Minority and Majority : Cleavages, Conflicts, and Electoral Politics in the Indian Sub-Continent
This dissertation examines the aspects of ethnic conflict not only through the lens of the minorities, but studies the apprehension and threat perspective of the majority as well. This makes the research significant and adds valuable contribution to the theoretical literature of ethnic politics. The first part of the dissertation, using social constructivist and horizontal inequality theories, argues that socioeconomic conditions, religion, and language are the three broad cleavages that influence the political behavior of minority groups in state. The dissertation analyzes the impact of multiple, simultaneous cleavages rather than only one in isolation, which is a unique contribution. Theoretical arguments are tested over 60 ethnic groups of the Indian Sub-Continent over 1947 – 2013. The second part of the doctoral research examines ethnic tensions from the majority’s point of view. The reasons for the apprehension or mistrust among dominant majority can be a number of factors including militancy, higher growth rate of minorities, and minority nationalism. The research examines these conditions through the lens of security dilemma among the Hindus against Muslims over past four election cycles in India. Thereafter, the dissertation argues that right-wing political organizations often exploit the majority’s phobia against minority nationalist ambitions in pursuit for electoral benefits in a multi-party democratic system.