The Question of War and Peace
by Rafiq Dossani , , pp.,
October 2006, volume 30, No 10

The title of the book under review is utterly misleading. It certainly misled me when I agreed to do the review. First of all, this is not a book about South Asia if we go by the widely accepted definition of the subcontinent. South Asia is supposed to have at least seven states: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives. The slight disagreement is about the justification of including two other states – Afghanistan and Myanmar. As far as this book is concerned, South Asia is only India and Pakistan. None of the chapters deals directly with any other countries. In nearly three and a half hundred pages of the main text, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal come up only in the last three pages, that too as an ‘Appendix’. At one level, these exclusions may have something to do with the rather restricted and negative manner in which the term peace is employed in the book, essentially as absence of war between states. Internal conflicts are taken into account only to the extent that they affect the bahaviour of states vis-à-vis one another on questions of war and peace. That seems to be the reason why internal conflicts in Sri Lanka or Nepal are not discussed in any detail even though neither country has seen much peace in recent years.

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