governance studies; conflict, governance and the state; democratic political process in India; policing in India; and, global governance; and he is a specialist in law and governance. Fauzia Rafique is an author, screenwriter and blogger based in Vancouver, Canada. She has published three novels (Keerru 2019/2020, Skeena 2007/2011 and SahebaN 2016) and two poetry collections. She did her Masters in South Asian Politics from SOAS after studying journalism at the University of the Punjab. She received WIN Canada’s Distinguished Novelist & Poet award in 2012 and, in 2013, declined the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She is a co-founder and the coordinator of the Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS). Anna Romanowicz teaches at the Department of Ethnology and Social Anthropology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and has a PhD. She is interested in class analysis, international development and, recently, practices of romantic love. Her most important work to date is Unintended Revolution: Middle Class, Development and Non-Governmental Organizations (2017), based on a doctoral thesis that was recognized as one of the top three dissertations in social sciences on Asia by the International Convention for Asia Scholars in 2017. Since then, Romanowicz has joined the Reading Committee for this prize. Rubina Saigol is the former Country Director of ActionAid Pakistan, and currently an independent researcher based in Lahore. She received her PhD in Education and Development from the University of Rochester

xii  Contributors and her MA in Development Psychology from Columbia University. She has authored several books and papers on feminism, nationalism, education, development, women’s rights, democracy, and the state. Her work has been published both nationally and internationally in Urdu and English. Yasir Sharif is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, Pakistan. His areas of teaching and research include conflict resolution, crisis management, Muslim political thought, external relations of Pakistan, and public administration with special reference to Pakistan. He has published on Iqbal. He also carries direct experience of participating in the conduct of elections for local, provincial and national elections in Pakistan. Sohail Akbar Warraich is a freelance researcher, trainer, writer, farmer and women’s rights activist based primarily in Lahore city of Pakistan. He completed his LLM from the University of Warwick in Law in Development in 2001. He has been working on areas of human rights, particularly women’s rights, in Pakistan for more than 30 years. From 2016 to 2019, he was member of the National Commission on the Status of Women and Chair of the Commission’s Committee on Law & Politics.

Preface and acknowledgements

The aim of this volume is to develop a coherent view on civil society in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This is pursued by addressing the historical background of South Asian civil societies in the ideology of the earlier colonial administration and tracking developments in each of the countries up to the present. These developments include the history of labour organization, movements working for religious modernization among Muslims and Hindus, and preferences for one or several languages, and the social-civil impacts of these preferences. The analysis includes the colonial building of a civil society inspired by liberal utilitarian ideas. For a long period, these ideas led to the intertwining of civil society organizations and political parties. Since about 1980, however, new liberal policies gradually came to dominate the three states, and this sometimes led towards the shrinking of civil society – as it may be considered – but also created a new need for civil society organizations that cater to the provision citizen services that governments cannot or choose to provide directly. Finally, the volume documents the effects and points to some changes in civil society due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The volume has been prepared by inviting specialists to write most of the chapters. As with so many other volumes on South Asia, many of us knew each other through the EASAS (European Association of South Asian Studies) and the Asian Dynamics Initiative (ADI) conferences at the University of Copenhagen. The editors want to express their gratefulness to EASAS and the ADI. We also wish to thank our copyeditor, David Stuligross, for bringing our texts into a much more readable form and to Alma Limkilde Andreasen for her general assistance.

1 Dissemination of civil society in South Asia Introductory considerations Amit Prakash, Peter B. Andersen, Rubya Mehdi and Yasir Sharif This volume enquires into the nature and impact of ‘civil society’, that is, of formal and informal, funded and non-funded, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In Western discourse, the concept of civil society began its life by addressing the society of the civitas in city-states from Roman antiquity to the Renaissance, which was characterized by a formally free and equal organization. This means that political organization to some degree was included in the concept and that the conceptualization of a political society and a civil society was indistinguishable. When the modern concept of civil society emerged in the political philosophy of eighteenth century Scotland and England, the emphasis was on the development of a free commercial society (Oz-Salzberger 2001, pp. 58–61). These eighteenth-century Western philosophers were clearing conceptual paths that facilitated social movement away from the autocratic social organization in their times and leading towards later democratic societies, and civil society has often been seen as an integral part of democratic societies. On the other hand, both autocratic and democratic governments have worked to regulate civil society. That may be down to the simple regulation of communication in the public sphere by censure, by lesser restrictions such as laws against blasphemy, or by informal pressure on the press. With regard to organized civil society, governments may deem organizations legal and acceptable whereas others may be deemed illegitimate, for one reason or another. As we shall see, governments in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have supported some civil society activities at some times while, at other times, they have implemented severe restrictions to the activities in civil society. Such developments date back to the colonial regime. Over the years, the government of the East India Company and the later Government of India under the British Crown revised and re-revised their attitudes towards, for instance, the freedom of the press, sometimes doing away with restrictions, sometimes introducing new restrictions and limitations. Some of these changes sprang from the government’s perceived need to regulate their political opponents, but other changes, such as, for instance, the freedom of the press, were introduced in order to open or close communication between the populations of India and the government. So, there are

2  Amit Prakash et al. no simple links between autocracy and civil society. In Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, there have been crackdowns on many activities in civil society, and the chapters that follow document continued crackdowns. At present, the situation seems to be developing towards further restrictions on civil society rather than towards further opening for different voices or organizations that aim to develop society.

The concept of civil society in South Asia Whereas the multifaceted concept of civil society stems from the West, related concepts have been developed in South Asia and, in modern times, these have been used to translate the Western concept of civil society into South Asian languages. The resulting understandings have come to cover a continuum of meanings ranging from their traditional meanings relating to social settings in South Asia to the international literature’s conceptualizations of specific approaches to civil society. One common way of conceptualizing civil society in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh is through sabhya samāja (Hindi) meaning ‘civilized society’, often understood as the least regulated and least governed society, or rather as a state of affairs where society has developed to a level of maturity, where it does not require the use of force from the outside to govern itself. A similar idea of a civilized society lying at the root of politically active civil society, in fact, has Aristotelian roots and permeates the writings of contractualist philosophers, too. The transformation of a civilized society into the contemporary notion of a politically engaged civil society has followed multiple trajectories in various contexts around the world. The transformation from a politically conscious ‘civilized society’ to the contemporary meaning of civil society in the South Asian context has been underway for a long time, as a number of South Asian politicians and intellectuals (for instance, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore [Chatterjee 2001] and Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar) have been critical of old-fashioned honours in the civilized society that legitimized social repression through the caste system. This conceptual transformation means that sabhya samāja or other terms stemming from the South Asian languages have come to refer to civil society in a modern sense, but, in fact, it is quite common to utilize the English concept ‘civil society’ to designate civil society in the languages of South Asia, hereby taking over some of the larger framing of the term as it has developed over the years. In Western discourse, the concept of civil society began its life by addressing the society of the civitas, that is to say, the city-state with its formally free and equal organization in the city states from Roman antiquity to the renaissance. This means that the political organization to some degree was included in the concept and that the conceptualization of a political society and a civil society was indistinguishable. When the development of the modern concept of civil society started with the political philosophy of the eighteenth century in Scotland and England, the emphasis was on the

Dissemination of civil society  3 development of a free commercial society (Oz-Salzberger 2001, pp. 58–61). It was not until the German tradition and G.W.F. Hegel that the modern conceptualization of civil society as specifically distinct from the state was explicitly formulated (Khilnani 2001, pp. 22–24). This distinction has later been differentiated in two directions. One of them of them is the conceptualization of the organized civil society regarding NGOs and other civil society organizations (CSOs) at large. The other is the conceptualization of a public sphere allowing for the free exchange of information and arguments for one or the other position. Both of these are often seen as correctives to the state by enabling the citizens to forward correctives to the government policies, and an enlightened government is in turn supposed to listen to the information about problems facing the population. A third approach to civil society is termed communitarian. It regards how the interaction in the social community takes place and what it means for the social cohesion of the society at large. There are historical studies of the gradual appearance of the civil society as an independent sphere between the state and the citizens (e.g. Habermas 1990), and it is beyond doubt that the meeting places and the communication in this independent sphere was part of the critical momentum breaking away from the former authoritarian regimes and towards the introduction of democracy in many European states. Later, many governments turned to support a number of the organizations that appeared in this non-government sphere. Such support may be indirect, for example through tax reduction on the membership and insurance fees for labour unions and unemployment insurances. It may also be through direct economic support for non-formal schooling or even the active establishment of NGOs created to serve policy goals the government wants to support. One specific case of the distinction between the state and civil society regards religious bodies. In the Western discourse on civil society, it has been common to look at civil society as secular and different from the religious bodies.1 It is not easy to consider a national church intertwined with the government (such as the Church of England) as an independent institution in between the government and the citizens. On the other hand, exclusion of religious bodies would give rise to analytical problems. Theologically defined NGOs are sometimes, but not always, formally independent from religious bodies. In the case of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, this analytical problem is acute, because government support for NGOs seems to vary, depending on the religious foundation of the NGO. In the present volume, this problem has been addressed by asking the authors to be clear about the relations between various religious bodies and the governments in case religious bodies come up in their analysis.

Recent changes in civil society The idea of civil society is often traced to Enlightenment philosophers − Hegel and the contractualists, for whom the civil society was the state itself.

4  Amit Prakash et al. The contemporary resurrection of the idea of civil society can be seen in a specific context of popular uprising against Stalinist regimes of Eastern Europe, leading to a significant role in defending political rights of citizens, alongside a parallel, and, as some would argue, related and widespread interrogation of the role of the Keynesian state. It was signified by complete disenchantment with vocabularies that spoke of taking over state power through revolutionary means, smashing the state, or transforming the state. Born into a world disenchanted with overbearing states, with political parties that preferred to follow the impulse to power rather than representing their constituencies, and with trade unions which had become bureaucratic and unrepresentative, the concept of civil society highlighted one basic precondition of democracy: state power has to be monitored, engaged with, and rendered accountable through intentional and engaged citizen action … [I]n the wake of the post-Washington Consensus forged by the World Bank, the state was brought ‘back in’: it was expected that the state would share its functions with civil-society organizations. (Chandhoke 2007, pp. 607–8) Thus, in addition to the historical evolution of a variety of organizational and political forms based on different conceptual and philosophical positions, the idea of civil society as the centrepiece of policy and contestation can be traced to the ascendance of neoliberal economics and the liberalization of the Indian economy in the late 1980s and 1990s. The meaning and role of civil society, as well as its organizational forms, need therefore to be interpreted within this framework, something that most papers in this volume seek to undertake. It is not coincidental that the ascendance of civil society temporally overlaps with the roll-back of the Keynesian state alongside curtailment of social democratic policies. The privatization of public services that has ensued since the 1990s provided a fertile ground for the growth of civil society organizations as service delivery agencies have arisen to supplement and cover gaps left behind. Dissatisfaction with and interrogation of the role played by the state in the provision of public goods led to global financial institutions and donors leading a common agenda of support for civil society as voluntary and service delivery organizations. Such an approach has been built into most aid policies of donor-led overseas development assistance as well as into multilateral lending by international financial institutions. Civil society organizations were thus seen to comprise only voluntary agencies … In the process of being presented as an alternative to the formal sphere of politics, the state, driven by the logic of power, and also the market, driven by the logic of profit, the concept has been abstracted from all debates and contestations over its

Dissemination of civil society  5 meaning, stripped of its ambiguities, its dark areas, and its oppressions, and presented to us as a sphere of solidarity, self-help, and goodwill. (Chandhoke 2007, p. 608) The net impact of this process was a phenomenal growth in the number of civil society organizations, which took a variety of forms and shapes. All manner of organizations, pursuing all kinds of objectives and supported by a variety of donors, emerged on the politico-developmental landscape of South Asia. Given that such a large space in the developmental sector came to be occupied by civil society organizations of all types and hues, they soon suffered from the Caesar’s wife syndrome. Questions of accountability and transparency that the civil society posed for various social, economic and political actors were also posed for them: how accountable and/or democratic are civil society actors, and to whom, and through what mechanisms? Simultaneously, two threads within civil society started to emerge: the first comprises those organizations concerned with deeper social transformation and mobilization and advocacy for fundamental structural changes. This thread of civil society activism is largely referred to as ‘social movement’, which acquired wide support and covered a wide variety of subject areas: from the environment to child labour and from an anti-personnel mines campaign to demands for more just and equitable economic and trading regimes. The second thread is constituted by those civil society actors that are more concerned with filling the wide chasm in social services left behind by the retreating Keynesian state. These actors acquired the organizational form of NGOs and rapidly acquired stable, professional, state-like bureaucratic structures and often worked closely as service-provider partners of various national, international and corporate entities. Such a trajectory of evolution for NGOs has also left them open to charges of being accountable vertically to their donors or horizontally to other similar agencies (peer accountability), and not to the constituencies that they seek to represent. Given this organizational and politico-developmental location of NGOs, it is perhaps no surprise that they are subjected to a variety of techniques of governmentalization and control by political authorities across the South Asian region. Increasingly, political authorities in South Asia require NGOs to comply with a host of reporting, licensing and permissions requirements – sometimes in response to the citizenry’s pursuit of more accountable NGOs but often for reasons of political approval and control. Moreover, new, hybrid forms of NGOs have emerged (for instance, GONGOs: government-organized NGOs) wherein NGOs become the preferred vehicles for a bewildering plurality of objectives on behalf of international, national and corporate actors. This mode of organization provides principal donors with a degree of deniability of responsibility of outcome, and creates a veneer of objectivity to the concerned NGO’s advocacy. The degree of autonomy that such NGOs commands vis-à-vis the political authorities is often a function

6  Amit Prakash et al. of the political dominance of the donor and not that of the overall political and policy environment. This kind of professionalized, bureaucratized NGO overlaps with older, voluntary organizational forms in the civil society, and the new forms of NGOs are shaped by the older philanthropic organizational space they partly occupy. Thus, a variety of confessional organizations whose social role overlaps with the service delivery role of NGOs make them conceptually indistinguishable to the extent that the confessional organizations may not always play a proselytization role. Further, the oft-argued political neutrality of both confessional social/ civil society organizations and more mainstream developmental NGOs, may often be merely a mythical postulate. Irrespective of the character, membership, funding source, relationship to confessional organization(s), affiliation to political or corporate entities, focus of work or level of operation (local or global), almost all NGOs play a significant political role, akin to the more self-professedly political social movement component of civil society in South Asia. Thus, the concept of an apolitical civil society that was propounded by the proponents of the neoliberal consensus since the mid-1980s is an oxymoron. All civil society actors – whether in the social movements or NGOs avatar – play a political role. The self-processed apolitical role that some adopt in the guise of being service delivery organizations is itself political, in the sense that these organizations uphold the broad status quo, save for the sliver of services they seek to provide to a select portion of their target population. This volume thus addresses some slices of the complex web of relationships that exist between civil society actors in South Asia’s wider socio-economic and political landscape.

The South Asian setting At Independence in 1947, the governments in India and Pakistan (West and East) saw civil society in a positive light. This had its background in the social developments during the early part of the twentieth century when a number of the social movements worked for issues such as (a) recognition of low caste and tribal groups; (b) improvement of education and the creation of an educational system of difference to the colonial educational enterprises; and (c) other issues that gradually differentiated into the political parties of South Asia. As the political organizations working towards independence had grown from other less ‘political’ civil society organizations, the parties after independence naturally had a positive inclination towards civil society organizations. This initial positive attitude towards the civil society has changed over the years, and has changed differently in India, Pakistan and since 1971 in Bangladesh. In each state, developments have taken many turns and many different directions, always in continuous interaction between local and international actors. Many of these developments will be outlined in the

Dissemination of civil society  7 following chapters. However, here, we must acknowledge the contributions of some of the important organizations, such as Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Voice Against Torture, and the integral role played by some individuals such as Asma Jahangir in the democratization of Pakistani society.

New threads in the role of civil society in South Asia India Civil society in South Asia clearly acquires multiple organizational forms and performs a variety of roles in the body politic of the countries of the region. The first decade of the twenty-first century saw a proliferation of the professionalized institutional expression of civil society in the form of NGOs, a large proportion of which were devoted to service delivery on behalf of the state, private/ philanthropic actors or foreign donors. However, the relations between the state and NGOs have been far from cordial, typically falling within a narrow continuum between grudging collaboration and suspicion of state control. A substantial subset of domestic NGOs is dependent on international funding, and they came to face a new obstacle in 2010, when new rules regulating their acceptance of foreign funding were promulgated under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. Initially, a large number of NGOs were granted the new permissions. However, as the decade progressed, many of these permissions were rescinded (Press Trust of India 2019) and additional requirements were put into place, leading to allegations of increasing state control, not mere regulation (Lalwani 2020). Paradoxically, however, the shrinkage in the space for institutionalized civil society also created a situation of expansion of non-institutional forms. In a sense, efforts to curb the political role of institutionalized civil society overlapped with an expansion of the civil society space available (or in any event used) for political protests. While there may be little causal relationship between these two paradoxical patterns, the second decade of the twenty-first century witnessed rising political action by the unorganized and non-institutionalized civil society. Expressions of such a political role for civil society include numerous student protests all across India on a wide variety of issues: from inefficiencies in delivery mechanisms and impact of economic reforms and liberalization to questions of institutional autonomy of universities and the right to affordable public education; from declining space for dissent to rights of the marginalized sections; increasing use of state power against students to questioning a variety of less than desirable social processes; and many more (see Nayar 2020). Arguably, the decade of protest culminated in the large-scale nationwide protests, beginning in December 2019, against a new policy retroactively revoked the citizenship status of millions of Muslims, most of whom had lived in India for generations.

8  Amit Prakash et al. The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, approved by Parliament on 12 December 2019, had been a locus protests even before it was passed. A series of fairly large-scale protests emerged in many cities across the country against this law, which seeks to relax the requirements for acquiring Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who migrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, provided they could prove they had entered India on or before 31 December 2014. At the same time, Muslims who could not prove they had entered India before this date would be recognized as non-citizens and prepared for deportation. In cities throughout the country, huge crowds protested about the Act’s undermining of the Indian Constitution’s guarantee that secular criteria would be used to determine citizenship. The exclusion of Muslims from the CAA was thus seen as undermining the very spirit of the secular Constitution, as were the privileges accorded others on the basis of their religious affiliations. The protests against the CAA overlapped and soon conjoined with other protests already underway in Assam (Deka 2019) and other neighbouring states against the problems with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which was intended to identify insiders and outsiders specifically in Assam, under the direction and monitoring of the Supreme Court of India. What would have been only a regional issue hence erupted into a national one with the proposals to institute such an NRC across the country, starting with a National Population Register (NPR) that was supposed to collect detailed information about every resident in India at the same time the decadal census, due in April 2020, was conducted. Widespread fears that each citizen would need to provide legacy proofs in order to be included in the national NRC (NH Web Desk 2019) added intensity to the protests, as did reports that construction had begun on detention centres to house those identified as ‘illegal’. The CAA-NRC-NPR protests were marked by the fact that there was no identifiable political group or party that was spearheading or managing them. Citizens, leveraging their citizenship rights, appeared to be constituting themselves as a politically active and relevant civil society in its classical rendition, asking questions of the state and demanding remedial action. The symbols mobilized by these protestors included the national flag and the Indian Constitution (public and collective readings of the Preamble to the Constitution were marked events at most protest sites and locations), as well as art forms such as paintings, street art and poems. Arguably, a new, politically engaged civil society was witnessed, one that studiously avoids any resort to violence (even in the face of resolute riot police action) but equally studiously, stands for constitutionally guaranteed rights, especially that of equality. These protests showed no signs of abating until the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic obliged the protestors to suspend their protests in order to protect the health of many, protestors included. Whether these protests will re-emerge in the post-Covid-19 period is something that only time will tell.

Dissemination of civil society  9 While the CAA-NRC-NPR protests are a particular expression of the civil society in its classical role of holding the state accountable and upholding the social contract, the reason for the suspension of these protests – the Covid-19 pandemic – also demonstrates a peculiarly involved civil society in its effort to bridge some of the yawning gaps left behind by state inaction. The Covid-19 pandemic in India led to a declaration, on 24 March 2020, of a complete lockdown across the country with effect from 25 March 2020, initially for a period of 21 days. This breathtakingly sudden suspension of all economic activity led to a widespread trauma amongst the poor workers, many of whom were migrants from other parts of the country and hence lacked social resources to help them tide over. They had no savings, and now they had no means to purchase food and essentials or pay rent for their tiny makeshift shelters in the cities they serve. The state-led effort to bridge the food gap was limited in both its reach and its administrative coverage. Numerous reports attest to the inability of state agencies to swiftly provide food in all the major areas of suffering, as well as to administrative shortcomings that lead many in areas ostensibly served, nonetheless, to fall through the cracks. Many civil society components, including voluntary agencies, individual citizens, NGOs and even socially engaged corporations mobilized swiftly to try and provide cooked food to those to needed it. The flexibility and swiftness with which the civil society was able to mobilize funds, volunteers and distribution networks attests to the continued relevance of the idea of this third sector – both as a central analytical anchor in social sciences and as a collective arena of social action by an engaged citizenry. The nature and character of the role played by civil society in swiftly providing food to hundreds of thousands, perhaps, millions, of poor migrant workers is quite different from that witnessed during the CAA-NRC-NPR protests. In the latter case, we can see a more classical expression of civil society as a constitutive part of the state and therefore, being able to leverage its right under the theory of popular sovereignty to hold the state accountable. In the former, we see a civil society that is able to easily morph to assist fellow citizens in their hour of need. The future course of both these strands will only be known in times to come. Pakistan The liberal politics of the Government of Pakistan has left substantial parts of social welfare provision to the civil society and civil society organizations, and this dependence continues to increase. At the same time, the Government of Pakistan has hit international non-government organizations (INGOs) hard with an administrative demand to re-register, with the practical effect of bureaucratically impeding their ability to receive or distribute foreign contributions (see S. Munir in this volume; ICNL 2015; Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division FCRA Wing 2013; Mufti 2019). This 2013 policy has introduced numerous cumbersome demands for annual reregistration, as well as demands for hard-to-obtain No Objection Certificates for

10  Amit Prakash et al. every single activity conducted. As a result, a number of organizations have closed down or relocated to provinces that do not implement the provisions as aggressively. Formally, about 3,250 NGOs were closed by the Baluchistan government in October 2017 (Mufti 2019). The government offers two official reasons for the increased demands on INGOs and NGOs: to minimize corruption in civil society and to fight terrorism. However, the course of the policy goes far beyond these arguments as the difficulties arising from the bureaucratic demands impedes the continuation of many legal civil society organizations. Accusations of terrorism have been used indiscriminately against civil society organizations like workers unions (Amjad-Ali and Ali in this volume). One example is that the leaders of the Railway Drivers Association were arrested under terrorism laws for arranging a strike in 2018 (Mufti 2019). As the agricultural sector is not recorded as an industry, agricultural labourers are forbidden to organize in large parts of Pakistan. Many student organizations also have been forbidden. Covid-19 reached Pakistan at the end of February 2020, and the public response to the disease quickly developed its own momentum. The country partly closed down on 13 March 2020. The government took the initiative to establish a new organization to fight Covid-19, the Corona Relief Tigers, with the aim of distributing food directly to people’s homes as announced on 27 March 2020. Four days later, steps were taken to distribute monetary packages directly to relevant persons. Many decisions regarding lockdowns and relief were taken by the provincial governments, so it is not easy to provide a description of the developments (for further information, see Chapter 12 in this volume). The deep conflict in Pakistani civil society between religious organizations defending patriarchal positions and other organizations defending, for example, women’s rights (Khawar and Shaheed 1987; Saigol in this volume), education and inclusion of minorities became visible during the Covid-19 crisis. Early on, the government bowed to demands by Islamic organizations to continue holding congregational meeting. One such meeting became a super-spreader event that led to a temporary setback for the general influence of religious groups (Sohail in this volume). In the early phase of the lockdown, the government collaborated with civil society organizations for relief, and in this phase the government and some province governments eased many of the restrictions and bureaucratic red tape on civil society organizations, but after a short while the governments changed the policies and returned to the usual restrictive procedures. Bangladesh Civil society organizations are essential to service provision for the citizens of Bangladesh (e.g. M.K. Andersen, this volume), but various governments have tried to reduce the influence of service providing organizations that also promote structural change in one or another way. The Foreign Donations

Dissemination of civil society  11 Act introduced in 2016 has raised significant administrative troubles for NGOs and put an end to much relevant social work. The media are also under severe pressure, partly exerted through formal legislation, which has resulted in ‘a widespread practice of self-censorship by most media outlets’ (Rezwan-ul-alam 2018). In response, bloggers and others have tried to address the public in alternative ways, but the legal formulations are so flexible that innovative elements of civil society also risk being swept up in the state-control net. Bangladesh was an early responder to Covid-19 pandemic – it imposed travel restrictions in January 2020 – but the pandemic reached the country and was widespread by March 2020. The government declared a lockdown from 23 March to 30 May, which was later extended in different areas. Despite these strong steps, all districts of the country were severely hit by the pandemic. This development has led to critiques of the government’s handling of the pandemic, to which the government has responded with steps that limit communication, especially by academic specialists and members of the opposition (Human Rights Watch 31 March 2020). In consequence, international observers like us do not have sufficient information to certify how the government utilizes laws and regulations to curb criticisms and impede the civic space of voice and participation. The political regime seems to be trying to consolidate itself on the basis of rule through law, not rule of law (M.K. Andersen, this volume). The government soon initiated packages to support export businesses, but it took to the end of April before the government began to implement food programs and provide economic support to unemployed workers (Daily Star 1 May 2020). Limited government action has heightened the need for emergency relief, and a number of initiatives from registered NGOs as well as unregistered ad hoc organizations have appeared. Covid-19 and religion2 The lockdowns in South Asia hit during the Muslim Ramadan and the Christian Easter celebrations, which usually draw large crowds for public gatherings and family parties. In addition to these events, most religions have expected days of communal worship that unify the adherents. Such events were forced to be cancelled, due to Covid-19-related government policies. Fortunately, most religious bodies supported the lockdowns and many took to live streaming sermons and prayers. Few super-spreader events were reported. Christian denominations generally followed the lockdown instructions, but as Christianity consists of many denominations organized down to independent church assemblies, it is impossible to formulate any simple rule that fits all. The Roman Catholic Church is easiest to address, as it is governed through a hierarchical organization. Following directives from the Pope, India’s dioceses closed their churches and supported relief operations at many levels.

12  Amit Prakash et al. India’s Sunni-oriented Darul Uloom Deoband issued a fatwa that kept mosques open, but only five congregants could be present at any time. Muslims in India faced a general backlash in response to March 2020 events held by the Tablighi Jamaat (The Society of Preachers), some of which became super-spreaders. In Pakistan, Barelvi authorities supported the lockdown, while some of the leading Deobandis demanded the early opening of mosques.

Contents The volume is divided into three parts, the first of which explores the origins of civil society and how it has evolved at the national level in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Many have argued that civil society in South Asia could already be found in the councils (panchayats) that traditionally governed village and caste affairs. M.K. Gandhi, for instance, based significant parts of his social politics on this foundation. Jaffe’s historical analysis demonstrates that contemporary panchayats are more consistent with Scottish utilitarian thinkers’ imagination of civil society than with their traditional namesakes. He argues that in the early part of the nineteenth century, British notions of civil society ‘fostered the growth of a landed class, and promoted the rule of law’. This idea later became the foundation for the development of a liberal economy in the towns and finally was reformulated to become an essential part of the nationalist movement (see also Chapters 3 and 11). DasGupta’s chapter on civil society in India frames the transformation of civil society in India during the last few decades in the context of the Gandhian institutionalization of civil society organizations during the 1920s. She shows how radical movements working for the peasants and workers have led to political transformations and how some of the radical movements later gradually became institutionalized as parts of government organizations after democratic changes of the political situation. A case in point is the communist-led Government of West Bengal, 1977–2011. Since the 1990s, India’s NGO sector has undergone major changes as economic liberalization has led to outsourcing of responsibility for some training and social development to NGOs. New government funding has led to a new professionalization of the NGOs, but also has diluted their independent voice. Further, a number of legal initiatives taken by parliament since 2010 have increased the burdens of registration and reporting and thus created serious problems for the running of the NGOs. As stressed by Munir in his chapter on civil society in Pakistan, a number of non-violent civil society organizations that sprang from a Muslim theological conceptualization had worked against the British colonial regime since the 1920s. Since Independence, however, military governments have consistently repressed civil society and the track record of civilian governments has been mixed. Labour unions are forbidden and the laws regulating civil society both make it troublesome and sometimes impossible to register NGOs and also hinder collaboration with INGOs. These troubles have

Dissemination of civil society  13 increased during the government of 2013–2018, and the present government’s approach to engaging with NGOs is, as yet, unknown. Civil society in Bangladesh worked in a positive consort with the government during the first years after Independence in 1971, but governments since then have put critical NGO voices under control. As a result, civil society organizations have, by and large, limited their activities to service delivery and micro-credit, as documented in M.K. Andersen’s chapter. Andersen shows how so-called ‘radical’ organizations gradually have disappeared from the scene, and how some of the few long-lived critical organizations have been brought under control by legislative means. As in India and Pakistan, various Bangladesh governments have issued several acts that obstruct NGO attempts to collaborate with INGOs. Whereas the chapters on India and Pakistan document how governments have structured and limited the voices of the civil society, Andersen advocates a scholarly rethinking of the relations between government and civil society. The second part of the volume comprises a collection of essays that assess the quality of civil society in South Asia in certain, specific contexts. Just as the appearance of civil society in Europe did not happen due to any linear and ordered process, and Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have responded to civil society in different ways. A common thread, though, can be seen in the attempts by each of them to bring civil society under various kinds of control. Aspects of these processes are addressed in the following part, which attends to transformations of civil society. The first chapter by Mehdi addresses a case illuminating the expansion of the state apparatus in Pakistan. It concerns the traditional system of detection of theft and identification of thieves on the rural side. Here khojis or traditional detectives helped the villagers, landlords and village councils in detecting thieves. The thieves were, however, not anti-social forces from the outside, but locals, and the chapter documents the bonds between thieves and khojis in the traditional village setting. These kinds of micro-level collaborations are gradually disappearing with the increase of mobility and the expansion of the state apparatus. The work to build representation for the workers in South Asia goes back to Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s political work during the 1920s, which materialized in the Trade Union Act 1926. Although the Act was never fully implemented, it set the frame for trade unions in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. In their general study of the dilemmas facing the civil society institutions in Pakistan, Amjad-Ali and Ali probe deeply into the development of the organization of labour. They stress that there have been only small differences in the policies implemented by military and civil governments. They also point to the fact that the economy of Pakistan over time may face trouble from international consumer boycotts or international sanctions insofar as labour is not regulated in accordance with universally acknowledged minimum labour standards. An ironic result of the harsh treatment of the labour unions and other civil society organizations by Zia-ul-Haq’s military regime has been the creation of longstanding NGOs that continue to resist military regimes.

14  Amit Prakash et al. The government’s liberalization of the civil society led the NGOs to professionalize in order to meet a new regime of control. In India, government took responsibility for funding many activities in the NGO sector and it has been estimated that the funding was about equally split between foreign donors and the Indian government in the early years of the 2000s (e.g. Kilby 2011, p. 46; Chandoke 2011). Governments and foreign donors demand that the NGOs develop reporting standards documenting that the projects are conducted in accordance with the donor’s aims and wishes. In the case of an NGO aiming to prevent prostitution and sex trafficking, Romanowicz demonstrates how the demands for reporting leads to the marginalization of the targeted group of women. Even if their empowerment is the central object still, they are not engaged in the development of programs and carrying them through. Instead, we come to know about cases of how the employment in this and other NGOs become part of careers of middle-class women who have never been sex-workers. In Pakistan, where the women’s movement is identified as a women’s rights movement and not as a feminist movement (Shaheed 2010), women-run NGOs have played a crucial role since Independence. In Chapter 9, Fauzia Rafique describes her personal experiences while working with the Women Front (WF) in the mid-1970s. The women in WF radically put their ideas into action. Rafique’s narration shows how young women’s struggles at that time were profoundly forward-looking and with a left-orientated existential niche until the military regime’s Islamization policy threw back women’s status by introducing a mountain of legislation that formally degraded the position of women in society (Mehdi 2013). In response, as shown by Rubina Saigol’s analysis of unique and central role of Women Action Forum, the form of the women’s struggle changed into a resistance movement against laws and rules debasing the position of women. Zia’s military regime sought legitimation through Islam claiming that it supported the right and proper position way to organize society. This meant that the regime turned to political groups like the political party Jama’at Islami and religious groups like the Deobandis and other, smaller, groups within Sunni Islam. This policy had negative implications for government-neglected groups within Sunni Islam, such as the Barelvis and the Shi’as. Yasir Sharif and P.B. Andersen approach these developments as instances of state support for the construction, by state-supported groups, of civil society institutions such as schools and madrasas. This is rather the opposite of saying that the state is building a full-fledged civil society, as these supported groups defend rightist positions, sometimes by violent means. In this empirically rich chapter, the authors document how state policies skew civil society. For a short period, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic during the spring 2020 turned the odds from the rightist Islamist groups towards other groups within civil society. The major reason was that a number of Islamist groups insisted on violating the social distancing policies recommended by

Dissemination of civil society  15 the Government of Pakistan and provincial governments, thereby disseminating the virus and delegitimizing the religious demands for congregational worship. Initially, national and provincial governments collaborated with a number of civil society organizations in order to bring relief and communicate to the public. A development when combined with electronic conferences and meetings over the internet opened for collaboration among civil society organizations in areas where the restrictions on the civil society formerly had made such collaboration very difficult or even legally troublesome. It turned, however, out that the governments soon returned to the well-established way of creating bureaucratic obstacles for progressive civil society organizations. The last part of the book addresses civil society and linguistic minorities. The chapters have been included in order to acknowledge the position of language in civil society. All three chapters address the Santali, the mother tongue of a six-million-strong linguistic minority in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. The chapter by P.B. Andersen, K. Bhattacharya, R.K. Bhattacharya and Boro Baski, looks at the writers’ community among the Santals in the light of civil society. On the one hand, they consider how far the community can be understood on collective terms: Santal writers are fragmented due to where they live, their preferred script, their religion and their sense of social belonging. On the other, when discussing such issues, these scholars consistently refer to the collective case of the Santals, a collectivity that each of the writers fights for. The issue of whether there is only one public sphere or several gets a new turn when it is seen through the lens of a linguistic minority distributed between different scripts and majority languages. One may see that there are even attempts to forward rules within the minority regarding which languages the writers may utilize for publication when attempting to let the majority know of the plight of the Santals. This fact became evident when a Santal author was rebuked by other Santal writers for publishing in English instead of one of the Indian majority languages; they argued that this choice of language projected an inappropriately precarious position of the Santal community. Marine Carrin takes a different approach. She probes competing ideas of ‘rational’ knowledge among the Santal. Working from an anthropological point of view, Carrin moves beyond the nineteenth-century colonial scholars who claimed that so-called primitives had an ‘absolute inability’ to articulate reflexive conceptions. In regard to civil society, she identifies a number of spheres of knowledge linked to the experiences and social situations of Santal schoolchildren, adult women and males, and argues that these distinctions lead to different spheres of action based on different conceptions of rationality. Writing from the perspective of a linguistic minority, K. Bhattacharya and R.K. Bhattacharya turn their interest to the Santals as a single group and see their language as threatened by extinction. Their aim is to document how the mood communicated in Santal poetry reflects emotions specific to agricultural life and social structure in the Santals’ non-hierarchical society.

16  Amit Prakash et al. They express concern that a unique form of lyricism and emotional communication will be lost if the Santali language disappears. It is significant that the findings of Carrin and the Bhattacharyas depend on their method of collection through the Santals’ own language, which reveals the significance of language to sustaining a culture. All three chapters in this final part show that there are several overlapping public spheres: from the level of English, to the majority languages, to spheres distributed along the lines of gender and age group. It is our hope that this collection of essays will increase our understanding of civil society in all its manifestations and encourage further work on it.

Notes 1 As summarized by, for instance, Herbert 2003, who is critical of this position. A recent update with important references may be found by Leis-Peters 2017. 2 ‘Darul Uloom Deoband issues fatwa, only 5 can offer Namaz at mosque’. https:// COVID-19: People gather for Friday prayers in Pakistan despite fatwa against it, Outlook The News Scroll. www.outlookindia. com/newsscroll/covid19-people-gather-for-friday-prayers-in-pakistan-despitefatwa-against-it/1782613, 27 March 2020. Wikipedia’s continuous updates on the Covid-19 in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh may offer further information.

References Chandhoke, Neera (2007) ‘Civil society’. Development in Practice 17(4–5), pp. 607–614, doi:10.1080/09614520701469658. Last accessed August 6 2020. Chatterjee, Partha (2001) ‘On civil society in post-colonial democracies’. In S. Kaviraj and S. Khilnani (eds) Civil Society: History and Possibilities, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 165–178. Deka, Kaushik (2019) ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill protests: Here’s why Assam is burning’. India Today (12 December 2019). Habermas, Jürgen (1990)[1962] Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, Mit einen Vorvort zur Neuaflage, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Herbert, D. (2003) Religion and Civil Society: Rethinking Public Religion in the Contemporary World. Aldershot: Ashgate. ICNL (2015) Comments on the Policy for Regulation of International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs) in Pakistan. Washington: The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law. Khawar, M. and F. Shaheed (1987) Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? London: Zed Books. Khilnani, S. (2001) ‘The development of civil society’. In S. Kaviraj S. Khilnani (eds) Civil Society: History and Possibilities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 11–32. Kilby, P. (2011) NGOs in India. The Challenges of Women’s Empowerment and Accountability, Oxford and New York: Routledge.

Dissemination of civil society  17 Lalwani, Vijayta (2020) ‘NGOs fear more harassment as Modi government changes rules for registrations’. ngos-fear-more-harassment-as-modi-government-changes-rules-for-registrations. Leis-Peters, A. (2017) ‘Understanding religious minority communities as civil society actors’. In L. Molokotos-Liderman (ed.) Religion and Welfare in Europe: Gendered and Minority Perspectives. Bristol and Chicago: Polity Press, pp. 163–183. Mehdi, Rubya (2013) The Islamization of the Law in Pakistan. London: Routledge. Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigners Division FCRA Wing (2013) ‘Receipt and utilization of foreign contribution by voluntary associations’. FCRA. Last accessed August 6 2020. Mufti, I. (2019) Stocktaking on Shrinking Space for CSOs and Civic Actions. Nayar, Madhav (2020) ‘The history of student protests in India’. The Wire. https:// NH Web Desk (2019) ‘Home Minister Amit Shah says no link between NPR–NRC; Modi govt linked it 9 times in Parliament’. National Herald (25 December). www. Oz-Salzberger, F. (2001) ‘Civil society in the Scottish Enlightenment’. In S. Kaviraj and S. Khilnani (eds) Civil Society: History and Possibilities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 58–83. Press Trust of India (2019) ‘Govt banned 14,500 NGOs under FCRA Act from receiving foreign funds’. Business Standard (4 December). Rezwan-ul-alam (2018) ‘The compromised state of civil society in Bangladesh’. CIVICUS. Shaheed, Farida (2010) ‘The Women’s movement in Pakistan: challenges and achievements’. In Amrita Basu (ed.) Women’s Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms, Westview Press, pp. 89–118. https://assets.publishing.service. Last accessed August 6 2020.

Part I

Multifaceted and local civil societies in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh Amit Prakash, Peter B. Andersen and Rubya Mehdi Civil society and its various institutional forms are often construed as being in opposition to the other two master institutions: the state and the market. However, with all due respect to Hegel, such clear and sharp separation of the three ironically obscures numerous analytical possibilities. In much of South Asia and, perhaps as a significant departure from experience elsewhere in the world, the three spheres – the state, the market and the civil society – may be understood as co-constitutive. To understand the evolution and growth of the robust public space labelled as civil society, not to mention the challenges it might face in the future, one must turn a keen eye toward the peculiarities of the subcontinent’s political processes, which are embedded in institutions of political authority that emerged within a specific colonial context. To elucidate, the overdeveloped nature of the colonial state required a state structure that was supportive, or at least not hostile, to the growth of civil society. There are many reasons for such a situation, some of which are explored in the four chapters in this part. The chapter by James Jaffe is particularly apposite to a part that posits a co-constitutive existence of the state and civil society. This conjointness is underlined by his examination of both the foundational premises of the multiple threads of the colonial ideational framework, and the consequent postulation of a semi-political panchayat system as a nursery of civil society. Whilst British Indian attempts to create a panchayat system may not have borne much institutional fruit, the repeated invocation that such panchayats would be nurseries of civil society, as underlined by Jaffe, attests to the role that the state needs to play. To wit, the state must serve as a supporting framework even, crucially, as it avoids crushing the growth and evolution of civil society. A related issue is underlined in the chapters by Sumona DasGupta and Shafqat Munir Ahmad, on patterns of growth and challenges to civil society in India and Pakistan, respectively, over the past decade or so. DasGupta squarely locates various civil society institutions within their larger political and social matrix as she examines changes in the fortunes of such

20  Amit Prakash et al. institutions, including NGOs, as they struggle to keep pace with fluctuations within the state-provided regulatory framework. Her analysis underlines the significant contributions that civil society can make if the political context is supportive; specifically, she shows how MKSS and RTI activism, as well as the IAC movement, led to new threads of democratic accountability and participation. She also draws attention to the significant contribution made by the civil society sector to development outcomes in collaboration with the state and the political process, even as she flags threats that civil society processes and organizations may face if the state becomes hostile; in short, she shows the state to be an important fulcrum that structures the roles that civil can society play. A similar thread is embedded in Munir’s chapter on Pakistan: the blossoming of the civil society sector and its ability to play a meaningful and constructive role correlates directly with the degree of support provided by political processes and state institutions. Munir provides a detailed overview and analysis of these background conditions, enabling factors and, of course, threats and challenges to the civil society sector in general, and to NGOs as a peculiar institutional form in Pakistan. Andersen applies a similar lens to Bangladesh, arguing that this country’s civil society sector cannot be understood in isolation from the governmental sector, whose political processes structure the state regulatory framework that governs civil society organizations. He also argues that the disciplining of the civil society sector into NGOs (and concomitant de-radicalization) is a function of its relations to both the state and the international aid system, which may generate output legitimacy for civil society actors based on their development delivery efficacy. More radical civil society actors, especially those which seek to destabilize extant power structures and hierarchies, are often subjected to drastic regulatory requirements. The state, its political process and their effects on civil society are thus the themes that unite the four chapters in this part.

2 Building civil society in colonial India during the long nineteenth century James Jaffe

As is well known, the philosophical underpinnings of the concept of ‘civil society’ not only has a very long history, but it also has been subjected to an enormous amount of scholarly attention. To revisit these intricate debates in any detail is a project that others already have accomplished (Kaviraj and Khilnani 2001). Instead, this essay intends to examine one aspect of this long history, namely, the relationship between the colonial state and the building of civil society in India under British rule. In particular, it argues that concepts of civil society, as understood by both East India Company officials and Imperial administrators, were essential elements of British governing practices in India. Thus, unlike the classic position of civil society theory, in which civil society is independent of state authority, the creation of civil society in India was a project of British governance throughout the nineteenth century (Calhoun 1993; Randeria 2002).1 This is not to say that the project was a successful one. During the last generation of the century, ‘semi-autonomous’ institutions such as clubs, political associations and newspapers made a significant appearance.2 Nevertheless, the ideals and languages of civil society were absorbed into the nationalist movement and became critical components of its evolving ideologies and practices. Whether or not these were elements of a secular modernizing process on a Western model, as Partha Chatterjee (2002) suggests, their influence can be traced through an extended analysis of the theories of governance, civic virtue, and civil society through the long nineteenth century. Many East India Company officials, especially those who governed the Madras and Bombay presidencies, were the inheritors of a particular vision of civil society derived largely from the Scottish Enlightenment tradition, but based, nevertheless, upon a specifically Anglophone tradition that includes the works of Locke, Hobbes, Richard Hooker and Bernard Mandeville (Oz-Salzberger 2002; Harris 2005). In Scotland, this tradition grew principally out of the writings of David Hume, Adam Smith and Adam Ferguson, whose ideas were passed on to and amended by a generation of ‘orientalist’ scholars through both Dugald Stewart, who had studied under Ferguson at the University of Edinburgh, and James Millar at Glasgow University (Rendall 1982). Among the most important figures in the history of colonial India who were educated in this tradition were Thomas Munro,

22  James Jaffe later Governor-General of Madras, who was educated for a time at Glasgow, Mountstuart Elphinstone, later Governor-General of Bombay, and James Mill, the latter two having both been trained at Edinburgh (Bayly 2008; McLaren 2008). The tradition into which they were educated was constructed in part upon Smith’s ‘conjectural theory’ of history that posited a ‘ladder of civilization running from “rudeness” to “refinement”’ (Rendall 1982; Pitts 2005). For Smith, the histories of societies, progressed through four distinct stages of economic development from hunting to pastoral to agricultural and, finally, to commercial society. However, Smith’s was not the only, or even necessarily the dominant, ‘conjectural history’ of this period. Much more important, for our purposes, was the theory proposed by Adam Ferguson in An Essay on the History of Civil Society first published in 1767 and revised and corrected in many subsequent editions (Oz-Salzberger 1995). Ferguson’s influential and popular Essay presented a similar ‘ladder of civilization’, developing, however, not in four stages but in three: from the ‘savage’ to the ‘barbarous’ to the ‘polished and commercial’ stages of society (Hill 1997). Each stage was characterized by a unique combination of social and political institutions culminating in a ‘polished and commercial’ civil society based upon private property, the rule of law and a mixed government of monarchical, aristocratic and representative institutions. Within a ‘polished’ society, the arts, literature and the sciences all flourished. As one commentator has noted, the fact that Ferguson’s description of a ‘polished’ society clearly described that of mid-eighteenth England, certainly was one element in the Essay’s popularity (Oz-Salzberger 2009). Ferguson’s influence upon a generation of Scottish Orientalists need not have been immediate and direct, however. Instead, his influence appears to have been transferred most prominently through the work of William Robertson, a Scottish cleric and prominent historian. Born in 1721, Robertson had matriculated at the University of Edinburgh with Ferguson during the second half of the 1730s. In 1754, he was one of the first members of the Select Society, an Edinburgh debating society whose members were among the leaders of the Scottish Enlightenment, including Adam Smith, David Hume and Lord Kames (Smitten 2008). A close friend of Hume, Robertson’s histories of Scotland, America, and Charles V were extraordinarily influential, so much so that Dugald Stewart, Elphinstone’s and Mill’s tutor at the University of Edinburgh, undertook to write a biography of him (Stewart 1796). For the Scottish Orientalists who served in India, Robertson’s most influential work very well may have been An Historical Disquisition Concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients Had of India, published in 1791, a work that has received relatively little scholarly attention (Brown 2009; O’Brien 1997, pp. 163–166; Carnal 1997). As the title suggests, the bulk of this treatise comprises a collection and exegesis of observations on India drawn principally from ancient Greek and Roman sources. More important for the generation of Munro, Elphinstone and James Mill, however, was the book’s

Building civil society in colonial India  23 Appendix. This contained a unique account of the history and development of India, an account that Dugald Stewart described as containing ‘all the most important information concerning’ the character, manners and institutions of India, ‘which was then accessible to the philosophers of Europe’ (Stewart 1796, p. 166). The description and analysis of Indian society contained in the Appendix to Robertson’s Historical Disquisition appears to have been based almost exclusively upon Ferguson’s criteria of a ‘polished and commercial’ civil society. Indeed, in many ways it appears that Robertson was consciously ticking the boxes that Ferguson had created. If civil society required the presence of private property, for example, then Robertson went to great lengths to prove that Indian ryots possessed a type of leasehold tenure that ‘may be considered as perpetual, and at a rate fixed by ancient surveys and valuations’ (Robertson 1791, p. 267). If civil society also required a mixed government, then India possessed one, albeit one of a unique sort. In India, according to Robertson, ‘the sovereigns were far from possessing uncontrouled [sic] or despotic power’. Unlike England, where despotic powers were limited by the representative institutions of both the aristocracy and commoners, India had developed along different principles created by a different set of social institutions. Castes, he wrote, possessed privileges that were ‘inviolable’ and ‘the sacred rights of the Brahmins opposed a barrier against the encroachments of regal power’ (Robertson 1791, pp. 264–265).3 Thus, the perceived inviolability of caste institutions created the same barriers to tyranny as parliament did in England. If civil society required the rule of law, then the Hindus of India ‘have in their possession treatises concerning the laws and jurisprudence of their country, of more remote antiquity than are to be found in any other country’. The Hindu Code, he wrote, was arranged in a ‘natural and luminous order’; it was comprehensive, acute, and subtle; and, it was ‘founded upon the great and immutable principles of justice’. ‘Whoever examines the whole work’, he concluded, ‘cannot entertain a doubt of its containing the jurisprudence of an enlightened and commercial people’ (Robertson 1791, pp. 274–275). Finally, if Ferguson had claimed that the achievements of civil society were reflected in the flourishing of the arts and sciences, then Robertson was intent upon providing proof that India’s achievements placed that society upon a standing equal to that of the most civilized nations in the West. In the lengthiest portion of the Appendix, Robertson cited the architecture, manufacture, poetry, drama, philosophy, ethics, astronomy and mathematics of India as conclusive evidence of its ‘early and high civilization’ (Robertson 1791, p. 311). The importance of this intellectual inheritance was first made manifest in India after the second and third Anglo-Maratha Wars, which ended in 1805 and in 1817–1818, respectively. In particular, Thomas Munro and Mountstuart Elphinstone appear to have relied to a very great extent both

24  James Jaffe upon Robertson’s vision of Indian civilization and upon Ferguson’s account of the stadial history of civil society. Unlike Smith, however, whose ‘conjectural history’ was decidedly linear, Ferguson had taken into account the fact that civil societies could fall as well as rise (Oz-Salzberger 1995, pp. xx–xxi). In his Essay on the History of Civil Society, Ferguson had charted the possibility that civil societies might descend into despotism when morality collapses, civil government becomes corrupted, or the desire for luxury and ostentatious wealth overwhelms the pursuit of virtue (Ferguson 1995, part VI). For Munro, Elphinstone and other Scottish Orientalists, this is the historical stage upon which they had entered and conquered large swathes of India. For them, the civil society of ancient India already had descended into despotism, although they disagreed as to the cause of this descent. For some, India’s decline could be traced to the Mughal conquests of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries while to others it lay in the corruption and despotism of the later Marathas of the eighteenth century.4 Nevertheless, the role of the British conqueror in large parts of India was not only to make money, but to resurrect Indian civil society: that is, to create a political and social environment that secured landed property, fostered the growth of a landed class and promoted the rule of law. These latter goals not only often were at odds with those of the Company directors in London, but they also required the re-shaping and re-direction of Indian society, a task that continued long after Company rule had ceased to exist (Frykenberg 1965). Few, if any, ever entertained the thought that such reforms were intended to lay the foundation for a free and independent India. For the practice of governance, this first generation of British rulers in the south and west imagined that the ancient village panchayat held the key to the revival of Indian civil society (Jaffe 2015). However, to do this, it was necessary to shear the panchayat of the excrescences that had distorted its form and function under tyrannical rule. Under Munro’s influence, the East India Company was convinced to, in Elphinstone’s words, ‘purify and invigorate the Native System, so as to convert it from a mere engine of oppression into an instrument for a more extensive dispensation of justice’ (Elphinstone 1821, p. 104). By resuscitating the panchayat, village headmen would be restored to their ‘natural’ position of authority. In the Company Directors’ words, the village headmen were ‘regarded by the inhabitants as their natural and permanent superiors’ whose influence was ‘founded as much in personal respect, as in the authority of their office.’ They were nothing less than ‘the native gentry of the country’ and ‘the natural and only foundation on which to raise the superstructure of civil government’ (East India Affairs 1819a, 1819b, p. 296).5 If the restoration of the panchayat was intended to promote the restoration of the ‘native gentry of the country’, it simultaneously was intended to promote the rule of law. For most British officials, the two, of course, were inextricably connected. The restoration of the social and judicial position of India’s ‘native gentry’, much like the English Justices of the Peace, would

Building civil society in colonial India  25 inevitably restore the rule of law that had been undermined by the Mughal and Maratha despots. In 1822, John Briggs, the Political Agent in Candeish (Khandesh) noted, we have gradually become more open to convictions of the advantages to be derived by the employment of the upper Classes of the people in directing, and of the masses of the people in carrying thru duties of Civil Justice, almost without the intervention of European authority; the antient [sic] Hindoo system of Punchayut has been distorted and trampled on, not only by the Mahomedans but by successive ignorant and oppressive Princes of their own Nation. Its name and some of the forms have still survived the rude shocks it has experienced and it is still venerated, however in practice it may [have] been misapplied. Like all other institutions under the iron grasp of tyranny it has assumed the form of the hand which wielded it. We, I conceive, are yet ignorant of the true shape of this machine, but it is quite necessary to comprehend its structure and restore it to its original functions. (Briggs 1822) Particularly under the influence of Munro, by 1814 the Company Directors in London had become convinced that the Cornwallis model of establishing British-style courts in India had failed and that the solution lay not in the further expansion of the British judicial establishment, but in the restoration of the ancient Indian constitution and its modes of dispensing civil justice. Therefore, to promote a civil society based upon a middling landed class and the rule of law, the Company’s Board of Directors declared their deliberate conviction that no arrangement for this purpose [the administration of civil justice] can proceed on a right principle, nor operate satisfactorily in the fulfillment of its aims, which has not a reference to the ancient and long established customs and institutions of the country, and which does not accommodate itself to the habits, the feelings, and the understanding of those for whose benefit it is designed. It is with this sentiment deeply fixed in our minds, that we conceive the fittest and most proper agency we can primarily make use of in the distribution of civil justice, consists of those who form the permanent and natural authorities in the interior of the provinces. (East India Affairs 1819a, 1819b, p. 40) Nevertheless, the Company’s panchayat experiments in both the Madras and Bombay presidencies eventually failed and were abandoned in 1827. Their failure was attributed to a variety of causes, many of which were commonly expressed British prejudices: the pervasiveness of perjury, alleged litigiousness, corruption and even the climate were submitted as explanations for the failure of panchayats. However, the failure of civic virtue, and thus the project of building civil society, was also a recurring theme. Thus, one

26  James Jaffe British official noted, Indians ‘have not the slightest fellow feeling towards each other, as Citizens – they have no sentiment of public duty or of reciprocal obligation as members of one Community’ (Robertson 1824). After the first third of the nineteenth century, the idea and symbolic significance of the panchayat only temporarily lost its material embodiment under the British administration of India. During the second half of the century, however, the panchayat was reimagined and resurrected once again. Yet this time it came not in the guise of a judicial institution, but as an instrument of village and town governance (Jaffe 2015). A key impetus to this transformation was the increasing influence of what Thomas Metcalf has called the ‘eclectic liberalism’ of the later nineteenth century (Metcalf 1995, p. 33.) Particularly influential in this regard was the notion that the panchayat could be employed as an acceptable means by which Indians could be educated and trained into the arts of modern civilization. Like the older judicial panchayats, the new municipal panchayats were intended to mold the views and attitudes of local elites. They were in no way democratic institutions nor were they ever intended to promote independence or self-rule. The earliest incarnations of these liberal panchayats occurred during the 1850s when the form was adapted for the purposes of local tax assessment purposes and levying of taxes to provide for local policing. By the 1880s, panchayats could also be appointed to manage roads, schools, sanitation, and other municipal responsibilities. By the time of the 1908 Royal Commission on Decentralization, both British and Indian witnesses not only lauded the ideal of the panchayat as an institution that would promote the growth of civil society in India, but they also offered a wide variety of often-contradictory opinions as to its possible form, function, and composition. Therefore, not only is it true, as the historian Christopher Bayly wrote, that the panchayat was continually reinvented during the nineteenth century, but it is similarly true that the panchayat was continually reimagined as an instrument with which to build civil society in India (Bayly 2012, p. 347). In this context, there is some measure of irony to the fact that in England, it is John Stuart Mill, whose father James Mill had wholeheartedly rejected the Scottish Orientalist tradition, who has been credited with merging such ideas of local government reform into the mainstream of British liberalism (Palmowski 2002, p. 389).6 For John Stuart Mill, local governments, or ‘sub-Parliaments’ as he called them, were ‘one of the fundamental institutions of a free government’ (Mill 1861, p. 274). Local decentralized municipal governments, he wrote, could function, of course, as modes of local of administration. More important, however, was the fact that they also functioned as ‘the chief instrument’ of ‘the public education of the citizen’ (Mill 1861, p. 275). In the words of one of Mill’s followers, local self-government was nothing less than a ‘national school of civil liberty’ (Palmowski 2002, p. 389). Importantly, for Mill and other liberals, local self-government did not mean democratic self-government. Instead, devolving governance to the

Building civil society in colonial India  27 localities was intended to serve as a school for civil society because it would bring the lower orders into contact with the higher. In local government, the privileged classes would serve to teach, train, and supervise the lower classes (Mill 1861, pp. 281–2). G.K. Gokhale, the liberal nationalist leader, was certainly one among many who adopted this perspective, paraphrasing Mill before the Bombay Legislative Council in 1901 to the effect that ‘the object of Municipal institutions is not merely to get local work efficiently done, but also to develop civic-spirit and raise the level of general intelligence among the people’ (Gokhale, n.d., p. 461). Thus, despite Mill’s obvious antipathy to Indian self-rule, the adoption of the panchayat by British administrators as a mode of local governance bears evidence of this stream of British liberalism (Zastoupil 1994; Pitts 2005, pp. 133–150). In Bengal, for example, the 1856 Chaukidari Act authorized local magistrates to appoint a panchayat of between three and five persons to apportion taxes for the provision of chaukidars, or police (East India (Progress and condition) 1873b, pp. 5–6). In 1860, panchayats were created by the Income and Property Act not only to apportion local taxes, but to assess them as well (East India (property tax) 1861). Significantly, in the early 1870s, Clements Markham of the India Office noted that these panchayats ‘may be expected in course of time to have a marked effect on the inhabitants of town, and through them on the mass of people’ (East India (Progress and condition) 1873a, p. 7). Not surprisingly, however, these municipal panchayats were never popular. As one historian of municipal government in India has noted, they were ‘regarded not as the representatives of the village folk, but as servants of the “Sarkar”, the government’ (Tinker 1954, p. 40). Further municipal reforms were equally ineffective. The District Municipalities Acts for Madras, Bombay, and Bengal, for example, enacted between 1884 and 1888, provided for the creation of unions of villages administered by district ‘panchayats’. These ‘union panchayats’, or ‘village unions’, were to be responsible for sanitation, roads, schools, and hospitals. Yet, as in the case of the ‘chaukidari panchayats’, they failed to take hold in the countryside. By 1914, in Bengal, of the estimated 70,000 villages, only 60 union panchayats had been created. In Madras, the experiment was no more successful. There, among the 50,000 villages, only 382 panchayats had been created (Minutes 1908a, p. 230).7 These failures, however, did not extinguish the panchayat ideal as a mode of governance suitable for the formation of civil society. The 1908 Royal Commission upon Decentralization was keenly interested in the possibility of reviving the panchayat as an instrument of local self-governance and a building block of civil society. However, the Commission was confounded by the fact that neither British nor Indian witnesses possessed a clear idea of either the panchayat’s form or function. The Commission was confronted by the fact that there were notable discrepancies in the testimony over the nature of the panchayat’s function, over its jurisdiction, its composition, its supervision, as well as its possible role in the oppression of lower castes.

28  James Jaffe There was, for example, no clear answer to the question of what the panchayat can or should actually do. The acting Chief Secretary to the Madras Government, H. Bradley, for example, was opposed to the delegation of administrative authority to village panchayats, but thought that they should be allowed to dispose of petty civil and criminal cases (Minutes 1908a, p. 47). A.M.T. Jackson, an Under-Secretary of the Bombay Government, on the other hand, believed that panchayats could be revived to administer village concerns such as water-tanks and schools, but that they should not be given any formal judicial responsibilities, although they might be allowed to act as informal boards of arbitration (Minutes 1908c, p. 46.) Indian witnesses tended to express a more expansive interpretation of the possible role and functions of the panchayat. Both the radical Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the liberal Gopal Krishna Gokhale testified that, in Gokhale’s words, ‘village panchayats must be created’ and given extensive judicial and administrative powers (Minutes 1908c, p. 59). Tilak argued that ‘the village must be made a unit of self-government, and village communities or councils invested with definite powers to deal with all or most of the village questions concerning education, justice, forest, abkari [tax on alcohol and spirits], famine relief, police, medical relief and sanitation’ (Minutes 1908c, p. 84). However, their position was not necessarily universal among Indian witnesses, the majority of whom were government employees. Mathradas Ramchand, a pleader from Hyderabad, believed that panchayats would be fundamentally undermined by communal conflicts (Minutes 1908c, p. 180). Muhammad Habibullah, a former Chairman of the Vellore municipal board, thought that panchayats could be established, but only in villages ‘where persons of sufficient intelligence and public spirit may be forthcoming’. Even in these villages, he suggested, their authority should be restricted to administering sanitation, water supply, schools, and public nuisances (Minutes 1908a, p. 272). At the same time, P. Rajaratna Mudeliar, who served in many high offices including Secretary to the Board of Revenue and Inspector-General of Registration in Madras, thought that village panchayats might be given authority to hear petty civil cases and to manage the water supply and sanitation, but should not be granted authority over education and schooling (Minutes 1908a, p. 110). In Orissa, the Collector and Magistrate of Khulna, A. Ahmad, testified that ‘the village panchayat should have the power to impose chaukidari tax, drainage and sanitary taxes, and water and school taxes’. However, he noted, judicial administration of petty cases should be left to a separate court composed of government-appointed servants (Minutes 1908b, p. 131). Notably, neither British nor Indian witnesses expressed any support for village democracy. Many witnesses expressed enthusiasm for the electoral principle in general, but with a franchise based upon gender and property qualifications.8 Gokhale, for instance, argued that membership in the panchayat should be restricted to the village headman, the munsif (judge), the police headman, and ‘two or three other persons chosen by such of

Building civil society in colonial India  29 the villagers as pay a minimum land revenue of, say, rupees ten’ (Minutes 1908c, pp. 59, 63.) Veerasami Iyengar, a landowner in Tanjore, supported the creation of village panchayats, but thought that the ‘selection of members ought to be made among those who belong to the middle class and who would be prepared to go out, and learn matters and give good and useful counsels’ (Minutes 1908a, p. 267.) Khandubhai Desai, a government civil engineer from Surat, testified that if constituted, these Boards should have two-thirds elected members and one-third nominated members and the Chairman to be elected, the patel and village accountant being among the nominated members. Every payer of land tax, or other direct tax, and every man who can read and write, should be entitled to a vote and eligible to be a member, but a person convicted of any serious crime should be disqualified. (Minutes 1908c, p. 75) Many witnesses were suspicious of even a restricted franchise and advocated the government’s nomination of at least a portion of the panchayatdars. Thus, Sundara Aiyar Avargal, a Madras vakil, recommended that the members of panchayats should be appointed by the Collector or Divisional Officer. Only later might the electoral principle be introduced (Minutes 1908a, p. 320). In a similar manner, R.C. Artal, the Deputy Collector for Belgaum, agreed that ‘at the beginning it would be necessary for the Collector to nominate members and after some experience to allow the people the right of electing members by common consent’ (Minutes 1908c, p. 28). M. Adinarayana Aiyar, who held various positions in the Madras Revenue Department, suggested that the villagers should ‘nominate’ three members of the panchayat and the government appoint two (Minutes 1908a, p. 91). Gokhale, as we have seen, preferred three appointed members and ‘two or three’ elected ones (Minutes 1908c, p. 63).9 Yet, despite these differences, there was a striking consensus that the panchayat’s most important function was to serve as a school for civil society (Bayly 2012, pp. 142–4). Kesava Pillai, member of the taluk, or sub-district, board in Gooty (in contemporary Andhra Pradesh), was unequivocal as to the panchayat’s educative function. Panchayats, he said, will infuse new life into the villagers and make them alive to their duty and responsibility for the detection and suppression of crime, for sanitation, for the preservation of trees and topes near the villages, … for protecting people from starvation in famine times, and in short for hearty co-operation with the Government in their aims and administration. Panchayats may not come up to expectations for some time, but panchayats, if sympathetically encouraged, will just like in any other country evolve, through struggles and experiences, into self-respecting, useful and loyal institutions. (Minutes 1908a, p. 166)

30  James Jaffe He concluded that with the revival of panchayats, ‘the people will then begin to be a people’ (Minutes 1908a, p. 167). The Sessions Judge at Ahmedabad, Dayaram Gidumal, placed equal emphasis upon the educative importance of panchayats for the growth of civil society, testifying that the formation of panchayats had to depend ‘upon the public spirit shown’ in each village (Minutes 1908a, pp. 37–38). Even more specifically, the Rev. A. Andrew, a missionary from the United Free Church of Scotland, was convinced that ‘what you want in India is the development of local self-government, and this goes to the very root of the matter. The development of the education of the people so far as self-government is concerned ought to begin at the village panchayat’ (Minutes 1908a, p. 215). B.G. Tilak was certainly the most eloquent advocate of the panchayat as the school for civil society. Arguing that the village panchayat must be made the basis of self-government, he warned the Commissioners not to be afraid either of the possible inefficiencies or the ultimate result of handing power over to village panchayats. ‘It should be the aim of the British Administration’, he said, ‘to educate the people in the management of their own affairs, even at the cost of some efficiency and without entertaining any misgivings regarding the ultimate growth and result of such a policy’ (Minutes 1908c, p. 84). He concluded his statement before the Commissioners with another thinly veiled warning but couched in the same civic language: The fluctuating wave of decentralization may infuse more or less life in the individual members of the bureaucracy, but it cannot remove the growing estrangement between the rulers and the ruled, unless and until the people are allowed more and more effective voice in the management of their own affairs in an ever expansive spirit of wise liberalism and wide sympathy, aiming at raising India to the level of the governing country. (Minutes 1908c, p. 84) As several historians of British political thought have argued, there are complex connections that link republican notions of civil society and nineteenth-century liberalism (Biagini 2003; Bevir 2000; Pincus 1998). As they have suggested, both the Scottish Orientalists and Victorian liberals drew upon a set of ideals derived from the seventeenth century civic republican tradition that emphasized the necessity of the civic participation of elites for the creation of a civil society. This line of thought can be traced at least from Adam Ferguson, through the reforms of Munro and Elphinstone, and then to the attempts to implement local self-government by Lord Ripon and after. Throughout this period, the panchayat was often seen as an essential institution through which to manage the transformation of India into a civil society. However, the result was never intended to be a democratic or independent nation-state. Indeed, Victorian liberalism feared democratic despotism as much as it reviled Oriental despotism (Roach

Building civil society in colonial India  31 1957; Mantena 2010, pp. 41–44; Pitts 2005). By reviving the panchayat in the form of judicial bodies or municipal boards, the invigoration of Indian civil society was intended to transfer the administration of India to its ‘natural’ leaders while, at the same time, retaining India within the Empire (Owen 2005). Thus, in the early nineteenth century, Munro and Elphinstone not only sought to secure the East India Company a healthy profit, but they also sought to return India to its ‘natural’ path of historical development toward a civil society as imagined by Ferguson and Robertson. For them, this entailed the restoration of the social and political standing of the village headman, the definition of property rights, and the revival of the panchayat for the dispensation of civil law. Like Munro, Elphinstone believed that the role of the new British occupiers with regard to panchayats was only to ‘remove its abuses and revive its energy’, cleansing it of the venality, partiality, and corruption that had encrusted panchayats under the arbitrary and despotic rule of the Mughals and Marathas (Elphinstone 1821, p. 99). However, these objectives, based as they were upon the Scottish school of history, possessed their own inherent contradictions. As Arjun Appadurai has noted for South India, there always was an ironic tension between ‘the [British] urge to maximize vertical accountability and the fantasy of pancāyat models of local self-sufficiency’ (Appadurai 1981, p. 141 n6; Frykenberg 1965). While the civil-judicial panchayat in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies might function as a preliminary step toward the creation of civil society, the authority to administer the criminal law remained solely the prerogative of the British company-state. They were by no means democratic, but instead were intended to restore the traditional authority of an imagined landed gentry and yeomanry. And, perhaps most significantly, the restoration of Indian civil society through the panchayat never was intended to entail the ultimate creation of a sovereign and independent India.When the panchayat ideal resurfaced among British administrators in the second half of the nineteenth century as a body suitable to take on the responsibility of decentralized village and municipal governance, it retained its importance as an essential element in the development of Indian civil society. However, it now was imagined as a school for civil society in which ‘natives’ could be educated into the arts of responsible self-government. This new liberal ideal of the panchayat, heavily influenced by the works of John Stuart Mill and Henry Sumner Maine, necessarily possessed its own inherent ideological and political contradictions. The ‘new’ municipal panchayats retained a pronounced antipathy to democracy, preferring instead to educate a cadre of respectable and propertied local elites into the values of civic morality and the science of government. Yet, important matters of state, such as defence or foreign policy, were inaccessible to these newly schooled elites. And, of course, very few liberals ever foresaw the likelihood of yielding ultimate sovereignty over India. Thus, by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many of the fundamental ideas of Anglophone theories of civil society had found new

32  James Jaffe voices in the writings of Mill and Maine. As Christopher Bayly (1991, pp. 389–90) has noted, it would be a mistake to draw too sharp a distinction between the Orientalist and Liberal traditions with regard to their imagining of Indian society. ‘One reason that Maine’s thought was well received in the India of the 1870s and 1880s’, he has written, ‘was that it spoke to the older pre-utilitarian tradition represented most notably by Elphinstone, Munro and Tod between 1780 and 1830’. Although the form and function of the panchayat changed significantly under the influence of liberalism, the ideological imperative of restoring the panchayat as the foundation of civil society had not. By the early twentieth century, the panchayat as re-framed by the liberal imagination had become an essential element of the nationalist movement. Yet even during these critical moments, the form and function of the panchayat and its role in civil society continued to be a matter of significant debate as some imagined it as a uniquely Indian form of democracy, others as a form of a socialist commune or co-operative, and still others, most notably B.R. Ambedkar, as an instrument for the oppression of Dalits. Undoubtedly, Gandhi was the most famous inheritor of this particular tradition. Yet even he had no clear vision of the panchayat’s role or function. During the Non-Cooperation Movement, for example, he was convinced that the panchayat could be revived to replace the British judicial system, heralding a new era of Indian justice (Jaffe 2017). However, after this experiment met with failure, he sought to expand the liberal vision of panchayati raj to include democracy and non-violence. Nevertheless, Gandhi never retreated from the liberal ideal that the revivification of the panchayat was an essential step toward the building of Indian civil society through the inculcation of moral values and civic spirit.

Notes 1 Prakash (2002) argues that the colonial state was ‘fundamentally irreconcilable’ with the building of civil society in India. At a theoretical level, he is correct, obviously. However, I would suggest that this did not vitiate efforts by some, whether motivated by ideology or pounds-and-pence, to construct an attenuated version of civil society in India. 2 I call them ‘semi-autonomous’ because such institutions always operated within the strictures adumbrated by the colonial state, including laws regarding public meetings, censorship, and education. A trenchant critique of the public/private dichotomy implicit in the civil society literature is provided in Calhoun (1993). 3 A similar narrative of India’s constitutional history was later expressed by the influential Indian liberal Rammohan Roy (see Bayly 2007, pp. 29–30). 4 A related contemporary debate on the significance of Mughal rule is described in Bayly (2012, pp. 86–89). 5 Similar ideas, of course, circulated among the British concerning the zamindars as well. 6 Harris (2005, pp. 26–2.)8 notes, however, that while Mill was obviously familiar with the ‘civil society’ debates of the eighteenth century, he did not use the term very often. 7 Tinker (1954, pp. 55–56) notes 390 union panchayats in Madras at this time.

Building civil society in colonial India  33 8 Certainly, there was no support for female panchayat suffrage, which Gandhi would later advocate. 9 Bayly (2012, p. 274) describes Ghokale’s position on panchayats as part of the ‘tutelary instincts’ of Indian liberals.

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Building civil society in colonial India  35 Pincus, S. (1998) ‘Neither Machiavellian moment nor possessive individualism: Commercial society and the defenders of the English commonwealth’. American Historical Review 103(3), pp. 705–736. Pitts, J. (2005) A Turn to Empire: The Rise of Imperial Liberalism in Britain and France. Princeton, Princeton University Press, pp. 127–133. Prakash, G. (2002) ‘Civil society, community, and the nation in colonial India’. Etnográfica. 4(1), pp. 27–39. Randeria, S. (2002) ‘Entangled histories of uneven modernities: Civil society, caste solidarities and legal pluralism in post-colonial India’. 11392103051003009. Last accessed August 6 2020. Rendall, J. (1982) ‘Scottish Orientalism: From Robertson to James Mill’. Historical Journal 25 (1) pp. 43–69. Roach, J. (1957) ‘Liberalism and the Victorian Intelligentsia’. Cambridge Historical Journal 13(1), pp. 58–81. Robertson, H. (1824) ‘H.D. Robertson to William Chaplin, 19 November 1824’. Maharashtra State Archives East India Company Records, Judicial Department, Annual and Periodical Reports, Vol. 3/83, 1825. Robertson, W. (2013)[1791] An Historical Disquisition Concerning the Knowledge which the Ancients had of India. London: Cambridge University Press. Smitten, J. (2008) ‘Robertson, William (1721–1793)’. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. view/article/23817. Last accessed August 6 2020. Stewart, Dugald (1796) ‘Account of the Life and Writings of William Robertson, D.D.’ In W. Hamilton (1858) The Collected Works of Dugald Stewart. Vol. X. Edinburgh: Thomas Constable and Co. Tinker, H. (1968)[1954] Foundations of Local Self-Government in India, Pakistan and Burma. repr. New York: Praeger. Zastoupil, L. (1994) John Stuart Mill and India. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

3 Civil society in India What is it and where is it going? Sumona DasGupta

Enthusiastically eulogized by some and cynically demonized by others, the term civil society has been used in such varied contexts and in so many different ways, particularly since the 1980s, that it seems to have lost both its theoretical traction as well as its efficacy as a blueprint for democratic action. On one hand, it has been hailed as an emancipatory space where civil liberties crushed by totalitarian states and military dictatorships could be resurrected. On the other, it is critiqued as a handmaiden of a state that coerced it to drop its critical agenda and co-opted it to deliver services formerly provided or promised by the government. From being acknowledged as a third sector that creates space for citizen engagements that deepen democracy, to being dismissed as an advertising agent for a private sector that selectively funds foundations based on its perceived interests of the day, there exists a maze of confusion around this term. Consequently, we are left asking what then is this civil society, what is its complex relationship with the state and the market, and what is its role in a post-colonial state like India? We argue that civil society is not a monolith and, while segments remain committed to the goal of social transformation, other segments have either succumbed to the lure of easy funding by diluting their goals, or simply tweaked their mission to the extent necessary to survive in the changing circumstances. We also submit that while there is merit in the designation of civil society as a ‘third sector’ separate from the state (represented by the current government in power) and the market, it is not independent of them; much of the confusion regarding the components and role of civil society emanates from failing to grasp the complex relationship between civil society, state and market at any given conjuncture. This chapter will begin by examining some definitions and understandings of civil society that resonate in a post-colonial country like India, and how the organizational components of civil society have evolved and reinvented themselves. Given the extensive literature on Indian civil society, this chapter will focus on the period from 2010 to 2017, which witnessed a complete turnaround in terms of its role in India. It will analyse how and why a decade that started with an expansive role for civil society (2001– 2009) petered out from 2010 onwards into a much more constricted space,

Civil society in India  37 where state control and surveillance as well as actions by vigilante non-state groups began to raise concerns about threats to democracy itself.

Civil society: definitional conundrums As B.G. Verghese (2008) notes, whenever we try to define civil society in contemporary times, we run into definitional problems and disagreements as to what constitutes it in the first place. The conceptual fuzziness around civil society emanates from the fact that it had journeyed through a long and rather ambiguous history in western social and political thought (White 2004). Tracing this historical journey is outside the scope of this chapter, except to note in passing that the concept gained its contemporary salience and subversive edge in the backdrop of citizen revolts against Stalinist states of eastern and central Europe and against military regimes in Latin America (Chandhoke 2007). Given the political reinvention of civil society in the 1990s in these specific contexts, it was not surprising that this ‘third space’ quickly became a hallowed one. Associated with all manner of peaceful and nonviolent approaches like strikes, protest marches and demonstrations, the setting up of informal networks and formation of associational life, civil society became inextricably linked with freedom of expression and association, especially as related to the protection of political and civil rights. It became as Chandhoke (2007) succinctly pointed out, a ‘hurray word’ claimed by all colours on the ideological spectrum rather than a contested vibrant concept where all sections of society vigorously debated what constituted the public good (Tandon and Mohanty 2003). When civil society became conceptually locked into a watertight compartment untouched by the power-play of the state and profit-driven activities of the market, and was placed on a pedestal specially equipped to deliver on development work, its analytical, practical and normative significance was blunted. Unrealistic expectations were placed on this arena of public life, and its rich potential to serve as a tool to deepen democracy was thus compromised. In practice, state and civil society are mutually constitutive of each other, as the political and civil rights exercised in the civil space have to be guaranteed constitutionally and legally – as well as enforced – by the state. At the same time, civil society is the corrective to the misuse of power by the state and a sociological counterpart to the profit-driven market. Notionally, civil society retains its analytical sharpness and normative salience only when it is recognized as analytically distinct from yet conceptually fused with the state and the market. This makes civil society a contested and even untidy and messy arena, where society’s competing notions of what constitutes the public good jostle for space. Civil society itself cannot be a monolith speaking in one voice, simply because people located at different intersections of class, caste, gender, religious and ethnic identity define the public good differently and, accordingly, make competing claims on the state. As a result, the arena of civil society becomes a site

38  Sumona DasGupta of power politics; references to ‘elite capture’ of civil society clearly speak to this language of power. At a meeting organized by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1998, an attempt was made to come up with an operational definition of civil society (Bernard et al. 1998). Since the underlying assumption was that developing-country non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could potentially be harnessed to utilize donor funds, the operational definition divided NGOs between those that are people’s organizations that are accountable to their members, and those that operate for and on behalf of the people they serve. People’s organizations were further sub-classified into those that pursue goals related to improved living conditions for their members, from grassroots organizations to apex-level unions such as self-help groups, and those that pursue broader goals for the common good, such as human rights or environmental groups (Nayar 2001, p. 221). In practice, modern civil society is painted on a large canvas. It includes social movements, autonomous bodies that are neither entrepreneurial nor governmental, and altruistic organizations that aim to preserve (and even broaden) civil liberties (Nayar 2001). Given the diversity of the components of modern civil society, for this chapter we embrace a definition of civil society by the (former) Centre for Civil Society of the London School of Economics, which defines it as an area of ‘uncoerced collective action’ located at the interstices of family, market and government (quoted in DasGupta 2008, p. 44). From this perspective, civil society includes community and activist groups, religious organizations, trade unions, industry associations and ‘social movements’ representing socially and/or economically disadvantaged people (Clark 2003; Edwards 2004; LSE/CCS 2007 cited in Lambell et al. 2007). In other words, it comprises ‘the entire arena of voluntary collective action around shared interests and values’ (White 2004). This broad umbrella enables politicians, scholars and practitioners to continue to debate its roles, activities, capacities and impacts (Fischer 2011), as indeed it must, if civil society is to be resurrected from its idealized and aseptic mould and thrown back into the arena of healthy public debate.

Evolution of civil society in India As Kaviraj and Khilnani (2001) point out, the formation of civil society in India has not been the same as its counterpart in western Europe, where the modern state and civil society developed simultaneously over centuries and each became both stronger and more independent along the line. In much of the global south, on the other hand, the trajectory that civil society took was significantly different because of the colonial experience. The domination of economic life by the colonial state, the absence of an indigenous capitalistic class to challenge this, the co-operation of the landed and feudal class with the colonial power and the coexistence of traditional sources of authority with the legal writ of the colonial state, ensured that the state–civil society

Civil society in India  39 trajectory would differ significantly from that of Western counterparts. Of course, the specific dynamics of the state–civil society relationship differed from one national context to another, depending among other factors on the nature of the anti-colonial struggle. India’s civic associational structure was put in place in the 1920s, in the midst of a transformational moment in the Indian freedom struggle, when a new form of politics emerged under the leadership of Mohandas K. Gandhi (Varshney 2001). This had two anchoring points, namely political independence from the British and social transformation of India. The latter implied addressing India’s social evils such as abolition of untouchability, as well as the promotion of tribal welfare, women’s upliftment, labour welfare, self-reliance and so on. A plethora of organizations came into existence between 1920 and 1940, and the space they collectively created acquired a logic and life of their own and served to constrain the behaviour of politicians in the short to medium run (Varshney 2001, p. 363). Though the foundation of an associational civic life was laid down under Gandhi, the focus on a strong centralized economy through five-year plans implied that in the initial years after independence, the spotlight was on state action. It was only in the 1960s and 1970s, following drought, war and a food crisis, that state policies were challenged by peasant and workers movements (Burglund 2009). Drawing on Gandhian and in some cases revolutionary Marxist ideology, these protests and movements gained so much momentum that the Indira Gandhi-led government of the day felt sufficiently threatened to declare a state of emergency in June 1975, which continued until the elections of 1977. The Emergency is significant as a milestone in the trajectory of civil society in India. On one hand, it represents the first (and so far, only) complete break in the institutional democratic process with the suspension of political and civil rights. On the other, it acted as a spur that re-energized post-Emergency civil society with a new spate of activities, not only by the traditional social movements of workers, peasants and students, but also ‘new’ social movements that often took the form of rainbow coalitions cutting across caste and class fault lines and coalescing around issues like the environment and women’s rights (Burglund 2009, p. 23). While the new social movements were also influenced by the ascending global movements on these same themes as Burglund (2009) points out, the Emergency played a critical role in catalysing it by changing the very lens through which the post-independence state was viewed. For the first time, the state was perceived as an oppressor that had taken away constitutionally sanctioned rights, and the fact that it could do so indicated that these rights could no longer be taken for granted. New groups would henceforth fight for their rights and challenge perceived injustices. Along with the old and new social movements of civil society, a new narrative that contributed to the expansion of the NGO segment of civil society in India was that the state had failed to deliver on development goals despite having control of the commanding heights of the economy

40  Sumona DasGupta through a process of centralized planning. This dovetailed with the World Bank-led global narrative and the IMF’s neoliberal reforms, with their marked preference for working with NGOs. With state developmentalism being questioned both within and outside the country, the Indian state itself started to encourage NGOs to take responsibility for social development. With newfound access to funding from the World Bank, international aid organizations and also the Indian government, NGOs proliferated rapidly. By 2017, their number had reached three million (Kode and Jacob 2017). In the following sections, we look at the specific components of contemporary Indian civil society. Social movements While the World Bank’s definition of civil society in the 1980s prioritized NGOs as the centre of attention, is a significant component of civil society lies outside the formal spaces of the NGO sector. One such component is the space is occupied by social movements. Conventionally, social movements have been perceived as organized mobilizations in civil society that seek to change the thoughts, beliefs, values, attitudes, relationships and institutions in society or, conversely, resist changes in these (Blumer 1951; Singha Roy 2005). While traditional social movements were organized on class lines and aimed primarily toward securing economic rights within the polity through political mobilization, the new ones transcend class boundaries and are located squarely within the space of civil society. They cut across formal hierarchies and involve grassroots organizations and people’s networks, which enables the use of direct action to secure what Scott (1990) has described as lifestyle changes through the transformation of values, personal identities and symbols. While the element of collective, social and common identity at the core of new social movements has been articulated by several theorists (Touraine 1981; Melucci 1996; Scott 1990), resource mobilization theorists (Tilly 1985; Zald and McCarthy 1987) argue that the motive of participating in new social movements is guided not only by emotions and ideologies but equally by cost benefits and material interests of the participants. New social movements can also change their trajectory over time and, as Singha Roy (2005) points out in the Indian context, social movements that had started out as radical movements became institutionalized in the course of time. The most visible examples of this in India are perhaps the peasant movements, which Dhanagare (1983) classifies as a variant of social movements. A radical peasant movement is a large-scale mobilization aimed at structural change in peasant society. During three movements – Tebhaga in West Bengal (1946–1947), Telengana in Andhra Pradesh (1946–1952) and Naxalite in West Bengal (1967–1971) – the mobilization was specifically directed against class enemies (big landowners, police and administration) with the peasantry participating in the forceful occupation of land, cutting

Civil society in India  41 the standing paddy and harvesting of paddy in defiance of the landowners, barricading the police, participating in guerrilla warfare and maintaining contacts with underground activists. Though these radical movements were fought in different sites and at different times, there was ideological unity. The mobilization aimed at an egalitarian social order and was initiated by a single political party with a distinct ideology. As Singha Roy (2005, p. 5509) points out, in West Bengal where the Communist Party ruled for 34 years from 1977–2011, these radical modes of peasant mobilization were gradually institutionalized. Instead of a single, ideologically motivated political party controlling the mobilizations, a number of political parties started separate efforts, with innumerable mutually hostile mobilizations giving way to more contained expressions within a certain set direction. Rather than mobilizing for structural change, the goal was now structural stabilization with a reformist agenda in which peasants were seen as beneficiaries. In the process, the lowest section of the peasants became dependent on the political parties in power. Once institutionalized, they formed new identities and devised new strategies to ensure their survival and to resist domination. Despite the institutionalization and de-fanging of the most radical modes of peasant mobilization, the Naxalite movement did not die out completely and has continued to find spaces to exist within West Bengal, and also spread to other parts of India, particularly to India’s tribal heartland. Indeed, the 1967 Naxalite revolt, headed by the Communist Party of India (Marxist– Leninist), that marked the end of subaltern acquiescence and paved the way for the emergence of new social movements (NSMs) that challenged the state-led model of development. Other new social movements began to proliferate in the 1980s, with the development paradigm itself being called into question. Going beyond the issue of distributive justice and poor implementation of development programmes, more fundamental questions were now asked regarding development: for what, for whom and at what cost? (Sangvai 2007). These civil society movements resisted the commodification and monopolization of natural resources such as land, water and forest, as well as their unsustainable use, and protested against power relations and a centralized decision-making process that bypassed community participation in the management of these resources. As Sangvai (2007, p. 111) points out, ‘movements of landless unorganized labour in rural and urban areas, Adivasis, Dalits, displaced peasants, urban poor, small entrepreneurs, and unemployed youth took up the issues of livelihoods, opportunities, dignity and development’. Prominent among these movements to integrate development with dignity, human rights, environmental concern, equality and justice, which spread over India through the 1980s, were the Chipko movement by women to save community forests of Uttarakhand; the opposition to Bodhghat, Inchampalli or Koel Karo projects to reinforce the inalienable rights of forest communities over their natural resources; the Shoshit Jan Andolan in Maharashtra for community rights over land; the Chhattisgarh Mukti

42  Sumona DasGupta Morcha with its slogan of ‘struggle and rebuild’; the Girni Kamgar Sangharsha Samiti to save the livelihoods and housing rights of textile mills employees; the National Fishworkers forum to uphold the rights of small fish workers against big multinational trawler owners; and the Kanoria Jute Mills agitation in Kolkata that combined trade unionism with constructive work. They may all have had a specific local context but were much more than just politics of the local. The issues they raised were interrelated and overarching, representing the politics of the victims of development. Despite the differences in their contexts, locations and responses, they all moved towards common approaches, policies and strategies (Sangvai 2007). While an analysis of social movements in India is outside the scope of this chapter,1 we briefly note two in passing that created ripples in post-1990s India and changed the way in which civil society is perceived, namely, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan (MKSS), which led the right to information movement and, more recently, the India Against Corruption movement. Both coalesced around issues of demanding accountability and transparency from the government. 2 The Right to Information movement was led by the MKSS, which described itself as part of the non-party political process in India, working with peasants and workers of central Rajasthan. It was set up by the people in the area to strengthen participatory democratic processes and insist on accountability and transparency in systems of governance. It sought to empower the disadvantaged by sending a clear message to the elite that lack of information for the former means ‘chains for life’ (Roy 2008, p. 98). The trajectory of how an organization of peasants and workers got involved in the right to information movement is instructive in understanding how a rights-based grassroots movement in civil society can effectively strategize and even change the policy and legislative landscape. As Mander and Joshi (n.d.) point out in their chapter on the movement for the Right to Information in India, the reverberations of this struggle led to a nationwide demand for a law to guarantee the right to information to every citizen, with widespread support from social activists, professionals, lawyers, and persons within the bureaucracy, politics and the media, who are committed to transparent and accountable governance and people’s empowerment. In 1990, the MKSS started working with very poor peasants in one of the most backward regions of Rajasthan. Initially, it tried to uncover the root problem as to why wages were not being paid to the workers hired by the Department of Forests and Public Works. When the first piece of information was finally extracted from the district Block Office, a people’s hearing (Jan Sunwayi) was organized for the first time in the history of Rajasthan. The ‘electrifying response’ (Roy 1996, p. 1121) when the names and details of the corrupt officials were made public led to more such hearings from December 1994 to April 1995. In April 1996, the MKSS demanded confirmation from the Chief Minister that all citizens have a right to information;

Civil society in India  43 MKSS leaders launched a strike in Rajasthan’s Beawar district, vowing that it would continue until such a statement was forthcoming (Roy 1996). This became the wellspring from which the movement subsequently went from strength to strength as support came pouring in from all sides in unique and unexpected ways. From women and men from villages and towns who offered wheat, vegetables and sugarcane juice as donations, to the press that offered to print pamphlets for free, there was what B. Roy (1996, p. 1121) describes as ‘an outpouring of affection and understanding’ to a cause that they perceived as just. The right to information movement eventually led to two revolutionary pieces of legislation, namely, the Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee (later renamed as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), both passed in 2005. As pointed out by MKSS founder Aruna Roy (2008, p. 98), the dialogues and struggles of this movement took its frontrunners ‘from the village council to the Indian parliament’ and showed that it is possible for a civil society movement to influence the course of policy and law. A people’s movement of this kind acknowledges that ‘inequalities of knowledge and unequal access to fact stand in the way of genuine dialogue’ between the ‘all-powerful state’ and its citizens, who are located in the space we call civil society. Another example of a people’s movement that had an impact on the seat of law-making has been the anti-corruption movement of 2011–2012 at the national level, which became so powerful that the government – taken by surprise at its intensity – could not ignore it. The anti-corruption movement in India, which came to be known as India Against Corruption (IAC), sought the passage of legislation called the Lok Pal Bill; aged Gandhian Anna Hazare was at the epicentre, but there were spontaneous assemblies across the country and, initially at least, there was no attempt to centralize or coordinate the movement.3 Also significant was the use of new social media, aided by access to information and communications technology along with the old media by the campaigners in this movement, which involved sit-ins, hunger strikes, fasting, occupation of public spaces and defiance of authority – all of which had been deployed by Gandhi during India’s independence movement (Parashar 2012). Social scientists remained divided about the impact and significance of the IAC. Political scientist M.P. Singh (2013, p. 152) saw the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare as having similarities with the anti-authoritarian/anti-corruption movement led by socialist-turned-Gandhian Jayaprakash Narayan in the 1970s which, too, had developed outside the formal political party system and was led by the middle classes. The difference, according to Singh, was that the Anna Hazare movement was able to go beyond conventional modes of political mobilization by using private electronic media, social media and mass congregations in big cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Others such as historian Ramachandra Guha (2016) have been more cautious about the extent to which the

44  Sumona DasGupta masses were involved, and whether this civil society movement could more accurately be described as a coming-together of the elite and the backward classes. Scholars like Partha Chatterjee (2012, p. 118) have expressed reservations with the arguments of both supporters the critics of the IAC movement, arguing instead that looking at it as a ‘populist movement’ would probably be more helpful as the movement seemed to consist of a variety of groups pitted against a common enemy – in this case the political class as a whole. Chatterjee also points to the extremely active role of the electronic, print and social media, which successfully drew out segments of the population that typically were unenthusiastic if not downright apathetic about politics. On a different strain, Ravinder Kaur (2012) has argued that anti-corruption calls are increasingly resonant in India not just because of public concern about ethics and integrity in public life, but also because corruption itself has a negative impact on India’s brand image as an attractive investment destination. This, she reasons, is why the IAC, which harnessed and focussed popular discontent, was actively supported and even shaped to an extent by India Inc. as well as by global financial institutions like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. An important outcome of the IAC movement was that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) formed a joint Lok Pal bill drafting committee comprising five ministers and five India Against Corruption civil society activists, and co-chaired by Pranab Mukherjee from the government and Prashant Bhushan from the civil society. This experiment was the first time that civil society was given a formal position in the drafting of a bill. While this kind of a partnership is a first, another related question that this movement threw up was the potential of such movements to lead to more hybrid forms of civil society organizations that combine the innovative approaches of citizen collectives with the more formal organizational and leadership approach found within the NGO structure (Kaur 2012). Civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Civil society organizations popularly known as NGOs are a subset of civil society, though the two concepts are often conflated in popular perception. Lambell and Ramia (2007) point to the diversity of interests from different political orientations represented by NGOs, which range all the way from human development and environmental organizations to gun and pharmaceutical lobbies. Some NGOs are organizational manifestations of social movements, some provide services (such as SMILE foundation, CARE India, focussing on education and empowerment of women and children), and others undertake advocacy which can take the form of campaigns like the pre-election voters awareness campaigns (PEVACS) in India (DasGupta 2010). It follows, therefore, that such organizations vary greatly in their composition, roles and strategies, as well as the resources they draw on. As Goswami and Tandon (2013) point out, India’s NGO sector has undergone

Civil society in India  45 dramatic changes since the 1990s in response to the changes in Indian economy, polity and society, which has naturally determined the shape and nature of their interventions. The 1990s, the decade of liberalization, witnessed a spurt in the overall growth rate of the Indian economy and the spread of information technology. The strengthening of institutions of local self-governance, the passing of the right to information and the creation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act, the Forest Act and the Right to Education Act provided opportunities for the NGO sector to intervene to strengthen the rights-based approach, social accountability and transparency in governance. At the same time, the social inequities and exclusions brought in by the uneven distribution of the fruits of high economic growth, increasingly exclusionary city spaces following rapid but unplanned urbanization, environmental degradation, corruption and a sluggish bureaucracy as well as extremist threats from various parts of the country also impacted the overall environment within which this sector had to define its roles and responsibilities (Goswami and Tandon 2013, p. 654) As a result of the changes within India’s economy, governance and society, many of the country’s new NGOs are not necessarily defined in terms of social commitments, which used to be the defining criteria for this sector (Goswami and Tandon 2013). Taking advantage of the new spaces that opened up in the post-liberalization economy, many emergent organizations define their activities in terms of business and commerce. Globally, too, since the 1990s, NGOS have had a growing presence in the realm of international business activities (Doh and Teegan 2003), particularly in relation to corporate social responsibility (Doh and Guay 2006). The line of scholarship focussing on this aspect acknowledges that while the two-way exchange between the government and business sectors is better theorized, the local, regional and global reach of NGOs calls for more NGO-inclusive frameworks to better understand the strategies of MNEs, the formulation of government policy and the governance of foreign direct investment (Doh and Teegan 2003; Teegan 2003). The Indian Companies Act of 2013 increased the interaction between Indian corporations and NGOs, as the former were now explicitly directed to work with the NGO sector that have ‘an established track record of three years in undertaking similar programs or projects’. The corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments of some large companies have since reportedly received several appeals from NGOs for partnership, but such partnerships come with some caveats. Companies insist on stringent project monitoring and emphasize outputs measured in numerical terms, which means that NGOs may end up spending more time in monitoring rather than implementation work, thus diluting their long-term qualitative outcomes. This also implies that only large NGOs with resources and capacity end up with CSR funds, at the cost of deeply knowledgeable grassroots organizations that may not have the capacity to scale up (Schraff and Berman 2016).

46  Sumona DasGupta While India may be the only country in the world to make CSR mandatory, the larger question seems to be about how some large corporations in India make their profit in the first place rather than the question of how they partner with the NGO sector afterwards to spend the now-mandatory 2 per cent of these profits as CSR. As Arun Maira (2013) points out, the damage (or benefit) to society and environment is done by the corporations’ operations and nature of their products, so what it does afterwards with a portion of the profits to repair that damage can at best be a small token. This needs to be factored in the context of the fact that in the NGO sector, there has been much buzz about CRS funding ever since the new company law received presidential assent in 2013: both trusts and politicians have sensed an opportunity to cajole companies into contributing to their pet corpuses or causes.

Civil society in India: recent trends in the NGO sector In April 2010, an initiative called ‘Civil Society at a Crossroads’ was facilitated by PSO Netherlands with representatives from civil society organizations based in South Africa, Tanzania, the UK, Uruguay, the Netherlands and India (represented by Participatory Research in Asia, PRIA). At the deliberations that followed, what started out as a conversation about capacity-building of civil society transformed into a larger deliberation on the changing roles, capacities, contributions and limitations of civil society in the changing local and global contexts. We discuss some key findings from the Civil Society at Crossroads report (2012) that speak to civil society in India: 1. The proliferation of citizen-led protests in India reflects the disillusionment with the performance of public authorities against the backdrop of rising expectations fuelled by rapid economic growth and a devolution of powers to the local governments following the 73rd Amendment Act of 1993. The sudden eruption of citizen-led movements such as the IAC has taken the public authorities by surprise, but they are the product of years of anger and frustration – and the fact that the NGO sector within civil society, much less political parties and unions, had not been able to provide voice to such angst. Yet as the report indicates, the NGO sector has contributed to the building-up of citizen’s capacities and associations over time to the point where such movements are now able to seize the moment. It is important to note that in India, such citizen movements are not directed against dictatorships but located squarely within the practice of democratic politics. These movements have cut across all divides: urban, rural, lower and middle class, men and women, young and old. 2. Citizen movements are organized differently from NGOs, especially those that in recent years have borrowed liberally from the corporate sector in terms of planning, implementation and monitoring. As their

Civil society in India  47 funding increased, there was a concomitant expectation that systems would be put into place to increase ‘efficiency’ and ‘results.’ This meant that the initial emphasis on values and missions often ended up getting diluted. With log frames and value-for-money becoming the drivers of the NGO sector, they tended to lose touch with the commitment to social change that had initially driven their work. Citizen movements chose a more inclusive and participatory form of organization, breaking away from the alienating hierarchy of the NGOs. Most of these movements used the peaceful and non-violent methods that had been popularized by Gandhi and that are now supplemented with the use of social media and the active participation of the youth. 3. Concurrent use of the old and new media: one of the lessons learnt from the India Against Corruption movement was how social media and older media, particularly the international media (radio, television, newspapers magazines), could co-exist and mutually support efforts to garner support from the Indian diaspora. Such combinations indicate how citizen outreach can be enhanced and how political pressure can be brought to bear on the government. Both old and new media are double-edged swords that can be used or misused by and for citizens in the civil society space. 4. In India, the recently diminishing resource base for the NGO sector has reshaped its relationship with both the government and the corporate sector. As Lewis and Kanji (2009) indicate, since the 1990s many international aid agencies have directed their funding for sustainable improvements to the NGO sector in developing countries, rather than to the governments of these countries. India is no exception, and the NGO sector soon became accustomed to large funds from overseas. However, once India was seen to be graduating into middle-income status, overseas aid was diverted to other countries that were seen to have more urgent needs. As a result of this resource crunch, flexible funding for independent civil society actions has been cut down and many NGOs have turned to micro-finance, with its market-linked approach, or contracted with the government of India to deliver services. Ministries of culture, health and family welfare, social justice and empowerment, tribal affairs, and women and child development, for instance, have earmarked specific grants for NGOs. However, NGO recipients of corporate sector social entrepreneurship funds find it difficult to link these resources to the non-market aspects of their work, whereas those engaged in service delivery for the government find that their dependence on government funds constrains their ability to engage in advocacy work. This has been the twin challenge for the NGO sector in India in recent years. 5. New forms of engagement with political society: new civil society movements may sometimes be seen to challenge the existing political set-up – The IAC movement virtually forced the government of India to allow a drafting committee where both legislators and civil society

48  Sumona DasGupta activists were represented in equal numbers. Another important interface between Indian civil society and political society has come in the wake of the devolution of powers to institutions of local self-government in 1992–1993, following which civil society organizations played an important role in the political education of the newly elected representatives. Civil society organizations like Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) initiated a programme for the political empowerment of newly elected women representatives; this capacity-building support was well appreciated by the political system.

Shrinking spaces? Challenges before Indian civil society In a policy brief (Kode and Jacob 2017), CIVICUS, a global alliance of civil society organizations and activists dedicated to strengthening citizen action and civil society throughout the world, acknowledged the inspirational role of India as the world’s largest democracy, with three million civil society organizations and vibrant social movements, and constitutionally protected rights of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly without arms, and the right to form associations. Nevertheless, the organization sounded an alert. It asserted that based on certain newly imposed restrictions, it now classified India as a country with an ‘obstructed civic space’. This CIVICUS classification is based, among other factors, on the manner India’s Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA) is increasingly being used to stymie civil society activities by regulating their foreign funding. The CIVICUS monitor has also highlighted new restrictions on the right to form associations and the right to assemble peacefully, and especially the targeting of human rights defenders and journalists that violates their right to freedom of expression. Though these are fundamental rights, they are subject to certain broad restrictions, such as security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, contempt of court, defamation, incitement to offence, sovereignty and integrity of India. In practice, these provisions have been used by successive governments to clamp down on civil society at certain times. There are many reasons for this trend, which became evident from 2010 onwards as Bandyopadhyay and Chakrabarti (2016) indicate. First, the popular new social movements have taken the government by surprise and there has been a pushback effect. In 2011–2012, the IAC movement caught the government unawares and challenged the idea that law-making was the exclusive task of elected legislators. This created a debate around the role of civil society in India, with many legislators expressing the opinion that laws have to be made in parliament by legislators; in their view, civil society activists were exceeding their brief by claiming a space in the law-drafting process. Second, the current global narrative around terrorism has provided enough ammunition to legitimize restrictions to be placed on the civic space in India under the rubric of protecting national security. Finally, the

Civil society in India  49 so-called ‘elite capture’ of many government systems by those who have interests in the business and private sector, together with the dwindling aid supply from the global north, have made the NGOs more dependent on government and the corporate sector and thus subjected to the concomitant limitations that come with this. While the right to form associations is protected by the Indian constitution, the government can place restrictions on the foreign funding that non-governmental associations may receive, thus indirectly regulating their activities. In December 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) amended the FCRA rules, increasing reporting requirements for civil society organizations and making online submission compulsory for all registration applications. Under the amended rules, organizations receiving funding from foreign sources must publish audited statements of the funds, stating what the funds were used for on their official website or on a website specified by the central government. The statements must include details of the donors, the amount received and the date of the donation. An additional check was introduced on banks, which now were required to report any funds from foreign sources within 48 hours of receipt. Predictably, both the original FCRA and especially the subsequent amendments to the rules were done to prevent foreign contribution and hospitality ‘for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto’ (Ministry of Law and Justice 2010, p. 1). By not defining what such activities may be, a large space is created for the government to act on its own discretion. The Act also prohibits funding for any organization that is of a political nature. As a result, foreign funding of 4,000 small NGOs has been revoked; while the government position is that this is due to procedural violations, critics have pointed out that it cannot be a coincidence that human rights organizations that are critical of government policies have been targeted (Bandyopadhyay and Chakrabarti 2016). According to the Voluntary Action Network India (VANI), 10,000 registrations of organizations under FCRA were cancelled in 2015 alone, and another 11,000 registrations met with the same fate in 2016, thereby threatening their very existence (Bandyopadhyay and Chakrabarti 2016). In January 2015, Greenpeace India’s approval to receive foreign funds was revoked and senior activist Priya Pillai, who works on climate, energy and tribal people, was offloaded from a Delhi–London flight despite her valid visa and told that her name was on a government list of people who are not allowed to travel abroad. This was clearly seen as a case of suppressing a dissenting voice that had been critical of government policy visà-vis the displacement of tribal communities. Apart from cancellations of approvals to receive foreign funds, non-renewal is another tool that has been used to keep a check on the activities of civil society organizations that are seen to threaten government or business interests. For instance, in 2016 MHA refused to renew the registration of the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns, which has operated in India for 35 years, as well as

50  Sumona DasGupta the Indian Action Social Forum, which includes grassroots organizations, human rights movements and trade unions that resist globalization and communalism (Kode and Jacob 2017). Freedom of expression, which is often seen as one of the most significant markers of the health of civil society today, cannot be delinked from the internet and freedom of the press. Civil society in India has contested the government and private parties that seek to monitor internet activity and penalize dissenting voices on the internet. A Freedom House report (2015) ranked India’s internet freedom as only ‘partly free’, based on yardsticks related to government censorship and surveillance of public information, as well as on crackdowns on privacy tools. Similarly, MediaNama has tracked 13 blanket bans on mobile internet services in India since 2015, and the Freedom Law Centre has tracked 30 cases of the internet being cut off since 2013 (Kode and Jacob 2017). Responding to this challenge in 2018, a group of lawyers and policy analysts unveiled a community project called Save our Privacy backed by the Internet Freedom Foundation to build a model citizen law for data protection, surveillance and interception.4 The restrictive provisions of the Indian Penal Code, particularly section 124-A, which includes a broad-spectrum definition of ‘sedition’, has given a long rope to the government to target critical speeches and social media commentary, and label them as seditious. Journalists, bloggers and media agencies have been targeted by both state and non-state actors on grounds such as prevention of communal unrest or during times of elections. The killings of at least two journalists – Gauri Lankesh in Karnataka in July 2017 and Shujaat Bukhari in Kashmir in June 2018 – by unidentified gunmen have created an atmosphere of fear and self-censorship. From 2016 onwards, there has been a growing disquiet in Indian civil society following vigilantism and mob lynchings, particularly in the wake of the lynching of a Muslim man over rumours of cow slaughter, and the killing of Dalit children. Protesting against the current government’s silence on incidents of intolerance and violence, notably following the killings of rationalists like M.M. Kalburgi and Govind Pansare in 2015, several prominent writers and poets started returning their national awards. Despite the right to assemble peacefully without arms enshrined in Article 19 (1) b of the Constitution, the government of India has used the fight against terrorism and protection of national sovereignty as justification to undermine local resistance, particularly when these have threatened big business interests such as mining activities or the laying of an oil pipeline. To preserve political power or secure the economic interests of those at the top, the government has claimed that protests are externally engineered. In the process, it has restricted the space for civil society action to protect the interests of marginalized peoples, especially India’s tribal communities that live in ecologically fragile lands (Bandyopadhyay and Chakrabarti 2016). In April 2015, for instance, protests organized by the Kanhar Bandh Virodhi Saagharsh Samiti and All Indian Union of Forest Working People opposing

Civil society in India  51 the acquisition of land for dam construction were forcibly dispersed by security forces near the Kanhar dam in Uttar Pradesh. In militarized zones such as Jammu and Kashmir, where there is an active movement for the right to self-determination, authorities have often used force to disperse protests, including the use of the controversial pellet guns that have caused loss of sight and other grievous injuries. In parts of India’s turbulent northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir, armed forces are also equipped with special powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. In these areas, even if an elected legislature and other institutional mechanisms of democracy are in place, the space for civil society action and expression is severely curtailed when extraordinary powers under special laws are invoked.

Conclusion Indian civil society is at a critical conjuncture. On one hand, the Indian social and political landscape has been the site of myriad social movements, and mass mobilizations have helped challenge social and political inequities. Concurrently, however – and perhaps precisely because the social movements have challenged the status quo – we also see a trend where global donors, the private sector and even the government have sometimes worked separately and sometimes in collusion to defang civil society by reducing its organizations to apolitical and technical tools. Such civil society organizations then no longer have the capacity to carry out their early promise of pursuing a transformative agenda that seeks to change power relations or confront market inequities. Instead, they are made to build alliances with the state or the corporate sector in ways that dilute their initial mission. The complex equation at work here goes to the heart of the uneasy relationship between civil society, markets and the state. When business interests are persuaded that a social movement (like the IAC) may serve their longterm interests, they lend support to it. In other cases where the business interests are hampered by marginalized communities that assert their rights and livelihood by protesting against extractive processes of mining, for instance, the business sector works in partnership with the government to suppress and derail such movements. In post-liberalization India and particularly after 2010, the state has emerged as a major protector of business interests. Where civil society activism has threatened such interests or questioned the way in which public authority has functioned or not functioned, the state has clamped down, even while inviting the NGO sector to step into the purely apolitical role of service delivery and performance of technical functions. As the political, social and economic changes in India unfold, the relationship of its civil society with the market and the state will also undergo changes. New areas of partnership as well as contestations will emerge. The relationship between this complex triad will continue to be fluid in the years to come, as different components of civil society embrace new roles and capacities in tune with the changing times.

52  Sumona DasGupta

Notes 1 A social movement that stood out because of its scale and sheer number of people, including women who actively participated, was the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Though its detailed analysis is outside the purview of this chapter, this movement has been extensively studied by prominent scholars (Patel 1995; Fisher 1995; Baviskar 1995; Udall 1995; Dreze, Sampson and Singh 1997; Patkar 1995; Dwivedi 1997; Sangvai 2000; Jayal 2000; Kala 2001; Khagram 2004). These writings cover the movement from all angles: activist and insider views as well as critical perspectives on dam opposition, the campaign against the SSP and the internal dynamics of the movement and its politics. 2 This chapter focusses on the period 2010–2017 so the protest movements that swept India around the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAA) of 2019, which is now a law, and its linkage with the National Population Register (NPR) and National register of Citizens (NRC) are outside its purview. We note in passing these movements and their multiple sites of resistance have been unprecedented in the manner in which youth were drawn in and in their sheer breath and social composition. 3 The movement later split. One faction was led by Arvind Kejriwal who went on to form a political party and successfully contest elections under the banner of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) while the other continued to be led by Anna Hazare under the banner of Janatantra Morcha. 4 For more on this model draft see

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Civil society in India  53 Doh, Jonathan P. and Terrence R. Guay (2006) ‘Corporate social responsibility, public policy and NGO activism in Europe and United States: An institutional-stakeholder perspective’. Journal of Management Studies 43(1), pp. 47–73. Doh, Jonathan P. and Hildy Teegan, eds (2003) Globalization and NGOs: Transforming Business, Government and Society. Westport: Praeger. Dreze, Jean, Meera Sampson and Satyajit Singh (1997) The Dam and the Nation. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Dwivedi, R. (1997) ‘People’s movements in environmental politics: A critical analysis of the Narmada Bachao Andolan in India’. ISS Working paper No 242. The Hague: Institute of Social Studies. Edwards, Michael (2004) Civil Society. Cambridge: Polity Press. Fischer, Martina (2011) Civil Society in Conflict Transformation: Strengths and Limitations. Berlin: Berghof Foundation. Fisher, W.F., ed. (1995) Towards Sustainable Development: Struggling over India’s Narmada river. Armonk, NY: Sharpe. Freedom House (2015) ‘Freedom on the Net’. freedom-net/freedom-net-2015. Last accessed August 6 2020. Goswami, Debika and Rajesh Tandon (2013) ‘Civil society in changing India: Emerging roles, relationships and strategies’. Development in Practice 23(5–6), pp. 653–664. Guha, Ramchandra (2016) Patriots and Partisans. New Delhi: Penguin Books. Intrac for Civil Society (2012) ‘Civil Society at Crossroads: shifts, challenges, options’. Research report. December. Jayal, Neerja G. (2000) Democracy and the State: Welfare Secularism and Development in Contemporary India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kala, Pablo (2001) ‘In the spaces of erasure: Globalization, resistance and the Narmada river’. Economic & Political Weekly 36(22). Kaur, Ravinder (2012) ‘India Inc. and its moral discontents’. Economic & Political Weekly (19 May), pp. 40–45. Kaviraj, Sudipta and Sunil Khilnani (2001) Civil Society: History and Possibilities. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press. Khagram, Sanjeev (2004) Dams and Development: Transnational Struggles for Water and Power. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Kode, David and Mathew Jacob (2017) ‘Democracy threatened by growing attacks on civil society’. CIVICUS report. Lambell, Richard, Gaby Ramia, Chris Nyland and Marco Michelotti (2007) ‘NGOs and International Business Research: Progress, Prospects and Problems’. International Journal of Management Reviews (25 September). 10.1111/j.14682370.2007.00218.x. Last accessed August 6 2020. Lewis, David and Nazneen Kanji (2009) Non-governmental Organisations and Development. London: Routledge. Maira, Arun (2013) ‘India’s 2% CSR law: The first country to go backwards’. Economic & Political Weekly 48(38), pp. 23–25. Mander, Harsh and Abha Joshi. ‘The Movement for Right to Information in India’. Monograph, Human Rights Initiative. ai/rti/india/articles/The%20Movement%20for%20RTI%20in%20India.pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Melucci, Alberto (1996) Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

54  Sumona DasGupta Ministry of Law and Justice (2010) Gazette of India. PDF_Doc/FC-RegulationAct-2010-C.pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Nayar, P.K.B. (2001) ‘Civil society, state and democracy: Lessons for India’. Sociological Bulletin 50(2), pp. 206–218. Parashar, Abhishek (2012) ‘An analysis of new media’s role in mass movements (with reference to Anna Hazare’s campaign, ‘India Against Corruption’)’. Journal of Mass Communication and Journalism 2(7). doi:10.4172/2165-7912.1000118. Last accessed August 6 2020. Patel, Anil (1995) ‘What do the Narmada valley tribals want?’ In W.F. Fisher (ed), Towards Sustainable Development: Struggling over India’s Narmada River. Armonk, NY: Sharpe. Patkar, Medha (1995) ‘The struggle for participation and justice: A historical narrative’. In W.F. Fisher (ed) Towards Sustainable Development: Struggling over India’s Narmada River. Armonk, NY: Sharpe. Roy, Aruna (2008) ‘The right to information: Challenges to dialogue’. In Sumona DasGupta (ed.) Dialogic Explorations: Texts and Contexts (A conference report). New Delhi: WISCOMP, Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Roy, Bunker (1996) ‘Right to information: profile of a grassroots struggle’. Economic & Political Weekly (11 May), pp. 1120–1121. Sangvai, Sanjay (2000) The River and Life: People’s Struggles in the Narmada Valley. Mumbai: Earthcare Books. Sangvai, Sanjay (2007) ‘The new people’s movement in India’. Economic & Political Weekly 42(50), pp. 111–117. Schraff, Kelly and Sarah Berman (2016) ‘Linking CSR with Business practices’. Gateway House. Last accessed August 6 2020. Scott, Alan (1990) Ideology and the New Social Movements. London: Unwin Hyman. Singh, Mahendra Prasad (2013) ‘Administrative reforms in India’. In Meghna Sabharwal and Evan M. Berman (eds) Public Administration in South Asia: India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Boca Raton, London, New York: CRC Press. Singha Roy, Debal K. (2005) ‘Peasant movements in contemporary India: Emerging forms of domination and resistance’. Economic & Political Weekly (24 December), pp. 5505–5513. Tandon, Rajesh and Ranjita Mohanty (2003) ‘Civil society and governance: Issues and problematics’. In Rajesh Tandon and Ranjita Mohanty (eds) Does Civil Society Matter? Governance in Contemporary India. New Delhi: Sage. Teegan, Hildy (2003) International NGO as global institutions: Using social capital to impact multinational enterprises and governments. Journal of International Management 9(3), pp. 271–285. Tilly, Charles (1985) ‘War-making and state-making as organized crime’. In Peter Evans et al. (eds) Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 161–191. Touraine, A. (1981) The Voice and the Eye: An Analysis of Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Udall, Lori (1995) ‘The international Narmada campaign: A case of sustained advocacy’. In W.F. Fisher (ed) Towards Sustainable Development: Struggling over India’s Narmada River. Armonk, NY: Sharpe.

Civil society in India  55 Varshney, Ashutosh (2001) ‘Ethnic conflict and civil society: India and Beyond’. World Politics 53(3), pp. 362–398. Verghese, B.G. (2008) ‘Civil society in conflict situations: An overview’. In V.R. Raghavan (ed.) Civil Society in Conflict Situations. Chennai: Centre for Policy Research. White, Gordon (2004) ‘Civil society, democratization and development: Clearing the analytical background’. In Peter J. Burnell and Peter Calvert (eds) Civil Society in Democratization. London: Frank Cass. Zald, M.N. and J.D. McCarthy (1987) Social Movements in an Organisational Society. New Brunswick and London: Transaction Books.

4 Clearing misconceptions about civil society in Pakistan Shafqat Munir Ahmad

During the first decade of Pakistan’s independence (1947–1958), the governments were fully supportive of civil society’s efforts to rebuild the country and resettle the refugees who came from the Indian side. In the next decade (1958–1969), Field Marshal Ayub Khan installed Pakistan’s first military government. He introduced a somewhat restrictive Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961, which still specifies the registration rules for civil society organizations and charities. Amid protests, General Ayub Khan had to resign on 26 March 1969. Army supremo General Yahya Khan presided over a new military government (1969–1971) and civil society remained as regulated as it had been during the Ayub Khan era. Following general elections in 1970, the former foreign minister Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Pakistan Peoples Party, PPP), the overwhelming choice in then-West Pakistan, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (Awami League) dominated the polls in the Eastern part of the country. On the issue of power transfer, turmoil started and the Eastern Part of Pakistan declared independence, which it secured militarily with Indian support. The then military ruler Yahya Khan handed over to Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the power as new president of the country on 20 December 1971. Bhutto served in this role during 1971–1973 and then under the 1973 constitution he assumed the post of prime minister from 1973 to 1977. Since he was a pro-people politician, he gave a lot of space to civil society, including trade unions and students’ unions, as a pillar of democracy. In July 1977, another general, Zia-ul-Haq, toppled the elected government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977 and re-imposed martial law (1977– 1988) with the toughest dictatorial tactics and inhuman punishment for political workers. He banned trade unions, students’ unions, parliamentary politics, civil society and social movements. This was a difficult time for civil society and civil rights activists. However, General Zia allowed some NGOs to address challenges related to Afghan refugees, as he supported right-wing Afghan fighters who came to be known as the Taliban. In the decade of 1988–1999, two prime ministers served two terms each. PPP leader Benazir Bhutto governed during 1988–1990 and 1993–1996, and the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif was prime minster during 1990–1993 and 1997–1999. Both rivals were

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  57 popularly elected leaders. Like her father, Benazir Bhutto emerged as pro-people and pro-rights, while Nawaz Sharif was known for his rightwing policies. Bhutto restored trade unions and opened up civil society spaces, while Sharif banned trade unions. Although he did not compress civil society as much as his previous mentor General Zia had, his regimes were not as open to civil society as Bhutto’s. Next, General Pervez Musharraf seized power in the country (1999– 2008). He introduced himself as a liberal general, and the record shows that he was more accommodating of NGOs/civil society than the preceding three generals had been. Following another general election in 2008 that was marred by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the PPP returned to power under Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani (2008–2012), and PPP’s Raja Pervez Ashraf replaced Mr Gillani as prime minister (2012–2013) when the latter had to vacate the post after a decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The PPP’s chairperson, Asif Ali Zardari, has been the president during the five-year tenure of the party (2008–2013). Under the PPP regime, civil society, lawyers and trade unions regained the importance granted to them under the earlier PPP governments. Shortly after winning elections in 2013, a new PML-N government (2013–2018) introduced an executive order that restricted NGOs/INGOs more extensively and intensively than at any time in Pakistan’s history. Finally, cricket legend Imran Khan led a new party, Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI), into power in 2018. Imran Khan’s government has tightened the space even further, making it literally impossible for civil society to operate in the country. It has not issued new orders but has enforced the 2013 PML-N order more aggressively than Nawaz Sharif himself had done. This chapter discusses the civil society and successive governments’ relationship over the years. The 2013 restrictive executive order with some more restrictive mechanism added to the order since 2018 are seen by the civil society leadership as the controlling leverage instead of facilitating the process of registration. By tracing the changes in these processes over the course of various military and political eras, we can see how the relationship between civil society itself and the government has changed.

Civil society in Pakistan Introduction of civil society in perspective Since the 1980s, donors and aid recipient countries have duly acknowledged civil society and its role in supporting communities to claim their civic and human rights to take part in planning and implementing development activities at the local level. The influence of civil society, especially national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs and INGOs), has been evident. Indeed, all negotiation processes under the auspices of the United Nations

58  Shafqat Munir Ahmad include civil society organizations, thus giving them direct influence on the agreements that follow. Civil society representatives take part in the sideline process of the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conferences, the summits of the G-8 and G-20 countries, the World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank’s annual meetings, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process (Conferences of Parties every year). They also took part in some of the key global conferences, including the Aid Effectiveness Paris Agreement (2005), the Accra Agreement for Action (2008), the Sustainable Development Conference (2015) that set the global development agenda – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015) and the Istanbul Agenda for Humanity (2016). This globally assigned role, a part of the globalization process, enables civil society organizations to hold governments both in developed and developing countries to account. Among the issues they take particular interest in are the developmental effectiveness of foreign aid, the promotion of notions of people-centric governance, and respect for human rights through fair play and unbiased dispensation of justice. The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC 1950)1 stated that INGOs (global civil society) are independent entities and are not formed as a result of any inter-governmental arrangements. Another ECOSOC resolution (1968)2 allowed INGOs to include the government officials on their boards but with the condition that such officials may not interfere with the organization’s free expression of views. Clearly, the civil society functions of INGOs, including as watchdogs and torch bearers of civil society in global affairs, are to proceed without governmental influence. Within countries, similar roles and expectations are associated with domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs). INGOs are not a substitute for global intergovernmental institutions such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and NGOs are not a substitute for State Bank of Pakistan or Pakistan Baitul Maal (a government-financed social safety net administered under an independent board). Rather, INGOs and NGOs raise the profiles of the marginalized and the excluded on governmental radars; they play their role as alternate strategists that seek to support and complement governments, rather than compete with them. Based on various assertions of noted research centres about civil society, the World Bank has adopted the following definition: The term civil society refers to the wide array of non-governmental and not-for-profit organizations that have a presence in public life, expressing the interests and values of their members or others, based on ethical, cultural, political, scientific, religious or philanthropic considerations. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) therefore refer to a wide array of organizations: community groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), labor unions, indigenous groups, charitable organizations, faith-based organizations, professional associations, and foundations.3

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  59 In societies around the world, this definition is commonly incorporated into definitions of civil society. The rationale behind establishing and strengthening civil society is ‘making the government accountable’ through active citizenship, which is a part of functional democracy, as voting alone makes democracy neither participatory nor functional. This chapter briefly reviews the status of civil society throughout Pakistan’s political history. It touches upon the orientation of civil society along right and left ideologies, women’s rights, student and trade unions, and philanthropic organizations. The chapter also builds the context in line with the state laws and administrative practices regarding civil society, and analyses how the space for civil society is shrinking amid handling of INGOs/NGOs by the governments through administrative orders instead of by implementing existing laws that ostensibly govern these organizations. Historical background Civil society in the area now known as Pakistan predates the establishment of this country in 1947. Hindu concepts such as daana (giving) and seva (service) and Islamic injections of zakat (2.5% of savings set aside for the poor and needy) and respect for haqooq-ul-ibaad (human rights) provided both motivation and finances for pre-independence civil society organizations. For example, to win over local people, Mughal leaders established welfare activities (Iqbal et al. 2004). Even earlier, in the eleventh century, the Sufis, mystic preachers of Islam, established khanqahs (monasteries) and ‘madrisas’ (religious schools) in southern Punjab and Sindh. Both kinds of institutes relied on charity and donations to provide education, food and clothing to their students. While many khanqahs continue to function as they were set up, albeit with some modern innovations, some are now sullied with a reputation for fomenting extremism and hate. In the nineteenth century, British missionaries established convent schools in Punjab, Sindh and the then North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). They also set up hospitals, dispensaries, orphanages, hostels and seminaries. Local charities also set up schools such as B.V.S. Parsi School and Mama Parsi Girls School in Karachi. In the twentieth century, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a Pushtoon leader, founded Khudai Khidmatgar (Servants of God), which later evolved into a non-violent political movement against the British rule. With over 100,000 volunteers, the movement preached harmony, peace and social reform, and a couple of welfare organizations emerged under the movement. The movement is still active in KPK province and tends to support the Awami National Party (People’s National Party), which has ruled the province several times (Khattak 2017). At its birth on 14 August 1947, Pakistan inherited social and civil society movements that played a key role in the resettlement of displaced refugees from the Indian side after the partition. The immediate challenges faced by civil society in the newly born country’s first decade were: setting up of

60  Shafqat Munir Ahmad health facilities, camps management and provision of food and water supplies for the exodus population – all with meagre resources. The Red Cross, National Girl Guides and other volunteer groups were at the forefront of this mostly humanitarian work. The next phase was of building houses for refugees who came from the Indian side. Some local groups in Lahore and Karachi such as the Women’s Volunteer Service for Refugee Rehabilitation, the All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA), the Family Welfare Cooperative Housing Society and the Social Welfare Society also provided welfare services to the communities. During this period, the government was supportive of civil society endeavours. In 1960, for example, graduate associations including the noted Sindh Graduates Association (SGA) were founded (Salim 2017), but socialist and Marxist movements were viewed as unacceptable threats. The Communist Party of Pakistan was banned in 1954 (Ali 2015). In later periods, Ayub Khan’s government (1968–1969) banned trade unions and students’ unions, and General Zia-ul-Haq came down hard on all democratic civil society institutions, including labour and student unions, after he imposed martial law on 5 July 1977. Though labour unions have been allowed to function in the post-Zia era, they are weak. Student unions continue to be banned. Existing laws for registration of NGOs There are four registration laws for civil society/non-profit organizations to cater to different registration needs of civil society organizations. The Societies Registration Act 1860 and The Trust Act 1882, inherited from the British era, govern the activities of all sorts of non-government entities, including NGOs and family trusts. The Societies Registration Act 1860 provides the legal foundation for the activities of a wide range of non-profit organizations. NGOs overseen by this law may promote literature, science, fine arts, diffusion of useful knowledge, political education, or charitable purposes, and may raise funds to undertake these activities. Note that this list includes the right to ‘promote political education’, a mandate that allows duly registered civil society organizations to undertake rights-based work. Until the promulgation of the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961 under General Ayub Khan’s military government, these colonial legacies were the only legal bases for civil society and social groups to get themselves registered. The Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961 supplemented the older legislation. It created another window for registration and regulation of social welfare agencies under provincial governmental authority. In the 1961 law, NGO operations are limited to the specified geographical location (district/s) for which they have been registered. The law gives authority to district administration and social welfare departments in the provinces to take NGOs/civil society into their fold. The main impact of this legislation is to limit the activities of ‘political’ NGOs

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  61 to small geographic areas and subject them to the closer supervision that is possible by local authorities. Ayub Khan sought to avoid the kind of civil society that could organize nationwide opposition to a government. ‘Families’, charities and ‘trusts’ are not registered under the 1961 Ordinance; such organizations are governed by the Trust Act 1882, which is less restrictive and less cumbersome than the 1961 legislation. Since 1984, big NGOs that operate countrywide and function under the leadership of board of directors as corporate entities for ‘Non-project’ purposes are registered with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan under the Companies Ordinance. They are corporate companies/ entities by all means, but they operate as ‘Non-Profit’ organizations. With these roles and limitations, all the four registration laws are applied for registration of any civil society organization or trusts. The Trust Act 1882 provides legal protection for acts of public charity. This gives a lot of flexibility to the founder of a trust. Any private trust can be created for the benefit of an individual or group of people. The trust can obtain funding and spend it under the supervision of its trustees. The legal status of the trusts is literally on a par with NGOs. Though the law seems to provide flexibility to trustees, in reality and practice, they face the same constraints as NGOs in terms of opening a bank account, and limits on thematic scope and geographical extent. Section 42 of the Companies Ordinance 1984 allows for registration of a non-profit company or association that aims to further the development of social services, charity, religion, art, science, commerce, sports and some other public-oriented objectives. The registration of such companies, which exist throughout the whole of the country, is done by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan. This has been a smooth way to register research organizations and clubs, but with the restrictive mindset of the then right-wing PML-N government (2013–2018) and the incumbent conservative PTI led government (2018–), this registration process has been made cumbersome. Companies (non-profits) registered under this law face the same restrictions as NGOs/INGOs do. Though the non-profit organizations (NPOs) registered under the Companies Ordinance 1984 are companies and not NGOs, they still need clearance from state agencies, including no-objection certificates (NoC). So, the same restrictive mechanism exists for non-profit companies registered under this federal law. It is interesting to note that prior to the November 2013 administrative order issued by the then PML-N government (2013–2018), INGOs were required to enter into an agreement as a foreign entity and a development partner with the Economic Affairs Division of the Finance Ministry. These agreements often took the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Under this practice, INGOs used to be welcomed, particularly in the tenures of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which is known for its somewhat progressive, democratic and rights-based mindset. The PPP-led governments have been tolerant of civil society criticism as their leadership did not perceive NGOs to be political rivals. By contrast, the former

62  Shafqat Munir Ahmad PML-N and the incumbent PTI-led governments seem to imagine rivals wherever they look. With the mindset of controlling the civil society voices in the garb of national security paradigm, the then PML-N government demanded that INGOs register with the Ministry of the Interior in addition to the Finance Ministry; the incumbent PTI led government continued with this additional layer. As a result, INGOs that seek to operate in Pakistan must submit too many documents, including those that are non-existent at the time of application submission, including would-be funding agreements and workplans that are not in place at the time of application. INGOs must complete yet another step: fulfil the requirements of the Foreign Contributors’ Act 2014, a mechanism that aims to regulate foreign funds brought by INGOs into Pakistan. This new Act literally gives all controls of INGOs to the government authorities and limits the space and operational functioning. These sorts of measures simply mean shutting the doors for INGOs to work in Pakistan, said Ibne Abdur Rahman, I.A Rahman (2020). The former PML-N government (2013–2018) and the incumbent PTIled coalition government (2018–) inhibited the ability of civil society (both national and international non-governmental organizations), trade and students unions to promote political education/rights, urging them to redirect their efforts on charitable service delivery from rights-based approaches. Through an administrative order in November 2013, the authorities made operations of NGOs/INGOs impossible in the name of regulating the civil society organization. This administrative order requires civil society groups to re-register under another, more stringent authority: The Ministry of the Interior for INGOs in addition to their lawful authority the Economic Affairs Division under the Finance Minister; and, similarly, for NGOs the Economic Affairs Division of the Finance Ministry in addition to their respective registration authorities under the above four laws. The civil society leadership repeatedly expressed their willingness to comply with all reasonable demands for accountability and transparency, but they say that the additional layers of stringent administrative control are not only arbitrary, but do not even pretend to enhance NGO accountability. Rather, they accomplish their real goal: to squeeze the space available for civil society (Rahman 2020). There is no legal backing for the November 2013 administrative order. The then-government had promised that Parliament would promulgate a new law for the regulation of NGOs/INGOs, but it did not happen. Still, both the PML-N government that issued the order and the PTI government that followed have used the order to push civil society to the wall in order to silence the voice of the poor and the marginalized communities for their political interest of curbing dissent voices from the civil society, in the view of Mr I.A. Rahman (Ibne Abdur Rehman), a senior leader of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP). He narrated difficulties NGOs/INGOs are having in opening bank accounts and making transactions to conduct their activities. Banks are under strict instructions from the State Bank of Pakistan to cause prolonged delays by, for example, asking for many irrelevant

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  63 records including the signed funding agreements/contracts between the donors and the NGOs/INGOs for opening up accounts. For those who already have valid bank accounts, their funds are either not credited to their bank accounts or sometimes are returned to the donors, (Rahman 2020). The state of NGOs/civil society organizations 1956–2013 To cater to the development and welfare needs of the communities, the then government of Pakistan led by President Iskandar Mirza (1956–1958) set up National Council for Social Welfare in 1956 with a mandate to coordinate efforts by the human-resource-constrained government departments and civil society groups, especially NGOs to deliver services to the people in remote areas in the country. The National Council of Social Welfare (NCSW), now currently working under the Ministry of Human Rights, at that time facilitated and funded the NGOs to undertake welfare services to the needy communities. Though the NCSW still exists in Pakistan, its role has been minimized to a formal entity and it is no longer capable of serving as a bridge between the government and civil society as it had in the past. Previously, the NCSW was mandated to serve as a bridge between public and private sectors with specialized effects and resources for the welfare of the communities vulnerable segments of the society in collaboration with the NGOs; to work for promotion of social justice and eradication of social evils by conducting seminars, workshops, conferences and surveys and research studies and through undertaking awareness campaigns on social issues; to promote Public-Private Partnership and provide professional assistance to Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (VSWAs), to undertake policy formulation on social issues and to mobilize Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies in the wake of any disaster.4 [The NCSW] subscribes to the vision of setting up of an egalitarian society free from all sorts of exploitations, based on the principles of equality, tolerance, social justice and the promotion of social / national integration. The target groups include: Senior Citizens, Khawaja-Saras (transgender community), Women, Children, Youth, Destitute Patients, Persons with Disabilities, Beggars, Drug Addicts, Minorities and Volunteers.5 While comparing the then and now state of NGOs in Pakistan, historian and a veteran civil society scholar Ahmad Salim observed that, historically, NGOs/civil society in Pakistan had some sort of financial and administrative backing of the government, but the PML-N government (2013–2018) and the PTI government (2018–) not only stopped funding civil society organizations and groups, but also blocked their efforts to continue functioning

64  Shafqat Munir Ahmad according to their mandates (interview with Ahmad Salim, March 2020). He opined that the two right-wing governments since 2013 have been more repressive and restrictive against NGOs than the previous military regimes. Salim describes this as a political dichotomy rather than a tragedy for democracy (Ibid.). The pro-people and community awareness roles of the National Council of Social Welfare, together with the emergence of new NGOs/civil society groups and their expanding role in terms of raising people’s voices, probably cautioned the martial law government of General Ayub Khan (1958–1969) against the rising civil society demands for rights of the communities and prompted it to introduce the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Registration and Control Ordinance (1961). This legislation made registration of NGOs mandatory and they were brought under certain controls to avoid any embarrassing situation for the martial law government. Under this new law, NGOs/civil society groups were restricted to their designated geographical district. This law was introduced despite an already available law: the Societies Registration Act 1860, which was relatively liberal in terms of allowing NGOs/civil society to promote political education among the people. In 1955, All-Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) led by Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, the wife of Pakistan’s first prime minister, and other women’s rights organizations ran a campaign against patriarchy and in favour of strengthened women’s rights. These organizations formed an alliance in 1955, the United Front for Women’s Rights (UFWR), under the leadership of Jahanara Shahnawaz. Together, APWA and UFWR succeeded in getting the principle of allocating reserved parliamentary seats for women incorporated in the 1956 Constitution, but this achievement dissolved along with the government when General Ayub Khan imposed martial law in 1958 (Saigol 2016). In 1961, when Ayub Khan introduced the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance 1961, these two women’s groups were the first victims. A decade later, the PPP manifesto promised to create civic space for left-oriented organizations and, after the party won the 1970 national elections, women’s and labour movements began to re-emerge on Pakistan’s political scene. A leading women’s rights NGO, Shirkat Gah, was founded in 1975 and labour unions remained active in an extended space. During Bhutto’s time, May Day – International Labour Day – was celebrated with red flags countrywide and the prime minister himself led the May Day processions. In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq deposed Bhutto and imposed martial law. He tightened restrictions on trade unions, student unions, rights-based NGOs and the media to curb voices of dissent against his dictatorial regime. But after the exodus of refugees from Afghanistan as result of Afghanistan– Soviet war, humanitarian NGOs were allowed to help settle over 3.5 million Afghan refugees on Pakistan’s soil in the then-NWFP province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, KPK). In the 1980s, the window of opportunity for some NGOs to support Afghan refugees provided some space to civil society, and

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  65 a number of other NGOs also emerged as players. These include the Agha Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) in the north of the county and the Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi. During this period, the government and global donors provided huge funding to NGOs/INGOs that worked with Afghan refugees and on community development projects. The Women’s Action Forum (WAF), formed in 1981, played a key role in creating awareness about the rights of women in Pakistan. WAF workers have been on the forefront of political resistance against the martial law of General Zia-ul-Haq. While dozens of women leaders were arrested by the military regime, their movement gained a more general momentum and, in 1985, Zia had to appoint a civilian as prime minister. Shortly afterwards, the Aurat Foundation (AF) was set up. Both the AF and the WAF continue to be influential organizations on the rights of women. After a brief authoritarian hiatus, Ms Benazir Bhutto and her PPP took the helm, steering Pakistan toward another era of revival for civil society organizations (CSOs). In the 1990s, with the support of USAID, the Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) was established to provide support to civil society groups, including NGOs. Similarly, the Poverty Alleviation Fund, the Sarhad Rural Support Programme, the Punjab Rural Support Programme, and the Sindh and Baluchistan Rural Support Programmes were launched; a universe of community-based organizations was supported under these hugely funded programmes. During the PML-N tenure (1997–1999), civil society organization including NGOs remained active. However, this government did not take any proactive action to restore student unions. Since the party was dominated by industrialists including the prime minister’s family, the government did not support reforms in the labour sector. The PML-N government in this period was neither a tough opponent nor a proactive supporter of civil society organizations including NGOs/INGOs. Pakistan also lived under the martial law of General Pervez Musharaf (1999–2008, albeit for the most part nominally governed by civilian parties that were under the thumb of the Musharraf-led military government), but this time the regime promoted civil society. Musharaf included Mr Umar Asghar Khan, head of the grassroots development Sungi Foundation, in his cabinet and introduced reforms in the development sector. Media and civil society groups including NGOs/INGOs enjoyed an environment that enabled them to function under their mandates. They did not face the tough time they experienced under the PML-N government (2013–2018) and continue to face under the incumbent PTI regime (2018–). During 2008–2013 after his electoral success in 2008, new PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari invited the senior-most leader of the party Makhdoom Yousaf Raza Gillani to form the new government as prime minister. The parliament elected Mr Zardari as the president of the country in the same year. Upon assuming the presidency, he transferred all presidential powers to the Parliament and the democratic government, effectively reversing the actions of his presidential predecessor, Pervez Musharraf. The PPP government restored

66  Shafqat Munir Ahmad the banned trade unions and expanded the space available for civil society groups, NGOs/INGOs and the media. These PPP actions demonstrate that it is a pro-people and pro-demoncracy party, though its critics think otherwise. The state of NGOs/INGOs/civil society during the PML-N (2013–2018) and PTI (2018–) governments The period beginning in 2013 is seen as the worst time in Pakistan’s history for NGO/INGO/civil society spaces. The PML-N government in November 2013 issued a controversial administrative order that calls upon even long-established INGOs to re-register, and the registration requirements are onerous. The INGOs consider the order to be a violation of the existing registration laws (Tehsin 2017). The INGOs are already registered with the Economic Affairs Division of the Ministry of Finance as required by law. Why are they being pressured under the November 2013 order? (Ibid.). INGOs say the process of re-registering is cumbersome and ultimately puts them under the threat of being shut down or having their MoU revoked. According to Dr Suleri (2017), global civil society organizations including INGOs in Pakistan are not the agenda bearers of the West, as their critics claim; rather, they are very much part of the globally recognized development and humanitarian agenda as agreed by national governments and duly funded and supported by the donor community. So, NGOs/INGOs are part of a developmental and humanitarian process in all countries, including donor countries. The situation is not better for domestic NGOs. All of them are registered under the prescribed laws as described above, but they have been asked to re-register with the Ministry of Interior and also the Economic Affairs Division, under similar rules and procedures as INGOs, before they may receive foreign funding directly or through INGOs. The fact is that INGOs already declare foreign funds routed through them to NGOs to the Economic Affairs Division. Now, however, NGOs must make a duplicate declaration to the Ministry of Interior. During this process, government officials are reported to have asked totally irrelevant questions, as if the officials are oblivious of the globally acknowledged role of civil society and Pakistan’s own commitments in this regard (Tehsin 2017). The federal government – specifically, the Interior Ministry and the Economic Affairs Division of the Ministry of Finance – says that the new process is intended to streamline funding to INGOs/NGOs by making accountability transparent during a period of escalating security risks. For their part, leaders of INGOs and NGOs say that they have no issue with accountability and scrutiny, or even with more layers of registration, but when they are asked to address irrelevant questions, they wonder about the government’s real intentions and worry that the government aims to stop or impede the important rights-based work that INGOs/NGOs undertake (Tehsin 2017 and 2020). Veteran human rights activist Rahman (2017, 2020) says the government is pushing civil society to the wall and does not have any clear-cut policy

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  67 towards NGOs/civil society. The government considers NGOs/civil society to be inconsistent with their vision of an ‘autocratic democracy’. To counter this vision, Rahman argues, civil society groups must demand a written and clear policy duly endorsed by the Parliament, so that they can protect their rights and raise their voice through their parliamentary representatives. If the process is routed through the Parliament and a piece of a written policy is passed, it will reduce the chances of authorities to use arms-twisting and arbitrary powers to silence civil actors. If the government is not satisfied with the four existing registration laws, it should make laws that genuinely streamline NGOs/civil society and clearly improve the system, instead of using the existing processes to hide their autocratic style of governance. Since there is too much pressure on civil society, which already has made substantial compromises on its mission and objectives amid fears of being blamed as ‘anti-state’, there is a dire need for civil society to redefine and reassert its pro-people role in Pakistan’s democratic society (Rahman 2017). Rahman told a meeting of the Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) in Islamabad in October 2017: This is unfortunate that ‘armed non-state actors’ [illegal entities] and those taking stand against state are free to work, but NGOs/INGOs [legal entities whose accounts are audited for accountability] are being pushed; and through a deliberate attempt, they are being rendered irrelevant as they are not being allowed to work with communities. To counter, this state of pressure, NGOs have to take part in a political process and take a position on the deteriorating situation of the rights of the people and have to improve the governance of NGOs as well. Civil society has to face a series of challenges to their work. In addition to new requirements for registration, including submission of countless irrelevant documents and lack of any transparent mechanism to deal with the registration process, NGOs face long delays and a registration staff that acts with impunity. In addition, NGOs/INGOs may not pursue their mandates until they have obtained a separate ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) for each activity; getting an NOC is also a cumbersome process. The government justifies its actions on the basis of ‘national security’. Amid theories of fourth- and fifth-generation wars, the authorities in Pakistan claim that NGOs/INGO may damage national security and image of the country if they are allowed to function freely. Civil society on social media From outside Pakistan, some analysts think that civil society groups and individuals from Pakistan seem active on social media, where they express their thoughts and even bitterly criticize the government and its agencies. This is only partly true.

68  Shafqat Munir Ahmad The social media space where Pakistanis are seen as vibrant is largely used by individuals and political workers, though some civil society groups also use social media for their rights-based campaigns. There are complaints by the women journalists and politicians that the charged social media activists hailing from social media wings of some of the political parties undertake trolling and unethical practices through fake images and news, thus reducing space for them. No civil society organization that uses social media from within Pakistan can dare to enjoy ‘unlimited’, ‘unchecked’ and ‘fake information’ based social media, as they are subject to cyber-crimes laws and other laws of the land. The PTI government (2018–) is now introducing new controls over social media and fake news. It is a myth that civil society organizations including rights groups, NGOs/INGOs operating from Pakistan are vibrant on social media and are critical of government policies. Rather, they have to be careful; if they cross as-yet-undefined lines, they might have to face the music in terms of legal action by the authorities. Moreover, they would have to face the wrath of thousands of politically motivated cadres on social media who would brand them ‘anti-state’ or ‘agents of enemies’. Those civil society groups or individuals who use social media freely either operate from outside Pakistan or do so through proxies. Civil society on social media should further be assessed through a new research study.

Conclusion Two diverse positions on the state of INGOs/NGOs emerge from the above discussion. One is that the government in Pakistan says that its new registration requirements are intended to streamline and facilitate the sector; the other is voiced by INGOs/NGOs, saying that in the name of streamlining and facilitation, the government has reduced the space in which civil society may function, because some organizations are defeated by the weighty, lengthy and uncertain registration process. They say they have no issue with scrutiny and accountability, but the real trouble is that the government has increased the layers of documents to be submitted. It would have been better if the government had set up a centralized online mechanism where all data and information for all government agencies could be submitted, instead of demanding duplicate submissions to multiple government departments and agencies. The increasing gap between civil society and the government can only be bridged if the government sets up a joint committee composed of leaders from government, parliament and civil society. A delegation from the Pakistan Civil Society Forum met the then interior minister, Prof Ahsan Iqbal, in September 2017. They sought relief that would enable civil society to regain its position, and the minister promised to improve the relationship between civil society and the government. He agreed with the proposition that if any future force were to try to roll back democracy in the country, civil society was the only force that could rise up in response.

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  69 In the PML-N federal government (2013–2018), there have been two mindsets which under their vested interests clash with those of INGOs/ NGOs. One mindset wants funding for community and awareness to come to the government instead of INGOs/NGOs, even though this is against the spirit of international grants dynamics, which define separate yet crucial roles for both the government and civil society in the development process. So, the global development funds are released through the governments and non-government organizations/INGOs/NGOs. Those with this mindset should come to terms with this reality and let the INGO/NGO sector flourish for community awareness and development. The government should attract its own grants and funding and let the non-government sector function in its own framework, as registered entities, under the law. The other mindset can be described as based on a narrow religious and pseudo-security frame. Its proponents argue that INGOs/NGOs are agents of the West, and this alone is reason enough to shut them down. These people must understand three things: civil society organizations are local; they define and pursue their objectives in the interest of their communities’ and the country’s development needs; and their activities are monitored by a legally binding accountability mechanism. A handful of NGOs might possibly be linked to malpractices, but this does not mean the whole sector, with thousands of employees, is corrupt. Both mindsets have to acknowledge the role of civil society in a democratic and inclusive society. They need to understand that without civil society, no democratic society can ensure accountability in governance and responsiveness in citizens. Arm-twisting is not a solution (Rahman 2017). Imran Khan established the PTI because he was frustrated with the PMLN. Yet since rising to power, the PTI government (2018–) has opted to continue and even strengthen the civil-society-restrictive policies of the PML-N, and apparently for the same reasons. Amid the tightening of civil society in Pakistan, big donors such as the DFID and USAID have gradually started abandoning NGOs and INGOs in favour of hiring big corporate contractors to undertake development projects in Pakistan. The bad thing is that these contractors work for profit, whereas NGOs/INGOs work on a non-profit basis. The money spent by NGOs/INGOs is mostly utilized on community development and awareness, whereas the contractors take a reasonable chunk of funds as profits in addition to charging overheads. Compared with NGOs/INGOs, far less contractor funding goes to communities. This is a net developmental loss and a gain for global corporate contractors and companies. This is a serious issue. The government should understand that hindering NGOs/INGOs in this way does not serve the cause of the people; rather, it benefits multinational corporations. Now is the time to act to ensure the smooth functioning of NGOs/INGOs in the interest of development in Pakistan (Munir 2020). The ambassadors of donor countries in Pakistan since 2013 have raised time and again the issue of bans and restrictions against INGOs and national civil society groups, but nothing concrete has been done to date

70  Shafqat Munir Ahmad (December 2020). However, the PTI government has allowed (March 2020) some INGOs/NGOs whose applications for re-registration are pending the decision to perform COVID-19 response activities, but only until August 2020. Many were reluctant to resume operations for a short time on projects that are too COVID-19-specific. Most of the donors are now giving money for COVID-19 response to Pakistan either through the government agencies or through the United Nations agencies, knowing that the stringent November 2013 administrative order might hinder the operations of NGOs/INGOs. The federal government of Pakistan has introduced the Islamabad Capital Territory Charities Registration, Regulation and Facilitation Bill 2020 before the national assembly of Pakistan to regulate NGOs falling in the federal capital territory. This Bill may replace all other existing registration laws and the NGOs may be required to register themselves under the new law. A similar law has already been passed in the province of Punjab. The other provinces may also introduce such a new law to deal with charities/ NGOs. Once these laws are passed and fully in operation, NGOs will have to re-register themselves under these laws, no matter if they are registered under the laws described above; and they have to observe the procedures to be introduced by the respective charities’ commissions to be established as a result of the new legislation in the federal capital and in the provinces. The authorities say that the new legislation is part of compliance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines to minimize risks of potential money laundering and to streamline the functioning and funding of the non-profit sector and charities. The non-profit sector (civil society), however, thinks otherwise saying the new legislation as such is not the requirement of FATF rather the new law would further shrink space for civil society. Though implemented in the province of Punjab, the new legislation could not attract sizeable number of NGOs for re-registration till the month of December 2020. To conclude, it is suggested that there is a need to hold a tripartite dialogue involving NGOs/INGOs, the government inclusive of all state agencies and heads of political parties in the Parliament and the donor/ development community to come up with a workable system that puts in place a well-structured joint mechanism to facilitate open and transparent functioning of NGOs/INGOs with the oversight of an authority that is composed of representatives of all stakeholders. This will help allay concerns of the state functionaries in terms of any security-related issues and allow NGOs/INGOs to work smoothly in the interest of the people of Pakistan.

Notes 1 Resolution 288 (X) adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 27 February 1950. 2 Resolution 1296 (XLV) adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), 25 June 1968.

Clearing misconceptions about Pakistan  71 3 The World Bank web portal, ‘The World Bank and Civil Society Engagement’ section, ‘Defining Civil Society, tab 3 under main tab Overview on the webpage.,,contentMDK :20101499~menuPK:244752~pagePK:220503~piPK:220476~theSit ePK:228717,00.html. 4­ YzNhOTRhMjk4. 5 Ibid.

References Ali, Kamran Asdar (2015) Surkh Salam, Communist Politics and Class Activism in Pakistan 1947–1972. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Iqbal, Muhammad Asif, Hina Khan and Surkhab Javed (2004) ‘Non-profit sector in Pakistan: Historical background’. SPDC Working Paper No. 4, Karachi. Saigol, Rubina (2016) Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Actors, Debates and Strategies. Bonn: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Last accessed August 6 2020.

Interviews Khattak, Afrasiyab (2017). A senior leader of Awami National Party (ANP) and a volunteer of Khudai Khidmatgar movement – Interview with this researcher in November 2017. Salim, Ahmad (2017) Senior researcher and historian at the Sustainable Development Policy Insittute (SDPI) – Interview with this researcher in October 2017 and another follow-up interview in 2020. Suleri, Abid Qaiyyum (2017) Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) – Interview with this researcher in October 2017 March 2020 for this paper. Tahseen, Muhammad, (2017) Head of South Asia Partnership and a senior leader of Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) – Interview with this researcher in Islamabad in October 2017 and a follow-up interview in March 2020. Rahman, Ibne Abdur (2017) Senior leader of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) – Interview with this researcher in Lahore, October 2017 and another follow up interview in March 2020.

5 Civil society, human rights and political antagonism in Bangladesh Morten Koch Andersen

What we call civil society today has had a crucial impact on the making and shaping of Bangladesh. I use Banks, Hulme and Edwards’ (2015, p. 707) notion of civil society as ‘the space in which people mobilise to bargain, negotiate, or coerce other actors in order to advance and promote their interests’. In Bangladesh, civil society cannot be detached or seen in isolation from the governmental sector, nor from the work and practices that take place within both domains. A significant, common feature are the ideas, imaginaries and actualized attempts of social change for betterment, often along concepts of moving from one stage, often from a detrimental status, to another stage of some form of improvement, be it social, economic and/or political. As such, the thinking, the work and the situated practices, though not necessarily similar in scope and extent, involve social and political engineering towards a shared goal that is intended to improve the lives and livelihoods of more or less actively targeted and involved peoples and groups. This is not automatically seen as a mechanistic exercise in which resources are employed, activities implemented and goals obtained; nor is it an equally scaled exercise of, for example, vaccination programmes or ensuring legal entitlements to land. Nonetheless, both contain elements of planning and projecting, moving from one state of affairs to another, which is inherently about changing the future. Though civil society as a term or concept includes a broader section and actors of society – such as intellectuals, trade unions, professional groups, youth movements, thematic or experience-based associations (environmentalists or the physically/mentally challenged), which also encompasses the activities of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – civil society in Bangladesh carries a particular connotation of Dhaka-based secular intellectuals, often representatives of outspoken NGOs and with family ties and histories in society, often connected to the struggle for liberation. I will not go into a deeper explanation or analysis of this group but mention that it is a group at loggerheads with the current government, in 2018, over issues of civil and political rights, the concept of justice, and the writing of national history via the ongoing war crimes tribunals. Suffice to say at this point that principled criticism is not well received by the government. However, while we cannot and should not ignore the role of larger

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  73 development-oriented NGOs in Bangladesh – not just because of their size and impact on society in poverty alleviation, health and education efforts, but their role as a ‘franchise state’ within or beyond the national state has, to a certain extent, already been explained and analysed (White 1999). The role of organizations oriented towards human rights as civil and political rights, however, has yet to be examined. I follow David Lewis’s proposition that ‘while the non-governmental agencies’ international linkages with the aid industry have rightly been emphasized, attempts to analyse the NGO phenomenon have, too often, been considered in isolation, both from the state and from wider Bangladesh society, history and politics’ (Lewis 2010, p. 2; 2004, p. 301). Much work has gone into analysing so-called developmental organizations and their organizational and strategic developments over time, in relation to global aid discourses and national political progresses, such as the global changes in direction of aid by ‘bringing the state back in’, and the national move from autocracy to democracy in the early 1990s. Less focus has been on those organizations, though few in number, that have criticized consecutive governments for not living up to the obligations of the constitution, the laws, and (signed and ratified, but yet to be implemented) international conventions and treaties. One can say, in analysis, there has been a focus on social and economic rights over civil and political rights. In academic debate on NGOs in Bangladesh, there is an agreement that civil society has been overtaken or dominated by the non-governmental sector, and some analysis points at the sector having become an undeniable and indispensable necessity for service provision to the population (including those not formally recognized as citizens) (Stiles 2002). This sector acts in a fluctuating, dialectic relationship to the state (as institutions), to the bureaucracy (as administrators), and to the ruling government (as decision-makers). Integral to this discussion is the notion that critical and sincere organizations have succumbed to either the demands of technicalities in international aid administration and regulation, and/or the pressure of, or alignment to, national political forces, that waiver criticism, according to the partisanship and factionalism of party politics. So-called radical organizations have consequently disappeared from the political scene, be they encompassed within and/or labelled as civil society or NGOs; they have ceased to exist on a national scale, though some have retained their grassroot ‘originality and credibility’ in local communities, often by refusing international partnerships and funds (Banks et al. 2015, p. 714; Bebbington et al. 2008, pp. 26–27). Legitimacy is upheld, at least in the communities, but a larger-scale effect of their work on society is, unfortunately, unachievable – and perhaps not sought after or actively pursued, as this would entail growth and expansion, money and staffing. Interestingly, this focus on developmental organizations and increasing work with credit and service delivery, criticized in much of the literature, somewhat overlooks those organizations

74  Morten Koch Andersen that address civil and political rights head-on: what we could label ‘human rights organizations’. Though few in number, I would argue that these organizations do the work the literature is looking for and are exactly targeting the issues that many writers see as having disappeared from mainstream NGO work over the past 30 years. The organizations address issues of fundamental rights; constitutional and legal justice, including access to justice, state obligations, citizens’ rights, state policies, governance, law enforcement practices, violence and torture, as well as voice and recognition. This chapter focusses on these organizations and places them in the wider political environment and history of Bangladesh. The chapter starts off with a theoretical introduction that outlines a take on, or conceptualization of, what development is and what it can entail in practice. It looks at the discussion of the intended effect or impact of different development interventions, along the lines of substantial and fundamental aims and ends, or provisional and delivery-oriented aims and ends – what some have called a distinction between ‘small-d’ and ‘Big-D’ interventions (Bebbington et al. 2008; Hulme 2008). I then describe the political developments in the country with an emphasis on the different rulers and regimes since independence, to explain and outline the wider political environment in which developmental NGOs and human rights organizations work. I outline how the antagonistic party-political divide in the country has unfolded in ever-increasing repressive legislation and securitization of society, which has hampered and prevented human rights work in its attempts to negate criticisms by several competing and conflicting governments, over time. Furthermore, some human rights organizations have been largely successful when they have been able to assemble wide social and significant political support for their activities – and political space has been a prerequisite for the proliferation of organizations and activists and a vital feature for sustained human rights work. Though this is not the case in Bangladesh today, it, nonetheless, shows how civil society and NGOs are intimately interlinked and inter-related to mainstream politics and elite interests. Lastly, I conclude that dissent and criticism is a position that is nearly impossible in Bangladesh, and that fundamental and substantial issues of legal, political, economic equality and rights, and their impartial distribution in society, are challenged, if not actively and constantly negated, furthering the detrimental position of the dissenting, marginalized, resourceless and poor in the country, despite economic progress.

The state and NGOs: a perspective On the challenges of studying the state, Abrams, already in 1988, argued for the need to understand the state as: a state-system, constituted by the present and visible institutional structures and practices of any society; and the state-idea, which is projected and believed among people at different

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  75 levels of society and at different historical points (Abrams 1988). On similar lines, Thomas Blom Hansen’s study (2001) makes a distinction between the sublime and the profane state, which employs an analytical distinction between people’s ideas or images of the state – the sublime; and their actual concrete everyday experiences of the state – the profane. The sublime State (with a capital S) is a distant but persistent guarantee of a certain social order, ‘and the illusions of higher forms of rationality or justice believed to prevail there’, which people strive for, appeal to and act on. The profane state is ‘the incoherence, brutality, partiality … and naked self-interest displayed in local politics’ (Hansen 2001, pp. 222, 226). Though distant and almost only symbolic, the sublime image of the state remains dependent on the momentary existence of an ideal state that acts to ensure the rights and security of the people (Hansen 2001, p. 251). Though the concept of the profane reflects the sublime, it is somehow unable to embrace the everydayness of bureaucratic and institutional practices. To capture the unexciting humdrum and routine operation of law, policing practices and state-citizen relations, I add the concept of the mundane state. This proposition builds on two notions. First, that law is a dynamic social and political concept (Goodale and Merry 2007, Felstiner, et al. 1980–81, Holston 1991, Merry 2006, Moore 1978). Second, that authority and state-making emerges through legitimizing practices and expressions of power (Lund 2006; Comaroff and Comaroff 2006; Corbridge et al. 2007; Hansen and Stepputat 2001; Krupa and Nugent 2015; Tilly 1985; Gupta 2012). This captures how law is present in relationships between authorities and people that open a space for negotiations of rights and citizenship. And that authority does not emanate from a single source, that is, the state, but is made in practice through order-making and exercises of authority. The idea of the mundane state is that it enables, encompasses and contains the actions of institutions and authorities, including administration of law and policing, which are perceived and experienced as typical and normal by its citizens. Citizens assume and expect those actions, behaviours and practices to happen when they enter into a relationship with state institutions and different forms of authority. The term more accurately reflects the experiences of ordinary citizens when they encounter authorities more or less voluntarily, for instance, when in search of basic services, be they water, electricity, education, health, security or justice; or when targeted by institutions and authorities, more or less arbitrarily, for instance at police checkpoints, roadblocks or security drives. In a setting of confrontational, antagonistic national politics, such as in Bangladesh, this is an everyday occurrence. The mundane image of the state embraces the everyday practices of law enforcement agencies when they police society with violence, as well as the recurrent, momentary dismantling of democracy by the autocratic leaders who have marred the country since independence in 1971 by imposing extra-legal measures, such as martial law or special laws, that authorize law enforcement agencies to act with immunity and impunity. However, the proposition to analytically distinguish the image, experiences and practices

76  Morten Koch Andersen of the state concerns not just issues of ideal and actualized stateness, but also issues of state formation, which contains the role and position of civil society, including the non-governmental sector. In the words of David Lewis, ‘In future research on these themes, it will no doubt be wise to distinguish the idea of civil society in relation to values and beliefs from the system of civil society structures and practices’ (Lewis 2004, p. 320). Following this line of thinking, it is argued that we can approach NGOs as a category consisting of either service providers or advocates on behalf of those without a recognized voice, that is, acting for other people with lesser resources and capacities, which establishes a differentiation between the pursuit of ‘Big-D’ and ‘little-d’ development (Bebbington et al. 2008, p. 5; Hulme 2008, p. 338). The former is a project-based and intentional activity in which tangible project outputs do not pursue making foundational changes that challenge society’s institutional arrangements; the latter is seeing development as an ongoing process, emphasizing radical, systemic alternatives, that addresses different ways of organizing the economy, social relationships and politics (Bebbington et al. 2008, p. 7). From the perspective of human rights organizations, one can say that ‘Big-D’ interventions address state problems (with a ‘small-s’), such as the everyday conundrum of mismanagement, negligence and misconduct; and that small-d activities address State problems (with a ‘Big-S’), such as corruption, oppression, and violence and torture. I would caution that these are only heuristic distinctions and analytical devices; in practice they are interdependent, entangled and interconnected. Most human rights organizations I have come across work on all issues, though realizing that, while they aim for the latter, they often have to address the former in practice. For example, when organizations launch fundamental rights cases in the courts, they aim for a change of systems, institutions and practices, but often they have to accept verdicts and rulings that are limited to the actual case, with limited, if any, future effects for changing fundamental conditions. In other words, development with a ‘small-d’ and a ‘Big-D’, directed at a state with a ‘Big-S’ and a ‘small-s’, addresses the ideal and the actual. Consequently, they examine whether activities and interventions assist governments in providing needed basic service delivery and uphold state accountability to its citizens; or are transformative and challenging by showcasing a government’s inability and/or incapacity, or their disregard and/or unwillingness, to provide for their citizens and respect its constitutional, legal and conventional obligations. I propose an analysis of how this ideal unfolds in practice and how human rights organizations’ work is situated within the wider society, history and politics of Bangladesh.

The wider political terrain To understand the development of civil society and the massive NGO sector in Bangladesh today, we need to understand the political terrain and the

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  77 political fault lines in society, in which the organizations work to provide needed basic services and advocate for the rights and entitlements of people, and to ensure the state lives up to its constitutional, legal and conventional obligations, as well as monitor adherence and accountability. Bangladesh politics and state transformation can roughly be divided according to the forms of regime and their personalized leadership. Two periods of regimes can be said to have dominated Bangladesh since liberation in 1971: autocracy and democracy. After a brief experience with democracy until 1975, under the leadership of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh was dominated by autocratic military regimes until 1990, under the leadership of General Ziaur Rahman, popularly known as General Zia, and General H.M. Ershad. Thereafter came a period of contested democracy that, despite general elections, has been marked by violence and ever-increasing political and social division in society, under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League and Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh National Party – the daughter of Sheikh Rahman and widow of Ziaur Rahman, respectively. Today, societal fault lines and divisions based on conflicting notions of the spirit of liberation and secularism versus nationalism and religion, are as deep as ever. However, as I will subsequently show, both parties and their leaders have dealt with critical and dissenting voices by similar means and for similar ends. The liberation of Bangladesh cannot be separated from the leader of Awami League and first prime minister of independent Bangladesh, Sheikh Rahman, popularly named ‘Bangabondhu’ (friend of Bangladesh), and often referred to as the founding ‘father of the nation’ (Ziring 1992, p. 76).1 From the beginning of the Language Movement, Sheikh Rahman was the key architect of central programmes and demands for independence. In the last election under a united Pakistan, he won an overall majority of votes on a platform of Bangladesh recognition. However, the Pakistan political establishment did not accept the election result and the resulting war ensured the independence of Bangladesh. During the nine-month war, millions were killed, tortured and raped (Mookherjee 2016). Sheikh Rahman seized power of the new nation and built a personality-based collation of supporters. In 1975, he introduced a single-party presidential state, discarding the accountability, democracy and separation of powers that had been enshrined in the first constitution. The move got him and most members of his family killed later that year (Schendell 2009, p. 181). On the basis of the party BAKSAL (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League), Sheikh Rahman initiated the so-called Second Revolution. He made an amendment to the constitution that enabled a switch from a parliamentary to a presidential form of government and the establishment a single-party system through which he intended to rule the country (Khan et al. 2008, p. 68; Maniruzzaman 2003, pp. 169–80). In addition, the first years of his government were marked by increasing corruption and inter-mingling of political policies and economic interests that benefited members and supporters of the Awami League and were used by the regime

78  Morten Koch Andersen to retain support (Jahan 1973; Maniruzzaman 2003, pp. 151, 169), and the position of Sheikh Rahman in society was actively used to build, strengthen and operate the Awami League on the foundations of a personality cult (Rahaman 2007, p. 106). In the aftermath of the war, the country was faced with an ‘infrastructural vacuum’ (Karim 2001) that Western donor agencies attempted to fill by supporting the new and upcoming NGO sector to reach people in rural areas, over a struggling state with insufficient institutions, and seen as corrupt and inefficient (Kennedy 1999). This was the fledgeling beginning of the massive NGO sector that now competes with and, to a certain extent, dominates service provision in society. In 1975, General Zia seized power after a series of coups that took place in the aftermath of the assassination of Sheikh Rahman (Masceranhas 1986; Jahan 2005, p. 227). General Zia was a distinguished and respected army freedom-fighter of the liberation war. He was responsible for the joint liberation forces (consisting of freedom-fighters or Mukti Bahini, and the army) in one of five military sectors in the country. He was the commanding officer who declared the victory of the liberation forces and the defeat of the Pakistani army and paramilitary forces. Shortly after taking power, General Zia promised elections, declaring his regime to be merely an interim precaution to pre-empt disorder. Similar to Zia-ul-Haq and reminiscent of Ayub Khan in Pakistan, he tried to consolidate his regime and legitimacy by initiating a civilizing process, effectively making the military an actor in a so-called democratization process (Hasanuzzaman 1998, pp. 67–89; Jahan 2005, p. 227–47; Maniruzzaman 2003, pp. 199–215; Zafarullah and Akhter 2001, p. 76). This entailed the creation of a political base, a change of the constitution, the development of political programmes, the formation of political alliances and, not least, the founding of a political party, the repercussions of which continue to be felt in Bangladesh politics today. General Zia needed a political platform to counter the Awami League which, though shattered into factions after the assassination of its leader, was still the dominant party. To acquire the support of rightists, and religious parties and interests, General Zia changed the constitution to include Islam as the state religion (though Bangladesh itself did not establish a national religion). The founding commitment to socialism was removed and the stipulation that a citizen of Bangladesh was called a ‘Bengalee’ was altered to ‘Bangladeshi’ to emphasize the definition of citizenship and nation as based on territory, instead of on ethno-linguistic criteria (Jahan 2005, p. 234–235). Furthermore, to undercut the role of the Awami League and Sheikh Rahman, he changed the term ‘struggle for national liberation’ to ‘war for national independence’, emphasizing the nine months of freedom-fighting and intentional downsizing of the decade-long political struggle for national self-determination (Jahan 2005, p. 281). He carried out presidential elections to further strengthen his position, vis-à-vis the Awami League, and to prepare for parliamentary elections in an effort to gain complete control of democratic institutions (Hasanuzzaman 1998, p. 77).

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  79 At the presidential elections in 1978, General Zia utilized the momentum of a vote of confidence to secure a popular mandate as president. He used the president’s office to mobilize voters for the parliamentary election, in which he again won an overwhelming majority, despite low voter turnout. In 1978, General Zia founded his own party – the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) – established on a coalition of minor parties and independent politicians (from the right and left) to confront the Awami League and its organizational strength and so assure his grip on the country. It attracted opportunistic players and smaller parties with particular interests in sharing government power and patronage. As an engineered party, ideology, political programmes and vision were not uniting forces. In 1979, General Zia won the parliamentary elections in a landslide victory and lifted the martial law that had been in effect for four years. However, although he had been able to create effective party machinery, his government remained personalized and rule-based with a close-knit alliance with the civil-military bureaucratic elite (Zafarullah and Akhter 2001, p. 78), who saw a guarantee of life and property under General Zia’s regime (Jahan 2005, p. 230). The democratic regime of General Zia lasted only two years; he was assassinated in 1981 by a group of disgruntled army officers. The killing of General Zia created a political vacuum that quickly was filled by General Ershad, who seized power under martial law. His main support base was the military. He institutionalized the military as the government, boosted the military defence budget and increased the strength of the army from 60,000 personnel in 1975 to more than one million in 1989. He promoted the entry of military officers into civilian jobs, doubling their wages compared to civilians, and turned others into successful businessmen by giving them access to state resources for private ends (Hasanuzzaman 1998, p. 105). He also pursued a rigorous policy of privatization of state-owned enterprises, and further nurtured the connection between state and religion, which General Zia had started, making Islam the official state religion. General Ershad advanced General Zia’s capitalist economic policy, overturning the remains of the Awami League’s socialist-inspired investment in the public sector, which he opened up to private investment; returning enterprises to original pre-independence owners; and auctioning public enterprises for private investors. He blamed politicians for the misrule of the country and banned all political activities (Hasanuzzaman 1998, p. 104; Jahan 2005, pp. 283–284; Schendel, 2009, p. 197). Like General Zia, he floated a party but, unlike his predecessor, he did not gather any popular support outside military circles. Elections and referendums were held but the political parties in general refused to participate; the election processes were faulty and manipulated (Hasanuzzaman 1998, pp. 114–117, Zafarullah and Akhter 2001, p. 83). In the 1986 parliamentary election in which the Awami League and the Jamaat-e-Islami participated, and which General Ershad won with more than 85 per cent of the votes, fewer than 3 per cent of eligible voters had participated (Hasanuzzaman 1998, p. 125). The

80  Morten Koch Andersen civil bureaucracy and the police were accused of manipulating the results in Ershad’s favour (Zafarullah and Akhter 2001, p. 83). Although General Ershad enjoyed the backing of the military and its coercive power, he retained a very limited support base. The loss of public-sector jobs under the privatization programme instigated strikes and protests by labour unions. The privileges granted to military persons in civil service and business broke the previously very strong bond between the bureaucracy, business community and the military, which had kept General Zia in power and prevented popular uprisings. At the same time, a spiralling civil society and mushrooming NGO sector channelled popular demands for civil liberties and rights, and professional associations, most notably the Lawyers Association, maintained a firm stand against General Ershad’s government. Though the BNP and the Awami League were divided into factions and caught in intra-party feuds until the 1980s, the parties and, especially, the two leaders, Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, put their rivalry aside and joined forces in 1989–1990 (Huq 2005, pp. 94–95). The two major parties were forced to co-operate through the formation of an alliance of 22 student organizations, independent of national politics, which spearheaded the struggle against the Ershad regime (Hasanuzzaman 1998, p. 134). The extensive support and strength of the movement across sectors and parties forced Ershad to resign; the army could no longer support his rule and survive as an institution with special privileges. An interim government was formed to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In 1991, the caretaker system carried out the first democratic election in 16 years. Two other elections were held under non-party caretaker governments, in 1996 and 2001, before they were dismantled by the current sitting government of the Awami League before the 2008 election. The 2008 election was conducted after a period of two years during which a caretaker civil government had taken power and dismantled democracy with the support of the military and tacit backing of the international community. The move was initiated after several months of violent conflict when Awami League supporters took to the streets to protest the BNP nomination of a party supporter to oversee the coming election, heading up the interim caretaker government. The objective of the civil interim government was to reconfigure the entire political set-up by suppressing the two most powerful political families, those of Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina, and their control of the dominant political structures. In the words of the chief advisor of the caretaker government in 2007, the reason for the takeover was: the distressing picture of a nation plagued by rampant corruption; mired in the dominance of individual and group interests over the national interest; beset by unscrupulous competition for power, wealth and influence; stuck ever deeper in the cult of personality; and preyed upon by the indiscriminate use of black money and muscle power to achieve narrow interests.2

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  81 The government’s efforts to force the two leaders into exile became known as the ‘minus two formula’. The government also tried to delink the parties from the potential for mass mobilization by enforcing a ban on party-linked front associations, such as student organizations.3 The military-backed government also tried to establish new factions within the parties, in order to split the opposition and weaken the influence of the parties’ chairpersons. It was in this period that Muhammud Yunus, Nobel laureate and founder of Grameen Bank – the world’s largest micro-credit financing institute – floated his own party as a direct challenge to the Awami League, appealing to the same constituency. I will return to this issue and its effects on the NGO sector in subsequent sections. However, none of these initiatives had any success in creating new political platforms and mobilizing popular support. After two years of military rule, the government stepped down after months of protests and strikes initiated and directed by Dhaka University students, and the two parties regained their grip on politics in the country. The leaders of the Awami League and the BNP demonstrated control of their respective parties and remained in charge when elections were held again in 2008 (Jahan and Amundsen 2012, p. 13). Hence, politics has been characterized by a confrontational divide between the Awami League and the BNP, and their respective allies (Rahaman 2007; Islam 2013b; Jahan 2005; Khan 2003; Lewis 2011a, 2011b; Jahan and Amundsen 2012; Schendel 2009). The two dominated politics, ruling in turn, one after the other, until 2014, when the Awami League was consecutively elected into government for the first time, securing almost a full majority in parliament – mainly because the opposition parties boycotted the election. Unfortunately, the turn towards democracy was not followed by a democratic culture within the dominant parties, which relied on patrimonial organization and divisive agitation (Ruud and Islam 2016; Amundsen 2016). The confrontational divide is not just a feature of national party-political competition; it is ingrained in and rests on the configurations of competition and the electoral system. The dynamic is underlined by two components. First, the Westminster electoral model in which the constituencies are the units of voting in head-to-head races where the winner takes all; and second, the constitution, which stipulates that party members cannot vote against their own party. This creates confrontational political competition in which the stakes are absolute success or absolute failure. All governments have blatantly used parliament to benefit themselves and their allies. Members of parliament use state resources, such as contracts, jobs and promotions, to build support bases and secure vote banks. This practice establishes an ‘opportunity structure’ for the exchange of favours, distribution of benefits and allocation of rewards via the state (Andersen 2016). Though conflictual and violent, this form of democratic practice, nevertheless, offered a form of predictable stability, described as a system of ‘rotating plunder’ (Khan 2006). In such a system, political-based

82  Morten Koch Andersen patron-client relationships (Kochanek 2000; Westergaard 1998), horizontally and vertically, are balanced by a dual mechanism and dynamic process of sustained economic-exchange relationships based on the continual use of iconic political figures, such as General Zia and Sheikh Rahman, to muster support and mobilize voters. This intentional use of personality cult formation and state-embedded resources forms is what I call the ‘iconomic’ configuration of the political, a configuration that has proven able to endure challenges and shocks, such as military rule, environmental disasters and refugee crises, and ensure some form of predictability and stability in the rule of state and society. As a result, the population has had to endure long periods of confrontations between the parties and their followers over access to, control over and use of state resources (Alam and Teicher 2012; Islam 2013a; Jahan 2000; Moniruzzaman 2009; Osman 2010; Ruud 2014). The opposition, unable to exert influence over policy and decision-making processes, consequently boycotts parliament and resorts to street-level mass movements to voice concerns and demands (hartals) that disrupt society and the economy, and cause injuries and deaths (Suykens and Islam 2013, pp. 61–83; Ruud 2014, p. 306). Furthermore, strict hierarchal political parties, built on personality cults around their founders and upheld through family relations, create two dominant political dynasties that, until recently, were the main choices presented to the voters. However, the imprisonment of Khaleda Zia, sentenced for graft and corruption, has radically changed the field of party politics in Bangladesh as the BNP is struggling to find new forms of organization and operation. The ramifications for both parties is yet to be seen.

The landscape of NGOs: the horizons of delivery Liberation in 1971 raised new expectations about a new state with the impetus to create a just and poverty-free Bangladesh. Numerous NGOs were established in the aftermath of the war for relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation for the suffering population. After the war ended, the infrastructure of Bangladesh was in chaos (Sisson and Rose 1990; Umar 2004). It was within this scenario that developmental NGOs stepped in as service providers, especially in rural areas where the war had affected the population most, occupying an infrastructural vacuum in the newly independent state. The primarily Western aid organizations preferred the Bangladeshi NGO sector as their aid allies, bypassing the bureaucracy and corruption of the struggling state (Karim 2004). Under the military regimes of Ziaur Rahman (1976–1981) and General Ershad (1982–1990), the country’s development regime began to shift firmly towards a market-oriented development model influenced by the Bretton Woods institutions’ focus on neoliberal, market and privatization-oriented policies and interventions (Lewis 2011a; Khatun 2016).

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  83 Western funders pressed the government for deregulation and privatization, and the military regimes proved receptive and ready to compromise (Hossain 2017a, b). The NGO sector expanded, especially during General Ershad’s regime. He used the sector to legitimize his rule and promote his party by ensuring some level of service provision in rural areas, and to oppose the BNP and Awami League, as well as the critical leftist parties. This normalized NGO operations as service providers and, in 1990, the NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB) was established to oversee and later control the flow of foreign funds to organizations, introducing a system in which state control increased over time. A popular mass-mobilization spearheaded by students, professional groups and political parties brought down General Ershad’s regime in 1990. The mobilization was assisted by a change of allegiance by the main international donor, which now favoured trade liberalization and ‘good’ democratic governance (Feldman 2001, p. 59; Lewis 1997, p. 36). It opened a new playing field for NGOs and offered them an additional site of action: the local structure of governance (Karim 2011, p. 98–99). It is important to note that while other civil society actors came together to oust the military government, most NGOs played no role in the mass movements of the late 1980s. The middle-classes and the media, which saw NGOs as self-interested and over-accountable to foreign donors, belatedly loaned their name to a statement of support in the last days of the campaign, when it was clear to everyone that the government was going to fall (Lewis 2004, p. 310). Two interconnected processes were introduced in the initial years of the new nation and the development of the NGO sector, and they continue to impact Bangladesh society today. The first was the founding of the organizations that now dominate the sector, and the entire service provision sector. BRAC (1972), Grameen (1976) and Proshika (1973) were all established in the early years of the new state by people wishing to help the nation overcome the effects of the war and a string of natural disasters that hit the country up to and through the 1970s and 1980s, with the aim of modernizing the country through the rural population (Karim 2016, p. 463). The emphasis on service provision and, later, micro-credit – with women seen as crucial conduits for change potential – dominated early activities and continues to be the core of the organizations’ work, alongside health and education. These large NGOs receive the majority of the sector’s donor funds and dominate the sector, including a booming micro-finance institution industry under a neoliberal agenda, driven by installations of intimate debt relationships (Karim 2011, pp. 98–99; Kabeer et al. 2012; Rahman, 1999; Karim, 2008). The second important aspect was that many on the political left, and other academics and intellectuals, went into the new sector on an aspiration to build the new nation from below (Lewis 2017, p. 6). This, however, drained a lot of capacity that could have been used to develop a democratic party culture and political organizations promoting parliamentarian and governmental values of debate and discussion, instead of antagonism, distrust and

84  Morten Koch Andersen hostility. These two processes impact politics and society today, where the organizations have developed into large-scale, almost co-operative-like entities, active in all corners of the country, in a variety of governmental sectors within and beyond Bangladesh. The antagonistic relationship between the Awami League and the BNP and their respective leaders, who occupy the political space and, as we will soon see, actively prevent criticism, dissent and discussion of political and organizational alternatives by implementing a line of security-oriented laws, regulations and practices. After democracy was introduced, the NGO sector grew and expanded in all areas of the country. In 1990, eight projects were approved, with more than BDT200 million released for activities. The height of interventions was in the years 2007–2008 during the military caretaker government, with 1,462 projects approved and BDT36,617,993,216 released for activities. In 2017–2018, 910 projects were approved projects and more than BDT36 billion released for activities.4 Today, a majority of public services are run by NGOs funded by foreign donors or the government. The growth and expansion of the sector have created what some have labelled a ‘franchise state’, where the NGOs, in practice, act as an outsourced state provider (Davis 2001; Rahman 2006). For example, in 2015, 334,000 persons aged 15 years and older were employed in the NGO sector, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics.5 BRAC, a prominent example of a state franchise, has more than 44,000 full-time staff, and more than 100,000 community health workers reaching 110-million people through service delivery programmes; the organization is active in 11 countries in the world (BRAC 2016). And this is just one of several large and thousands of small organizations working in Bangladesh today.6 Although civil society in Bangladesh has come under increasing criticism for not being attentive to the plight of their constituencies and end-beneficiaries, the Rohingya crisis of 2017 that saw the influx of up to 700,000 people fleeing persecution, rape and killings from Myanmar altered practices and somewhat revitalized organizations, such as BRAC, in the public eye. The crisis channelled external humanitarian relief resources into Bangladesh. Civil society, in close collaboration with international organizations and the UN, became heavily involved in assisting the refugees. BRAC returned to its roots, leaving the longer-term developmental potential of the organization, (re)focussing attention on humanitarian activities relief, established in the early 1970s when addressing the consequences of natural disaster and war of Liberation (Lewis 2019, p. 1894). The ongoing crisis, however, is not met with adequate funds or other resources from the government of Bangladesh or the international community. The inherent ethno-religious politics of the conflict in Myanmar and the systematic, state-sponsored killing, rape and oppression – including widespread use of forced labour – creates a very uncertain situation for the refugees and also potentially lays the foundation for more widespread conflicts, based in religious differences and territorial disputes (Islam 2020; Rashid 2019; Ullah 2011; Utpala 2010). Although solidarity with the plight

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  85 of the Rohingyas as fellow Muslims is a popular motivation for assisting the refugee population, the fragile situation in the refugee camps and the Cox Bazar area is a similarly strong motivator for state intervention to alleviate and resolve the crisis (Lewis 2019, pp. 1892–1893). The burgeoning NGO sector was able to set the tone for development politics in the decade after democracy was reinstated in 1990 (Blair 2000, p. 187). The NGOs, including the few active human rights organizations as well as the wider civil society, have since increasingly been influenced, defined and divided along the all-dominating party-political configurations and antagonisms.

Human rights organizations: the ‘radical ‘reformers The role of human rights organizations is to ensure state accountability and adherence to national and international laws; prevent human rights violations, where possible; raise public awareness; and advocate for rights. Monitoring and documenting human rights transgressions are vital components of their work, alongside helping citizens know their rights and access justice mechanisms. An organization’s effectiveness is based on its ability to gather credible information about authorities (state and non-state), policing, and law enforcement practices across institutions and administrations. The work is based on the ability to detect and expose rights violations and abuses to establish patterns of misconduct, negligence and violence (Andersen 2019). The rationale is that holding transgressions to public view may prevent repetition. The information is used in national and international arenas to display responsibilities and pressure a state into abiding by obligations within national and international law (Alston and Crawford 2000). This includes examinations undertaken by UN bodies, such as the Universal Periodic Review or the Committee Against Torture. So-called shadow reports are used to insert information, often ignored or downplayed by the state under public scrutiny, into the evaluation process. Nonetheless, it all begins with the collection of documentation and other evidence at community and/or individual levels. In Bangladesh, the respected and credible human rights organizations are few in number but well-known in society, as in politics. The most prominent is Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust: BLAST, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK) and Odhikar. ASK was founded in 1986; it provides legal aid, undertakes documentation of human rights violations, and advocates for the rights of victims and the poor. ASK operates in just less than a third of Bangladesh’s 64 districts. BLAST, founded in 1993, is a legal services organization, specializing in women’s and constitutional issues that operates in less than a third of the country’s districts. Odhikar, founded in 1994, specializes in the documentation of torture and extra-judicial killings and has a network of supporters in two-thirds of Bangladesh’s districts. Since 10 August 2013, Odhikar has come under increasing political and economic pressure from the Bangladesh government. Their leaders, often

86  Morten Koch Andersen among the founding members, are strong and charismatic personalities that participate in public debate on individual cases of violations and legal principles. The organization’s members are professionals who have dedicated themselves to enhancing human welfare. They are closely connected to and represent the organizations in private and public life, and their work carries risks of repression and repercussions from influential quarters of society, including law enforcement, the military and politicians. These organizations have taken on their tasks on behalf of the Bangladesh citizenry and, more precisely, the victims of state-sanctioned violence (by direct involvement, tacit support and acceptance or disregard), of ensuring state accountability to its own constitution, laws and policies and governance. As such, they address the substantial fundamental political changes with respect to taxation, social security, military spending, monetary policy, commodity pricing, and political accumulation that Sara White is calling for, to avoid the inherent ‘danger that the overall outcome (of development interventions) will be to ensure systemic reproduction: the entrenching of dominant interests through the depoliticizing of development and the representation of poverty and the poor as a technical problem’ (White 1999, p. 325). Contrary to mainstream development organizations involved in credit and service provision, most human rights organizations do not compete with state agencies; rather, they often find themselves in a hostile, antagonistic environment with few positive, productive supporting relationships within state institutions, even among government-funded independent oversight institutions, such as anti-corruption and human rights bodies. If, in the very unlikely situation that the state upholds and respects all its obligations to its citizens, then the need for human rights organizations would dissolve. It is difficult to advocate for issues if they are actualized in policy and governance. As such, human rights organizations are radical in the sense that they address fundamental issues and inequalities in society and their voice and influence fades as (or if) they succeed.

Laws and politics The Awami League and the BNP have each routinely manipulated, amended and ignored the legal system for their own ends when in government, together creating a society based on ‘rule through law, not rule of law’ (Andersen 2017, 2018). Different governments have increased social and political control through harsher laws and regulations, such as the Special Powers Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Information and Communication Technology Act, and the NGO Affairs Bureau of Bangladesh (NGOAB), which is in charge of registration and approval of foreign funds. All governments have upheld and tightened regulation targeting the ‘radical’ or critical organizations involved in exposing human rights violations and state accountability, primarily of law enforcement agencies, claiming rights for clients, and demanding justice, redress and rehabilitation.

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  87 NGOs operating in the country are registered with the NGOAB. NGOs receiving foreign funds are subject to the Foreign Donations (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act (FDRB), passed in October 2016.7 The Act was argued to be a check on terrorist cells receiving funds from outside Bangladesh; however, it has been used to scrutinize and close down operations of critical organizations in the country. The Act states that the NGOAB, which is under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office, has the authority to cancel or withhold the legal registration of an NGO or ban its activities for having ‘engaged in anti-State activities’, ‘financing extremism and terror activities’, or for ‘making derogatory comments about the constitution and constitutional institutions’ of Bangladesh, including the Offices of the President, the Prime Minister, the Parliament or the Supreme Court. According to the Act, NGOs seeking to receive or use foreign funds must register with the NGOAB, submit reports regularly, and seek prior approval from the NGOAB for all planned activities before receiving such grants. The Act also empowers the NGOAB to inspect, monitor and assess NGO activities at the NGOAB’s discretion, and NGOs need approval and security clearance to hire foreign specialists and advisers. While previous regulatory regimes were criticized for partisan interests, only approving projects and activities that safeguarded the political interests of the ruling party (Lewis 2018; Mir and Bala 2014, pp. 5–6; White 1999, p. 312), the current regulatory regime clearly exposes the intentions of the government to control the NGO sector, especially its most critical parts. The NGOAB can initiate investigations of financial accounting practices within the organizations and freeze their funds while investigations are ongoing. This effectively stops the work of the organizations and entails their staff being investigated, until the financial scrutiny is concluded. The use of draconian laws such as the Special Powers Act of 1974 (SPA) and paramilitary forces such as the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is an ordinary practice by political rulers. The SPA grants wide-ranging discretionary powers to law enforcement agencies (ICG 2016). The Act allows for preventive detention of suspects initially for one month, after which a court may prolong it by six months at a time. The use of the SPA is closely connected to the use of Sections 54 and 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Section 54 grants the police authority to arbitrarily arrest anyone, anywhere, at any time, without a court order or a warrant (BLAST 2005). Section 197 prohibits prosecution of public officials and public authorities without the government’s prior approval if the offence is committed in an official capacity. The law has been debated in the run-up to every election but, in the aftermath of the electoral process, every government has retained the Act as a tool to motivate, control and direct law enforcement agencies. Currently, it is being challenged in the high court by BLAST, under what is known as the Rubel killing case. It is yet to be concluded. The RAB is the main tool to enforce dominant party-political rule and government authority. The force is recruited from all sections of the military and police. It is structurally positioned under the Ministry of Home

88  Morten Koch Andersen Affairs and, consequently, under direct political supervision and control of the party in government. The force was established in 2004 by the BNP to combat organized crime. It was set up in the aftermath of two major security drives known as Clean Heart and Spider Web in Khulna division on the western border with India, where military units were deployed to undertake policing when ordinary police forces were unable to uphold the exercise of state authority. The new force attracted popular support as it eradicated criminal networks and groups that ordinary police were unable to fight, reclaiming state authority in the targeted areas. Over time, however, the battalion earned a reputation as a death squad, known to execute people – including opponents of the regime – in ‘crossfires’ and ‘encounters’ (Sharma and Andersen 2017). The RAB has become the politically trusted force in the country, not just to ensure safety and security, and to combat crime and terrorism, but also to implement government policies and repression of political opponents. Every party in opposition has criticized the battalion but retained it for their own ends when in government. Since independence in 1971, and especially after democracy was reinstated in 1991, state institutions and law enforcement agencies have increasingly become battlefields between the BNP and the Awami League (Lewis 2011a, 2011b; Osman 2010; van Schendel 2009). Each government has made use of law enforcement agencies to stay in power, suppress public discontent, and increase private gains with increased confrontational strife and politicization of bureaucracy. Policing has created a well-known vocabulary of ‘crossfires’, meaning extra-judicial killings, and ‘remand’ as a synonym for torture in police custody. Arrests for money have, ironically, been called the ‘arrest business’ in the media. This phrase, always in quotation marks, denotes not just particular abusive and violating practices but marks state– citizen relations of politicized discretion, unfolding impunity and transgressive law practices. ‘Police violence has become a pervasive feature of politics in Bangladesh, in which nobody is seemingly accountable to anybody …’ (Rafiqul and Solaiman 2003, p. 26). These are not just to be regarded as a collage of corrupt police behaviour, conditioned and directed by the elites’ political interests, but a consequence of neglect and perhaps even intentional starvation of ordinary law enforcement agencies and legal institutions. In effect, they are incapacitating their ability to solve crimes and process cases in due course, and prioritizing special forces and extra-legal solutions. Law enforcement agencies are among the least trusted institutions in society (Ahmed 2013; Choudhoury et al. 2016; NHRC 2011; Saferworld 2010). Additional laws have given the government and law enforcement agencies extensive discretion in the exercise of their authority. The vague definition of ‘terrorist activities’ under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) 2009 is prone to abuse and is incompatible with the principle of legality, which requires that criminal liability and punishment be limited to clear and precise provisions.

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  89 In addition, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act (Amendment) 20138 introduced severe punishment for any person publishing any material in electronic form that deliberately causes a deterioration of law and order, damage to the image of the state or person, or hurt to religious belief. The law is often used to silent dissent and criticism against the government. Under the Act, a person, if found guilty, can be imprisoned for up to 14 years for ‘publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form’, interpretation of which is widely used to criminalize freedom of expression in Bangladesh, especially social media. Together, these laws actively shrink the public space for criticism of the state and its practices, and can be used to curb the dissent activities of NGOs that seek to defend human rights.

The consequences of dissent The chapter started out by investigating how NGOs can be considered and analysed in relation to the state and the society, history and politics of Bangladesh. This investigation shows that we should not isolate the developments within the NGO sector from wider political events and conflicts, and associated legal changes, policy regimes and practices such as those regulating law enforcement agencies and governmental administrative bodies. Two events highlight the interdependency, entanglement and interconnectedness of state, politics and NGOs. The first is the case of Muhammad Yunus and his Grameeen Bank. The second is the case of Adilur Rahman Khan and Odhikar. During the military-backed civil caretaker government of 2006–2008, Muhammad Yunus tried to enter formal party politics with the more or less tacit support of the global community, national media and civil society. The caretaker government aggressively promoted the elimination of the dominant political parties, the Awami League and the BNP, which expanded the political space for the fledgeling politician. Yunus was put forward as a third, internationally recognized ‘neutral’ or ‘rational’ alternative to the confrontational and divisive political culture fomented by the two major parties and their followers. It was believed that Yunus could gather broadbased support in society due to his work for the poor at Grameen Bank. And it was supposed he could utilize the support of the millions of microcredit lenders that depended on the bank, recasting the patron–client political structuring of society for the greater good. As such, Yunus’s candidacy and his independent party became an integral part of the ‘minus two formula’. However, the caretaker government, and its less visible supporters within and outside Bangladesh, had underestimated the ingrained character of the two-party structure and its defining power in, and of, society. The caretaker government fell due to popular protest, but Yunus and his organization failed to replace it; the Awami League won the 2008 election. Once in power, the new Awami League government targeted Yunus in an

90  Morten Koch Andersen act of revenge for challenging its historical and political claim to legitimate rule. He was investigated for mismanagement of bank funds, stripped of his position within the bank and sidelined in the politics of the country. Today, several cases against him have been processed in the courts. The other case is more directly about radical criticism against the actions of the Awami League government. On 4 September 2013, a charge sheet was filed against Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan of Odhikar for allegedly ‘distorting images by using Photoshop and publishing a fabricated report, which enraged public sentiment’. Both men were charged under Section 57 of the ICT Act 2006, which criminalizes ‘publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form’, in relation to a fact-finding report issued by Odhikar on the operation carried out on 5 and 6 May 2013 by security forces in the context of the gathering of Hefazat-e-Islam activists in Dhaka and the response by the law enforcement agencies that, according to Odhikar, killed a number of protestors. In August 2013, both men were arrested and detained. Khan was held for 62 days before finally being released on bail; Elan was detained for 25 days before being released. The case has been playing out in court ever since. On 9 January 2017, the High Court of Bangladesh rejected the appeal filed by human rights defenders Khan and Elan. The High Court cancelled its previous order of 21 January 2014 for a stay in the proceedings of the case at the Cyber Tribunal, and directed the Tribunal in Dhaka to continue with the proceedings. This decision also cleared the way for the lower court to resume the trial proceedings of a case filed under the ICT Act of 2016. Furthermore, in May 2016, the authorities in Bangladesh began an investigation concerning funds received by Odhikar; the NGO was accused of money laundering. Odhikar proved the sums were legitimate funding by the EU to implement a three-year project related to the Convention against Torture. On 20 June, the Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh announced that the allegations have not been proven and therefore the case is resolved. Nonetheless, Odhikar continues to face problems in implementing its activities, since its registration has not been renewed by the NGOAB, effectively hampering, if not obstructing, the work of the organization. The two cases show how confrontational party politics, to a very large extent, determines the outlines of the framework within which NGOs are allowed to work in Bangladesh. Stepping outside of the framework could have serious detrimental consequences for an organization, its activists and their families. For development organizations and their leaders, the boundaries have become quite clear: they will stay on the path of service delivery and survive as semi-independent organizations, but under the purview, control and sanctioning of the government, through the strongly empowered NGOAB authorizing projects and regulating funding. For radical and critical human rights-oriented organizations, the message is equally clear and straightforward: don’t challenge the government; it will have serious consequences, regardless of international criticism, support and solidarity.

Political antagonism in Bangladesh  91

Conclusion Though the NGO sector in Bangladesh is diverse and massive in terms of organizations and approaches, most NGOs have opted to focus on service delivery and micro-credit facilities, which are both economically sustainable for the organizations themselves and highly attractive to government and foreign donors, due to their non-political nature (Hashemi and Hasan 1999; Lewis 2004, p. 309) and, I will add, non-threatening character to the elites’ private and political interests. Furthermore, the situation has been exacerbated by the increasing use of draconian laws and suppressive regulations that began with the Special Powers Act of 1974, which has not been repealed or removed by any of the democratically elected governments, or even the democratically inclined military-backed caretaker government of 2006–2008, which aggressively tried to recast the political field and culture of the country by propelling the world of NGO activism into formal politics. Ever since democracy was reinstated after years of non-democratic, autocratic governments and regimes, the elected representatives have either used non-democratic means to protest against the sitting government’s decisions and policies, or the government has utilized its parliamentary power to forward vested interests and decide on laws, regulations and policies that effectively undermine the democratic principles and processes of rights and voice. Even more, they have accepted and condoned unlawful practices of law enforcement, under state-sanctioned immunity and impunity, undermining the rights of citizens to freedom from violence, due process, and justice. The recent levels of tension and distrust between NGOs and the sitting government seem to be inconsistent with White’s (1999) claim that oppositional relations between NGOs and the state are largely mythic. Apparently, there are limits to the power of family ties, contracting relationships, and an often-overlapping dependence on foreign donors that links people together, as both the Odhikar and Grameen cases show. I agree with White that it appears the common-interest models of state and civil society partnership and the oppositional models of civil society balancing the state need re-examining (Ibid., p. 10). This becomes even more pertinent if we consider the increasing role of new international actors, such as China and Russia, in addition to India, in the political economy of Bangladesh. Both China and Russia have already shown a willingness to increase co-operation in the infrastructure and energy sectors, which, over time, might outbalance the ‘traditional’ influence of Western powers and interest. Nonetheless, the position of critical NGOs and activists in politics and society appears unlikely to improve in the years to come as dissent and voice are negated while political space is decreasing and civil society effectively silenced. One can say that ‘Big-D’ interventions and ‘small-s’ state problems will be the target of most NGOs in the years to come. And that ‘small-d’ activities and ‘Big-S’ State problems, will be left for a few very radical activist-oriented organizations and people, which are willing to risk life

92  Morten Koch Andersen and livelihood for the public good, without direct financial foreign support, and state-sanctioned projects and programmes. At the same time limiting the role of civil society actors, and radical NGOs, and limiting the role of developmental NGOs to projects and programmes that align to government policies, strengthen state delivery and increase the popular political legitimacy of the ruling party.

Notes 1 Ziring 1992, p. 76 argues that the Awami League deliberately chose this name to equate Bangladesh with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and that in the aftermath of the war of independence, the survival of one was vital to the other. 2 Daily Star, 13 April 2007. 3 The military arrested Tarique Rahman, the eldest son of Khaleda Zia. While in detention, he broke his back and was sent to the UK for treatment. Zia’s other son, Coco, escaped to Singapore. 4 See NGOAB website: 5 See: 0c5a_5763_4628_9494_950862accd8c/QLFS_2015.pdf. 6 In 2016, the NGOAB registered 2,457 NGOs in the country. 7 See session/43.pdf. 8 The ICT Act was first passed in 2006 and amended in 2009 and 2013. News editor M. Rahman, NGO activist A. Rahman. and bloggers A. Mohiuddin, M.R. Biplob, S.A. Shuvo and R. Parvez have been arrested under the Act. The ‘Digital Security Bill, 2018’, with even harsher regulations, has been prepared to replace the ICT Act but is yet to be passed in parliament.

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Part II

Civil society’s multiple hues and roles Amit Prakash, Peter B. Andersen and Rubya Mehdi The seven case studies that comprise this part address different aspects of the developments of civil society in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Rubya Mehdi addresses the slow but steady transformation of the relations between the state and the public, in this case the Pakistani rural public. She demonstrates how traditional, localized forms of identification of thieves (chors) by traditional specialists (khojis) were rooted in local society. The trackers often knew the thieves beforehand and they introduced Mehdi to some of local, retired thieves. The specialists as well as the thieves whom they are specialized in tracking are, however, gradually disappearing from society. Cattle theft is still a nuisance and a problem for the farmers, but its nature changes from conflicts between local landlords to other forms of crime, where the thieves come from outside due to improved forms of transportation as the villages are gradually becoming parts of a larger national system. The following chapters focus on different aspects of civil society, including organization of labour, sometimes as labour unions; the religious and patriarchal suppression of women, and women’s organized responses; the bureaucratization of civil society dependant on liberal thought; and, finally, a chapter on the recent changes in Pakistan’s civil society due to the Covid19 crisis. In Pakistan, the military government of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977–1988) dismantled workers’ rights and favoured certain religious groups within Sunni Islam. Charles W. Amjad Ali and Karamat Ali investigate how the inability to form broad-based workers’ unions led to the growth of a precarious workforce. This was a frontal attack on the workers policy introduced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972, but later governments of Pakistan retained many of the restrictions on the organization of labour. The political developments since 11 September 2001 led to further suppression of the freedom of organization and raised trouble for religious minorities. The authors are critical of the way in which some civil society organizations strive for a modus vivendi with the government. Civil society organizations are working under the frame of an increasingly liberal support regime. This means that while they may obtain public funding, accepting such funds puts them under similar reporting demands

98  Amit Prakash et al. as public enterprises. Similar bureaucratic demands are also increasing for NGOs that work under the aegis of foreign or private funding. Anna Romanowicz points to this fact in her study of an Indian NGO that ostensibly works for the self-empowerment of women who have been forced into sex trafficking and prostitution. This goal is undermined by a bureaucratic demand that the targeted lower-class women are unable to satisfy. This problem has been exacerbated by the pursuit of conflicting goals of the middle-class women who run the organization and of the donors that fund it. As a result, it became impossible to conceive and implement programmes that more directly involved the targeted women in defining their own needs. The military ordinances utilized by Zia-ul-Haq to change Pakistani society are well known, but state pressure on women and their families to refrain from action to introduce a better and more free situation for women may be lost in the mist. A happy exception is the ‘Women Front Pakistan’ (1974–1976), whose career is described by one of its central figures: Fauzia Rafique. The Women Front managed to combine socialist feminism, radical feminism and Islamic feminism in its work to improve the situation of working women through education and organization. Strong social forces – most notably, family pressure on many of the middle- and lower-middle class students engaged in the Front’s student wing – sought to undermine the Women Front even before the Zia-ul-Haq regime began to engage directly with the organization. In 1981, the ‘Women Action Forum’ was formed as a lobby and pressure group in opposition to Zia-ul-Haq’s military government. Since then, the WAF has fought for a secular position, including equal rights for all persons independent of their religious and ethnic belonging. Equal rights for women have been pursued vigorously, including through the support of women in a number of court cases. In 2016, WAF forwarded a number of demands that, collectively, would lead to the elimination of ‘religious extremism and intolerance while upholding the inherent diversity of state and nation in Pakistan’. The WAF has not accepted outside support, in order to avoid the bureaucratic pathologies analysed so elegantly by Anna Romonawicz in Chapter 8. Pakistan came into being as a homeland for Indian Muslims, but it was left to the constitutional assembly and later governments of Pakistan to decide what this meant. As shown in earlier chapters, there has been a gradual intensification of identification of the state of Pakistan with certain positions within Sunni Islam. Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen’s chapter on the organization of and teaching in madrasas belonging to the different maslaks in Pakistan illuminates one line of these developments. Madrasa education complements government schools and a number of private schools by teaching from 1st through 12th grade as well as at higher educational levels. The madrasas are organized groups, or maslaks, that reflect their religious belonging within Islam. The chapter argues that civil society in Pakistan has been skewed as governments shifted preferential treatment from some religious groups and their madrasas toward others, depending

Civil society’s multiple hues and roles  99 on these groups’ expected support for certain aspects of the governments’ policies in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This has resulted in an overrepresentation of some Islamic positions, whereas secular positions and other Islamic interpretations have been muted. This development raises some problems for the integration of Pakistani society. Sohail Akbar Warrich’s chapter addresses the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on civil society in Pakistan, from its beginnings in March 2020 right up to events on 28 July, as the book went to press. When the virus first arrived in Pakistan, the government sought and received the assistance of a wide range of progressive NGOs. To facilitate their operations, the government relaxed many of the onerous regulations that NGOs normally must comply with. At the same time, conservative, religiously based organizations found associational life more difficult. The public eyed them with suspicion after they hosted what became a super-spreader event and, with their mosques closed, they lost the audiences that they had been able to influence during normal times. Both of these tides turned quickly, however. By July, mosques had been re-opened and, at least in some parts of Pakistan, overbearing NGO oversight had returned.

6 Thieves and khojis in a nonstate, collectivist system of justice under transformation* An example from a village of Southern Punjab, Pakistan Rubya Mehdi This chapter focusses on the nature of thieves (chors) and the specific methods used by khojis as they track thieves in an informal (non-state) system of justice in Pakistan. The word khoji means ‘tracker’ or ‘investigator’. Chors are acknowledged as legitimate members of the social and economic structure of villages in Pakistan. Because chors do what they do – stealing is what they do – village society also acknowledges the importance of the work of khojis: in a well-functioning social system, thieves must be caught. The theoretically exciting element is that this dynamic is played out in the context of a relational collective society that is analytically far-removed from the individualist dynamic that permeates so much of the West, as well as much of Pakistan. The chapter places khojis and thieves in the wider context of plural systems of justice in Pakistan. It proceeds under three headings. First comes a background to the plural system of justice in which the special chor–khoji phenomenon, in negotiation with other actors, takes place in this non-state justice system. Despite extensive colonial efforts to abolish it, the traditional system of cattle rustling (theft-and-negotiating recovery) continues to be used, alongside a more ‘modern’ approach to the protection of property. The result is an overall system that includes elements of both relational collectivism and individualism. The chapter’s second section is a deep ethnography of the status, role and functionality of thieves and their trackers, emphasizing the dynamics between these two groups as well as their engagement with both systems of justice (state and non-state), which involves delicate negotiations amid sometimes competing or contradictory norms. Finally, this case is placed in the context of a discussion of a village-level trend to shift from relational collectivism towards individualism, in response to the influences of a globalized world. The traditional institution of thieves and khojis was viewed critically in British India, but its structure and function did not change significantly under colonialism, nor during the first 50 years of Pakistan’s independence. Drastic changes are coming only with globalization.


*  I am thankful to Stig Toft Madsen for his comments; to Z.A. Bhatti for providing contacts and full cooperation while I conducted fieldwork; and to Sajid Sulton, whose research assistance was of the highest level.

102  Rubya Mehdi

Systems of justice: relational collectivism and individualism Relational collectivism The informal system of justice in Pakistan is related to a set of social relationships commonly known as of relational collectivism, a knitting-together that is important to the successful completion of farm activities in an agrarian society. The first feature of relational collectivism is ‘group comes first’: individuals are dependent on and subservient to the group (starting from the family to the biradari and wider society) and are expected to conform with group norms. The second feature is hierarchical division, which in Pakistan takes the form of caste and class. The third feature describes the context of negotiation and compromise within this hierarchical agrarian system (E. Moore 1985). The powerful have more control and authority and, therefore, are subjected to a different standard of justice. By design, justice is not equal for all. The chor–khoji relationship was constructed within the framework of relational collectivism. The attitudes of both chors and khojis towards property law and property control are negotiable, and each negotiation is as much about the preservation of the norms of the collectivist values – social hierarchy and relations of power – as it is about the appropriate resolution of a specific case of missing property. On a broader level, several relational-collectivist principles can be observed in the colonial decision to introduce separate personal laws for different religious communities. Different laws were applied to different people; humans were understood to be plural, diverse and unequal (Griffiths 1986). Related to this is the acknowledgement that no single authority can or should determine what is ‘just’. Scholars of Islamic law – who engaged and continue to engage in passionate debates with one another – might appropriately determine ‘justice’ for Muslims, but surely not for anyone else. The result was an intendedly pluralistic legal system (S. Moore 1978; Geertz 2000; Beverley 2013). This chapter focusses mainly on the village level. The idea of a village panchayat, or council, has been appropriated by the state and can be used to describe modern, state engagement at the village level, but it has its roots in relational-collective tradition. Both the traditional meaning and relational-collective institutions based on it are in active use today. A traditional panchayat could be a permanent body of respectable people of the village, or it could be a temporary group created to resolve a particular issue. It could be formal or informal. Disputants themselves nominate the panchayat members themselves. Panchayat meetings can be held anywhere, even occasionally under the trees while men sit on wooden cots, and without any state-imposed dress code. Panchayats are used to resolve disputes within a family, a caste group, or a whole village. Unlike the state system, the core values of justice in the informal panchayat system is built on the values of compromise and negotiation. The overriding goal of arbitration is group harmony and avoidance of excessive disruption to the wider population. The principle of hierarchy of economic

Thieves and khojis  103 class and social relations, i.e. partial justice (stability, order and harmony to social relations) is also fundamental (Lefebvre 1990). Thus, it can be concluded that the organization is built on the concept of relational collectivism (Rosen 1989, 2006; Mehdi 2003). On the level of common villagers, this system of justice is quick, cheap and efficient (Kidder 1973). In cases of crime such as theft, a panchayat will often call upon a khoji to provide evidence that might enable the chor to be identified. After that common village people simply gather within their own group to resolve the matter between the offender (thieves) and victim. If the offender and the victim belong to two different groups, the elders of both groups meet together. Individualism Individualist systems – of justice or anything else – could not be more different. Here we look at individualism with regard to rural areas in Pakistan. Individualism is identified with industrialization and modernity: the individual comes first. In addition, individualism values the principle of egalitarianism: all are equal in the eyes of the law. Finally, individualism places justice in the framework of individual rights and duties, as seen, for example, in the colonial effort to transform the Indian peasantry’s concept of justice into one that is informed by specific ideas related to Western industrial values. Colonial administrators sought to build a governing system based on these principles. For many, the protection of individual private property was a defining feature of the modern state, which was ‘modernized’ accordance with the norms of the emerging capitalist political economy: It might even be argued that property came to be the keystone right shaping the relationship between state and society. It was largely through the definition of property, after all, that the state negotiated the existence of the legal individual in India. (Gilmartin 2003, p. 35) The phenomenon of cattle rustling is a good example of a context where relational collectivism and individualism meet. The phenomenon existed in the Indian subcontinent before colonial rule (Johnston 1936; Passi 2005; Bloomfield 1923). Although it was recognized and despised, its existence was also appreciated. ‘Indeed, British reports suggested that cattle lifting was in many areas closely integrated into structures of community organization and indigenous tribal authority’ (Gilmartin 2003, p. 36). Colonial rule opened a new dimension and added a new element: a critical field for negotiating legal individualism and collectivist identities (Henry and Mars 1978). For the British ruler, the very meaning of property and its protection was a defining feature of the modern state, the idea of state commitment to ‘individual property owner as an autonomous agent’ was

104  Rubya Mehdi challenged. However, at the same time, their commitment to the approaches of ‘indigenous communities’ brought discernible contradictions. They became critical towards the way the return of the stolen cattle commonly was arranged and negotiated in India. For Indians, property was not a fixed concept but a situation of continuous negotiation in a relational collectivist system. Theft for moving cattle to the market and negotiating their return to the owner brings forward another dimension in which many actors are involved. Thieves, khojis, rassaghirs, the better off and powerful of the village and, later, the colonial state administered justice, policing and the courts. Nevertheless, this framework of negotiation with the addition of a third party (i.e. state (police)) continued to exist in the independent state of Pakistan. Under British rule, cattle rustlers were perceived as men of ‘low moral levels of the population’ who ‘lack … understanding and appreciation for the true value of private property’. Moreover, this kind of ‘lawlessness’ was conceived ‘against the basic principles that defined the colonial raj as a modern state’ (Gilmartin 2003). Thus, the moral meaning of the theft changed with the establishment of commercialized cattle markets. Nevertheless, this phenomenon remained a field of dilemma for the British raj. Direct police intervention often failed to recover stolen cattle, so many considered it to be more efficient to let local communities resolve the cases on their own (Ibid., p. 43). Henry and Mars (1978) call it an illegal amateur trading sphere. They claim that non-individualized societies ‘have several clear spheres of exchange each with institutional forms, moral values and vocabularies’ which change and are obscured in individualized societies because of the dominance of the market exchange sphere. In non-industrial rural societies where the barter system is prevalent, exchange is highly personalized, context-dependent and more fully bound up with non-market relationships. Engebrigtsen argues that in the illegal amateur trading sphere, where prices are deliberately blurred and there is greater uncertainty that a transaction will go head, payment for stolen items is made partly in kind rather than money. The actors appear to make very little profit out of the activity, extra services and emphasis on the relational aspect of the transaction. Engebrigtsen (2008, p. 123) explains Henry and Mars’ (1978, p. 295) argument: The authors argue for understanding this kind of theft as a type of transaction that in many ways equals barter. They hold that while the economic gain of such activities is generally meagre, the social gains are considerable. They see this type of theft as one instance in a chain of social and economic exchanges where value is never exact and the relationship between exchange partners is maintained because the favours are never fully compensated. They stress the collective feature of such

Thieves and khojis  105 amateur theft as an exchange, and show how it might serve to create a social group of inmates all willing to exchange ‘off the record’. People involved in such exchanges explain that they like ‘a good bargain’ and ‘earning some money’, but the authors argue that this economic explanation derives strictly from the only rationality available in a society dominated by market exchange, and that economic explanations blur the social and collective features of this kind of theft. When confronted with their illegal activities informants explained. Nevertheless, the colonial administrators ‘policy’ also sought to find a middle way between relational collectivism and individualism. They understood law as related to property not as a fixed set of hegemonic principles, ‘but rather as a field in which meaning of property, negotiated in the relationship of state, community and individual at multiple levels – a critical field for negotiating both individual and collectivist identities’ (Gilmartin 2003, p. 35). Interaction between individual and relational-collective systems of justice, parallel use of plural systems Interestingly, elements of relational collectivism can and do percolate into ostensibly individualist systems. This is analytically distinct from the argument above about separate-but-equal (or separate-and-unequal) legal systems operating pluralistically, side-by-side. For the purpose of analysis first, though both the systems co-exist independently of one another, there are crucial links between the two and they interact extensively with each other when required. In the words of Lyon (2002, p. 61) a ‘single legal structure in the country seems woefully inadequate to deal with all situations’. In practice, villagers use both systems, even to resolve accusations of theft. Interaction between the two systems is clearly noticeable at village police outposts; courts exist only on higher levels. Still, panchayats work in close co-operation with courts at the tehsil and district levels. Here, the point is that some ostensibly individualistic institutions come to promote relational-collectivist values. Perhaps the most important such value is inequality before the law. The interaction of the two ended in pathology and paradoxes in the post-colonial legal system. Take theft, for example. In the so-called individualist state system of Pakistan, the first formal step is to register a case with the police. It is a common knowledge an ordinary villager cannot do this without bribing the police official, which most people cannot afford (Chaudhary 1999, p. 152; Siddique 2013). Hence, economic disparities lead to inequality before the law and, since the size of the required bribe varies – and not simply because of economic ability – other elements of relational-collective society come into play (Ahmed 1984). Moreover, the veracity of the victim’s claim must be attested to by a village ‘influential’, and this person’s behaviour can be guided by relational-collective norms. Hence, some theft victims can

106  Rubya Mehdi present claims that are full of lies and exaggerations, while other victims cannot register a report at all. Without going into details, the same values shape behaviour at the court level. Witnesses fabricate evidence, and even professional witnesses are engaged (Ibid.: 158; see also Hoebel 1965). Bribing is also seen to influence judges and lawyers (Chaudhary 1999, pp. 132–139; Siddique 2013). The role of the munshi (accountant) is also significant and, in the villages, touts (in-between persons) play a big role in exploiting uninformed villagers. Well-known writers have described the British-introduced system of state justice and the attitude of Pakistani villagers towards it. For example, Cohn writes that Cases are brought to the courts to harass one’s opponents, as a punishment, as a form of land speculation and profit making, to satisfy insulted pride, and to maintain local political dominance over one’s followers. The litigants do not expect a settlement that will end the dispute to eventuate from recourse to the state courts. (Cohn 1965, p. 105) Usually, the villagers use the state system of justice to pressure, dishonour, harm and avenge an opponent party (Mendelsohn 1981; Galanter 1968). However, in some instances, judges in these lower courts are deeply familiar with the local customs, including non-state systems of justice, and show consideration to custom while making their judgements. ‘Lady Judges’ (as they are known) tend to show more of this consideration (Mehdi 2017). Lyon (2002) describes what he calls the positive aspect of relationships between local elites and the police: the police needed the approval of the landowner in order to make an arrest in a village, but the landlord might be willing and able to handle the matter himself. The police have shown some willingness to accept creative conflict resolution at the village level, rather than risking the sometimes-draconian sentences that the state system sometimes imposes. The police, however, have to make a report on the case and how it was resolved. Therefore, police can develop patronage relationships with the thieves. Following the dictum, ‘it takes thief to catch a thief’, thieves become police informers as well as mediators between other thieves. In exchange for these services, police ignore the activities of the informers (Piliavsky 2011). Police also avail of the expertise of khojis for tracking thieves. An interlocutor khoji complained that police payment for their services is inappropriately low. However, police have their own touts and they play a role by taking bribes from both parties and then arranging for compromises between them. In the village, all influential persons will have connections to the police and they keep regularly satisfying the police. In the cases of theft, the state system of justice is contacted to create pressure to control the thieves or for the recovery of stolen goods.

Thieves and khojis  107

Thieves and khojis: empirical data To explain the functioning of the thieves and khojis under transforming systems of justice, I draw on materials collected from villages in southern Punjab in 2013–2014, while I was a guest professor at Bahauddin Zakariya University. That visit provided me with an extraordinary opportunity to contribute to an almost non-existent literature. I interviewed two khojis, father and son, intensively and repeatedly in order to learn of their profession, how they ply it and the types of cases they encounter. Later, to supplement the insights that emerged, I interviewed a few more khojis from nearby villages. The tape-recorded interviews were conducted under a cluster of trees, sitting casually, on hot summer days. It was pleasant and cool under the trees, and singing of the birds made the atmosphere welcoming. The space was adjacent to the village ‘men’s club’ (an over-glorious term) consisting of some rooms, a bathroom and a kitchen. Nearby, water flowed from a tube-well. Village women were washing clothes and their small children bathed in the stream to cool down in the extreme heat of the day. Throughout the day, in accordance with traditional village hospitality norms, we were entertained with snacks, tea, lassi and lunch prepared in the men’s club. I, the only woman, led a team of five: my research assistant, two contact persons, a driver and my musician-husband. (We had a joint project, collecting folk music and experimenting with therapeutic effects of music in villages.) Our host was a mid-level landowning farmer named Shaid Khan (all names are anonymized). My two main two khojis arrived on motorbikes, together with an assistant. While the khojis were describing detecting, their tactics and thieves’ counter-tactics, they offered to fetch a chor for an interview. I thought they were joking, but the assistant zoomed away and returned with a slim, elderly man, Jamal, a professional thief. Jamal explained that after plying his trade for 25 years, he had recently stopped because of his ill health. Later, I interviewed a few more chors in the area, thanks to support from my growing network of farmers and khojis. Two unexpected insights emerged from the interviews. First, the network of farmers and khojis demonstrated a relationship of understanding with thieves. Second, theft is considered an integrated part of village society and, like many others, is a hereditary occupation. Just as many khojis learn the art of detecting from their fathers, chors teach the art of theft to their children. I realized that understanding the profession of the khojis would have been incomplete if thieves not included in the research (Bentzon et al. 1998). The data thus collected were refined through discussions with scholars who work on rural areas in Pakistan. Dr Munzur Ejaz (2020), who has published widely about the villages of Punjab, was particularly valuable. Sohail Warraich (2020), a journalist, writer and human rights activist, was interviewed for his direct experiences in the rural areas.

108  Rubya Mehdi Background: thieves and their image The institution of chors and khojis, being an element of relational collectivism, is recognized as a part of a village community, and is one of many relations that are built on compromise and negotiation (Mehdi 2008). Like many village relationships, the chor–khoji dynamic is used to maintain the power status quo in villages. At the same time, the institution is embedded with norms and values that maintain village solidarity and help poor villagers. The professions of thieves and their trackers thus are important to the maintenance of collectivist and hierarchal life in Pakistan’s rural areas.1 In the village where I collected data, theft is considered to be a crime, and a ‘bad’ and ‘immoral’ profession. At the same time, society in this village is built on compromise and negotiation; theft is acknowledged as a part of society and tensions related to its presence are negotiated and reconciled in different ways (Harper 1957; Bolton 1974; Pratten 2008). The existence of thieves generally is despised, and yet ‘powerful’ patrons commission them to perform criminal acts (Ahmed 1984). My observations support Anastasia Piliavsky’s (2011, p. 302) findings: thieves are commissioned by large landowners to ‘push down others who stick their heads up too high’. Thieves also help the police by providing information about other thieves. Pilavsky attributes other positive functions to the thieves in an Indian village, including the quiet resolution of conflicts and the maintenance of the integrity of families in the eyes of the public (Ibid., p. 306). The thieves are not without a moral conscience. For example, thieves avoid stealing from their own village, possibly due to their respect for relational collectivism and a sense of moral imperative to maintain solidarity within their village. When caught thieving within their own village, chors are ashamed, stigmatized, boycotted and avoided. These are effective sanctions in a collectivist society, and enable all parties within the village society to continue to live in a relationship of understanding and reconciliation. When discussing society in Pakistan, one must, of course, mention religion. Islam, as both a value system and an institutional network, shapes the chor–khoji relationship in many ways, not least in debates about which activities should be considered halal (allowed) and which are best recognized as haram (forbidden). The following story illustrates this tension and one way it was resolved, and shows chors’ morality. The thieves of that village were critical about the molvi (prayer leader) of the mosque, who saw religion as static and absolute. For their part, the thieves believed that right and wrong should be mediated, and not be taken as black and white. Sometimes, when these thieves peacefully gathered in public, the molvi would join them and pronounce that thieves were haram, their food was haram and even their houses were haram. Once, after the molvi left, a thief said, ‘whenever he sits here, he calls us bad names. We should teach him a lesson’. They knew that the molvi bought bread from someone on the riverside near an area where

Thieves and khojis  109 thieves hid their contraband. One day, when the thieves were preparing to hide a stolen cow, they met the molvi as he was going to get some bread. They grabbed him, beat him up, and then asked him to lead the cow. After walking through an area filled with dangerous insects and snakes, they reached the river. The thieves ordered him to cross it and he did so, and then to walk almost ten kilometres more. At last, before, letting him go free, they showed their faces to the molvi and told him he should not tell anybody, because the khoji would see his footprints and identify him as an accomplice. Next day, when they were sitting in the get-together where molvi was also present, they asked the molvi whether the earnings of the chors are haram or halal, The molvi replied that thieves work very hard: they walk through the snakes, cross the river and, after that, they walk for miles in their wet clothes. Chors must work hard and, therefore, their earnings are not haram; they are halal. The concept of halal and haram related to theft is used in many ways. In the following story, a distinction is made between earning by fair (halal) and unfair means (haram). Families of thieves are notorious for haram (forbidden) livelihood and, once they start eating haram and feeling pleasure in it, it becomes habitual for them and their families, then eating halal (legitimate) becomes difficult and can cause trouble. Shaid Khan recounted a personal experience: A thief stole a buffalo and the owner, Abdul, went to his spiritual guide (peer) and asked for advice. The Pir asked Abdul not only to forgive, but also to donate (bakhsh do) the buffalo to the thief in the name of Allah, and this advice was accepted. Because it had been donated in the name of Allah, the buffalo had become halal; it was now the thief’s legitimate property. That night, after the thief and his family drank milk from that buffalo, they had pains in their stomach. Well, the thief and his family were used to eating food from haram earnings, therefore, the thief and his family could not digest the halal, because they were used to drinking milk bought from illegal earning. Their stomach pains got so intense that they started crying. They wanted to return the buffalo back to the owner, but he refused to take it back; taking back a donation made in the name of Allah is serious business. At last, when Abdul could not bear to see the thief’s family writhing in pain, he returned to the Pir. The Pir said, ‘My son, you may take your buffalo back now. I ordered you to forgive the thief because he is addicted to haram and could not digest halal. Now they have learnt the lesson, so if you take back the buffalo, they will recover from stomach pain.’ And that is what happened. When Abdul took back his buffalo, the thieving family’s pain disappeared.

110  Rubya Mehdi A thief described his personal experience where thieves consider zakat (alms) an effective means of preventing them from stealing: those who pay their zakat are shielded against theft by supernatural powers. We tried four times to steal from a house whose owner used to give 40 per cent zakat on his mal. Each time we felt some guards with white beards were protecting the house, and each time we had to come back. Zakat is a big thing! Learning the trade Thieves learn the art of theft. An ustad (teacher) is never called by his own name, which shows respect for his knowledge and experience. He can teach technical matters, such as how to break through bricks, how to remove a brick, how to find a crack in the wall and how to make a hole in the roof. He also teaches how to break a lock with a knife, how a piece of cloth can help to break a lock or a door-latch, and other trade secrets. Apprentice thieves are also taught how to guess quickly where valuable things are laying in the house, and they learn the art of running. They run very fast and nobody can catch them, so if they manage to start running, then they are gone. (The importance of this skill is declining, as new transport options are presenting themselves.) Thieves learn the importance of a full understanding of the psychology of the villagers. Further consideration is given to annual cycles. With the harvest season, hardworking farmers are exhausted. This is the time to strike: when they are fast asleep. The days of full moon are not good, as the thief is more easily identified in the moonlight. They are also aware of the economic situation of the villagers and know what to steal from where. I asked a thief whether his family is involved and whether they support their men in this profession. He replied that their families know where the earnings to run the house come from and that their immediate family fully supported them. Expert thieves gain their family’s respect and appreciation. In my interlocutors’ baradari, if a young boy is not able to conduct a successful theft, it will be difficult to arrange a marriage partner for him; he is considered incapable of understanding the techniques of profession and thus incapable of maintaining a family. Families of the thieves are also concerned about their own well-being. They hope the thief will not be caught, and the mother of a thief might pray ‘May my son step on a poisonous snake, but may he never get entangled in a thorny beri-tree’. The beri tree, a kind of plum tree, is considered more dangerous to a thief than a snakebite, because it slows him down. The beri thorn is very sharp, and he has to stop if it grabs him. While he removes one thorn, others entangle him from the other side; the more hastily he tries to free himself, the more he is trapped. Eventually, the people who are after him will apprehend him. Therefore, beri trees are erected as boundaries to protect against thieves. Dark nights can be good for theft but also dangerous, as beri trees are invisible in darkness.

Thieves and khojis  111 Housebreakers, grain thieves and cattle rustlers Theft from homes is a common occurrence in the villages of South Punjab. Thieves are attracted to gold jewellery, money and other household valuables. They also target families who have planned weddings; dowry is a main attraction for thieves. If there is theft in the house, khojis generally assume that somebody in the house provided helpful information. Thieves have secret agents, often called bhedi (spy), who provide indications about what is lying where, especially if dowry items are in the house. Therefore, khojis try to find the bhedi who assisted the chor. If he is not member of the house, he may be one who visits occasionally. Finding the secret agent provides a clue to finding the thief. Some chors break through a wall (naqab lagana), while others make a hole in the roof. A mud wall presents difficulties. Suun (breaking through bricks) involves removing bricks from the wall; after the first brick, the others come out easily and the chor can enter through the hole. Roof-breakers use a rope ladder (kamand) to climb up and make a hole in the roof. Entrance through the roof considered safer, as the operation is not clearly visible. Also, houses made of mud walls can be entered through their roofs, so a wider variety of targets is available. The following description explains the importance of physical force, a method used when a thief is caught in the middle of a job: We have code words to communicate with each other … If there are three thieves and one is caught red-handed, he will fight while the others run. In these situations, they prefer not to wear many clothes. Clothes are easy to grab, and if somebody catches me by my shirt, I will be imprisoned. However, if I am wearing lungate (a piece of cloth wrapped on the lower part of the body) and have properly oiled on my body, then I can use my slippery body and my own power to get out of a stronghold if I am caught. Theft from fields is a matter of common occurrence in the villages of South Punjab. Items commonly stolen from fields are agricultural tools, crops, water for crops and animals. In addition to chors, amateur thieves are tempted to steal grain because of economic poverty. During the harvest season, they work as field labourers (khet-mazdoor). For the rest of the year, they are jobless and tend to steal. In the harvest season, when potential loot is most abundant, the crop-theft accountant (munshi) seals each haystack (dher) with a handful of hard clay. This makes clear when a dher has been tampered with and thus increases the chances that a thief will be caught; it thus also acts as a deterrent. During harvest, it is also common for somebody to sleep in the field, to guard the crops from theft. Most of the small theft cases tracked by khojis, and especially crop stealing, are resolved by talking out the problem, and with warnings and forgiveness. Cattle and buffaloes are important forms of movable property in Pakistan’s rural areas. Before mechanized farming, most agriculture in Pakistan

112  Rubya Mehdi was dependent on animal power for irrigation and ploughing. Loss of cattle meant loss of livelihood. The purpose of cattle theft could serve various purposes: to keep people in their place (to show them their power limits), for personal revenge, or purely for the chor’s economic gain. Herzfeld (1988) suggests that theft of ‘sheep and goats is one way in which young males prove bravery and potency and thus advertise themselves as worthy allies … and constitutes a type of rite of passage for maleness’ (quoted in Engebrigtsen 2008). This so-called ‘normative theft’, is interpreted in the community as the act of a young man who, honourably, wants to make a name for himself. Herzfeld shows that, when performed properly, the meaning of theft can be inverted to express respect towards other powerful males. Engebrigtsen provides: Stealing their livestock may be an expression of stealing their power and thus establishing some sort of equality. Livestock theft carried out normatively is read as a ritual challenge between equals aimed at establishing or securing alliances between powerful males; and hence creating new relationships. Not unlike theft as resistance, this kind of theft is the response to a desire to diminish the power of significant others. (Engebrigtsen 2008, p. 125) The following narration shows how a zamindar, in revenge for insult, invokes the co-operation of chors and khojis. Shaid Khan, son of a Pathan zamindar, narrated a story about his father, who had felt insulted by a zamindar from a neighbouring village who had said, cynically, ‘Poor Pathans make a living by building mud walls’. While it is true that Pathans in the area are famous for making mud walls, this particular Pathan was not one of them and was insulted by the collective association. In revenge, he commissioned chors to steal his neighbour’s animals (dunger) and later disgraced him and slaughtered all his animals to serve him and his big group of people. Shaid Khan narrates the story with small details that show zamindar’s ways of behaviour: This was considering the power of a zamindar that has 8–10 thieves in his hand. If I am against somebody and I am revengeful, I will ask my thieves go and steal that person’s animals (mal). My father (May Allah give him place in the heaven) used to have many thieves. There is a zamindar in the neighbouring village that even today has 120 muraba of land. His father was a very proud man. When he was sitting in dara2 and somebody would say salam to him, he would not reply with his hand; he would shake his foot instead. He said something abusive about the Pathans: ‘Poor Pathans do the profession of making mud walls’. He said this cynically and my father, very annoyed, stood up and called his whole company to leave the place. My father planned to steal the other zamindar’s animals as revenge. He invited all the famous thieves of the area and said they should not

Thieves and khojis  113 make hole in the wall; instead, they should pull down the wall so that it is obvious that a theft has occurred. He also ordered that all animals should be stolen, leaving nothing behind. ‘Not even a lamb’s ear should be left behind.’ And footprints (khura) should not be wasted. Khura should come directly to my place. He was big zamindar and his animals were many. It was in the thousands. The thieves did as instructed: they demolished the wall and put gags on all the servants. Under the order of my father after slaughtering the female babies of the buffalos, these be distributed in the village. The victim engaged his village’s khojis to find out about the theft. This was an easy task, as the footprints were obvious. When his waher (khojis and others, walking in a group while tracking thieves) reached the Pathan zamindar, he humiliated them by forcing them to wait outside in the summer heat. Now the zamindar walked with the waher, which was a big group of influential people. My father was informed that the waher approached the village. We are Pathan and naturally hospitable and deggs (big cauldrons of food) were prepared. When the waher reached the corner of the village, my father sat under the hand pump in the courtyard of the house, taking a bath, while the waher’s thousands of people were standing under the blistering sun outside. They sent a message informing him that influential people were standing outside. And another. When he received a third message, which emphasized that ‘we are standing in the hot sunshine’, my father responded, ‘I cannot come immediately, because I am taking a bath’. When he finally came out, he scolded the servants because they had not provided the guests charpais to sit on; the servants knew that this scolding was a part of the plan. The gate was opened and the charpais laid. My father ordered the whole of the waher provided with food and milk. In older times, a glass of milk was an important part of the meals. My father sold all the mal and rest of it was slaughtered and served to the zamindar and his company. When the food was served, the zamindar noticed some of his ‘stolen animals’ and he even called them by name, saying ‘this is my Kali and this is my so and so …’. My father said, ‘We are mud wall-makers. How could we bring the mal of a big zamindar?’ After that day, this has become like a model. Cattle rustling, individualism and relational collectivism With the following example of cattle theft, the interaction of the two systems of justice – individualist and relational-collectivist – can be understood. The central element is the negotiating process, or rather processes, some of which are changing. Cattle theft is an old profession, a crime protected by the better-off. As it takes place with the support of influentials, cattle recovery requires the involvement of chors, khojis, and rassaghirs (a

114  Rubya Mehdi specific class of intermediary that negotiates the disposition for stolen cattle, either to distant markets or back to their owner). Here, briefly, is the whole procedure when the cattle theft takes place. First, the theft is reported to the khojis. Animal tracks (khura) are preserved until the khoji arrives. The khoji and his waher begin to track, continuing until the khura seem to disappear. At this point, the burden of proof is on the inhabitants of the nearest house. If they cannot explain why the khura stop there or show where the khura have gone (khura tore kay dakihaye), then they will become the prime suspects. Usually, the footprints lead to the cattle shed of a rassaghir. After the location of the stolen animals is identified by the khojis, the next step is maddi: the recovery of the goods. Thieves have the option of taking their contraband to rassaghirs, who have extended professional networks for cattle disposal and marketing, thus allowing chors to specialize in thievery. Rassaghirs are known to be found by the riverside. Traditionally, this is because the nearest markets where stolen cattle could safely be sold were on the other side of the river. People who live near the riverbanks are renowned for stealing. In older times, people living near the riverbank were rich, for two reasons: they had easy access to water for irrigation, and the river was a source of trade-transportation. But, with the passage of time, irrigation systems and other methods of trade-transportation developed. The people living near the river became poor and got involved in stealing. Now, stolen goods exchanged on both sides of the river. A chor told us, We have a meeting point, usually by the riverbank; this place usually is one or two miles away from the place of the theft, where we change our clothes. As soon as we are ready, we put the stolen goods on a motorcycle, or on horses or camels. Backed by influentials, cattle reach the commercial market in this way; alternatively, their return can be negotiated in a panchayat. Therefore, rassaghirs commonly negotiate over details within and between two possibilities: return of the original (sugwan) and return of an alternative (wagwan). How the broker responded in these situations depended heavily, of course, both on the strength of the evidence that the panchayat had gathered against him (either through tracking or through statements of witnesses linking him to the actual thieves), and on the relative wealth and social standing of the parties involved. (Gilmartin 2003, p. 41) The rassagirs offer their negotiating services in exchange for a proposed fee (bhunga) and, if the owner agrees to pay, the goods are often quickly recovered.

Thieves and khojis  115 Gilmartin (2003) draws attention to the situation where powerful thieves sometimes ended in keeping both bhunga and cattle, ignoring their promises to return. In this type of situation, the police become involved through the registration of a ‘flexible case’ (which could be adjustable later). The potential of police action works as a pressure during the negotiation period with the rassaghirs. In their separate investigation, the police often consult with the khoji about his earlier findings and evidence. Thus, khoji sometimes interact with the state system of justice. The work of a khoji is conducted both in co-operation with a panchayat or independently of it. However, many small and uncomplicated issues can be settled immediately after a khoji’s investigation, without the need to present the case before a panchayat. Sometimes, however, a panchayat initiates the investigation. Khojis are called upon by the panchayats and their investigation input is expected to provide information that will help to find a thief. In these cases, the liaison between the offender and victim begins when a panchayat facilitates negotiations or even demands that negotiations commence. Influential villagers are usually not directly involved in cattle rustling, but they can shape the outcome of a case through their influence and leadership in the panchayat. Recall that temporary panchayats can be assembled for specific purposes; cattle thievery is one such purpose, and influential people can have a big impact on who is selected to sit in such panchayats and thus on the final dispensation of the case. One aspect of these negotiations involves compensation for the thieves. As indicated in the above narrative, village society acknowledges that the thieves have worked. They have spent time, energy and resources, and therefore must be paid. Thus, negotiations to balance the hierarchal power that must be maintained and balanced throughout. Panchayat, khojis and chors work on the two levels within the well-knitted hierarchal cultural, social and economic background. On the one hand, they are hired by the powerful and, on the other, they are concerned for the lower strata in the village-hierarchy. Khojis: trackers of thieves Khojis track both housebreakers and cattle rustlers. They play a crucial role in finding culprits, specifically in the cases of theft where the offenders can be traced with the help of their footprints (khura) and other physical means. In case of cattle theft, cattle tracks also are traced. The art is handed down from generation to generation within khoji families. In addition to generational knowledge, an individual khoji’s age and experience are also important. In the traditional investigation system, a culprit’s khura are an important piece of evidence. In response to an incident of theft, both the accuser and the accused might seek the services of khojis; with the latter seeking to prove his innocence. Some khojis are so skilled in their profession that they are said to be able to track footprints even in a fair (mela) where many people are gathered.

116  Rubya Mehdi Since the use of this technique is well-known, victims of theft are careful to preserve all relevant footprints, ensuring that they do not disappear with wind by covering them with a big, round tray (thal). Khojis are trained to distinguish between several different gaits, or styles or modes of walking (chaal/tore). They understand that some people put stress on one side of their foot while others put stress on the other side; some have short toes and others long. Even if the thief changes shoes ten times, the khoji can detect that the basic chaal has not changed. Many thieves are caught because of this analysis. Khura are most easily traced on dirt roads (kachi zameen). The footprints are not very clear if the earth is hard, but khoji can perform chaal analysis even on blurry prints. They can even track khura by lamplight or moonlight. Starting from the place where the crime occurred, khojis trace the footprints as far as they can, even if they extend for kilometres. Sometimes, the tracking task is difficult, for example, when the thieves followed a heavily used trail. In these situations, two khojis are engaged for the task. Walking barefooted is very common in the villages of southern Punjab. It is usual to see villagers put their shoes on their head so that when they reach their destination, they can wear clean shoes. This preference makes the life of the khoji a bit easier, because the most easily recognized footprints are those bare feet. According to khoji Amin Sabir: While it can be difficult to find the footprints made by a shoe, it takes only seconds to find and trace the barefooted marks or prints. We can see each and every detail in the tracing of a footprint, including the lines and other things left printed or marked. When a person walks, we look at his feet and if it’s a barefooted (bagair jutti) print, then we find it out very soon. The thieves who do not commit barefooted thefts are tracked by their gait (chaal). As with fingerprints and faces, no two people have the same footprint, although some closely resemble others. Differences can be recognized by experienced khojis. Amin Sabir khoji explained that where the footprints resemble those of two different people, they would perform counter-checks: Well, I give you the example that the footprint stands matched with the footprint, as the face resembles the face. In such situations the thief cannot be declared with certainty (honda nai chor), even if the thief and even his gait and everything resembles what we see in the khura and chaal. We still have to ask where he was at the time crime had taken place. If he has a solid alibi, then he was not the thief. Khoji can also tell the weight and height of the thief through their footprints. They can track whether the shoes a thief was wearing were too big

Thieves and khojis  117 or too small for his feet. From the chaal, weight, height can be determined and, eventually, the perpetrator found. Amin Sabir explains: After seeing a footprint, we can also tell the weight as well as height of the person. We can tell whether he is five feet or five and half. We can guess from the placement of his feet on the ground that the person is short, even if he is wearing big shoes. His gait is that of a short person. Similarly, a person who is taller and yet wearing a small shoe will have footprints that dig into the land, like the hoof of a horse. Footprints also indicate how much weight a thief had been bearing. An interlocutor explained how khoji could clearly differentiate between human weight and weight being borne: Someone stole a very heavy pipe from a garden. The khoji, after seeing into the footprints, said that this khura is of the thief as there is the symbol of having the weight over him. Well, they followed that khura’s trail across a field and through a passage made for water. There, he saw that the footprint was without the weight and suggested that we so look around. We found the pipe in another passage of the same field. Therefore, there were footprints with the weight and without the weight. Khojis understand that, in the village hierarchy, people are divided according to their occupation. Their special insight is that, by performing the occupation through generations affects the whole body language, including chaal. For example, a servant has a more humble walking mode in comparison to a proud zamindar, and the chaal of members of other occupations have similarly unique features. We learnt from Amin Sabir that chaal can also show the caste of a person: The caste (monhi, nasal) of the person counted, and it is said that khojis used to trace and find out the criminals by their caste (monhi). How could they capture them by that? Well, they used to be the children of the same father and grandfather, and had the same mother, sister, aunts, uncles and cousins whether maternal or paternal. Therefore, they had the same gait (tore). However, where the out-of-family marriages take place and the wives are from other families, it brings a great change in the gait (chaal, tore) of their children. (Amin Sabir) Muhammad Khalid added: Well, occupation does change half of the gait but not the whole of it. The gait becomes a mixture of somewhat paternal and somewhat maternal. Maternal and paternal changes and mixing have brought great differences.

118  Rubya Mehdi Further, khojis can differentiate between a man and women’s footprint. Amin Sabir explained it like this: Well, a woman’s gait has no lifting of the out front (wahr ni patdi), which means she places her foot very softly and does not lift the forepart of her foot (pub). If it’s straight, then it will be in the straight line and if it moves and comes from the side then it will be like moving from the sidewards to inwards. Whether she is walking fast or even slowly, she will not lift her paw. A woman’s paw does not work more than the back part of her foot (addi) and she presses more her forepart. Finally, khoji must have good memories. One narrated a story where an offender’s footprints were recalled and recognized after 20 years. I have told you about the already seen and remembered and the newly first time seen (hafza te nazra) footprints, which remain in our memory. A previously encountered footprint is called hafza and a new one is nazra. This power of memory spans space as well as time: I look into the khura. I am well acquainted (dithay oey) with all these thieves and know them by the area to which that very thief belongs. One is from Nawabpur while another may be from Muzaffargarh. The one from this area is sent to other area and the one from that area is called to this area (iddu da udday te uddu da idday sadd lia) to commit theft. We know of their footprints. (khojis Hafiz Muhammad Ameer. Pul Arroka, Mouza Taandla and Multan all corroborated this account) Difference between experienced and inexperienced thieves One khoji said that it is common that khoji are familiar with the thieves and they can recognize if the theft has been committed with precision and expertise. Thus, the difference between experienced and inexperienced thieves is recognized. However – and fully unsurprising in a relational-collective context – thieves are aware of khoji techniques and employ counter-techniques by trying their best to find all possible ways to wash or hide their footprints and change their chaal. Chor Jamal elaborated: Thieves wrap pieces of cloth around their shoes or feet. They change their shoes. When they steal cattle, they also wrap the hooves of cattle, as the khoji can trace the footprints of cattle as well. And, thieves are actors. As one said: We change not only shoes but also chaal while committing thievery. If our usual routine is to take long steps, then we take short steps while

Thieves and khojis  119 on the job. If usual walk is with wider steps, we will take narrow steps, so that when the khoji makes us walk, to it will be difficult for him to recognize us easily. After looking at the techniques of both the chors and khojis, we can conclude that both reflect the features of a collectivist system. In the next sections, their functioning on two levels is described in greater detail. Tracking is a social activity. The details of the process employed for detective purposes show that besides, the technical matters of the occupation, the work of a khoji is very much a social activity that is deeply embedded in relational-collectivist village life. As mentioned, the word waher is used to describe the group that forms to observe a khoji who is conducting an investigation. This group might be very vocal and articulate, and often includes the victims and their kin. If a mealtime falls while the waher passes in front of a house that everyone agrees has nothing to do with the crime, they may demand lunch from the inhabitants of that house. After khojis have identified and analysed the footprints, an identification walk is arranged where the usual suspects, sometimes as many as 10 or 20 well-known chor, are made to walk. The chors call their own khojis and all sit in a closed room so they cannot see the others while they walk. After each walk, the khojis look at the footprints and find the best match with the ones they have traced. A person thus held responsible for the theft cannot deny the match. A khoji explained: We make them walk barefooted on the soil (matti) or sand (rait) to get their footprints along with eight to ten other people gathered. We stand hidden, and the persons make a walk. Then, we come out, have a look over, and into their khura and chaal, and put a hand on the very person whose khura was is at the scene of the crime. How the khoji art is learnt The art of this male-dominated profession, like other professions of the village, is hereditary. It is taught within the family and expertise is transferred from one generation to the next, typically from father to son and beginning early in childhood. Families of well-respected khoji have the word suraghi appended as a surname, for example, Muhammad Amin Suraghi. To understand the learning of the profession, it is interesting to follow the story of Amin Sabir Suraghi from childhood to his first experience as an independent khoji. Learning in childhood was like a playing game: It has been very long since my learning. Well, I appeared in the class 7 exam, I left the school and later I was fond of agriculture, and then I set up a shop. Since then my father started telling me about this art. Well, it so happened that, as a childhood game, I used to make of my brothers and nephews to walk on earth (mitti) outside the room, while I

120  Rubya Mehdi stayed inside the room without looking at them. After they placed their footprints, they asked me to tell which footprint belonged to whom. Then I would also teach them the method and the ways to trace, recognize and follow the footprints. Yes, ever since my own son was a small boy, he has liked to be with me most of the time. So, of course, I took him with me when I was called to investigate a case. To follow a hereditary profession, respect for the teacher is crucial: Well, the occupation of this art came from our paternal family line, a few generations back. My grandfather was also a suraghi. He used a long piece of cloth to cover his head. He was so trusted that he was responsible for a specific area and, if any theft took place in his area, he was responsible to recover the stolen goods. After my grandfather, my father continued the occupation. Well, my father also used to trace the khura and would continue his investigation until the case was solved. Because of his success, our family is famous today, and that increased my already great affection for my father. When my father went to visit some other house or grazing place of cattle, I remember that when I was a little kid, I worried about my father while he was working, so I searched for him – and found him! – by tracing his khura. We had buffaloes and other animals, and I guessed that my father would be with them. So, I learned the khura of our animals. I didn’t go following the footprints of the other’s animals, but ours, and this is how I found the right direction to find my father. These are my childhood memories. At that time in the village, if someone’s grass [used for cattle feed] was cut and stolen, or someone’s little daughter left home and was missing, or someone’s wheat chaff was stolen, locals would say, ‘call Amin Sabir’. So I used to go and look over the footprints and in no time, I identified the thief. I said go get him. So, they had him and he accepted that yes he had stolen the remains of wheat. This is how things used to be. Amin Sabir described his first experience, when he was called to work as a khoji in a nearby village. That village’s khojis struggled to trace the khura, but Amin easily traced and identified the thieves’ footprints, hidden among the footprints of animals and sparrows. The experience in his words was like this: This is the very first occurrence I am telling you of my early days. A very dear friend approached me. He said that the local khoji couldn’t find the khura of a stolen bull, although he had been trying for eight days The owner of the bull asked my friend to fetch me, as they had heard ‘He is very clever and does not take long time to trace the footprints, so you go and bring him.’ At that time, the water well (reht) used to

Thieves and khojis  121 run, and bulls (daand, bail) did the ploughing (joggan). One day while I was ploughing when there came my friend’s son Rajab Ali Jhabail. He said to me, that father has sent me and today, the eighth day since the bull disappeared, and we are still unable to locate its footprint. I said, ‘listen to me I am not the one to trace the footprints. I am just an inexperienced person and plough into fields here, how would I know to find about the whereabouts of the thieves?’ He said no, father has sent me to bring you with me. He even took out the pin from the rope of the plough (hal) and said I will take you with me. He had a mare with him, and I rode her to their village. Well, I had hidden my face with the cloth because I felt shy how I could trace the footprints of the persons I did not know. Anyhow, we reached the place of occurrence. The footprint was towards a path where there was a little sand. Well, I found footprints of two persons, buried among the footprints of sheep and goats, and those of forest sparrows that dug holes in the ground with their jaws. I walked in that direction and ahead was a village. When I reached that village locality, I met two persons. As I had already identified the footprints, they confirmed the names of the thieves, took the horse, rode towards the animal-market, and asked the thieves not to sell the bull and bring it back. So, they brought back the bull. Amin Sabir’s very first case was greatly appreciated, and he also enjoyed the respect and hospitality shown to him after the matter was resolved. It became a source of encouragement for him to continue with the khoji occupation. Amin Sabir returned to the theme that investigation is a social activity in a village society: after a case is resolved, khojis usually are invited for a special meal. Now the bull’s owner and the unsuccessful investigators didn’t allow me to go back home, I told them I have animals to feed grass and water them and even have to get milk from. They told me ‘We have put grass and water before animals and obtained milk from the buffaloes and delivered the milk to your house. What else do you want?’ I said it’s all right, and so I stayed there with them and they slaughtered a big rooster and made me eat until I was overfull. After this first case, I thought that detective work is a very great job. I was very much appreciated. People said that the investigators could not find the footprints in eight days whereas Amin Sabir has done it in no time and found the bull as well. Hence, this was my first experience, a learning experience. Later, people never let me sit at rest. Amin Sabir explains in the following words that his traditional teacher taught not only some basic technical rules but also addressed moral and ethical matters regarding remuneration. From the ethical and moral matters described below, one can clearly notice the values of collectivism. The prevalent crucial value in a collective society is to help each other, and those

122  Rubya Mehdi who work to earn money only for themselves are not really appreciated. The moral code of a teacher has a strong impact on his students. Four other khojis spoke in similar ways, but the words reproduced here are those of Amin Sabir: My teacher used to have a big moustache and a big turban, and carried a stick in his hands. The first lesson he delivered was that I should not fix the fee with the client/victim. This was his first lesson: do not specify your fee. Secondly, he said that I ought to help the poor but it’s up to my will, whether or not to help the rich. Nonetheless, he advised never to refuse the poor. Thirdly, he advised that when you are just about to leave for work, start reciting Drood Sharif (words in praise of Prophet Muhammad) from your first step and finish it at your seventh step and blow around yourself (phukna [blow is symbolized to spread the effect of it]). Then he said by the Grace of God (Insha Allah) you will never return empty-handed and will succeed in your work. Fourthly, he pondered: if a person has only five hundreds and that too is stolen, and he comes to you and your fee is five hundreds, then how will he pay your fee? Nevertheless, he may return you when he can afford to do so. Therefore, after you have solved his case, take as sufficient compensation that he will offer many prayers for you, which will be an additional bonus for your coming life after death in the world of eternity. Whereas the landowner may pay you 50, 60 thousands or even one lakh, but that will finish in this world. While the poor come to you on motorcycle or bicycle, you must go on that if he comes first, and not the car, jeep or 2D. Well, in those times there were no such cars like 2D. Even the big landowner used horses, and cycles and motorcycles very rarely seen. Hence, my teacher has given me the lesson, therefore, whoever came to me, and I never refused to go with him because of money. In a comparatively small village, society moral rules are strictly observed. If any khoji is dishonest, he may lose the trust of the villagers. Nevertheless, at the same time, we have seen that thieves sometimes are commissioned to commit crimes. In the same way, khojis can be commissioned to ‘resolve’ them in specific ways. However, there may be two kinds of situations where khojis accept money in what others might consider to be an unethical manner. First, he might be paid to deflect attention from the actual thief. He might ‘misread’ the khura and pin a crime on a specific innocent person, or he might misread it in a more general way. Sometimes the payment takes a social form: he might corrupt his investigation because the offender is his friend. Muhammad Khalid in-between the lines is explaining the possibility where a khoji can be dishonest: After we have followed the footprint and determined that a particular person is the thief, we go to that person and say to him, ‘Uncle, there

Thieves and khojis  123 has been a theft and it seems that you have committed it.’ If he accepts that, yes, he has committed the theft, and then I invite the owner to recover his goods, but ask him to say nothing and not to register the case with the police. We say that is very kind of Uncle that he confessed freely when we asked him, so he should be released after the stolen goods are recovered. It’s not that he is my friend and he has committed theft so let him enjoy and go. I never said that and never it so happened in my life, and we never took a bribe from a thief. The second instance involves situations where a khoji may take money from both victim and offender. For example, khojis were once offered a large amount by thieves who had stolen some gold. The khojis refused the offer and described their contentment with their remuneration from the victim in these words: The victims had a young buffalo, which had just started to give milk; they asked me to take it as a reward for tracing and making the recovery of the gold. We still are taking the milk of that buffalo given by the owners, but we didn’t accept two-and-a-half lakhs from the thieves. That buffalo had a number of offspring and we have earned much more than that two-and-a-half lakhs. Women as chors and khojis This small section on women thieves and khojis needs more research. During fieldwork, I could see that women connected with khojis were concerned about the chaal of women, which I interpreted as meaning they have experienced thievery by women. In housebreaking theft, ‘insiders’ often provided critical information (suan) to the thief; that secret agent could easily be a woman. With reference to thieves, we have seen that, to get a good wife, thieves have to prove they are able to earn for their family. Therefore, to be married to a respectable class within the chor community, they have to demonstrate their professional skills. Demonstrated professional skills of course enhance marriageability regardless of profession. Moreover, we have seen that women family members of the thieves pray for successful theft. And any catastrophe resulting from a theft affects the whole family. But how does it feel to belong to a family headed by a thief? Do women themselves engage in thievery? These are important questions for a future research project.

Changing scenario of the villages Introduction to overall changes So-called ‘Indian villages’ are undergoing considerable changes. Globalization has challenged the agrarian social and economic structures that traditionally divided castes and classes in villages. Migration, travel and quick

124  Rubya Mehdi communication – in a word, globalization – have affected, well, everything. The onset of capitalization, including the building of roads connecting the villages with cities, have provided villagers with cash and with options. Fast means of communication, including television, mobile telephone and internet, broaden their horizons in real time. The mechanization of Pakistan’s agrarian economy has been nothing short of revolutionary. The tractor and other agricultural machinery replaced the manual agricultural and use of animals. The barter-system has almost vanished from the scene. Then, with globalization, both production and markets expanded, nationally and internationally. This is discernible in the daily life of rural areas that were known for their specific ‘fresh and pure food’ like milk and its products, and sag (green potherbs), and so on. Some products that had been available only in the villages now are marketed to the cities, leaving villagers dependent on city markets, where mechanized processes change the form and quality (such as packed milk). It has brought some benefits to the more disadvantaged groups, including women (Hassan 2020). The changes have affected the relational-collectivist way of life in village society and, meanwhile, an individualism known as modernity is taking place. Migration inside and outside the country has contributed to a transformation of the traditional hierarchical system: The higher in hierarchy biradaris may feel challenged by the changing power structure in the village. Members of traditionally poor communities like kammis (service providing castes) are becoming prosperous and even building brick houses. Sohail Warraich (2020), a writer and journalist, affirmed in an interview with me that villagers who continue to hold to their old traditional profession, such as barber, do not work unconditionally like in the past; they have become more discrete to choose their clients and demand more respect for their profession. In addition, new professions are opening up to members of these communities. All of this changes the landscape of the village. The caste and biradari system, continuity of which is built through marriages, is also shaken by the national and international migration; marriages join couples who are outside the traditional bounds of ‘appropriate marriage partner’. More and more often, marriage decisions are taken directly by the future spouses, rather than by their families. Young men and women all have mobile telephones and can easily communicate directly with each other, and tell their parents later (see also Hirsch et al. 2006). Dr Manzur Ejaz explained in an interview with me that during the past 40 years, transformation has ‘turned the society upside down’. This, he said, may also be the reason for widespread intolerance – a type of reaction against feelings of instability, and of uncertainty about one’s place in the society. Changes in panchayats Along with the change in the old institutions of clear-cut hierarchy, the institution of panchayat is also changing rapidly. Panchayats were run

Thieves and khojis  125 with the influence of the village elders and landowners. Chors and khojis were dependent on the elders and landowners who set the rules of a panchayat. However, landowners started losing their influence for many reasons (Chaudhary 1999; Lefebvre 1999), starting when the state stepped in with the Basic Democracies Act of 1959, which tried to ensure that people with few resources could solve their current problems among themselves (Chaudhary 1999, p. 107). But tipping the scale in favour of the former losers, of course, tipped it against the former winners, and the traditional panchayati system fought back (Ibid. p. 108). Since then, the effectiveness of the panchayats has decreased in the villages. Resistance by those placed advantageously in the traditional hierarchy has taken other forms as well. Heads of traditionally powerful families might use thieves to steal from newly made houses ‘to put them in their proper place’. The old tactics of power through harassment is not fully effective, though, as ‘new economic classes’ have sufficient resources to bend the state system of justice in their favour. Contact with and access to state-sanctioned courts has indeed increased, which has complicated the system of justice at the village level. Keeping in mind that the non-state system provides relief to the have-nots, the increase in interaction with the state system has adversely affected the poor in the villages. Moreover, with the deteriorating situation of law and order in the country, the official system of justice now interferes more with the traditional panchayat justice system. While the official system of justice has its own limitations. How will they develop now? This subject is begging for in-depth research. Challenges for khojis and chors Changes in broader social relationships are affecting the structural patterning of the khoji profession and the chor institution. The khoji profession is useful in the context of a collectivist society where all activities and interaction based on the norms of relational collectivism; reported on the gradual disappearance of the khoji profession from villages, especially those closely situated to the big cities. This decline is slowly reaching into remote rural areas. As we have seen, khoji expertise lies in finding the thieves through their footprints; the building of metaled roads that make footprints difficult to read. Similarly, an increasingly sedentary society has led to changes in walking gait (chaal) that khojis have had difficulty adjusting to. As is said in the wildly different context of high technology, among others, khoji seem to be faced with a choice: innovate or die. Khoji, a hereditary profession passed from generation to generation, is challenged by the young generation of marginalized communities. The new generation of khojis is not interested in acquiring the knowledge of their forebears’ profession because of its diminishing relevance in society.

126  Rubya Mehdi The old forms of theft are also changing rapidly in villages where, beside other resources, overseas migrants have replaced mud houses with more modern and impenetrable versions. The old expert ways of housebreaking (naqab) are losing their relevance. Chori (theft) is no longer a hereditary profession. Classical chors are vanishing from the scene; they do not have zamindar on their back to support them, as the zamindars themselves have lost their unlimited power. In a close-knit, collectivist society, everything was controlled: even the thieves were known, and their rightful place was acknowledged. That was a time when chor also had their words and promises. Now, the times have changed. Chors do not keep their promises. There is no honour among thieves. In these days, due to poverty, every man could be a chor. As our village host said, ‘Young people of all types might stop a person on the road to snatch a cell phone.’ Now it is more of a dacoit operation. Thieves come with a wagon and steal whatever they require.

Concluding comments In this chapter, I have covered a broad range of issues related to the crime of theft and its tracking in the non-state system of justice. The subject is complex: in practice, state and non-state system of justice cannot be separated; they interact. Each system has its pathologies and paradoxes. The state system of justice is built on the individualist norms of equality, non-biased, blind, and distinct above the social differences. When it comes to theft, relief to the poor is not readily available because of corruption in the state system of justice. The non-state system of justice is based on status rather than equality; group is more important than the individual (norms of relational collectivism), and social hierarchy is recognized as appropriate. During the British rule in India, in the example of cattle theft, the rules of ‘modern state’ were not fully applicable and, therefore, despite all efforts to change, the system continued. It is only because of social and economic changes that follow from globalization, that the institutional scenario in villages is changing more quickly than ever before. There are threats and challenges to the non-state system of justice and related institutions. Such challenges face the chors and khojis, whose experiences constitute the central theme of this chapter. The old village hierarchy is scattered; power structures are changed. Theft and responses to theft are greatly affected. The survival of the profession depends on finding new ways of tracking in accordance with the new situation. Changes in structure of the villages bring new challenges to the poor who continue to live under non-state systems of justice. In cases of theft, the non-state system favours the poor because it is cheap and readily accessible. New circumstances have opened way to a state-controlled system of justice, which, paradoxically, harms the interests of the poor.

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Notes 1 A few castes and caste groups are identified with the profession of theft. Anastasia Piliavsky (2011, p. 293) mentions that Kanjars are ‘connected with all sorts of immoral, illicit, and illegal activities: distilling, drinking, and selling country liquor; stealing, selling, and eating goats, sheep, and prostitution.’ 2 Gathering place exclusively for men in a village; a dara can also be used for holding panchayat meetings.

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128  Rubya Mehdi Hoebel, E. Adamson (1965) ‘Fundamental cultural postulates and judicial lawmaking in Pakistan’. American Anthropologist, Special Publication. 67(6), pp. 43–56. Johnston E.H. (1936) ‘Cattle theft in the Arthaśāstra’. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1), pp. 79–83. Kidder, Robert L. (1973) ‘Courts and conflict in an Indian city: A study in legal impact’. Journal of Commonwealth Political Studies 11(2), pp. 121–139. Lefebvre, Alain (1990) ‘International labour migration from two Pakistani villages with different forms of agriculture’. Pakistan Development Review. 29(1), pp. 59–89. Lefebvre, Alain (1999) Kinship, Honour and Money in Rural Pakistan: Subsistence Economy and the Effects of Internal Migration. London: Curzon. Lyon, Stephen (2002) ‘Local arbitration and conflict deferment in Punjab, Pakistan’. Anthropologie 40(1), pp. 59–71. Mehdi, Rubya (2001) Gender and Property Law in Pakistan: Resources and Discourses. Copenhagen: DJØF Publishing. Mehdi, Rubya (2003) ‘Ægteskab, formue og medgift – Ret og sædvane i fire pakistanske landsbyer’. In Retlig Mangfoldighed - En fælles udfordring for retsvidenskab og antropologi. Jurist – og Økonomforbundets forlag. Mehdi, Rubya (2008) ´’Supernatural means to affect the outcome of family disputes in the courts: The case of Muslim Pakistanis in Denmark’. In Mehdi, Petersen and Sand (eds) Law and Religion in Multicultural Societies. Copenhagen: DJØF Publishing. Mehdi, Rubya (2017) ‘Lady judges of Pakistan: Embodying the changing living tradition of Islam. In Nadia Sonneveld and Monika Lindbekk (eds) Women Judges in the Muslim World A Comparative Study of Discourse and Practice. Leiden: Brill, pp. 237–258. Mendelsohn, Oliver (1981) ‘The pathology of the Indian legal system’. Modern Asian Studies, 15(4), pp. 823–863. Moore, Sally F. (1978) Law and social change: The semi-autonomous social field as an appropriate subject of study’. In S.F. Moore (ed.) Law as Process: An Anthropological Approach. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Moore, Erin (1985) Conflict and Compromise. Berkeley, California: Centre for South and Southeast Asia Studies, University of California. Passi. A (2005) ‘Perverted “Dharma”? Ethics of thievery in the “Dharmacaury Arasayana”’. Journal of Indian Philosophy 33(4), pp. 513–528. Piliavsky, Anastasia (2011) ‘A secret in the Oxford sense: Thieves and the rhetoric of mystification in western India Comparative Studies in Society and History 53(2), pp. 290–313. Pratten, David (2008) ‘“The thief eats his shame”: practice and power in Nigerian vigilantism. Africa: Journal of International African Institute 78(1), pp. 64–83. Rosen, Lawrence (1989) The Anthropology of Justice: Law and Culture in Islamic Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rosen, Lawrence (2006) Law as Culture. Princeton University Press. Princeton and Oxford. Rosen, Lawrence (2016) Two Arabs, a Barber, and a Jew: Entangled Lives in Morocco. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. Siddique, Osama (2013) Pakistan Experience with Formal Law: An Alien Justice. London: Cambridge University Press. Warraich, Sohail (2020) Interview conducted on Zoom.

7 Dilemmas facing civil society institutions in Pakistan A case for organized labour Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali

Civil society institutions (CSI)1 in Pakistan have faced many serious threats from the state. Even when formally allowed to exist, they have been harassed through bureaucratic red tape and bottlenecks. These threats reflect a more general shrinkage of democratic space in Pakistan. Hardest hit have been CSIs that are involved in broad advocacy work: expanding democratic traditions and principles and deepening international rights regimes in Pakistan. The incessant interventions by the state Establishment leads to major insecurities among the CSIs and impedes their pursuit of their vocational goals. We will be covering labour-oriented CSIs in greater detail throughout this chapter because in this overall oppressive context, they play a highly significant and critical role in pushing for participatory, democratic and egalitarian society. The history of CSIs is tied very closely with the different permutations in the history of Pakistan generally. It is a critical part of the country’s postcolonial institutional development, which has occurred in the midst of constantly changing governance patterns and paradoxically unchanging continuity of institutions of power and authority. While Pakistan has recently conducted its third consecutive on-time election and successful government transition, the democratic project overall remains precarious. CSIs generally play a critical role in consolidating both the ideas and institutions of democracy. It is clear that restrictions on CSIs are impeding Pakistan’s overall development. These restrictions pose serious obstacles in the way of realizing the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all 193 UN Member States,2 especially those relating to ending poverty and fighting inequality and injustice. Organized labour contributes to the achievement of these goals, as well as towards tackling the issue of climate change by 2030. General Zia-ul-Haq headed the most repressive regime (1977–1988) in Pakistan’s seven-decade history. During this period of absolute undemocratic politics, clothed in the unchallengeable Islamic sophistry of Zia’s martial law, massive volumes of foreign aid were flowing into Pakistan. During this period the country was never below the third-highest recipient of US aid, behind Israel and Egypt, and sometimes was the second highest. This gave unequivocal support to Zia’s draconian policies from sources generally

130  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali claiming and presumed to be the bastions of democracy. Ironically, some of the country’s most progressive, radical and longest-lasting CSIs emerged during this period. These, in their turn, produced highly differentiated CSIs which focussed on particular issues within their respective spheres of operations. The best example of this is the Women’s Action Forum (WAF), created in 1981 during Zia’s most repressive Islamization processes, which particularly targeted women, minorities and labour.3 WAF, in its turn, generated many highly respected and effective woman-focussed CSIs, such as the Aurat Foundation and Shirkat Gah. The internationally renowned and respected Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also has an association with WAF: Ms Asma Jahangir helped to found both organizations. The other significant example is the Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research (PILER). Although initially established in 1973 with the specific goal of educating labour leadership, PILER reconfigured itself into a major critical political instrument during Zia’s regime. It was generally acknowledged as one of the main instruments of resistance against all the non-democratic and Islamization policies and practices of that martial law. At the same time it was the only organization fighting Zia’s policies specifically against organized labour. Zia completely gutted the trade unions and introduced unprecedented levels of contract labour, all in violation of workers’ fundamental rights. This led to an unparalleled growth of the precarious workforce, which has continued ever since. A huge proportion of the workforce in the industrial and other manufacturing sectors in Pakistan now operated as if they were temporary construction workers with no rights or protections of hiring and firing. Workers could not form trade unions and were therefore unable to fight for any of their basic rights. The denationalization and privatization of industries, set into motion under Zia and completed under Nawaz Sharif’s first government (1990–1993), further jeopardized workers and their rights. The net result of this four decades later is that today less than 1 per cent of the workforce are part of organized labour, and even that is shrinking. PILER, in its turn, led to the generation of a number of critical labourbased CSIs, like the Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum, established in 1998; National Organisation for Working Communities (NOW Communities), founded in 2007; the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurants, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), finally established also in Pakistan in 2009, and the Workers Education and Research Organisation (WERO) established in 2010. The latter led the fight for the unionization of Lady Health Workers, as they are named in Pakistan, a group that had not been allowed to unionize as they were conveniently designated as ‘essential workers.’

The paradigm of the labour movement Under democratic dispensations, labour policies and industrial relations ordinances are expected to be based on the internationally accepted rights

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  131 regimes. They must be participatory, egalitarian and inclusive, and work especially for those from the most depressed classes. These principles are consistent with more general liberal, bourgeois, and utilitarian ideas about a democratic polity that ought to work toward ensuring the ‘greatest happiness’4 for the greatest number of people. It is, therefore, tragic that during Pakistan’s chequered seven-decade history, regularly punctuated with long military dictatorships and intermittent ‘democratic dispensations’, the state has undertaken few positive steps towards promoting goals that are essential to labour. It has constantly favoured markets, capital, and what is sometimes called the ‘one-percent’, including oligarchs, plutocrats, corporacrats and kleptocrats. Their highly restrictive industrial relations and labour policies have leaned towards oppressive and economically unjust governance, entirely without regard for international labour covenants, and entirely without fear of blow-back from within. In 1946, the amended Pakistan Resolution (of March 1940) strongly reiterated in its Preamble the reasons for the creation of Pakistan. Chief among them was that Hinduism, due to its caste system, is an obstacle to egalitarian human development. Through this Resolution, the Muslim League clearly asserted that the new state would do away with the caste system. In spite of this highly principled assertion of equality, independent Pakistan actually reinforced this social system through its feudal and colonialist practices. The system of jagirdari nizam (landlordism) perpetuates and enforces almost slave-like conditions for agricultural workers. However, such conditions are also imposed upon industrial workers through various labour policies and especially the Industrial Relations Ordinances (IROs) which then act as the tools for the implementation of such policies. All in all, the Pakistan Establishment has devised labour policies and laws that provide little recognition of workers as free citizens. The concept of human equality is absent at all levels. Land reforms are critical for the eradication of this jagirdari nizam, and must therefore be seen as an essential part of any proper labour policy and associated IROs. Pakistan has gone through six major labour policies: 1955, 1959, 1969, 1972, 2002 and 2017. The last is fundamentally a provincial one, so far enacted only by Sindh. Pakistan also prepared an additional five draft labour policies that were never implemented. Both the policies and the drafts were garbed in the high rhetoric of ‘labour rights’ to cover up the brutal nakedness of the state vis-à-vis any egalitarian fairness, enhancement of democracy and implementation of rights regimes, especially as related to economic justice for labour. The high rhetoric in the policies was seldom, if ever, accompanied by the legislative and administrative efforts needed to pursue it in practice. The first labour policy of 1955, like all five policies that followed, contained solemn pledges and assurances of full compliance with the principles laid down in the ILO Conventions. However, the concrete labour laws then promulgated – whether by military dictators or ‘elected governments’ – continually negated labour rights and human rights. Each and every state

132  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali institution, including the ministry, the directorate, inspectorates, labour courts, welfare institutions, the National Industrial Relations Commission and the Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI), is well recognized for inefficiency, self-seeking and internal corruption. They are unwilling and incapable of providing reliable data, even on matters that fall directly under their jurisdiction. In fact, military dictatorships and ‘elected governments’ have held very similar views and positions on labour policy and industrial relations. This reveals a deeply embedded malaise: the Establishment’s prevalent and continuing colonial mindset vis-à-vis the labouring classes, even after seven decades of independence. British colonial administration in the sub-continent was inconsistent, incoherent and haphazard. Nonetheless, the principles, goals and ideals were quite clear: theirs was an exercise in subjugation and exploitation. The formal subjugation of all ‘Indians’ furthered the fundamental colonial interest in the complete subjugation of labour and the labouring classes; its main concern was transferring the products of this labour to the privileged few. They therefore kept the workers exclusively at the level of subjects without entitlement to fundamental citizen rights, never mind labour rights regimes as they were discussed and implemented in the colonialists’ home country. Even when they were forced to give certain concessions in the face of growing resistance and protest, the subjugation premise itself was never altered and is still in place in post-independence Pakistan today. It is interesting to note that as late as 1943, when the Governor-General of India was asked whether workers should be entitled to organize protests, he went so far as to say that: ‘at this stage in the evolution of trade unions it will be premature, indeed dangerous’ (quoted in Ali 2009). That he could state this even 17 years after the Indian Trade Union Act of 1926 is appalling. And yet, seven decades later, this attitude towards labour remains unchanged and is clearly manifested in the denial of the rights of association and collective bargaining to most workers in different labouring categories, including 44 per cent of the workforce, agriculture workers, who since colonial days have never had the right to unionize until the recently implemented labour policy in Sindh of 2018.

Historical ideological context From its founding, Pakistan was conceived as a liberal utilitarian democratic state, established to promote the rights of the Muslim minority of colonial India. Despite what is now often claimed, especially post-Zia, Pakistan was not created for the sake of Islam per se, as that would have violated the comprehensive universal notion of ummah, so critical for Islamic theology and political theory. Rather, Pakistan was the first modern nationstate to be created based on a religious identity, for a Muslim minority that felt insecure about being governed by an overwhelming Hindu ruling majority.5 So, the issues of rights and democracy were the central raison d’être for Pakistan’s foundation. As the first postcolonial nation state, it was

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  133 a product of the emerging human rights regimes constructed in response to the horrors of European war crimes during World War II, which clearly had religious and cultural overtones particularly in the killing of over 6 million Jews by the Nazi German European state. Pakistan was created against this backdrop, and this context motivated its initial leaders to frame its creation in the context of a clear mandate of human rights order and an expansive understanding of democracy. Such a democracy is based not simply on a flat numerical majority, but with an emphasis on minority rights and, through this, an expansion of the notion of democracy itself. On the occasion of his presidential address to the All India Muslim League gathering in Delhi on 24 April 1943, Pakistan’s future founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, said: Here I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked, and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. … There are millions and millions of our people who hardly get one meal a day. Is this civilisation? Is this the aim of Pakistan? Do you visualise that millions have been exploited and cannot get one meal a day? If that is the idea of Pakistan, I would not have it. If they are wise they will have to adjust themselves to the new modern conditions of life. If they do not, God help them, we shall not help them. The minorities are entitled to get a definite assurance or to ask, ‘Where do we stand in the Pakistan you visualize?’6 Paradoxically, attempts to restrict and shrink Pakistan’s democratic space and its institutional foundations for promoting fundamental rights began very early in its history. This was accomplished by a combination of the existing ruling bureaucracy and military institutions, which were inherited intact from the colonial setup, and the existing feudal oligarchies, which exerted their special privileged positions above the egalitarian democratic fray and the emerging rights regimes. Added to this mix was the religious, emotive, coercive power of Islamic groups. Religion was used to undermine democratic and rights regimes quite early, asserting religious normatives into the general political discourse in Pakistan. This was especially critical as, initially, some Muslim religious leaders were dead set against the formation of a nation-state based on an Islamic identity, as they believed that this would violate some of the central tenets of Islam itself. The Establishment is quite authoritarian under the guise of national security, and very consciously violates the normative intent behind the founding of Pakistan. Pakistan’s military dictatorships, all of which had US backing, were always against labour, workers’ benefits and structured labour organizations, because of the potential of these movements developing into broader demands for socialist policies. Though these concerns apparently had domestic motivations, they were fueled almost exclusively by the global

134  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali war against communism that was being waged by Pakistan Army’s largest benefactor. There is therefore a clear and deep correlation between military dictatorship and the status of workers and their organized expressions. Each subsequent military rule further depressed the conditions for workers and the poor, as well as their ability to organize. A.R. Khan (1967, pp. 317–347) shows that during General Ayub Khan’s self-celebrated ‘Decade of Development’ between 1958 and 1968 (also the country’s first military dictatorship) the real income of workers declined by 50 per cent and labour organizational structures weakened by between 50 and 55 per cent. Christopher Candland rightly notes that, Before Pakistan’s creation trade unionists were active in areas that were to become Pakistan; Muslim trade unionists were influential throughout British India; and, in areas that were to become Pakistan … the Pakistani labor movement developed significant social power soon after Independence. Within two decades, the labor movement was strong enough to successfully challenge authoritarian rule… The Pakistani government changed its colonial-era labor laws only after organized labor’s involvement in a successful movement to end martial law. … Trade unions subsequently proliferated under the successor democratically elected, economically populist government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but labor leaders were imprisoned and workers were met with unprecedented levels of state violence in the factory. General Zia ul-Haq repressed workers and trade unions for more than a decade. Trade union membership actually dropped 20 percent under the General’s rule. Through each of these phases of authoritarian political rule, Pakistani military and civilian political regimes did not seek to incorporate organized labor, bureaucratically or politically. Instead, Pakistani authoritarianism sought to prohibit and limit labor organizing, to exclude organized labor from politics, and to decentralize labor organizationally. (Candland 2007, pp. 35–36) These reductions engendered a deep malaise for workers and led to further declines in social security, health, workers’ safety and protection, retirement benefits, and other aspects of human security – as well as a decline in the right to struggle for them. It also had an expanding effect on society in general. It is therefore essential for the labour movement to remain deeply committed to claiming the international and constitutional norms and rights regimes.

Labour policies under different regimes In his role as president of the All India Postal Staff Union (elected to this position in 1925), Muhammad Ali Jinnah had fought for and secured the passage of the India Trade Union Act of 1926 in the Indian Legislative

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  135 Assembly.7 This Act allowed almost universal freedom to form trade unions and bargain collectively. It continued to hold the force of law in Pakistan until it was repealed in 1959, just a year after General Ayub Khan imposed the country’s first military dictatorship. In so doing, Ayub Khan denied workers their fundamental rights. The pre-independence Industrial Disputes Act of 1947 was now replaced by the Industrial Disputes Ordinance of 1959, which drastically curtailed the right to collective bargaining and severely complicated the process of trade union formation. Further, workers in public utility services were classified as essential workers and therefore lost the right to strike; and employers were granted the right to hire and fire workers at will. In May 1969, during Pakistan’s second military dictatorship under General Yahya Khan, a critical tripartite national conference on labour was held, with representatives of labour, employers and the government. Two months later in July, Air Marshal (Retd) Nur Khan, the labour minister, announced a major new labour policy.8 At the time, the policy was warmly welcomed, as it honoured the major ILO conventions and other normative bases of labour rights. It promised the creation of an overall environment in which employers and workers could achieve greater productivity through meaningful collaboration. It assured freedom of association for all workers and stressed specific measures concerning trade unions, conciliation and arbitration, settlement of disputes, industrial relations, collective bargaining in the public sector, minimum wages, workers’ welfare fund, workers’ housing, and occupational health and safety. However, it must be noted that it also broadened the prohibition on strikes to include the entire public sector. The policy was especially important because of its harsh critique of employers and the government for their attitude towards the workers. It candidly recognized the negative attitudes prevalent towards associations that engaged with employers and the government on labour rights issues. It noted that: [T]he employers have looked upon trade unions as instruments rather than an institution through which mutual give and take can lead to peaceful resolution of conflict … They have therefore used all sorts of unfair means to inhibit the growth of trade unions… [T]he government itself is too conscious of the need to keep the production going regardless of the human and social costs involved and in many cases prohibited the expression of industrial conflict rather than trying to resolve it. It is obvious that just as in national life, the government failed to appreciate the importance of political process. So also in industrial relations it has not realized that conflicts cannot be resolved by their suppression; they can only be resolved through a process of mutual give and take which is only possible through strong trade union institution particularly in labour surplus economies where otherwise the individual worker is in a weak bargaining position in relation to the employers. (Government of Pakistan 1969, p. 3; emphasis added)

136  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali Although the policy openly acknowledged and critiqued the wrongs done against the workers by the employers and the government, this attitude radically changed when it came time to drafting the relevant IRO and laws for the implementation of this policy. Some four months later, the Industrial Relations Ordinance (IRO 1969) failed to address some of the basic problems articulated so penetratingly in the policy document. As usual, agricultural workers were excluded; in the end, only 10 per cent of the workforce was affected. Further, though the number of registered trade unions surged from 1,500 to 8,600 soon after its promulgation, this is not as positive and democratic as it appears. It was rather a product of multiple trade unions competing to represent workers within a particular workplace, a divisive dynamic that diluted the negotiating powers of the competing unions. Because of the multiplicity of trade unions within a given enterprise, union federations were also restricted at that enterprise level. Larger union federations across the sectors, which might have facilitated the development of larger networks, greater solidarity, and more effective bargaining power, continued to be banned. IRO 1969 was mandated to create legal, operational mechanisms through which the principles enunciated in Nur Khan’s policy could be implemented. It did not live up to this mandate; it did not even try. Instead, it drafted a long list of exclusions from organization and bargaining rights of workers, and left agricultural workers – 40 per cent of the labour force at the time – completely out in the cold. Similar limitations plagued the IRO implemented in 2002. The Labour Protection Policy and Labour Inspection Policy of 2006 met the same fate. Even worse, the Industrial Relations Act (2008) – a simple re-enactment of the restrictive IRO of 1969 – clearly displays this breach of trust even by an elected government. So, one finds remarkable continuity in policy making when dealing with the issues of labour rights and economic fairness, high sophistry and rhetoric by successive governments notwithstanding. The gap between the labour policies and the laws through which they are implemented lies in the two different authorships involved. Policies are made by legislative bodies whereas the law is made by bureaucrats who introduce regressive processes and the preservation of the status quo, as compared to the progressive ideas which get hammered out in the policy itself. This gap has been repeated over and over again throughout Pakistan’s history. The simple reason is that the elites would not allow the passage of any law that might harm their short-term self-interest, which is critical in determining what happens to the rights of workers and the industrial policies in Pakistan. It is therefore absolutely essential to have the full participation of the tripartite structures – labour, employers and government – especially in the drafting of the law, not just in the creation of the policy. Less than a week after the ruthless civil war in East Pakistan, 3–16 December 1971, General Yahya Khan9 handed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the presidency of the now-broken country.10 What is highly distressing is the fact that Bhutto simultaneously accepted the role of civilian chief martial law

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  137 administrator (CMLA). Bhutto held both these positions until 13 August 1973, when a new constitution was approved by the parliament and he became prime minister. Bhutto quickly demonstrated his support for labour and labourers. On 2 January 1972, just 12 days after assuming the mantle of leadership, Bhutto nationalized all major industries, which enhanced worker job security. Barely six weeks later, on 10 February, Bhutto announced a new labour policy that promised to increase workers’ rights and the power of trade unions. Then on 1 March, Bhutto announced land reforms limiting land ownership as well as government appropriation of over a million acres to be distributed to landless peasants. In his address to the nation on 10 February 1972, Bhutto announced a new labour policy which would ‘guarantee to workers their fundamental rights consistent with the requirements of industrial development of the State. I want to emphasize that this is only a first step towards the fulfilment of our pledge to the workers’ (Bhutto 1972, p. 43). Almost all of the critical issues that Bhutto had raised in this policy were implemented immediately, or steps were taken to do so. Even some of the promises made in this speech but not included on the policy list were implemented. For example, the foundations of the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) were laid at this time, though Bhutto did not establish the organization itself until 1976. In addition, Bhutto became the first head of state to inaugurate a housing scheme for workers. However, some critical issues were mentioned but not implemented. For example, Bhutto had promised that workers would be allowed to participate in local decision-making, including comprising 20 per cent of the membership of new factory-level management committees. He also promised to introduce a system of shop stewards at the lowest production level. Neither promise was kept. This was not always because of some shortcoming on the part of Bhutto and his government, which were many, but rather because he faced opposition from an unexpected source: existing trade union leaders who were keen to retain their relative power. Trade union and federation leaders at the time were outside the actual ground-level trade unions that operated in local factories. Rather, they controlled the union movement from the outside and with a firm grip. They personally submitted and followed up on grievance procedures and similar tasks for which they had been hired. They were therefore opposed to any decision-making at the local trade union level, whether by managers or by shop stewards, as this would diminish their own authority. They were thus deeply resentful of Bhutto’s government, for attempting to take away power from trade union and federation leadership, which they assumed was, in fact, taking power away from labour as such. In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq imposed a new military rule and, with the end of the first ‘democratic period’, all political and trade union activities were banned. The new military regime further deprived workers of their rights, and took away whatever gains had been made in Bhutto’s period,

138  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali as well as restricting strikes and lockouts and banning union activities in industrial and financial organizations including PIA, PTV (state TV), Security Printing Press and so on. After Zia’s death, neither Benazir Bhutto’s nor Nawaz Sharif’s ‘democratically elected’ civilian governments did much to improve matters. In 1999, after the imposition of yet another military rule, this time by General Pervez Musharraf, whatever little gains trade unions had made under the successive Bhutto and Sharif governments, were again severely curtailed. Nonetheless, a long-overdue tripartite gathering, organized primarily under the able leadership of Omar Asghar Khan11 and held on 30–31 July 2001, produced another highly positive consensus policy document covering all the core ILO conventions and international human rights regimes. However, before the associated IRO was to be announced, Omar Asghar Khan resigned from the government, deeply dissatisfied with Musharraf and his policies. As a result, IRO 2002, like its predecessors, was drafted exclusively by state bureaucrats and without consultation with the tripartite structure that had drafted the policy. The military regime introduced IRO 2002 without any consent of the trade union movement. Like its predecessors, IRO 2002 shows scant resemblance to its underlying policy document, and actually restricted the possibilities for unionization itself. For instance, unions were not allowed to organize in any workplace with fewer than 20 workers. Workers were also denied the right to get a stay-order from the National Industrial Relations Commission. The right to hire and fire was once again placed firmly in the hands of employers. The labour courts’ right to reinstate a terminated worker was also denied. The IRO 2002 was designed to secure the interests of the employers and not the workers, and, for the first time, all possibility of imprisoning employers as a result of their labour practices was abolished, no matter how high-handed their behaviour towards their workers. This, among other historical and political circumstances, has left the trade union movement totally devastated and almost denuded of membership. As mentioned, unionized workers comprise barely 1 per cent of the labour force, while conversely there is an unimpeded growth of what is now called precarious work. In this context it must be stated that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 1972 labour policy was arguably the best in Pakistan’s 71-year history up until 2018. Future changes are likely to be seen at the provincial rather than national level, as the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified on 8 April 2010, devolved labour issues to the provincial level. The first such policy was promulgated by the Sindh government on 10 February 2018, the anniversary of Bhutto’s landmark 1972 policy. The Sindh policy appropriately expands labour rights and labour’s ability to organize representative negotiative structures, as well as making them more comprehensive with an inbuilt democratic implementation process, rather than one generated by fiat. While the 2002 Labour Policy was the first to be in theoretical compliance with the tripartite requirement of the ILO, it did not always have

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  139 the consensus support of the employers, employees and the state, especially the employees. Obviously, it was conducted under the coercive structure of General Musharraf, Pakistan’s fourth military dictator, who touted it as fully a product of tripartite consensus for purely foreign consumption. The Sindh policy was also approved by a tripartite consensus but under a ‘democratic dispensation’. Under the policy, various labour issues will be resolved by internal, democratically elected administrative committees whose make-up will be 40 per cent labour, 40 per cent employers, and 20 per cent state representatives. In addition to other critical new elements, this is one of the unique contributions of this policy. The hope is that the welldrafted Sindh Provincial Labour Policy of 2018 will soon lead to similar policies in Punjab, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Future trajectories of labour policies and implementing laws It is obvious that Pakistan must at the very least ensure that the international labour covenants, which it has not only signed but also ratified, are fully implemented. These covenants should provide the parameters for all future policies and laws enacted in the country on industrial relations and labour rights. This means that at the very minimum, employers must recognize, without reservation – and the state should ensure that this is legally implemented – the basic rights of workers as defined by the universally acknowledged minimum labour standards as embodied in the eight core conventions of the ILO:12 1. Convention 29 on Forced Labour (1930); 2. Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to Organize (1948); 3. Convention 98 on the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (1949); 4. Convention 100 on Equal Remuneration (the right to equal pay) (1951); 5. Convention 105 on Abolition of Forced Labour (1957); 6. Convention 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupations) (1958); 7. Convention 138 on the Minimum Age of Employment (1973); and 8. Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (1999). Since Pakistan is a signatory to all of these core ILO conventions, it is therefore under national and international obligations to guarantee these labour rights in setting up labour policies and making laws for their implementation. In the absence of such compliance, Pakistan’s exports are at risk of both official international sanctions and CSI-led consumer boycotts in the countries that import them. Given Pakistan’s dependence on exports as one of the major vehicles for economic recovery, it can hardly afford to be vulnerable to outside coercion in these areas. For example, Pakistan profits tremendously from opportunities provided under the European Union’s (EU) ‘Generalized Scheme of Preferences’ (GSP) programme, which allows

140  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali developing countries to pay fewer or no duties on their exports to the EU, thus contributing to their economic growth by giving them vital access to EU markets. Pakistan was granted the GSP+ facility on 1 January 2014, which allows almost 20 per cent of Pakistani exports to enter the EU market at zero tariff and 70 per cent at preferential rates. However, the GSP+ facility is conditional upon mandatory compliance with 27 international conventions/covenants. Of these, • Ten deal with hard international human rights issues and good governance conventions such as CEDAW and various anti-discrimination regimes; • Eight are the core ILO conventions on labour rights; and • Nine are related to international environmental regimes. While determinations regarding compliance are political as much as factbased, one could reasonably argue that Pakistan is not compliant with any of these conventions. Labour rights issues thus have to be seen in a larger human rights context. For example, the two most critical ILO Conventions (namely No. 87, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize; and No. 98, the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining) clearly have human rights and democratic implications. Therefore, access to critically important foreign markets at preferential rates depends upon the meaningful implementation of laws related to labour rights, work security, and egalitarian and just economic remuneration. The lack of implementing them will seriously undermine the economic interests of the employers, even more critically of the state and its governance processes, because of Pakistan’s full involvement in the GSP+. Non-compliance for the first time poses serious economic consequences for the nation itself, and for employers, which means that now these two elements of the tripartite relationship will face deep economic consequences if just policies are not developed, followed and implemented vis-à-vis labour, the third element of this relationship. Traditionally, ‘precarious work’ was informally defined as any sort of non-standard employment, implying that it was poorly paid, insecure, unprotected, and could barely support a household. In recent decades, however, there has been such a dramatic increase in precarious workers that it is now generating an economy that demands ‘flexibility’ even in formal workplaces. In this context, the demand is that the workers show flexibility, not the workplace. This constitutes a threat to all standard employment relationships. Precarious work, with its in-built ambiguity, volatility, lack of longevity and unsafe working conditions, is so widespread that it now can be considered ‘the norm’, which seriously lowers every indicator of workers’ well-being, as well as their rights, and undermines a full century of institutionalization of workers’ rights. Workers’ rights began to be put into place from 1918 and especially in the three or more decades following World War II with the emergence of the post-colonial states in Asia and Africa. Now,

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  141 even the IMF, rarely seen as a friend of labour, is concerned. On 2 October 2008, IMF General Secretary Marcello Malentacchi said that many workers have no right even to join a union, let alone to bargain collectively with their employer. Some are formally excluded because basic rights are denied in law. Others have rights on paper, but no rights in fact because laws are not enforced. And others are too afraid to exercise their rights because they could lose their jobs at any minute … much … needs to be done to recognise how precarious workers are being denied their fundamental labour rights … Stable employment and good jobs are being eroded at a frightening rate. In fact, what we used to call atypical work is fast becoming typical. (speech delivered at the ILO headquarters) Pakistan is heavily plagued by all elements of this devastating disease, and it is only expanding. Entire sectors of the economy have almost totally shifted to precarious jobs through outsourcing, use of employment agencies, and inappropriate classification of workers as ‘short-term’ or ‘independent contractors’; few permanent and secure positions remain. The impact of this on the workers is quite debilitating, as they are automatically denied permanent employee rights, which force them to accept lower wages and ever more dangerous working conditions. They rarely receive social benefits, and the rights that we took for granted until recently are also denied, even the right to join a union. Where they do have the right to unionize, workers are afraid to organize; they know they are easily replaceable. A critical aspect of precarious work is that its highest impact is on the most vulnerable employees; women, minorities and migrant workers are much more likely to fill these kinds of jobs and are over-represented in them. The garment industry is among the most deeply affected by contract and precarious work. In this industry alone, 15 million precarious workers are attached to cotton production and garment manufacturing. None are unionized. All are vulnerable. There is a clear need to establish an effective network of garment workers, so they can organize a collective struggle for the right to unionize. In undivided India, more than 60 per cent of unions served employees in the State and Public Sector. These unions were relatively stable, because unionization in the private sector had always been a more difficult process. However, Pakistan’s public-sector unions have suffered especially devastating reductions over the last few decades. Health workers, port workers and others have been entirely stripped of their right to form unions, while others, not least railway, airlines, postal workers, have had their unions almost completely destroyed. It is now an established economic fact that economic growth is by no means the surest way to combat poverty. While some economies have grown very rapidly, they have failed to convert that wealth into social well-being. This is clearly the case with Pakistan, where ever-expanding economic

142  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali growth is anticipated to continue at a rapid rate, but it currently sits at 147 on the Human Development Index. Other economies have grown less rapidly but provided more opportunity for people to escape poverty. So, there is a clear difference between economic growth and economic development. Pakistan’s economic growth actually benefits the very elite, without any development of the society as a whole; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The question of how economic growth can be transformed into general well-being – to health, education, literacy and employment – needs more attention. Trade unions have historically been one of the major protagonists of general well-being. With the huge growth in precarious work and its concomitant destruction of trade unions and organized labour, Pakistan’s path toward social well-being becomes that much harder to navigate. All in all, there is an urgent need to re-establish the overall rights of unionization and association formation, especially in nationalized industries that have a history of vibrant and vigorous unions, but which now have the sword of Damocles hanging over their head. We must revive and generate a contemporary version of the 1926 India Trade Union Act, and we need to start a movement capable of actively pushing Parliament towards progress on this historical and just rights issue. Among other issues, Parliament should require equal wages in a given workplace, and meaningful workplace safety mechanisms whose adequacy is transparently enforced through both bureaucratic and penal processes. Thus, an outline of the necessary steps to be undertaken to establish and expand the rights to form unions will include the removal of all the barriers and impediments that have been created since 1959.

Concluding remarks and challenges The role of labour (organized, contracted and precarious) as part of the civil society has to be analysed in general human rights and democratic terms. When these norms are put into abeyance or sidelined, the spirit of authoritarianism thrives. CSIs must be strengthened, so that they can open and expand democratic spaces, and challenge the authoritarian tendencies that now are in ascendence. Globally, even in well-established democratic states, there seems to be a growing preference for leaders who are willing to bend ethics, rules, norms and institutions to their will and for their own personal gain. Contemporary political undercurrents seem to be tugging societies toward a consolidation of plutocracy by whatever means necessary. Hence, one witnesses highly targeted pseudo-messaging and a revival of nationalistic xenophobia, the combination of which is at the root of violent confrontations around the world. This is apparent in the US and some of the oldest European democracies, where an unwaveringly hostile and intimidating attitude toward immigrants frequently reaches a fever pitch. Generating the politics of fear, hate and violence with a special focus on Muslim immigrants sometimes seems to be a prerequisite for political success. At the same time and for the same reasons, the space in which CSIs can

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  143 operate is shrinking, and that which remains is becoming more and more hostile. This is quite repressively the case in Pakistan. In Pakistan, successive military dictators committed treason as defined in the constitution,13 yet the Supreme Court remained silent. Together with a demonstrably pliant judiciary, the executive office wrenched away the rights, authority and responsibility of the legislature, which would have been where the people of Pakistan had the best opportunity to express their interests and concerns. The military dictators went further, by placing the constitution in abeyance and claiming that totally manipulated referendums provided some sort of ‘democratic’ legitimacy for their un-checkable authoritarian actions. They then went on to rewrite the constitution, invariably with clauses that, in turn, justified their treasonous acts and protected them from future prosecution, as well as inserting laws to protect themselves against the consequences for introducing major non-democratic draconian laws during their respective dictatorships. The CSIs, and especially labour, have been the sole source of the most rigorous challenges to these unconstitutional and treasonous acts of the military dictatorships, and therefore they have faced unprecedented wrath. It must be stated here that in spite of all these military dictatorships, state corruption, et al., there has been a continuing constant demand for the institutionalization of democratic norms in Pakistan. What is different right now is that the army has been able to carve out for itself a covert location under the umbrella of democracy. The army continues to exercise absolute power in a shockingly wide array of political spaces, including the absolute ability to consume a huge proportion of the nation’s wealth, but always without demonstrating overt or visible control. The CSIs are clearly and increasingly essential because the national budget is dedicated to the ever-expanding insatiable economic appetite of the army, and thus the CSIs fulfil some of the nation’s major service-infrastructure work that rightfully should be undertaken by the state. At present we have a two-part problem. On the one hand, the normative social ethics – at least the stated part of the usual norms, like human rights, democracy, freedoms of association, unionization, press, and speech, etc. – are no longer central to the political discourse or part of the reciprocal foreign aid and policy requirements of the West. This trend has grown since 11 September 2001, and the various exceptions generated against these norms under the cover of the ‘War on Terror’ has left a permanent moral deficit in the public international discourse. Further, under cover of this ‘threat’, some highly repressive practices, laws, and policies have been passed even in the well-established states of the West. Thus, there is a general shrinkage of space even under these ‘democratic civilian’ governance structures. Pakistan’s CSIs can no longer appeal to these states for support that would strengthen the democratic principles and the international rights regimes in Pakistan. On the other hand, Pakistan has been rather fortunate to have had two consecutive elected governments which served their full five-year terms, and recently held a third general election, with easy transitions of power. At

144  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali the same time, however, there has been an unparalleled growth in military control and an unprecedented growth in the depth and breadth of the mandate assumed by the country’s intelligence agencies. All this has generated a major shift in the character of the Establishment itself, which, now, hiding behind the cover of anti-terrorist paranoia, gets away with some very highhanded practices, policies, and judicial acts, especially vis-à-vis the CSIs. The political parties actually elected for these governance processes have no choice but to kowtow to this Establishment; otherwise, they would face the overt wrath of the military and the agencies, highly negative propaganda through the media, and more subtly administered wrath under the cover of its judicial cohorts. Such a fate is meted out regularly to CSIs. Another contemporary challenge for the CSIs is internal and stems from the changing character of their leadership. Today CSI leaders are divided in an almost oppositional binary, between the old vocational commitments which generated these CSIs, and a professional group which is taking over the running as well as generating new CSIs, primarily on the criteria of ‘efficiency.’ Unfortunately, instead of struggling to find a modus vivendi that can accommodate both forms of leadership, practitioners of the one form compete for primacy over practitioners of the other. To put it starkly, the professional group sees the vocational people as being professionally incompetent – defining competence in terms of efficiency-oriented criteria, of course – and as mostly a spent force. Conversely, the vocational group looks at professional people as pretentious and money-grubbing. While the civil society institutions they work for provide them with good service jobs, very high salaries and many money-generating possibilities, these professionals often seem to have very little, to no, real commitment to the causes their CSIs claim to serve. They are, therefore, seen as undermining, if not totally destroying, the old, valuable and critically needed vocations that were the foundational reasons behind the formation of the CSIs in the first place. The irony is that this internal competition is weakening CSIs at exactly the time when the deep state, now under the guise of democratic governance, is posing the harshest-ever challenge to CSIs. Through an incredible array of legal and bureaucratic manoeuvres, the government severely restricts the abilities and freedoms of all civil society institutions, especially those that are deeply committed to issues of rights and democracy. It must be understood that the failure of democracy in Pakistan lies not only in the absence of democratic logic and the concomitant curbing of the rights of all citizenry but also in the apathy and complacency of those affected by its misuse, and those who show no solidarity with the mostharmed victims of this state. At present, only a few organized concerted solidarity networks raise their voices not only in advocacy of their own goals, but even more critically in support of all the victims of these exercises of illegitimate power. These networks are invariably adversely affected by the Establishment, irrespective of the nature of the government of the moment. Even so, as government practices have become more repressive, there has been a blossoming of CSIs that advocate for genuinely democratic governance.

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  145 Such a concept necessarily includes the extension of a central core of rights to the most marginalized and most victimized and entails a broad imagination for an egalitarian, just, participatory and sustainable human flourishing. This is clearly what took place under General Zia-ul-Haq, during whose rule the political space was more restricted and shrunken than at any other moment of Pakistan’s history. That this moment of CSI generation could occur during one of Pakistan’s darkest historical periods gives one hope and still provides paradigmatic vocational values for the future. Organized labour has played a special role in challenging these draconian dispensations throughout Pakistan’s history, even as it has been weakened and curbed at every point of its struggle. At times it may have seemed to be performing a Sisyphean act, but nonetheless it kept rolling the stone towards the summit even after many failures. Together with other CSIs, the labour movement also strove to undermine state structures that impeded the realization of goals related to democracy and rights. The CSIs, contrary to conventional wisdom, never lived above their ability to enhance and further the causes and practices of democracy, but rather shamed social stakeholders who lived well below their democratic capabilities and demanded that these stakeholders show solidarity and join the process of garnering redress for the victims of this history. They also demanded that the people exercise their vocations as citizens more vigorously and robustly. It is clear that CSI pursuit of this goal is most efficacious when CSIs are being vocational, not always when they are approaching these issues purely professionally. The extension and the inclusiveness of rights in a society and fighting for democratic principles, while also demanding transparency and accountability from the state, are central pillars of a democratic state. Electoral politics and elections themselves are at best a prerequisite for the realization of the fruits of genuinely democratic process, but they are never sufficient by themselves. The labour movement has led the agitations and resistance against these military dictatorships and demanded the rights of workers – and by extension of the citizens of Pakistan – at a heavy cost to its own existence. The state (or the deep state) continues to find such democratic propositions and actions objectionable. The Establishment, hiding behind its ‘nationalistic’ ideological stance, takes lives in spuriously incited fatal encounters and state-sponsored disappearances. Beyond this, seemingly at every turn, the Establishment continues to undermine the life, liberty and the general flourishing of the people of Pakistan. It equates its own interests with those of Pakistan as a whole, and sees any sharing of its wealth, power and status as jeopardizing the interests of Pakistan. It usurps the largest share of the economy, and orchestrates the whole institutional base of the state to secure these ill-gotten gains. It is a master of propaganda, communicated through extensive control of the media; as the number of media outlets in Pakistan has grown so too have the structured orchestrations of these instruments of communication and information. The resulting shrinkage of meaningful political space affects all institutional life and all social instruments.

146  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali As the shadows of authoritarianism become longer, CSIs might need to organize their own communities for the long struggle against these structures. More critically, however, they must become midwives, ensuring that people are mobilized not only for democratic elections, but also for the restoration of democratic norms and the expansion of rights. A strong and thriving labour movement achieves this more comprehensively than any other CSI segment. It is therefore imperative that the labour movement continues to expand and thrive, with solidarity from the other CSIs in Pakistan. After more than a decade of sustained ‘democracy’, the character of rights and freedom regimes has to be central to the political vocation of CSIs. This, however, requires renewed efforts to develop critical mechanisms, especially for appreciating the democratic rights of those who represent difference in our society. Democracy should now begin to identify those members of society who do not represent a majority position and are viewed as one or another type of minority; all such minorities find themselves in a deeply troubling and vulnerable position. They continue to suffer from a deep sense of insecurity and dislocation, and this sense is reinforced every time a community member suffers violence at the hands of a government that acts with impunity.

Notes 1 In this chapter, the term ‘civil society institutions’ (CSIs) should be understood as an all-inclusive category, including non-governmental organizations, labour unions/federations, civil society organizations, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations and so on. 2 According to the UN, ‘The 193-Member United Nations General Assembly today [25 September 2015] formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, along with a set of bold new Global Goals, which SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon hailed as a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.’ See 3 The debate around the Qisas and Diyat (Retribution and Blood Money) Ordinance started shortly after Zia’s military coup in 1977. The preamble to this Ordinance explains that it is intended to amend the British-era Pakistan Penal Code of 1860 (XLV), and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1898 (Act V). The justification for this was to bring Pakistani law into ‘conformity with the injunctions of Islam,’ by enforcing punishments mentioned in the Qur’an and sunnah. In 1979, certain crimes and punishments were redefined in accordance with Zia’s Islamization of the law, under the Enforcement of Hudood Ordinances Act. The latter added new criminal offences of zina (extramarital sex or adultery), qazf (false accusation of zina), theft and consumption of alcohol, and new punishments of whipping, amputation and stoning to death. By internationally accepted human rights standards, these are considered cruel, inhuman and degrading. This process continued with the creation in 1980 of a Federal Shariat Court that was empowered to review any law and decide whether or not it is repugnant to the injunctions of Islam. If a law is declared repugnant to Islam, the government is required to amend it accordingly. After much controversy and criticism, parts of these laws were extensively revised in the Women’s Protection Act, 2006. See e.g. Documents/196000/asa330041991en.pdf, pdf, and

Dilemmas facing civil society in Pakistan  147 4 The concept of happiness, oft repeated in political discourse comes from the Aristotelian Greek concept of Eudaimonia, which the Utilitarians used in their dictum, ‘the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people’, or Jefferson in his ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’, in the 1776 American Declaration of Independence. The correct translation of Eudaimonia should be ‘[human] flourishing’ which in current political discourse is being used in place of the flat notion of happiness since flourishing is a broader and more comprehensive concept. 5 Israel was the second such state, created on 14 May 1948 with similar causality of a persecuted minority: Jews in Europe and even in the Americas. This was part of the infamous Judenfrage. See, for example, Karl Marx, Zur Judenfrage (The Jewish Question), written in 1843. Both Pakistan and Israel were thus products of the emerging human rights regimes being set into place after the European (German) war crimes of World War II. 6 Quoted in Ahmed 1997, p. 76. He was quoting L.H. Merchant 1991, pp. 10–11. This was part of Merchant’s doctoral dissertation, completed at Princeton University in 1990. 7 The Quaid was elected four times to the Indian Legislative Assembly from Bombay’s Muslim seat, in 1923, 1926, 1934 and 1945. He did not stand in the 1930 elections, as he was living in England at the time. 8 Air Marshal Nur Khan held a number of portfolios in General Yahya Khan’s cabinet, including communications, health, labour and social welfare, education, and rehabilitation and works. 9 During this war, Bhutto was pleading Pakistan’s case at the UN. He was asked to return to Pakistan, which he did on 18 December. Two days later, he was named President. 10 General Yahya Khan was Pakistan’s second military dictator (25 March 1969 – 20 December 1971). He was handed this role directly from the country’s first military dictator, General Ayub Khan, who ruled Pakistan from 8 October 1968 – 25 March 1969. 11 Omar Asghar Khan held the position of Federal Minister for Environment, Local Government & Rural Development, Labour, Manpower, and Overseas Pakistanis, from 2 October 1999 until the acceptance of his resignation on 20 December 2001. 12 For a comprehensive list of the ILO conventions, see ‘Conventions’ on the ILO website, 13 Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that: (1) Any person who abrogates or subverts or suspends or holds in abeyance, or attempts or conspires to abrogate or subvert or suspend or hold in abeyance, the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by any other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason; (2) Any person aiding or abetting [or collaborating] the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason; (2A) An act of high treason mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) shall not be validated by any court including the Supreme Court and a High Court.; (3) Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.

References Ahmed, A.S. (1997) Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. London: Routledge. Ali, Karamat (2009) ‘Labour policy and industrial relations’. Dawn (1 May). www. Last accessed August 6 2020.

148  Charles W. Amjad-Ali and Karamat Ali Bhutto, Z.A. (1972) I Have Kept My Pledge with God and Man: A Collection of President Bhutto’s Speeches. Ed. S.H. Panhwar. Karachi: National Forum. God%20and%20Man;%20Z%20A%20Bhutto.pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Candland, Christopher (2007) Labor, Democratization and Development in India and Pakistan. New York: Routledge. Government of Pakistan, Labour Policy 1969. WEBTEXT/35385/64904/E97PAK02.htm. Last accessed August 6 2020. Khan, A.R. (1967) ‘What has been happening to real wages in Pakistan?’ Pakistan Development Review 7(3), pp. 317–347. Malentacchi, M., (2008) ‘Precarious work: What needs to be done?’ Global Unions/ACTRAV Forum Towards Social Justice: Applying Labour Standards to Precarious Workers, Geneva, 3 October. Merchant, L.H. (1991) Jinnah: A Judicial Review. East and West Publishing Co.

8 Bureaucratic empowerment as a tool for reproduction of inequalities Anna Romanowicz

Many believe that non-governmental organizations are an important element of civil society.1 For example, the United Nations states on its website that: Civil society is the ‘third sector’ of society, along with government and business. It comprises civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations. The UN recognizes the importance of partnering with civil society, because it advances the Organisation’s ideals, and helps support its work. (United Nations 2017) In September 2015, former president of India Pranab Mukherjee2 declared civil society and non-governmental organizations ‘the fourth important pillar of democracy’ (RSTV 2015). In public discourse, NGOs are mostly seen as symbols of citizen involvement in governance, an antidote to the excessive power of the state and business. In other words, civil society organizations are institutions oriented towards removing or ameliorating social problems, which themselves are identified on the basis of consensus among the citizens involved. Their work is supposed to be rooted in principles of altruism – helping others – yet the intentions of professionals who work in the sector are anything but noble. In the words of William Fisher, NGOs are ‘doing good’ (1997). This image of the NGOs as ‘independent pillars of democracy’ has been contested by social scientists across various disciplines. Not surprisingly so. Mukherjee spoke the above-quoted words only a day after the Indian government cancelled the registration of Greenpeace India, alleging an FCRA3 violation (RSTV 2015). This move indicates that contrary to the popular vision NGOs themselves would like to cultivate, third-sector organizations are a part of and are subjected to the policies of the state and international institutions and discourses (Edwards and Hulme 1996; Fisher 1997). In seeking funds for their operations, they turn for support to the business sector through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. NGOs are complicit in state and business agenda not only directly, but also

150  Anna Romanowicz indirectly – by creating and taking part in the neoliberal framework that guides the rules of the game in contemporary societies. This chapter is embedded in an academic literature that seeks to scrutinize the role of non-governmental organizations. First, I show how bureaucratization influences NGO policies. Second, I argue that bureaucratization is a consequence of economic liberalization: it leads to professionalization and hierarchization of third-sector organizations. While answering calls for accountability and faced with a competitive environment, NGOs have to prove not only that their practices are consistent with the wishes and needs of their beneficiaries but also meet requirements of donors and the general public. Third, I argue that although NGOs present themselves as devoted to the idea of participant development, the practice of their everyday work puts the participatory element into question. Perhaps this comes as no surprise when one takes into consideration the wider framework within which participation was conceived (Cammack 2004). Nevertheless, I argue that structural constraints on participation in development come not only from the processes mentioned above, but also from the class position of NGO employees. My arguments are based on an anthropological case study. The examples provided herein come from eight months4 of ethnographic fieldwork that I conducted in an Indian metropolis5 in 2011. At that time, I was both doing my research and interning at non-governmental organization whose goal was to end and prevent prostitution and sex-trafficking. Thus, throughout the following pages, I show everyday practices of bureaucratization and their consequences that I encountered during my fieldwork. Finally, I argue, paradoxically, that the rationale for an NGO’s existence leads directly to the particular outcome of its activities and its ultimate ineffectiveness, including participation in its programmes.

Bureaucratized empowerment in practice I joined the Women’s Foundation in 2010 in a dual role: as an intern (responsible for research in the community of beneficiaries and supporting the Programs Division, helping the organization to implement its policies) and as an anthropologist (conducting research about practices and meanings of women’s empowerment). The Women’s Foundation had been founded nine years earlier and, by the time I joined it, was recognized as one of India’s leading organizations against human trafficking and prostitution, which was reflected in its status as a UN consulting organization. The organization was registered not only in India, but also in the USA. It was led by Priyanka, a middle-aged Brahmin woman who was admired by the public (awarded and recognized in global feminist circles) but perhaps equally feared by her employees, as she was known for her harsh managerial style. Nevertheless, I must admit that the profile of the Women’s Foundation undoubtfully matched my research interests, as empowerment seemed to be at the core of its existence. Let me illustrate with a quote from

Bureaucratic empowerment  151 Women’s Foundation promotional materials6 that summarizes the vision, mission and activities of this NGO. The question: ‘What we do?’ was followed by a simple answer: ‘We empower’. Elsewhere, I have reflected on different meanings of empowerment in the context of the Women’s Foundation (Romanowicz 2017), so illustrations presented in this chapter will be limited to the organization’s participatory dimension. That is, the Women’s Foundation claimed that its rationale was to be achieved by so-called self-empowerment groups. The prefix ‘self’ indicates the participatory nature of empowerment. Moreover, an emphasis on participation was also reflected in the way the Women’s Foundation presented itself to the wider public: as a grassroots organization started in one of India’s red-light areas.7 This genesis was repeated as a mantra, in promotional materials and by Priyanka – de facto spokesperson for the organization – who, in interview after interview, repeated that the Women’s Foundation was started by 22 women in prostitution and herself. Her account cannot be verified as, she claims, all 22 have died. Temptation to question the veracity of the NGO’s origins might be overwhelming, even if the exercise would be futile. Nevertheless, the fact remains that it is hard to describe as ‘grassroots’ an organization led by an authoritarian leader who micromanaged all activities – even from a hospital bed.8 The participatory character of empowerment (self-empowerment) was reflected in the organization’s documents, conversations between employees and activities directed towards organization’s ‘beneficiaries’. Community centres run by the Women’s Foundation were spaces where self-reliance groups and like-minded individuals could meet and strategize about how to end sex-trafficking and prostitution. Similar was the goal of various courses (sewing, tailoring, computer and English classes, workshops about empowerment): by learning new skills, women-beneficiaries could change their occupation (or at least that was a declared goal) and thereby participate actively in changing their life course. Thus, participation was claimed to be a rationale of the Women’s Foundation not only in its declarations (as in the example of self-labelling), but also activities. Quite an opposite picture emerges from an examination of the actual practices of the organization, not least from the fact that its head office was located in a prestigious colony of the city, where it occupied two upper floors of a family building, in a stark contrast with the slum areas where ‘beneficiaries’ lived. Perhaps the most blatant example of the non-participatory character of the Women’s Foundation activities can be found in its elaborate bureaucratic structure. Formally, each employee (paid and unpaid) was assigned a position in one of the following divisions: Programs, Monitoring & Evaluation, Communications & Networking, or Accountancy. As I mentioned above, I was mainly responsible for a research project that aimed to establish definitions of vulnerability, marginalization, and empowerment9 from the perspective of the community of beneficiaries and under the supervision of the Head of Programs, Aisha. The programmes of the Women’s Foundation

152  Anna Romanowicz were to be adjusted in order to incorporate the needs of the beneficiaries. In this sense, the research would ensure that the beneficiaries participated not only in implementation of the programmes (for example, by taking part in workshops on empowerment), but also in their design. The beginning of my co-operation with the Women’s Foundation seemed very promising. Aisha discussed my research objectives with me: ANNA  I

could go to the community and see how they define empowerment. Obviously, this is a general research question, and it has to be rephrased and elaborated, but you know what I mean … We could see what empowerment means to the women in the community … AISHA  I think we should first see what marginalization and vulnerability are. If we define these two, we can move forward to empowerment… ANNA  So, I should look for the factors of prostitution first? Aisha eagerly agreed. It was understood that I could take approximately four months to complete my research and that my results would be incorporated into a Women’s Foundation model of empowerment. Hence, I started my research. After a few months, during a cigarette break with Aisha, she revealed that she had been working on the organization’s empowerment model without informing me about it. The model was opened for a discussion with other staff at the end of October, approximately a month after she assigned me with the research task, and was already being implemented.10 This indicates that she had begun working on it, and only after that she agreed to my research. Since the working model was already completed, and was even being implemented through a top-down approach, I could not understand the purpose of my research on the meanings of empowerment, vulnerability and marginalization as understood by the beneficiaries. The 27-page Manual for Empowerment11 included two annexures, colourful tables, boxes and diagrams; it was professionally edited, formalized, comprehensive and meticulous. It detailed the Women’s Foundation approach to empowerment and its ‘implementation’. The document was crucial, as it was a basis for the organization’s activities. It was also annexed with ‘The Asset Card’,12 a tool for achieving the empowerment and monitoring its progress, and further supplemented13 with detailed instructions for its implementation. If the Women’s Foundation goal was ‘to empower’, these documents defined what empowerment meant and how it could be achieved. The procedure for accomplishing empowerment was elaborate and formalized. It consisted of three steps: 1. Registration of beneficiaries (including entering personal details into a database) with the Women’s Foundation; 2. ‘Receiving services’ as per the organization’s empowerment model; and 3. ‘Achieving milestones [by beneficiary] as per indicators on the Card’.

Bureaucratic empowerment  153 To achieve a milestone (empowerment indicators), one had to acquire a particular ‘asset’, which consisted of concrete achievements to be accomplished. For instance, in order to become legally empowered (that is, to achieve the ‘legal empowerment’ asset), the beneficiary was to complete three steps (‘achievements’): attend six legal trainings, testify against traffickers, and support actions and cases against clients, pimps and traffickers. As we can see, empowerment was already well defined by the employees of the Women’s Foundation. It was also very specific, elaborate and easy to articulate in a manner that facilitated the measurement of ‘progress’. This kind of empowerment was far from participatory. Not only it was not defined and designed by the people who were concerned with it the most – namely the beneficiaries of the organization’s outreach, but it was also implemented by the organization’s employees. The ‘Asset Card’ was very far away from a bottom-up approach to development. The card itself indicated that it was issued by the Women’s Foundation, printed its address and logo, and included a self-identifying statement of being a grassroots movement. The formalized outlook was enhanced by a photograph box and separate space for beneficiary’s details: age, sex, name and address. However, the beneficiaries were not allowed to choose which achievements they would seek, nor could they themselves claim that an achievement had been accomplished. They were designated as employees of the ­Women’s Foundation (after all, the owner of the card), which retained control over the procedure. As with the steps described above, the monitoring of achievements was also bureaucratized: 1. An outreach worker ‘checks the achievement and informs programme officer’; 2. The programme officer verifies the statement; 3. The programme officer enters information about the achievement into the Women’s Foundation database; 4. The programme officer assists the beneficiary in signing the card (emphasis mine). Each of these steps was to be repeated for every asset and for every participant. This, however, was not the end of bureaucratic, formalized requirements to achieve empowerment. Upon completion, the card was to be signed by the State Coordinator. Aisha, as direct supervisor of state coordinators, controlled the whole process. What then was the role of the beneficiaries – the women in the community targeted by the Women’s Foundation? They were to complete the task as specified by the organization’s workers. They could not do anything on their own; not even sign the card without the assistance of the NGO’s employees. They did not design the programme, nor were they in charge of their supervision. Head-office employees were in charge of monitoring, recognition and approval of the women’s progress on the way to empowerment. Far from being participants, they were rather ‘receivers’ of services. This dynamic is far from unique to India (see e.g.,

154  Anna Romanowicz Green 2000, p. 73; Goulet 1989; p. 166, Curtis 1997, p. 116; Rahnema 1992, p. 122; Hussein 1995, p. 173). Yet, as I have shown above, the participatory dimension of the Women’s Foundation activities was essential to defining and promoting the organization’s self-image. Aisha confirmed that my research was considered a part of involving the community in defining its own goals and needs regarding empowerment.14 She later acknowledged that she had hidden information about the existing empowerment model from me only because she did not want it to influence my research findings. She claimed that if I knew about the employee-created model, I would not be able to determine the vision of empowerment as understood by the community of beneficiaries. At the same time, Aisha had a major role in designing and monitoring the Foundation’s model of empowerment, which did not include the voices of beneficiaries and was far from participatory. In the end, when I completed my research and wished to submit my results to the organization’s management (Aisha had resigned from her position by that time), no one seemed very interested in my work. Were Aisha’s declared intentions insincere? Or did they arise from her work situation? Why did she claim to be enthusiastic about the participatory approach, even as her actions contradicted her words? In order to answer these questions, I have to draw a picture of the third sector in India (to understand the context Aisha was in) and shed some light on the position of the employees of the Women’s Foundation (to see their motivations and constraints). I will explore these issues in the following parts of this chapter.

How did we get there? Consequences of economic liberalization The exact number of third-sector organizations in India is difficult to estimate due to lack of official, regularly provided data. When I conducted my research, estimates varied from 2 million (Ministry of Home Affairs, India 2011, p. 3) to 3.3 million (Central Statistical Organization 2009, p. 5). In any case, these numbers are increasing. Ten per cent of third-sector organizations was registered before 1980, 15 per cent between 1981 and 1990, and 30 percent in the next decade, whereas 45 per cent were registered after 2000 (Central Statistical Organization 2009, p. 8). The increase in the number of third-sector organizations correlates with the introduction of economic liberalization, which made foreign and government funds more available for these organizations from the late 1980s (O’Reilly 2004, p. 174).15 Between 1989 and 1992, the nature of the Indian government’s approach to development changed. The government of Rajiv Gandhi was a major departure from the politics of previous governments as ‘opening of India to the world capitalist system, and … preaching the virtues of private enterprise’ became a fact (Metcalf and Metcalf 2006, p. 261). In response to the economic crisis of 1991, the government of Narasimha Rao started further reforms, marking the end of the Nehruvian consensus.16 This, due to

Bureaucratic empowerment  155 donor pressure, included reduction of public expenditure (Sen 1999, p. 329; Chandra, Mukherjee and Mukherjee 2008). The state delegated its welfare responsibilities to third sector organizations (see e.g., Sharma 2008; Kilby 2011, pp. 9–10), 90 per cent of which were registered after the collapse of Nehruvian consensus (Central Statistical Organization 2009, p. 8). Nevertheless, the autonomy of these organizations was limited by the governmental five-year plans (which, among others, define the role of NGOs) and regulations contained in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act. The boom of civil society organizations included a blossoming of global and local women’s movements, which started in the 1970s (Tinker 2004, p. xiii; Boserup 1970). The 1970s marked the so-called second wave of Indian feminism,17 which focussed on employment conditions of rural women, alcoholism, domestic violence, practices of dowry and sexual harassment (Desai 2008, p. 26) and provided a context for the emergence of countless organizations that deal with women’s issues. The trend continued in later years. However, it has to be noted that since their inceptions, women’s movements and organizations in India undertook either issues that were of particular importance to middle- and upper-class women or cut across class lines (Omvedt 2011). In the mid-1980s the Gender and Development (GAD) approach was introduced into the women’s development sector on the international level. GAD stressed the need to focus on gender (instead of women’s) issues, as well as on greater participation by women. Awareness-raising and social education were considered crucial to bringing social change (Sharma 2008, pp. 4–6). It is worth noticing that, after economic liberalization was introduced, participation by beneficiaries was also stressed in development programmes in general (see e.g. Cammack 2004). Not only was the modus operandi of NGOs subjected to change with the rise of neoliberalism, but organizations also became more reliant on external funding, which in turn induced organizations to structure themselves more into more rigid and hierarchical forms; their interests also were influenced (Menon 1999, p. 20). The processes of NGO-ization of the women’s movement (Kamat 2002) continued in the 1990s and later. Ideas of empowerment were transformed as well, in response to the suggestions and sometimes the requirements of donors (Sen 1999, pp. 344–345; Kilby 2011, pp. 10–11, 15–16 20, 26). However, it is increasingly being recognized that this kind of government programme aims at empowering women only to the extent that it would serve the purposes of education for population control through, for example, drives against child marriage. This has resulted in a distinct shift from struggle to development in the agenda of women’s organizations (Menon 1999, p. 20). A shift has taken place also with regard to the issues undertaken by the women’s organizations, from gender-based violence and ‘other strategic needs’ to microfinance and income generation (Kilby 2011, p. 22). Nevertheless, ‘traditional’ women’s problems are also targeted by the women’s organizations. Thus, I believe that the major difference in the nature of

156  Anna Romanowicz contemporary efforts toward empowerment lies in their specific methods of tackling long-known problems. In other words, it is not so much about what NGOs do, but how they do it. Within feminist movements of the 1970s, struggle was understood as against the dominant systems of power. However, since the introduction of structural adjustment policies, the result of economic liberalization, struggle is seen as a struggle within the system. Empowerment no longer means the struggle of groups of women against government policies. It means individual struggles for betterment within these policies, for example by attending workshops on empowerment or legal trainings, as illustrated above by the case of the Women’s Foundation. The increasing importance of participatory development models comes from three facts. First, the international debate about misuses of the development sector.18 This problem was supposed to be tackled by participation, as envisioned by GAD theorists (Sinha 2007; Ardenne 2004; Sillitoe et al. 2002; Korten 1987). Second, the boom of non-governmental organizations in India means that the sector has become more competitive. Participation is a must-have for NGO programmes because it enhances their legitimacy in the eyes of donors and the public (see e.g. Williams 2004, p. 553; Rahmena 1992, p. 129–131). Third, participation is consistent with the World Bank programme of deep neoliberalism (Cammack 2004). In addition, there is one more structural constraint on participation in NGO activities. Paradoxically, it arises from requirements of the same donors who advocate participation. Bureaucratization of NGOs is an answer to calls for accountability and effectiveness, and, as such, it is supposed to legitimize the work of NGOs. However, the result is ‘shifting agency into the hands of professional intermediaries’ (Batiwala 2010, p. 119; see also Chambers 1995). As Maia Green (2000, p. 68) notes, bureaucratization construct[s] the target communities of development interventions as passive agents awaiting the emancipatory intervention of development organizations. Despite the claims of the empowerment rhetoric, poor people lacking the capacity to bring about social transformation by themselves can only participate in development through development agency institutional structures for participation. Bureaucratized systems of rules, hierarchy, and division of labour in NGOs influence the shape of empowerment (cf. Fisher 1997; Narayana 2005, p. 125). At the same time, ‘the most basic goal of any bureaucrat or bureaucracy is not rational efficiency, but individual and organizational survival’ (Britan 1981, p. 11, quoted in Herzfeld 1992, p. 5). In this context, my misunderstanding with Aisha is understandable. The Women’s Foundation, although of high reputation, was still forced to operate in a competitive environment where the soundness of their activities had to be justified to donors and the public on an everyday basis. This meant the work had to be

Bureaucratic empowerment  157 done quickly. Aisha was faced not only with her own wishes, but also with the requirements and realities of her job. She reported to her supervisors, the CEO and the president, and thus had to deliver her model of empowerment on time, without waiting for my research findings.19 Thus, answering the questions posed in the first part of the chapter, we can assume that Aisha’s work situation – shaped by the organizational need to legitimize the existence of the Women’s Foundation, as well as by the processes of economic liberalization, which ultimately resulted in highly bureaucratized mode of the NGO’s functioning – made fulfilling her promise to me highly unlikely or even impossible. Empowerment à la the Women’s Foundation was clearly for and only to a small extent with the beneficiaries of the organization’s outreach activities. At the same time, Aisha enthusiastically supported the idea of my research, which suggests that she was convinced that more meaningful participation would lead to greater benefits. Working at the NGO was against my political views, as I did not believe that participatory development was possible to realize within any NGO environment. Nevertheless, I believed that I could at least contribute to making the process of empowerment more participatory. Through additional conversations, it became clear that the model of empowerment created and implemented by the Women’s Foundation did not reflect my own convictions; nor did it reflect Aisha’s. Why did we – along with other employees of the Women’s Foundation who shared our perspective – engage in programmes that de facto required the beneficiaries to be passive?

Class matters The answer to these questions lies in our social class. Our group of head-office employees was heterogeneous, except for one conjunctive element. We were different religions (Hindu, Christian, Buddhist and Muslim); we came from different regions of India (Bengal, Uttarachand and Maharashtra) or/and countries (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland); we were of different gender, marital status, age, caste and race. However, we were all middle class. As I argue elsewhere (Romanowicz 2017, 2019), middle-class belonging is a sine qua non to work in an NGO head office. Siddartha Sen argues that non-governmental organizations are formed by ‘professionals or quasi professionals from the middle or lower middle class’ (Sen 1999, p. 332). This is not a mere coincidence. NGOs tend to be middle-class enterprises because work there requires particular skills (for example, fluency in English and development buzzwords) and values (more on these below), which typically middle-class members possess.20 Social class is a category that comprises social actors with similar levels of capital (Bourdieu 2000, 1987). Satish Deshpande notices that the reproduction of the Indian middle class depends most on the mechanisms that reproduce their cultural capital (Deshpande 2004, p. 140). This kind of capital consists of identities (for example, caste, community or region) and

158  Anna Romanowicz competences (Deshpande 1997, pp. 140–141). Although identities in the Women’s Foundation seemed to be of secondary importance, competences were necessary requirements to join the organization, as were shared values, attitudes and perceptions (Lamont and Lareau 1988). That is: With economic liberalization bringing the middle class to centre stage, it is argued that this group can educate the rest of the society about civic and democratic virtues, collectively creating a civil society that will reform the state and politics at large. (Baviskar and Ray 2011, p. 4) Work in the NGO is not only a job; it is also a mission. Employees of the Women’s Foundation declared their willingness and need to introduce genuinely participatory empowerment. At the same time, they believed that as educated, well informed, and caring people, they were competent not only to determine what changes poor people needed, but also to implement these changes. Some saw this in terms of destiny: they considered themselves destined to lead the poor and solve their problems. Preeti, one of my Indian co-workers, denied being an expert even as she emphasized her devotion and skills when she said: my need as an individual to contribute to this change is very hard … which is why I work in the developmental sector … It might sound a little pretentious or stupid, but I feel that India needs people like me … I’m not an expert. Someone who wants to bring change should go and bring change. Interns from Western countries displayed a similar attitude. They often referred to the figure of the ‘discriminated Indian woman’ whom they arrived to help. Elisabeth, an American intern, ‘has a knowledge’: Now that I have a knowledge, I think I cannot stop. Unfortunately, I think it is difficult to secure a career in this field, I’m not sure – if it is possible – yes, if it is not possible then I will have to work other jobs while still working in this area, because it is something that absolutely enrages me and I just, I cannot not do anything at this point. And after that [volunteering in Morocco] I realized like it’s not, I just don’t wanna have, because we are exposed to so much change, out of your comfort zones through that two years, going back to a normal office job seemed horrible to me. Faced with the choice between declared needs for participatory empowerment and their own interests as middle-class members, employees of the Women’s Foundation picked the latter. Work in the non-governmental sector, similarly to ‘giving donation, attending courses on green technologies or organizing charity dinners’ (van Aaken et al. 2013, p. 355), increases

Bureaucratic empowerment  159 cultural capital. Privatization and decentralization, the result of economic liberalization, created new job opportunities in the NGO sector for middle-class members. At the same time, bureaucratization is embedded in differentiating practices21 – a class distinction between the knowledgeable Us and the ignorant Them. NGO employees imagine beneficiaries as submissive and inert addressees, and themselves as policymakers, controllers and active agents for change. Thus, bureaucratization is neither a coincidence nor an unfortunate by-product of development sector professionalization. It limits community involvement, but – thanks to that – it puts middle-class employees in a leadership position. Declarations of participatory empowerment are aimed to picture our intentions as noble. Thus, bureaucratic empowerment not only serves the interest of donors, it is designed to do more than satisfy public scrutiny. NGO-driven bureaucratic empowerment legitimizes the middle-class status of its employees by creating and reinforcing the distinctions that reproduces cultural capital.22 Empowerment implementation constitutes yet another practice of bureaucratic classification (Herzfeld 1992, p. 66; Handelman 1981) and embodiment of NGOdriven rationality (Herzfeld 1992, pp. 65, 69). By recreating inequalities, development reproduces the very same evils that they seek to uproot.

Notes 1 Some material in this chapter is drawn from Anna Romanowicz, Unintended Revolution: Middle Class, Development and Non-Governmental Organizations (2017). On similar issues, see also Romanowicz 2019. 2 Mukerjee was in office at the time he made this declaration. 3 Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. 4 That is, all data presented here were collected during an eight-month period in 2011, as part of a larger research project. 5 I do not provide the name of the city, and I change the names of people and organizations involved in order to protect my respondents’ privacy. 6 Throughout, I do not provide references in order to protect my respondents’ privacy. 7 According to some accounts, it was founded in 1998. 8 This is one of the reasons I describe the Women’s Foundation with the term ‘NGO’, following the definition in S. Sen 1999. 9 From time to time – as flexibility and workload of interns seemed to be larger than the regular employees – I was also able to support the Division of Communications & Networking. 10 This is an estimated date. As I later found out, it had an input from yet another non-governmental organization, although I was not able to identify the span of this influence. Nevertheless, it also circulated between the head-office employees, open for comments and discussion, and marked as ‘for internal use only’. 11 Name changed in order to protect the organization’s privacy. 12 Name changed in order to protect the organization’s privacy. 13 In another document, ‘Implementation and Use of the [Asset] Card’. 14 I do not suggest that if the research had been completed, it would have improved the organization’s performance in the community by including the beneficiaries’ voice. 15 Other ‘poor countries’ have had similar experiences. See O’Reilly 2004, p. 174.

160  Anna Romanowicz 16 ‘Nehruvian consensus’ is a term for the course of politics that India followed in the post-Independence period. It consists of ‘a vision of self-reliant economy based on an import-substituting industrialization strategy; a broadly secular policy; and a non-aligned foreign policy that not only steered clear of international military alliances but was also anti-imperialist, especially vis-à-vis the USA, even if inconsistently so.’ See Menon and Nigam 2007, p. 3. 17 I.e. United Women’s Anti Price-Rise Movement in Maharashtra 1973, which later linked with the student movement against corruption in Gujarat and later became a ‘massive [anti-state] middle-class movement’. See Menon 1999, p. 19. The Chipko movement of this time stressed the role of women as nature-carers (Sen 2011, pp. 194–195). The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), which ultimately separated from its cradle, Textile Labour Association, aimed at empowerment of women in the unorganized sector (Sen 2011, p. 195). 18 See, for example, Lauren G. Leve 2001, who argues on p. 108 that the development industry in Nepal has shifted towards both empowerment and participation as necessary landmarks of developing activities. On these two terms as synonyms in development discourse in Tanzania, see Maia Green Green 2000, p. 69. 19 Neither were they possible to conduct in such a short time. The organization’s draft was submitted approximately three weeks after she had assigned me the task. 20 See Romanowicz (2017) for a more detailed account. 21 See also Susan Brin Hyatt 2001, p. 206 for a similar argument about volunteers in the USA. 22 In this, I do not claim that ‘empowering activities’ of the employees are simply accepted by the community in the form offered by the organization. To the contrary, they are subject of reinterpretations and contestation. However, this issue goes beyond the scope of this chapter.

References Batiwala, S. (2010) ‘Taking the power out of empowerment: an experiential account’. In A. Cornwall and D. Eade (eds) Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords. Rugby, Warwickshire: Practical Action Pub. Baviskar, Amita and R. Ray (eds) (2011). Elite and Everyman: The Cultural Politics of the Indian Middle Classes. New Delhi: Routledge. Boserup, E. (1970) Woman’s Role in Economic Development. New York: St Martin’s Press. Bourdieu, Pierre (1987) ‘What makes a social class? On the theoretical and practical existence of groups’. Berkeley Journal of Sociology 32, pp. 1–17. Bourdieu, Pierre (2000)[1984] Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Britan, G.M. (1981) Bureaucracy and Innovation: An Ethnography of Policy Change. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Cammack, P. (2004) ‘What the World Bank means by poverty reduction, and why it matters’. New Political Economy 9(2) (June), pp. 189–211. Central Statistical Organization (2009) ‘Survey on non-profit institutions in India: Some findings’. New Delhi: Central Statistical Organization, Government of India. Chambers, R. (1995) NGOs and Development: The Primacy of the Personal, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies. Chandra, B., A. Mukherjee and M. Mukherjee, eds (2008) India Since Independence, New Delhi: Penguin Books.

Bureaucratic empowerment  161 Curtis, D. (1997) ‘Power to the people: Rethinking community development’. In N. Nelson and S. Wright (eds) Power and Participatory Development. London: Intermediate Technology Publications. Desai, N. (2008) ‘From accommodation to articulation: Women’s movement in India’. Originally in L. Dube, E. Leacock and S. Ardener (eds) Visibility and Power: Essays on Women in Society and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. Reprinted in M. E. John (ed.) Women’s Studies in India: A Reader. New Delhi: Penguin Books. Deshpande, S. (2004) Contemporary India: A Sociological View. Gurgaon: Penguin Books India. Deshpande, S. (1997) ‘From development to adjustment: Economic ideologies, the middle class and 50 years of independence’. Review of Development and Change 2(2), pp. 294–318. Edwards, M. and D. Hulme (1996) Non-Governmental Organizations – Performance and Accountability: Beyond the Magic Bullet. London: Earthscan. Fisher, W.F. (1997) ‘Doing good? The politics and antipolitics of NGO practices’. Annual Review of Anthropology 26, pp. 439–464. Goulet, D. (1989) ‘Participation in development: new avenues’. World Development 17(2), pp. 165–178. Green, M. (2000) ‘Participatory development and the appropriation of agency in Southern Tanzania’ Critique of Anthropology 20, pp. 67–89. Handelman, D. (1981) ‘Introduction: The idea of bureaucratic organization’. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, pp. 5–23. Herzfeld, Michael (1992) The Social Production of Indifference: Exploring the Symbolic Roots of Western Bureaucracy. New York: Berg. Hussein, K. (1995) ‘Participatory ideology and practical development: agency control in a fisheries project, Kariba Lake’. In N. Nelson, S. Wright (eds) Power and Participatory Development. London: Intermediate Technology Publications. Hyatt, S.B. (2001) ‘From citizen to volunteer: neoliberal governance and the erasure of poverty’. In J. Goode and J. Maskovsky (eds) New Poverty Studies: The Ethnography of Power, Politics, and Impoverished People in the United States. New York: New York University Press. Kamat, S. (2002) Development Hegemony: NGOs and the State in India, Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kilby, Patrick (2011) NGOs in India: The Challenge of Women’s Empowerment and Accountability. London and New York: Routledge. Korten, D. (1987) ‘Third generation NGO strategies: A key to people-centered development’. World Development 15, pp. 145–159. Lamont, M. and A. Lareau (1988) ‘Cultural capital: allusions, gaps and glissandos in recent theoretical developments’. Sociological Theory 6(2), pp. 153–168. Leve, L. G. (2001) ‘Between Jesse Helms and Ram Bahadur: Participation and empowerment in Women’s Literacy Programming in Nepal’. PoLAR: Political Legal Anthropology Review 24, pp. 108–128. Menon, N. (1999) Gender and Politics in India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Menon, N. and A. Nigam (2007) Power and Contestation: India Since 1989. Halifax: Fernwood. Metcalf, B.D. and T.R. Metcalf (2006) A Concise History of India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ministry of Home Affairs, India (2011) Annual Report.

162  Anna Romanowicz Narayana, D. (2005) ‘Institutional change and its impact on the poor and excluded: The Indian decentralization experience’. Geneva: Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and ILO. O’Reilly, K. (2004) ‘Developing contradictions: Women’s participation as a site of struggle within an Indian NGO’. The Professional Geographer 56, pp. 174–184. Omvedt, G. (2011) ‘Women’s movement: Some ideological debates’. In M. Chaudhuri (ed.) Feminism in India. London: Zed. Rahmena, M. (1992) ‘Participation’. In W. Sachs (ed.) The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power. London: Zed Books. Romanowicz, Anna (2017) Unintended Revolution: Middle Class, Development and Non-Governmental Organizations. Krakow: Jagiellonian University Press. Romanowicz, Anna (2019) ‘Re(producing) class. On development as middle-class mission’. In D.N. Pathak and A. K. Das (eds) Investigating Developmentalism Notions of Development in the Social Sphere. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. RSTV (2015) ‘NGO, Civil Society to a 4th Pillar of Democracy: Prez’. http://rstv.nic. in/ngo-civil-society-4th-pillar-democracy-prez.html. Last accessed August 6 2020. Sen, I. (2011) ‘Women’s politics in India’. In M. Chaudhuri (ed.) Feminism in India. London: Zed. Sen, S. (1999) ‘Some aspects of state–NGO relationships in India in the post-independence era’. Development and Change 30(2), pp. 327–355. Sharma, A. (2008) Logics of Empowerment Development, Gender, and Governance in Neoliberal India. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Sillitoe, P., A. Bicker and J. Pottier (2002) Participating in Development: Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge. London: Routledge. Sinha, N. (2007) Empowerment of Women through Political Participation, Delhi: Kalpaz Publications. Tinker, I. (2004) ‘Introduction: Ideas into action’. In F.S. Tinker and I. Tinker (eds) Developing Power: How Women Transformed International Movement. New York: The Feminist Press at the City University of New York. United Nations (2017),, last accessed December 11 2020. van Aaken D., V. Splitter, and D. Seidl (2013) ‘Why do corporate actors engage in pro-social behaviour? A Bourdieusian perspective on corporate social responsibility’. Organization 20, pp. 349–371. van Ardenne, A. (2004) ‘From exclusive to inclusive development’. In M. Spoor (ed.) Globalisation, Poverty and Conflict: A Critical ‘Development’ Reader. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Williams, G. (2004) ‘Evaluating participatory development: tyranny, power and (re) politicization’. Third World Quarterly 25, pp. 557–578.

9 Entertaining the possibility of society’s radical transformation* A personal view of Women Front (1974–1976) Fauzia Rafique You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time. ~ Angela Davis1 This chapter brings the diversity of the Pakistan women’s movement to the forefront. It illustrates the unique spirit of Women Front (WF), and the valour of the women involved by acknowledging and discussing the WF regarding its social composition, activities undertaken, ideologies supported, discussions in scholarly literature and its apparently short lifespan. Moreover, this chapter presents the perspective of an insider. I was a WF member, nearly from its inception until it closed its doors, yet the learning experiences and the community that took shape continues to nurture me to this day. This recollection adds new and authoritative information to the history of the Pakistani women’s movement in the Punjab as it discusses the organization’s atypical class formation, its ideological base and its decision not to access any local or global funding avenues. The WF was officially formed in Lahore in 1974 by a group of ‘lower middle class’ women. This by itself was a distinct departure from the historical and traditional roles where the leadership of women’s organizations and the representation and ownership of women’s voices was dominated by the elite, with the support of women from upper middle class and middle class. In addition to the class factor, the age factor sets the WF apart from most women’s organizations of the time: all of its leading members were young women in their late teens and early twenties, and most of them were unmarried. As a group, we could not have had much power at the intersections of that male-dominated and status-centric society. As it turned out, an organization composed largely of young, lower middle class and single women may have been uniquely situated to organically combine three major tendencies of the global women’s movement: so-called Socialist Feminism, Radical Feminism and Islamic Feminism. Though the class/ 1

*  This chapter is dedicated to and it uses information and insights provided by Rubya Mehdi, the initiator and co-founder of Women Front.

164  Fauzia Rafique age/marital-status combination was a powerful advantage for women who were already inclined to be courageous and to think outside of various boxes, it became the biggest disadvantage when social and state repression came down: this group of young, lower middle class, single women quickly learned the limits of social and political power available to it. And even though the WF was successful in mobilizing diverse sections of women on various issues and in various cities of the Punjab, it never sought any funding. Rather, it tried to evolve non-monetary methods that empowered and engaged the community. The life of WF was cut short by the lethal combination of social, familial and state repression that its members had to face, both as individuals and as a collective.

The history Published materials The WF has received some scholarly attention (e.g. Saigol 2016); however, in Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? (1987, p. 55), Khawar Mumtaz and Farida Shaheed offer perhaps the most detailed comment. The Women Front was a small but aggressive effort of a group of students of the University of the Punjab, Lahore. Created in 1974–75 by a group of left-wing women students, it spoke of women’s position in society; non-recognition of their contributions; of women’s equal rights and of the right to work. It specifically called upon students and working women to identify collectively the historical reasons for women’s servile position, to understand the problems of working women and to struggle for equal rights. Its programs included seminars, lectures and discussions to propagate their point of view. Further down, the authors suggest that the WF members belonged to ‘the lower middle class and projected very spartan and simple images’, that they wore ‘khaddar and cottons and desisted from the use of adornments and cosmetics’. The WF’s links among factory workers, students and working women are acknowledged, and it is noted that the organization ‘spread very fast and within the first year had branches in Sargodha and Multan as well as Lahore’. Regarding its ideological placement, Mumtaz and Shaheed observe that the WF ‘represented the extreme left faction within the politics of the time’, citing as examples WF’s criticism and exposure of Bhutto’s government for its feudal values of taking women as ‘private property’, connecting it directly to ‘the violence committed against women in the system’. And, that the WF saw International Women’s Year as ‘a fraud thought up by the United Nations which it described as a tool of the imperialists’. Also, that the WF viewed women’s emancipation as ‘attainable with a radical change in the social and economic system’, echoing their slogan ‘Women and politics are one’.

Society’s radical transformation  165 It concludes by citing possible reasons for the WF’s ‘inglorious end’. In addition to the country’s changing political climate, it is suggested that the WF’s roots in the universities were transient, and ‘apparently not very deep’ in the working class, and that ‘the extent of its influence remains unknown’. I am thankful to Mumtaz and Shaheed for the description and critique of the WF; in many ways, their observations have inspired and guided the discussion in this article.2 Backdrop There was tremendous hope in the 1970s; common people felt that it was possible to have an impact. It was a time of inspiration, passion, change and invention. For example, many hi-tech things that we use now were born in the 1970s, including Intel 4004, C language, Sony Walkman, video games, floppy disks, email, graphical user interface, fibre optics, microwave ovens, VCRs, voicemail, cell phones and Apple Computer Company. The first face lift, MRI imaging and the first genetically manufactured organism (GMO) were also performed during this decade. Events at another level were equally consequential: some members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked four planes and took 310 hostages while using Jordanian territory in what became known as ‘Skyjack Sunday’ in 1970; Hafez al-Assad took power in Syria via a coup, while a 1971 military coup brought Idi Amin to power in Uganda; it was the decade of the Munich Massacre, where 11 members of Israel’s Olympic team were abducted and then killed in 1972 by a Palestinian organization called Black September; Middle Eastern countries imposed an oil embargo on the United States and the Netherlands in 1973 to protest against US and Dutch support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War; a coup d’état deposed Chile’s socialist President Salvador Allende in 1973, unleashing repression against the left that continued, and some might say that it still continues. At yet another level, a few women emerged or consolidated their power: Soong Ching-ling continued as the first chairwoman of the People’s Republic of China, Isabel Martínez de Perón became the first woman President in Argentina, Elisabeth Domitien was elected the first woman Prime Minister of Lesotho, and Indira Gandhi continued as the Prime Minister of India. In Pakistan, the 1973 Constitution declared that the rights of women were equal to those of men; the anti-Vietnam war movement initiated by students in the United States continued; and, the anti-apartheid movement not only inspired us but also increased the level of our hope for a reversal of institutionalized injustice in South Africa. Situating the ‘us’ In 1970, as Pakistanis, we entered a zone that was at once a time of exhilaration and desperation, of joy and mourning. Pakistan had been formed in 1947, yet its first general election took place in 1970. It was an

166  Fauzia Rafique exhilarating experience for most of us to be part of the election campaign, to hear and enter discussions and debates about politics, people’s rights and more. Those of us who supported Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which promised a wide range of reforms, were positively ecstatic when the PPP defeated all other West Pakistan parties in a landslide; supporters of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his Awami League were equally joyful when the League not only dominated the polls in East Pakistan, but also won an outright majority in the combined East–West Pakistan tally. But what followed this exhilaration of people who had expressed our democratic will? Desperation and death. Although Sheikh Mujib was the actual winner of the 1970 election, the army, supported by elite West Pakistani political interests, did not allow him to form a government. And, so we got to see how Bhutto, our ‘champion of democracy’, our ‘elected representative’, refused to accept the verdict delivered by the polls; how Bhutto instead supported General Yahya Khan’s attack, intended to crush the Awami League and the Bengali rights movement. This disastrous move led to Bangladeshi genocide, and to the rape of between 200,000 and 400,000 Bengali women and girls by the Pakistan army, local Muslim militias and Indian soldiers. Later, 93,000 West Pakistani soldiers were taken by India as prisoners of war. In December 1971, General Yahya Khan handed over power to Bhutto, making him the President and the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. During his presidency, from 1971 to 1973, it was disheartening to see his ‘divergent’ politics. For example, his 1973 Constitution did give equal rights to women, but he also declared Ahmadiya Muslims to be non-Muslim; he did give land to some of the landless, but he also corroded the left wing of his PPP by disempowering workers, peasants and their organizations. Later, these and other similar policies cleared the way for religiosity, vigilantism and conservatism to take centre stage in the politics of the country. Witnessing this, we were young women who individually and in our respective ‘lower middle class’ situations had participated in the 1970 election with a belief in the projected concepts of democracy, secularism, socialism and feminism; we had taken stands against the conservative and oppressive elements in our immediate situations. The outcome as outlined above was sad and confusing, though it helped us to shed some of our ideals about politicians and politics. We also might have noticed that most prominent women had consistently supported a string of dictators: first the Ayub Khan regime, then Yahya Khan’s and then Bhutto’s government. We called the phenomenon ‘Begumati Siyasat’ (Respectable-Lady Politics) where elite, upper class, upper middle class and middle class women supported the political interests of their men, and somehow managed to do so in the name of women’s rights. To us, it did not seem like ‘representation’, but rather ‘appropriation’ of our rights and voices, and it appeared to be yet another example of the class-based prejudices that women continue

Society’s radical transformation  167 to face in our society: at home, on the street, at schools, offices, factories, rural areas and in urban centres. All of us, with varying degrees of awareness, had felt the daily incidents of violence against women and the exploitation of workers and under-privileged people, all with the complicity of the upper classes. I was not a founding member of Women Front but I joined early on and became involved in publishing its newsletter and working on a team that developed a hand-made alternative picture book of the Urdu alphabet to be taught in a school that we had managed to establish in a ‘Katchi Abadi’, a make-shift community. I remember participating in rallies and other public events, including a street-theatre-style drama presentation. I also ‘infiltrated’ Shifa Medicos (Shifa Laboratories then) to connect with its in-house women workers. Being a working woman and a student, I was a good fit for the WF. I was studying at Punjab University’s journalism department while working as an assistant editor at Lahore’s new monthly Urdu magazine, Dhanak. My extended family owned land and considered itself to be middle class, but my two older siblings and I were brought up mostly by a single mother. While growing up, I was able to see class privilege at work from both above and below; I couldn’t stomach either form of it, and one of my reactions to it was to disregard certain social conventions – especially the ‘dress code’ – by not presenting myself as a ‘middle class girly girl’ but rather as an independent woman, dressed in hand-spun cotton clothes. The instances of sexual abuse that I had faced as a child and youth led me to question the prevalent value systems, and that led me to denounce religious ideologies in general and Islam in particular. ‘Among a sea of journalists in Lahore at that time, I was one of only three women. My two peers were well-established, tight-with-establishment, senior women. For all these reasons, and more, I was a highly visible target and a completely isolated person. Women of the WF helped me to break that isolation, and that increased my chances of survival. In 1973, while studying and working in Lahore, I joined the Young People’s Front (YPF) just as it was disintegrating after the murder of its leader and ideologue, Dr Azizul Haq. A YPF document about the status of women, drafted in part by Rabia Sumbal, was comprehensive and agreeable to my mind. In terms of women’s organizations, the ever-present All Pakistan Women’s Association (APWA) was going strong, such as it was, dutifully supporting as always the political interests of the men in power. APWA claimed credit for the insertion of a women’s equality clause into the 1973 Constitution, but that also was very much in line with their politics, in that it was one of the election promises of Bhutto, the liberalized feudal lord, and he wanted to fulfil it to enhance his democratic image. However, it was inspiring to see a large group of strong women emerge during the 1970 election campaigns: Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Kaneez Fatima Yousaf, Abida Hussain, Sherry Rehman and many more. I also checked out the Democratic Women’s Association (DWA) of Tahira Mazhar Ali, a woman

168  Fauzia Rafique I greatly admire. Founded in 1948, the DWA created a political platform from which low-income women could fight for their rights as workers. I valued that, but, for me, it felt a bit rigid, in the same way that most leftist organizations felt rigid to me, and I was unable to connect or relate to anyone. Why WF? In 1974, it became known in Punjab University that a woman was raped by a member of the ruling PPP and that the police had refused to register the case. Women came together in support of the victim/survivor. That was the beginning of the WF. The organization was founded with the vision of a student of philosophy, who proved to be a creative and successful organizer and thinker. The WF grew rapidly, establishing branches in Rawalpindi, Sargodha and Multan in the first year. Leadership was shared by over 15 women. We were all in our late teens or early twenties, and most of us were single. We didn’t keep careful records and some people wandered in and out of the organization, but I’d guess there were over 50–60 steady members, and the number on the fringes may have been as high as 150 to 200.

Ideology The WF was based on the idea of ‘socialist feminism’ more than any other, in that it was clear and unambiguous about its left-wing politics. Indeed, our image of women’s equality was conceived within the larger framework of Marxist analysis. From the start, we made alliances and partnerships with workers organizations and leftist groups in Lahore and other cities; our plan was to situate the fight for women’s rights in its physical context and to gather support for it from groups we understood to be our allies. This occurred in a ‘natural’, organic way, as most of us were working with or were members of other leftist groups, so when the time came to gather support for the rights of the raped student, we first went to our ‘sister’ organizations that were committed to some form of socialism. Outside of our immediate context, we admired the roles played by women such as Alexandra Kollontai and Nadezhda Krupskaya in the Bolshevik movement during 1919–1930; and Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg were cherished role models. The WF got into ‘Islamic Feminism’ as a tactical choice. While our core membership was clearly of the left, we understood ‘women’s rights’ to be all women’s rights. As such, it would be better not to go openly against any religion, especially Islam, because doing so could provide a strong distraction away from urgent issues that women faced, and it might alienate people who otherwise might be allies. As I recall, it was decided that instead of making religion a point of discussion, we would find empowering Muslim

Society’s radical transformation  169 women from the past to inspire support for our mandate of women’s rights. We celebrated Hazrat Khadija, a successful businesswoman before getting married and handing over her business to the Prophet, and Hazrat Fatima, who led an army into war. Here, allow me to digress a little to make an important point. Our decision not to criticize Islam in public was a strategic choice; nobody pressured us to use this approach. After WF, in the 1980s, everything had changed. At that time, it became life-threatening to criticize Islam or any part of Muslim Sharia. From one decade to the next, that was a huge difference. My warmest respect goes to the women who fought against the ‘Islamicization’ of General Zia-ul-Haq in that dark decade, and to those who are fighting against it now. ‘Radical Feminist’ ideas were bound to appeal to the WF since, as individuals, as young women, we faced multiple forms of repression from societal structures, and we had come together out of a common desire to find lasting solutions to our society-imposed personal problems. We were still reading with awe and admiration about an American women’s bra-throwing protest of 1968 in Atlantic City, where about 400 women came together outside the Miss America pageant at the city’s Convention Centre and raised slogans opposing the prevalent ‘beauty’ myths. They had a ‘freedom trash can’ where various ‘beauty’ items were tossed and burned. The items included bras, girdles, false eyelashes and high heels (Gibson 2011). We supported each other in many ways within the group but gaining community support for this ‘women’s personal freedom’ agenda was a precarious and dangerous game. For example, at one point, I was gaining notoriety in the city because of an exploitative relationship with a predatory male, and a question was raised as to the ‘wisdom’ of identifying me publicly as a leading member of the WF. After a passionate discussion in my absence, it was decided that the group would ‘own’ me as I was, warts and all. That was an incredibly reassuring moment for me, and it made me respect this group of women even more. The value in this reminiscence is that it shows clearly that the group of WF leaders was not only open-minded, but also sensitive to the rights of individual women; they had the courage to support each other even when doing so involved taking a risky and unpopular stand; they did not shy away from experimenting with ideas to figure out what might work better in each unique situation. Flexibility and open-mindedness in terms of ideas, ideologies and strategies was not common on the left at the time, and I’m not sure if it is now. At the time, the WF leading members were keenly aware of what was happening in the women’s communities around us. I remember when Shirkat Gah, a women’s resource and advocacy centre, opened up in 1975 with the support of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), we were excited and we often visited it and made use of its growing collection of publications and other materials. We were also appreciative of women writers such as Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz and Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, actors like Roohi Bano, activists Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani, and women asserting themselves in all situations.

170  Fauzia Rafique

Action The activities undertaken by the WF had a strong connecting thread that was based on the need to raise awareness about women’s rights, to lobby the public and to make information available to women. We were keenly aware that our immediate actions challenge deep-rooted values of our social and political system, and because of that, each contained the long-term goal of changing the oppressive system. We carried out many different actions involving women in different population groups as a way of reaching out, and we found inspiring ways to interact with women and present compelling reasons to talk to one another. For example, we connected with women workers at Shifa Medicos in support of efforts to form a labour union, not because we wanted to evolve into a trade union federation, but to raise awareness about women’s rights in our society as persons and as factory workers. We believed that this level of engagement provided meaningful support for the next step: the formation of a union. Student wing The University of the Punjab drew young women and men from all over Pakistan and from diverse backgrounds, yet all women students faced similar problems: barriers to education and employment, pay inequity between men and women, sexual harassment, the oppressive institution of marriage, the practice of arranged marriage, and all the other daily indignities and attacks on women’s rights. Even though Punjab University was co-educational and an apparent ‘scholarly’ scenario lent it the appearance of a liberal institution, it was the reverse in reality. Due to the power of the right-wing Jamiat-e-Tulba in the students’ union, conservative patriarchal values had been imposed on women where, for example, the gates of women’s hostels were locked down at a particular time in the evening, and they were required to get special permits showing ‘cause’ for going out. Male students, of course, had no such restrictions, or they were never implemented if they existed. WF members were able to relate to the problems of university students and the response was heart-warming. WF put up progressive candidates for the student union’s two seats for women and, for the first time in the university’s history, both seats were won by progressive candidates; the traditionally dominant right-wing women of the Jamiat-e-Tulba went home empty-handed. During its tenure, the WF organized seminars and public meetings for women and men, and held study circles where socialist, Marxist and feminist literature was studied, and discussions happened in the context of the day-to-day problems faced by women. ‘I came to know about Simone de Beauvoir in a study circle’ said Zoya, one of our founding members. ‘The core message I understood at that time was that we should gain knowledge of our bodies. We were shy but at the same time very much interested.’

Society’s radical transformation  171 Factory work The workers’ wing of the WF grew faster than its student wing because of the sheer degree of need and desperation that existed among women factory workers. Most of the factories that employed women did not have trade unions, and that factor alone made it easy for the employers, managers and supervisors to exploit women workers in ways ranging from low wages to sexual abuse. The WF decided to ‘encourage’ the formation of a worker’s union at Shifa Medicos, where most employees were women. Two of our members went and got themselves jobs in the factory. At great risk to themselves, they lived and worked there for weeks, spreading empowerment messages whenever possible. I was not directly involved with this part of WF’s work but was a keen observer and supporter. At one point, safety concerns motivated a couple of us to go in and confirm that our two members were safe. The only way to ‘go in’ was to actually get a job that included living in the factory’s ‘girls’ hostel’. We did get jobs, and I remember spending a night in the hostel on the floor with over 60 or 70 women, many younger than me. The factory was run like a prison labour camp. We made contact with our two ‘infiltrators’, who were inspired by our efforts to ensure their well-being. Their intervention was successful: shortly afterward, the workers began to negotiate with the management to form a union. In addition to Shifa Medicos, the WF worked with Sanitation Workers Union in Rawalpindi/Islamabad, to connect with women working as sweepers. This demographic was different from the women at Shifa Medicos, whose young workers came from diverse lower-class communities. All the sweepers belonged to a single community, lower-class Christians, who traditionally were assigned the stigmatized role of sanitation workers. The neglect faced by the community, especially women and children, from the system was stark; it made us see some aspects of our society that had not been as apparent to us before. For me, it showed the direct link between the cleaning woman hired by my family to work in our house and the community of sanitation workers. I had to open myself to the idea that I am a part of women’s systemic exploitation. But it wasn’t just me, and it wasn’t just one cleaning woman, we were but an indicator of the societal prejudice that the system had instituted on a whole community, with the result being unlimited, timeless exploitation and abuse. We were appreciative of the Peoples Labour Front (PLF) for giving us the opportunity to work with women sanitation workers and for supporting us through it. Children’s literacy school A literacy school for children with just one class was opened by the WF in a katchi basti (a makeshift colony where most homes had mud walls). We passed the colony on our way to and from Punjab University’s New

172  Fauzia Rafique Campus from Model Town, where I lived, and we often saw school-aged children without a school. So, we talked to the local heads and they were happy to allow us the use of a one-room mud hut. We understood that, beyond the fundamentals, education could be used to help children understand new concepts that can change our exploitative society into a system of social and economic justice. So, we created a new ‘Qaida’, an elementary reader that teaches the Urdu alphabet. Our Qaida duly began with ‘alif’ (the first letter of Urdu alphabet), but instead of making the usual words aam (mango) or angoor (grape) it made the word inqilab (revolution). It seems hilarious when I think about it now, and I’m not sure if I want to displace mangoes and grapes for revolution because in Lahore, all three must go together, but it would have been better to add ‘inqilab’ to the other two energy-givers, instead of replacing them. Still, as I recall, our young students did not express any remorse over the loss since they were largely unaware of it, and they were soon shouting ‘Inqilab, Inqilab’ (revolution, revolution) and ‘Zindabad, Zindabad’ (long-live, long-live), which unfortunately caused the mud colony establishment to take action against the school. Students from the Fine Arts Department had helped to develop the book by drawing pictures directly on its pages. Only one copy was created, photocopied and loved to death. Flood relief In a 1975 flood, large areas of Lahore including Shahdara were submerged. We heard that many women and children were trapped in their homes. The WF, supported by a group of progressive doctors at Lahore’s Nishtar Medical College, went to provide medical aid to flood victims. After a week of intense relief work under appalling conditions, some of our members were struck by scabies. Newsletter A monthly (sometimes quarterly) newsletter was published by the WF and distributed in the local campuses and factories. It was a tabloid-sized blackand-white publication of four to eight pages that provided information in Urdu about WF activities with women students, workers and artists; published snippets of important national and international news; displayed a variety of art and literature, broadly defined; and offered an article or two on ideological aspects. At that time there was no computer. Making a camera-ready copy for print required the services of a calligrapher who wrote each letter with special black ink on a transparent sheet called ‘butter paper’, images were converted to printable screens, and then everything was pasted by hand on another sheet of butter paper. It was a lot of work to publish the newsletter, but always worth it.

Society’s radical transformation  173 Cultural events We felt that art and literature, drama and music were engaging tools to communicate complex ideas and feelings. Many cultural events were held at the campus and at the women’s hostels, where we would invite progressive writers, poets and artists to create an enjoyable ‘consciousness-raising’ activity. Co-operation with other groups The WF worked with most progressive groups that were active in our core cities. We attended their public meetings, engaged in policy-making discussions, and supported each other’s protest actions. Our ‘sister’ organizations included the National Students Federation, National Students Organization Aziz-ul-Din group, Young People’s Front, Muzdoor Kisan Party, Multan Fertilizer Factory’s trade union in Multan, and of course, the Peoples Labour Front in Rawalpindi/Islamabad.

Quirks It did not take long before WF members could be identified by their khaddar shalwar-kurta and a stole-type dopatta – with running shoes. The ‘dress code’ was never formally instituted, but our leader was charismatic and proved to be our role model in many ways including – dare I say – ‘fashion’. None of us was rich; spending money on ‘wardrobe’ did not make sense. But, apart from personal preferences or economic conditions, there was a practical and crucial aspect to it. Most leading members of the WF were non-affluent, young unmarried women, a population segment that, in that society, enjoyed as much power as a six-year-old boy who is grudgingly and testily ‘trusted’ to go to the local market and buy some snacks by himself. We needed to appear determined, purposeful and, to an extent, asexual, to be able to walk on the street, engage our communities, and work in campuses, factories and local unions that were all, of course, male dominated. Our attire was a clear statement that encouraged people to think of us not as ‘girls’ who were viewed as property of entitled men, but as people who were concerned about the well-being of our society – and who were determined to change it. Why running shoes? The level of woman abuse rises exponentially when unchaperoned young women travel from one part of the city to the other using public transport. Women with the privilege of travelling by car can go from home to their destination without having to come across and deal with the sexism and abuse of men while boarding and travelling by bus and then walking to reach the street address. Since the telephone was not commonly available, most WF members needed to travel daily to complete our assignments. I remember, we had several assault prevention / physical defence workshops, and we followed simple rules for safety

174  Fauzia Rafique such as to travel in pairs or groups, and to wear running shoes as opposed to the ‘expected’ sandals, dress shoes or heels to prevent barriers to our defence and/or escape. None of us had cars; we needed comfortable walking gear!

Where did it go? The reasons cited in other studies are that WF petered out after the founding students graduated, before a lasting infrastructure could be built (Saigol 2016); its roots in the working class were not deep enough (Mumtaz and Shaheed 1987); and finally, ‘by 1977 the political climate … had changed, the left organizations were becoming isolated and they finally dissipated’, and that was the WF’s ‘inglorious end’ (Ibid.). All these reasons may have had a part to play: some women did leave the campus after two years, and yes, a lasting infrastructure was not built to keep the WF afloat in students or workers, and the political climate did change in favour of fundamental Islam. But there may be more to it, so let’s look at these, along with some other factors at play at the time. 1. The women leading the WF came from a social class that though large in numbers, did not have enough social clout (money, influence or power) to offer adequate protection to its members, especially women. Here are a few everyday examples: compared to women in other movements who could travel by car, the degree of our vulnerability as women increased when we walked on the street or used public transport; when one of us was arrested or threatened, there were no rich or influential relatives to bail us out; if one of us lost a job, there were no savings to live on. So, when the time came for surviving state oppression, we were easy to break and disperse. This situation was fuelled by the Bhutto government which, as a part of its general clamping down on left organizations, arrested our members and threatened our families. They were able to hit us from both sides: inside and out. Our male friends and relatives working with workers organizations or left groups were rounded up in droves, that necessitated for us to support them through life-threatening situations such as arrests and imprisonments. This situation was a serious drain on our meagre human and material resources. 2. If it was only state repression, we may have had a chance to survive since, as women, the state perceived us to be a lesser threat than men. But it wasn’t only state repression: familial aggression was inescapable. After the lathi-charged rally in Rawalpindi on 8 March 1975, photos of our members and supporters confronting the police were published by the newspapers, which were read by our family members. But instead of responding with pride, or even appreciation, most families shamed, punished and reprimanded us. The extent of aggression faced by most of our members was different from what a middle class or elite young

Society’s radical transformation  175 woman would have received from her family in a similar scenario. The May Day march compounded this situation. With no structural/societal support, we had to confront life-altering situations. One woman was kept under lock and key in her house for weeks; another had to find an alternative living space in a hurry; families prevented women from sitting in the exams; some were physically beaten by their fathers and male kin; one woman’s future in-laws threatened to reject her as marriageable to their son; all of us sustained rampant verbal and emotional abuse. 3. The WF was conceived more as a movement than an organization. We never thought of instituting any of the prevalent hierarchical organizational structures, choosing instead to work as an informal collective. To an extent, WF followed the global ebb and flow of the early 1970s, when loosely structured student movements had begun surfacing around the world. Toward the end of the decade, like the WF, many of those were made to die down by their respective societal repressions. 4. Another dynamic was at play on the national level. The 1970s was heralded as a decade of power for youth and for women, the marginalized, and for the peace-loving people of the world. A large majority of Pakistani women had participated in a passionate political movement leading to the win of their favoured candidate. They had built local and national campaigns, participated in rallies, given speeches, written articles, taken stands within their homes, and voted differently from their male relatives who favoured traditional feudal/conservative parties. In the 1970 election, women voted for roti, kappra aur makan (bread, clothing and shelter), and for equal rights. But as soon as our candidate (unlawfully) secured his position in the government, women were asked to cool it. Just like the women who were ‘allowed’ to participate in a political movement for the formation of Pakistan in the 1940s only to be pushed back into their homes or to charitable work after 1947, in the mid and late 1970s, women were pushed back after creating success for the PPP. By the end of 1976, the WF had ceased to exist.

Impact Movements small and large are remembered for the ‘spirit’ they inculcate in people, even more so than they are remembered for ‘tangible’ achievements. The Occupy Movement, to which Angela Davis’s quote cited at the beginning of this chapter refers, began and ended in the United States in two years. 2011 to 2012, but its spirit remains. Instead of ‘demanding’ social justice, the protesters ‘occupied’ the spaces assigned to the system’s power-holders; its legacy remains to inform the protest movements of the future. The WF too was a strong-spirited movement that changed everyone it touched. It

176  Fauzia Rafique taught us what Zamored, now a grandmother of six, expressed beautifully in a phone interview: ‘The WF made women courageous … I learned how to live according to my own will and to make my own decisions.’ It was a basic training ground and a place of much learning. ‘Awareness or awakefulness (jag vigil-ness) was given to me by the WF, and that reflected in my life all through’, says Zoya. The experience with the WF had a lasting impact on the women who worked in it or with it. In hindsight, it epitomizes the term ‘self-empowerment’. Yes, we, as young women of a lower class had empowered ourselves to fight for the collective rights of under-privileged women, and that’s all we tried to do. We didn’t think that we were doing something great or glorious; we thought we were doing what was urgently needed. Today, the group of women who began the WF are in their sixties, scattered all over the globe, single or married, mothers and grandmothers, working or retired – still going strong. After the closure of the WF, some of its members including Shahnaz Alvi, created Roshni, the women’s wing of RAHAT, Rehabilitation and Health Aid Centre for Torture survivors, founded by Dr Mahboob Mehdi who is a longtime left-wing activist and was a strong supporter of the WF. In the 1980s, some WF members joined the movement against the Hudood Ordinances spearheaded by Woman Action Forum (WAF). Most of us continue to work for women’s rights as researchers, writers, artists, activists and educators. Once, we were talking about ‘achievements’ of women, and one of us said something like ‘If a woman takes a different path than the one she’s supposed to walk on, to me, it’s an achievement.’ The WF created many different paths in the 1970s, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the daily achievements of everyday women, and while working together, it seemed as if it were possible to radically transform the world. This possibility always exists for us, even within the systems of our oppression.

Notes 1 The quote by Angela Davis is from a lecture delivered at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, USA, February 13, 2014. Also available at 2 In addition to other published materials referred to in the text, this chapter was informed by a wide variety of studies, including Blood 1994, Gardezi 1990, Haq 1996, Khan 2000, Rashid 2008, Rouse 1984, Rouse n.d., Saiyid 2017, Shaheed n.d. and 2016, Ali 2000, and Heizman 2008, as well as coverage of ‘On Occupy’events and developments, notably Saiyid 2016 and 2017, Shah’s articles from 2014, and McDonald-Gibson and Shackle 2017. Numerous articles in the journal Social Work and data from the Wikipedia article on the Occupy Movement were also valuable.

Society’s radical transformation  177

References Ali, S.S. (2000) ‘Law, Islam and the women’s movement in Pakistan’. In S.M. Rai (ed.) International Perspectives on Gender and Democratisation. Women’s Studies at York Series. London: Palgrave Macmillan. chapter/10.1007/978-1-349-62879-7_3. Last accessed August 6 2020. Blood, P.B., ed. (1994) Pakistan: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. United States. Last accessed August 6 2020. Gardezi, F. (1990) ‘Islam, Feminism, and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan: 1981– 1991’. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 10(2), pp. 18–24. 10.1215/07323867-10-2-18. Last accessed August 6 2020. Gibson,M.(2011)‘Thebra-burningMissAmericaprotest’.Time(2August).http://content.,28804,2088114_2087975_2087965,00. html. Last accessed August 6 2020. Haq, F. (1996) ‘Women, Islam and the State in Pakistan’. The Muslim World 86(2), pp. 158–175. Heizman, J. (2008) The City in South Asia. London: Routledge. Khan, Nilghat S. (2000) ‘The women’s movement revisited: Areas of concern for the future’ In Suki Ali, Kelly Coate and Wangui wa Goro (eds) Global Feminist Politics: Identities in a Challenging World. London and New York: Routledge. McDonald-Gibson, C. and S. Shackle (2017) ‘The new suffragettes: The Pakistani woman who started a movement’. The Independent. news/world/asia/the-new-suffragettes-the-pakistani-woman-who-started-a-movement-8633516.html. Last accessed August 6 2020. Mumtaz, K. and F. Shaheed (1987) Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? Women of Pakistan. London: Zed Books; Lahore: Vanguard. Occupy Movement. Wikipedia. Last accessed August 6 2020. On Occupy: Roundtable Discussion with Angela Davis and Rev. James Lawson (2011) Transcript. Autumn Awakening 18(2). Last accessed August 6 2020. Rashid, T. (2008) ‘Women’s rights movement in Pakistan’. In S. F. Hasnat and A. Faruqui (eds) Unresolved Issues of the Pakistani Society and State. Lahore: Vanguard Press, pp. 175–197. Rouse, S.J. (1984) ‘Women’s movements in contemporary Pakistan. Results and prospects’. Working Paper 74, University of Wisconsin. docs/PNAAY061.pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Rouse, S. (n.d.) ‘Dossier 3: Women’s movement in Pakistan: State, class, gender’. Last accessed August 6 2020. Saigol, Rubina (2016) ‘Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Actors, Debates and Strategies’. Bonn: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Last accessed August 6 2020. Saiyid, D. (2017) ‘Women’s role in the Pakistan movement’. posted on 22 March. Last accessed August 6 2020. Sakshi (2016) ‘Start of something new: Feminist movement in Pakistan’. She the people TV (4 January). Last accessed August 6 2020.

178  Fauzia Rafique Shah, B. (2014a) ‘The fate of feminism in Pakistan’. New York Times. www.nytimes. com/2014/08/21/opinion/bina-shah-the-fate-of-feminism-in-pakistan.html. Last accessed August 6 2020. Shah, H. (2014b) ‘The feminist movement in Pakistan’. Tweet. https://prezi. com/-jw6uwt0k81c/the-feminist-movement-in-pakistan/. Last accessed August 6 2020. Shaheed, Farida (2010) ‘The Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Challenges and achievements’. In Amrita Basu (ed.) Women’s Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. Westview Press, pp. 89–118. https://assets.publishing. pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Shaheed, Farida (2016) ‘Pakistan’s Women’s Movement: Protests, programming, and revitalization’ In Amrita Basu (ed.) Women’s Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. London: Routledge. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Becomes President (n.d.), Story of Pakistan, Last accessed August 6 2020.

10 The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan Ideology and functioning Rubina Saigol

The Women’s Action Forum (WAF), Pakistan is a lobbying and pressure group, formed in 1981 to respond to the oppressive measures of a Pakistani military dictatorship that deployed Islam as a weapon to suppress dissent, gain legitimacy and reinvent the state along religious lines. Over the years, WAF has evolved as it grappled with varying degrees of state and non-state attempts to impose a particular, mainly religious, order upon society. It has survived, for over three decades and through different political dispensations, because of strategic decisions and ideological choices made shortly after its inception. The two main ideological choices were to privilege democracy and civilian rule over dictatorship and military rule, and to privilege a secular and inclusive state over a state defined by one sect of one religion. In addition, WAF made three strategic decisions in terms of its functioning and methodology: non-hierarchical functioning and democratic inclusion; non-partisanship and non-political affiliation; and rejection of donor funding in any form or from any source. In Section I of this chapter, I discuss WAF’s ideology, which has remained consistent across decades of existence regardless of the characteristics of the governments it interfaced with. In Section II, I outline some of the pivotal decisions around the methodology and explain how these enabled WAF to incorporate some core feminist principles into its functioning. Finally, I raise some critical questions about the future of WAF, given the apparent trajectory of Pakistan’s socio-political environment. The ideological choices and strategic decisions taken by WAF early on in its existence influenced the manner and outcome of WAF’s work. These choices and decisions are the main reason that WAF was able to survive, despite changes in the politico-legal environment and alterations of the socio-cultural landscape. They enabled WAF to negotiate its path in the face of ever-changing external realities that often required quick and creative responses. It is important to discuss the impact of each of the ideological choices and strategic decisions separately to better understand how they influenced WAF’s work for more than three and a half decades.

180  Rubina Saigol

I – Ideological choices Democracy versus dictatorship The Women’s Action Forum believes in a democratic and secular state wherein all fundamental rights of all citizens are upheld irrespective of class, caste, colour, creed, ethnicity or sect. WAF believes that all discrimination against citizens based on sex/gender, religion, class, caste, ethnicity or sect should be declared illegal as the concept of citizenship equality is enshrined in the constitution. (Charter, Women’s Action Forum) WAF was founded at the height of one of Pakistan’s most oppressive and violent military dictatorships. General Zia-ul-Haq had declared martial law in July 1977, using Islam as the pretext and justification for what was essentially illegal rule. In 1979, after the Soviet attack on neighbouring Afghanistan, Pakistan began to reconfigure itself in relation to the ongoing imperial war between the Soviet Union and the United States. Armed with the weapon of religious morality crafted by the regime and its allies, Zia claimed that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was intended not only to penetrate the politico-legal realm but also to encroach upon the private lives of citizens. The ideological choice of ‘Islamization’ enabled a military dictator to claim legitimacy for his illegal takeover and imposition of martial law. All political parties and student and trade unions were banned, and many leaders were put in jail; the freedom of speech was curbed to the point where journalists critical of the regime were flogged in public. The performing arts were banned, and severe punishments were meted out for any violation of the moral code of conduct imposed by the regime. It was, however, the spate of discriminatory laws, especially regarding the status of women relative to men, that shook women from the urban educated middle classes to form a platform from which to raise their voices against laws, ostensibly framed in the name of religion, that had the effect of controlling the lives, choices and sexuality of women. Initially, WAF was formed to resist the politics of piety designed and disseminated by the state with particular reference to women’s lives. The Islamization of the military regime led by General Zia was focused primarily on three areas: the judiciary, education and media. The economy was exempted from Islamization on account of Pakistan’s international debt repayment obligations, on which interest had to be paid. Women – believed to be the repositories of religion, culture and tradition – were targeted with particularly oppressive laws and measures designed to regulate their private and public lives. In 1979, five Hudood Ordinances were promulgated, among which the Zina law particularly affected women. According to this law, women could only prove rape by producing four male adult Muslim witnesses to the actual penetration. Failing to do so, they would be booked on charges of adultery or fornication punishable by death because, by reporting the incident, they had admitted to the act of intercourse with

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  181 someone other than her husband. Rape and adultery were thus conflated and Zina (adultery), which was formerly a crime against person, became a crime against the state. This law sparked outrage as women became victims twice; first by being raped and then by being punished by the courts for an illicit sexual act that had been forced upon them. Large numbers of poor rural women who had been raped by the landlords languished in jail for years on charges of adultery or fornication. WAF was formed in reaction against the Zina (adultery) laws. WAF led a consistent campaign against these laws over several decades: fighting cases, speaking out, protesting and writing. Another measure taken by the regime was the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance, promulgated in 1979. This law offered murderers the option of revenge (qisas, an eye for an eye) or blood money (diyat) to be paid by the killer to relatives of the victim. In the latter case, the killer would go scotfree after paying the blood money, which for women was half the amount for men. The victim’s family was given the choice to forgive the murderer either for free or after accepting blood money. This law effectively privatized the crime of murder, which was no longer a crime against the state but against a person. Ironically, while adultery was declared a crime against the state, murder was declared a crime against a person. This is a reversal of the universal practice, where murder is a crime against the state and adultery is a crime against person. The state in Pakistan was now more offended by women’s perceived moral and sexual transgression than by murder. The Qisas and Diyat Ordinance was invoked repeatedly to gain impunity for so-called ‘honour killings’. Fathers, brothers, husbands or sons would kill their female kin, ostensibly in the name of honour but actually to take over land, property or money belonging to them. They would invoke the Ordinance to forgive themselves for the crime; if the father killed his daughter the son would forgive him, and the father would pardon a son who killed her. They could kill with impunity and, as a result, thousands of women – who were either ‘superfluous’ single aunts with property in their name, or were otherwise seen as a burden on the family – were accused of violating the family’s honour and killed. There was a mass movement against this tribal mechanism, as it allowed families and communities to kill with impunity. In many cases, the man accused of defiling a family’s honour could escape to a different city because of his higher mobility, while the woman was axed to death. After a long struggle led by WAF along with lawyers, journalists and some religious leaders, ‘honour killing’ was declared murder during the regime of General Pervez Musharraf, but loopholes in it persist. Families often declare it ordinary murder and escape punishment by being forgiven by the close kin of the murdered woman. The Zina law and the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance reflect an obsession with female sexuality and the state’s urge to regulate it through the family system. Family, community and state colluded to control women and get rid of unwanted women through the use of these tribal forms of ‘justice’.

182  Rubina Saigol In effect, the state itself became tribalized in this process. Other laws were used to reduce women’s citizenship status. In 1984, the Law of Evidence was passed, reducing the value of women’s testimony to half that of men in a court of law. The evidence of two women was declared to be equal to the testimony of one Muslim man. Religious minorities were also reduced to secondary citizenship as their testimony also became less valuable than that of a Muslim man. WAF campaigned vociferously against this law, along with members of religious minority communities and human rights activists. However, once a law based on religion (or its specific interpretation) is passed in Pakistan, it is difficult to change it. Most of these laws remain on the statute books and, each time there is a move to change them, the powerful religious lobby rises up and the state recedes in fear. The obsession with women’s bodies has not been confined to legislation. Policies devised by the government also focused on the control and concealment of the female body. The women’s hockey team was stopped at the Lahore Airport and prevented from participating in spectator sports on the pretext that their legs would be visible, and they would not be adequately veiled. Dance, singing, theatre and other performing arts were banned in girls’ schools, and performances by famous dancers were banned as well. Women’s bodies, the nation’s ‘sacred’ reproductive resource, must be protected, concealed and made invisible to the gaze of the outsider/stranger who could potentially defile the sanctity of the nation and contaminate it. The state’s consistent policy of confining and restraining women encouraged vigilantism against women: enormous violence against them was unleashed. Religious clerics began to publicly challenge their dress and even commit violence against them; the state seemed to give legitimacy to criminal actions committed in the name of religion. Virtue and morality could only be protected through this control, so that a pure and moral nation could be reproduced. It was not just the sexual body of the woman that was to be rendered invisible, but the labouring body too was offensive. There were television shows on which it was argued that women should recede from the job market and all economic activity. Notwithstanding the fact that women in rural areas have to work in the fields for their families to survive, the TV lectures on morality were meant to target the increasing numbers of urban middle class women entering the job market and competing with men for jobs. WAF staunchly and consistently opposed the laws and policies designed to curtail their rights. At the same time, they fought to protect the laws that gave them a few rights in the private sphere. The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961 was under incessant attack by the regime ideologues, as it gave women some rights in the areas of marriage, divorce and the custody of children. From time to time, there have been moves to reverse the Ordinance, but these have been vehemently resisted by WAF and other women’s organizations. Initially, WAF worked on its own against the spate of legislation and policy to defend the rights of women. Gradually, however, WAF members realized that women’s rights are inextricably intertwined with democracy

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  183 and cannot be defended or achieved without the presence of a democratic dispensation. At first, WAF was not linked directly with the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), but over time, WAF was able to link its struggle with the resistance against military rule in all its manifestations. Concomitantly with the realization that all forms of rights, political, civil, economic and cultural are possible only through a democratic civilian order, WAF also understood that all rights are deeply interlinked. It quickly became clear that women’s rights are not possible without simultaneously attaining the rights of peasants, workers, and ethnic and religious minorities. This also widened WAF’s horizons in that it began to emphasize that all issues are women’s issues: women do not exist outside of history or social structure and do not constitute an abstract category by themselves. Beyond gender, there were other identities of religion, ethnicity, sect, geographical location, caste and class, which simultaneously connect and divide women. The notion of multiple identities (which in current times is referred to as inter-sectionality) was embedded in WAF’s work, even though not consciously stated. The fact that WAF members belonged to various classes, ethnic origins, sects and religious communities enabled WAF to understand and articulate the specific issues of women from divergent backgrounds. Such diversity within WAF engendered the idea of inclusive democracy, as opposed to a state based on exclusions and inequalities. Over its 30-plus years of existence, WAF frequently took up the issues of minorities and all forms of inequality, discrimination and exclusion at any level of state and society. For WAF, democracy was not just form but also substance. WAF did not subscribe to the notion that democracy comprises only periodic elections, voting, legislative assemblies, cabinets and other structural paraphernalia. WAF sought both legal and substantive equality for all citizens irrespective of the differences of class, caste, religion, ethnicity or gender. Constitutionally, all citizens of Pakistan are equal before the law; however, economic and social realities limit access to legal redress mostly to male citizens of well-to-do classes. Women, religious and ethnic minorities, peasants and labourers do not have equal access to legal remedies, due to entrenched prejudices and the cost of access to the legal process. WAF filed several court cases on behalf of women, minorities, peasants and workers. For example, WAF took up the Safia Bibi case, in which a blind woman from a poor, rural background was accused of adultery under the Zina laws and sentenced to death by stoning. WAF also gave press statements, marched and demonstrated in the case of Salamat Masih and Aasia Bibi, both falsely accused of blasphemy. WAF stood up for the rights of the Ahmadis and called for the Second Constitutional Amendment to be revoked, arguing that the state does not have the right to decide who is or is not a Muslim. WAF supported the struggle of brick kiln workers, bonded labourers as well as the haris of Sindh. For WAF, ‘democracy’ increasingly had come to mean the protection and promotion of the rights of the marginalized and dispossessed sections of society.

184  Rubina Saigol As WAF celebrated the return of democracy in the 1990s, it continued to resist and oppose any measures that seemed designed to buttress absolutist tendencies. For example, WAF was strongly critical of the proposed Fifteenth Amendment by Nawaz Sharif’s second government because it would have made him an absolute ruler with unbridled power. Similarly, WAF was extremely critical of the appointment of Maulana Sheerani as the head of the Council for Islamic Ideology by the Zardari-led PPP government in 2010. The Maulana’s views were antithetical to women’s rights and equality, which WAF considers indispensable for democracy. Whenever ministers or other representatives made statements supporting so-called ‘honour-killing’, for example PPP minister Israulla Zehri’s support of those who buried five Balochi women alive, WAF was quick to take the government to task. When members of parliament or provincial assemblies made offensive remarks against their female colleagues, WAF responded with criticism irrespective of the political party responsible. In short, WAF believes that democracy must be premised on inclusion, pluralism and respect for all, regardless of gender, class, caste, creed or ethnic belonging. On the one hand, WAF insisted that democracy be based on the principle of respecting diversity and inclusion; on the other, there was an understanding that democracy begins at home. As long as women remain unequal at home and traditional and familial hierarchies are not overcome, democracy remains incomplete. It is not only in the public sphere that democracy is imperative for a just society, but also in the private domestic sphere, where all too many families and communities regard women as lesser, inferior, dispensable and unequal. What happens inside the home has social consequences; therefore it is political – the personal is political. Based on this feminist principle, WAF took up a number of cases of domestic and community-based violence. Male relatives had beaten, mutilated, murdered, exchanged and killed women in the name of cultural practices such as Karo Kari, Swarah, Vani and Haq Bakhswana.1 For WAF, a patriarchal state and society cannot possibly be democratic, since any form of hierarchy and inequality negates the idea of equality, which is the core principle of democracy. A broad and nuanced view of democracy includes the idea of a federal (as opposed to unitary) state and decentralization of power. WAF strongly stood behind the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment, which abolished the Concurrent List and transferred a large number of subjects to the provinces while also increasing their share of the national resource pool.2 As WAF has chapters in all four provinces and a wide range of ethnic groups are represented among its membership, WAF opposes a centralized state in which resources and power were concentrated at the Centre, which was perceived as dominated by one ethnic group: the Punjabis. Pakistan’s military dictatorships have invariably preferred a centralized state in which the largest share of the available resources, after debt repayment, is allocated to the military. In contrast, historically education and health are consistently given very low priority, even though the logic of electoral politics demands a greater share for people’s basic needs. WAF

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  185 joined other democratic organizations to support the devolution of power to the provincial level. A recurring demand by WAF was the reduction in defence and military spending and increase in spending on the social sectors such as health and education. In short, WAF has always supported a social welfare state rather than one based predominantly on the national security paradigm. Owing to its ideological choice to support democracy rather than dictatorship, WAF was able to consistently oppose authoritarian rule, praetorian adventurism and military ingress into civilian spheres. In an era during which intensified judicial activism, and the military’s covert interference in civilian affairs became heightened, WAF Lahore expressed its concerns in a statement on 8 March 2018: WAF is deeply troubled by the ingress of non-accountable and nonelected institutions of the state into the domain of other institutions. We reiterate that all legislation is purely the domain of the legislature while administrative matters, such as the quality of milk or water fall in the domain of the executive. Similarly, foreign, defence and security policies are the right of the elected government and not of unaccountable state institutions which are subordinate to the government. WAF believes in a democratic and plural state where there is a separation of powers and emphasizes that unless each institution remains within its assigned role, chaos and anarchy will follow. We call upon all institutions to perform their own role with responsibility, thus diminishing the chances of adventurism by any other institution. WAF calls upon the media to desist from supporting and inviting a military coup or any other undemocratic and unconstitutional intervention. While some media persons are careful and engage in responsible journalism, others appear to be a part of a nefarious agenda of disinformation designed to dismantle elected governments. In July 2018, WAF Karachi similarly took the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) to task for his extensive incursions into the domain of the executive: The CJP has had to defend himself against allegations of the political motives that inform his judicial activism. This has resulted in a loss of public confidence in the independence of the institution and renders the CJP incapable of executing the office of the Chief Justice of Pakistan. In holding everyone else to account, it seems the CJP has forgotten that he too, is accountable as a public servant, in the service of the people of Pakistan, charged with the duty to abide by mandate as laid down by the Constitution of Pakistan, and also bound by the code for judges. With national elections due, it is imperative for all individuals and institutions to refrain from transgressing their constitutional mandate. Such overstepping also encourages the Armed Forces to make political comments on the 18th Amendment [later retracted] threatens the

186  Rubina Saigol democratic will and consensus of the people of the entire Federation, and undermines the dignity of the judiciary. It is not enough that the elections are held on time; these must be conducted in a fair and impartial manner, under an environment free of any sort of coercion. The judiciary must abide by its mandated constitutional role and ensure fundamental rights are upheld and due process guaranteed to all. We do not need saviours. We need systems and institutions that work effectively and equally for all. WAF’s strong support for the ideal of separation of powers and civilian supremacy was articulated, along with the aspiration for free and fair elections believed to be the core principle of parliamentary democracy. Responding to the widespread allegation that general elections in 2018 were subjected to extensive rigging, WAF Lahore warned in a statement issued on the General Elections of 2018: The Women’s Action Forum is deeply concerned about the manner in which the General Elections 2018 were conducted. Multiple failures at various levels were reported across the country, which cast a shadow of doubt on the results and leads one to challenge the competence of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Elections, based upon the principle of universal adult franchise, constitute the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy as they represent one of the most important, universally recognized, basic rights: the right to be ruled by elected representatives. Voting is an inalienable right of every citizen, through which people participate in the governance of the country. The idea of free and fair elections by providing a level playing field to all contenders is one of the foremost functions of all institutions, especially the Election Commission of Pakistan. It is the only way to preserve the sanctity of the vote and ensure that the parliament represents all regions, religions, castes, ethnicities, sects and genders. The parliament has gone a long way toward ensuring such participation of citizens through decentralization and reserved seats for women and minorities. An election tarnished by allegations of fraud, rigging, engineering, manipulation and maneuvering to achieve specific desired results cannot ensure the free and fair participation of people in choosing their representatives, who could frame the laws that reflect their aspirations. Such manipulation negates the very purpose of holding elections and shakes peoples’ trust in the very foundations of democracy. WAF openly supported democratic forces in times of military rule, and during civilian dispensations it remained critical of any moves that would subvert democracy through covert interference by subordinate institutions. WAF remained constant in its critique of the military’s indirect and ‘hidden’

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  187 forays into the civilian sphere rendering it powerless. When civilian governments were arm-twisted into passing the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014 authorizing military courts, WAF was alarmed and staunchly opposed such measures. At the February 2016 National Convention held in Karachi, all WAF chapters agreed to reject all forms of extra-judicial, illegal and undemocratic measures instituted in the name of fighting terrorism. WAF opposed the Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014 (PPA) on the grounds that it would be misused against political opponents and specific provinces. The PPA constitutes a parallel system, which contradicts basic human rights upheld in both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the constitution of Pakistan. The Act violated the principles of fair trial guaranteed through Article 10A of the fundamental rights section of the constitution, as well as the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty, thereby shifting the burden of proof onto the accused. The Act also inserted the notion of ‘enemy alien’, which could undermine the rights of ethnic groups by its application to movements for national liberation. Furthermore, the PPA authorized the excessive use of force and left it to the concerned law officer to interpret the meaning of ‘excessive’. It permitted law-enforcing authorities to forcibly enter homes without a warrant, which is a gross violation of the constitution. The PPA allowed a person to be charged retrospectively – for actions taken prior to PPA implementation that became illegal only afterwards – which is a violation of a cardinal principle of justice. WAF also rejected the use of military courts because of their lack of transparency, oversight and no meaningful redress once a sentence is levied. WAF agreed nationally that military courts were a flagrant violation of human rights, as they allow for trials for terrorism-related crimes related to bypass the judiciary, and thus that the twenty-first constitutional amendment, 2015, through which they were created, should be reversed. At the same national convention, WAF decided to oppose the constitution’s Article 245, wherein the armed forces could be invited to assist civilian agencies within Pakistan. This Article violates the principle of accountability, undermines the judiciary and is as liable to misuse as the PPA and Anti-Terrorist Courts are. Any action taken under the jurisdiction of Article 245 cannot be called into question in any court of law and the rights and obligations assigned to the High Court under Article 199 may not be fulfilled when the army invokes the Article. WAF held that this Article bestows unbridled powers upon the armed forces and can, therefore, be misused against political opponents. It was agreed at the national level that WAF would staunchly oppose the Anti-Terrorist Act of 1997, as it applies indiscriminately to all disputes and conflicts even when they involve personal enmity or property disputes and not just acts against the state. The broad definition of ‘Terrorism’ renders this act liable to abuse as it can be used against political opponents and those struggling for economic and social rights, such as trade unionists and peasants fighting for land rights. WAF demanded the repeal of

188  Rubina Saigol the Act and reiterated the principle that all cases should go through the regular law courts and due process. WAF denounced the fact that after the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted, hundreds of people were sent to the gallows without due process, fair trial or any meaningful opportunity to defend themselves before an unbiased court. Consistent with its stated opposition to systems of alternate dispute resolution, WAF stressed that all forms of parallel legal systems including Jirgas, panchayats and Akaths must be banned; a single judicial and legal system was understood to be necessary for ensuring justice and democracy. At the same time, the existing judicial system should be provided with the resources needed to enable it to deliver justice at all levels. The choice to support democracy, civilian supremacy, an independent and responsive judiciary, and adherence to basic constitutional and human rights principles allowed WAF to take consistent stands regarding democratic functioning across different civilian and military dispensations. A broad, all-encompassing perspective on democracy enabled WAF to focus not only on the form of democracy but its substantive manifestation in both private and public spheres. Secular and inclusive state versus a state defined by religion WAF advocates for a secular and pluralistic state that observes the separation of religion from laws and public policies, and administers wellbeing, and protects the equal rights of all citizens, without any discrimination on the basis of gender, class or religious belief. Further WAF calls on all institutions to govern without any use and therefore, exploitation, of religion. (Women’s Action Forum, Karachi, Manifesto, General Election 2018) WAF calls upon women and civil society actors across all classes, castes, ethnicities and religions to unite against terrorism and injustice whether in the name of religion or tradition … Today Pakistan is at the crossroads: challenged by a severe economic crisis, the country is being terrorized by people who abuse the name of Islam and challenge the writ of the state in many regions. WAF is profoundly distressed at the spiralling violence, insane use of torture and abuse as well as the flaunting of the law of the land with impunity. (Women’s Action Forum, Press Statement, 12 February 2009) One of the most critical ideological choices made by WAF was that it stands for a secular state. It took WAF over a decade to reach consensus on the idea that the organization rejects the use of religion for political ends, because such use invariably reinforces the role of religion in both the public and private lives of citizens. WAF decided to oppose every law, measure, action and policy that is based on religion, as Pakistan is a country of diverse faiths and a number of WAF members belonged to faiths other than Islam.

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  189 WAF would not deploy religious arguments for any of its stands, and would vociferously oppose any actions taken by any government in the name of religion. It was an arduous task to reach a consensus on the principle that only a secular state could grant equality to all citizens irrespective of faith or creed. Since WAF was composed of individuals and organizations, there was a plurality of belief among its membership. Certain members were more religious in their orientation than others and naturally felt a threat to their beliefs from a secular stance. On the other hand, members whose personal religious orientation was ambivalent nonetheless felt that since the Zia regime was promulgating discriminatory laws based on religion, it would be strategically expedient to get alternative perspectives on religion from relatively liberal and modernist clerics. This strategy was promoted mainly by WAF Lahore, and was discarded once there was a realization that it could backfire, as most religions have an inherent patriarchal bias. By the early 1990s, it was clear that religion was being used as a weapon to tame the citizenry, especially women and religious minorities. Religious nationalism was also being used as a method of silencing ethnic minorities by reminding them without respite that the country was created on the idea that Islam is a common thread that ties multiple and diverse nations together. Finally, after extensive debate and consideration, all WAF chapters concluded that religion could not be relied upon to attain equal rights as it has inherent inequalities and hierarchies built into its structure. The patriarchal bent of religion means that women in the home and private sphere cannot be equal to men, and its socially divisive tendency means that it creates inequalities between Muslims and citizens of other faiths. WAF decided that it would draw its equality arguments from a secular ethos, so that all kinds of citizens could aspire toward equality. In a press release on 5 February 2008, WAF reiterated its secular stand: WAF upholds the spirit and the core principles of the original 1973 constitution. It strongly believes that constitutional promises of equal citizenship regardless of ethnicities, languages, regions, geographical locations and gender, and the promise of equal opportunities, aspirations and economic, social and political rights can only be guaranteed through a secular state. WAF remained consistent with regard to its secular stand and was able to critique all governments, political parties and organizations that furthered discrimination based on religious difference. Initially, WAF was mainly concerned with the state’s attempts to impose discriminatory laws based on a particular religious sect upon all others. Over time, there was a realization that WAF was pitted not only against a government that used religion to further its political ends, but also against non-state actors bent upon imposing their own specific worldview on every citizen. WAF discerned the nexus between certain arms of the state (mainly the military) and the vast array of

190  Rubina Saigol non-state actors who were not averse to using violence to impose a monolithic religious identity upon the state. A struggle that began against a militarized state, one that used religious nationalism to whip up hatred, otherness and alienation by imposing a false sense of unity upon its citizens, spread to other spheres of society where a particular articulation of religion was being deployed as a weapon, along with newer forms of personal piety engendered through the popularization of dars sessions mainly involving women. An early fear expressed during WAF meetings – that the state’s use of religion to define itself would lead to extremist manifestations of religion while also inducing sectarian thinking – was proven true over time. When a state comes to be defined in religious terms, political power becomes available as a resource to be used by any sect. Naturally, every sect wanted its own vision to be highlighted by a state that would then declare followers of all other sects as infidels sometimes unworthy of life itself. Sectarianism was the logical outcome of the potential availability of political power in a state defined by one religion. In a statement issued by WAF on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2008, WAF reminded the state of its earlier warnings: It [WAF] challenged General Zia-ul-Haq’s martial law and his ‘Islamization of Pakistan’. It warned against the rise of the Taliban in 1996 on the grounds that this would have a fall out on Pakistan and rejected the military takeover of General Musharraf in 1999, and took a strong stand against the US invasion of Afghanistan on the grounds that this would not only be detrimental for Afghanistan but also for Pakistan. On the one hand, the state was transforming the politico-legal structure to contain its citizenry; on the other, it was altering the social, cultural and political environment to create consensus for the holy war policy pursued by the military. WAF had to resist at many levels – political, legal, moral, social and cultural. The ideological choice of a secular state was seen as the antithesis of the onslaught of ‘Islamized’ state and non-state actors bent upon changing the very fabric of society by unleashing violence and intolerance. The latter was engendered through school curricula, the media and a parallel judicial structure comprising the Federal Shariat Court and subordinate Shariat Courts. Massive constitutional changes, forcibly inserted by a military general, became difficult to reverse as subsequent governments bowed in the face of threats by armed religious groups. WAF found itself pitted against the state with regard to the spate of new laws that reduced women’s status (Hudood, Qisas and Diyat, and the Law of Evidence) and other laws like blasphemy, which made religious minorities and dissenting citizens vulnerable to threats at the hands of the majority community. Blasphemy laws embolden private actors to harass/torture/ murder people they believe to have insulted their faith. WAF simultaneously confronted a long line of non-state outfits that threatened the very existence of a democratic state and parliamentary democracy, such as the

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  191 Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jaish-e-Muhammad, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Harket-ul-Mujahideen, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi. The policy of Islamization at home, together with entry into the Afghan Jihad (a euphemism for the imperial Soviet-US conflict in Afghanistan), led to the formation of diverse groups of armed militants aiming to attain enough political power to impose a Deobandi/Wahhabi version of religion imported mainly from Saudi Arabia. These diverse groups ultimately coalesced under the general ‘Taliban’ umbrella. In a press release dated 2 April 2007, WAF expressed its deep concerns over the Talibanization of society: The sight of political Islam hiding behind black shrouds is the stuff of nightmares and a frightening preview of a dark and savage future for Pakistan. … WAF has always stood for the separation of religion from the state, for any single interpretation of religion is bound to pit religion against religion, sect against sect and people against people. WAF calls upon the people of Pakistan to realize the danger posed to each one of us, in every sphere of our lives, especially women, by Talibanization … WAF is outraged by the state’s overt and covert role in creating and encouraging the Talibanization of Pakistan. This process started with General Zia-ul-Haq, supported by the United States of America and Saudi Arabia as part of the former’s proxy war against the USSR. In 2007, WAF condemned the brazen and illegal occupation of a children’s library in Islamabad by members of Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia followed by the abduction, humiliation and torture of three women and an infant. These actions by non-state actors shocked every citizen and shook the foundations of society. According to a WAF press release dated 7 April 2007, WAF condemned the military dictator General Musharraf’s Janusfaced policy, stating: The complicity of the state in both cases will further embolden and reinforce the Talibanization process and has given the lie to the farce of General Musharraf’s ‘Enlightened Moderation’. Religious extremists are taking violent action to undermine and negate those very rights. This is a dangerous phenomenon as it attacks the very rights on which a humane society is based. The terror unleashed by the Burka-clad, baton-wielding cohorts of Jamia Hafsa on the rampage in the capital city of Islamabad has challenged the writ of the state. While the government is quick to respond violently against peaceful and unarmed protest, this violent mob was allowed to kidnap defenceless women from their homes as well as policemen on duty. The occupation of Swat by the Taliban, along with the unbridled violence unleashed against women’s and girls’ schooling, prompted WAF to make the following statement on National Women’s Day, 12 February 2009:

192  Rubina Saigol WAF condemns in the strongest possible terms all forms of brutality in the northern areas, especially Swat, including: the systematic destruction of schools and health facilities, especially those for girls and women, the acid and other physical attacks on women and men, the unchecked proliferation of illegal radio stations calling for violence and the abundant and endless supplies of arms and explosives at their disposal. Thousands of people have been killed; hundreds of thousands of displaced are forced to live in miserable conditions without adequate food or shelter, the number of women being tortured, killed and targeted is increasing every day … WAF is shocked at the horrifying incidents of torture, humiliation, murder and complete disrespect for human dignity and humanity. At the National Convention in Karachi in February 2016, WAF reiterated and reinforced its stand against the use of religion for political ends by all political parties, as well as by both civil and military governments. WAF demanded an immediate end to the reliance on religious divisions and discourses against political opponents, and expressed dismay that extremist narratives were employed not only by the sectarian groups unleashed upon society, but also by some mainstream political parties which resorted to the use of blasphemy and Khatm-e-Nabuwat discourses to further political ends. WAF demanded the repeal of the Second Constitutional Amendment, 1974, which for the first time in Pakistan’s history defined who is or is not a Muslim and, in the process, expelled Ahmadis from the pale of Islam. Furthermore, WAF demanded the repeal of Article 2 of the Constitution, which declares that Islam shall be the state religion, as this article is exclusionary and divisive. WAF also asked that all public posts, including the President and Prime Minister, should be open to all citizens of Pakistan irrespective of religious affiliation. In addition, WAF sought the repeal of Article 2A, through which a military dictator had made the Objectives Resolution a substantive part of the constitution, thereby further entrenching religion within the constitution and state structure. Another demand was the repeal of the Eighth Constitutional Amendment, which protected the discriminatory legislation, orders and measures enacted by General Zia-ul-Haq. At the WAF National Convention in February 2016, a number of demands was put forward based on the idea of eliminating religious extremism and intolerance while upholding Pakistan’s inherent diversity. All the chapters agreed that the only focus of the ruling powers seemed to be the Special Military Courts and little had been done to curtail hate speech and material in the media, textbooks and other means of the dissemination of ideology. WAF noted with great concern that the state’s dual policy of nurturing extremist and terrorist outfits while pretending that they were being brought to justice was still operative. The Haqqani Network had not been dismantled despite claims to the contrary, and policies based on the dubious concepts of ‘strategic depth’ and ‘strategic assets’ continued to be implemented despite global condemnation.3 WAF reiterated that the foremost

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  193 duty of the state and its law enforcement agencies is to protect the lives and security of its citizens. In November 2017, WAF issued a strong statement criticizing the army-guaranteed agreement between the government and Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY), an accord reached to end a dharna (sit-in) at Faizabad Interchange, Islamabad. Expressing consternation at the launching and mainstreaming of such extremist outfits, WAF stated: WAF is appalled that the state is mainstreaming terror instead of fighting it and is deeply apprehensive about the possible role such terror outfits could play in parliament, were they to win an election. History is witness to the fact that such parties give short shrift to democratic rights and invariably oppose pro-women laws and support anti-women and anti-minority legislation. The policy of using terror outfits to break the vote banks of mainstream parties was introduced in Sindh in the 1980s with disastrous consequences. Punjab seems to be the next target in this terrifying game. Having already seen the dire consequences of the creation of the Taliban and various Lashkars by the state, WAF is watching these developments with grave concern and foreboding. The future of our generations is at stake even as some political leaders happily embrace and make electoral alliances with terror outfits, such as Sami-ul-Haq of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania who has been given over five hundred million rupees by a provincial government to carry out its ‘mission’. The outcomes of such policies are impacting negatively on Pakistan’s position internationally as the country now faces the threat of being put on the grey and ultimately black list by the Financial Action Task Force. WAF regretted the state’s capitulation to extremist demands and the policy of appeasement pursued by the elected government. The army’s underwriting of the agreement and its apparent collusion with TLY were seen as dangerous for state and society, as the army is one of the organs of the executive and cannot make independent agreements with extremist outfits. Again, at the time of the holding of general elections in 2018, WAF denounced the creation of sectarian and extremist religious outfits such as TLY, Allah O Akbar and Milli Muslim League, and the free hand given to their leaders: Hafiz Saeed, Maulana Ludhianvi of Ahle-Sunnat-wal Jamaat, Khadim Rizvi of TLY and others, all of whom threatened to be a source of great danger in an already polarized context. WAF demanded that proscribed outfits should not be allowed to participate in elections and carry weapons. The government was reminded of the virtually forgotten 2015 National Action Plan, agreed upon by all political parties and the army, to end extremism and terrorism through intervention in the media and education, as well as through establishing law and order and writ of the state. On the eve of the 2018 elections, a manifesto produced by Karachi’s WAF chapter demanded a ban on fatwas (religious edicts), as no authority

194  Rubina Saigol has the right to penalize and punish, except the state’s legal institutions, and even then, only after due process. The manifesto admonished khutbas (Friday sermons in mosques) for inciting hate, and insisted on legal action against hate speech. It emphasized that legislation must only be passed by Parliament and Provincial Assemblies that comprise democratically elected, civilian representatives. WAF Karachi argued that the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) maintains an anti-women policy and therefore needed to be disbanded, as there is no need to have a separate body to oversee legislation in the presence of an elected parliament.4 It also demanded abolition of the Federal Shariat Court, created in 1980 as a political tool to extend the authority of a military dictator, as there is no need for a justice system alongside the courts established under the Constitution.5 Furthermore, it was averred that the state must be prevented from supporting and sponsoring banned religious and militant organizations as leverage for any non-democratic agenda. WAF called upon all legislative bodies to review the blasphemy law, and that this review should be conducted within a democratic process that includes consultations with scholars. WAF Lahore was active at this time, putting forward several demands around the elections of 2018 and after. Its Charter of Demands lamented that the 2015 National Action Plan had singularly failed to curb hate speech; neither media efforts nor efforts in schools had generated the desired impact. On the contrary, hate speech by known televangelists had intensified and the verbal- and image-based targeting of women of opposing political parties had increased. WAF Lahore demanded the immediate implementation of the National Action Plan in its true spirit, which revolves around curbing terrorism and extremism. The same charter deplored how the Plan was used in practice: as a political tool against political opponents, including sending innocent people sent to death without trial or due process. WAF Lahore expressed disappointment over the fact that while political parties were being targeted, a number of proscribed extremist and terrorist outfits such as the Jamaat-ud-Daawa, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, Allah o Akbar Party and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat were being ‘mainstreamed’ through the election process; further, these organizations were openly allowed to procure weapons and their funding was restored. WAF Lahore also noted with concern and trepidation that attempts to regulate madrasas under the NAP had failed miserably, and the distribution of hate material and gender bias in the curricula continued unabated, especially in some provinces. Consistent with its stated principles of equality of all citizens irrespective of faith, WAF Lahore expressed grief and concern over the targeting of people by religious extremists. Its 8 March 2018 press release stated: The Women’s Action Forum notes with deep concern that young men have also been killed with impunity for their views and the ways in which the Blasphemy Law is used to invoke both mob and state violence. Mashal, a student of Wali Khan University, was killed by a mob over a false accusation of blasphemy. Naqeebullah Mehsud was murdered in a

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  195 staged police encounter in Karachi on suspicion of terrorist links based purely on ethnic/racial profiling. Patras and Sajid Masih were beaten in court premises and subjected to custodial torture and sexual abuse by FIA functionaries resulting in Sajid Masih’s desperate suicide attempt due to unproven allegations of blasphemy. Young bloggers like peace activist Raza Khan have disappeared after exercising their fundamental right to freedom of expression and dissent. These incidents are indicative of the state’s steady descent into chaos, where narratives of terrorism and/or blasphemy are strategically deployed to cover up an increasingly fascist polity and provide a mask for state crimes against those who are critical of its policies and provide cover to extremist forces. This section has demonstrated that once WAF declared that it stands for a secular/plural state that respects diversity, it consistently stood up against all forces that sought to homogenize the nation by imposing upon it a fictional oneness crafted through monolithic religious narratives. WAF upheld the principle of equality-within-diversity whether the threat arose from a centrist state eager to use religion to concentrate power, or from any political party bent upon using religion for political ends, or non-state actors vowing to impose their own grotesque version of religion upon all citizens. WAF stood up against discrimination entrenched in the state’s legal structure, as well as against the violence and terrorism that emanated from social, cultural and religious sources. An unwavering commitment to the principles of a secular and plural state enabled WAF to decry the violence unleashed by blasphemy laws and to reject terror based on religion or sect. We now turn to the principles of functioning that WAF espoused from the beginning – principles that enabled WAF chapters to work democratically and arrive at common positions. This functioning made WAF a unique organization, one that attempted to incorporate some core feminist principles not only into its ideological orientation but also into the manner in which work was accomplished.

II – Principles of functioning Non-hierarchical functioning and democratic inclusion Early on after its inception, WAF outlined and established a principle of functioning that rejected hierarchies of power. Based on the feminist principle that hierarchies represent inequality and other notions of power differentials derived from masculine ways of functioning, WAF decided that it would work through a system of committees and sub-committees. Every chapter would perform its responsibilities by means of a working committee of around 10 to 12 members who would oversee and carry out the day-to-day work of keeping meeting minutes, devising action plans and writing press releases and statements. Working committee meetings were held weekly, so as to keep in touch with social and political developments and respond quickly as and when necessary.

196  Rubina Saigol The working committees are answerable to a much larger general body, which meets every month to discuss and hopefully approve proposed actions and plans to give policy direction for future committee-level work. The policy and planning directions would be debated openly and comprehensively until a consensus was achieved before being put to a vote. This was done to ensure the participation of a large number of members who could voice their disagreements openly and freely. This methodology ensured democratic participation and consensus-building, as WAF believed in democracy not only at the political, social and cultural levels, but also within itself. The third level of functioning of WAF involved annual national conventions that were held in different cities on a rotation basis. The purpose of these annual meetings was to discuss larger national issues and ideological strands, with the goal of arriving at common and shared understandings. All WAF chapters were expected to adhere to decisions reached at the national conventions. Disagreements with the positions thus taken could be voiced by members as individuals but not as WAF representatives. Key decisions made through this process included authorizing the organization to demand a democratic and secular state, to oppose massive defence expenditure, to reject the death penalty and to resist religious fundamentalism. The fundamental principle underlying this method of decision-making was democratic inclusion and the rejection of the domination of one over many. In conformity with the principle of non-hierarchical functioning, WAF never had a president, chairperson, general secretary or treasurer. It was not possible for any one person or group of persons to impose their views on all others, as there were no positions or offices in WAF. Working committee members often joined voluntarily when they felt the need to be more deeply involved. Members joined sub-committees to work on issues of interest to them, and this too was on a voluntary basis. Initially, various organizations and individuals joined WAF out of interest and the imperative to resist Islamization and military rule. Subsequently, the main condition for joining WAF is that the person interested in joining must agree with the basic principles, ideology and consensual positions of WAF. This condition became necessary out of the fear that people with entirely divergent worldviews, for example a perspective steeped in a particular religion, could enter and destroy the basic orientation of the platform. Therefore, WAF resisted the idea of open membership as that could transform the very core of the platform and diminish the few small spaces created for feminist and women’s rights activists. This is one of the reasons that WAF survived over time and maintained its integrity despite individual differences of opinion over religion, democracy and secularism. WAF’s functioning through working committees and sub-committees gave it a rather informal structure. With no hierarchical positions or offices, the responsibility for WAF’s actions, stances and positions was shared. The informal structure ensured that no single person could be targeted individually, especially during the oppressive days of General Zia’s military regime. There was no president or chairperson who could be arrested, incarcerated

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  197 or otherwise pressured by an intrusive regime; there was safety in numbers, and relative anonymity made it hard to target individuals. In addition, WAF was not a registered organization, as it was composed of individuals and several organizations. Therefore, it could not be banned like political parties or organizations whose registration could be cancelled by dictatorships. Over three decades, WAF was able to exist within non-existence. It is not a legal entity, so it cannot not be banned; it is a strong and widespread network that functions efficiently across cities and provinces. It may seem like an oxymoron, but WAF was an informally formal entity. Formally, it did not exist; informally, it was tremendously strong. It was not a formal network legally, but its functioning was regular and organized, particularly in the early decades. The working committees and general bodies met more or less regularly and the first few conventions were held with regularity. The work of arriving at decisions and their dissemination, and of actions such as demonstrations, rallies and protests, was carried out along with the writing up of positions, statements of demand and manifestos. WAF’s legally informal existence did not diminish its capacity to make an impact upon society. Informality of structure was, in fact, the reason that WAF could function efficiently over an extended period. Non-partisan/non-political affiliation A significant position that WAF adopted from the beginning was that while it was not an apolitical platform, it was not affiliated with any political party and, in that sense, was non-political. Initially, there was some confusion and debate over the meaning of the term ‘non-political’. Some WAF members argued that any organization that takes up social and political issues cannot be apolitical because existence in society is inherently political. All citizens are embedded within a hierarchical social structure in which power is distributed unevenly. The questioning and challenging of those in power, and the emphasis on the rights of all citizens, are innately political activities. Over time, greater clarity was achieved as the term ‘apolitical’ was differentiated from ‘non-political’. Recognizing that a rights organization is by definition political, it was clarified that by non-political WAF meant that it was not affiliated to any political party vying for power in the state. In other words, it was non-partisan and, as such, sought to influence the policies and positions of all parties, rather than to help propel one party toward electoral victory. Given the vast diversity of membership of individuals and organizations with varying agendas, WAF decided that it was not disposed toward favouring or disfavouring any political party. Its positions would be framed in terms of the extent to which a political party furthered or impeded WAF’s own ideology, issues and concerns. WAF decided that it would support or oppose a particular measure, law or policy instead of supporting or opposing the party in question. However, WAF would not extend support to military dictators as this was against

198  Rubina Saigol one of its most cherished ideals of democracy. Thus, while WAF staunchly opposed the dictatorships of Generals Zia and Musharraf, it cooperatively engaged to varying degrees with the civilian governments of the PPP and the PML (N). Whenever the parties in power took a step in the right direction with regard to WAF’s principles, WAF endorsed the measure. Similarly, when an elected government took a step contrary to WAF’s principled advocacy of equal rights and justice, WAF vehemently opposed it. Consequently, WAF was able to maintain ideological independence with regard to its ideology and positions. It was completely free to set its own agenda, make its own positions, take its own stands and determine its own actions. It was not compromised by adherence to any political party or its agenda. Ideological independence differentiated WAF from the women’s wings of political parties, as the latter were constrained to follow their party lines. Freedom from party affiliation enabled WAF to take radical stands that political parties were afraid to take due to their fear of the military. For example, WAF took a clear position against the Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA), the death penalty and military courts with which the political parties were forced to comply because of the dominant power of the military. In matters of religion, WAF was able to state openly that it upholds the ideal of a secular state, a position most parties cannot take for fear of being punished at the polls. Since WAF neither contests elections nor seeks votes, it has a freedom that is unparalleled in Pakistani society. Its positions have been consistent across party lines and time periods. It has called out political parties of all hues and shades when they adopted a measure opposed by WAF. It has remained active during dictatorships, openly challenging their legitimacy and right to govern even when a dictatorial regime was presenting itself as enlightened, moderate, amenable and sensitive to women’s rights and other issues of interest to WAF. Freedom from political affiliation provided WAF a level of credibility seldom enjoyed by other civil society organizations, some of which expressed their affiliation with the powers-that-be at various historical moments. Critics and supporters alike acknowledged that WAF was ideologically independent even when they disagreed with some of its positions. This credibility stood WAF in good stead and earned it global respect, because the organization remained unwilling to compromise on its principles. As a result, despite being small in numbers and limited to a few major cities, WAF came to be regarded with respect by friend and foe alike. Rejection of external funding A major feature that distinguished WAF from other civil society platforms was its jealously guarded financial independence. Right from the time of its founding, WAF adamantly refused to accept any donor funding from any source. It did not take funding from the government, business and industry, foreign or local donors. WAF was able to fund its activities from its own meagre resources. Members contributed a small fee, and there was

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  199 no minimum amount because they belonged to different social classes, and some members from the well to do classes could contribute more than others. If a member expressed her inability to pay, there was no issue as payment was not compulsory. WAF’s refusal to accept – much less seek – funding from any external source further enhanced its credibility and standing in society. The sincerity of the agendas of funded platforms was a question and a frequent source of suspicions about non-governmental organizations, especially those that relied on foreign donors. Since donor funding is invariably seen as an extension of a country’s foreign policy agenda, many organizations were accused of colluding with imperialism, colonialism or vested global interests. WAF has never been accused of collusion, even though it was criticized for what was seen as class-based elitism by a membership that was dominated by the urban educated middle classes. Indeed, the issues that WAF took up affected the downtrodden classes more frequently (for example, the Hudood Ordinances), and a number of working-class women joined WAF, especially in the early years. WAF’s ideological autonomy stems from its fiscal autonomy. It was not constrained to follow the agenda of any donor, local or foreign. WAF could avoid faddish and sexy issues because, unlike civil society recipients of foreign funding, it did not have to adhere to the whimsical and perpetually changing agendas of foreign donors. Unconstrained by imposed flavour-of-the-month agendas, WAF selected its own issues, worked out its own agenda and stressed its own focus. This agenda may have overlapped with donor preferences at times, but WAF had the freedom and flexibility to work out its own standpoint on these issues as it did not have to report to the donors for its activities, nor answer to anyone for its positions. WAF was, thus, both ideologically and financially autonomous. This factor made WAF a unique platform, different from any other civil society organization in Pakistan. Although the refusal to accept funds in any form occasionally restricted WAF’s work because funded civil society organizations could spend large amounts on their seminars, conferences and research and publication. But WAF stuck to these principles and did not want to be co-opted into following the agendas set by others. To this day, WAF enjoys the credibility that is the envy of any organization, largely because of its strict adherence to the principles of functioning it outlined from the beginning. There is coherence between WAF’s ideological choices based on democracy and secularism, and its functioning principles based on a non-hierarchical, inclusive, democratic methodology, lack of affiliation with any political party and financial autonomy. The latter principles reflect the ideological choices. WAF espoused democracy as its ideological choice as well as its method of functioning. It chose secular and plural perspectives as well as inclusive and participatory forms of functioning. The ideological and financial autonomy ensured that WAF could pursue its vision, ideology and principles without interference. In spite of being a relatively small platform, WAF

200  Rubina Saigol was able to survive through many political periods because of the choices regarding ideology and methodology made in the early years of its founding.

The future of the Women’s Action Forum: critical questions Thirty-seven years after the formation of WAF, the global and national context within which it operates is greatly transformed. Globally, the neoliberal economic paradigm has weakened the welfare functions of the state, while intensifying the repressive function to contain dissent that arises from the misery of people when welfare is snatched away. Increasingly, the state is withdrawing from a focus on people’s rights and exporting its crisis into the private sphere. The emphasis on privatization, trade liberalization, deregulation and macro-economic stabilization has led to a massive informalization of the economy, which in turn has significantly reduced the rights of labour. Many of the rights granted in various UN Declarations and ILO Conventions seem to have withered away, with resulting enhanced poverty and inability to access basic rights. Women, as the last ones to gain access to resources (land, food, shelter, wages, education, health and jobs) have been the worst hit by the rollback of the state from services. There has thus been steady feminization of poverty across Pakistan. While WAF has dealt with women’s labour issues in the past and there were a good number of women from the working/labour classes in its early history, their numbers declined over time as WAF became focused on the issues such as religious fundamentalism and regressive laws, leading to a lesser focus on economic rights. In 2018, WAF Lahore celebrated International Women’s Day by refocusing on the issue of labour and remembering the true significance of 8 March. This helped bring more women concerned with labour issues into its fold. However, the organization has been unable to sustain its attention to working women’s issues despite the heightened interest among many of its members. Instead, it felt compelled to respond to urgent and unnerving developments related to a large number of issues involving democracy, constitutionalism and the judiciary at the national level, and the use of religious extremist non-state actors to manipulate elections WAF’s leading membership has remained mostly confined to urban, educated middle-class women who have the wherewithal to expend time and resources on the issues. This is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. However, it needs to be reiterated that the issues with which WAF engaged were not confined to one class, but often affected the powerless classes more seriously. One factor that greatly affects the work of platforms like WAF is the proliferation of non-governmental organizations and the corporatization of feminist activism. The global rise of neoliberal ideology brought in a large number of funded organizations that were able to pay for work previously done voluntarily within WAF. Paid nine-to-five activism led to the loss of some of the early energy and passion that had been invested in the

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  201 movement. A large number of activists joined these organizations, which have become increasingly corporatized in their functioning while focusing on whatever agenda was driven by international donors at a given moment. At the same time, funded activists added a theoretical and intellectual foundation to movement activities. Caught in a circle of stagflation, more and more young, well-educated people in the urban areas became interested in pursuing the handsome salaries offered by large corporations. Combined with an emphasis on consumerism and a ‘me-first’ attitude engendered by nascent capitalism, interest in joining voluntary organizations for social and political causes diminished. WAF was increasingly unable to attract educated young women, especially those who studied Business Administration or Information Technology, the twin areas promoted by capitalism in its neoliberal phase. Furthermore, WAF began to face competition for members when new and vibrant groups such as Omolopolo, Auratnaak and Dhaba Women appeared on the scene. For one, these women relate better with their own age groups than with aging WAF activists. Over the three-plus decades that WAF has existed, the issues have changed: open dictatorship has been replaced by some semblance of democracy, albeit problematic, and while religious extremism remains a state-led policy, the direct threat to women is less visible (and therefore more insidious) than it was in the Zia days. Younger people from urban middle classes generally do not relate to the issues that WAF highlighted, as they feel they already enjoy the rights for which earlier generations of women had to fight. Through consistent efforts, WAF Lahore was able to make alliances with these new groups for joint activities on women’s rights days. In addition, the nature of activism seems to have changed. Direct action (demonstrations, pickets, marches and public activity) has declined and WAF often relies on press statements about specific issues. The attrition in membership is one of the reasons for this, apart from fatigue induced by the aging process. The younger generation is particularly adept at using social media for cyber activism. Many feminists of all ages use Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp groups for effective communication across cities and provinces. WAF also uses WhatsApp groups for quick and effective communication within and across chapters. This has enabled the quick sharing of information about cases of violence and rapid action by the National and Provincial Commissions on the Status of Women. Occasionally, this leads to timely action regarding a case of rape, sexual harassment or domestic violence occurring in remote parts of the country. WAF has a Facebook page on which important information and perspectives are shared. Times have changed; the context has changed, and the nature of activism has changed. While the issues with which WAF has grappled in its 37-year history still persist, and the WAF’s ideology and practices continue to be supremely relevant in contemporary times, it remains to be seen whether WAF, as originally conceived, will manage to survive, transform itself radically, or just wither away with the vagaries of time and tide.

202  Rubina Saigol

Postscript Since writing this chapter in 2018, significant changes have overtaken the feminist landscape in Pakistan. The Women’s Action Forum is a major part of the new feminist iteration. Beginning in 2018, Aurat March inaugurated a new phase in feminist theory and practice qualitatively different from the previous waves. The major transformation is that while the previous waves of the women’s movements focused entirely on the public sphere – the state and the politico-legal sphere – the new feminism challenges the private sphere: it focuses on bodily autonomy and multiple sexualities in the reproductive/private sphere and seeks to reclaim public spaces in the productive/public sphere. The new wave of activists demolishes the binaries of public–private and productive–reproductive thus asserting that the personal is political. Although WAF members were fully aware that in the hallowed hetero-normative family that control over sexuality and body reside in the private arena, they were unable to address these issues for several reasons, including the presence of conservative and traditional women amongst its membership; the need to respond quickly to the spate of discriminatory laws; and the need to avoid the constant backlash from religious and conservative lobbies that accused WAF of pursuing a foreign agenda influenced by western ideology. The presence of a diverse set of non-binary individuals and others who express alternate sexualities enabled feminists across the board to address the forbidden issues of sexuality and body. WAF has fully supported Aurat March in every manner possible and has wholeheartedly participated in the International Women’s Day activities across the country. WAF members have also tried to fight back against the severe backlash by writing articles and defending Aurat March in the mainstream and social media. In the last two years, the national WAF has taken stands that entail more risk than most people in Pakistan dare to espouse. In 2018, members belonging to three WAF chapters (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad) filed a comprehensive Reference, alleging misconduct by the then-Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mian Saqib Nisar. The detailed Reference was based on his seriously questionable behaviour regarding interference in the work of vice-chancellors and universities, humiliating attitude towards doctors, insulting members of the lower judiciary, openly participating in political activities and aligning himself with the election activities of one party. The consistent violation of the concept of separation of powers was the basic reason that WAF filed the complaint with the Supreme Judicial Council. Although the Reference was rendered infructuous upon his retirement, the media carried the news extensively, so the fact of his misconduct became well established. In 2019, the same three WAF chapters filed requests with the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Defence, seeking details about salaries, perks,

The Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan  203 privileges, land plots and retirement benefits received by senior members of the armed forces and the Superior Judiciary. When these institutions chose not to respond, the WAF filed a complaint with the Complaints Commission invoking Article 19-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, which grants all citizens the Right to Information. Any information relevant to the public interest must be released by all government departments, especially upon request. The matters of the perks and privileges of the armed forces and the superior judiciary have been shrouded in secrecy in the name of ‘national interest’ or individual privacy. WAF based its action on the principle that all public office holders should reveal their assets for the sake of transparency and the people’s right to know. To date, the WAF has not received any response detailing the assets with the notable exception of one judge known for his integrity. WAF intends to take these institutions to court. Even though the endeavour may not yield the desired results, WAF believes that it is necessary to place on record the fact that the information was not supplied upon request, thereby revealing the lack of transparency by public office holders in Pakistan. As all these important actions took place after the writing deadline of the current chapter, it became necessary to mention them here as the movement goes on and new challenges are addressed continuously.

Notes 1 Karo Kari, also known as Siyah Kari, is the practice of accusing a man and woman of illicit relations and the community’s decision to kill both. The practice is found in all provinces, and often financial and property disputes lie behind this practice and ‘honour’ is used as a cover up for the murder. Swarah and Vani , also found in all provinces, refer to the tribal practice of offering young girls to the victorious party as peace offering to end long disputes in which too many men of the losing tribe/clan are killed. Haq Bakshwana is practised mainly in parts of Sindh where a property owner marries his daughter to the Quran to save her share of the property from going to outsiders. 2 The Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment passed in 2010 carried out far-reaching changes in the constitution to address historical imbalances resulting from an over-centralized state in which the Federal Legislature could make laws on several domains that belonged to the provinces and these were enumerated in the Concurrent List. Devolution through the 18th amendment corrected the imbalance by transferring several subjects to the provinces and enhancing the provincial financial shares of the provinces through the National Finance Commission Award. 3 Pakistan’s dominant security theories and ideologies provide an insight into Establishment thinking. ‘Strategic depth’, which posits that in case of a war with India, Afghanistan would provide geographical and strategic depth, effectively helped the Taliban maintain power in Afghanistan. The Taliban, especially Afghanistan’s Haqqani Network, are supported by the state as ‘strategic assets’ to be deployed once Afghanistan is free of US occupation forces and Pakistan’s interests in the neighbouring country can be secured.

204  Rubina Saigol 4 The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) was established via a constitutional provision in 1962 by Pakistan’s first military dictator, Ayub Khan. Its purpose was to examine all proposed legislation in order to ascertain its conformity with Quranic injunctions. 5 The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) was established by the military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq to enforce his version of Islamic Shariah. It was inserted into the constitution in 1980 through Chapter 3, Articles 203, A–J.

Bibliography Hussain, Neelam, Samiya Mumtaz and Rubina Saigol (1997) Engendering the Nation-State. Vol. I. Lahore: Simorgh. Jahangir, Asma and Hina Jilani (1990) The Hudood Ordinances: A Divine Sanction? Lahore: Rhotas. Jilani, Hina (1994) ‘Law as an instrument of social control’. In Nighat S. Khan, Rubina Saigol and Afiya S. Zia (eds) Locating the Self: Perspectives on Women and Multiple Identities. Lahore: ASR. Khan, Nighat S., ed. (2004) Up Against the State: Military Rule and Women’s Resistance. Lahore: ASR. Khan, Nighat S. and Afiya S. Zia, eds, (1995) Unveiling the Issues: Pakistani Women’s Perspectives on Social, Political and Ideological Issues. Lahore: ASR. Khan, Nighat S., Rubina Saigol and Afiya S. Zia, eds (1994) Locating the Self: Perspectives on Women and Multiple Identities. Lahore: ASR. Khattak, Saba Gul (2006) ‘Inconvenient facts: Women’s political representation and military regimes in Pakistan’. In Transforming Institutions of Power: Towards Gender-Responsive Governance. Islamabad: Rozan. Malik, Maha and Neelam Hussain (1996) Reinventing Women: Representation of Women in the Media during the Zia Years. Lahore: Simorgh. Mumtaz, Khawar and Farida Shaheed (1987) Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? London: Zed books. Patel, Rashida (1979) Women and Law in Pakistan. Karachi: Faiza Publishers. Patel, Rashida (1986) Islamization of Laws in Pakistan. Karachi: Faiza Publishers. Patel, Rashida (1991) Socio-Economic Political Status and Women and Law in Pakistan. Karachi: Faiza Publishers. Patel, Rashida 2003. Woman Versus Man: Socio-Legal Gender Inequality in Pakistan. Lahore: Oxford University Press. Saigol, Rubina (2016) Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Pakistan: Actors, Debates and Strategies. Bonn: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Last accessed August 6 2020. Shaheed, Farida (1998) Shaping Women’s Lives: Laws, Practices and Strategies in Pakistan. Lahore: Shirkat Gah. Shaheed, Farida (2008) ‘Citizenship and the nuanced belonging of woman’. In Jennifer Bennett (ed.) Scratching the Surface: Democracy, Traditions, Gender. Lahore: Heinrich Boll Foundation. Toor, Saadia (1997) ‘The state, fundamentalism and society’. In Neelam Hussain, Samiya Mumtaz and Rubina Saigol (eds) Engendering the Nation-State. Lahore: Simorgh. Zafar, Fareeha (1991) Finding Our Way: Readings on Women in Pakistan. Lahore: ASR. Zia, Afiya S. (1994). Sex Crime in the Islamic Context: Rape, Class and Gender in Pakistan. Lahore: ASR. Zia, Afiya S. (2003). Watching Them, Watching Us. Lahore: ASR.

11 Madrasas and religious maslaks as a case of skewed civil society in Pakistan Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen

Since the late 1970s, more and more education in Pakistan has been disseminated through madrasas, though much of the organization underlying the madrasas was already in place before that time. This chapter will look at how madrasas are organized and how they are related to religious positions within Islam, as well as how their organization reflects and engages with aspects of civil society. After approaching madrasas as related to civil society at large and seeing them as part of the ways in which religious groups try to lift the population through education, we discuss the resemblances and differences between the religious positions of the different religious groups that organize the madrasas. Further, we investigate how individual madrasas are related to these larger organizations, which will be conceptualized under the Urdu term maslak. In Pakistan, the term maslak refers to a religious group of Muslims with a distinctive operational conceptualization of beliefs and formulation of corresponding practices in regard to Islam. The expansion of madrasa education since the 1970s is related to specific changes in Pakistan’s political situation, resulting in a biased civil society. While these changes will be observed in passing, our main aim is to detail how madrasas are related to webs of organizations.

Background A number of previous studies have shown that civil society in Pakistan is in a dilapidated state, as a consequence and even a continuation of changes initiated after General Zia-ul-Haq’s takeover in 1977. This repression extended to, amongst others, women’s and students’ organizations, political organizations, social development NGOs1 and news service organizations (Niazi 1987; Zamir 1986, 1992). The repression of news circulation may be exemplified by Khan’s (2009) retrospective analysis of ‘the massacre of the workers of the Colony Textile Mills in Multan in January 1978’, an event where ‘the press, under Martial Law, reported 18 deaths and 25 injured’ after ‘uninterrupted fire for three

206  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen hours’. At that time, ‘the workers action committee that had emerged during this struggle estimated that 133 were killed and more than 400 injured’ (Ibid., p. 212). Military courts during the military regime of Zia-ul-Haq continued to suppress any opposition from civil society, as can be seen in the ‘summary punishments meted out by military courts, which included public floggings and lashings’ (Nawaz 2008, p. 379) of college teachers, workers of the Pakistan Peoples Party and others. Within months of seizing power, Zia introduced a series of legal and social changes that reversed many of the legal advances implemented to benefit women during the prior 30 years. This backsliding demonstrated that, despite seeming progress, women’s rights remained tentative and discretionary. Women’s few hard-won legal gains were quickly curtailed. With the imposition of martial law, Zia suspended the fundamental rights guaranteed in the 1973 Constitution, including the right to be free of discrimination on the basis of sex. Human Rights Watch later summarized the events as follows. Zia’s coup represented the convergence of conservative religious interests with those of the army. In the absence of any clear popular constituency, Zia used appeals to Islamic values to legitimize his regime and cultivated the support of the conservative religious parties. In return, he provided those parties, which had never had strong support from the electorate, with access to national political power. Zia came to power denouncing Bhutto’s [democratically elected] administration as un-Islamic, and one of his main rallying cries was the return of Pakistani society to the ‘moral purity of early Islam.’ His most vulnerable and strategic targets, along with minorities, were women, whom he promised to return to the sanctity of the chardivari (the four walls of the home), thus reaffirming women’s domestic role as the cornerstone of a Muslim way of life. (1999, pp. 21–22) We argue that these developments may not be considered as an attack on civil society as such, but as a systematic approach to skew it into a more religious position, as various governments since 1977 have strengthened the role and importance of various religious organizations within society. The dilapidated state of civil society necessitates a sharp and focussed probe into the historical development of the present condition of civil society. By and large, the present predicament for civil society in Pakistan is interlinked with the performance of the political system and political actors in the country who have had to yield to the direct military rule for at least 31 of the 71 years between 1947 and 2019. Even when Pakistan was under civilian rule, it is difficult to state that the duly elected governments were fully autonomous in their running of the country. Civil–military relations were not stable during those political periods, nor did they favour of civilian supremacy. Historians and political

Madrasas and religious maslaks  207 scientists have tried to depict the military’s central role in Pakistan from different angles. A number of important studies have delineated how the military interacted and collaborated with specific religious groups during Pakistan’s history (Haqqani 2005), how the real power in the country came to lie with the military (Askari 2000; Kundi 2003) and how the military, step by step, became more directly involved in major sections of commerce and industry (Siddiqa 2007). It is also well documented that the military regimes up to the 1980s altered the content of government school, college and university textbooks towards specific positions within Islam with regard to nation building in Pakistan (Aziz 1985). The conceptualization of a ‘garrison state’ introduced by Ahmed (2013) provides a wide-aperture lens with which to scope the underlying structural hurdles that have impeded the growth of non-religious segments in Pakistani civil society, and which have contributed towards the skewing of civil society by the state in favour of a select few religious maslaks. Through this framework Ahmed underlined the undercurrents or irregular factors that have operated behind state development in Pakistan. His central argument concerns the functionality of the military as the most powerful veto player in Pakistan and the manner in which the military has forged a sustained agreement with the religious right. This agreement adopts the rationale of instrumental and ideological alignment. For the purpose of this chapter, studies carried out by historians and political scientists are seen as offering convincing arguments regarding how the military came to dominate politics within Pakistan, including the process of selecting some religious groups for collaboration. The selection of these religious groups may seem arbitrary as they did not constitute the largest segments of Muslims in Pakistan, yet they were chosen for their collaboration by the military: this choice, and decisions made through such collaboration, determine many later developments. The mentioned studies offer high-level analyses of developments in the links between state apparatus, the military and religious groups. However, we adopt a different approach here, as we are interested in the effects on the interaction of some religious organizations at the level of civil society while simultaneously considering the intervention of the state of Pakistan in civil society. This organization-level investigation regards a specific form of socially organized Muslim religious groups in South Asia, known as maslaks. These groups underlie the organization of most religious schools, named madrasas, which teach students from as young as 10 to as old as 22. Some madrasas also admit students who have finished a secular education and provide them with relevant levels of religious higher education.

Literature The history of research on madrasas in general and madrasas in South Asia in particular, as well as madrasa dynamics, is a field of growing interest.

208  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen Table 11.1  Maslak-based madrasa affiliations in Pakistan Year of creation

Number of affiliated madrasas








Jama’at Islami (Deobandi+Salafi)




Ahl e-Hadith













Wafaq-ulMadaras-alArabia Tanzeem-ul Madaris Ahle Sunnat Pakistan Rabita-ul-Madaris Al-Islamia Pakistan Wafak-ul-Madaris e-ul-Salifa Wifaq-ul-Madaris al-Shia Pakistan


Source: Compiled on the basis of data from the Quetta Inquiry Commission Report (Q.F. Isa 2016).

There are only a few studies on madrasas in Pakistan before 2001, when the focus on religious education in Pakistan shifted to the attitudes towards society and social mobilization at large, which students internalized during their education. One of the earliest works on madrasas in Pakistan was undertaken by J.D. Kraan (1984). Akbar (2010) compiled an important survey of the religious attitudes and practices of a number of maslaks in Pakistan, based on their religious literature as well as interviews with leading maslak figures. Estimates on madrasa enrolment in Pakistan vary widely. Some of these differences may be extracted from the works of Andrabi et al. (2006) and from the non-governmental, Brussels-based International Crisis Group (2002). All sources agree that enrolment is both substantial and increasing. The work of the International Crisis Group links these increases to a drop in enrolment in the public education system. This chapter limits the considerations regarding the number of madrasas to their affiliations to different maslaks and to our calculations based on an independent judicial inquiry by the Supreme Court of Pakistan (Table 11.1).

Political aspects of madrasas On one hand, a dominating trend in the literature regards madrasas in Pakistan as breeding grounds for many kinds of violent activities. Berger (2006, p. 12) describes madrasas as ‘uncivil’ and places them outside of civil

Madrasas and religious maslaks  209 society, whereas Chatterjee (2004, pp. 37–41), who also adopts conceptual limits of civil society, places them within political society. By contrast, we place madrasas in a larger context and see them as more than – and perhaps not even – breeding grounds for violent activities. Among those who see madrasas as uncivil, Moj (2015) identifies countercultural trends and tendencies in the 150-year-long Deobandi Madrassah Movement (DMM), with a particular focus on its history in Pakistan. Nayyar (1998) argues that sectarian violence can be traced to madrasa education. Sterns (2000) argues that right-wing extremism in Pakistan stems from madrasas, and forwards the idea of Pakistan is a manufacturer and exporter of ideological indoctrination and recruiters to terrorist organizations throughout the South Asian region. In separate publications, Cohen (2000), Goldberg (2000) and Stern (2000) have portrayed Pakistani madrasas as linked with jihadism and terrorism. Singer (2001) has indicated that madrasas are displacing the public education system and that some madrasas have extremely close ties with radical militant groups. The International Crisis Group (2002) finds a link between the increase in violence and the increase in madrasa education in Pakistan. The US governmental 9/11 Commission Report (2004) refers to madrasas as ‘incubators of violence’ in published parts of the report. The critical stance towards Pakistani madrasas has also found its way into the Western media, which has reported their involvement in the propagation of a repressive environment and in the indoctrination of anti-West agitators. On the other hand, Ahmad (2004, p. 101) stresses that the traditional madrasa curriculum is apolitical in tone, and that ‘madrassas have long been the centers of classical Islamic studies and the guardians of the orthodoxy in South Asian Islam’ and that they are the social sites for the reproduction of Islamic orthodoxy. Hence, to say that the ideological orientation of madrassa education is conservative is to state the obvious: they are supposed to be conservative, as their very raison d’être is to preserve the integrity of the tradition. Indeed, it is fair to argue that madrassas constitute the core of the religio-cultural complex of Islam in South Asia. (Ahmed 2004, p. 102) When it comes to Pakistani society, madrasas have been subject to intra-madrasa conflicts, inter-madrasa conflicts and inter-societal conflicts. Ul Abidin et al. (2013) have investigated some aspects of these internal madrasa dynamics. Their work is sympathetic towards madrasas and they have found that most madrasas: (i) are not connected to terrorism; but that they (ii) are rigid in the way that they are both conservative and against changes in their beliefs and practices; (iii) lack the capability to adapt their curriculum, syllabus and teaching techniques; (iv) are facing a financial crunch; and, lastly, (v) are wary of government oversight.

210  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen There is thus no agreement about the extent to which, or even whether or not, madrasas in general are breeding grounds for violent actions or terrorism. As will become evident, madrasas are very different, depending on which maslak they belong to, and how the maslak is organized. Insofar as we hold a general position on madrasas’ relevance to the changes of general Pakistani politics, it is that the increase in madrasa education since the late 1970s and the Islamization of the state of Pakistan go hand in hand, and that it is also connected with a partial Islamization of Pakistani government schools.

Maslaks in the larger context of civil society in Pakistan In Pakistan, public intellectuals are of great importance, and are part of the public sphere where religious authorities also address the larger public through the media. This chapter will not, however, treat public intellectuals as independent analytical entities. To understand the development of madrasa education in Pakistan, it is important to note that the Pakistani government did not directly, openly and visibly support madrasa education before General Zia-ul-Haq seized power in 1977. In 1978 he announced the ‘Year of Islamization of Education’, which focussed on the curriculum in government schools. To this end, he established an Educational Committee to purge the syllabus of any un-Islamic values. Beginning in 1979, the Zia government supported a few select madrasas and asked them to direct their graduates towards fighting in Afghanistan. The various maslaks will be introduced in the sequence of their respective establishment with regard to madrasa education, that is, the establishment of their central madrasa boards. The Ahl e-Haidth is first, followed by the Deobandi, then the Barelvi, the Shi’a board of the Ja’afris and lastly the political party Jamat i-Islami, as it also plays a role in the organization of madrasas. Except for the Shi’a board, all of these adhere to Sunni Islam.

Ahl e-Hadith, Markaz al-Taiba in Muridke and Markaz Qadsia at Chowburji in Lahore Ahl e-Hadith’s position in Islamic theology dates back to the ninth century CE. As is evident from its name, the Ahl e-Hadith (the People following the Traditions) accepts the oral sayings, practices (sunnat) and silence (silent approval) of the Prophet Muhammad, though do not accept the later developments of Islamic legal schools. These later developments are deemed by Ahl e-Hadith to be an impure innovation in Islam, or bida’at. In Pakistan, the Ahl e-Hadith maslak was the first to establish its central board of madrasas (Wifaq-u-Madaris Al-Salfia) in 1955. Most of the 695 madrasas affiliated with this board have represented the views of the religio-political party Jamiat Ahl e-Hadith and the religious party Jama’at Ghurba Ahl e-Hadith (Sareen 2005, p. 242).

Madrasas and religious maslaks  211 In 1977, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed broke with the Ahl e-Hadith and established the Markaz al-Taiba Muridke, which is strictly based on the Saudi Wahhabi theological position. Thus, they stress the obligation of the religious combat: in India controlled Kashmir and in Afghanistan since the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. At present India demands a re-investigation of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s possible role in terrorist attacks in Mumbai on 26 November 2008. Serious scholars consider Hafiz Muhammad Saeed to be a major non-state actor who can influence and affect the course of international politics (Abidy 2017, p. 1534). With regard to civil society, Jama’at-ud-Da’wah is a recent cognate of Markaz al-Taiba Muridke, which de facto runs a welfare trust named the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) as well as a number of modern educational institutions from primary to university level. School examinations are run in accordance with either the Pakistani boards of intermediate and secondary education, or with the University of Cambridge CIE (Cambridge International Exams). In Lahore, they have managed to establish judicial proceedings parallel to Pakistani law. Here the Markaz Qadsia, which is coterminous with and an affiliate of Markaz Taiba Muridke, has been able to force some people to respect the authority and purview of these Qazi courts. In the public sphere, the Ahl e-Hadith position is reflected in the Urdu newspaper the Daily Islam, the Urdu weekly Bachchoun ka Islam (Islam of Children) and the Urdu weekly Khwateen ka Islam (Islam of Women). In addition to these newspapers, Ahl e-Hadith articulates its religious doctrinal positions on YouTube channel Ulama e Ahle Hadees, amongst many others.

Deoband The emergence of the Deoband maslak is traceable to 1866–1867, when a madrasa was established in the town of Deoband, slightly northwest of Delhi. The Deoband madrasa materialized as a reaction to the defeat of the Great Moghul and his exile to Burma in 1859. This madrasa aimed to purify Islam from any deviations in beliefs and practices established after the first 200 years of Islam. That means that Deoband accepts all four Sunni Islam legal schools, while showing a preference for the Hanafi School, which classically relied upon independent opinion rather than on hadith. Deobandis are literalists in their conceptualizations of monotheism (tawhid) and practice. As such, they are generally opposed to the widely disseminated veneration of the Muslim saints (pir), where Muslims meet at the graves of the saints to sing. Deobandis accept Islamic mysticism (Tassawaf), though have also been critical of the annual celebrations of saint remembrance days (Urs). Related to this, Deobandis support restrictions on women from visiting the graves of saints (pirs), as they conceive women as being easily corruptible, inferior, impure and easily influenced by polytheistic practices.

212  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen With regard to the deceased, Deobandis are of the opinion that graves should be left untended and allowed to wither away over time. The madrasa board (Wafaq-ul-Madaras-al-Arabia) of Deoband was established in 1959 and is at the heart of the organization of Deoband maslaks in Pakistan. In general, the board has good control over its 14,590 madrasas. Some of these madrasas, however, are so powerful that the board only has minimal control over them, such as the Madrasa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, the Jamia-tul-Imam Muhammad Tahir or the Madrasa Dar-ul Quran, Panj Pir in Swabi and the Lal Masjid (The Red Mosque) in Islamabad. The board has delisted the last of these as an affiliated institute. The Federal Government has supported a number of Deoband madrasas through the Ministry of Religious Affairs since 1979. The Wifaqul Madaras supports the relevant political parties, and some political parties rely on the Deoband madrasas to supply them with members and activists. This relationship is particularly strong with the JUI-F (Jamiat Ulema Islam [congregation of the scholars of Islam] – Fazlur Rahman), JUI-S (JUI – Sami ul-Haq) and JUI-Ideological. These centre-right parties lie had been nationalists during Colonial rule.

Ja’afri Shi’a Islam The name of Ja’afri Shi’a Islam is derived from the name of Imam Ja’afr al-Sadaq, who lived in the eighth century AD. In the South Asian context, the year 1866 was a pivotal moment, as it was in this year the Bombay High Court decreed that there were groups of Shi’as in South Asia other than the Ismailis (Seveners), thereby accepting a separate established leadership. The Ja’afris belong to the Ja’afria legal school both in jurisprudence and in theology. Since the late eighteenth century, the Ja’afris in South Asia have been sub-divided into the Akhbaris and the Usulis. The Akhbaris, unlike the Usulis, do not accept the legal authority of contemporary Shi’a jurists (mujtaheedin) and they therefore have a distributed organizational structure that relies exclusively on the Quran and the Traditions (Hadith) of the Prophet of Islam. On this point they may resemble the Ahl e-Hadith, though on account of the original divide between Sunnis and Shi’as regarding the succession of the leadership after the Prophet, their differences remain. Ja’afris accept only those Traditions where at least one of their imams appears in the chain of narrators of its historical transmission, and hence have only four collections of hadith, unlike the six collections that are curated by other Sunni organizations. Further, Ja’afris recognize three additional authoritative collections of religious guide-judgements: those stemming from Ali (Nahaj ul Balagha), from the daughter of the prophet (Mushaf-e-Fatima) and from the grandson of Ali (Sahifa-e-Sajjadia). Ja’afris are, on the whole, tolerant of other cultures. They do not restrict women or people of other faiths from participating in their annual mourning processions for the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet, Hussein,

Madrasas and religious maslaks  213 in the Islamic month of Muharram. Unlike women in the other maslaks, Ja’afri women may travel independently to Hajj (major pilgrimage to Makkah), Umrah (minor pilgrimage to Makkah) and Zavaari (visiting the mausoleums of their Imams and holiest places in Iraq, Syria and Iran), without the accompaniment of their husband or a male companion whom they cannot marry (a mahram). Zavaari is also permissible for people of any other faith. In terms of daily life, this means that women are granted more mobility than in the other maslaks, and Ja’afri women have full rights of inheritance. Akhbaris further believe that in the absence of their Imam e Zamana (Leader of the Times), jihad in modern times is illegitimate and the weekly Friday congregational prayer is invalid. They reason that only the imam can direct these religious obligations. The madrasa Ja’afri board (Wifaq al-Madaris al-Shia) was established in 1959 but does not influence its affiliated madrasas in any significant way. The Akhbaris and the Usulis have maintained their autonomous and independent madrasas. In the public sphere the daily internet news service Let Us Build Pakistan, published in both Urdu and English, articulates the voices of all Shi’a groups as well as a number of oppressed religious minorities like Christians, Hindus and Qadianis.2 A number of television channels, based in either Pakistan or the United Kingdom, such as Hadi TV, Hidayat TV, Karbala TV, Ahlulbayt TV, as well as Samaa, Channel 92 and Such TV are also sympathetic towards Ja’afris. In 2014, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) banned the transmissions of at least four channels (Haadi TV, Hidayat TV, Karbala Arabic Channel and Such TV) in the religiously sensitive geographical northern Pakistani region of Gilgit-Baltistan. All these channels continue to broadcast rich content in- and outside of Pakistan through satellite communication.

Barelvi The Barelvi maslak was established in 1905, in reaction to the Deoband and in defence of some of the practices and beliefs that the Deoband criticized. That means that the Barelvi backed the murshideen, who leads and provides guidance for his or her disciples, called murideen. Like the Deobandis, they belong to the Hanafi legal school, while accepting the leadership of the murshideen. They have thus developed dynamic interpretations of Islam. They were, for instance, in disagreement with the Deobandis regarding the acceptance of the use of loudspeakers for the call to prayer, as well as the inclusion of photographs on identity papers in the early twentieth century. Not much later, the Deobandis themselves accepted this new technological innovation. In general, the Barelvis have shown more tolerance towards the mingling of cultures and thus do not restrict women or people of other faiths from participating in Urs. Music, singing and dancing are included in the veneration of saints, and the Barelvi are by and large tolerant towards these art forms.

214  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen The madrasa board (Tanzeem-ul Madaris Ahle Sunnat) was established in 1960 and exerts a large influence on its 9210 madrasas, though is not of any significant importance for the organization of the Barelvi in Pakistan at large. The Pakistani federal government has on rare occasions supported a few Barelvi madrasas. By and large, Barelvi educational practices did not support participation in jihad against the government in Kabul during the Soviet occupation (1979–1987) or afterward (1987–1995). The Barelvis have been involved in political agitation within Pakistan, as for instance the 1977 agitation against the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, yet Barelvi authorities have never declared jihad against any person or group. Many newspapers or weeklies specifically project Barelvi positions, including a few television channels (for example Madni Channel and Minhaj TV). Two mainstream channels (Samaa and Channel 92) are sympathetic to them. One Barelvi organization, the Minhaj ul-Quran, has an extensive media wing whose video recording services which provide media content that is broadcast on multiple communication platforms, including IP-TV, YouTube channels, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Jama’at Islami The political party Jama’at Islami was established by Abul Ala Maududi in 1942. After Independence in 1947, the party continued its work in Pakistan, with progressively rising momentum since the late 1960s due to the support of the state and governments. As party organizes and coordinates the activities of 1500 madrasas, it is included in our discussion. In many regards, the religious positions of the Jama’at Islami approximate the positions of the Deoband and the Ahl e-Hadith, insofar as they believe in the union of religion and politics. All three work towards restricting the mobility of women and limiting the citizenship of non-Muslims. These positions place them explicitly in conflict with the Ja’afris and the Barelvis, and they are also critical of the authority of mujtahideen in modern times. The central madrasa board of the Jama’at Islami, Rabta-tul-madaris-al-Islamia, was established in 1983 during the thick of the Afghan–Soviet conflict; the party actively propagated and popularized the concept of jihad as a part of their recruitment campaigns of mujahideen. Jama’at Islami has sister organizations like the Pakistan Railways Employees’ Muttahida (PREM) union in the rail transport sector, the National Labour Union, the Jamiat Talba Arabia (a student union for madrasa students) and the Islami Jamiat Talaba (a student union in government-run colleges and universities). The Jama’at Islami-affiliated Al-Khidmat Foundation is an NGO that focusses on social services. Barelvi and Ja’afri maslaks have generally refrained from advocating religious militancy. To that end, both of these maslaks have shown

Madrasas and religious maslaks  215 opposition to collaboration between local and international militant or violent forms of religious affiliations. This might contrast with the Jama’at Islami, which has been accused with advocating and using violence (e.g. Munir Report 1954; Haider Faruk Mawdudi, 28 May 2011 interview on YouTube).

Other cases of collaboration and formalized networks between the maslaks Thus far, maslaks have mostly been dealt with one by one, yet since the 1990s some maslaks have formalized their forms of collaboration. It began as attempts to consolidate public positions from within, and they have now developed networks both within Pakistan as well as internationally. Since around 2007, Jama’at-ud-Da’wah, a new name for Markaz Taiba, has worked as an independent organization that advocates Ahl e-Hadith positions. Jam’at Islami has networks of sister organizations in labour unions and student unions of government-run institutions, as well as madrasas, charitable organizations, lawyer and doctor unions, and a youth organization. The Barelvi have the cultural organization Minhaj al-Quran International and the student union Anjuman Talaba-e-Islam (ATI), as well as numerous NGOs affiliated with their spiritual leaders or shrines; socio-political movements such as Sunni Tehreek (ST), Tehreek e Labbayk Ya Rasool Allah; and also social welfare trusts. The Deoband has the Tableeghi Jam’at’s international network, the Taanzeem e Islami, the Markaz al-Quran network and the Al-Huda International network, which focusses exclusively on women belonging to Pakistan’s affluent business and industrial class. The Ja’afris have their own Ulema Council and Imam Bargahs (Commemoration Congregational Halls) spread across Pakistan. A number of social welfare trusts provide stipends for students, financial support for marriages and support for activities related to the annual mourning of Imam Hussain in the month of Muharram. In addition, support from these trusts enables poor people to visit Shi’a holy places. There are some instances of formalized collaboration between maslaks for social activities. Examples include the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan and the 2010 floods. In 2002, organizations belonging to all five maslaks formed a political alliance named the Muttahida Majlis e- Amal (MMA) to contest the general election. They achieved success in the NWFP (the present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where they formed the provincial government, and also had a share in the central government coalition. This political alliance turned dysfunctional after the 2008 general elections but resurfaced for the 2018 elections. In 2008, the Deobandis alone enjoyed the largest share of seats in the assembly and ministerial positions in the cabinet, causing the Shi’a and Barelvi partners to withdraw their backing. Since around 2007 Jama’at-udDa’wah, Jama’at Islami and Deobandi political parties have collaborated in

216  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen various forms under the name of Mutthahida Dini Mahaz (MDM). Some of the alliance partners have since been banned by the state. There are thus instances of solid collaboration between the maslaks in the political sphere, even if it is difficult to predict their future development. This must, however, not lead the reader to conclude that the Pakistani political sphere is dominated by the maslaks. It is significant that the only province where religiously based political parties have been able to form a government on their own has been the NWFP. Since the first direct general elections were held in 1970, all of Pakistan’s democratic federal governments have been formed around the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (PML). Over the years the PML has split into factions though together with the PPP has remained a dominant party, and in 2008 the two parties even formed a grand coalition government led by the PPP for five months. In the last seven elections covering the period from 1988 to 2013, one of these two parties has usually attained 30 to 35 per cent of the vote where they led the respective election. The runner up party in the corresponding election would have won around 15–20 per cent of the vote, meaning that the two parties’ cumulated support accounts for, at the least, 45–55 per cent of the total vote (The Daily Dawn, 16 May 2013), indicating the limited appeal of religious parties linked to maslaks. If one should consider upcoming parties that might contest this situation, it would not be any of the religious parties, but rather the Pakistan Tehrik-eInsaf (PTI) or the Pakistan Movement for Justice, which is another popular political party and which has led a coalition government since the 2018 elections. In spite of this limited electoral appeal, the maslaks have managed to increase the skewed nature of civil society imposed by the state. This has been accomplished through campaigns against other religious positions. Some of these campaigns have only propagated the position of one maslak against that of other maslaks at the level of the public sphere, through the issuing of strong condemnations against the beliefs and practices of the targeted maslaks. Some of the campaigns have been organized as demonstrations, protests or even agitations. In some cases, the agitations have been organized by a maslak or political party whose leaders have taken responsibility for the actions, while in other cases none has taken formal responsibility, leaving the organizer anonymous and identifiable through hints as to the positions of the targeted maslak. The level of evidence is not relevant for the present chapter, though the type of events may be illustrated through examples. One may mention a campaign run by some of the religious media outlets against the late Akhtar Hameed Khan, the pioneer of the Orangi Pilot Project for the sustainable development of one of the largest slums in Karachi. Akhtar Hameed Khan’s successor, Parween Rehman, was murdered and, according to leaks from the ongoing police investigation, the perpetrator is linked to one of the maslaks. This indicates how religious groups can prevent non-religious initiatives from establishing a foothold. Another issue is the attacking of Barelvis and

Madrasas and religious maslaks  217 Ja’afris processions. One may mention the 2010 Barelvi Eid Milad procession in Faisalabad and the Ja’afri Muharram processions in Karachi in 2009 (BBC 2009) and Rawalpindi in 2013. Such attacks on major maslak processions raise the feeling of insecurity for anyone participating in processions anywhere and, in this manner, the attacks illustrate that when fighting between religious groups turn violent, the skewness of Pakistani civil society increases.

Summary It has been stated that Pakistani civil society is in a dilapidated state. This chapter agrees with this overall appraisal and adds that it is rather skewed, as civil society encompasses many activities, but that the Pakistani state has dismantled some of civil society’s non-religious elements over the years, and has been prioritizing religiously based elements. One may wonder why the state has played a major part in this development, as the religious parties emerging from the maslaks have never been able to mobilize any kind of electoral majority. One may assume that the two or perhaps three major political parties would enjoy more electoral support if they issued regulations and laws allowing for the reconstruction of a broad-based civil society that is capable of addressing multiple kinds of social issues. Perspectives for the future At present, there are indicators of a change in government policies towards religious groups as well as evidence for new responses from elements within civil society. As regards governmental policies, the government seems to classify more religiously oriented organizations as terrorist organizations. This is illustrated by the official list of organizations banned due to ‘terrorist and subversive activities’ or which are under ‘security watch’, which has grown from 18 groups in 2008 to 72 in 2018. Only one of the groups listed in 2008 was not religious, whereas 16 were secular in 2018. Even if there is a trend towards the inclusion of secular groups, the significant increase in the number of religiously based groups indicates a new policy of lesser acceptance of religiously legitimated violence. In a sense, these state measures are indicators of a turnaround towards extreme forms, mostly in the Ahl e-Hadith, Deoband and Jama’at Islami maslaks. With regard to the judiciary, the chief justice, suo moto, undertook an initiative to investigate and prosecute of the 2018 killing of Hazaras, who are Shi’a Ja’afris based in Quetta, Baluchistan (The Daily Times, 12 May 2018). Some of the religiously based elements of civil society have also turned against forms of extremism as is seen in an emerging anti-extremist political alliance (The Daily Dawn, 3 December 2013) and the alignment of interests between the Sunni Ittehad Council, one of the leading groups of Barelvis, and the Majlis Wahdat al-Muslimeen (MWM or the Assembly

218  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen for the Unification of Muslims), the present leading group of Shi’a Ja’afris. Such an alignment of interests between a group of Sunnis and of Shi’as is a corollary against the violence brought on the alliance members of groups which were proscribed by the state, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Punjabi Taliban (both Deobandi) as well as Hizb ul-Tahreer and Daesh (both Salafist-Wahhabis). This development indicates that voices from civil society are able to challenge religious intolerance in various forms. This alliance has had interactions with those of other faiths subjected to similar treatments. There are therefore indicators that the executive authorities, the judiciary and civil society are acting to reorient the skewed state in which civil society finds itself. It is impossible to predict the extent to which these developments will change the skewed Pakistani civil society into a more balanced civil society that gives space to the civil exchange of ideas between all sectors of civil society, as these developments will have to unfold before their effects may be ascertained.

Notes 1 Parween Rehman was murdered on 13 March 2013. She was a Pakistani social activist who at the time of her assassination was working as the director of the Orangi Pilot Project Research and Training Institute. She was reportedly killed by contract killers from the Taliban who had been hired by Pashtun members of an Awami National Party chapter in Karachi that was involved in land grabbing. 2

References Abidy, S.M.H. (2017) ‘Non-state actors in Pakistan: Their destabilizing role in political crisis faced by the region’. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research 3(4), pp. 1534–1537. Ahmad, M. (2004) ‘Madrassa education in Pakistan and Bangladesh’. In S.P. Limaye, M. Malik and R.G. Wirsing (eds) Religious Radicalism and Security in South Asia. Honululu: Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, pp. 101–115. Ahmed, I (2013) The Garrison State: Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947– 2011). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Akbar, S. (2010) Pakistan ke Deeni Masalak. Islamabad: Albasirah. Ali, Karamat (2009) ‘Labour policy and industrial relations’. Dawn (1 May). www. Andrabi, A., J. Das, A.I. Khwaja and T. Zajonc (2006) ‘Religious school enrolment in Pakistan: A look at the data’. Comparative Education Review 50(3), Special Issue on Islam and Education—Myths and Truths Guest Editors: W. Kadi and V. Billeh (August 2006), pp. 446–477. Askari, Rizvi Hassan (1988) The Military and Politics in Pakistan. Lahore: Progressive Publishers. Aziz, K.K. (1985) The Murder of History: A Critique of History Textbooks Used in Pakistan. Lahore: Vanguard.

Madrasas and religious maslaks  219 BBC (2009) ‘Bomb attack on Shia march in Pakistani city of Karachi’. (28 December). Last accessed August 6 2020. Berger, P. (2006) ‘Religion and global civil society’. In Mark Jurgensmeyer (ed.) Religion in Global Civil Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chatterjee, Partha (2004) The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press. Cohen, S.P. (2000) Flashback to Zia: Pakistan’s fear of failure’. Asian Wall Street Journal 10(24 October). Dawn (2013) ‘The election score’ (16 May). Goldberg, J. (2000) ‘The education of a holy warrior’. New York Times Magazine, 25 June, Number 34. Haqqani, H. (2005) Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Haqqani, H. (2009) Islam’s Medieval outposts. Foreign Policy (10 November). Last accessed August 6 2020. Human Rights Watch (1999) ‘Crime or custom? Violence against women in Pakistan’. Isa, Q.F. (2016) Quetta Inquiry Commission Report. Supreme Court of Pakistan. Last accessed August 6 2020. Judgment on the Constitutional Petition Challenging the Validity of Martial Law. (1977) Constitutional Petition No. 1 of 1977, Begum Nusrat Bhutto versus Chief of Army Staff and Federation Pakistan (10 November). Judgment%20on%20the%20constitutional%20petition%20chellanging%20 martial%20law.pdf. Last accessed August 6 2020. Khan, Lal (2009) Pakistan’s Other Story. Delhi: Akbar. Kraan, J.D. (1984) ‘Religious education in Islam with special reference to Pakistan: An introduction and bibliography’. Issue 17 of C.S.C. series. Christian Study Centre, University of Michigan. Kundi, M.K. (2003) ‘Militarism in politics: A case study of Pakistan’. Pakistan Horizon. Mawdudi, S.H.F. (2011) ‘Haider Farooq Mawdudi on Mawdudi and Jamat-eIslami after Mawdudi’ Chagatai Khan (28 May). http://chagataikhan.blogspot. com/2009/04/haider-farooq-mawdudi-on-mawdudi-and.html. Last accessed August 6 2020. Moj, M. (2015) The Deobandi Madrasah Movement: Countercultural Trends and Tendencies. London: Anthem Press. Nawaz, S. (2008) Cross Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within. Karachi: Oxford University Press. Nayyar, A.H. (1998) ‘Madrasah education frozen in time’. In Pervez Hoodbhoy (ed.) Education and the State: Fifty Years. Karachi: Oxford University Press, pp. 216–240. Niazi, Z (1987) Press in Chaini. South Asia Books. Sareen, S. (2005) The Jihad Factory: Pakistan’s Islamic Revolution in the Making. Delhi: Har-Anand Publications. Siddiqa, A. (2007) Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan Military’s Economy. Karachi: Oxford University Press.

220  Yasir Sharif and Peter B. Andersen Singer, P.W. (2001) Pakistan’s Madrassahs: Ensuring a System of Education not Jihad. Terrorism Analysis Paper Number 14. Washington DC: Brookings. Stern, J. (2000) Pakistan’s Jihad Culture. Foreign Affairs, November–December, 118. Ul Abidin, Z., et al. (2013) ‘Effective techniques of memorizing the Quran: A study at Madrasah tahfiz Al-quran, Terengganu, Malaysia’. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 13(1), pp. 45–48. DOI: 10.5829/idosi.mejsr.2013.13.1.1762 Zamir, N. (1986) Press in Chains. Karachi: Karachi Press Club. Zamir, N. (1992) The Press Under Siege. Karachi: Karachi Press Club.

12 Striving for space in Pakistan under COVID-19 Sohail Akbar Warraich*

Pakistanis woke up quite late to the grave risk of a global pandemic. Schools and universities were open until mid-March 2020, and lockdown did not become part of our lives until April 2020. However, Pakistanis were intimately affected by the novel coronavirus when news of Pakistani students stranded in China reached home. As other countries evacuated their citizens from virus-stricken China, the Government of Pakistan, eager to prove its close relationship with China, did not. Parents and other family members of these students started demanding government action even staged protests supporting their return.1 Around mid-April, two Constitutional Writ petitions were filed in the Islamabad High Court that, upon a favourable ruling, would have directed the government to arrange for the return of these students.2 However, the High Court did not take up the matter because the Supreme Court, the apex court of the country, had already taken up suo moto notice of the situation arising out of the coronavirus crisis and the steps being taken by the federal government to curb its spread.3 The students eventually reached home in early May 2020,4 but COVID-19 has had a lasting impact on relations between non-government organizations (NGOs) and the Government of Pakistan. This chapter describes how COVID-19 has led to a renegotiation of relations between progressive NGOs and the Government in Pakistan: despite an attempt by such NGOs to expand their turf, they were ultimately unsuccessful. In contrast, while COVID-19 put the religious right on the backfoot, the government was ultimately unable to contain their power and influence. Civil society is a very broad term. These days, civil society in general terms means NGOs and other citizens groups who are engaged in some sort of advocacy on the rights of the people, question state policies and actions when those are contrary to the rights of the people. These groups use protests, demonstrations, petitions, court litigation, media campaigns and such peaceful means to advocate for their issues. The following definition captures the meaning of NGOs in the Pakistani context: 1

*  The

author warmly acknowledges Hiba Akbar’s valuable contributions to this chapter.

222  Sohail Akbar Warraich By ‘NGO’, we typically mean a non-governmental organisation that is not for profit and independent from the government. Considering the type of work and level of operations, there are many types of NGOs, including trusts, societies, cooperatives, social welfare organisations, professional associations, unions, etc. Moreover, NGOs that operate internationally are categorised as INGOs.5 This chapter captures an activist’s experience of civil society as Pakistan reeled under the effects of COVID-19 and resultant lockdowns. Media reports are referenced, but many personal experiences and anecdotes are also captured here. Part I of the chapter describes how religious factions reacted to the advent of COVID-19 in Pakistan. It shows that COVID-19 is a rare instance where typically intrusive religious organizations became relatively silent, as they had no answers to the situation. They could do little more than try to take control of public emotions by rendering sermons. However, as time wore on, the government buckled before the religious right on many key policies, thereby strengthening the position of religion-oriented organizations yet again. Part II will show that, in contrast, progressive civil society got a respite from the past few years of increasing state oppression. This respite was short-lived, however: by July 2020, the government had once again returned to business as usual under the garb of regulation of charities and NGOs.

Part I: religious factions From the get-go, COVID-19 put the religious right on a backfoot because Muslim worship is inherently congregational and social distancing is the first response to the pandemic. In Pakistan, Muslim men pray together five times a day, often in mosques. Friday prayers are accompanied by a sermon from the mosque’s Imam. Clerics found themselves being blamed for allowing the disease to spread. Around the time of the of COVID-19 outbreak, the annual Ijtima (convention) of the Tableeghi Jamaat,6 travelling preachers, was due to begin on the outskirts of Lahore. The Tableeghi Jamaat is viewed sympathetically the world over, and the group has smartly avoided taking overtly political positions, focussing instead on preaching the religion. While in India the Tableeghi Jamaat has found itself the target of xenophobic and racist vitriol, it enjoys a relatively favourable position in Pakistan. Even so, health officials understood that a large public gathering at a moment when a virus was beginning to infect Pakistani citizens posed a great risk. The government and the city administration therefore worked behind the scenes to lobby the Jamaat to cancel its annual convention, but to no avail. The Jamaat went ahead with the convention without social distancing. If the disease came, they reasoned, this would be the will of God. The convention became a super-spreader event. This gathering became known in Pakistan as the 2020 Tablighi Jamaat coronavirus hotspot. The government failed to prevent the gathering or its

Pakistan under COVID-19  223 predictable effects, but after the confirmation of COVID-19-positive participants, the federal minister of science and technology blamed the ‘stubbornness of the clergy’ for the event having gone ahead. The media reported 70,000 to 80,000 attendees from various parts of Pakistan and an additional 3,000 from 40 foreign countries. The Tableeghi Jamaat’s claimed 250,000. Later on, 20,000 attendees were quarantined, and the government tried to track down the remaining attendees. Press reports claimed that by 15 April, over 60 per cent of the coronavirus cases in Pakistan were linked to people who attended the Tableeghi Jamat congregation, or were pilgrims who had returned from the Middle East.7 In early March, Shi’a pilgrims (zaireen)8 who had gone to neighbouring Iran for pilgrimage started to come back, first as a trickle and then a flood. Iran was reeling from the outbreak at this time. The government declared an emergency in border districts and began to quarantine the zaireen at border towns and in new but as yet unused of low-cost apartment blocks.9 The conditions were very unhygienic, with few medical or cleanliness facilities.10 Soon, the detainees broke out in protest, violating social distancing rules in the process. In doing so, they attracted the wrath and derision of the public, once again putting religious groups on the backfoot. Public sentiment questioned why pilgrims who might be carrying COVID-19 were even allowed into Pakistan. In times of crisis, people turn to religion for solace. Clerics usually are able to use these moments to seize and increase their power and influence by addressing congregations, consoling the worried and praying for the sick. Now, however, this option was not available to them. Mosques were closed. Indeed, clerics were being blamed for allowing the disease to spread further due to their obstinacy over the Tableeghi Jamaat ijtima. And yet the clerics doubled down, unwilling to compromise on the congregational gatherings that comprised much of their power and influence. Rather than acknowledging medical realities, clerics insisted on keeping mosques open for congregational prayer during Ramadan. It need not have been so. Examples from early Islamic history and the life of the Prophet suggest that during epidemics, one should not travel to areas where the disease is spreading and take all necessary precautions to limit its spread.11 But no. The clerics insisted and the government buckled.12 This only added to impression of highly irresponsible clerical handling of the COVID-19 crisis, causing the religious right to lose power, if only in the short term.

Part II: tension between the state and civil society groups The Pakistani establishment and progressive civil society have historically remained at odds. After the emergence of NGOs working on human rights, women rights, religious minorities and labour in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this tension has acquired a different shape. This section traces a ‘new phase’ of tension between two, starting with the introduction of a different kind of regime of regulation and surveillance of NGOs in 2013 and its evolution under COVID-19.

224  Sohail Akbar Warraich Regulation of NGOs In November 2013, the Government of Pakistan notified a policy13 for the regulation of organizations that receive foreign contributions. The policy was introduced after it came to light that the American government had used an international charity, Save the Children, as a front to gather intelligence that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.14 The first and foremost targets were the INGOs. In 2015, a committee comprising several ministries sealed the Save the Children offices and instructed expatriate staff to leave the country. The committee also temporarily rejected the registrations of 15 other INGOs, based on intelligence reports.15 The 2013 policy was introduced as an interim measure until relevant legislation was enacted to regulate all foreign organizations and those national organizations that received or intend to receive foreign contributions. The regulation required prior registration with the government by any organization wanting to utilize foreign economic assistance. The registration is quite a cumbersome process that requires clearance from the Ministry of Interior, the provincial governments, local governments and other relevant stakeholders.16 After clearance, the organization must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the government17 that contains detailed information. A big part of these disclosures is the nature of the work (education, public health, women’s’ rights, interfaith harmony, reproductive health, freedom of speech, labour rights, ecology and environment) and the geographical area in which it is to be carried out. If the proposed work is not acceptable, an MoU will not be forthcoming. An MoU, once signed, is valid for five years. Any violation of any of the conditions of the MoU, including conducting agreed activities outside the agreed geographical area, can result in termination and cancellation of the organization’s approvals. Though the policy was introduced at the end of 2013, it took some time before national NGOs were compelled to comply with its terms. When they were, the federal and provincial governments adopted a variety of tactics to disrupt or harass NGOs, especially those working in smaller towns or remote areas. Zeenia Shaukat, herself a rights activist who works in the development sector, draws an account of how the government has used 2013 policy and taken other measures to put NGOs working under control. NGOs in South Punjab (Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur and DG Khan) were specifically directed in 2015 to seek a no objection certificate (NOC) from the Deputy Commissioner Office before every single activity they proposed to conduct. The NOCs almost never arrived on time, delaying the organizations’ activities at each step. They have now moved their activities to Lahore, where there is no such restriction, but this is of no benefit to the people who live in the areas they have abandoned.18 In Baluchistan, too, NOCs have become a prerequisite, and they are forthcoming only if an NGO’s concept notes, programme agendas and suggested activities receive a favourable assessment. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province institutionalized NOC procedures long before these were introduced in the rest of the country.

Pakistan under COVID-19  225 Nadia Naviwala describes the registration process with the government as a tool to tighten control on both international and national NGOs. The organization must first register under one of five laws that Pakistan has for setting up foundations, trusts, or not-for-profit companies. The government, often on the basis of whims, determines which of these laws is best suited to a particular organization. Organizations need well-connected fixers to learn which registration offices have stopped accepting or processing applications and to navigate the process, according to the heads of several organizations who recently registered.19 The next steps are not outlined anywhere: the organization must apply for not-for profit status through the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy and then apply to the Federal Board of Revenue for tax-exempt status. Finally, organizations must submit 15 hard copies of all required documents, including annual reports for the past three years, to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of the Ministry of Interior. ‘Once an application is submitted to the EAD, then representatives of various security agencies start their endless visits to the organization and project areas, interviewing all staff members down to the administrative assistants,’ says the head of an NGO in Islamabad that works on governance. ‘The staff need to explain why they do any of the activities that they do, and still may be told to close projects without any explanation.’20 The air of intimidation and confusion around this process is exacerbated by the fact that no reason is provided when registration is refused by the EAD or NOCs are refused by local governments. Activists are left to surmise that projects working on the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, minority rights, Baluchistan and sensitive topics like enforced disappearances are off the table.21 This clampdown is not equal. NGOs in bigger cities with international standing, affiliations with UN agencies, bigger profiles as organizations or for the founders who have worked as UN experts, etc., find themselves targeted more often. And yet, they are able to resist using these networks as well. Visits and questioning by intelligence agencies is more frequent for NGOs in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi, but they are able to use the excuse of having their approvals pending, or challenges before courts, as covers to continue working. NGOs located in smaller cities, however, find themselves at the mercy of local administration and do not have the international linkages that facilitate resistance. They have to be more cautious. The situation everywhere remains precarious. For Zeenia Shaukat, the roots of recent crackdowns on NGOs can be found in the expanding assertion of the national security agenda championed by the armed forces of Pakistan, which is almost never challenged by the political forces that are representative of the public interest. At the time of writing her article in 2017, the PML-N, which has a history of hostile actions against NGOs, was in government at the centre. ‘When national security is the agenda, it is difficult to identify what exactly qualifies as the criteria for an action against NGOs. The creators and drivers of the

226  Sohail Akbar Warraich national security agenda have expanded it much beyond the realm of terrorism’, writes Shaukat. This is why intelligence agencies have an outsized role in the regulation of NGOs. Bolstering this conclusion are the experiences of NGO officials who have appeared before the EAD. One women’s rights organization was asked why the word ‘abortion’ appears in one of their publications. The organization works on reproductive health. Others have been asked if their staff participated in, supported or funded the Aurat March. Support of the Aurat (Women’s) March has been a singular focus and an easy way to discredit progressive civil society. The Aurat March is an annual event that has been held since 2018 to mark International Women’s Day. It welcomes NGOs, trade unions, students, labour groups, activists and unaffiliated groups alike under its umbrella for the one day. The event is organized by autonomous chapters across Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Peshawar, Quetta and Multan. It became a target of controversy from its very first year through slogans like ‘mera jism meri marzi’ (my body, my choice), ‘d**k pics apnay pass rakho’ (keep unsolicited pictures of your penis to yourself) and ‘divorced and happy’, a placard held up by three divorced women. The Aurat March was heavily surveilled and deeply analysed by the right-wing press for indications of pro-choice or LGBTQ-friendly elements. Accusations of foreign funding, undermining the social fabric of Pakistan, or being anti-Islam, vulgar or obscene were common.22 It did not help that the Aurat March city chapter manifestos boldly spoke about issues that NGOs had begun to censor themselves on: enforced disappearances, bodily rights, workers’ rights, economic independence for women, gender minorities and the country, and even LGBTQ rights.23 As an unregistered entity and merely a collective of individuals and groups, it is not hampered by government control and censorship in the same way as NGOs have been. Rather, the Aurat March continues to be the target of legal challenges24 and right-wing vitriol.25 Interestingly, Aurat March 2020 was held seamlessly across Pakistan after the first COVID-19 cases had been reported in Pakistan, but before the virus was deemed to be a nationwide threat. COVID-19 thus arrived in Pakistan when the NGOs working on rights were under the hammer of state institutions, and many were busy in court battles to ensure their functioning. This was one scenario, but even within this severely confined civic space, especially since 2005, the same organizations were at the forefront of getting laws and polices enacted that promote and protect women’s rights. Laws and policies introduced in last two decades In the last 15 years, many laws and policies have been enacted at the federal and provincial level for protection and promotion of the rights of the women and girls. A majority of these laws and policies address the issue of gender-based violence. The criminal laws enacted during the military

Pakistan under COVID-19  227 regime of General Zia-ul-Haq (1977–1988) which discriminated against women and exposed them to criminal prosecution, even in instances of rape, were amended.26 The criminal laws provisions introduced in October 1990 commonly known as Qisas (retribution) and Diyat (blood money) were also amended twice, to close loopholes that allowed perpetrators of honour crimes go scot-free.27 A new chapter titled ‘Offences Against Women’ was added to the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC). The penal provisions introduced address forced marriages of women and girls, denying women their share in the inheritance or marrying them with the Holy Quran under a customary practice that denies women their right of inheritance.28 New offences to deal with violence through acids and other corrosive substances are also included in the amended Penal Code.29 A series of amendments were introduced in the criminal law to deal with sexual crimes against women and children including child pornography and child sexual abuse. These amendments introduced new penal provisions and strengthened procedural law to provide easier access to justice to survivors of sexual crimes, including rape.30 The list of laws introduced during the past decade in particular is very long: harassment of women in the workplace, domestic violence, trafficking of persons and especially women and children, rights of migrant workers, rights of transgender persons, domestic workers, juvenile justice systems, restrictions on employment of children, and more. Amid all this legislation, advocacy and international mobilization has also been in full gear. In addition to laws and policies, special mechanisms and measures were introduced by the federal and provincial governments to protect women against violence.31 These include provincial Commissions on the Status of Women that, in line with the National Commission on the Status of Women, act as watchdogs on issues of women’s rights and advise the government on removing discriminatory provisions from laws and policies. Similar mechanisms were also set up for minority rights32 and child rights.33 Therefore, even while the government was trying to clamp down on civil society, some strategic work between NGOs and the government continued, even while the same organizations criticized the government in public Civil society under COVID-19 Initially, this collaboration between state and civil society picked up under COVID-19. The foremost concern when COVID-19 hit and businesses closed temporarily was the condition of working-class families living paycheck to paycheck. Under lockdowns, private offices including those of NGOs were closed down and all planned NGO activities were disrupted. Initially, many NGOs at their own initiatives started relief work, providing food items and protective equipment like masks, sanitizers and even protective suits. As this work performed by everything from very small organizations to nationwide organizations, it is difficult to map out the scale of whole operation. Many diverted their funds or raised new funds for relief

228  Sohail Akbar Warraich work. Many joined hands with national and provincial disaster management authorities to do so. The federal government issued new guidelines34 for INGOs to work with national and provincial disaster management authorities (NDMA and PDMA) in the COVID crisis. The opening paragraph of the guidelines acknowledges the important role of the INGOs in emergency response across the globe and in Pakistan. Under the new guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs), the government decided to immediately issue registered INGOs with NOCs that would enable them to pursue projects relating to COVID-19. Press reports suggest that the rules around NGOs and INGOs were temporarily eased, allowing international aid agencies to expand relief work.35 Suddenly, the ‘enemies within,’ progressive civil society, were government allies. NGOs with registrations pending with the Ministry of Interior were recognized by and issued NOCs by other state agencies, the NDMA and PDMAs. Furthermore, parts of Pakistan that were hitherto inaccessible to NGOs suddenly opened up to them. The pandemic forced these organizations and groups to go online and to rely almost exclusively on online tools like Zoom and Google Meet to coordinate meetings, consultations and webinars. These meetings and webinars could be held with participants from Baluchistan and South Punjab – no government clearance required. No-go areas were easily penetrated via Zoom, and dialogues and trainings across Pakistan flourished. For a while, it seemed that due to the government’s own dependence on NGOs for relief work, and a halt in its own processes while state institutions worked out how to work from home and protect against the spread of COVID-19, the registration and regulation processes with the Ministry of Interior came to a standstill. NGOs seemed to be in the clear again. This relief was short-lived, however. In July 2020, the province of Punjab had restarted its drive for registration of NGOs under a new law that made it mandatory for all NGOs in the province to register by August 5 through the Punjab Charity Commission’s online portal36 As of mid-July, the NGOs hadn’t received any notification from the Home Department, under whose umbrella the commission is, but ‘the Social Welfare Department has sent a WhatsApp message and a link to the NGOs through which they can register with the web portal.’37 All NGOs must register themselves here, irrespective of what sort of non-profit they are (society, trust, non-profit company etc.). Surprisingly, COVID-19 also spurred activities in certain other areas. The crisis situation and active NGO involvement in relief work on the surface eased broader tensions with state institutions. One consequence of the lockdown was a rise in gender-based violence (GBV), particularly at home. This trend has been noted by UNICEF as well.38 Organizations working on GBV immediately took note and raised concerns with the state authorities. Support mechanisms to address and deal with GBV had been affected by the corona response. As hospitals and other medical facilities got busy

Pakistan under COVID-19  229 dealing with COVID-positive cases, outdoor patient departments, where GBV cases would end up, ground to the bare minimum. State-run shelters homes stopped admitting new residents, as they would not risk admitting a virus-infected person and did not have adequate quarantining facilities. Police and other agencies normally responsible for dealing with violence and such matters were put to other duties during the crisis. Courts were also taking up urgent matters like bail and injunctions only, and relief to survivors under the domestic violence laws came to almost a halt. Both federal and provincial governments focussed mainly on issues of livelihood. During this time, one much-needed initiative was the development of a policy document that outlines essential measures to mitigate COVID-19’s impact on women, girls and the transgender community in the province of Sindh. The initiative is by the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women (SCSW) and the Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, in collaboration with other stakeholders. The first concept note of this initiative by specifies four areas on which policy briefs will be developed to address both immediate and long term needs. The four areas are GBV, women’s health (especially reproductive health), economic resilience and girl’s education. Within a month of the initiative’s launch in late June 2020, several consultations with the stakeholders in the four thematic areas already had taken place. Two UN agencies, UN Women and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also geared up their activities on laws and policies related to women’s rights, especially on GBV. Taking advantage of technological advancements, UN Women held several webinars focussing on reforms of laws like harassment of women at the workplace, issues of gender-based violence and employment of children. As COVID-19 wears on and countries ease into returning to a version of life as close to pre-COVID-19 times as possible, it appears that legal regulation of NGOs, their surveillance and the resulting self-censorship will continue. However, adapting to socially distanced worklife has certainly accelerated the adoption of online tools. It will be interesting to see how this impacts civil society, despite the digital divide across Pakistan39 and impending heightened online surveillance under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Conclusion This chapter presents situation of two factions of civil society, religious groups and the progressive civil society, before and during the COVID era. The religious side, by virtue of the nature of the pandemic and its own defiance of COVID-19 safety precautions, ostensibly remained on the back foot. At the same pre-COVID time, the other faction’s space was being reduced at the hands of the state and in the name of transparency and national security. In this context, the state considered attention to human rights issues as impediments to security, and adopted antagonistic attitude towards those who questioned the state and tried to hold them accountable.

230  Sohail Akbar Warraich At the same time, by virtue of persistent work over the years, the credibility these groups as committed to progress of human rights was well-established and they were managing to defy state restrictions. During the COVID-19 crisis, these groups engaged in relief and other needed work, but at the same time did not lose sight of the critical issues and guided the state’s attention towards issues like GBV. Immediate compulsions of the pandemic and other responsibilities of the state institutions became a relief for many of these groups, who otherwise were at the brink of fighting for their existence. During the crisis, whether the state will change its view of progressive civil society based on their activities during the pandemic remains to be seen. By July 2020, the state is back to business usual in its regulation and censorship of progressive civil society. The religious factions, still reeling under the bad impression left by their obstinacy in the face of the pandemic, are slowly clawing back to relevance. They are building on the resurgence of religious sentiment that has been in the making since the 1980s, after all. The pandemic is but a momentary setback. It seems they will continue to enjoy state support, explicit or tacit, irrespective of their level of popularity. The latest example is Punjab’s passage on 22 July 2020 of a new bill titled Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyaad-e-Islam Bill, 2020 (can be translated as protection of foundation of Islam). The bill proposes many restrictions on printing of materials deemed to be against Islam, against the Prophethood and against Pakistan, thereby curbing freedom of expression. This draconian law, presuming the Governor signs it and the court allows it to be implemented,40 will empower the government to ban or confiscate printed materials. Such laws and policies have always strengthened the conservative forces. For the aftermath of COVID-19, these are the lasting steps that will continue constrain progressive development in Pakistan, even beyond the pandemic.

Notes 1 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 2 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 3 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 4 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 5 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 6 A faction of Deobandi Sunni school who travel area to area for preaching and hold their annual big congregation at Raiwind a small town near Lahore. 7 Tom Hussain, ‘Coronavirus: Pakistan struggles to track down 100,000 attendees of Tablighi Jamaat religious event’. Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2020. Last accessed 20 October 2020.‘Tableeghi Jamaat in hot water in Pakistan too for Covid-19 spread’. DAWN. Last accessed 20 October 2020. ‘Pakistan quarantines 20,000 following Tabligh gathering in Lahore’. Aljazeera. Last accessed 20 October 2020. ‘“God is with us”: Many Muslims flout the coronavirus ban in mosques’. Pakistan Today. Last accessed 20 October 2020.

Pakistan under COVID-19  231 8 Zaireen is plural of zair, which literally means the one who sees and is used primarily for the Muslim visitor of his religious Holy places and is mostly used for the people of Shi’a sect who go to Iran and Iraq to visit shrines. 9 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 10 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 11 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 12 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 13 2013.pdf. Last accessed 20 June 2020. 14 Alexander Mullaney and Syeda Amna Hassan, ‘He Led the CIA to bin Laden – And Unwittingly Fueled a Vaccine Backlash’. National Geographic, 27 February 2015. Last accessed 20 October 2020. 15 These included Oxfam GB, Norwegian Refugee Council, Danish Refugee Council, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, and Mercy Corps. See www. Last accessed 20 October 2020. 16 See section 3 of the policy; other relevant stakeholders – including government departments and or agencies – were not specified. 17 The Economic Affairs Division (EAD) was given responsibility for such registration and signing of MoU. 18 Zeenia Shaukat, ‘NoGO Areas’. The News International, 29 January 2017. Last accessed 20 October 2020. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid. 22 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 23 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 24 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 25 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 26 The infamous Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance 1979 which did not recognize evidence of a woman in cases of maximum punishment for offences of extramarital sex and rape, was amended by the Protection of Women (Criminal Law Amendment) Act, 2006. 27 First through Act 1 of 2005 and later through the Criminal Law (Amendment) (offences in the name or pretext of Honour) Act, 2016. 28 Chapter XX-A added in the PPC, see sections 498-A to C of PPC. 29 Sections 336 A and B added in the PPC in 2011. 30 See Criminal Law (Amendment) (offences relating to Rape) Act 2016 and Act No. X of 2016. 31 For details, see Pakistan’s Parallel’s report, Beijing: 25 Years On, especially the chapter on freedom from violence. For stigma and stereotypes and for special initiatives in Punjab, see the Punjab Commission on The Status of Women Report 2019, titled ‘Special Mechanisms to Address Violence against Women in Punjab’. 32 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 33 See National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act, 2017. 34 Last accessed 20 October 2020.

232  Sohail Akbar Warraich 35 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 36 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 37 Ibid. 38 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 39 Last accessed 20 October 2020. 40 As this book goes into press (28 July 2020), the Lahore High Court barred Punjab province from compelling re-registration of NGOs. This is another chapter in a continuing saga. Last accessed 20 October 2020.

References Archival sources Government of Pakistan, Ministry of the Interior United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Newspapers and weekly magazines Al Hakam Courthouse News Service Dawn The Diplomat The Express Tribune The International News The Nation’ National Geographic Naya Daur The News on Sunday Reuters South China Morning Post

Part III

Civil mobilization among ethnic and linguistic minorities Amit Prakash, Peter B. Andersen and Rubya Mehdi Ethnic and linguistic minorities have been part of South Asian history since long before one began to bother about these terms in the modern sense1. Their modern versions appeared during the last part of the nineteenth century, when collective identities were slowly formed around languages, religious bodies and ethnic or geographical groups. From Punjab to the borders of Bengal and Assam, and perhaps even including Bengal and Assam, various organizations advocated the adoption of Hindi as a regional language, whereas other organizations defended Urdu. As the various positions were adopted by people who also shared a common religious tradition, the conflict often was understood as ‘religious’ rather than ‘linguistic’. Indeed, the nineteenth-century Muslim reform movements took to Urdu as a lead language, even in areas where few Muslims spoke it. The colonial administration’s division of the Bengal Presidency into West and East Bengal (and Assam), initiated in 1905, was a pivotal point in the formation of a linguistic identity around the Bengali language. This is evident in Rabindranath Tagore’s song My Bengal of Gold (Amar Sona Bangla), composed as one of many protests against the division, and in 1971 would become the national anthem of Bangladesh. In the southern part of India, movements and parties established since the 1910s worked for the uplift of the Tamils, understood as a linguistically and culturally defined group that opposed both the high Hindu castes and to the Hindi language, in this connection considered as a language of the high castes. Some of these movements reacted in specific opposition to M.K. Gandhi’s attempt to promote Hindi in the south and the Indian National Congress’ adoption of Hindi as an official language of its proceedings instead of English in 1925. These movements and political parties point towards Independence in 1947, and in many ways the conflicts between proponents of Hindi, Urdu and other languages of Pakistan, India and later Bangladesh have continued. Pakistan was formed as a homeland for the Muslims of South Asia. The eastern half, which comprised a single Bengali language community, demanded and gained independence in 1971 as Bangladesh was born. The conflict on languages dates back to the constituent assemblies and its deliberations on religions and languages. In 1952, Urdu was selected as the national language, leaving other languages more or less in a vacuum

234  Amit Prakash et al. including Bengali as well as the other major languages spoken in western Pakistan. As the population of the eastern wing constituted more than half of Pakistan’s population, the politicians from this wing forwarded strong demands to include Bengali at a higher level. During the conflict, a new party defending Bengali came into being, and a constitutional amendment in 1954 defined Bengali as a ‘state language’ on par with Urdu. The continuous pressure on Bengali culture and language was often seen as influenced by Hinduism (about 22 per cent of the population in East Pakistan were Hindus). Language, culture and conflicts regarding economic distribution and political developments deepened the fights that ended in civil war and the creation of Bangladesh. In Pakistan today, the province of Punjab enjoys clear political and economic dominance over the other provinces. Even so, when it comes to language Punjabi language is an issue of contention – even in Punjab. The country rejected Gurmukhi, Punjabi’s original script, and replaced it with a Persian-based script called Shahmukhi. In this way, Punjabi came to share a script with Urdu, which made sense to national leaders as Punjabi speakers also were encouraged to speak and write Urdu, the country’s national language. In the process, however, the status of Punjabi was undermined. The descendants of Urdu speakers who fled from India in 1947, the Muhajirs, became the dominant political group in Sindh. However, overall grievances are directed largely against the Punjab, whose residents dominate the federal bureaucracy and the military. Thus, Sindhi language and culture was seriously threatened both within the province, at the hands of Muhajirs, and from national leaders. A similar fate awaited other geographically concentrated ethnic groups. In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly the North Western Frontier Provinces), Urdu was imposed from above as the national language and people suffered in their culture and local languages. Most people here speak Pushto. Other local languages, such as Hindko, Derajati and Chitrali, are undermined as none of them are properly taught in the educational institutions. The Kalash, an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, deserve separate attention because of the intense economic, social and political persecution they have experienced, due to their religious difference. The Kalash language is under serious threat of extinction. In Baluchistan, grievances stem from a denial of political and economic autonomy and denial of promotion of local languages. The province’s two major linguistic groups are in serious conflict with the central government, and rightist Islamist groups sometimes fan the flames of these conflicts. This is partly the case also in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In Baluchistan, the conflicts are sometimes defined more along tribe or clan lines and less in terms of religious groupings. A detailed study is needed about the status of local languages in the above-mentioned provinces, as well as in the province of Azad Jammu and

Civil mobilization among ethnic and linguistic minorities  235 Kashmir and in Pakistan’s federally administered Northern Areas (formally Gilgit-Baltistan). As noted, the basic idea of Bangladesh has always featured the Bengali language, which was used to carve out a distinctive identity vis-à-vis the Urdu- and Punjabi-dominated political articulation in then-West Pakistan. Languages and dialects (some of which belong to the family of Tibeto-Burman languages) spoken by indigenous minority groups have been more or less subsumed into Bengali language and popular culture. Almost 98 per cent of the population today identify Bengali as their mother tongue. The importance of this process is underlined by the fact that Bengali language and culture was the basis of political articulation that led to the mobilization under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and then to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971. Bangladesh’s Census of 2011 divides the 1.8 per cent of the population that does not identify as Bengali into 27 ethnic groups, including indigenous Adivasis, mainly Chakmas, Marmas and Tripuras, who are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the plains in the north and southeast of the country. A small proportion of the population of Bihari origins – concentrated around the capital Dhaka – also comprise a visible minority in the country. India’s territory was reorganized, in 1956, into 14 states and six territories, most of whose boundaries conformed with previously existing linguistic regions. Language-based re-divisions continued until Punjab was created in 1966. Other states have subsequently been created but based on other arguments. Among them, Jharkhand state was established in 2000 with the aim of catering to tribal groups that speak various languages and collectively comprise about 30 per cent of the state’s population, with most of the remainder speaking Hindi or Bengali. It has been argued by Brass (1994) that new states in India only are created due longstanding and strong linguistic movements that manage to mobilize backing from the different linguistic groups. In the case of Jharkhand, a longstanding state-creation movement managed to gain backing from both sides of the political spectrum at the national level. In many places before Independence, there had been governmental support for the teaching of minority languages. After Independence, however, some states cancelled support for teaching through the media of minority languages in the school. Still, some schools carried on and even expanded the practice of mother-tongue instruction. A Constitutional principle supports this practice; the Constitution supports subnational languages in other ways as well by specifying the ‘official languages’ in which government business shall be conducted. The 8th Schedule identifies Hindi is the official language of the union, and also retains English for general communication at an official level. The majority language of each state is included in the 8th Schedule, as are a number of minority languages such as Urdu, Sanskrit, Sindhi and Nepali. For the following chapters, it is relevant that Santali together with Bodo, Dogri, and Maithili were added to the Schedule in 2003, bringing the total to 22 languages.

236  Amit Prakash et al. The three chapters in the following section focus on the Santals, who are recognized as a Scheduled Tribe in Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal. These chapters illustrate how the members of an ethnic and linguistic minority may organize themselves in order to sustain their characteristics. Santal experiences engage with classical questions relating to civil society, namely whether there is a public sphere, what it means and how far the writers’ community is able to address it. The second question, especially relevant for linguistic and tribal minorities, is whether they are able to understand the rules of the game and to address a public sphere at all. The third question regards whether it is at all possible to sustain the language defining a linguistic minority.

The chapters A basic issue is how far a linguistic minority is allowed to propagate its own language and how its members choose to do it. As can be understood from the above discussion, the basic issue of permission is grounded in the Constitution of India, but the Constitution directs other institutions – ranging from the Government of India, the state governments, and even lower levels – to implement Constitutional principles. The document itself is silent on, among other issues, how far it is feasible to implement the constitutional safeguards regarding mother-tongue. What proportion of minority-language speakers should trigger the implementation of teaching in their mother tongue? Is it possible to employ qualified teachers? Chapter 13, ‘The organization of the writers’ community in a linguistic minority’, places these questions in the context of one of the classical issues regarding the public sphere: is there only one ‘public sphere’, or are there several? The authors argue for the existence of several public spheres, dependent on the overlapping linguistic identities in India. The actors in any public sphere act upon their understanding of the situation, and this understanding is mediated by the extent of their access to relevant information. This issue is developed in the chapter on ‘Imagining Santal rationality as empowerment’ as it traces the gradual inclusion of the Santals in the general Indian forms of cultural rationality since the Santal Rebellion 1855–1856. This journey begins with the colonial authorities’ patronizing attitudes about the ‘inability’ of ‘indigenous peoples’ to understand of economic transactions and continues to the recent Santal understandings of the conflict between Santal, local, village knowledge and government knowledge as it is taught in the schools. Even today, Santals distinguish ‘governmental knowledge’ from knowledge gained in the village. Both are important, but the Santals feel they are losing their village knowledge and stress that it must be kept secret to the authorities outside the village. Ideas about rationalities and knowledges spill over into competitions over how to integrate women into general economic development. Counterintuitively, Carrin finds that the specific process by which patriarchal attitudes among

Civil mobilization among ethnic and linguistic minorities  237 the Santals tend to isolate women from access to ‘modern’ development has empowered women and enhanced their autonomy. Where these two chapters implicitly have offered positive evaluations of the Santals’ possibilities to sustain their language, the section’s final chapter, ‘Santals: language, lyricism, emotions and identity’ expresses a more concerned mood. Decay, decadence and extinction of languages and dialects have followed dominant intrusions among marginalized peoples. Here Bhattacharya and Bhattacharya forward a strong argument for sustaining the languages of the linguistic minorities and tribes, as language houses the inner thoughts of peoples and links them together in their own solidarity; this dynamic is different from that of the fragmented solidarities found within majority populations. The further pressure on linguistic majorities – raised by the pitting of India’s linguistic groups against each other and the difficulties this causes for the sustaining of their languages – is reflected in the mood of the chapter. One may add that these chapters look beyond religious belonging, even though civil society charities sometimes are structured around religion. This does not mean that religiously oriented charities are absent. The Ramakrishna Mission has activities and supports some schools, and Catholics and a number of Protestant churches organize schools and support other charities. There are, however, reasons for keeping the religious affiliations of the charities aside in this section, the most important of which is that the many Santal charities, diverging among themselves in religious and secular positions, try to keep religious distinctions (and the conflicts that arise from them) on a low key in order to form a stronger collective position towards the surrounding majority society. Recently, however, a cluster under the umbrella of Hinduism seems to be developing among many of the smaller religious groups representing various interpretations of ‘tribal religion’ (e.g., Kherwar, Kherwar Dhorom). This may result in deepening the existing schisms between the different charities, but this is a subject for future research.

Note 1 Standard references for the general history are Brass 1994, Irschick 1969, Jaffrelot 2015, Rahman 2008 and Sarkar 1973 (who rightly stresses that the agitation in the Bengal Swadeshi Movement 1903–1908 did not reach the masses as it mostly was carried out in English).

References Brass, Paul R. (1994) The Politics of India since Independence. The New Cambridge History of India IV:1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Irschick, Eugene F. (1969) Politics and Social Conflict in South India: The NonBrahman Movement and Tamil Separatism, 1916–1929. Berkeley: University of California Press.

238  Amit Prakash et al. Jaffrelot, Christophe (2015) The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience. Gurgaon: Random House India (French ed. 2013). Rahman, Tariq (2008) ‘Language, religion and politics: Urdu in Pakistan and north India’. Revue des mondes musulmand et de la Méditerranée 124 (November), pp. 93–112. Sarkar, Sumit (1973) The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal 1903–1908. New Delhi: People’s Publishing House.

13 The organization of the writers’ community as a linguistic minority* The Santal tribe Peter B. Andersen, Kumkum Bhattacharya, Ranjit K. Bhattacharya and Boro Baski The Santali language is spoken by more than 6 million people (as of 2001) and is under pressure due to urbanization and the constant influence of the much larger majority languages spoken in northern India. The Santal people were therefore happy when Santali was added to the Constitution’s 8th Schedule list of ‘official languages’ in 2003. Nevertheless, the Santal writers’ community addresses the Santals through publications in the majority languages as well as in Santali. This chapter presents the efforts undertaken by the Santal writers’ community in one of the few urban strongholds of Santali, the city of Dumka in Jharkhand. The chapter poses questions regarding how the Santals participate in one or several public spheres that are partly defined by language and how participation is organized.

Approaches to civil society The current chapter offers an example of how the public sphere is regulated by the state and what it means for the organization of writers of Santali, a minority language. At a theoretical level, this means that the public sphere cannot be investigated independently of the state and that it is impossible to approach an associational level as an entity in itself. In this regard, the choice of Santal writers may be seen as a critical case (Flyvbjerg 2006), which can be understood as a general warning against a harsh division 1

*  Ranjit and Kumkum Bhatthacharya and Boro Baski have visited Dumka numerous times for academic purposes and fieldwork. Peter B. Andersen’s first visit was in 1986. Parts of the materials for this chapter were collected by P.B. Andersen, Kumkum and Ranjit Bhattacharya, and Santat Hansda during two short visits to Dumka in 2013 and 2015. In 2015, Bharat D.B. Murmu offered invaluable help during the interviews. Over the years we have had the opportunity to meet with and interview numerous Santal writers and intellectuals, in Dumka as well as at other locations of India, and we would like to voice our gratitude to all of them, especially those whose insights are not shared in this chapter due to limited space.

240  Peter B. Andersen et al. between the different approaches to civil society, rather than considering them as intrinsically interrelated. With regard to the understanding of cultural and linguistic minorities, this chapter illuminates their fight for a voice in the public debate, where they aim to influence mainstream politics. Such influence always begins with the organization of the minority itself, and it will become evident that such an organization has to be multifaceted in order to address different groups within the minority. With this in mind, there are good conceptual reasons to distinguish between civil society as associational life from civil society as an element of the public sphere. More generally, the above can be understood according to the legacy of Habermas’ seminal study on the public sphere (Habermas 1990[1962]). It is according to this line that an interest for writers’ freedom and the support for a free press is found. The other line of enquiry focusses on associational life and is found in the work on new (issue-based) politics. The liberal enthusiasm for NGOs and associational life after the peaceful dismantling of the communist autocracies in Eastern Europe has led some social scientists to advocate the return of social life to a manageable size, assuming that the institutions of state could be avoided. This position has been refuted by the numerous scholars who stress that one cannot do away with the state (e.g. Walzer 2003; Edwards 2009, pp. 49–58). The approach has, nevertheless, gained new momentum with Putnam’s argument that a high frequency of face-to-face interaction in associational life in itself may lead to a good society (Putnam 2000). Whereas the associational and the public sphere approaches to civil society are well established, Edwards (2009) amongst others sees Putnam’s approach to the good society as a third approach, which is termed the communitarian approach. Each of the approaches to civil society is important for the understanding of the organization of liberal societies, though each of them gives rise to analytical problems when taken in isolation. We follow Edwards’ suggestion that ‘an integrated approach to civil society that unites elements of all three models increases the utility of this idea, both as an explanation and as a vehicle for action’ (Edwards 2009, p. 106). This chapter will follow Edwards’ view, and it will be argued that Santali writers’ options are determined by (a) structures defined by the governments at national and state level and (b) associations, some of which are NGOs that organize the activities of Santali writers. We will argue that the writers’ community has achieved some success with their collective project and also that they face a number of problems, including disagreements regarding their goals. While this should not pose any challenges to Putnam’s approach, his position cannot here be endorsed, for we maintain our focus on the larger societal situation and, in so doing, do not wish to insulate the writers’ community. This chapter will not propose any definition of civil society, though it follows from the considerations above that civil society will be approached as something between the state and the family. In Europe, such a sphere developed due to changes in the social structure during the eighteenth and

Organization of the writers’ community  241 nineteenth centuries. India’s history is different, yet there is no doubt that central persons in the early nineteenth century Bengal Renaissance spoke freely to the colonial government, and that a public sphere existed at that time (e.g. Bayly 1997). This developed into a new form with the expansion of printed pamphlets and books in the period between 1830 and 1850. It has even been argued that a north Indian ecumene existed, much in the Habermasian understanding of the public sphere prior to the early nineteenth century, due to the fact that learned Indians who were appointed by English authorities in order to understand Indian society addressed the authorities in their own right (Bayly 1997, p. 182). We fully accept the existence of such an ecumene, but we do not include the factual existence thereof in this chapter, as it was limited to the fringes of state power, and the free public sphere between the state and the family had not yet come into existence.

The Santali writers The Santali writers’ community is fit to illustrate the interaction between the analytical fields of the public sphere and associational life for a number of reasons: (a) they represent a minority language with a long and significant tradition of publishing in their own language, (b) their effort to organize their literary life has significant historical depth, and (c) external organizations such as government and missionary schools as well as government regulation have had a continuous influence of the dissemination of Santali literature. The Santali language belongs to the Kharwarian languages, a subgroup of the Austro-Asiatic languages, which belong to a different stock of languages than Assamese, Bengali, Hindi and Odia (Oriya), which are spoken by the surrounding linguistic majorities. Today Santali is spoken by more than 6 million persons in India (Census of India 2001). It has been a written language since the middle of the nineteenth century, when Christian missionaries put it into print. The first publication, in 1845, was in Bengali script (still kept by Phillips 1852, translated do. 1897), though the Christian missionaries later published in Roman script (Hodne 1966).1 The two missionaries L.O. Skrefsrud (1840–1910) and P.O. Bodding (1865–1938) published a large corpus of texts collected from Santal gurus and folklore narrators, along with accompanying English translations (e.g. Andersen, Carine and Soren 2011). The first printed text seen all the way through to publication by a Santali writer was Majhi Ramdas Tudu Raska’s book titled Religion of the Kherwars, published in about 1894 (Hembram 2007, pp. 138–139).2 During the 1940s, Raghunath Murmu (Pandit Ragunath Murmu or Guru Gomkey, 1905–1981) forwarded OlChiki (Ol Script) as the Santali script. Besides these scripts, significant numbers of Santali publications also appear in Hindi and Bengali scripts. Up to the years after independence, there were a number of private and mostly mission schools that taught Santals to read and write in Santali, though as far as can be ascertained all of

242  Peter B. Andersen et al. them gradually changed to the medium of the state language. This was not, however, a simple one-way process. When it came to power in 1977, West Bengal’s Left Front Government made an effort to introduce the Santali medium. This process has been changing since Santali was included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India in 2003. As this schedule regards languages and their status, there has been an ongoing effort to organize possibilities to teach Santal students through the means of their own language, and several states have now introduced it in government schools depending on the ethnic distribution of a school’s student population. The governments of West Bengal and Odissa have officially adopted Santali as a medium of instruction in government schools and colleges. In West Bengal only OlChiki script is used in government schools, while both OlChiki and Oriya script are used in Odissa. There is no official information regarding any Santal school using OlChiki script in Jharkhand, even though the process for its introduction has been initiated in the state. However, Sido Kanhu Murmu University3 offers many courses in Santali at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. The Indian central and state governments worked for the promotion of Santali literature prior to 2003. The All India Sahitya Academy has an Advisory Board for Santali, and the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Mysore provides support for the publication of literature in a number of languages, Santali among them. The different states also have schemes for supporting the promotion of Santali literature. Over the years, many Santal writers and activists see the government’s efforts to promote Santali as insufficient and half-hearted, and have tried to organize ways in which to further promote Santali language and culture. The Adivasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (ASECA) is inspired by the work of the late Ragunath Murmu, whose contribution to understanding Santal culture goes far beyond the script that was introduced largely as a result of his personal advocacy. Murmu’s literary works pose new moral considerations, with an emphasis on the morals and ethics of the Santals. One may state that he wanted to teach the Santals how to address the work situation in the modern world. Ragunath Murmu was based in Odissa, but numerous parallel attempts to alphabetize and transform the Santal culture were being undertaken by Santals in different parts of India. ASECA has likewise worked to create such an education through the medium of Santali written in OlChiki since 1967. The privately funded Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram (RSV) in Birbhum in West Bengal is a non-formal Santal School established in 1996, in which Santal children are initially taught in their mother tongue, written in Bengali script, before lessons gradually switch over to Bengali. After the fourth grade, they are ready to study in government schools. The school teaches conventional subjects such as geography, science and mathematics, but also introduces the students to Santal folklore, history, art, music, culture and handicrafts.

Organization of the writers’ community  243 The present chapter illustrates how the Santal writers and intellectuals in Dumka promote Santali literature and language among the Santals. The Dumka writer’s community has been selected as an example for several reasons. The headquarters of the Indian Home Mission to the Santals, in which Skrefsrud and Bodding worked, was situated here.4 In addition, Santals have a much more significant presence here than they have in other urban environments, even in those with a significant Santal population. Some Santals in Dumka speak Santali at home and are able to sustain their language even if they work amongst the city’s Hindi- and Bengali-speaking majority. Even if this means that the Santals seem to be able to pass their language on to the next generations here to a higher degree than others, the transmission of Santali is a significant problem in many places. As we shall see, some Santali writers address this problem through their development of new forms and genres of Santali literature, which are relevant to the new generations. For the purpose of the present argument, we first turn to the existence of an open public sphere, thereafter to the work done by some Santal- oriented associations, and lastly to the way in which this is structured by the government. During the argument we will present the work of a few writers and activists in Dumka, in order to illustrate the different ways they work to sustain Santal culture and identity.

Examples of Santali writers as addressing a public sphere Since the publications of missionary scholars at the turn of the nineteenth to twentieth centuries, Santali literature has blossomed, and numerous poets, writers and journalists have come forward. A number of writers address the changing circumstances for Santal society. One major theme is the consequence of urbanization, which leads to the disintegration of the traditional village structure where Santals had lived. This means that the transmission of Santal culture from generation to generation is not as effective as it was in the local village environments. Another issue is that traditional systems of social control have gradually been lost in Dumka, and people are freer to choose their own preferences and lives. One Dumka-based writer who addresses the transmission of Santal culture is Bhaya Hansda ‘Casa’ (born in 1942). His main work is an epic poem (a Maha Granth) published in 34 volumes. It is named Pil Sagar (The Ocean of Pilcu), and narrates the story of the Santals from the days of the first human pair, Pilcu Haram and Pilcu Budhi, up to the present. In this way, this Maha Granth is a continuation of the epic traditions of the bintis, or epics, which are still presented during some Santali traditional religious rituals. In an interview Bhaya Hansda summarized his work as ‘a life philosophy, [which] not only myth and religion’. There are passages of greetings and agriculture, and he hoped that when reading this people ‘would understand much about the social practices’ including traditional medical advice on health and sanitation. The printed volume of The Ocean of Pilcu is not illustrated, although Bhaya Hansda had created artwork for the purpose.

244  Peter B. Andersen et al. As the Santals have no significant traditions of this sort of art, he developed his own style that, on the one hand, indicates a link to the tribal tradition and, on the other, allows the observer to understand the events through a narrow gaze. He solved this problem by drawing depictions of well-known cire perdue tribal bronze figures, where the arms and legs are disproportionately thin.5 Another important figure in the transmission of Santal myths of origin and legends of history is the publisher Ruby Hembram. She is a Protestant Christian and her father, Professor Timotheas Hembram, wrote his PhD dissertation on the possible links between the traditional Santal myths and legends and those of the Jews as presented in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. Her father never told her about traditional Santal myths and legends during her childhood, only discussing the Christian texts with her. She now works for the transmission of knowledge about the traditional Santal stories by disseminating illustrated children’s books with only some few lines of text accompanying each image. The books are evidently intended to support parents when they narrate the stories to their children. This demands of the parents, however, that they be familiar with the stories. Thus in 2015 Hembram, who is based in Kolkata, ran training programmes in Dumka, educating schoolteachers to use the books in class. The deliberation of positions in the public sphere is usually assumed to demand that there be various kinds of media coverage for the dissemination of the views under deliberation. In Dumka it is possible to address the public through the Hindi and English newspapers, yet there are also a number of journals directed towards the Santals. Bhaya Hansda has, for instance, published in Adibasi and the Santali journal Hul Sambad (2005–2012). Other Santals from Dumka have published in Jugsirijol, which addresses Santali literature and culture. Among the Santali journals published in OlChiki script, one may mention Fagun from Odisha and Sajom Umul from Purulia, West Bengal. Some journals have now turned to dissemination through the internet. For example, Nawa Ipil was established in 2006 and migrated to the internet in 2015 (presently found at https://nawaipil. com/, last accessed 6 August 2020). The internet offers possibilities for new forms of an interactive public sphere, though these are not addressed in this chapter. A number of Santal writers feel that the use of the Santali language is in decline and that the mainstream language Hindi is gradually taking over. Writer and social activist Nirmala Putul Murmu published her Santali work in Santal journals, but her Hindi-language oeuvre is significantly larger, appearing as books and in Hindi journals. This allows her to disseminate her critique of women’s conditions in Santal and tribal society to a larger audience. She freely admits that she has faced accusations because of her criticism of social taboos for women in tribal society. Another writer who visited Dumka in 2015 is Andreas Tudu. For a long period, he published short stories in Hindi on his popular homepage,

Organization of the writers’ community  245 though he has closed it down and now publishes short stories and novels in Santali. He aims to engage a new, younger and larger segment of Santals than Santal literature has typically been able to reach. His short stories give more space for interpretation than traditional Santal short stories. In order to achieve his aim, he modernizes the language and opens it up to individual interpretations regarding the stories’ content. One of his short stories, for example, addresses issues in traditional Santal religion, but ends by revealing that the protagonist dreamt it all. So, the reader is not compelled to take a stance for or against the religious frame, and can freely develop his or her own views on ethics and morals. Seen from the outside, the Santals have the opportunity to address the public through the media of Santali, Hindi and English – which they do. It may, however, be relevant to ask whether there is one public sphere or several; a possibility admitted by Habermas in 1990, after he had been criticized for neglecting the possibility of multiple public spheres in his earlier work. The Santals constitute a minority within the Indian population, and much of the debate on language and culture in India’s mainstream in Hindi and English media is framed along the supposedly ‘natural’ positions of the majority. It is thus important that the Santals have a voice here as well, even if their voice is to some degree a call from a non-mainstream public sphere. It is also evident that Ruby Hembram’s work is attempting to build a common ethnic platform from which to unite Christian Santals with Santals who adhere to various forms of the traditional religion. One may, of course, see the critique directed towards Nirmala Putul from more patriarchal positions as part of the deliberation, though one may also consider whether it is an indication of the existence of different public spheres. The different scripts among the Santals also reflect different and to some degree closed public spheres, as Santal writers and intellectuals often express with regret. At present, this last obstacle to the creation of a common Santal public sphere does not seem to be diminishing; it seems, in fact, to be maintained, even down to the level of conflicts regarding the use of different public spheres. This fight over different public spheres became clear in the attacks on writer Hansda Sowvendra Shekar when, in 2015, India’s National Academy of Letters (Sahitya Akademi) conferred on him the Yava Puraskar prize for young authors for his book The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey, published in English in 2014 and later translated into Tamil with the support of the Academy of Letters. The book contains stories depicting how strong Santal (Saont) working women might live a happy life, and also deals with religious and social conflicts among the Santals as well as with upper caste people who look down on and mistreat them. One may state that it carries a message for social reconstruction to tribal Santal men and women, as well as to those amongst whom the Santals live. One may postulate that these qualities in addition to the spell-binding narrative were among the reasons for the decision to confer the prize. Of interest to us is the response of Santal

246  Peter B. Andersen et al. writers and intellectuals, many of whom attacked Shekhar for revealing the inner conflicts of Santal society to the surrounding society, not only in Bengali, but even in English. This may be seen as a fight for access to different, language-bounded public spheres.

Associational life The Santals in Dumka engage in numerous kinds of associational activities. Many of those activities involve individuals of disparate communities. One may, for instance, mention the political parties at the national and state levels. Santals are members of those parties and are elected to public office, often in constituencies that have been ‘reserved’ for candidates who are members of a Scheduled Tribe. Some parties have been inclined towards the general involvement of the population while others focus on tribal and other local communities, yet none has aimed for an exclusively Santal political mobilization. Nirmala Putul manages the Dumka-based NGO Jeewan Rekha, which among other issues also addresses the situation of women among Santals and other Adivasis. Some NGOs that aim for social upliftment also advocate Santal mobilization. Here one may mention the All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society (AISWACS). ASECA, mentioned above, and the other literary and cultural associations among the Santals are also specifically directed towards the situation of the Santals and the preservation of Santali. In some regards, there is a high degree of collaboration among some of these organizations. A Dumka-based NGO, for instance, makes its rooms available for Hebram’s teacher-training workshops.

Examples of government regulation interference with the public sphere When one considers the successes of literary initiatives, one faces the problem that such significant successes nearly always involve many agents at multiple levels. There is no doubt that the inclusion of Santali in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution in 2003 was the result of longstanding pressure on the political system exerted by Santal politicians, writers and their literary and cultural associations. This inclusion led in turn to the now-government-mandated reintroduction of Santali as a medium in government-sponsored schools. But now that instruction in Santali is required, how is it to be accomplished? This process indicates the interplay between the state, associations and the public sphere. The introduction of Santali as a medium in schools was possible only because a number of Santali speakers stand to gain from instruction in Santali. Therefore, the government and the state have supported the development of Santali for a long time. For example, the Santali journal Hor Sambad in which Bhaya Hansda ‘Casa’ published and for some time edited, is issued by the government’s Information Centre in Dumka.

Organization of the writers’ community  247 Another important basis for the introduction of Santali in schools is the existence of the Santali Department at the Sido Kanhu Murmu University, which provides the intellectual foundation for the development of teaching materials used in schools. On the whole, this may appear to be a happy story, yet the propagation of a language that has more of an oral history than a textual one requires sustained and consistent effort. The fact that many Santals are low on literacy indicators, the literate Santals and even more the writers are a small minority within their own community. This makes an impact on readership or its ability to influence opinions or discourse. The Santali writers who have earned a name have been able to do so by engaging the expanded public sphere or in other words, crossing into the larger intellectual domain. It might be interesting to study the variety of the content of Santali literature, poetry, plays and now even the visual media. The Santals are among the few tribes of India that have invested considerably in enriching their spoken language as well as give it a textual form. Both sets of initiatives need greater appreciation in the public sphere than what is observed today. Without this encouragement, it will be difficult to retain the core values, morals and ethics of the community, even if they are more explicitly memorialized in the pages of books. The attempt here is to bring to light what could be the fate of minority languages especially when surrounded by linguistic groups with rich textual heritages. Also, we have attempted to point to some interesting research areas, like impact on content, presentation and development of literary canons in a newly textual language.

Notes 1 We have seen J. Phillips’ 1852 volume, but have not seen any of the earlier publications referred to in O. Hodne 1966, p. 219. 2 We have not consulted this book ourselves. Hembram 2007, p. 139 indicates that Thakur Murmu and Doman Chandra Hansda assisted in the publication, but he does not specify how. 3 Sido Kanhu Murmu University was established in Dumka, Jharkhand in 1992. 4 The Christian mission was turned into an independent church in 1911 and was renamed the NELC (Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church) in 1959. It is currently organized into different dioceses for Santals, Bengalis and Bodos, though the Santals still constitute the majority of the members. 5 Interview 28 June 2015.

References Andersen, Peter B., Marine Carine and S.K. Soren (2011) From Fire Rain to Rebellion Reasserting Reasserting Ethnic Identity through Narratives. Delhi: Manohar. Bayly, Christopher A. (1997) Empire and Information. Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870, Cambridge Studies in Indian History and Society, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

248  Peter B. Andersen et al. Census of India (2001) Comparative speaker’s strength of Scheduled Languages – 1971, 1981, 1991 and 2001, Statement 5. Data_2001/Census_Data_Online/Language/Statement5.aspx. Edwards, M. (2009) Civil Society. Cambridge: Polity Press (2nd Edition). Flyvbjerg, B. (2006) ‘Five misunderstandings about case-study research’. Qualitative Inquiry 12(2) (April), pp. 219–245. 10.1177/1077800405284363. Last accessed August 6 2020. Habermas, Jürgen (1990)[1962] Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. Untersuchungen zu einer Kategorie der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft, Mit einen Vorvort zur Neuaflage 1990, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Hembram, P. (2007) Saontali Sahityer Itihas. Kolkata: Nirmal Book Agency. Hodne, O. (1966) L.O. Skrefsrud: Missionary and Social Reformer among the Santals of Santal Parganas. Oslo: Egede Instituttet, Forlaget Land og Kirke. Phillips, J. (1852) An Introduction to the Sāntāl Language Consisting of a Grammar, Reading Lessons and a Vocabulary. Calcutta: Calcutta School-Book Society. Phillips, J. (1897) ‘Appendix G. Santal traditions, literally translated’. In W.W. Hunter, (ed.) Annals of Rural Bengal. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1868, pp. 450–453. Putnam, R.D. (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster. Raska, M.R.T., (1894) Kherwar Bansha Dharam Puthi. Calcutta: Vedadanta. Walzer, Michael (2003) ‘The idea of civil society. A path to social reconstruction’. In C.M. Elliott (ed.) Civil Society and Democracy: A Reader. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 63–82.

14 Imagining Santal rationality as empowerment Marine Carrin

Myron Weiner (1978) is reluctant to credit tribals with any rationality. It is probably true that tribal communities place little value on surplus accumulation since they stress prompt consumption and enjoyment. I have myself experienced that among the Santal, the idea of an economic surplus is something anti-social: the profit that enables accumulation can only be made at the detriment of someone else. These ideas are rooted in Santal mythology, where stories abound of deities who steal from the rich to redistribute the bounty to the poor. Rationality may vary according to culture. Rather, we should distinguish, as Weber does, a practical rationality where an individual’s actions are oriented by his pursuit of certain pre-defined goals. For the individual, according to Weber, rationality implies a world view determined by human subjectivity, since the social actor has to evaluate his skills or means in order to identify the best way to pursue his goals. The idea of rationality, then, implies that the individual tries to act rationally and, for that, he has to tame his impulses in order to organize his action, in accordance with a certain script. The cognitivists have much to offer to this discussion (D’Andrade 1995). The idea of script entails that the individual is not necessarily conscious of the different phases of a process, since the script is already internalized (Bloch 1998).1 Rationality, when applied to a philosophy of action, implies that the actor tries to evaluate his own actions in terms of a certain economy: he wants to save time, for example. This idea of rationality seems to privilege the idea of rational action, though other forms of rationality might exist in other cultures that give priority not to goals, but to a certain ability to realize particular types of outcomes or events, for example (as in the ‘wesenwille’ of Tönnies (1932)). The idea of rationality in the West has often been considered as the result of a certain disenchantment of the world: for Max Weber, supernatural explanations should be excluded from discussions of practical rationality. This disenchantment can be seen in the Protestant Ethic (Weber 2000 [1905]), since ‘the sacred’ works through the individual without preventing

250  Marine Carrin rationality. In other words, the sacred should not tread on the mundane domain as, for example, medieval ‘mystic madness’ does for M. de Certeau (1984). Since the Industrial Revolution, the world has been affected by relations of power – in the sense of Marx – which have contributed greatly to the deprivation of a large part of humanity from any access to a philosophy of rational action. A prerequisite to rational action is at least some autonomy, but, as we know, the slave has no autonomy and thus cannot be rational. Weber describes a world in which factory workers have almost no autonomy, where they are expected not to take initiatives, but that the same individuals do have a certain ‘domestic’ autonomy (Weber 1923). Among anthropologists, M. Sahlins (1972) has criticized the notion of rational action as a substitute for the notion of practical reason. It means that in ‘primitive societies’, as well as in complex societies, the concept of rationality appears as situationally limited. Weber clearly saw this when he observed that practical rationality – which an individual uses to identify strategies to be used as individual goals are pursued – is informed by a value rationality, where this practical rationality is pervaded by cultural values that reshape the individual’s expected benefit from a range of possible actions. Thus, to assign a precise meaning to the concept of rationality, we have to take into account situations where the individual has to take decisions by applying his own assessments. This means that the idea of the rational actor is limited not only by the values of the society, but also by the actor’s choice of a strategy for reasons that seem evident (some might say ‘rational’) to him but nonetheless are determined by his own subjective judgment. It seems hazardous to assimilate rationality to the idea that the world is real, rather than constructed, and for this reason I prefer to assume, with Bourdieu (1980), that rationality is only a schema to be applied as a model of intelligibility. Bourdieu makes sense of this through his idea of habitus, where an actor expects that common-sense strategies will be effective, since they already have been tried and tested. In other words, I will avoid assimilating the irrational to belief and argue, instead, that belief and common assumptions are important tenets for what we call rational decisions. I will also argue that certain situations effectively escape the rational mode and that an analysis in terms of rationality reifies the will. When thinking of indigenous people such as the Santal, a collectivity of more than 8 million people living mostly in Central India, the first thing that comes to my mind is that, in opposition to the western individual, Santals do not put forward an ideology of rationality. They rather seem to think that their behaviour is guided by the voices of ancestors, or of ‘custom’ (colon). Second, when Santal men discuss values, such as wealth, they generally feel that it is better to spend money and enjoy life, since ‘pleasure, joy’ (raskau) is one of their central values, and the future is uncertain. I have often heard welfare officers lament that the Santal are unable to plan for tomorrow, a problem that even the Lutheran missionaries acknowledged in their correspondence in the second half of the nineteenth century (Carrin

Santal rationality as empowerment  251 and Tambs-Lyche 2008). The Santals are well known for their strong egalitarian ethos and their elaborate code of justice, though contests over property reflect and shape relationships among people as much as between people and resources. Nevertheless, these last remarks stress the cultural salience of pleasure and spending for the Santal, which is emphasized in their songs, for example. We now turn to the question of how to include and acknowledge Santal and Adivasi efforts to protect their environment or even to ameliorate their economic life. To achieve their goals, a person or a community needs to put forward a kind of efficiency that is generally enhanced by collective action or social commitment. But social action often requires a context of equity to propel further the proposed goals. This approach has been exemplified by Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen’s work on entitlements and capabilities. For these authors (1995), the normative goal of empowerment (focus on enlarging a person’s functioning and capabilities to function), equity (of both costs and benefits) and human agency far outweigh the issues of efficiency as the main objective of development. The improvement of human life does not have to be justified by showing that a person with a better life is also a better producer, so I will rather suggest that rationality should be seen as a tool of empowerment that enriches a person’s functional capabilities, a paradigm that leads us to consider human agency in the sense that a person can see as a sequence what he does or states. In this perspective, rationality will be seen as a tool of empowerment that enables Santal persons to articulate more efficiently their collective as well as their private identities in a context where inequity and scarcity often prevail. I will first discuss the idea of economic surplus and wealth to show what kind of rationality informs the ideology of production and consumption. According to the classical model of rationality found in Weber, an individual tries to attain a pre-determined goal. Sociologists usually imagine situations where social actors take rational decisions to undertake a certain range of actions. To define rationality in a number of possible social situations implies the ability to consider the structure of the situation, since rationality always seems limited. This limitation can be explained by the fact that a social actor, to attain goal, privileges reasons that seem coherent in terms of action. For Santal actors, for example, the context of scarcity often makes the idea of accumulating wealth unrealistic, for the idea of ownership applies mainly to land and involves a bundle of rights. More precisely, wealth itself is often seen as delusive or problematic, since it involves divine intervention. This is why gossip implicitly accuses wealthy villagers of worshipping Kombro Bongas, ‘thief deities’, since, for the Santals, the wealthy always steal, thus depriving others. There is nothing mysterious about Santal economic ideas, we should think rather that they insist on equal repartition of wealth. In this chapter, I will probe the relevance of ideas of rationality, variously conceived, to the lived and remembered experiences of Santals. I will show that the conception of rationality is different for men, women and children.

252  Marine Carrin

The development of Santal ideas about surplus and wealth During the colonial period, the Santal were seen as indigenous people who struggled to adjust to the monetary economy, since they were not accustomed to the system of weights and measures used by the mahajun, the moneylenders, who tried to cheat them. Several administrators, such as W. Hunter (1975 [1868]2) in his Annals of Rural Bengal, noted the ‘absolute inability’ of the ‘primitive’ to articulate reflexive conceptions of the intellect, like reason, consciousness and quantity. Like other ‘aboriginals’, the Santal were perceived as unable to evaluate time and, consequently, unable to represent duration or even to imagine transcendence after death. For example, Rev. Droese (1884, p. 50) noted that ‘aboriginals’ did not understand infinite time; they could articulate the present only in continuous tense, and the past and the future only in simple tense. Later on, the Santal understood that moneylenders could deprive them of their lands if they were unable to pay their debts. So, they decided to rebel against the British, trying to seek justice. After one year of insurgency, the Santal Rebellion3 of 1855 was finally crushed. Consequently, the insurgents’ ideas of an anti-colonial struggle were perhaps not clearly acknowledged, but some Santal claims were recognized as legitimate. The Santal Rebellion – when considered in the context of counter-insurgency measures taken by the British – provides us with divergent and competing ideologies. On one hand, contemporary claims to historic Adivasi identity and autonomy are sustained by the invocation of the values of the Rebellion leaders (Andersen 2019). On the other, the colonial construction of the ‘tribe’ supported, and still informs, conflicting official efforts to subordinate, marginalize, assimilate and develop the ‘tribals’ (Rycroft 2012). This last point is crucial for our understanding of the Santal idea of surplus and wealth, as well as for understanding why the colonial administrators and missionaries considered that ‘the Santal did not care for tomorrow’, were impulsive and, to a certain extent, devoid of rationality. This last idea is found in Hunter, for example, who claimed that the Santals could not count and were, for this very reason, easily cheated by Hindu moneylenders.4 Hunter (1863), like many other colonial observers, was not always able to evaluate cultural differences accurately. For example, Santal narratives argued that Santal weights and measures were different. This also applies to time, since the Santals used to count the leaves of a Sal5 branch, emblem of their ancestors, to measure time. In other words, the Santals found buying and selling in colonial markets a strange experience since they perhaps did not grasp the temporal distance between production and consumption (Banerjee 2000, p. 436). The Santal rebellion (Hul) made Santal identity significant within a wider ‘tribal world’ because the rebellion is understood to be different from banditry since the legitimacy of Santal claims was partly acknowledged (Carrin and Tambs-Lyche 2008). The idea of ‘time after the rebellion’ (hul tayom) seems to correspond to the invention of a certain reflexivity and contrasts with ‘the time before

Santal rationality as empowerment  253 the rebellion’ (hul pahil), which is characterized by famine and anxiety, which the direct result of the moneylenders’ usurpation of their lands. But the passage of time is also reflected in another narrative, which evokes the time ‘much before the rebellion’, the golden age (Pilcu Haram and Pilcu Budhi samoy6), the time when ancestors hunted and had meetings in holy places where they interpreted the omens to decide where to go. This motive has been repeated endlessly in Santal stories, and we can clearly see that these time sequences are associated with representations of bounty or scarcity. A myth that was popular during the colonial period, and recounted to Lutheran missionaries who established themselves in the Santal Parganas around 1870, tell us that ‘In the Golden age, property and wealth did not exist, since the ancestors were living on Nature’. This implies that compared to the cultivator’s sense of an environment ‘that yields its bounty in return for appropriate conduct and labour’, the hunter-gatherer view can be summed up as ‘the forest is a parent’ who unconditionally provides food to his children (Bird-David 1990, p. 190). Yet, we may wonder if the Santal have really been dependent only on forests, or as Vinita Damodaran (2005, p. 117) puts it: ‘The hypothesis that foraging humans could never have lived in tropical forests completely on wild foods is widely debated.’ This means that even if the Santal economy was heavily dependent on collecting, as suggested by P.O. Bodding (1925) and by my own observations since the 1970s, they developed indigenous knowledge of the forest quite early, as well as agricultural knowledge (Carrin 2008). Both kinds of knowledge involve rationality. But the Santal myth continues: ‘Later on, Thakur, a god of Hindu origin, decided to introduce property, death and wealth in the world.’ The myth ends by telling us that the introduction of property and wealth corresponds to the age of iron (Carrin 1993, p. 114). Santals draw a straight line from Thakur’s actions to their entrance into the cash economy, including the requirement that they pay land revenue to the British authorities. In 1856, trade was understood to be a way to pacify rebellious Santals. In other words, colonial modernity sought to enforce exchange ‘as a singular form in which unequal, antagonistic, non-contemporary entities like the “historical” and the “primitive”, the colonized and the colonizer, even (colonial) state and (indigenous) society could meet in times of peace’ (Banerjee 2000, p. 425). Santals who had been employed by the British to prepare the heavily forested Rajmahal Hills for settled agriculture, were seen as hard-working, but they had to borrow money from the mahajuns, who often cheated them. Consequently, as Prathima Banerjee (2000) puts it, debt implied ‘that the subject, the Santal, had to clear what he owes to somebody else, before he could repossess his own world’. Debt became the mode by which the ‘backward’ were attached to the ‘advanced’ and we shall see how the idea (and the reality) of debt probably impinged on Santal autonomy and decision-making. In other words, being in debt became a familiar feeling, and it probably prevented the Santals from imagining themselves as independent actors ‘tomorrow’, since the very idea of debt reconfigures temporality itself

254  Marine Carrin and induces the individual to a certain withdrawal. The indebted individual feels that the past (his debt) controls his future. In such a situation, it becomes difficult to imagine a better life in the future. My contention is that when the Santal were trapped into the colonial economy, they saw themselves as the present survivors of a past that was vanishing, a golden age, an age of bounty, as M. Sahlins (1972) calls it when referring to primitive economy remembered so fondly by the Santal. The Santal probably did not accept the idea that time itself had value and, similarly, they did not see how money could have a lasting value, compared to perishable things such as food. This is probably why colonial officers such as Hunter noticed that Santals were eager to consume the produce of their work quickly, since the idea of accumulating wealth did not make sense to people whose personal experience has told them not to believe in the future (Carrin and Tambs-Lyche 2008).

From social critic to the idea of rationality of action The narratives written by Santals who had witnessed the Hul criticize Sidhu and Kanhu, the leaders of the rebellion, for their greed, since they had a tendency to monopolize the loot (lut) (Andersen, Carine and Soren 2011). This idea seems to be clearly connected to the criticism of wealth that is found in some stories collected in the same period (Carrin 1993). These narratives7 focus on supernatural wealth and suggest that accumulation of grain is a kind of magic personalized by Kombro Bonga, a ‘thief’ deity who steals the crops of the rich and redistributes them to the needy. But in some Santal narratives, Kombro Bonga decides to settle in the majhi orak (headman’s house). The headman is responsible for the equitable distribution of land and collects land tenure taxes from the villagers for the British administration. The presence of the thief deity – who hides himself in the headman’s granary – seems to explain why the headman is more affluent than the other villagers. The moral of the tale is that some individuals manipulate tribal deities (bongas) in order to get richer, a behaviour that is perceived as immoral or even irrational, since getting rich always seem to imply depriving others of resources. This also shows that bongas far-from-perfect gods often transgress moral rules. This is not surprising since apart from the bongas of the sacred grove,8 who are benevolent and protectors, other deities may be harmful unless they are appeased by sacrifices. Despite the predominance of an egalitarian ideology that views the accumulation of goods as a kind of prejudice, the Santal also believe that hard work should be rewarded, When one does not gain from hard work, there is talk of the presence of an evil eye (najom). Even today the Santal, many of whom are employed as casual labourers, have little autonomy, but it seems to me that they are to some extent able to resist the hegemony of the higher castes. This capacity for resistance, which has been stressed by subalternist historians (e.g. Dipesh Chakrabarty 2000), enables them to ‘re-enchant’ their world, as we shall see.

Santal rationality as empowerment  255

Fieldwork evaluation9 I will first try to identify situations where children, men and women try to evaluate their work and their decision-making processes. In other words, I will argue that Santals develop a certain rationality in their daily routine, or even when they undertake some new task, but, for several reasons, this rationality may fail when they have the feeling that the conditions of social justice and equity are not met. For example, children quickly identify a tension between knowledge promoted in the classroom and knowledge gained in the village.10 As adults, men struggle to draw lessons from experiences when they feel that their interactions with outsiders are not entirely successful and often think in terms of contexts when they feel that their interactions with outsiders are not entirely successful. Women who sell forest products in the local markets deal with other Santals and Adivasis, but they do not face the same difficulty. In short, while children and men try to appropriate a model for rational action that has been influenced by the school or by some NGO, women more successfully allow indigenous knowledge11 to guide their decisions. But we shall see that there are situations that escape rationality, since they are over-determined by other values. This last point reminds us of Weber’s two kinds of rationality: zweckrationalität, which implies using certain means to reach one’s goals, and value-oriented rationality (wertrationalität), which is influenced by cultural values. I shall argue that Santal men do not necessarily evaluate competing options in terms of goals versus values, even if these notions are always at the back of their mind, but that their decisions as autonomous actors are often inscribed in unconscious routines. These routines partly determine a habitus, and they are staged in certain contexts. Indigenous knowledge The religious movement of Sarna Dhorom, the ‘return to the sacred grove’, promoted by various gurus since the 1960s, linked to the promotion of an indigenous script and a new form of literacy has contributed significantly to the revitalization of indigenous knowledge. Particularly active in the late seventies, the Sarna Dhorom has contributed to make the Santal conscious of their political agency (Carrin 2015). The political discourse developed by the Jharkhand Party underlined the rights to land for the often-landless Adivasis while, on a different register, it was argued that these people represented indigenous knowledge and wisdom. These elements of discourse have contributed to creating the political space of Jharkhand. Adivasi populations of the state are asserting their identity, while the exploitation of natural resources (forests, mines) have brought dispossession and exploitation (George 2009). The destruction due to deforestation and intensive mining has made villagers conscious of environmental issues.

256  Marine Carrin Does this consciousness implies a rationality? I would suggest (with Ingold 2003) that the actors’ environmental knowledge ‘lies in skills that are developmentally embodied capacities of awareness and response built up through a history of involvement with the land and its inhabitants’. But knowledge is also negotiated. Following Barth (2002) who offers us a transactional view on the sharing of knowledge, I argue that knowledge can be understood as a relationship, as an understanding of the balances of sharing. Differences in knowledge are crucial in a society where the corpus of knowledge is changing. In this process, we shall see that adults as well as children participate in generating the criteria which validate this changing knowledge.

Contexts of experience and the emergence of a rational actor I will report some of the findings from my interactions with Santal children in a primary school located near Hazaribagh, in Jharkhand, in 2009. Hazaribagh is surrounded by 45 villages, including Jobradaga, the site of my fieldwork. In these villages, Santals comprise the majority. Most of them have been deprived of their land and many are engaging with state institutions in efforts to regain some of it. Traditionally, Santals here worked as casual labourers for members of the Hindu Mahto caste community. Mahtos earned a reputation for harassing Santal women and, in several historical cases, Santals responded by murdering the culprits. Today, Mahtos try to restore their ascendency over the Santals and treat them as untouchables. As a result of Mahto control over trade, Santals have difficulty in finding niches in the local market. Among the products brought to market, Santal men transport coal they mined in illegal mines for sale to local mafias, and Santal women collect minor forest produce that they use to manufacture leaf-plates plates, soap, candles and shampoo. These villages have benefited from an NGO that has been active in the area for 20 years, and the villagers have been involved in various irrigation works and other agricultural tasks such as trying to cultivate mushrooms or even rearing new breeds of pigs. The school where I conducted interviews is a private boarding school, founded by JAHER, a local NGO that has been active in the area for more than 20 years.12 The school is attended regularly by 35–40 Santal children. One question I asked was, ‘Does experimentation produce knowledge and guide decisions?’ Some of the answers will remind us of students in any school in India, though others seem to be influenced by student understanding of themselves as members of the indigenous Adivasi community, which seemed to surprise the children, who were used to speaking Hindi in class. I could shift to Hindi if necessary, but I was eager to elicit answers in the mother tongue since children got more talkative.13 Sharing Santali always implies the feeling of a certain closeness, and a certain exclusiveness: speaking in Santali enables community members to avoid dikus (non-tribals) by speaking Santali. We discussed language and identity as I tried to understand how the children experienced the feeling of belonging to a certain

Santal rationality as empowerment  257 community with its own traditions, as opposed to the world of the school, where they used to talk Hindi with a master to learn about the world outside.14 I also tried to understand how the children had internalized sacred space, taboos and religious categories, as well as the idea of death. I wanted to see if this knowledge contradicted the ‘demonstrable, universal’ knowledge presented through the school’s curriculum. It would be too simple to oppose indigenous knowledge as belief, versus school knowledge as rational, since the children, as we shall see, were able to see both the rationality of belief and the limits of the rationality of ‘school knowledge’. I divided the children into three age groups: 5–8, 8–11 and 11–14. These interviews were complemented by my recording of individual narratives of youth aged from 14–16 in Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha. Before looking at the responses concerning knowledge and experimentation, let me say that the children referred to the notion of ancestors and to the idea that Sidhu and Kanhu, the leaders of Santal rebellion, left the present generation with everything they needed to be happy. Moreover, say the children: ‘If we give this knowledge to others from outside, it can be lost. But when we die and our bones are submerged in the river, this knowledge returns to us with the next generation.’ In other words, indigenous knowledge (bidia) is perceived as a substance that delimits the ethnic frontier but which should be kept for oneself – in opposition to school knowledge, which is called sarkari bidia (government knowledge) and is imposed from outside. In villages where the government gives education and bicycles, children say that they take what is given to them. Nevertheless, the children feel that school training differs from education at home. They say: ‘in our textbooks, nobody describes our kind of life. Everything is easy for the children of the textbooks. Their parents do not fear the forest officers or the contractors. Other children in Mumbai or Chennai should read about our lives, since we read about their lives in our textbooks.15 This knowledge is not fair.’ As we see, the children feel that textbook descriptions of middle-class children perpetuate a kind of social exclusion, and they resent the fact that their own experiences are not a part of the life of the textbooks. At some other level, it seems that school knowledge contradicts village knowledge. For example, several children from 8–11 told me that school knowledge cannot be true outside the classroom, but this does not necessarily imply a denial of rationality. Whenever I asked if the bongas were able to fly they laughed and answered ‘no’. But in the evening, when we discussed a Santal story where a female bonga flew through the sky to meet her human lover, they did not reject this possibility. I shall not contend that Santal children construe scientific ideas in opposition to beliefs, but that they admit certain possibilities in one context and others in another. Some children told me that if they see their dead grandparents in dreams, they will avoid talking of it at school, because their classmates will think that they have been bewitched. In other words, children seem able and willing to censor village knowledge when they are in the classroom, since that context is not appropriate for the discussion of village knowledge. They control their

258  Marine Carrin speech in the classroom to avoid other children’s judgement out of a concern that their classmates may feel that their failure to self-censor is due to some jadu (magic). This also implies that the children think that rationality is no longer possible when a divine agency intervenes. The children from 5–8 are conscious that they learned about the ancestors when they learned how to talk to their elders, and that some places such as the Jaher (sacred grove) were considered sacred, since they shelter the main deities. When I ask why this knowledge is important, the children answered: ‘Whenever we are praying, we offer sacrifices that protect us from witches and bhuts (ghosts)’. Older boys insist on the importance of the precepts of the naeke (village priest). Globally the children agreed that they have to take education to be able to ‘take service’ outside, but many of them confessed that they are afraid to leave the village. This assertion differs strongly from what children who live near Ranchi say, as they dream of living in the city (Shika Arya 2008). In Hazaribagh, the fear of leaving the village is connected with political problems: children have overheard conversations about various local mafias and Naxalites who sometimes try to extort money or goods from the villagers (Shah 2006). Despite the fear16 of leaving the village, ‘which is safe because it is poor’, the boys stressed that it is necessary to acquire some techniques, like irrigation or cattle breeding, while the girls said that they are content to learn from their mothers how to transplant rice and to clean it.17 But it also means that the children included the idea of learning skills in the context of school knowledge, which implies learning step by step. We have already seen that textbooks are criticized and that children perceive school knowledge as an intrusion, a kind of violence that obliges them to censor village knowledge. The children also told me that in school they are called by their given name and not by kin appellations. They seem to resent this naming, which creates a boundary between their village and the school. Nevertheless, school knowledge does not exclude village knowledge completely. When a boy drowned a few months before our conversations, the children were secretly convinced that the evil eye (najom) was involved. The police came to the village to tell them that witchcraft does not exist and that accidents can happen, but the children of 11–14 felt that this explanation was inadequate. ‘The road is large enough,’ they said. ‘If you fall down, it is because you are already under a spell (jhara).’ We see that the boys felt that under certain conditions, children or adults are not able to pay attention since the contexts of experience get blurred. It is difficult to assume that rationality is simply opposed to belief. I would rather suggest, following the psychologists A.W. Kruglanski and D.M. Webster (1996), that belief results from ‘freezing’ analytical judgment: in certain contexts, people abstain from thinking critically or rationally. Both belief and rationality shape our world. When I asked children in the classroom if they have seen deities (bongas), they answered, ‘We do not see the bongas, but we hear them when we walk in the forest. The village priest and the

Santal rationality as empowerment  259 healer (ojha) have seen them, and all adults see them in dreams.’ But when I asked, ‘would you be afraid to see them in dreams?’, a girl of eight answered, ‘It happens when somebody has just died. We know that the bongas protect us.’ Santal children, then, have internalized traditional knowledge, but they distance themselves from religious knowledge and avoid discussing it in class, where they are expected to behave rationally. This capacity of distancing one’s self implies a certain compromise, since this girl does not deny that she sees bongas in her dreams, but she implies that this does not interfere with her learning capacities. Some children explain that they have a double mind: one side is filled by knowledge and memories of childhood while the other is ready to stock school knowledge. Children stressed that village knowledge (ato bidia) comes naturally and without effort, while school or government knowledge (sarkar bidia),18 implies working to national norms since it is conveyed through textbooks that are supposed to be the same all over India, and even to resemble those of other countries. The adults feel that village knowledge is important because it teaches respect for the environment, while school knowledge leads to industrialization and destruction of nature, a position that refers to the massive environmental destruction attributed to mining in the region (George 2009, pp. 157–188). Adults stress that no young Santal with a diploma has found a permanent job and, for this reason, they often see education as worthless in a political context where quotas are not always respected and where bribes are often required to get a job (Corbridge, Jewitt and Kumar 2004). We also discussed the usefulness of doing scientific experiments in the classroom. When I asked why students are required to do experiments, they answered, ‘We want to see if it is true, but it does not always work. For example, if we wanted to see how plants grow, it would take such a long time.’ Then I asked, ‘Do you believe in things that are explained in the textbooks but that you cannot see?’ I take as example the snow when it is melting: they agree that they have to accept this knowledge and memorize it, though they would like to see it. But when I asked if the textbooks can also prove something, every student said yes, because we know that some great men have learned from books before making inventions, such as steam power. This means that children were thinking that one day they might also be able to apply school knowledge in other contexts.

How do men experience innovation? I will now present some discussions I had with adult men. In Hazaribagh, the labour market is very difficult; those who have little land struggle and survive partly on ration cards. Nevertheless, the adults seemed to be ready to innovate (Scott 1976). Under the influence of an NGO, they have undertaken irrigation work, building terraced fields. They also felt that they could not afford to wait too long, since their survival needs short-term solutions.

260  Marine Carrin They talked about their attempt to rear white pigs instead of the indigenous black pigs, but this innovation failed: the white pigs were not adapted to the climate and died from an epidemic. The villagers then returned to the black pigs, a decision they say is ‘rational since the local species is more resistant and fits the local environment better’. They experienced similar failures when planting new kind of seeds: ‘better’ kinds of pulses or millet did not grow in Hazaribagh’s dry soil. They also tried to cultivate mushrooms on the banks of the river, and to sell honey, which is a successful local product. They worked hard to produce these goods in a reasonable quantity, and tried to sell them to grocers in the nearby towns. Production went well, including the sharing of labour, but when they tried to market their goods in Hazaribagh town, grocers and hotel managers refused to buy them. One explanation was technical: they needed to get official permission and to present themselves for official oversight before they could engage in a commercial venture. It turned out, however, that there was an underlying problem. The Mahtos, with whom they had locked horns with in the past, were now attempting to monopolize the food market. After some time, the villagers considered using the services of a commercial agent who could approach grocers on their behalf. Also, some of my informants told me that there was no hope to get official permission, since the department of commerce and industry was controlled by some Mahtos. This reminded them of the old conflict, which prevented them from handling the situation. Such a feeling seemed to blur the cause–effect frame of reference, as it meant that malevolence and social problems could prevent the Santals from pursuing their goals. I argue that this feeling enables us to understand the limits of rationality that result not from a lack of perspective but rather from the presence of social conflicts. For adults, knowledge comes from the mouths of the elders. When listening to the elders, one learns how to take good decisions in life. Nevertheless, adult men stressed the importance of thinking step by step, deducing what is wrong and what is good. For example, they said that when you build a terraced field, you have to get an idea of the fields, you need to locate the water and to take into account the hilly parts of the field, and finally you need adequate diesel pumps! Then they laughed, remembering how they had received a diesel pump with a part missing and signed the receipt, since the welfare officers who delivered it were in a hurry. Telling me this story, they were keen to stress how a last-minute oversight could damage the whole project, since they worried that the officers would not believe the pump had been delivered with a missing part.

Why social knowledge proves a failure Men discussed the difficulty of innovating in agriculture and cattle breeding, since they have to compete with the outer world, which involved complex negotiations as well as incomplete knowledge transfer with the outer world. Women, on the other hand, claimed success at being efficient in

Santal rationality as empowerment  261 the inner world, the town market, where they mainly compete with other Adivasi communities. When discussing what kind of lessons to take from failures, the villagers felt they could achieve a certain control of technical knowledge, but that social knowledge was more problematic. Success in having one’s rights recognized requires strenuous efforts: you have to go to some office and sign papers, but sometimes the papers that identify your land ownership have disappeared. You have to know your rights, but this is useful only if officers are willing to acknowledge your rights. This kind of statement refers to the corruption that villagers experience in daily life (see also Corbridge, Jewitt and Kumar 2004, pp. 17–54). Due to corruption, they say, social knowledge does not work properly. Then, ‘we cannot learn from this experience’ (priyog). This is why ancestral knowledge is the true knowledge, which implies knowledge about what will happen after death. What is important is the capacity of vision (nelnel), which enables some priests to foretell the future (Carrin 1997). Santal adults think that educated people lose this power of vision whenever they live in town and distance themselves from Nature. In other words, indigenous knowledge is defined as a bundle of emotions (rasa) that is influenced by the seasons and the memories of places, even if it does not exclude ‘some thinking’. We have seen that Santal rationality gets blocked when the villagers feel they are facing competitors who cheat, for example by preventing access to the market or denying proper technical assistance. Social failure seems more difficult to overcome than technical ignorance, since it involves human intentionality. In other words, to apply one’s rationality, one needs to have an open mind. From a global viewpoint, adults seem to think that they do not need schooling to learn what is important in life. At the same time, they often told me that they feel they have underestimated the importance of thinking. For example, one day, in a village in Birbhum, Hopna Murmu – who often quarrelled with his father-in-law since he worked in the latter’s fields as a ghar jawae (a working son-in-law)19 – explained to me: ‘Didi, I should accept my father-in-law’s scolding, but I am fed up. I should understand that any work includes different steps. But I want to work quickly. I am raging and I am unable to know clearly what are the necessary steps to build a good plough.’ Hopna feels he is too impulsive since he does not like to work for his in-laws, but it is not the rationality of the work that is problematic, rather the social context makes him feel tense and irrational.

Value-oriented rationality and women’s agency I will now discuss the kind of rationality women project when they work. For women, the division of labour is accompanied by taboos, the asymmetric nature of which indicates a certain hierarchical order in the family. First, it is usual to divide labour into production and domestic work. This separation results from the fact that women are denied access to tools such

262  Marine Carrin as the plough, the axe or the bow. Women are allowed to fish using nets but not hooks. Women are also banned from using weapons or knives, including chisels, except during a ritual of inversion – the women’s hunt (jani shikar) – when they are allowed to handle arms. Nevertheless, this ritual inversion merely serves to reinforce the rule (Ranajit Guha 1983). In some regions, women are employed as coolies in kilns or are recruited by contractors to collect forest produce on a day-to-day basis. The taboos mentioned refer to production, though other taboos concern the ritual order and aim at preventing women from getting too close to the Santal deities (bongas), seen by men as potential seducers. Rice is a partial exception to this pattern. The grinding of paddy is consistent, that is, paddy grinding is considered domestic work and is done by women. However, rice transplanting, which concerns production, also is done by women. This is because transplanting rice is also a symbolic activity and, as such, is compared to a marriage: symbolically, women are supposed to marry the rice sprouts. In short, contemporary social rules based on patrilineal ideology continue to give men access to land, tools and the most prestigious goods, such as the heads of the sacrificial animals or hunted game. Taboos related to production relate to key production activities such as roofing, ploughing and hunting, and ensure women’s dependence on men for these essential activities (Kelkar and Nathan 1991, p. 62). Some taboos are justified by religious beliefs, such as the family bonga who dwells on the roof and might be angered if a woman climbed up to it. More generally, the taboos refer to production and ritual order. They aim at maintaining women in a subaltern position in the family, even if women seem to be better producers than men. Gathering is defined as a ‘women’s activity’, and it includes collecting fuel, forest produce, and tubers and sal leaves, which women make into plates and cups sometimes to be sold in the market (hat), also by women. Similarly, some women brew rice-beer at home and sell it in the market, along with some vegetables. When selling their goods, women develop a certain agency that may allow them to plan their economy by participating in micro-finance organized through block development projects or NGOs. Both in family and in society, Adivasi women have a more prominent position than caste-Hindu women. But this superior position should not prevent us from considering the possible erosion of women’s autonomy due to social change, including elements of Hinduization. For example, the dowry system has now been introduced in some Santal marriages,20 and the influence of traditional Hindu social expectations is leading some Santal families to keep their daughters out of school. I would like now to turn my attention to women’s rationality as an attempt to overcome the patrilineal ideology, which denies knowledge to them. Women’s agency is linked to the economy of gathering, since women collect and sell forest produce and so enjoy a certain control over it. The labour of gathering is organized at the household level, though women from a village

Santal rationality as empowerment  263 generally go together to collect fuel and minor forest produce. Cultivated produce concerns mainly the male head of the family, even if the woman sometimes works in the fields and has a say in how agricultural income is spent. But in the case of gathering, women get the sales proceeds,21 which implies that there is no distinction between the labour of the producer and the labour of marketing. Women have greater rights over the income from their labour in gathering than they have from agriculture. But, one should not romanticize women’s knowledge, since it seems that in some contexts where they come from a more urbanized family, women learn about the forest only after their marriage. In an extensive study carried out in Ranchi district, Sarah Jewitt (2004) concludes that Oraon women’s knowledge of the forest improves when they depend economically on a forest economy. Women’s autonomy is more difficult to achieve when working in the fields. This can be explained by the fact that women are often denied their customary rights in land. Although land is traditionally inherited along the male line, Santal custom (colon) offers a fine gradation of various land rights for women (Archer 1974, 1984). These include the right to manage land and its product and the right to a share of this product. This last right implies the right of maintenance, which can apply to a widow, the second refers to the share that an unmarried daughter gets as a result of her work in her father’s field, a share that she will use to buy her own clothes, for example. A woman can accumulate wages from her labour, or her own sale of forest produce. Globally, it seems that women succeed more than men in accumulating capital when they work as casual labourers, gather and sell forest produce, or manufacture and sell leaf-plates and rice-beer. This relative autonomy allows women to pursue initiatives such as starting plant nurseries or trying to sow new kind of seeds. More recently, some women from Jobragada have taken part in Joint Forest Management projects run by the Forest Department. Women collect medicinal plants for contractors on daily wages, but they also develop some initiatives of their own, like planting fruit trees on the fringe of the forest. Though the terms of the contract ‘invites participation’, women felt that their voice was not heard in discussions with forest officers or block development representatives. As noted by Jewitt (2008), the success of Joint Forest Management programmes is relative, since subaltern voices tend to be muted. Men are even more reluctant to engage in such participatory strategies but have sometimes engaged in smaller projects run by NGO on the village level, such as building a small dispensary now run by Catholic nuns in a neighbouring village. As the headman put it: ‘We like to see that these projects benefit our people.’

Women as ritual actors A Santal myth tells us that women listened to Maran Buru – the chief of the bongas and creator of the world – as she taught the art of healing to men. The women witnessed the scene in secret, and the knowledge stolen by them

264  Marine Carrin came to be described as witchcraft (Carrin 1986). The myth alludes to the idea that women cannot retain or control any knowledge without help from the supernatural. We also find tales that explain why women are unable to perform sacrifices: they fail to distinguish between the neck and the tail of the sacrificial animal (Bodding 1925, pp. 229–35). The patrilineal ideology exposes women to taboos that exclude them from ritual life. They are not allowed to watch the killing of sacrificial animals and are not supposed to eat their necks or backs. Women are generally not allowed to become priests or chiefs, though exceptions are known. Finally, women should not be possessed (rumok) by the bongas, or by the Hindu goddesses, a taboo that is sometimes transgressed since some women receive a call from the Goddess Kali, found a shrine, and enter a kind of religious career (Carrin 1997). Women are often seen as nurturing since their activity involves child rearing, but one should also consider women’s initiatives at the ritual level whenever they try to influence global warming or to struggle against the deterioration of the environment by staging new forms of rituals dedicated to goddesses (Borde and Jackman 2010). During similar rituals, Santal women gather and pour water at the base of the trees of the sacred grove, but they are also possessed by deities of the grove, such as Jaher Era. This ritual performance is sometimes contested by the males of the village, who gather separately to perform their own Sarna Dhorom rituals linked to the cult of the ol chiki script (Carrin 2002). For the men, the denial of women’s ritual initiatives seems coherent with Santal ideology, which always excludes women from learning. In some contexts, I have often noticed that women try to suppress their knowledge in order to avoid male suspicion and accusations of witchcraft. This asymmetry between male and female is not present among children, since both boys and girls are made to believe that everything is possible. This suggests that Santal adults who experience failure are quick to refer to religious values, a coping strategy that induces them to freeze analytical judgment. This is also why some Santal men defend the idea that Adivasi communities are ‘closed societies’ which should return to self-government, a visible trend in Jharkhand, where traditional political structures22 are undergoing some revitalization in a context where people have lost confidence in democracy (Sundar 2009, pp. 210–211).

Consumption, redistribution and the ambiguous gift I would like to show that the redistribution of goods and resources is more problematic than production, since redistribution implies reliance on apparently unpredictable social knowledge. One may show how the ideology of giving implies some ambiguity. In this perspective, transfer of land from men to women often creates conflicts that are not resolved on a rational basis. Let us acknowledge that some goods, such as land, are difficult to give. In fact, land is valued in part because it reinforces not only a sense

Santal rationality as empowerment  265 of personhood but also a sense of belonging through kinship ties. It is a symbolic resource that helps people to assert their social identity. This is why the transfer of lands between kin (and especially from men to women) often creates conflicts that may compromise rationality, since they result in allegations of witchcraft. Santals have different forms of marriage, the most prestigious involving bride-price (gonon), which implies an exchange of gifts between the wife-givers and the wife-takers. A brother generally gives a small piece of land to his sister when she marries, and the produce of this land is supposed to pay for sweets (taben jom) for his sister (see Archer 1984). A father may also keep some land for his daughter, in case her marriage is broken. In case of divorce, the husband has to give his wife land for maintenance. But the wife has no direct rights on her husband’s land, except when she becomes a widow and has children in her charge, when she becomes a substitute father. When her sons get older, the land is shared, and the widow usually gets a share of her dead husband’s land,23 but she loses these land rights if she remarries. In some cases, these land rights have been contested by the male inheritors who try to transform the right to manage the land into rights of maintenance. Right of maintenance is often disputed, since the dominant ideology considers that for widows, consumption has to be reduced to the barest minimum. These contests over property have led men to accuse women, and especially widows, of being witches in order to grab their lands. The degradation of a widow’s rights has led Santal women to try to pressure panchayats or communities to negotiate their access to land. In many instances, men have bluntly declared that maintenance is not a right of usufruct. As women’s claim to land affects the material interests of the male agnates in a context of scarcity, it becomes difficult for women to assert their claims successfully (Rao 2005, pp. 306–307 and 2008). When negotiations fail, the case is taken to the village council. Women have the same access as men to legal institutions, but their participation in village meetings is restricted. In some cases, however, Nitya Rao (2005) shows that women have developed a kind of strategy by making the situation publicly embarrassing for the men, a behaviour considered as threatening to masculinity. Does it mean that women who feel excluded from different spheres of social life or who are denied use of the land of a deceased husband are able to manipulate public opinion in order to get what they are not able to get rationally on legal grounds? These contests over land seem to represent the limits of Santal rationality, since male denial of women rights can be explained by a situation of scarcity where access to resources is drastically limited. Women seem able to reshape social power relationships by criticizing publicly those who, in private, have tried to deprive them of their rights. But there are also tragic cases where males cannot stand the agency of women and try to mute or even to kill them. In this perspective, the suspicion of witchcraft seems to result from the impossibility to manage equity. In a context where egalitarianism informs rationality, the denial of equal sharing can be done only with recourse to irrational means. Irrationality

266  Marine Carrin here leads to violence. This is not just a struggle about women’s claims to land; it is a struggle that illustrates how the ambiguous transfer of land blurs the respective understanding of both sexes.

Women’s rights and women’s agency To this point, we have tried evaluate the failures of men’s ‘errors of judgment’, notably in the context of women’s relative success at navigating the entire economic cycle from inspiration to production to marketing and sales. Women seem to learn from their successes in finding customers in markets or influencing village opinion in public meetings. Obstacles to women’s success are imposed by men within the Santal community. In order to silence or hobble successful women, some Santal men turn to what Weber called value-based rationality: they find a historical or even imagined rationale for keeping women silent. It is in this context that we see men turning to witchcraft accusations against successful women. Men and women evaluate their work differently. We have seen that men struggle to sell their goods in the city, where they face obstacles raised by non-Santals. Men try to understand a global society that seems to exclude them. They like to think that they will gradually overcome these difficulties by developing a kind of rational strategy. Nevertheless, they often come to know that power, corruption, state mechanisms and overlapping ideologies blur that rationality, which does not work in a context of dispossession and impoverishment. On the other hand, women who have to observe numerous taboos and are denied access to tools know perfectly that they cannot acquire certain skills. But they have learnt to control indigenous knowledge and are able to present themselves as protectors of the family, since they generally assume the responsibility of children whenever their husbands migrate for labour.

Women’s agency and literacy Women who completed primary school are often able to develop their own agency in concrete situations, such as the village or the local market. This is the case of my friend Lokhi in Srinikitan, who always impressed me by the way she develops her own agency. Lokhi received a sewing machine from the Communist Party and then tried to organize women of her village to produce children’s clothes. Later, when she saw that Japanese students residing on the campus of Shanti Nikitan University did not appreciate the food in their canteen, she started to cook and sell meals to them. Lokhi knew that she could not count on her husband, who was often drunk, but she was also aware that the party members and development block officers were trying to take sexual advantage of her. But she always had a solution. She used to tell me that when she felt discouraged, she used to go to a small Shiva temple and pray there. It was enough, she said, to imagine again how

Santal rationality as empowerment  267 to struggle for her children and herself. Lokhi did not wait passively for divine intervention, but rather liked to imagine that divine inspiration gave her a new kind of strength. In a way, she tried to combine new strategies and divine inspiration, which exemplify the complementarities of two kinds of rationality, one used to evaluate her means and goals and another that is oriented towards values, according to the Weberian distinction. Sometimes when praying, she has a vision of the god Shiva and realizes what she can do about the situation. In her decision-making, divine inspiration complements practical reason (Carrin 1997). Other contexts implying engagement in politics or environmental issues offer examples where individuals pursue goals that, at the same time, are legitimated by the values they defend. For example, Santal women who have been active in local politics and Joint Forest Management prefer to develop a feminine solidarity rather than compete with men. In other words, they prefer to shape their own sphere of action in order better to control it. This is why Santal women have their own wings in students’ unions, as well as in village gatherings – a situation that probably results from the sometimes-coercive attitude of male-dominated parties such as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (Carrin 2006).

Conclusion We have seen that, historically, the Santals have been perceived as impulsive and devoid of capacities for abstraction. I have argued that three kinds of actors, children, men and women, try to assert their goals through three different contexts of agency. These contexts are partly culturally built but they are not pre-determined; they delimit spheres of action where social actors project both rationality and belief. Belief does not preclude rationality, but it does induce social actors to freeze their analytical judgment. This is why the reference to ancestor knowledge, deities, evil eye or witchcraft occurs when social actors feel that some hindrance has compromised their agency. We have seen that when children try to cope with experimenting in class, other values sometimes compromise their judgment; this was seen in relation to the story of the child who drowned himself accidentally. Tragic events and social conflicts remind Santal villagers of their old enemies; this is why the men’s failure to sell their produce at the town market was interpreted as the result of malicious opposition by the Mahtos. In the case of women, social knowledge is extremely difficult to master since taboos and highly gendered activities prevent them from having access to tools and to some skills. Nevertheless, women have developed some strategies in the same way that their sisters, in the myth, succeeded in stealing knowledge, even if men deny it and call it witchcraft. Santal women today try to overcome their subaltern position by securing a place in the production system. They partly succeed because they have developed a knowledge they control, the indigenous knowledge, which is linked to forest products and gathering. Similarly, they have chosen to defend their claims to land by exposing

268  Marine Carrin their men to public opinion whenever they feel oppressed. This defence is successful because women present themselves as the protectors of children, a value nobody denies. In this picture, men have to carve their own knowledge and sphere of intervention in a new world where they have to understand the mechanisms of development, and the ambivalence of progress, in order to develop a new kind of imagination that, hopefully, will enable them to become entrepreneurs in a world where civil society and its values are often contingent. This is why men are sometimes tantalized to withdraw in the comfortable abode of patrilineal ideology and ancestral wisdom, since the shadows of social enemies compromise the acquisition of new values. In other words, Santal men are more prone to reify their own values and to show intolerance towards women since, due to economic pressures, they have to develop their agency outside the village. Women, on the other hand, stand as the protectors of the children and the guardians of indigenous knowledge, which enables them to mobilize public opinion and social services. Yet, women have to negotiate their claims with their in-laws and cannot ignore that if they succeed, they might be suspected of witchcraft. In one way or another, the failures of rationality are related to the attempt to institute certain gender roles and norms that are different from what existed in the past. Children are more likely to accept school knowledge than adults, and to develop new spheres of action, since, for children, this externally imposed knowledge does not create the same conflicts of interest that men or women encounter when they try to pursue new goals. I have argued that women sometimes succeed in creating their own sphere of autonomy, but they often have to launch anti-alcohol campaigns to assert themselves and resist male authority. Similarly, men have to resist the authority of their employers and compete with communities with which they have difficult relationships. In all these examples, rational action does not fail because social actors withdraw into traditional values, but rather because indigenous knowledge often comes into conflict with elements of social knowledge that seem unpredictable, since they involve new forms of intervention where old enemies reappear. Failures of rationality are largely due to the fact that it is difficult for subaltern people to act as autonomous actors in a world where they feel subjected to bureaucratic and other tyrannies. But some community-based experiences have demonstrated that Santal men and women can act as rational actors by developing, for example, participatory strategies whereby they can influence responsive local politicians or dedicated welfare officers. To a certain extent, participatory development may offer a better balance between rationality and traditional values, if villagers could perceive some morality in politics which would make them more confident when struggling with the world outside the village. The practice of rationality needs a context of equity – a dimension Weber may have underestimated – to express itself and function as a logic of empowerment for marginalized groups of society.

Santal rationality as empowerment  269

Notes 1 M. Bloch 1998, p. 51 argues that when a child is stuck to the back of a kin, his or her body is an integral part of another body and thus ‘connected’ to another brain. 2 W.W. Hunter 1897, p. 453fn notes that the legends were collected and forwarded to him by Jeremiah Phillips (1812–1879), a Baptist Missionary. Phillips’ grammar has more legends and texts than the selection reproduced by Hunter. 3 See Ranajit Guha 1983 and P.B. Andersen (manuscript). 4 In his Annals of Rural Bengal, pp. 113–114, Hunter notes the ‘absolute inability’ of the primitive ‘to articulate reflex conceptions of the intellect like matter, spirit, space, instinct, reason, consciousness, quantity and degree’. 5 Sal (Shorea Robusta, L.) a kind of teak. 6 The time (samoy) of Pilcu Haram and Pilcu Budhi, the original Santal couple. They lived in the forest, hunting and collecting roots. Later, they divided their children into twelve clans. See Andersen, Carine and Soren 2011, p. 97. 7 For narratives concerning Kombro Bonga, see Andersen, Carine and Soren 2011, pp. 342–347. 8 The bongas of the sacred grove (Jaher) – who are worshipped during agricultural rituals – include Maran Buru (the creation god), his wife Jaher Era (the guardian deity of the grove) and their children called Monrêko Turuiko the ‘five six’ who are five brothers married to a woman of Hindu origin, Gosaên Era, who grants fertility. 9 These situations have been identified during my fieldwork in Jharkhand in 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2016 though I also base my argument on my experience in Bengal (Birbhum) or and in Odisha (Keonjhar and Mayurbhnaj) since the 1970s. 10 This is also discussed in Padma Sarangapani 2003. 11 See also Carrin (forthcoming). 12 The school has been partly supported by the villagers. Though the curriculum taught followed national norms, there was an effort to indigenize the content of the teaching which was done by non-certified Adivasi teachers. But when I returned in 2016, the school had been taken over by the government and the teachers were caste Hindus. The villagers told me this relieved them financially but that they had to renounce some important gains, such as teaching children in Santali during the first years. This policy was, in fact, accepted by the government but could not be implemented due to the lack of qualified teachers. 13 Speaking in Santali made the children playful and invited them to talk about ‘village knowledge’ (ato bidia). 14 In this class, the paradox was that the mistress was an Oraon woman whose mother tongue was Kurukh. She was perceived as a huring diku (a foreigner who is not threatening), as she was hinduized but shared an Adivasi way of life with the children. 15 T. Shika Arya 2008 defends a similar argument in her thesis on the construction of reality among Munda children. 16 This fear was expressed when welfare officers wanted to take the children for a picnic expedition to Hazaribagh. Clearly, the city carried negative associations, since the children had heard their fathers complaining of harassment by the police or the dikus. 17 Girls do not dream of the city since they are told quite early about girls who are kidnapped and forced to work as bonded labour or as prostitutes. An NGO in Ranchi tries to rescue such missing girls. 18 We find the same opposition between village knowledge and government knowledge in T. Shikka Arya 1988 and P. Sarangapani 2003. 19 When a man has some land but no son, he may choose to marry his daughter to a landless groom who comes to live with him as a ‘working son-in-law’.

270  Marine Carrin 20 Traditionally, Santals paid a nominal bride-price (gonon) in arranged and prestigious marriages. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find that some middle-class Santal families try to get a dowry when they marry their daughters. 21 In many cases, women alone decide what they will sell in the market, though young women sometimes involve their husbands. Women generally keep the profit of their sales for themselves and their children. 22 This is why traditional chiefs, who sometimes are also Members of Legislative Assembly, try to capitalize on their tradition position to strengthen their local vote base. 23 She can take the produce of the land and even mortgage the land temporarily.

References Andersen, Peter B. (2019) ‘The Call of Ţhạkur: The Santal Rebellion 1855–1856’. (manuscript). Andersen, Peter B., Marine Carine and S.K. Soren (2011) From Fire Rain to Rebellion Reasserting Reasserting Ethnic Identity through Narratives. Delhi: Manohar. Archer, W.G. (1974) The Hill of Flutes: Life, Love and Poetry in Tribal India. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. Archer, W.G. (1984) Tribal Law and Justice: A Report on the Santal. Delhi: Concept. Banerjee, Prathima (2000) ‘Dalit time and extravagance: Money and the making of ‘primitives’ in Colonial Bengal’. Indian Economic and Social History Review 37(4), pp. 423–445. Barth, Fredrik (2002) ‘An anthropology of knowledge’. Current Anthropology 43(1), pp. 1–18. Bird-David, Nurit. (1990) ‘The giving environment: Another perspective on the economic system of gatherer-hunters’. Current Anthropology 2(31), pp. 189–196. Bloch, M. (1998) How We Think They Think: Anthropological Approaches to Cognition, Memory and Literacy. Oxford: Westerview. Bodding, P.O. (1925) Studies in Santal Medicine and Connected Folklore. Parts I, II and III. Kolkata: Asiatic Society. Borde, R. and A.J. Jackman. (2010) ‘The devi as ecofeminist warrior: Reclaiming the role of sacred natural sites in east-central India’. In B. Verschuuren et al. (eds) Sacred Natural Sites: Conserving Nature and Culture. London: Earthscan, pp. 272–279. Bourdieu, Pierre (1980) Le Sens Pratique. Paris: Les Editions de Minuit. Carrin, Marine (1986) La fleur et l’os: symbolisme et rituel chez les Santal. Paris: EHESS. Carrin, Marine (1993) ‘From forest to factory: The Santal conception of labour’. In Peter Robb (ed.) Dalit Movements. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, pp. 150–158. Carrin, Marine (1997) Enfants de la Déesse, Dévotion et prêtrise féminine au Bengale. Paris: Editions du CNRS et Maison des Sciences de l'Homme. Carrin, Marine (2002) ‘Le retour du bosquet sacré. Réinvention d’une culture Adivasi’. In M. Carrin and C. Jaffrelot (eds), Tribus et basses castes: résistance et autonomie dans la société Indienne. Paris: EHESS, pp. 233–264. Carrin, Marine (2006) ‘Women, Adivasis, subalterns: Perspectives on the empowerment of Santal women’. In Kamal, K. Misra and J. Hubert Lowry (eds) Recent Studies on Indian Women Empirical Work of Social Scientists. Jaipur: Rawat Publications, pp. 281–301.

Santal rationality as empowerment  271 Carrin, Marine (2008) ‘Santal autonomy as a social ecology’. In M. Carrin and H. Tambs-Lyche (eds) People of the Jangal: Reformulating Identities and Adaptations in Crisis. Delhi: Manohar, pp. 143–172. Carrin, Marine (2013) ‘Jharkhand alternative citizenship in an Adivasi state’. In P. Berger and F.F. Heidemann (eds) The Anthropology of Modern India. London: Routledge, pp. 106–120. Carrin, Marine (2015) Le Parler des Dieux.Le Discours Rituel Santal entre l’Oral et l’Ecrit. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnologie. Carrin, Marine (forthcoming) Indigenous Knowledge and Sensitivity among the Santals. Carrin, Marine and Harald Tambs-Lyche (2008) A Peripheral Encounter: Santals, Missionaries, and their Changing Worlds, 1867–1900. Delhi: Manohar. Chakrabarty, Dipesh (2000) Provincializing Europe Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Corbridge, Stewart, Sarah Jewitt and S. Kumar (2004) Jharkhand: Environment, Development, Ethnicity. New Delhi: Oxford. D’Andrade, Roy (1995) The Development of Cognitive Anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Damodaran, Vinita (2005) ‘Indigenous forest rights: Rights, discourse and resistance in Chotanagpur, 1860–2002’. In G. Cederlof and K. Shivaramakrishnan (eds) Ecological Nationalisms: Nature, Livelihoods, and Identities in South Asia. Delhi: Permanent Black. De Certeau, M. (1984) La Fable Mystique. Paris: Gallimard. Dreze, Jean and Amartya Sen (1995) India-Economic Development and Social Opportunity. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Droese, R. (1884) Introduction to the Malto Language and the Malto Vocabulary. Agra. George, Ajitha S. (2009) ‘The paradox of mining and development’. In N. Sundar (ed.) Legal Grounds: Natural Resources, Identity, and the Law in Jharkhand. Delhi: Oxford Univeristy Press, pp. 158–188. Guha, Ranajit (1983) Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency in Colonial India. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Hunter, W.W. (1975)[1868] The Annals of Rural Bengal (7th ed.). Delhi: Concept Press. Ingold, T. (2003) Globes and Spheres: The Topology of Environmentalism. London: Routledge. Jewitt, Sarah (2008) ‘Autonomous and joint forest management in India’s Jharkhand: Lessons for the future?’ In R. Jeffery (ed.) The Social Construction of Indian Forests. Delhi: Manohar, pp. 145–168. Kelkar, Govind and Dev Nathan (1991) Gender and Tribe: Women, Land and Forests in Jharkhand. New Delhi: Kali for Women. Kuglanski, Arie W. and D.M. Webster (1996) ‘Motivated closing of the mind: ‘Seizing’ and ‘freezing’. Psychological Review 103(2), pp. 263–283. Rao, Nitya (2005) ‘Questioning women’s solidarity: The case of land rights, Santal Parganas, Jharkhand, India’ Journal of Development Studies 41(3), pp. 353–375. Rao, Nitya (2008) Good Women do not Inherit Land: Politics of Land and Gender in India. New Delhi: Social Science Press and Orient Blackswan. Rycroft, D. (2012) ‘From history to heritage: Adivasi identity and Hul Sengel’. In M. Carrin and L. Guzy (eds) Voices from the Peripheries: Subalternity and Empowerment in India, London: Routledge, pp. 48–74.

272  Marine Carrin Sahlins, M. (1972) Stone Age Economics. London: Tavistock. Sarangapani, Padma (2003) Constructing School Knowledge: An Ethnography of Learning in an Indian Village. Delhi: Sage. Scott, James (1976) The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press. Shah, Alpa (2006) ‘Markets of protection, the ‘terrorist’ Maoist movement and the state in Jharkhand, India’. Critique of Anthropology 26(3), pp. 297–314. Shika Arya, Tanu (2008) ‘Notions of Reality and Processes of Knowledge Construction among Tribal Children in Ranchi’. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Central Institute of Education, University of Delhi. Sundar, Nandini, ed. (2009) Legal Grounds: Natural Resources, Identity and the Law in Jharkhand. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand (1932) Sociologien. Oslo: Fabritius. Weber, Max (1981)[1923] Histoire Économique Esquisse d’une histoire universelle de l’Économie et de la Société, (original edition Wirtschafttsgeschichte: Abriss der Universalen Sozial und Wirtschaftsgeschichte), Paris Gallimard. Weber, Max (2000)[1905] L’Ethique Protestante et l’Esprit du Capitalisme, (translated by Isabelle Kalinowski. Original edition: Paris, Champs, Flammarion. Weiner, Myron (1978) Sons of the Soil: Migration and Ethnic Conflict in India. Princeton, Princeton University Press.

15 Santals* Language, lyricism, emotions and identity Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya

The Santal tribe is the largest tribe of eastern India and the third largest in the country, and has been officially recognized by the government of India as a ‘Scheduled Tribe’. In the contemporary scenario, it is problematic to include every individual of this community under the label ‘Santal’; there are wide variations in economy, education, occupation, aspirations and in religious affiliation; the number of Christian Santals is noticeable. However, the common force that usually binds this once very homogenous community is their language, which for several reasons is under threat. The shrinkage in numbers of users is clearly observable and is reflected in the life of the community. Santali, the language of the Santal tribe, is a beautiful and rich language. It has attracted the attention of scholars who have worked with the Santals starting with the seminal work of Reverend P.O. Bodding (1935–1940), The Santal Dictionary in five volumes. The language’s flexibility, expressiveness and extensive vocabulary have enriched the community’s long poetic tradition. Its poems use allegory, allusion, euphemism and metaphor, and play joyfully with the tensions inherent in words that have 1

*  A much shorter chapter on a similar theme was published as ‘Language of the Santals: Its lyrical expression’ in Georg Pfeffer and Nibedita Nath (eds.), Empirical Anthropology, New Delhi, Concept, 2018. These materials have been fully revised and synthesized in the new context presented here. The authors wish to record their thanks to the ICHR for giving them the opportunity to participate and present a draft on a similar theme in the seminar ‘Identity, Emotion and Culture: The Languages and Literatures of South Asia, 900 CE – 2000 CE’. This article is expanded in terms of subject, range and arguments. This would not have been possible without the inputs received from our Santal friends, Boro Baski, Gokul Hansda, Surya Hansda, Soban Tudu and Jadumani Besra. The sound recordings of a variety of traditional and modern songs produced by the All India Santal Welfare and Culture Society (AISWACS), New Delhi under the leadership of Dr Dominic Mardi helped us in locating the differences between tradition and modernity as well as the appeal of the lyrics. Rudra Kinshuk generously gave us his publications and the freedom to use his transcreations. Dr Martin Kaempchen with his valuable comments helped us in tuning the presentation. Many discussions with our linguist friend, Dr M. Sreenathan of the Anthropological Survey of India has helped us in the writing of this paper. We thank all of them.

274  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya multiple meanings and usage.1 The language belongs to the Mundari group and has no written record prior to the twentieth century, and may not have had a script before the ‘discovery’ in that century of the Alciki (sometimes transliterated Olciki) script. Some people believe that Alciki – al (ol) means drawing or writing, and ciki means to speak – is the ancient but lost Santali script. However, there is virtually no supporting evidence, and the scant available written records do not reflect the use of this script. Records created painstakingly by Christian missionaries in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are usually written in Roman script; some are in the scripts of dominant regional languages like Hindi, Bengali and Oriya, the languages of the three eastern states that the Santals inhabit. Further, the limited version of the original Santali script did not meet the demands of expression and pronunciation. The quest for establishing Alciki has an interesting history (see Mohapatra 2001, pp. 74–88) that, in many ways, runs in parallel with the ‘off and on’ pattern of demands for the formation Jharkhand state. Initially, it was a response to the need to have a script, followed by an interim period of sporadic inventions and elaborations and, finally, the mobilization of political will (dating, approximately, from 1943 to 2003) for inclusion of the language under the Indian Constitution’s 8th Schedule, which currently lists 22 languages that are accorded recognition as official languages of the nation and implemented by the states to which the communities belong; Santali is among the official languages of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam. In its journey, the issues of language and script meandered into channels that, step by step, became torrential in their spread. Especially in the context of Santali, the script and language debates have somehow overpowered the actual use of the language or in increasing the usage base in the community. There seems to be a lesson here for language preservation: more than political will goes into the breathing of life into a language; language survival needs the support of intangible cultural elements for its sustenance and growth; it needs to be appreciated, encouraged and used. Languages that have scripts generally have a higher survival rate, but not necessarily higher than languages that are widely spoken and used as a means of extending one’s social and cultural persona. Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew are some of the languages with scripts with limited usage. The experience of identification of the self with one’s language becomes complex when people experience the pressures of other, dominant languages, especially when proficiency in particular languages is imposed as the price of admission to a political-social system that promises rewards. ‘Social identity conflicts are less about disagreements over resources and needs and more about our understanding of self and other, group dignity, integrity and purpose, security, agency and efficacy, who is included/excluded, values, beliefs, and what is just’ (Rothman 1997; cited in Acharya and Kshatriya 2016, p. 205; see also Coleman and Lowe 2007). We can also think of the many debates on the issue of whether school instruction in the mother tongue is absorbed more readily than in any other

Santals  275 language.2 The medium of instruction in modern education, day-to-day interaction and transaction with people in governance and administration continues to play a crucial role in the shaping of the contemporary linguistic order, which in most cases can be described as asymmetrical bilingualism or multilingualism. We know that many will not even dream of challenging the truism that a great and prodigious literature plays the most significant role in the persistent use of a language. (We eschew the use of the word ‘survival’ as this has a much-reduced connotation than ‘continuing’ in many ways comparable to the distinctions between ‘survival’ and ‘living’.3) How far this can be completely and acceptably true is difficult to demonstrate; it is assumed that printing technology and the wonderful institution of the library probably played significant roles in the continuation and spread of languages. But more than the cultivated form of written/printed literature, it is the language users, especially those who use the language with love and ease, helping in facilitating communication, that contribute to the lives of languages. Language use is socially constituted; it is a reflexive, dynamic product of the social, historical and political contexts of an individual’s lived experiences (Hall 2011). Languages may be invoked and used to signal group membership, especially if groups feel that their identities are threatened (Jaspal 2009 cited in Acharya and Kshatriya 2016, p. 205). Thus, we can aver that the spoken form of a language is a real and vibrant force. Scripts textualize language, but they also (re)contextualize it. As Saraswati (1992, p. 213) explains, ‘Textualization of oral culture creates internal crisis, destroys the very texture of the oral culture and takes away all its vision and vigour.’ There is another factor that nurtures language: the social and cultural space within which one can with dignity and appreciation practise one’s language, with or without script. The phrase ‘social and cultural space’ signifies the environment within which the language (and other cultural items or traits) is used and enriched. India is a multi-ethnic country in which the communities can be classified along a dominant–marginalized continuum. Marginalized communities have to contend with their status at various levels, including forms of social-cultural exclusion that reduce the extent of public space available for expressing themselves in their mother tongue. And yet these communities continue and sometimes flourish (albeit, differentially), as do their languages. In the past, cultural seclusion helped in keeping such public spaces open within the communities. Today, however, this strategy seems possible only in rare ecological niches that combine both social-cultural and geographical seclusion; few examples from India are the Jarawa, Sentinelese, Shompen islanders of Andaman and Nicobar. In India, tribes in general are marginalized. The tribesperson’s lack of public space is experienced as a direct attack on their identity and very being. This can result in radical championing of language as an important means of maintaining one’s cultural space vis-à-vis accepting the imposition of other languages, or perhaps this is seen as a means to counter the widespread sense of apathy of the language users towards the heritage of

276  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya their own language. The expression of apathy of marginalized communities towards their languages is not generally remarked upon as a factor that erodes the cultural foundation of communities. However, there is certainly no need to guard languages like the proverbial Yaksha guarded the wealth of Kubera – by secreting it into the netherworld. In line with this allegory, we find that script sometimes does bind languages within grammatical parameters (strict and loose) and thereby restricts spontaneity and fluency, due to which some not-so-obedient or colloquial users experience a sense of marginalization that causes loss of face of the speech user and a greater tendency to use other languages to communicate. Languages with scripts that go far back into time create their own ‘caste-systems’ of hierarchical divisions between the ‘sophisticated’ and ‘laity’, whereas languages without script allow the nurturance of a feeling of egalitarianism that does not require elitist approval. This feeling of homogeneity in the latter case comes from a genuine feeling of equality. However, in a hierarchical society, in terms of both caste and class, variations in dialects reveal caste or class positions of the speakers. This is not so in the case of the Santals, and probably not so for other homogenous tribes in India. To the contrary, the predominantly rural Santals display ‘no appreciable or observable hierarchy in terms of lifestyle, occupation, etc.’ (Bhattacharya and Baski 2002, p. 10). Oral tradition develops an ear for the spoken word, its cadences and semantics. It provides the experience of deep engagement with the language resulting in attraction and love for it in the user. It also ensures mass participation in the proliferation and sustenance of language; languages with written scripts may inhibit the engagement of those who are unlettered or considered illiterate, and also might cause such people to develop a ‘blind’ faith in those who ‘know’ the script of the concerned language. Orality preserves the pristine elements of intangible heritage, and their transmission from one generation to the next is direct without necessarily having to be strained through the sieve of the cultivated form of the language.

Santali language and a history of the creation of its script It seems that the impetus for the creation of the Alciki script came from a deeply felt regret that this relatively widely spoken language did not have its own means of written expression or form. While the Santal community is universally recognized to have ancient roots, its written record is limited to barely 200 years, the first century of which had been written in borrowed scripts and largely by non-native speakers. The impetus can also be traced to the need for an identity at a time when ‘nation’ and ‘nationalism’ were emerging as politically meaningful and driving ideas. There is no doubt that script helps in the spread of the language through education, and books written in one’s own script remain as tangible proof of the existence of the language. A script helps to extend communication through a common means between people occupying different regions of the country, thus

Santals  277 helping to forge emotional ties and associations aimed at achieving common ends. Guided by ‘divine’ intervention between 1920 and 1940, Pandit Raghunath Murmu created the script that is known as Alciki/Olchiki.4 The script as ‘found’ by Murmu included 30 characters divided into 6 vowels and 24 consonants (Mohapatra 2001, pp. 74–88). The larger and more comprehensive script now in use was developed much later, with its origins in Orissa (now Odisha) dating from India’s independence in 1947, progressed, albeit at a sporadic pace (Ibid.). In 2003, the movement for inclusion of the Santali language in the 8th Schedule of languages of the Constitution of India achieved success. This was indeed a moment for jubilation. The West Bengal government by this time had already established the Santal Akademi, which gave recognition and fillip to the revitalization of the Santal community and its distinct culture. As a result of this recognition, there was a surge in writing textbooks and providing facilities for higher education in Santali language and literature. Inclusion in the 8th Schedule was also seen as a means of opening up employment avenues for those who acquired the necessary qualifications and proficiency in Santali language. Some districts of West Bengal chose Alciki as the major admissible script, while others continued to learn the language in Bengali. Some enterprising young educated Santals innovated new ways to teach Santal primary-school-going Santal students: education began in Santali language in the Bengali script, but gradually changed to Bengali language, knowledge of which was mandatory in middle and higher levels of education, as well as in the broader society.5

A brief ethnographic note on the Santals As mentioned earlier, the Santals are a large tribe of eastern India. Santals are found in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam and Tripura, and are found in smaller numbers in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The 2011 Census of India 2011 records a total number of 6,779,033 Santals in India. Wherever they are found, they speak their language, Santali, albeit with regional variations in dialect. The village for a Santal is closely intertwined with individual and community identity. Santals often occupy fringe areas of villages co-inhabited by other communities, predominantly so in West Bengal. They prefer living beside forests, which they look upon as sources of material and spiritual sustenance. Most Santals are subsistence-level cultivators; others work as labourers in farms, factories and construction sites. Some villages are populated primarily by the Santals who refer to their village as ato: ‘the village is the nexus of life processes, where continuous interpersonal relationships are experienced’ (Somers 1977, p. 73). A typical Santal village is arranged along two sides of a central road, and this road plays an important role in their social lives: village council meetings – kulhi durup, literally meaning a sitting (durup’) on the road (kulhi) – and community dances at the time of festivals are held on this road. It may be mentioned that some songs that are sung during these

278  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya festivals are referred to as kulhidhuri, literally dust from the village road that rises during community dancing. On one side of the village is situated a jaher, or sacred grove, that contains a number of trees and plays an important role in the religious life of the villagers. Santal villages are characterized by the settlement of kin, and householders are related to each other in various ways. At some abstract level, Santals are divided into 12 patrilineal exogamous clans (khut), which are arranged in a traditional hierarchy based on the mythological notion of the order of their chronological appearance on the earth. The traditional hierarchy, however, is merely a concept and seems not to have had a social function for a long, long time. Santals usually live in nuclear families. Rules of inheritance and succession follow patrilineal lines of descent. Women do not enjoy right of inheritance. With this important exception, women do not experience social discrimination. They are free to choose their husbands, free to divorce and remarry. Couples living together and raising children out of such relationships are not stigmatized; arranging social marriage is expensive and may be solemnized later. There is certainly a decline in this arrangement among the progressive/urbanized Santals. There are no social taboos for women conversing with strangers (Baski 2007, p. 28). Women are normally earning members in a family. Children are treated as equals, regardless of gender. Santal society is defined by a natural sense of egalitarianism; there is no ‘priest-laity’ dichotomy. Status in society is ascribed in terms of age, gender and kinship. There are certain important positions in the Santal village community: the headman or manjhi-haram, assisted by paranic, jog-manjhi and godet (village messenger) and two priests namely naeke and kudum naeke that transcend the positions of authority resting on the office bearers and members of the village council, who are selected by consensus (Somers 1977). In a typical rural setting, Santals present ‘a state of timelessness’, as if they are not in a hurry or under compulsion to race against time or punctiliously trying to maintain a strained schedule. This can be observed in their daily activities, in discharging their chores, in the calmness with which they discuss everything including urgent village and familial problems and issues, and in the ways they entertain relatives and other visitors (Bhattacharya and Bhattacharya 2007, p. 40). Santals have a propensity to generate a joy of living; the Santali word for this is raska. Raska is integral to how they conduct their lives, and they try to attain raksa in everything they do. Their language is a great source of raska. The capacity to generate a sense of joy is commonly found among most tribes in India. This unifying characteristic has attracted the attention of scholars who have depicted the ‘tribal pleasure complex’ in detail (Culshaw 1949; Grigson 1949; Sinha 1959; Orans 1960; Elwin 1964; Archer 1974; Somers 1977; K. Bhattacharya 1999). While it may be inferred that the scholars communicate a sense of concern by using the adjective ‘complex’, experiences from the field indicate that the Santals celebrate this joie de vivre. Santals are relatively non-acquisitive and

Santals  279 uninhibited. They maintain their needs within an area of limited dependence when they are confined within the bounds of relevant social systems (i.e. within their own milieu). As a consequence, they perceive a sense of peace and inner well-being, and a sense of quiet belongingness to their surroundings. Santals are a dignified people and each member tries to preserve the dignity of all others. Children, too, have a sense of dignity and the adults around them endeavour to preserve this. The accepted conventions of behaviour are imbibed directly from older siblings and peer groups, and from the prevailing social order; discipline is not imposed by force (Bhattacharya and Bhattacharya 2003, p. 161). More importantly, children are made to feel that they are capable of contributing to the community and, therefore, they are expected to participate in community activities like ceremonies and festivities. Through the above, we are presenting the Santal presentation-of-self primarily within the context of their community and habitation, both of which are extremely important in shaping identity and perception of the world. Language forms the very basis of this identity and perception, and it also is the means of providing others with insight and understanding of their mindset and ways of thinking. Language represents ‘an entire way of life: a way of feeling, seeing and thinking’ (Nagarkar 2006, p. 551). Language preserves the full quantum of experience and culture of a people (Ibid.). Language is also a channel of cultural expression (Report of High-Level Committee 2006, p. 91). Social science is usually concerned with linguistic identity and its relationship with other identity markers, or with the power of language to consolidate its speakers into a community that can effectively pursue political and social goals that matter to the community. By contrast, little effort has been made to study the expressive content of languages, especially from the perspective of exploring the potential discourse of appreciative linguistic expression that could contribute to building bridges between communities otherwise separated by language that too, by languages that are not at par with each other. Santals giving short-shrift to their own language is now more than a reality if we consider the situation of the Santals vis-à-vis language hegemony. There is a tendency for Santali speakers to become engulfed by the dominant linguistic group. In this case, more than just a language is lost: the community itself becomes unrecognizable. Santali language as expressed in songs, myths, stories and patterns of speech tell us of the richness of their linguistic embellishments. Santali stories, songs and poems play on words to create amusing situations and incidents. As an example, the birth of a child is never announced directly; it is announced as the arrival of a new relative or perahor. The news bearer is asked if the new arrival carries something on its head or on its shoulder (for girl or boy respectively), and the answer is made according to the sex of the newborn. This distinction continues throughout the life of a Santal person. Men typically use their shoulders to support the weight of the objects they carry while women typically use their heads.

280  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya In order to understand the social and cultural context of Santali, it is necessary to probe into the aspects of belief systems that are found among them. Apart from human beings, fauna, flora and nature, the Santal world is composed of the world of spirits that are of numerous types. The spirits are referred to as bonga. They occupy the whole atmosphere and are found in homes, forests, groves and hills. Bonga have a special relationship to Santal life, society and culture. All villagers and their visitors come within the purview of the village bonga. Bonga become polluted at the time of birth and death, and there are rituals for the removal of these pollutants. Various rituals are also performed for the propitiation of the bonga. The relationship between bonga and Santal is defined by fear, awe and avoidance, and it is widely held that it is very difficult to predict what might upset a bonga. As W.G. Archer (1974: 25–29; see also K. Bhattacharya 1995) observed: Although fields, houses, men and women seem to constitute a Santal village, Santals regard them as at a most a portion of their total world. From a dwelling ‘somewhere in the sky’, the creator, Thakur jiu, allots each Santal a term of life, rarely interferes and maintains a calm indifference. Sim Cando, the sun with whom he is sometimes identified has the same listless majesty. … It is underneath the sun, beneath the clouds, that Santal rule is challenged. Here Bongas or spirits roam and only by coming to terms with them can Santals be happy… All these bongas are, in a special sense, a Santal creation, monopoly or prerogative. … …To pass their days happily, to experience to the full of joys, of tribal existence, Santals must not only attune themselves to village customs but unite in honouring their ghostly protectors. Such a double world, a world at once visible and invisible, has a number of repercussions on Santal behaviour. This mindset is reflected in Santal speech as well as actions. The circumlocution in their speech is most apparent in references to bongas. Their reticence to disclose their points of origin or destination when they are journeying, or making oblique references to events, can be regarded as only a few among many illustrations of the power of bongas on speech.

The spoken word and sung tunes: resonances in the heart The discourse of language in this chapter is being constructed around the spoken word, the manner in which people speak, the use of language in self-expression, the songs, stories and rituals, and the role of language in defining and describing the community. We get some idea about the large Santali lexis from the five-volume Santal Dictionary by P.O. Bodding. His three-volume Studies in Santal Medicine and Connected Folklore

Santals  281 (1925–1940) also stands as a testimony to the vast expanse of Santali.6 Indications of the complexity of the language can be gauged from its usage of parts of speech like the ‘number of persons’ (singular, dual and plural in case of first, second and third persons) and the ability to distinguish among humans, animals (further differentiating among mammals, birds, etc.) and inanimate objects when using verbs (Majhi 2001, pp. 89–99) and between animate and inanimate in the case of pronouns. An analysis at this level would lie within the domain of linguistics and is beyond the scope of this chapter; we note only that the Santali vocabulary and rules of usage are remarkable. The preferred mode of emotional expression for the Santals is through songs. Love, pining and their various manifestations and shades as verbalized through allusion, euphemism and allegory are direct and unambiguous indicators of the relationship between emotions and language. This could be a reason for the freedom of expression perceptible in Santali songs. Above all, it is through their songs that the range of emotional attachment and amorous behaviour is revealed. It is interesting to note that, though songs are generally within the public domain, spontaneity and lack of inhibition in the portrayal of love and sex is expressed in many ways. That said, it is important also to observe the extensive use of allusion and euphemism, which keep the presentations from drifting toward obscenity. Songs and Santals are inextricably woven; Santals of all ages hum songs at every time of the day. They are adept at composing songs on the spur of the moment, sometimes reflecting what they observe or about events in their environs. Just before the advent of their biggest festival, Sohrae, music seems to be in the air and on everybody’s lips, just as joy or raska is in their hearts. Women working in the fields during rice transplanting, going to the forests to collect firewood, leaves and twigs, little children minding domestic animals when grazing or out for hunting birds or playing in the village – there is a humming sound that, when listened to carefully, can be deciphered as song: ‘The ever singing, ever flute-playing Santals’ (Lewin 1870; cited in Archer 1974, p. 9). The dominant themes of the songs concern love, longing, joy and the pangs of separation. Other themes include nature, fertility and traditional myths and legends. In many ways, the songs are the natural carriers of tradition, cultural ethos and the collective psyche of the people. Some of the songs presented below are accompanied by appropriate dance form – a line of girls dancing in complete harmony and unison, with the men playing the musical instruments including the all-important flute, which is almost universally regarded in India as eponymous with love and tryst. On the hill of flutes a flute is sounding. (Ibid.)

282  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya Song 1: This is a song by a woman addressing her once-lover who is now married; dancing women sing this song during Sohrae, and the dance is integral to the song: the dance line has reached the door of the once-lover of a woman who is part of the dancing group. In the dark, dark nights without a trace of fear,* I have been your companion and have been the keeper of your heart; How is it that you are now able to forget me and my charms? Do come out of the house once, come to the street, † Let us at least see each other, just once. We do not need to speak; We do not need to even smile at each other; Oh, my old friend, I just want to quench my longing for you with our meeting eyes. *Refers to fear of the Bonga who are believed to inhabit the forests, trees and are believed to be more potent at night. The woman lover has overcome this very real fear. † Refers to the all-important road (kulhi) that runs through the village and is the scene for most of the gatherings of the community.

Song 2: This is sung in the dong tune by a boy addressing a girl. It is usually sung during Sohrae. On top of the hills, under the pair of Sal trees Keeping them as witness, we made a divine promise, Of ourselves, to each other. Oh, my friend, that promise is no more. I am married; it is time for you to also be married. The pragmatic approach of the boy towards the loss of promise and love is worth noting. It is as if the exigencies of practical life cannot be overshadowed by romanticism of youth. It may also be noted that there are various classes of tunes used in Santali songs.7 Song 3: This song, also in the dong tune, is sung by a boy addressing a girl he once loved. Why are you holding the branches of the deeply shaded tamarind tree On the banks of the river and crying your heart out? We are no longer friends, do not take my name and cry. The essential message of this song is let bygones be; the former lover imploring the other to move on.

Santals  283 Song 4: This is a song in the sohrae tune about rekindling the love between couples married or otherwise together. The wife/woman addresses the husband/lover, Why don’t you play the madal (drum) like before? Your flute does not play the old tunes; Please play the madal and the flute. [The husband/lover answers,] Who will be my inspiration for playing the flute Or in raising beats on my madal? [The wife/woman answers,] Look at me and remember those days of our love. Play your madal and your flute! Song 5: This is a song in the dong tune is sung by women transplanting paddy, a backbreaking task. The symbols of flute, kadam tree, and rainy season all suggest influences of the Radha-Krishna myths. Kadam trees are uncommon in Santal Parganas. The first rains of the month of Asadh I am in the middle of the field, transplanting the paddy My dear friend plays his flute under a kadam tree Here, the rain is falling in a musical rhythm The sounds of my friend’s flute are wafting towards me, Rejuvenating my tired body and heart. Song 6: This song is also sung during festivals and accompanied by dance. There are ten drummers There are twenty girls The dancing ground is big and wide Do not arouse me, drummer Or you may have to drink A river-full of water. Song 7: At night I slept on the verandah And I found you in a dream. How lovely you were, Swaying in the dew.

284  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya Songs 6 and 7 in lagre tune allude to making love through the use of allusions ‘drinking a river-full of water’ and ‘swaying in the dew’ (Archer 1974, p. 66). The oblique reference in this song about feigned threats being normal in love play as well as the reference to water could have sexual overtones. There is mention of the sense of competition among the girls for scarce male attention. These are only a few of the representative songs and tunes or melodies from the Santali repertoire; there are countless songs and tunes that Santals know and sing by themselves or in groups. There are songs sung by women, by men, songs sung in public places, songs sung in the seclusion of forests during the annual hunt. The latter type of songs is confined to boys and men, and it is a social breach of etiquette to sing these songs in the village. It is not considered courteous to address girls individually or directly. Some of these songs are as old as can be recalled, yet continue to be sung to this day. And some songs, especially those related to rituals and social customs, have remained unchanged over time. For example: Song 8: This song is sung during religious festivals. Who identified this land of jungles that we call our own? Who created our homes in the hamlet? It is Maran Buru (the Supreme God) who brought us to this land; It was He who taught us to live like a community It was Jaher Era [the deity of the sacred grove] who taught us To live together in a hamlet. Song 9: This is a song in sohrae tune that is sung when groups of older women visit the homes of kin or neighbours during Sohrae. The women come to pay a social visit and to drink traditionally brewed rice beer. The song is in the form of an exchange between visitors and hosts. It has ancient roots, and a variation can be found in Bodding’s collection (1932, p. 144). Stay a while, sit down Though we do not have enough seats for all of you. These are bad times; there has been no produce in the fields. We were not able to preserve the paddy seedlings And our children have become lazy. This song is an illustration of the play on wit that characterizes Santal speech. The allusion is to the small hut with not enough mats to sit upon and the inability to show hospitality due to bad harvest; Sohrae is a post-harvest festival. The allusion to lazy children signifies that during the festive season, the young are busy with other concerns. This song fits within a genre of

Santals  285 social songs in which there is no obsequious display of hospitality on the part of the hosts or fear of a social gaffe being committed by the guests, yet everyone feels warmly welcomed. Song 10: This is a commonly sung song when guests arrive. Small and little are our fowls and pigs Rich and wealthy are our guests and relatives I shall prepare the rice and curry But father, I shall certainly not serve it out! In this song, too, we observe that wit and play on words are important features of Santal songs. Santals are very hospitable people and, in fact, do everything in their means to play host. The guest is shown respect and welcomed with an assumed modesty so that the guest feels privileged. The last line alludes to the daughter’s interest in quickly rejoining the festivity during Sohrae, after being disturbed by the arrival of guests. The Sohrae festival is known for romantic trysts and the social licence accorded to the young. Apart from love, pining and nostalgia mixed with doses of ‘common sense’ there are songs around the themes of the Santal ethos, of the impermanence of life, of fertility, marriage and festivity. The ambience created in the Santali songs is one in which the individuals and their relationships are transient as if being of-the-moment, even as the heritage and tradition of the larger society and community persists across time and extends beyond individual lifespans. These songs present an existential state of mind: A wind blows silently On the sands beside A narrow spring that runs I’m happy under the shady kadam tree. Flute and madal break into some wild musical feat. This is my life, contented and happy. (Kinshuk 1997, p. 13) As sunflowers incline towards the sun, We Santals, whenever we find A bowl of rice-wine, We move towards it. (Ibid., p. 22) Look, how slowly the river Flows towards the estuary. The Santals will also

286  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya Move gradually from darkness Towards the realm of light. (Ibid., p. 29) On the branch of a peepal tree Sings a red-breasted bulbul. When it leaves for a distant land, A tormenting silence surges back. (Ibid., p. 14) A song of parting and sorrow for the absence of the loved one. The dawn breaks. Cocks are calling And cuckoos cooing. Wake up; wake up now my little daughter As leaves are born to wither, Human life must face death. (Ibid., p. 15) A song of the inevitability of life; to wake early and take advantage of youth while it lasts. I was merely a child when married off. When I grew up, gradually They measured my limbs And deserted me, Not knowing that I was Nurturing a gift of gold in my womb. (Ibid., p. 17) It is not uncommon for Santal girls to be married young or for the husbands to go to distant lands for work. The coming of the child is precious. On the hill, the youthful Sal tree Is full of greenness. It looks lovely When adorned with new leaves. The cottage, with all its doors and windows, Doesn’t bloom with beauty If a bride does not come. (Ibid., p. 23)

Santals  287 This song signifies the importance to the man–woman relationship that imparts beauty to Santal life and brings a sense of completeness that may be for a short period of time as alluded in the next song. Love, they say, is sweeter Than sugar and sweetmeats, Even sweeter than honey. But when love is gone, It tastes bitterer than The bark of a neem tree. (Ibid., p. 18) Relationships among the Santals can be transitory and marriages dissolved or spouses left for others are realities of their life that they express through this song. He is a youth From the neighbouring village. He looks like The fully bloomed kurchi-flowers. O’ man of my everyday life, Don’t blame me If I’ve given my soul to him. (Ibid., p. 21) The song refers to an incident of dalliance over which the woman has no control. It is indeed remarkable to note the agency of the woman in the Santal society that other communities could perceive as liberating. Don’t bedeck me as a bride anymore, For it will rend my soul I’ve realized my dreams In a youth of my village Whose body possesses The softness and loveliness Of a banana plant. (Ibid., p. 21) Desire of one for the other is taken to be normal even on the occasion of a wedding. The bride will not be censured if she sways to the music played

288  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya by a youth who is not her groom. ‘Banana plant’ refers to the tree, lithe and smooth to the touch, and not a portion of which is wasted. Don’t weep any more, Oh my little daughter. Do I not know, Why a girl looks for a young man? Why does a wild bird seek shelter, In the branches of a tree? (Kinshuk 1999, p. 21) The desire to bond and make a family of one’s own is a normal part of life; finding a man, building a nest and then to bring forth new life. O sister, O my little sister, Why do you flee from your husband’s place Again and again? How can I tell my sorrows To you, my brother, loving and caring? He is weak, lazy and girlish. The thatch roof, unrepaired, Lets in a scorching sunlight, And the rains Seep into the mud-brick room. (Ibid., p. 15) Girls can cite simple excuses to leave their husbands’ homes; she will not be chided. Here ‘mud-brick’ refers to unbaked bricks that, when not maintained, provide no protection against the elements. Elder sister, elder sister* Go out, O’ eldest sister. The festival like an elephant has come. How shall we welcome it How shall we receive it, Sister, O’ elder sister? How shall we bring it in? With a glad heart And a sound of joy!

Santals  289 We shall open our hearts’ door And take it to our house. (Archer 1974, pp. 201–202) * This is a typical Sohrae song; the elder sister symbolizes the ‘elephant-like’ Sohrae, around which the myth of Santal origin is woven. The trees, the forest, decked in beauty, I will collect the flowers and leaves And make my body Beautiful with flowers. (Ibid., p. 250) Among the Santals, there is open admiration for the body; women and men’s bodies are euphemistically descried in songs.

Orality against the trajectory of modernity in Santal society Psychologists recognize that emotions are composed of three interrelated aspects: physiological changes that accompany the expression of strong or violent emotions; a cognitive undercurrent that informs emotions; and expressions and gestures that help people within a common culture to identify the emotion. All three aspects help people to interact in meaningful ways by enabling them to predict responses; by so doing, one automatically prepares one’s own response, which carries forward the interaction. Facial expressions and gestures are culture-specific, thereby easing interaction between people who share a culture. Physiological changes that accompany strong emotions can be explained with reference to the peripheral nervous system and the secretion of hormones shared by the entire human species. Of all the constituents of emotion, the most important in human beings is the cognitive factor. This is based on evaluations of individual and social life experiences. These evaluations and those experiences have shaped and formed emotions, as well as the ways people are socialized to think about emotions and their own understanding of social expectations regarding the expression of emotions. The intention of this very brief analysis is to show that emotions are largely cognitive in nature: they involve our cogitations and reflections. When we try to interpret the changing nature of Santal society against the trajectory of modernity, we cannot leave out the emotional ascriptions of the society in general and the community and its people in particular. In the event, there are major shifts and changes in the cognitive base of the people – and this is quite possible through changing aspirations and exposure to multiculturalism – and we expect that the essential aspect or the cognitive constituent of emotions also will undergo change. The very emotions that are reflected in Santali songs will change, as a result of

290  Kumkum Bhattacharya and Ranjit K. Bhattacharya which there will emerge changes in the quality of the lyrics, which in turn reflect life and culture. Already, we find the introduction of techno beats, the effects of remix, the influence of Bollywood and Western and Indian pop music in the new albums released by Santal artists. There is a trend to compose songs on more topical issues with explicit and implicit undertones of ‘message’ – political and reformist in nature! The former ‘coded’ allusions or euphemisms are making way for directedness in language use. Tradition is dynamic in nature and, over time, makes gradual adjustments to changing times. It is true that people carry tradition within their consciousness, putting the stamp of their individual and collective interpretation on it. This is why it changes. The absorption of changes is imperceptible in the normal course of life, which proceeds at a steady pace as it makes the necessary adjustments. However, what we see today seems to reflect a state of upset in the equilibrium brought about by the accelerating pace of change or dissonance that exists between the aspects of culture and lives of people. Culture in most societies has assumed a distinct entity of its own, almost as a discrete category that could very well survive on its own steam without it being integrated into lives of all people; yet it is possible to preserve culture in its externalities by even a few. One of the reasons for this is that we have succeeded in putting culture between covers of books and journals and other media, not to speak of ‘interest groups’ who wield social power (Bhattacharya and Bhattacharya 1996, pp. 58–65). Santals have managed to fare well in the face of the many challenges to their identity, posed on many fronts. It is clear from the above discussion that the verbal expression of the Santals is shaped by and intertwined with their lives, experiences and ways of thinking; their ways of life change, so will their expression. Somewhere along the way, the lyricism of their language will be reduced to a play on words and not an expression of their ethos. Language alone cannot overcome this possibility. It might not become extinct, but ‘that something’ will cease to connect with the lives of people. The beautiful songs that we still hear today will continue to haunt the people not as a living tradition, but rather as ‘something of the past’ like the ‘old unheard melodies’ of yore.

Notes 1 See M.H. Abrams 2000. The terms used in describing the characteristics of Santali (the language of the Santals) are not exactly as enunciated in the glossary but have been borrowed as these come closest to the characteristic features of the language. 2 See, for example, the pre-independence debates between Rabindranath Tagore and Mohandas K. Gandhi, discussed in Kumkum Bhattacharya (2014). Gandhi believed that the benefits of creating national unity through the promotion of a single national language outweighed the educational benefits of schooling in one’s mother tongue. Tagore disagreed. See also B. Baski (2007), in which the author recounts the problems he encountered and still encounters in coping with learning in languages other than his mother tongue.

Santals  291 3 See Chief Seattle’s speech in response to the US government’s demand for tribal land in 1863. He bemoans the essential fact that increasing greed leads to ‘end of living and beginning of survival.’ In addition to being exactly on-point at this moment in our discussion, Chief Seattle’s speech is relevant to this chapter’s overall trajectory: we do not know exactly what Chief Seattle said because there is no direct written record. Our knowledge comes from intendedly faithful but possibly inaccurate translations and revisions. Nonetheless, the power of Chief Seattle’s expressive tone remains. 4 A prevailing idea in India is the credence attributed to revelations in dreams and visions, which often adds to the popular acceptability of a new idea. 5 See B. Baski (2007). Baski has published primers in the Santali language for teaching the Bengali alphabet and vocabulary. These primers use Santali rhymes, stories and songs to create interest among students. 6 P.O. Bodding, a Norwegian missionary, spent many years in Santal Parganas (an earlier classification of district). While he was primarily engaged in missionary work, he developed a keen interest in the myths and tales of the Santals, and avidly collected and published them. 7 For details on the variety of tunes see Onkar Prasad (1985), p. 4: ‘Melody for the Santal forms the basis of their songs. The Santal thus have a great variety of songs associated with rituals and festivals … Bodding (1929) classified the song forms: marriage, hunting, myth of origins and religious, cultivation (paddy planting), dong, lagre and sohrae’.

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Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) 52n3 Aasia Bibi case 183 abkari (tax on alcohol) 28 Abrams, P. 74–75, 92 accountability 5, 42, 45, 59, 66, 68, 76, 77, 85, 86, 145, 150, 156, 185, 187, 229 Adibasi (journal) 244 Adivasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (ASECA) 242, 246 Adivasis 41, 235, 251, 252, 255, 256, 261; ‘closed societies’ 264; teachers 269n12; way of life 269n14 Afghanistan 8; Soviet occupation 64– 65, 180, 210, 211, 214; US invasion 190, 203n3 age 16, 46, 115, 163, 201, 257, 278 agency 251, 255, 266; Santal women 261–263 Agha Khan Rural Support Programme 65 agricultural rituals 269n8 agricultural workers 131, 132, 136 agriculture 10, 15, 124, 253, 260, 263, 269n8 Ahl e-Hadith maslak 208, 210–211, 212, 214, 215, 217 Ahl e-Hadith: Wifaq-u-Madaris Al-Salfia (central board of madrasas, 1955) 210 Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat 194 Ahmad, A. 28 Ahmad, M. 209, 218 Ahmadis 166, 183, 192 Ahmed, A.S. 147n6, 147 Ahmed, I. 207, 218 Ahmedabad 30 aid 129, 143; developmental effectiveness 58

aid donors 5–6, 20, 38, 47, 57, 66, 69–70, 78, 84, 150, 156, 159, 201, 228 Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK, 1986–) 85 Aiyar, M. Adinarayana 29 akaths 188 Akbar, Hiba 221n Akbar, S. 208, 218 Akhbaris 212, 213 Akora Khattak: Madrasa Haqqania 212 Al-Khidmat Foundation 214 Alciki 274; see also ol chiki alcohol 146n3, 268 Ali, Karamat ix, 13, 97, 129–148 All India Postal Staff Union 134 All India Sahitya Academy 242 All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society (AISWACS) 246, 273n All Indian Union of Forest Working People 50–51 All Pakistan Women’s Association 60, 64, 167 Allah o Akbar Party 194 Alvi, Shahnaz 176 amateur theft 104, 105, 111, 127 Ambedkar, Bhimrao Ramji 2, 32 ambiguous gift 264–266 Amjad-Ali, Charles W. ix, 13, 97, 129–148 ancestors 250, 257, 258, 261 ancestral wisdom 267, 268 Andersen, Morten Koch ix, 13, 20, 72–96 Andersen, Peter B. ix, 269n3, 270; civil society in South Asia (introductory considerations) 1–17; civil society’s multiple hues and roles 97–99; linguistic minorities 233–238;

294  Index madrasas and religious maslaks 14, 98–99, 205–220; multifaceted civil societies 19–20; organization of writers’ community 15, 236, 239–248 Andhra Pradesh 29, 40–41 Andrabi, A. 208, 218 Andrew, A. 30 Anglo-Maratha Wars: second (1805) 23; third (1817–1818) 23 Anjuman Talaba-e-Islam (ATI) 215 Anti-Corruption Commission (Bangladesh) 90 Anti-Terrorism Act (Bangladesh, 2009) 88 Anti-Terrorist Act (1997) 187–188 Anti-Terrorist Courts 187 Appadurai, A. 31, 33 Archer, W.G. 280, 289, 291 aristocracy 22, 23 Aristotle 2, 147n4 armed forces: perks and privileges (Pakistan) 202–203 Armed Forces Special Powers Act (India) 51 arranged marriages 170, 270n20 Artal, R.C. 29 arts and sciences 22, 23, 60 Ashraf, Raja Pervez 57 Asma Jahangir 7 Assam 8, 233, 274, 277 associational life 240, 246 ato (village) 277–278 ato bidia (village knowledge) 257–259, 269n13, 269n18 Aurat Foundation (AF) 65, 130 Aurat March 202, 226, 231n22–231n25 Auratnaak (women’s group) 201 authoritarianism 3, 43, 65, 80, 133, 134, 142, 143, 146, 151, 185 autocracy 1, 2, 67, 73, 75, 77, 91, 240 Avargal, Sundara Aiyar 29 Awami League 56, 77–90, 92n1, 166 Awami National Party 59, 71, 218n1 Azad Jammu and Kashmir province 234 Bachchoun ka Islam (Islam of Children, weekly Urdu newspaper) 211 bagair jutti (barefooted) 116 Bahauddin Zakariya University 107 Baluchistan 10, 224, 225, 228, 234 Ban Ki-moon 146n2 Bandyopadhyay, Kaustuv 48, 52 Banerjee, Prathima 253, 270 Bangalore 43

Bangladesh 8, 15, 234, 277; autocracy versus democracy 77, 90–91; civil society (multifaceted) 20; civil society origins and evolution 12, 19–20; development of civil society 97; human rights and political antagonism 72–96; language 233, 235; response to civil society 13; single-party presidential state (1975) 77 Bangladesh: Census (2011) 235 Bangladesh: High Court 90 Bangladesh: Ministry of Home Affairs 87–88 Bangladesh: Prime Minister’s Office 87 Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics 84, 92n5 Bangladesh Constitution 77, 78, 81 Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League 77 Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust 85, 87 Bangladesh National Party 77–89 passim Bangladeshi state and NGOs 74–76 Bangladeshi war of independence (1971) 77, 78, 82, 84, 136, 147n9 banks 49, 61, 62–63 Banks, N. 72, 93 Bano, Roohi 169 baradari 110 Barelvi maslak (1905–) 12, 14, 208, 213–217 Barth, Fredrik 256, 270 Basic Democracies Act (Pakistan, 1959) 125 Baski, Boro x, 15, 236, 239–248, 273n, 290n2, 291n5, 291 Baviskar, Amita 158, 160 Bayly, Christopher A. 26, 32, 32n3–32n4, 33 Beauvoir, Simone de 170 Begumati Siyasat (Respectable-Lady Politics) 166–167 Belgaum 29 Bengal 257; village unions (failure) 27 Bengal Presidency 233 Bengal Renaissance 241 Bengal Swadeshi Movement 237n1, 238 Bengali language 233–235, 242, 243, 246, 274, 277, 291n5 Bengali script 241, 242, 277, 291n5 Berger, P. 208, 219 beri tree (plum tree) 110 better life 251, 254

Index  295 Bhattacharya, Kumkum x, 15–16, 236, 237, 239–248, 273–292 Bhattacharya, Ranjit K. x, 15–16, 236, 237, 239–248, 273–292 Bhatti, Nasreen Anjum 169 bhedi (spy) 111 bhunga (fee) 114–115 Bhushan, Prashant 44 bhuts (ghosts) 258 Bhutto, Benazir 56–57, 65, 138, 167 Bhutto, Nusrat 167 Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali 56, 64, 97, 134, 136–137, 164, 166, 167, 174, 177, 206, 214; labour policy (1972) 137, 138; promises (implemented or not) 137; at UN (1971) 147n9 Bibi, Safia 183 bida’at (innovations) 210 bidia (indigenous knowledge) 257, 258 Bihar 236, 277 bintis (epics) 243 biradari 102, 124 Birbhum (Bengal) 242, 261, 269n9 birth 279, 280 blasphemy 1, 183, 190, 192, 194–195 Bloch, M. 269n1 bloggers xi, 11, 50, 92n8, 195 boards of arbitration (informal) 28 Bodding, P.O. 241, 243, 253, 270, 284, 291n6–291n7, 292; Santal Dictionary 273, 282; Studies in Santal Medicine and Connected Folklore (3v) 280–281 bodily autonomy 202 Bollywood 290 Bombay: Muslim seat in Indian Legislative Assembly (colonial era) 147n7 Bombay Government 28 Bombay High Court 212 Bombay Legislative Council 27 Bombay presidency 21–22; civil-judicial panchayat 31; failure (1827) of panchayat experiments 25 bonded labour 183, 269n17 bongas (tribal deities) 254, 257, 258–259, 262, 280, 282 bongas of sacred grove (Jaher) 254, 269n8 books 290 Bourdieu, Pierre 250, 270 BRAC 83, 84, 93 Bradley, H. 28 Brahmins 23, 150

Brass, Paul R. 235, 237 bribery 105–106, 123, 259 brides 287–288 Briggs, John 25, 33 Buddhists 8, 157 buffaloes 109, 111, 120, 121, 123 Bukhari, Shujaat 50 bulls 120–121 bureaucracy 80, 88, 98, 133, 136, 138, 268 bureaucratic empowerment (reproduction of inequalities) 14, 97–98, 149–162; anonymity 159n5; anthropological case study 150, 159n4; meaning and mode of achievement 152–153; social class 157–159 bureaucratization: consequence of economic liberalization 150; influence on NGO policies 150 Burglund, Henrik 39, 52 business interests 50, 51 Calhoun, C. 32n2, 33 Cambridge International Examinations 211 Candeish (Khandesh) 25, 33 Candland, Christopher 134, 148 capitalism 38, 79, 103, 133, 154, 201 Carrin, Marine x, 15, 16, 236, 249–272 caste and caste system 2, 6, 12, 23, 27, 37, 39, 102, 117, 123, 127n1, 131, 157, 180, 183, 186, 188, 233, 245, 254, 262, 269n12, 276 casual labour 254, 256, 263 cattle breeding 258, 260 cattle rustling 97, 101, 103–104, 111–112, 118, 126; individualism and relational collectivism 113–115; negotiation procedure 114–115 CEDAW 140 censorship 32n2, 50, 230 central planning failure (India) 39–40 Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns 49 chaal (gait) 116–119, 123, 125 Chakrabarti, Kaustuv 48, 52 Chakrabarty, Dipesh 254, 271 Chandhoke, Neera 4–5, 16, 37, 52 chardivari (four walls of home) 206 Chatterjee, Partha 21, 33, 44, 52, 209, 219 chaudikar (police) 27

296  Index Chaukidari Act (Bengal, 1856) 27 chaukidari tax 28 Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) 185–186 chief martial law administrator (CMLA) 136–137 Chief Martial Law Administrator 166 child marriage 155 childbirth 286 children 5, 44, 50, 171, 191, 227, 255, 256–259, 264–267, 269n1, 270n21, 270, 278, 279, 281, 284; custody of 182 children’s books 244 children’s literacy school 171–172 children’s rights 227, 231n33 China 91, 221 China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 225, 229 Chipko movement 41, 160n17 chors (thieves) 97, 101–128; cattle rustling, individualism and relational collectivism 113–115; challenges 125–126; experienced versus inexperienced 118–119; family matters 110; housebreakers, grain thieves, cattle rustlers 111–113; image 108–110; learning the trade 110; women 123 Christian missionaries 241–242, 253, 274 Christians 3, 8, 11, 157, 171, 237, 273 citizen movements 46–47 citizenship 75, 78, 214 Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA, India, 2019) 7–9, 52n2 civil liberties 36, 38 civil society: approaches 239–241; bureaucratization 97; co-constitutive with market and state 19; colonial India 21–35; definition 72; definitional conundrums 37–38; non-institutional forms 7; ‘not a monolith’ (India) 36, 37; ‘polished and commercial’ 22, 23; political role 6; recent changes 3–6; skewed by state policies (Pakistan) 14, 98–99, 205–220; subversive edge 37; tension with state (Pakistan) 223–229; World Bank definition 58–59, 71n3 civil society (Bangladesh) 13, 20, 72– 96; consequences of dissent 89–90; development delivery efficacy 20; human rights organizations (radical reformers) 85–86, 92; landscape of NGOs (horizons of delivery) 82–85;

laws and politics 86–89; wider political terrain 76–82 civil society (India): critical juncture (2021) 51; CSOs and NGOs 44–46; ‘elite capture’ 38; evolution 38–51; expansive role (2001–2009) 36; multifaceted 19–20; nature and direction 12, 19–20, 36–55; recent trends in NGO sector 46–48; reduced to service delivery and technical functions 51; reinvention (1990s) 37; shrinking spaces 48–51; social movements 40–44 civil society (origins and evolution) 12–13, 19–96; Bangladesh 72–96; colonial India 21–35; India 36–55; Pakistan 56–71 civil society (Pakistan) 12–13, 19, 20, 56–71; correlation with degree of support from political process and state institutions 20; historical background 59–60; laws for registration of NGOs 60–63; limitation to small geographic areas 60–61, 64; multifaceted 19–20; origins and evolution 12, 19–20; patterns of growth and challenges 19, 20; perspective 57–59; social media 67–68; state of NGOs and CSOs (1956–2013) 63–66; state of NGOs, INGOs, and CSOs (2013–present) 66–67 civil society concept 1; South Asia 2–3 Civil Society at Crossroads (2012) 46–48 civil society executive order (Pakistan, 2013) 57, 62, 66, 70 civil society institutions (Pakistan): dilemmas 13, 97, 129–148; government restrictions 144; internal competition (Pakistan) 144; leaders 144 civil society organizations (CSOs) 3–6, 9, 10; bureaucratic obstacles 15; Caesar’s wife syndrome 5; foreign funding (non-renewal of registration) 49–50; Gandhian institutionalization 12; hybrid forms 44; India 44–46; reporting requirements 49; World Bank definition 58–59, 71n3 civil society roles 97–232; bureaucratic empowerment (reproduction of inequalities) 14, 97–98, 149–162; chors and khojis 13, 97, 101–128; COVID-19 (Pakistan) 14–15, 99, 221–232; madrasas and religious

Index  297 maslaks (Pakistan) 14, 98–99, 205–220; organized labour 13, 97, 129–148; Women Front (WF, Pakistan, 1974–1976) 14, 98, 163– 178; Women’s Action Forum (WAF, Pakistan) 14, 98, 179–204 civil society roles (new threads) 7–11; Bangladesh 10–11; India 7–9; Pakistan 9–10 civil society sector: liberalization 14, 97–98 civil society theory 21 civilian governments 12, 138, 143, 187, 198 civilian supremacy 186, 188, 206 Code of Criminal Procedure (Bangladesh) 87 Cohen, S.P. 209, 219 Cohn, Bernard S. 106, 127 collective bargaining 132, 135, 140, 141 collectivism 101–128 collectivist society 108, 119, 125, 126 colon (Santal custom) 250, 263 colonial scholars 15, 236 colonial state 38–39; and building of civil society (India) 21–35 colonialism 19, 101–105, 126, 132, 253–254 Commissions on Status of Women (provincial, Pakistan) 227 commoners 22, 23 common-interest model (state and civil society) 91 Communist Party of India (MarxistLeninist) 41 Communist Party of Pakistan 60 Communist Party of West Bengal 41 communitarian approach 3, 240 Companies Ordinance (Pakistan, 1984) 61 Complaints Commission (Pakistan) 203 Concurrent List (Pakistan) 184, 203n2 consumer boycotts 13, 139 Convention against Torture 90 Cornwallis model (British-style courts) 25 Corona Relief Tigers (Pakistan) 10 corporal punishment 146n3, 180, 206 corporate social responsibility 45–46, 53, 149 corruption 10, 24, 25, 31, 42, 43–45, 69, 76–78, 80, 82, 126, 132, 143, 160n17, 261, 266 Council of Islamic Ideology (CII, Pakistan, 1962–) 184, 194, 204n4

courts 98, 105, 106, 125, 229; value of women’s testimony 182 COVID-19 pandemic 70; Bangladesh 11; India 8–9; and religion 11–12, 16n2; super-spreaders 11, 12 COVID-19 pandemic (Pakistan) 10, 14–15, 97, 99, 221–232; bureaucratic obstacles (relaxation and re-imposition) 14–15, 99, 222, 230; civil society 227–229; intimidation and confusion 225; laws and policies 226–227; NGO relief work 227–228; regulation of NGOs 224–226; religious factions 222–223; renegotiation of relations between NGOs and government 221; super-spreader event 99, 222–223, 230n6–230n7; tension between state and civil society groups 223–229 cultural capital 157, 159 cultural seclusion 275 curricula 257, 269n12; gender bias 194 daana (giving) 59 Daesh (Salafist-Wahhabis) 218 Daily Islam (Urdu newspaper) 211 Dalits 32, 41, 50 Damodaran, Vinita 253, 271 dance 182, 213, 278, 281–283 Danish Refugee Council 231n15 dara (gathering place) 112, 127n2 dars sessions 190 Darul Uloom Deoband (India) 12 DasGupta, Simona x, 12, 19–20, 36–55 data protection 50 Davis, Angela 163, 175, 176n1, 177 De Certeau, M. 250, 271 death 257, 259, 261, 280, 286 death penalty 188, 196, 198; stoning 146n3 debt 253–254 decision-making 41, 82, 137, 196, 255, 267 delivery horizons (Bangladesh) 82–85 democracy 3, 12, 20, 30–32, 36, 37, 46, 56, 69, 73, 145–146, 166, 199, 200; civil society ‘fourth pillar’ (Mukherjee) 149; loss of confidence 264 democracy versus dictatorship (WAF ideological choice) 180–188 democratic inclusion 195–197 democratic society 69 Democratic Women’s Association (DWA, 1948–) 167–168

298  Index Deobandi madrasa board: Wafaq-ulMadaras-al-Arabia (1959–) 212 Deobandi Madrassah Movement (DMM) 209 Deobandi maslak 208, 211–217 Deobandi political parties 215–216 Deobandis 14, 191, 230n6 Desai, Khandubhai 29 Deshpande, S. 157–158, 161 development: Big-D versus small-d 74, 76, 91–92; global agenda 66 development needs 69 developmental organizations 73–74 devolution (India, 1992–1993) 48 Dhaba Women 201 Dhaka 90, 235 Dhaka University students 81 Dhanagare, D.N. 40, 52 Dhanak (monthly magazine) 167 dharna (sit-in) 193 dher (haystack) 111 dictatorship 180–188 digital divide 229 Digital Security Bill (Bangladesh, 2018) 92n8 dikus (non-tribals) 256, 269n16 disappearances 225, 226 District Municipalities Acts (1884–1888) 27 divorce 182, 265, 278, 287 diyat (blood money) 181 domestic sphere 184, 189 domestic violence 155, 227, 228 dong tune 282, 283, 291n7 dowry system 155, 262, 270n20 dreams 259, 283, 291n4 Drèze, Jean 251, 271 Droese, R. 252, 271 drowning 258, 267 due process (of law) 188, 194 Dumka (Jharkhand) 239, 244, 246, 247n3 Dumka: Indian Home Mission to Santals 243, 247n4 East Bengal (1905–) 233 East India Company 1, 21, 31; directors 24, 25 Easter 11 Eastern Europe 4, 37, 240 eclectic liberalism (Metcalf) 26 economic crisis (India, 1991) 154 economic growth: failure to eliminate poverty 141–142

economic liberalization (India, 1990s) 4, 12, 45, 150, 158; consequences 154–157 economic sanctions 13, 139 economic surplus 249, 251; Santal ideas 252–254 Edinburgh University 21–22 education 6, 28, 32n2, 155, 180, 185, 193, 276; ‘worthless in political context’ 259 Educational Committee (Pakistan, 1978–) 210 Edwards, M. 240, 248 egalitarianism 15, 41, 63, 103, 129, 131, 133, 140, 145, 251, 254, 265, 276, 278 Egypt 129 Ejaz, Manzur 107, 124, 127 Elan, Nasiruddin 90 elder sister 288–289 elders 125, 260 Election Commission of Pakistan 186 Eleventh of September terrorist attacks (2001) 143, 209 elites 26, 30, 31, 42, 44, 49, 74, 91, 106, 136, 142, 163, 166, 174–175 elitism 199, 276 Elphinstone, Mountstuart 22, 23–24, 30–33 emergency relief 11 emotions 289–290; cognitive constituent 289; three aspects 289 Employees Old-age Benefits Institution (EOBI, Pakistan) 132, 137 employers 135, 136, 138–140, 268 employment 259, 277 empowerment 42, 48, 98, 150–151, 171, 268; meanings 151; Santal rationality 15, 236–237, 249–272 enemy alien (Pakistan) 187 Enforcement of Hudood Ordinances Act (Pakistan, 1979) 146n3 Engebrigtsen, Ada I. 104–105, 112, 127 England 1, 2–3, 22 English language 15, 233, 237n1, 244–246 environment 5, 38, 41–42, 259, 260, 264 equality 41–42 equality before law 105, 126, 183 Ershad, General H.M. 77, 79–80, 82–83 essential workers 135 Establishment (Pakistan) 144, 145

Index  299 ethnic minorities 182, 184, 189, 233–238 ethnicity 180; equal-rights campaign 98 euphemism 191, 273, 281, 290 Europe 13, 90, 139–140, 240–241 evil eye 267 experience 115; contexts 256–259 exploitation 63, 106, 132, 133, 167, 169, 171, 172, 188, 255 extremist religious outfits 193 Facebook 201, 214 factory workers 164, 170, 172, 250; WF wing 171 Fagun (journal) 244 Faisalabad 208, 217 Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) 211 familial aggression 174–175 family 38, 102, 181, 184, 202, 240, 261–262, 266, 278 famine 28, 29 Fatima, Hazrat 169 fatwas 12, 193–194 fear of leaving village 258, 269n16 Federal Legislature (Pakistan) 203n2 Federal Shariat Court (FSC, Pakistan, 1980–) 146n3, 190, 194, 204n5 feminism 14, 98, 156, 166; second wave (India, 1970s) 155, 160n17; strands 163 feminist activism (corporatization) 200–201 feminists 196, 201 Ferguson, Adam 21, 23, 30, 31; Essay on History of Civil Society (1767) 22, 24, 34 fertility (human) 269n8, 281, 285 feudal remnants 133, 164 FIA (Pakistan) 195 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 70, 193 Fisher, W.F. 149, 156, 161 five-year plans 39, 155 flutes 281, 283, 285, 291 Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA, India, 2010) 7, 49, 149, 155, 159n3 Foreign Contributors’ Act (Pakistan, 2014) 62 Foreign Donations Regulation Act (FDRB, Bangladesh, 2016) 10–11, 87, 92n7 foreign donors 7, 14, 91, 98, 199 foreign funding 154, 155, 224, 226; rejected by WAF 198–200

Forest Act (India) 45 forest officers 257, 263 forest products 255, 256, 262–263, 267, 281 forests 28, 41, 253, 271, 277, 280, 282, 284, 289 franchise state 73, 84 Francis, Pope 11 freedom of assembly 48, 50 freedom of association 48, 135, 139, 140, 143 freedom of expression 48, 50, 58, 89, 143, 180, 195, 230 freedom of press 1, 50, 143, 240 Freedom House report (2015) 50, 53 Freedom Law Centre 50 Gandhi, Indira 39, 165 Gandhi, M.K. 2, 12, 32, 33n8, 39, 290n2; attempt to promote Hindi in south 233; methods remain in use today 43, 47 Gandhi, Rajiv 154 garment industry 141 garrison state (Ahmed) 207, 218 gathering 262–263, 267, 270n21, 281 gender 16, 28, 33n8, 155, 278 Gender and Development (GAD) approach 155, 156 gender pay gap 170 gender-based violence (GBV) 228–230 general elections (Bangladesh) 77; (1991, 1996, 2001) 80; (2008) 80, 81, 89; (2014) 81 general elections (Pakistan) 216; (1970) 56, 64, 77, 165–166, 167, 175, 216; (2002) 215; (2008) 57, 65, 215; (2013) 57; (2018) 57, 143, 185–186, 193–194, 215 geographical seclusion 275 ghar jawae (working son-in-law) 261, 269n19 Gidumal, Dayaram 30 Gilgit-Baltistan 213, 235 Gillani, Makhdoom Yousaf Raza 65 Gillani, Yousaf Raza 57 Gilmartin, David 103, 114–115, 127 girls 166, 203n1, 226, 227, 229, 258, 264, 269n17; education 59, 182, 191–192, 229 Glasgow University 21–22 globalization 58, 101, 123–124, 126 godet (village messenger) 278 Gokhale, Gopal Krishna 27, 28–29, 34 Goldberg, J. 209, 219

300  Index gonon (bride-price) 265, 270n20 Gooty (now in Andhra Pradesh) 29 Gosaên Era 269n8 Goswami, Debika 44–45, 53 government 135, 136, 149, 154, 241 government schools 242, 269n12 government-organized NGOs (GONGOs) 5 governmental sector (Bangladesh) 20, 72 Grameen Bank 81, 83, 89, 91 Green, Maia 156, 161 Greenpeace India 49; registration cancelled (2015) 149 Guha, Ramchandra 43–44, 53 Guha, Ranajit 269n3, 271 Habermas, Jürgen 3, 16, 240, 241, 245, 248 Habibullah, Muhammad 28 habitus (Bourdieu) 250, 255 Hadith 211, 212 Hanafi School 211 Hansda, Bhaya ‘Casa’: Pil Sagar (Ocean of Pilcu, epic poem, 34v) 243–244, 246, 247n5 Hansda, Doman 247n2 Hansda, Santat 239n Hansen, T.B. 75, 93 happiness 131, 147n4 Haq Bakshwana 184, 203n1 Haq, Azizul 167 haqooq-ul-ibaad (human rights) 59 Haqqani Network 192, 203n3 haris of Sindh 183 Harris, John 32n6, 34 Hasina, Sheikh 77, 80–81 hat (market) 262 hate speech 192, 194 Hazaras (Shi’a Ja’afris) 217 Hazare, Anna 43, 52n3 Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) 269n16; labour market 259; primary school near 256–259, 269n12 healing 263–264 Hebrew Bible: Genesis 244 Hefazat-e-Islam 90 Hegel, G.W.F. 3, 19 Hembram, P. 247n2, 248, 292 Hembram, Ruby 244–246 Hembram, Timotheas 244 Henry, Stuart 104–105, 127 Herbert, D. 16n1, 16 Herzfeld, Michael 112, 127

hierarchy 102, 115, 117, 124–126, 155, 175, 184, 189, 261, 276, 278; rejected by WAF 195–197 Hindi 233, 235, 241, 243, 244–245, 256–257, 274; national language of India 235 Hindi script 241 Hindu Code 23 Hinduism 131, 234, 237, 264 Hinduization 262, 270n20 Hindus 8, 157 hiring and firing 130, 138 Hizb ul-Tahreer (Salafist-Wahhabis) 218 Hobbes, Thomas 21 honour crimes 181, 184, 203n1, 227, 231n27 Hooker, Richard 21 Hor Sambad (journal) 246 housebreaking 111, 115 Hudood Ordinances (1979) 176, 180, 190, 199 Hul (Santal Rebellion) 252, 254 hul pahil (time before Santal Rebellion) 253 Hul Sambad (Santali journal, 2005–2012) 244 hul tayom (time after Santal Rebellion) 252–253 Human Development Index 142 human equality concept 131 human rights 41–42, 58, 66, 143, 223, 229–230 Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) 7, 62, 71, 130 human rights organizations 38, 50, 74, 76; radical reformers (Bangladesh) 85–86, 92; rationale 85 human rights regimes 133, 147n5 Human Rights Watch 206, 219 Hume, David 21, 22 Hunter, W.W.: Annals of Rural Bengal (1868) 252, 254, 269n2, 269n4, 271 huring diku (non-threatening foreigner) 269n14 Hussain, Abida 167 Hyatt, Susan Brin 160n21, 161 Hyderabad (India) 28 Hyderabad (Pakistan) 226 iconomic (M.K. Andersen) configuration 82 ICT Act (Bangladesh, 2006) 90, 92n8; ICT (Amendment) Act (2013) 89, 92n8

Index  301 ideology 132–134; WAF 180–195 ILO conventions 131, 135, 138, 141, 200; listed 139, 147n12 IMF 40, 44, 58, 141 Income and Property Act (Bengal, 1860) 27 India 15, 91, 203n3, 222; colonial state and building of civil society 21–35; development of civil society 97; economic liberalization 4; ethnic and linguistic minorities 235–236; independence (1947) 6; middleincome status 47; response to civil society 13; territorial reorganization (1956) 235 India, Census: (2011) 277; (2020) 8 India: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) 49–50; Supreme Court 8 India Against Corruption (IAC) 20, 42, 43–44, 46, 47–48, 51, 52n3, 54 India Inc. 44, 53 Indian Action Social Forum 50 Indian Code of Criminal Procedure (1898) 146n3 Indian Companies Act (2013) 45 Indian Constitution 49, 50, 235–236; Hindi identified as national language 235; Preamble 8; schedule of official languages 239, 242, 246, 274, 277; secularism 8 Indian National Congress: adoption of Hindi as official language (1925) 233 Indian nationalist movement 12, 21, 32 Indian Penal Code 50, 146n3 indigenous knowledge 255–258, 259, 266–268, 269n11, 271 individualism 101, 124, 126; cattle rustling 113–115; middle way with relational collectivism 105–106 individualist system of justice 103–105 Industrial Disputes Act (1947, pre-independence) 135 Industrial Disputes Ordinance (Pakistan, 1959) 135 Industrial Relations Act (Pakistan, 2008) 136 Industrial Relations Ordinances (IROs, Pakistan) 131; (1969) 136; (2002) 136, 138–139 Ingold, T. 256, 271 inheritance 213, 227, 278 innovation 259–260 International Crisis Group (Brussels) 208, 209

international NGOs (INGOs) 12, 57–59, 61–63, 65, 69, 224, 225; guidelines (Pakistan, 2020) 228, 231n34; obstructed (Bangladesh) 13; re-registration demand (Pakistan, 2013) 9–10; registration requirements 66–67, 68, 70 International Union of Food and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF, 2009–) 130 International Women’s Day 202, 226 internet 15, 124, 213, 244 Internet Freedom Foundation 50 Iqbal, Ahsan 68 Iran 223 irrigation 112, 114, 256, 258–260 Islam 10, 14, 102, 108, 146n3, 167; madrasas and maslaks (Pakistan) 14, 98–99, 205–220; state religion (Bangladesh) 78, 79 Islamabad 171, 173, 191, 225, 226 Islamabad: Faizabad Interchange 193; Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) 212 Islamabad Capital Territory Charities Registration Bill (2020) 70 Islamabad High Court 221 Islami Jamiat Talaba (student union) 214 Islamic feminism 168–169 Islamic Republic of Pakistan 180 Islamization 14, 130, 169, 180, 190, 191, 196, 210 Ismailis (Seveners) 212 Israel 129, 147n5 Iyengar, Veerasami 29 Ja’afr al-Sadaq, Imam 212 Ja’afri maslak 214–215, 217 Ja’afri Shi’a Islam 212–213 Jackson, A.M.T. 28 jadu (magic) 258 Jaffe, James x, 12, 19, 21–35 jagirdari nizam (landlordism) 131 Jahangir, Asma 130, 169 JAHER (NGO) 256 jaher (sacred grove) 258, 278 Jaher Era (deity) 264, 269n8, 284 Jama'at-ud-Da'wah 194, 211, 215–216 Jama’at Ghurba Ahl e-Hadith 210 Jama’at Islami (1942–) 14, 208, 214–217 Jamaat-e-Islami 79 Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Faridia 191 Jamia-tul-Imam Muhammad Tahir 212 Jamiat Ahl e-Hadith 210

302  Index Jamiat-e-Tulba 170 Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazlur Rahman (JUI-F) 212 Jammu and Kashmir 51 Jan Sunwayi (people’s hearing) 42 Janatantra Morcha 52n3 jani shikar (women’s hunt) 262 Jeewan Rekha (NGO) 246 Jefferson, Thomas 147n4 Jewitt, Sarah 263, 271 jhara (spell) 258 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha 267 Jharkhand Party 255 Jharkhand state (2000–) 235, 236, 242, 257, 269n9, 274, 277; traditional political structures 264, 270n22 jihad 191, 209, 213, 214, 220 Jilani, Hina 169, 204 Jinnah, Muhammad Ali 134, 148; vision (1943) of Pakistan 133, 147n6 Jobradaga village (Jharkhand) 256, 263 jog-manjhi (assistant to village headman) 278 Joshi, Abha 42, 53 journalism 48, 50, 167, 180, 181, 185, 243 judicial activism 185 judicial independence 188 judiciary 106, 180, 186, 187, 200, 217, 218; perks and privileges (Pakistan) 202–203 Jugsirijol (journal) 244 justice system (Punjab, Pakistan) 13, 97, 101–128 Justices of Peace 24 kachi zameen (dirt roads) 116 kadam tree 283, 285 Kalburgi, M.M. 50 Kali 264 kamand (rope ladder) 111 Kames, Lord 22 kammis (service-providing castes) 124 Kanhar Bandh Virodhi Saagharsh Samiti 50–51 Kanhar dam (Uttar Pradesh) 51 Kanjars 127n1 Kanji, Nazneen 47, 53 Karachi 59, 60, 195, 216–217, 218n1, 225, 226 Karnataka 50 Karo Kari (Siyah Kari) 184, 203n1 Kashmir 50, 211 katchi basti, definition 171 Kaur, Ravinder 44, 53

Kaviraj, Sudipta 38, 53 Kejriwal, Arvind 52n3 Keonjhar (Odisha) 269n9 Keynesian state 4, 5 Khadija, Hazrat 169 Khadim Rizvi 193 Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan 59 Khan, Adilur Rahman (of Odhikar) 89, 90 Khan, Akhtar Hameed 216 Khan, A.R. (fl. 1967) 134, 148 Khan, FM Ayub 56, 60–61, 64, 78, 134, 135, 147n10, 166 Khan, Imran 57, 69 Khan, Air Marshal (Retd) Nur 135–136, 147n8 Khan, Omar Asghar 65, 138, 147n11 Khan, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali 64 Khan, Raza 195 Khan, General Yahya 56, 135, 136, 147n10, 166 khanqah (Sufi monasteries) 59 Khatm-e-Nabuwat discourses 192 Kherwar 237 Kherwar Dhorom 237 khet-mazdoor (field labourers) 111 Khilnani, Sunil 38, 53 khojis 13, 97, 101–128; challenges 125–126; definition 101; hereditary profession 119; learning the art 119–123; police payments ‘low’ 106; remuneration 121–123; trackers of thieves 115–119; women 123 Khudai Khidmatgar 59 Khulna 28, 88 khura (footprints, animal tracks) 113–117, 119, 120, 122, 125 khut (patrilineal exogamous clans) 278 khutbas (Friday sermons) 194 Khwateen ka Islam (Islam of Women; weekly Urdu newspaper) 211 Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) 59, 64, 215, 224, 234 kin 278 Kinshuk, Rudra 285–288, 292 knowledge 255; negotiated 256; understood as relationship 256 knowledge spheres 15 Kolkata 42, 244 Kollontai, Alexandra 168 Kombro Bonga (Santal ‘thief deities’) 251, 253, 269n7 Kraan, J.D. 208, 219 Krupskaya, Nadezhda 168 kudum naeke (village priest) 278

Index  303 Kuglanski, Arie W. 258, 271 kulhi (road) 282 kulhi durup (village council meetings) 277 kulhidhuri (songs) 278 Kurukh language 269n14 Labour Inspection Policy (Pakistan, 2006) 136 labour policies, six editions (Pakistan, 1955–2017) 131–132 Labour Protection Policy (Pakistan, 2006) 136 Lady Health Workers (Pakistan) 130 Lady Judges 106 lagre tunes 284, 291n7 Lahore 60, 163, 168, 182, 208, 211, 224–226; flood relief (1975) 172; Markaz Qadsia 211; Nishtar Medical College 172 Lahore High Court 232n40 Lambell, Richard 44, 53 land 72, 181, 259, 264–265, 267–268, 269n19, 270n23 land ownership papers 261 land reform 131, 137, 166 land rights 187, 263 land tax 29, 253, 254 landed class 12, 24, 25, 31, 38 landlessness 41, 137, 166, 255, 256, 269n19 landowners 13, 40–41, 97, 106, 122, 125, 133, 167, 181; commissioning of thieves 108 language, significance in sustaining culture 16, 237 language conflicts 233–236 language extinction threat 15–16, 237, 290 Language Movement 77 language use 275; persistent (role of literature) 273 Lankesh, Gauri 50 Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Deobandi) 191, 218 law and order 89, 93, 125, 193 law enforcement 74, 75, 85, 86, 91 law enforcement agencies 87–90, 193 Law of Evidence (Pakistan, 1984) 182, 190 lawyers 34, 42, 50, 57, 106, 181 Lawyers’ Association 80 legislation, compliance with Quranic injunctions (Pakistan) 194, 204n4 Legislative Assembly (India, colonial era) 134–135, 147n7

legitimacy 73, 90, 92, 143, 180, 198 legitimization 14, 75, 83, 156, 206 Leis-Peters, A. 16n1, 17 Let Us Build Pakistan (internet news service) 213, 218n2 Lewis, David 47, 53, 73, 76, 95 liberalism 26–27, 30–32, 97 linguistic minorities 233–238; organization of writers’ community 15, 236, 239–248; Santal tribe 15–16, 236–237, 239–248 literacy 29, 247, 255; women’s agency and 266–267 local government 26–27, 30, 45, 224 Locke, John 21 Lok Pal 43, 44 London School of Economics 38 loudspeakers (call to prayer) 213 love 281–287, 291 Ludhianvi, Maulana 193 lut (loot) 254 Luxemburg, Rosa 168 Lyon, Stephen 105, 128 madal (drum) 283 maddi (recovery of stolen goods) 114 Madras Government 28 Madras Presidency 21–22; civil-judicial panchayat 31; failure (1827) of panchayat experiments 25; village unions (failure) 27, 32n7 Madras Revenue Department 29 Madrasa Dar-ul Quran 212 madrasas and religious maslaks 14, 98–99, 205–220; background 205–207; case studies 210–215; civil society context 210; formalized networks 215–217; literature 207– 208; perspectives for future 217–218; political aspects 208–210 madrisa (religious schools) 59 maha granth (epic poem) 243 mahajun (moneylenders) 252–253 Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (2005) 43, 45 mahram, definition 213 Mahto caste 256, 260, 267 Maine, Henry Sumner 31–32 Maira, Arun 46, 53 majhi orak (headman’s house) 254 Majlis Wahdat al-Muslimeen (MWM, Assembly for Unification of Muslims) 217–218 Malentacchi, Marcello 141

304  Index Mander, Harsh 42, 53 Mandeville, Bernard 21 manjhi-haram (village headman) 278 Maran Buru (Santal creation god) 263–264, 269n8, 284 Marathas 24, 25, 31 marginalization 62, 151–152, 183, 275–276 marital status 163–164, 167, 173 Markaz Qadsia 211 Markaz Taiba 215 market 19, 36–38, 51 market access 261 marketing 114, 260, 263, 266, 270n21 Markham, Clements 27 marriage 123, 124, 170, 182, 265, 282–283, 285, 286 Mars, Gerald 104–105, 127 martial law 56, 60, 64, 65, 75, 79, 129, 130, 134, 136, 166, 180, 190, 205, 206, 219 Marx, Karl 147n5; relations of power 250 Marxism 39, 60, 168, 170 Masih, Patras 195 Masih, Sajid 195 Masih, Salamat 183 maslaks 14, 98–99, 205–220; definition 205 Maududi, Abul Ala 214 May Day 64, 175 Mayurbhnaj (Odisha) 269n9 Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan 20, 42–43 Mazhar Ali, Tahira 167–168 media 11, 64–66, 83, 88, 89, 144, 145, 180, 185, 190, 192–194, 202, 209, 210, 214, 222, 244, 245, 290 MediaNama 50 Mehdi, Mahboob 176 Mehdi, Rubya x–xi, 163n; chors and khojis 13, 97, 101–128; civil society in South Asia (introductory considerations) 1–17; civil society’s multiple hues and roles 97–99; linguistic minorities 233–238; multifaceted civil societies 19–20 Mehsud, Naqeebullah 194–195 mela (fair) 115 Memorandum of Understanding 224, 231n17 Merchant, L.H. 147n6, 148 Metcalf, Thomas 26, 34 micro-finance 13, 47, 83, 89, 91, 155, 262

middle class 14, 29, 43, 83, 98, 155, 157–159, 160n17, 163–164, 166, 174–175, 180, 199, 200–201, 257, 270n20 migrant workers 9, 141, 227 migration 123–124 military coups 146n3, 165, 185 military courts 187, 192, 198, 206 military regimes 12, 37, 64, 196 Mill, James 22, 26 Mill, John Stuart 26–27, 31–32, 32n6 Millar, James 21 Minhaj al-Quran International 215 Minhaj ul-Quran 214 mining 50, 51, 255, 256, 259, 271 minorities (ethnic and linguistic): civil mobilization 15–16, 233–292; introduction 233–238; Santal rationality as empowerment 15, 236–237, 249–272; Santal writers’ community 15, 236, 239–248; Santals, language, lyricism, emotions, identity 15–16, 237, 273–292 minorities (Pakistan) 141, 146 minority rights (Pakistan) 225, 227, 231n32 minus two formula (Bangladesh) 81, 89 Mirza, Iskandar 63 missionaries 250, 252, 253 mitti (earth, soil) 119–120 mixed government 22, 23 mobile telephones 124, 126 modernity 289–290 Moj, M. 209, 219 molvi (prayer leader) 108–109 money laundering 70, 90 monitoring 45, 50, 69, 85, 87, 153 Monrêko Turuiko 269n8 mosques 12, 99, 222, 223 Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) 183 Mudeliar, P. Rajaratna 28 Mughals 24, 25, 31, 32n4, 59, 211 Muhajirs 234 mujahideen 214 mujtaheedin (Shi’a jurists) 212 mujtahideen 214 Mukherjee, Pranab 44, 149, 159n2 Mukti Bahini 78 Multan 164, 167, 208, 224, 226; Colony Textile Mills massacre (1978) 205–206 Mumbai 43, 257; terrorist attacks (2008) 211 Mumtaz, Khawar 164, 177

Index  305 Munda children 269n15 mundane state (M.K. Andersen) 75–76 municipal government: ineffectiveness of reforms 26–27 Munir Ahmad, Shafqat x–xi, 19–20, 56–71 Munro, Thomas 21–22, 23–25, 30–31, 32 munsif 28 murder 85, 88, 167, 181, 184, 190, 192, 194, 203n1, 216, 218n1, 256 Muridke, Markaz al-Taiba 211 Murmu, Bharat D.B. 239n Murmu, Nirmala Putul 244 Murmu, Raghunath (Pandit Ragunath Murmu or Guru Gomkey) 241, 242, 277 Murmu, Thakur 247n2 murshideen and murideen, definitions 213 Mushaf-e-Fatima 212 Musharraf, General Pervez 57, 65, 138–139, 181, 190, 198; enlightened moderation 191 music x, 107, 173, 213, 242, 281, 283, 285, 287, 290, 292 Muslim Family Laws Ordinance (1961) 182 Muslim League 131, 133 Muslims 157 citizenship status (India) 7–8 Muttahida Majlis e-Amal (MMA) 215 Mutthahida Dini Mahaz (MDM) 216 Muzaffargarh 224 Myanmar 84 Mysore, Central Institute of Indian Languages 242 naeke (village priest) 258–259, 261, 278 Nahaj ul Balagha 212 Naheed, Kishwar 169 najom (evil eye) 258 naqab (housebreaking) 126 Narayan, Jayaprakash 43 Narmada Bachao Andolan 52n1 Nath, Nibedita 273n, 292 National Academy of Letters (India) 245 National Action Plan (Pakistan, 2015) 193, 194 National Council for Social Welfare (NCSW, Pakistan, 1956–) 63–64, 71n4; vision and mission 63, 71n5 national disaster management authorities 228

National Finance Commission Award 203n2 National Girl Guides 60 National Industrial Relations Commission (Pakistan) 132, 138 National Labour Union (Pakistan) 214 National Organisation for Working Communities (NOW Communities) 130 National Population Register (NPR) 8–9, 52n2 National Register of Citizens (NRC) 8–9, 52n2 national security 52, 62, 66, 67, 70, 133, 185, 225–226, 229 nationalism 142, 276 natural resources 41, 255 Nature 253, 259, 261, 281 Naviwala, Nadia 225 Nawa Ipil (journal) 244 Naxalite movement 40–41, 258 Nayyar, A.H. 209, 219 negotiation and compromise system 102–104, 108; negotiating process 113 Nehruvian consensus (collapse) 154–155, 160n16 nelnel (vision) 261 neoliberalism 4, 6, 40, 82, 83, 150, 155, 156, 200, 201 Nepal 15, 160n18, 235, 277 Netherlands 46 new social movements (NSMs) 39, 41, 52 news service organizations 205 newspapers 214, 244 NGO Affairs Bureau (NGOAB, Bangladesh) 83, 86–87, 90, 92n4 number of NGOs in Bangladesh 92n6 NGOs [non-governmental organizations] 1, 3, 74, 200; definition (Pakistan context) 222; geographical restrictions (Pakistan) 224, 231n18; government funding (concomitant limitations on freedom of action) 49; government funding (constraints upon advocacy work) 47; government funding (India) 12, 14, 97–98; independent voice diluted 12; international business activities 45; international funding 7; not what they do, but how they do it 156; professionalization 12; registration burdens 12; registration cancellations 49; regulation (Pakistan) 224–226,

306  Index 231n15; regulatory framework 20; reporting standards 14; reporting, licensing and permissions requirements 5 NGOs (Bangladesh) 72 NGOs (India) 44–46; competitiveness 156 NGOs (Pakistan): collaboration with INGOs hindered 12; registration requirements 12, 66–67, 68, 70 Nisar, Mian Saqib (CJ of Supreme Court) 202 No Objection Certificates (NOCs) 9–10, 61, 67, 224, 225, 228 Non-Cooperation Movement 32 non-profit organizations 61, 69, 222, 225 non-state actors 189–191, 195, 200, 211 non-state justice system 101–128 North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) 59, 64, 215, 216 Northern Areas (Pakistan) 235 Northern Evangelical Lutheran Church 247n4 obstructed civil space (India) 48 Occupy Movement 175, 176n2 Odhikar (1994–) 85–86, 89, 91; registration not renewed by NGOAB 90 Odisha 236, 242, 244, 257, 274 Odissa 242 ojha (healer) 259 ol chiki (ol script) 241, 242, 244, 264, 274, 276, 277, 291n4, 292 Omolopolo (women’s group) 201 one-percent group (Pakistan) 131 opportunity structure (Bangladesh) 81 oppositional model (civil society balancing state) 91 oral tradition 275, 276 Orangi Pilot Project (Karachi) 65, 216, 218n1 Oraon women 263, 269n14 organized labour (Pakistan) 13, 97, 129–148; challenges 142–146; future trajectories 139–142; human rights context (Pakistan) 140, 142; ideological context 132–134; paradigm 130–132 orientalist scholars 21–24, 26, 30, 32 Orissa (now Odisha) 28, 277 Oriya language 242, 274 Osama bin Laden 224 outsourcing 12, 84, 141

Pakistan: civil society skewed by state policies 14, 98–99, 205–220; civil-military relations 206–207; development of civil society 97; ‘elected governments’ 131–132, 138; expansion of state apparatus 13; homeland for Indian Muslims 98, 233; independence (1947) 6; intelligence agencies 144; language issues 233–235; madrasas and religious maslaks 14, 98–99, 205–220; military control of civilian governments 143–144; military’s central role (academic studies) 207; national budget 143; plural system of justice 101, 105–106; response to civil society 13; shrinkage of democratic space 129, 133, 142–143, 145; understanding of democracy 133; Urdu selected as national language (1952) 233; Federal Board of Revenue 225; High Court 187; Ministry of Defence 202–203; Ministry of Finance 61, 62, 66; Ministry of Human Rights 63; Ministry of Interior 62, 67, 224–226, 228, 231n17; Ministry of Religious Affairs 212; Supreme Court 57, 143, 202–203, 221 Pakistan Army 166, 193 Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy 225 Pakistan Civil Society Forum (PCSF) 67, 68, 71 Pakistan Constitution (1956) 64 Pakistan Constitution (1973) 56, 137, 143, 147n13, 166, 185, 189, 194, 203, 204n5, 206; Article 2 (Islam as state religion) 192; Objectives Resolution 192; rights of women 165, 167 Pakistan Constitution (Amendments): Second (1974) 183, 192; Eighth 192; Fifteenth 184; Eighteenth (2010) 138, 184, 185–186, 203n2; Twenty-First (2015) 187 Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) 213 Pakistan Fisher Folk Forum (1998–) 130 Pakistan Institute of Labour, Education and Research (PILER, 1973–) 130 Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI) 216 Pakistan Muslim League (PML) 216 Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) 56–57, 65, 198, 225; government (2013–2018) 13, 61–67, 69

Index  307 Pakistan Parallel, Beijing: 25 Years On 231n31 Pakistan Penal Code: Offences Against Women chapter 227, 231n28 Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) 56–57, 61, 64, 65–66, 168, 175, 184, 198, 206, 216 Pakistan Railways Employees’ Muttahida (PREM) 214 Pakistan Resolution (1940, amended 1946) 131 Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf (PTI) 57, 216; PTI-led government (2018–present) 13, 61–70 panchayati raj 32 panchayats (colonial era): continual reinvention (Bayly) 26; dispensation of civil law 31; judicial type 24–25, 31; municipal type 26–28, 31; resurrected (second half C19) 26; school for civil society 19, 29–32; village type 28–31 panchayats (India) 265 panchayats (Pakistan) 188; recent changes 124–125; meetings 127n2; temporary 114–115 panchayats (traditional) 12, 102 Pansare, Govind 50 paranic (assistant to village headman) 278 Parliament (India) 12 Parliament (Pakistan) 67, 68, 70, 142, 194 parliamentary elections (Bangladesh, 1979, 1986) 79 participatory development 156, 157, 160n18, 161 Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) x, 46, 48 patel 29 Pathans 112–113 patriarchy 10, 64, 170, 184, 189, 237, 245 patrilineal ideology 262–263, 264, 268, 278 patron-client relationships 82, 89 peasantry 12, 40, 42, 103, 166, 183, 187 People’s Labour Front (PLF) 171, 173 perahor (new relative) 279 performing arts 180, 182 personality cults 80, 82 Pfeffer, Georg 273n, 292 Phillips, J. (Baptist missionary) 241, 247n1, 248, 269n2

Pilcu Haram and Pilcu Budhi (first human pair) 243, 253, 269n6 Piliavsky, Anastasia 108, 127n1, 128 Pillai, Kesava 29 Pillai, Priya 49 pir (saints) 211 police 40–41, 80, 105, 115, 123, 168, 174, 229, 258; patronage relationships with thieves 106 policing 26, 28, 85, 87, 88, 104, 106, 269n16 political parties 4, 46, 79, 82, 83, 144, 180, 193–195, 197–198, 212, 246 politics 19–21, 38, 44, 49, 60, 103, 190, 274; issue-based 240 populism 44, 134 poverty 73, 82, 86, 89, 96, 111, 124, 126, 129, 141–142, 158; feminization of 200 power 4, 7, 38, 51, 102, 266 Prakash, Amit xi; civil society in South Asia 1–17; civil society’s multiple hues and roles 97–99; ethnic and linguistic minorities 233–238; multifaceted civil societies 19–20 Prakash, G. 32n1, 35 Prasad, Onkar 291n7, 292 precarious work 138, 140–142; definition 140 presidential election (Bangladesh, 1978) 78–79 private property 22, 103, 104, 164 private sector 36, 49, 51, 63, 141 privatization 4, 79, 80, 83, 130, 159, 200 property qualification (for franchise) 27 property rights 31 prostitution 14, 98, 150, 151, 269n17 Protection of Pakistan Act (PPA, 2014) 187, 198 Protection of Women Act (2006) 231n26 protests 7–8, 46, 51, 81, 216 provincial disaster management authorities (PDMA, Pakistan) 228 provincial governments 10, 15, 60, 193, 215, 224, 227, 229 psychology 110, 289 public opinion 265, 266, 268 public sector 63, 79, 80, 135, 141 public sphere 3, 16, 202, 236, 239–241 examples of Santali writers addressing 243–246; government regulation 246–247; one or several 15, 236, 245 public transport 173–174 Punjab (pre independence) 59, 233

308  Index Punjab Charity Commission 228, 232n36 Punjab province (Pakistan) 70, 163–164, 193, 231n31, 234 Punjab state (India, 1966–) 235 Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyaad-e-Islam Bill (2020) 230, 232n40 Punjab University (Lahore) 164, 167, 168, 170 Punjab University: Fine Arts Department 172; New Campus 171–172 Punjabi Taliban (Deobandi) 218 Purulia (West Bengal) 244 Putnam, R.D. 240, 248 Putul, Nirmala 245, 246 qazf (false accusation of zina) 146n3 Qazi courts 211 qisas (revenge) 181 Qisas and Diyat (Retribution and Blood Money) Ordinance (1979) 146n3, 181, 190, 227 Quetta (Baluchistan) 217, 226 Quetta Inquiry Commission Report (2016) 208, 219 Qur’an 146n3, 212 Rabita-ul-Madaris Al-Islamia Pakistan 208 Rabta-tul-madaris-al-Islamia (1983–) 214 race 157, 222 Radha-Krishna myths 283 radical feminism 169 radical movements 12, 13, 73 Rafique, Fauzia xi, 14, 98, 163–178 Rahman, Ibne Abdur 62, 67–68, 71 Rahman, Sheikh Mujibur 56, 77–78, 82, 166, 235; ‘Bangabondhu’ (friend of Bangladesh) 77, 92n1 Rahman, General Ziaur (General Zia) 77, 78–79, 82 Railway Drivers’ Association 10 Rajanpur 224 Rajasthan 42, 43 Rajmahal Hills 253 Ramakrishna Mission 237 Ramchand, Mathradas 28 Ranchi 258, 263, 269n17, 272 Rao, Narasimha 154–155 Rao, Nitya 265, 271 rape 77, 84, 166, 168, 180–181, 201, 227, 231n30, 231n26 Rapid Action Battalion (Bangladesh) 87–88

rasa (emotions) 261 raska (joy of living) 278 raskau (pleasure, joy) 250 rassaghirs (brokers, intermediaries) 104, 114 rational actor 250; emergence 256–259 rationality 15, 236–237, 249–272 rationality of action (idea) 254 Rawalpindi 168, 171, 173, 174, 217 Ray, R. 158, 160 redistribution 264–266 refugees 56, 59–60, 64–65, 82, 84–85 Rehabilitation and Health Aid Centre for Torture Survivors (RAHAT) 176 Rehman, Parween 216, 218n1 Rehman, Sherry 167 reht (well) 120–121 relational collectivism 102–103, 108, 124; cattle rustling 113–115; middle way with individualism 105–106 religion 180, 237; equal-rights campaign 98 religious bodies 3, 16n1 religious extremism 98, 201 religious fundamentalism 196, 200 religious identity 132, 133 religious minorities 97, 183, 190, 213, 214, 223; secondary citizenship 182 religious right 207, 221–223 resource mobilization theorists 40 respect 119–121 Riaz, Fahmida 169 rice beer 262, 263, 284; rice wine 285 rice transplanting 258, 262, 281, 283 Right to Education Act (India) 45 right to Information (RTI) 20, 42–43, 203 Right to Information Act (2005) 43 Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (ILO convention) 139, 140 right to strike 135 right to unionize 141, 143 rights-based campaigns 64, 68 Ripon, Lord 30 ritual actors 263–264 riverbanks 114 roads 124, 277 Robertson, William 22, 31; Historical Disquisition (1791) 22–23, 35 Rohingya crisis (2017) 84–85 Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram (RSV) 242 Romanowicz, Anna xi, 14, 97–98, 149–162 rotating plunder system (Bangladesh) 81–82

Index  309 Roy, Aruna 43 Roy, Bunker 43, 54 Roy, Rammohan 32n3 Royal Commission on Decentralization (1908) 26–30, 34 Rubel killing case 87 rule of law 12, 22–25; versus rule through law 11, 86 rumok (possession) by bongas 264 rural areas 13, 41, 43, 45, 46, 65, 78, 82, 83, 97, 103, 104, 107, 108, 111, 124, 125, 147n11, 167, 181–183, 252, 269n4, 276, 278 rural women 155 Russian Federation 91 ryot 23 sabhya samāja (Hindi, ‘civilized society’) 2 sacred domain 249–250, 257 Saeed, Hafiz 193, 211 sag (green potherbs) 124 Sahifa-e-Sajjadia 212 Saigol, Rubina xi–xii, 14, 164, 177, 179–204 Sajom Umul (journal) 244 Sal (Shorea Robusta, teak) 252, 262, 269n5, 282, 286 Sahlins, M. 250, 254, 272 Salim, Ahmad 63–64, 71 Sami-ul-Haq of Dar-ul-Uloom Haqqania 193 Sangvai, Sanjay 41, 54 sanitation 28, 29 Sanitation Workers’ Union 171 Sanskrit 235, 274 Santal Akademi 277 Santal Parganas 253, 283, 291n6 Santal rationality: children 251, 256–259, 267–268; consumption, redistribution, ambiguous gift 264–266; contexts of experience and emergence of rational actor 256–259; as empowerment 15, 236–237, 249–272; equity dimension 268; fieldwork evaluation 255–256, 269n9; ideas about surplus and wealth 252–254; indigenous knowledge 255–256; men 251, 259–260, 267–268; men (experience of innovation) 259–260; from social critic to idea of rationality of action 254; social knowledge (failure) 260–261; value-oriented 261–263; women 251, 261–268; women as

ritual actors 263–264; women’s agency 261–263; women’s agency and literacy 266–267; women’s rights and women’s agency 266 Santal Rebellion (1855–1856) 236–237, 252, 269n3 Santal religion 15, 245, 284 Santali language 15, 236, 256, 269n12–269n13, 273, 290n1; complexity 281; dialects 277; inclusion in 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution (2003) 239, 242, 246, 274, 277; member of Kharwarian sub-group 241; resonances in heart 280–289; social and cultural context 280; spoken word and sung tunes 280–289; use in government schools 242, 246–247 Santali script 15, 241, 255; history 276–277; importance of books 276 Santali society: orality against trajectory of modernity 289–290 Santali songs 251, 273n, 277–290, 291n7 Santali writers 15, 236, 239–248 Santals: capacity for resistance 254; code of justice 251; ethnography 277–280; hospitality 285; language, lyricism, emotions, identity 15–16, 237, 273–292; recognized as ‘Scheduled Tribe’ 236, 273; weights and measures 252 Sarangapani, Padma 269n10 Sargodha 164, 167 Sarkar (government) 27 Sarkar, Sumit 237n1, 238 sarkari bidia (government knowledge) 257, 258 Sarna Dhorom (‘return to sacred grove’) religious movement 255, 264 Saudi Arabia 191 Save our Privacy (India, 2018) 50 Save the Children 224 school instruction in mother tongue 274–275, 290n2 school knowledge 268 schools 28, 236–237 Scotland 1, 2–3, 21–24 Scott, Alan 40, 41, 54 Scott, James 259, 272 Seattle, Chief 291n3 Second Revolution (Bangladesh) 77 sectarianism 190, 192, 193, 209 secular state 198 versus state defined by religion 188–195 secularism 21, 99, 166, 199

310  Index security agencies (Pakistan) 225–226 Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan 61 seeds 260, 263 Select Society (Edinburgh debating society) 22 self-censorship 11, 50, 226, 229, 257–258 Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) 160n17 semi-autonomous institutions 21, 32n2 Sen, Amartya 251, 271 Sen, Siddartha 157, 159n8, 162 separation of powers 185, 186, 202 service delivery 13, 73, 76, 90–91 service provision 78, 82, 83 seva (service) 59 Seventy-Third Amendment Act (1993) 46 sex-trafficking 14, 98, 150, 151 sexual abuse 167, 171, 195 sexual crimes 227, 231n30 sexual harassment 155, 170, 201 sexuality 180–182, 202 shadow reports 85 Shaheed, Farida 164, 177, 178 Shahmukhi script 234 Shahnawaz, Jahanara 64 Shanti Nikitan University 266 Shariat Courts 190 Sharif, Nawaz 56–57, 130, 138, 184 Sharif, Yasir xii; civil society in South Asia 1–17; madrasas and maslaks 14, 98–99, 205–220 Shaukat, Zeenia 224–226, 231n18–231n21 Sheerani, Maulana 184 Shekar, Hansda Sowvendra Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey (2014) 245–246 Shi’a Islam 14, 210, 212–213; holy places 215 Shi’a Ja’afris 217–218 Shi’ite maslak 208 Shifa Laboratories (later Shifa Medicos) 167, 170, 171 Shika Arya, Tanu 269n15, 269n18, 272 Shirkat Gah (women’s centre, 1975–) 64, 130, 169, 204, 229 Shiva 266–267 Sidhu and Kanhu (leaders of Santal Rebellion) 254, 257 Sido Kanhu Murmu University 242, 247n3

Sido Kanhu Murmu University: Santali Department 247 Sim Cando (sun) 280 Sindh 59, 131, 132, 193, 203n1, 234 Sindh Commission on Status of Women (SCSW) 229 Sindh Graduates’ Association (SGA) 60 Sindh Provincial Labour Policy (2018) 138–139 Sindhi language 234, 235 Singer, P.W. 209, 220 Singh, Mahendra Prasad 43, 54 Singha Roy, Debal K. 40, 54 Skrefsrud, L.O. 241, 243, 248 Smith, Adam 21; ‘conjectural theory’ of history 22, 24; economic development (four stages) 22 social actors 249, 251, 267 social class 40, 46, 102, 123, 157–159, 163–164, 171, 176, 276; NGO employees 150 social and cultural space 275 social distancing rules 222, 223, 229 social exclusion 257, 266, 275 social justice 63, 255 social knowledge 267, 268; failure 260–261; social media 43, 44, 50, 89, 202; cyber activism 201; interaction with older media 47; Pakistan 67–68 social movements 5, 6, 38, 51; India 40–44; institutionalization 40–41 social structure 15, 197 socialism 60, 133, 166 socialist feminism 168 Societies Registration Act (India, 1860) 60, 64 society: radical transformation possibility 14, 98, 163–178 Sohrae (Santal festival) 281–283, 285 Sohrae songs 284, 288–289, 291n7 South India 31, 33 South Punjab 111, 224, 228 Special Military Courts 192 Special Powers Act (Bangladesh, 1974) 87, 91 standard operating procedures (SOPs) 228 state 19, 36–38, 43, 51, 73, 139, 140, 143, 155, 174, 181, 190, 200, 217, 239, 240; failure to deliver (India) 39–40; important fulcrum 20; perceived as oppressor (India, 1975–1977) 39; ‘profane’ versus ‘sublime’ (Hansen) 75; tribalization (Pakistan) 182

Index  311 State Bank of Pakistan 58, 62–63 state control, versus state regulation 7 state defined by religion, versus secular state 188–195 state of emergency (India, 1975–1977) 39 State problems versus state problems (big-S versus little-s) 76, 91–92 state system of justice 106, 115, 125, 126 Stern, J. 209, 220 Stewart, Dugald 21–23 stigma 108, 171, 231n31, 278 strategic assets 192, 203n3 strategic depth 192, 203n3 strikes 10, 43, 81, 138 student organizations 10, 80–81 students 7, 39, 83, 160n17, 164, 167, 168 students’ unions 56, 60, 62, 64, 170, 215, 267 suan (insider information) 123 sublime State (Hansen) 75 sugwan (restitution of original) 114 Suleri, Abid Qaiyyum 66, 71 Sumbal, Rabia 167 Sungi Foundation 65 sunnah 146n3; sunnat 210 Sunni Islam 12, 14, 98, 210, 218 Sunni Ittehad Council (Pakistan) 217 Supreme Judicial Council 202 suraghi (well-respected khoji) 119–120 survival versus living 275, 291n3 suun (breaking through bricks) 111 Swabi, Panj Pir 212 Swarah 184, 203n1 Swat 191–192 taben jom (sweets) 265 Tablighi Jamaat (Society of Preachers) 12; annual convention (2020) 222–223, 230n6 taboo 244, 257, 261–262, 264, 267, 278 Tagore, Rabindranath 2, 290n2; Sona Bangla (national anthem of Bangladesh) 233 Taliban 56, 190, 191–192, 193, 203n3, 218n1 taluk (sub-district) 29 Tamils 233, 245 Tandon, Rajesh 44–45, 53 Tanjore 29 Tanzeem-ul Madaris Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (1960–) 208, 214 Tarique Rahman 92n3

Tassawuf (mysticism) 211 tawhid (monotheism) 211 taxation 27, 28, 86 Tebhaga peasant movement 40–41 Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan 194 Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-eMuhammadi 191 tehsil level 105 Telengana peasant movement 40–41 television 182, 214 terrorism 10, 50, 52, 86–88, 187, 192–194, 195, 209, 217, 226 textbooks 192, 207, 257–259, 277 Textile Labour Association 160n17 Thakur 253, 280 thal (big, round tray) 116 thieves and khojis 13, 97, 101–128; anonymity 107; empirical data 107; halal and haram activities 108–109; hereditary businesses 107 third sector 36, 37, 150, 154, 155 Tibeto-Burman languages 235 Tilak, Bal Gangadhar 28, 30 time 252, 254 Tinker, H. 32n7, 35 Tönnies, Ferdinand 249, 272 tools 261, 262, 266, 267 tore (gait) 116, 117 torture 74, 76, 77, 85, 88, 190–192, 195 Trade Union Act (India, 1926) 13, 132, 134–135; repealed in Pakistan (1959) 135, 142 trade union federations 136, 137 trade unions 4, 10, 12, 46, 50, 56–57, 60, 62, 64, 66, 80, 97, 130, 170, 171, 173, 180, 187; leaders (retention of relative power) 137 transparency 5, 42, 45, 62, 66, 67, 142, 145, 187, 203, 229 treason 143, 147n13 tribal groups 6, 39, 49, 50, 237 tribal pleasure complex 278 Tripura 236, 277 trust 88, 120, 122 Trust Act (India, 1882) 60, 61 Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO) 65 Tudu, Andreas 244–245 Tudu, Reska 241, 247n2, 248 Twitter 201, 214 Ul Abidin, Z. 209, 220 ummah 132 UN Committee Against Torture 85

312  Index UN Economic and Social Council 58, 70n1–70n2 UN International Women’s Year 164 UN Sustainable Development Goals 129, 146n2 UN Universal Periodic Review 85 UNICEF 228 union panchayat 27 United Front for Women’s Rights (UFWR) 64 United Kingdom 213; DFID 69; India Office 27 United Nations 57–58, 70, 84; agencies 229; consulting organizations 150; website 149 United Progressive Alliance (UPA) 44 United States 133, 142, 150, 160n16, 160n21, 169, 175, 180, 191, 291n3; USAID 65, 69 United Women’s Anti Price-Rise Movement (Maharashtra, 1973–) 160n17 Universal Declaration of Human Rights 187 upper class 155, 166 urban areas 167, 201 urbanization 239, 243 Urdu language 233, 234, 235 Urs (saint remembrance days) 211, 213 ustad (teacher) 110 Usulis 212, 213 utilitarianism 12, 147n4 vakil 29 values 157–158, 167, 255 Vani 184, 203n1 Vellore municipal board 28 Verghese, B.G. 37, 55 village councils 13, 265, 277, 278 village headmen 24, 28, 31, 263 village knowledge 236, 257–259, 269n13, 269n18 village panchayat (council) (Pakistan) 102–103 village unions 27 villages 26, 43, 243, 257, 277; justice system (Southern Punjab, Pakistan) 101–128 villages (changing scenario) 123–126; challenges for khojis and chors 125–126; overall changes 123–124; panchayats 124–125 violence against women 164, 180–182, 191–192, 219, 226–229, 231n31, 265–266

Voice Against Torture 7 Voluntary Action Network India (VANI) 49 Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (VSWAs) 63 Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Ordinance (Pakistan, 1961) 56, 60–61, 64 vulnerability 151–152 WAF (Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan, since 1981) 14, 65, 98, 130, 176; credibility 198, 199; demonstrations, rallies, protests 197; Facebook site 201; feminist principles 179; fiscal autonomy 199; future (critical issues) 200–201; ideological independence 198, 199; ideology and functioning 179–204; latest developments (since 2018) 202–203; major part of new feminist iteration (since 2018) 202; not a registered organization, nor a legal entity (hence cannot be banned) 197; refusal to accept outside support 98, 179; strategic decisions 179; uniqueness 199 WAF (ideological choices) 180–195; democracy versus dictatorship 180–188; secular state versus state defined by religion 188–195 WAF (principles of functioning) 195–200; annual national conventions 196; committees and sub-committees 195–197; democratic inclusion 195–197; non-partisan affiliation 197–198; refusal of external funding 198–200; rejection of hierarchies of power 195–197 WAF Charter 180 WAF Islamabad 202–203 WAF Karachi 185–186, 193–194, 202–203; manifesto (general election, 2018) 188 WAF Lahore 185, 186, 189, 201, 202–203; Charter of Demands (2018) 194; International Women’s Day (8 March 2018) 194–195, 200 WAF National Convention (2016) 187, 192–193 WAF press releases: (2 April 2007) 191; (7 April 2007) 191; (5 February 2008) 189; (12 February 2009) 188, 191–192 WAF statements: International Women’s Day (8 March 2008) 190; (November 2017) 193

Index  313 Wafak-ul-Madaris e-ul-Salifa 208 Wafaq-ul-Madaras-al-Arabia 208, 212 wages 41, 79, 135, 141, 142, 148, 171, 200, 263 wagwan (restitution of alternative) 114 waher 113, 114; definition 119 Wahhabis 191, 211 Wali Khan University 194 War on Terror 143 Warraich, Sohail Akbar xii, 107, 124, 128, 221–232 Weber, Max 251, 266–268; Protestant Ethic (1905) 249–250, 272; rationality (types) 255 Webster, D.M. 258, 271 Weiner, Myron 249 welfare officers 250, 260, 268, 269n16 Wertrationalität (value-oriented rationality) 255, 261–263, 266, 267 wesenwille (Tönnies) 249 West Bengal 12, 40–41, 233, 236, 242, 274, 277 WhatsApp 201, 228 White, S.C. 86, 91, 96 widows 77, 263, 265 Wifaq al-Madaris al-Shia (1959–) 213 Wifaqul Madaras 212 Wifaq-ul-Madaris alshia Pakistan 208 witchcraft accusations 258, 264–268 women 15, 33n8, 39, 41, 43, 44, 46, 48, 52n1, 64, 83, 85, 97, 107, 118, 124, 141, 211–215, 237, 245, 255, 256, 260; as chor and khoji 123; employment 262; empowerment 98, 150–151; ritual actors 263–264; Santal 278; song and dance 281–284; unchaperoned 173 Women Front (WF, Pakistan, 1974– 1976) 14, 98, 163–178; aftermath 174–175; dress code 173; flexibility and open-mindedness 169; footwear 173–174; ideology 168–169; impact 175–176; quirks 173–174; role models 168; supportiveness 169 Women Front (action) 170–173; children’s literacy school 171–172; co-operation with other groups 173; cultural events 173; factory work 171; flood relief 172; newsletter 167, 172; student wing 170 Women Front (history) 164–168; backdrop 165; published materials 164–165; purpose 168; situating the ‘us’ 165–168 Women Living Under Muslim Laws 169

Women of Pakistan (Mumtaz and Shaheed, 1987) 164, 177 women’s agency 261–263, 287; and literacy 266–267 Women’s Foundation [pseudonym 159n5] 149–162; bureaucratic structure 151; employees 151, 153; ‘far from participatory’ 154; nonparticipatory character 151; origins 151; social class 157–159 women’s hockey team (Pakistan) 182 Women’s Protection Act (Pakistan, 2006) 146n3 women’s rights 170, 184, 196, 206, 223, 266; wider context 182–183 women’s rights movements 10, 14, 226 workers 12, 42, 166, 168, 183 Workers’ Education and Research Organisation (WERO, 2010–) 130 workers’ rights 130, 137, 145, 223; withering away 200 working class 165, 174, 199, 200, 227 World Bank 4, 40, 44, 58, 156 World War II 133, 147n5 xenophobia 142, 222 Young People’s Front (YPF) 167 Yousaf, Kaneez Fatima 167 youth 47, 175, 201 YouTube 214; Ulama e Ahle Hadees 211 Yunus, Muhammad 81, 89–90 zaireen (Shi’a pilgrims) 223, 231n8 zakat (alms-giving) 59, 110 zamindar 32n5, 112–113, 117, 126 Zardari, Asif Ali 57, 65–66, 184 Zavaari (mausoleum visits) 213 Zehri, Israulla 184 Zetkin, Clara 168 Zia, Khaleda 77, 80–81, 92n3; imprisonment 82 Zia-ul-Haq, General 13, 14, 56, 60, 64–65, 78, 97, 98, 132, 134, 145, 169, 189–210; passim 219, 227; ‘most repressive regime’ (1977–1988) 129–130, 146n3; ban on trade unions 137–138 zina (adultery) 146n3 Zina Ordinance (1979) 180–181, 183, 231n26 Ziring, Lawrence 92n1, 96 Zweckrationalität (goal-oriented rationality) 255, 267