Challenges to Indian Federalism : Politics of Identity and Self Determination

This is a comparative study of separatist movements in Nagaland and Mizoram. Both the states of North-East India have predominantly tribal and Christian (though of different denominations) populations, have a long history of organised separatist movement and are peaceful at present. But whereas in Nagaland there exists political groups which are still demanding ‘sovereignty’ and are engaged in protracted negotiations with the Government of India for the same, there are no such groups or demands in Mizoram as of now. Therefore, it would be useful to compare the two cases to ascertain the nature and role of identity politics and elites in separatist movements in these states.

This is a contemporary study with some references to the historical context. We intend to use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Historical survey of the evolution of Indian federalism with special reference to these two states, based on content analysis of important documents both government and non-government, including manifestos and pamphlets issued by some of the separatist organizations, will be supplemented with a sample survey in those states. This survey will seek to gather the opinion of the people in the two states. It will try to measure, establish and prioritize various factors/variables responsible for separatist demands in those regions.

Though mainly theoretical and empirical in nature, the study intends to prescribe, at the end, some solutions to the problem, which may have policy implications.