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Historical legacies of colonial indirect rule: Princely states and Maoist insurgency in central India

Shivaji Mukherjee

World Development, 2018, vol. 111, issue C, 113-129

Abstract: What are the long term effects of colonial institutions on insurgency? The literature on civil wars has not explored the historical legacies of colonial institutions for insurgency. I address this gap in the literature, by exploiting sub-national variation in the most important internal security threat in the world's largest democracy—the Maoist insurgency in India. Within India, I focus on the crucial case of the Maoist rebels in the tribal state of Chhattisgarh in central India which epitomizes the causal mechanism of indirect rule through native princely states creating enclaves of weak state capacity, low development and tribal grievances due to natural resource exploitation. I test my theory on a new dataset at the sub district level within Chhattisgarh, and use instrumental variable regression to address endogeneity due to selection bias, combined with historical analysis and interview data to demonstrate path dependence. This study demonstrates historical origins of weak state capacity and ethnic grievances due to natural resource exploitation, which are important explanations for civil war onset. It also sets the agenda for further research on other cases where colonial indirect rule creates conditions for insurgency, like the Taliban in FATA in Pakistan, the ethnic insurgencies in Burma's peripheries, and leftist insurgencies in Nepal, Peru and Colombia.

Keywords: Maoist insurgency; Indirect rule; Colonial legacies; India; Bastar; Princely state; Chhattisgarh (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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