R E C E N T EE V E N T RR E P O R T S
Event Report :
The Federation and Management of Ethnicity
PILER in collaboration with the Karachi Press Club, organized a lecture on “The Federation and Management of Ethnicity” by Dr. Yunas Samad, on Friday, 23rd May 2008 at the Karachi Press Club.
Dr. Yunas Samad is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Director of the Ethnicity Social Policy Research Centre, University of Bradford, UK. He lectures in sociology and has directed the MA programmes in ethnicity and the undergraduate programme in South Asian Area Studies. Prior to this, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Ethnic Relations, Warwick University, and Associate Fellow of the Cecil Rhodes Chair of Race Relations, Oxford University and has also taught at Oxford and Sussex University. He was a British Academy Scholar for doctoral research and a Wingate Scholar for post-doctoral research at St Antony’s College, Oxford University.
By training he is a historian but has taught and researched in sociology and politics as well and has been working on ethnicity and nationalism on the macro and micro level. His main areas of interest are transnationalism, ethnicity, nationalism, and identity politics in Europe and South Asia. He is the Deputy Director, of the South Asia Research Centre, Geneva, was the Vice-Chairman of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS) and member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for South Asian Studies (EASAS).
His books include Faultlines of Nationhood, Roli Press, New Delhi, 2007 ; Community Perceptions of Forced Marriage FCO. 2003; and A Nation in Turmoil: Nationalism and Ethnicity in Pakistan 1937-58, Sage, New Delhi, 1995. His latest book The War and Terror and Pakistan, Christopher Hurst and Co, London is to be published in the autumn of this year.
Dr. Yunas Samad began the lecture by explaining what a “Federation” is. He said ideally a federation is the platform or an entity that allows the provinces and states to be autonomous. Ethnicity on the other hand incorporates the politics of identity, indigenous culture and language.
said that in a typical model of a Military Bureaucratic Oligrachy, hegemonic
control is attained and maintained by :
(e.g. In 1980’s Pakhtoons were made a part of Military Bureaucratic Oligarchy.)
The reason behind this is that the “Economic Cake” is smaller and to benefit from common interests this approach is adopted.
He said it is more important to look into alternatives available to solve this problem;
Answering a question of whether India should be a role model for Pakistan, he said that undoubtedly India is in a better situation, as they redrew the state – linguistic line 34-45 years ago. But the situation in Pakistan is far more acute and dangerous. Besides Congress of India, constituted of representative of almost all the ethnicities in India unlike say PML(N) in Islamabad. Pakistanis have to see what fits Pakistan rather than India or UK.
He said Democracy is a prerequisite of federation and confederation and that Civil-Military relations must be improvised.
Someone in the audience pointed that the whole system is a clash of social classes, more than to this Dr. Yunas Samad replied that the elite speak English as opposed to the other national vernacular languages.
He said that ethnic conflicts have been identified over the ages as a tool to grasp power; he illustrated this main point over a period of time and also the contemporary situation of Pakistan. The lecture was attended by over 75 academicians, journalists and civil society members from all over Karachi.