English,Indie,Polecane,Sri Lanka

Voices about Asia: Deconstructing India and Sri Lanka- Interview with Professor Sankaran Krishna

Prof. Sankaran Krishna is one of the few professors in Hawaiʻi, whose areas of specialization are both India and Sri Lanka, and Political Science. He kindly agreed to meet with me on September 9, 2011 in order to conduct this interview, although I am not a specialist on India, or Sri Lanka. We also met a few days before the actual interview and talked about many issues within the areas of international relations and political science in regard to India, Sri Lanka, Japan, China, etc., which helped me immensely in working on the questions that I could and should ask during our conversation.

In this interview Prof. Krishna talks about India as an Indian citizen, but above all as a scholar and political scientist. He raises issues of Indian and Sri Lankan nationalism, and the differences between them, as well as the significance of diaspora in the creation of nationalism. He also defines postcolonialism in regard to India, comments on Indian foreign policy, issues of equity in Indian society, and eventually brilliantly deconstructs a common comparison of India to China, while being objective about his own country.


Małgorzata Citko: Thank you for meeting with me today. I would like to start with your interest in nationalism. I read that you are interested in diasporas of Indian nationalism. How do you approach nationalism in regards to diaspora and Indian nationalism?


Professor Sankaran Krishna: Let me start with Indian nationalism. I think that there are many forms of Indian nationalism but most people are usually referring to a middle class or lower-middle class with some kind of formal education. This is, in the least, a literate section of the population which usually tends to be urban but is also from small towns and villages. These are people who have had a formal education in things like the Indian national movement for independence, the history of Gandhi and nonviolence, the struggle against the British, Jawaharlal Nehru and the period of planning (Nehru was first Prime Minister of India Aug. 1947 – May 1964, introduced first five-year plan to Parliament on Dec. 8, 1951), etc. This is what I mainly mean by Indian nationalism. It is an understanding that, while India is diverse, it also an entity that has had a unity and an identity at various times in the past. The most commonly mentioned prior episodes are during the time of King Ashoka (304-232 BC, ruled most of the Indian subcontinent 269-232 BC) when the country was united under his rule, and then again during the reign of the Mughals, especially Akbar (Third Mughal Emperor of India, ruled 1556-1605). So, you have Ashoka, Akbar, and then the British period followed by independence. That is, by and large, what people refer to as mainstream Indian nationalism. It is a belief in ‘unity in diversity,’ a commitment to an idea of secularism, an idea that India is not based in a particular majority language or faith, etc. The segment of the population that is Indian nationalist in that sense is probably not more than 25-30%. With recent changes in the last few decades in terms of unification on a variety of things, such as language, media, literacy, etc, the population that considers themselves Indian in this sense has grown to be quite substantial today.

Talking about diasporic Indian nationalism, it is forgotten that this was one of the sources of Indian nationalism from the start. Though not exactly diaspora, people like Gandhi, Nehru, etc, awoke to the idea of India and its colonization when they were abroad as students, lawyers, etc., mainly in England. That is when they realized that their country was different and that it was not independent or sovereign. Instead, it was ruled from elsewhere. In some sense, a lot of nationalisms have awoken in diaspora, and Indian nationalism is no exception.

Today, I would use the words ‘diasporic Indian nationalism’ mainly to refer to the fact that there is an influential, middle-class Indian migrant population living abroad which identifies itself as Indian. While in foreign countries, having a sub-regional identity is less likely. Also, I think one becomes more nationalist once they leave their home country because one becomes more aware of its ‘Indianness’.

In the case of Sri Lankan nationalism, I am only going to talk about the diaspora. I think that the diaspora was a tremendously energizing force because many of the migrants were Sri Lankan Tamils. They were now in societies of economic clout and could recognize what was happening to themselves in terms of human rights violations, etc. So, I think that the Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism had a strong diasporic component, as well, much more that it did in the case of India where there was not a comparable liberation struggle, at least in the post-colonial period. We have to keep in mind that these are small answers to a large question.

It seems that one of your interests is conflict. What is your approach to conflict in India and Sri Lanka? How is conflict related to nationalism?


This is the real core of my work. In conventional understandings of ethnic conflict, it is seen as something that emerges because people are inadequately national. That is, in being Indian, they are still Tamil or Bengali, Kashmiri, etc. The conventional view is that ethnicity is seen as something that needs to be transcended in order to become fully national. In the case of Sri Lanka, it is considered that Sinhala or Tamil nationalism is something of an aberration or detour. [The view is that] as these societies fully modernize and develop, ethnicity will disappear or at least take a back seat, and these people will become fully national. My argument is different. I argue that the very means by which post-colonial nation states govern themselves promotes ethnic differentiation. Things like a census, elections, political parties, affirmative action programs etc. tend to produce both a sense of national unity as well as a sense of ethnic separatism. Looking at the details of both Indian and Sri Lankan post-colonial nationalism, and/or state building, I find that the very process of trying to win elections at the national level often involves trying to foment, create and/or energize ethnic sentiments. The national party always runs on the platform that they are necessary for national security and unity. One of the ways in which they show that they are necessary is to encourage ethnic conflict and ethnic separatism. Then, they intervene as the nationalistic center. Mrs. Gandhi did this in Punjab, Kashmir, Assam, and in Sri Lanka. She encouraged the Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists towards separatism from their own country as a means of showing Indian Tamils in India that she was on the side of the Tamils. It is a peculiar way in which the very process of post-colonial nation building can promote ethnic separatism.

There is a second important way in which this process of state building encourages separatism which is equally misunderstood and/or not adequately focused upon. Sri Lanka is about 80% Sinhalese and 20% Tamil, to put it crudely, because the Tamils have both native Sri Lankan Tamils as well as the 19th century migrants from India, viz. the estate Tamils or the Tamils that worked on the tea and coffee plantations. Up until independence from Britain in 1948, the Tamils, especially Sri Lankan Tamils, although they were a minority in society, were greatly overrepresented in the most desirable professions, such as law, journalism, academics, civil service, medicine, etc. In all of these areas, the Sri Lankan Tamil minority was disproportionately large for a variety of historical reasons. For instance, they typically came from agriculturally poorer parts of the country and therefore tended to use education as a means of upward mobility. They were also favored in some ways by the colonial administration because they were a minority. They tended to be more educated in the desired professions. The irony is that, upon independence, the Sinhalese majority began to translate the 80% majority into a proportional size in the parliament. Increasingly, they began to ask why they were 80% of the population and not 80% of the best professions. In a sense, the meaning of post-colonial Sri Lankan independence came to be defined as the majority community coming into its own, gaining what they saw as a proportional share of the spoils. This is different from other societies, especially in the western world, where you do not equate representation with numerically proportionate access to education, professions, etc. Representation became representativeness in this post-colonial understanding. The only way to do this through public policy is to put a cap on the number of Tamils who can get admission into engineering or medical school. The policy will say that Tamils are 12% of the population and thus there will be reserved only 12% of the seats in certain programs. In terms of strict definition of merit, the Tamils would have been 40-50% of medical school admissions, based on examination scores, etc. The Tamils began to see post-colonial Sri Lanka as an instrument of their victimization and discrimination. From the Sinhala point of view, independence meant that we translate a numerical majority into a corresponding share of everything. This is an inextricable part of how post-colonial nationalism develops. Therefore, to see ethnicity as something to be transcended in order for the nation to come into its own misunderstands the process in which ethnicity and nation feed off each other and create each other in profound ways.


How would you define identity politics? How is such a thing created?


The identity politics issue is the larger theoretical underpinning of my work. The Sri Lankan and Indian case studies are examples of this larger understanding that I have of identity politics. I would describe it as a form of social constructivism, or post-structuralism in some ways. I do not see identity as something that is given through nature. That is to say, identities emerge in encounters. They emerge as a consequence of difference. Neither identity nor difference is pre-existent. They emerge in the encounter. For example, in Sri Lanka the Tamils were not conscious of their identity as Tamils in such a pronounced way in the pre-independence period. Why, then, does it emerge as such a salient identity post-independence? Again, it is because of the very instruments of a desirable modernity. Elections, data collections, census, etc. are all instruments which are necessary for many third world countries in order to modernize, develop and create policy. Yet, they are double-edged swords because they simultaneously create these identities which then become vehicles for mobilization of conflict, etc. So, identity is socially constructed and mobilized, rather than being simply given.

Are we to understand most of this as dealing primarily with the post-colonial period?


Yes, except that the post-colonial period is emerging from and is directly entailed by the colonial period. I should make clear which definition of post-colonial I am working with, because there are two. One form defines it as that phase which begins with the end of colonialism. In India, it would be 1947. In Sri Lanka, it would be 1948. However, that is not the definition of post-colonial that I use. For me, and others, it is post- the advent of colonialism. The idea is that from that point on everything changes. So, on that definition, India has been post-colonial since 1600, with the beginning of the East India Co. in India; or you could say 1757, at the Battle of Plassey when the British East India Co. gains access to collecting land revenue from a certain part in Bengal; or you can use 1857, when after the Revolt, India becomes a crown colony and is explicitly under the empress Victoria. This all depends on when you want to begin considering it, but it all falls under the definition of post-advent of colonialism. In that sense, India is a post-colonial society today, but was also a post-colonial society in the 19th century and 18th century, as well. The colonial period is very important because the fractures that divide India today, for example, Hindum/Muslim, caste, region, language, political economy, class, etc., all of these things are derived from the colonial period. This is not to say that the British are to blame for everything. It is a process that works itself out in several ways, and that makes post-colonial counties like India and Sri Lanka extraordinarily more difficult to unify and govern in comparison with some ideal western democracy. Which, I should point out, I do not think exists anywhere, but that is the ideal type against which one measures oneself and defines oneself.

How do post-colonial studies change over time?


I have actually written a book on that. My second book (Globalization & Post-Colonialism: Hegemony and Resistance in the Twenty-first Century) has a couple of chapters about post-colonial studies; looking at what are the different meanings of the term, etc. Provisionally one can chart at least three meanings. Firstly, post-colonial studies, in one of its main variants, came from English departments in the white commonwealth colonies: Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, etc. They felt that their English literatures were seen as inferior to the English literature that was coming from England. A group of Australian academics came up with the term post-colonial studies to refer to the fact that other English [literatures and languages] were seen as inferior to the Queen’s English. They then started a movement to say that colonialism is over, their English is as canonical. They said they do not have to keep coming back to Shakespeare, Milton, Chaucer, etc. and worship at that altar. Their English was every bit as good to them.

That meaning [of post-colonial studies] is still there, but that was rapidly overtaken by a second and more dominant idea of post-colonial studies, which follows the publication of Edward Said’s (literary theorist, 1935-2003) Orientalism (1978) and a whole range of other movements around that time, most notably, the emergence of the Subaltern Studies history writing movement from India. Then there are authors like Homi K. Bhabha (Professor of English and American Literature and Language, Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard University), Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Robert Young (Professor of English & Comparative Literature at New York University), and others. What was common to all of their arguments was that modernity did not originate in the west. It was a global phenomenon and it is the encounter between these very different spaces that produces western modernity. There are a number of instances that are useful to understand this. During Britain’s industrial revolution, resources were being sucked from all over the world to energize and produce the revolution in the economic domain. In the cultural domain, British notions of their own special character stand as something which is in juxtaposition to distant colonies. One of the best books in this regard is Gauri Viswanathan’s (Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University) book Masks of Conquest (1989) where she talks about how the very first English literature syllabus that was created in an English university happened because of the need to represent England in the newly emerging colonies, and for civil servants to represent England in those societies. That is how people like Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, etc. come to be regarded as canonically English. In other words, their very self identity as West emerges only in the encounter with a non-West. That is the second realm of post-colonial studies. That is the predominant definition of post-colonial and to give a once sentence definition of that would be: Capitalism, westernization, modernization, etc., are only part of the story and that is also a very self-contained version of the West. Post-colonialism is the discourse which continuously brings the non-West into the fore to show how the West is only produced in this encounter with the non-West. There is a third definition that we do not have to go into, but that is a Marxist understanding of post-colonialism which uses the word in the sense of decolonization or independence, while saying that the colonial period had a lot to do with the underdevelopment and distortions in the third world. So, in broad brush strokes, those are the three prevalent variants in post-colonial studies. The dominant variant begins with Edward Said and all of the works that followed in its wake.

Where did the idea of post-colonialism start?


You do not find the words ‘post-colonial studies’ being used before 1970 or 1972. I think Said’s Orientalism, published in 1978, is the crucial landmark. The Subaltern Studies movement’s first volume of studies is published around 1980. Post-colonial studies take off from around that time. In a very important sense, I think Arif Dirlik’s (Turkish born historian) essay “Post Colonial Aura” (Critical Inquiry, Vol. 20, No. 2 Winter, 1994) really captures it. He says that for post-colonial studies to happen we need a large number of third world academics in U.S. or western universities and we need a rising number of children of second-generation third-world origin in western universities for this to explode. Second-generation Indians, Filipinos, Koreans, etc. came to U.S. universities and wondered where their heritage was being reflected in the curriculum. Indians write in English, too, so why do English departments have nothing about R. K. Narayan (author, 1906-2001), Amitav Ghosh (author, born 1956), or Salman Rushdie (author, born 1947), etc.? Also, third world academics, like me, who came to the U.S. for higher studies said that they would like to write our dissertations on India because that is where they are from and they wanted to know where the resources were. In a sense, the emergence of multi-cultural populations in the west created a need for something like post-colonial studies to emerge. Yet, it also is a double-edged sword. We run the risk of being ghettoized as, well, being from India and thus writing a dissertation on India and then, by default, specializing in India and that is all. Yet, on the other hand, it is an opportunity. If I have to specialize in something western I may have to learn French or another western language and have to go through a different learning process, whereas I already know about India. In that case, specializing in India, particularly if there is a job at the end of it, makes sense. Changing populations in the West, especially the entry of third world professionals under the visa category of skilled labor and then their second generation children going to U.S. universities, third world academics coming to do graduate work in the West, etc. are all examples of how the material conditions were produced that aided in the emergence of post-colonial studies.

I want to ask you about the foreign policy process in India. How would you situate it in regards to neighboring South Asian countries? What are the priorities in Indian foreign policy?


Strangely enough, I got into all of this because of a desire to rewrite the understanding of foreign policy in places like India. The conventional understanding is that foreign policy is the actions of an already existing nation on the world outside of it. In that understanding, the nation already knows what is native and domestic, and what is foreign. I started my dissertation by questioning that very framework. I did not think that it was so clear cut. Indian foreign policy predates the emergence of India in 1947. It is through this definition of what is foreign that we constituted what is self. In some sense, the Indian national movement for independence can already be seen as an act of foreign policy. By naming the other as foreign, we indentify the self. I wanted to get beyond that very narrow understanding of foreign policy as that which follows the already constituted entity called the self, or the state. There are clear links between this and my definition of ethnicity and nationalism, identity difference, etc.

Indian foreign policy, to the extent in which it does not understand itself, has followed the lines of colonial legacy. Many of India’s problems with its neighbors, especially until recent times, were a direct result of the regime in New Delhi thinking of itself as the linear successor to the viceroy and the British Empire’s rule of India. We regarded the Indian Ocean as ours; we regarded Sri Lanka as an area that cannot do anything which would go outside of India’s geopolitical interests; we think the United States, the Soviet Union during its time, and China as having no place in the Indian Ocean because that is India’s. It produced defensiveness in our foreign policy.

In a more narrow sense, Indian foreign policy has been one that is caught in a disjunction. We think of ourselves as a great power because of the colonial legacy, the size of our population, our GNP, etc. In other words, we think we should matter. When in reality, we do not matter as much, because if you divide our GNP by 1.2 billion people we are one of the poorest countries in the world. Looking at our national disunity, at some level, it makes for a very weak projection of our power abroad. Perhaps the most important aspect of all is that India is lead by a post-colonial middle class which is fluent in English, which has advantages in terms of cultural capital, excellent academic institutions for the elite, etc. The disjunction is then between the perception of this Indian elite as a great power, and the reality in which we do not even matter as much as South Korea, which has only 55 million people but a huge chunk of global trade. South Korea matters to the United States as an export market and a producer of goods, etc. The Indian middle class, which is the social base of India’s foreign service and India’s elite, has continuously battled this disjunction between its own perception of how much it matters in the world and how little it actually matters to the world. In this sense, India is obsessed with pointless quests, in my opinion. Things like needing to become a member of the UN Security Council, needing to be selected as one of the five permanent members of the UN, and consequently exploding a nuclear bomb. For me, it is strange that other large countries, like Brazil, do not seem to have this obsession with mattering. So, I wonder why it is so important for India to matter. Is it not more important to feed our people?

Is this mostly an effect of post-colonialism?


It absolutely is. Our post-colonialism is most reflected in this desire to be seen as mattering, to be dining at the big table with the big boys, so to speak. This comes with a refusal to see the reality that two thirds of our population subsists on US$1.50 or less a day.

To complete the thought about foreign policy, I think that too much of our foreign policy is on a misguided track. This desire to want to matter and be seen as such, conflicts with the reality that we do not have the immediate economic foundations for it. The key to understanding Indian foreign policy is to understand that this is a post-colonial middle class unable to deal with the disjunction between its imagined status in the world and its real status.

What about foreign policy in Sri Lanka?


Any talk of Sri Lankan foreign policy at this time has to talk about the incredibly effective way in which they ended the civil war. Pretending to be a realist for a moment and setting aside normative, ethical and other concerns, I think the Mahinda Rajapaksa (President of Sri Lanka since Nov. 19, 2005) government figured out quite early and in a very brilliant way, that post-9-11 there was an opportunity to go after the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the Tamil Tigers) at a time when the rest of the world would not be much concerned about possible humanitarian concerns, human rights violations, war crimes, even. Post 9-11, there was a global distaste of terrorist movements of any kind, and that provided that opportunity. Before, it was under discussion if the LTTE was a terrorist movement or if it was a national liberation struggle. But post 9-11, those discussions were put on the back burner. The Rajapaksa government lined up the European Union, the United States, India, China, and Pakistan into one line behind the state which was pushing for a military solution. Regardless of pressure, the government said that they were going to prevent media access to the situation with the idea that they would deal with the human rights violations issues later. Setting moral concerns aside, that was a brilliant act of foreign policy. They recognized that the LTTE was on weak financial footing because of the change in EU and Canadian laws that restricted donations to groups like LTTE. Basically, the LTTE became banned as an entity in all of these countries. Rajapaksa realized that this was a phenomenal opportunity, and then the LTTE shot themselves in the foot when they killed Rajiv Gandhi (former Indian Prime Minister from Oct. 31, 1984 – Dec. 2, 1989, assassinated May 21, 1991). By that one act, they completely took India out of the equation. India’s government basically told the Rajapaksa government to do whatever they wanted to stop the LTTE, India will look the other way. China actually provided military and logistical support. So, the Rajapaksa government took advantage of this particular period in international affairs when it was OK to go after an ethnic separatist movement and destroy it without shouts about the Geneva Conventions, or rights of prisoners, or not targeting civilian populations, etc.

Since then, Sri Lanka has been playing a clever game of cozying up to China while keeping India on good terms. This is extremely interesting because Sri Lanka has become close with China, which ought to alarm India in a very big way. However, China is too powerful and India is perhaps powerless to stop it. China has now built a huge naval presence in Hambantota on the southeastern point of Sri Lanka, in addition to having a major presence in Trincomalee (city on a bay in northeastern Sri Lanka). In the 1970’s, this would have freaked out India in a huge way. So far it has not, and this makes me wonder if Indians have also changed by not caring as much about strategic matters like they did in the Cold War. Instead, perhaps they are prioritizing economic development. However, I do not know for sure.

India plays a large role in the global technological culture. In the context of globalization, is this part of India’s desire to matter, as you said? Or is it more so a part of the economic strategy they are employing? 


I came to the US in 1983, 28 years ago. When I first came here I searched US newspapers for coverage of India. Of course, I found very little, but what I found was also reiterations of the same thing. A train accident, monsoon failure, poverty, natural disasters, etc. Overwhelmingly, the coverage of India was related to war, destruction, natural and human disasters. Today, there is much more coverage. For example, Bollywood movies are regularly reviewed in the New York Times as they are released all across the western world, sometimes ahead of India. Much of the coverage today is eulogistic. It is about India’s schools churning out all of these brilliant computer specialists, Indian institutes of technology which provide the same education as MIT but for a fraction of the price, etc. Much of the talk about the IT revolution is focused on all of the jobs that India has taken away from the United States. In 1983, the media coverage was distorted in one direction. Obviously, India was not all train wrecks and disasters. Today, however, the picture is distorted in the opposite direction. It is all about India being one of the four next giant economies with Brazil, Russia, and China. There is even talk about the next century being the century between India and China. Personally, I think that all of this talk is extremely exaggerated and disproportionate with regards to the real Indian economy. While IT, software, etc. contributes a large chunk to India’s GNP and foreign exchange, in terms of employment it is so miniscule that most people do not even recognize it. At the most, the IT sector can be employing somewhere between 10 and 15 million Indians. This is in the broadest sense of the term, from call center workers to the landscapers and gardeners in the IT enclaves. This is in a society with 1.2 billion people where another 15 million people are graduating and entering the work force every year, unable to find jobs. There is very little media coverage of this fact. Because IT maintains such a dominant position in the mindset of the western world (because of middle class jobs outsourced to India), it becomes confused with the whole of India. Instead, India is a society where about 700 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, basic education, primary health care facilities, etc. About 250 million Indians are now in the market for toothpaste, deodorant, hair gels, etc. and that is a huge market. It is the size of the European Union. Obviously, western investment managers are going to talk India up because a middle class of 250 million people is a huge emerging middle class. Too often, focusing on those 250 million, we forget that there is another 900 million who are outside that middle class and whose access to such a socio-economic level is very narrow, slow, and dependent upon things that the government is not providing for them, such as education, housing and employment.

In your opinion, what are the chances for equity in the future?


One of the reasons the 900 million do not get much coverage is that very few people in the west realize that 1 out of 4 districts in India is outside the control of the federal or state government. They are in the grips of a Maoist insurgency that goes from Andhra Pradesh (a state in peninsular India) to the Nepal border. There is a huge swath across the country which is completely ridden with Maoist insurgences that are communist left in leadership, but in social base these are tribal, aboriginal peoples, landless peasants, etc. When you put a map of the insurgency districts overtop a map of India’s mineral deposits, the two coincide overwhelmingly. Western and Indian corporations are going into these places, throwing people off their land, buying them off with barely adequate compensation, and rezoning these lands away from being agricultural districts to lands for mining and industry. What is going on here is every bit as violent as what has happened historically in other parts of the world. These insurgencies are the resistance to that. I think it is something like a fourth of Indian districts are in the grips of such an insurgency. There has been a tremendous resistance to neo-capitalist practices since 1991. This has had such a palpable impact on central and state governments, many are now beginning to implement policies which compensate these people adequately, slow down industrial growth, recognize that there has to be more in terms of employment and equity, etc. The pressure has been translated into changes in public policy.

At a very deep seated level, I think India’s middle class has changed in a profound way compared to the 1950’s and 1960’s. The shift says that many are coming to see some of India’s problems as too huge to address, whereas they have only one life to live and are going to make the most of it. These people are saying: “I happen to fall on the side which has received education, access to these goods, a decent livelihood, and frankly there is not much I can do to help this 900 hundred million that is outside of this and in any case, I do not care. My target lifestyle is that which is in Bangkok, Singapore, Seoul, etc.” Therefore, I think that middle class Indians today are comfortable with inequality, credit, risk, living for the here-and-now rather than saving for the future, etc. in ways that are absolutely a revolution from my father’s generation, or even a good part of my generation of Indians. And I think this is part of a global shift from a concern with welfare to a concern with a ‘what is in it for me’ type attitude.

On an international level, many people view India in opposition to China, sort of a counterbalance to China. Given what you said earlier about India not having enough economic clout to matter, what do you think about this representation of India?


Personally, I think that China is going to be, if not already, the economic powerhouse of the 21st Century. I have read enough already to see that China is on a different scale, compared to India. If it was ever a race [between India and China], that race is over. But I think that the Chinese system, though it is not a democracy, still feels pressure from below. In some sense, it will have to address inequality, rural poverty, and give the rest of the districts outside the boom of modern growth a share; otherwise the whole thing will come crashing down. Paradoxically, not being a democracy, they can actually respond to this much faster. Whereas India is still pretending the Maoist insurgency is a law and order problem, which it is not. It is a problem of equity and injustice. Strangely enough, the Chinese Communist regime is going to be much quicker responding to Chinese inequality. Though, it is still not there. However, when you have 10% growth rates for 20-25 years, it is going to profoundly transform your society and already has. I think in the future the west will try to use India as a pawn in its games against the Chinese and I just hope that the Indians are smart enough to recognize that they should not get into that game because they are going to come out the worse for it. Likely, they are going to end up doing someone else’s dirty work for them. India is much better off maintaining, at least, neutral relations with China and not get sucked into being seen as an instrument to another great power. India’s foreign policy establishment is savvy and smart enough to recognize that, but it does not guarantee that it will not happen in the future.

Thank you very much.


Edited by Matthew Izor, Department of Philosophy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


*Prof. Sankaran Krishna grew up in India. He received his B.A. from Loyola College (majoring in Chemistry), and his M.A. from the Center for Historical Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. He came to the United States in 1983, and took his doctorate in political science from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in upstate New York. After a two–year visiting appointment at nearby Colgate, he joined University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1990.

 Prof. Krishna’s work has so far centered on nationalism, ethnic identity and conflict, identity politics, and postcolonial studies, located primarily around India and Sri Lanka. He is currently working on some essays dealing with the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, the culture of Indian foreign policy making, the silent presence of race in discourses of international relations, diasporic forms of Indian nationalism, and other eclectic topics. In 2009 he published a book entitled Globalization and Postcolonialism: Hegemony and Resistance in the 21st Century.

(source: http://www.politicalscience.hawaii.edu/4-faculty/krishna.html)

 In „Voices about Asia“ *Małgorzata Citko freshly graduate of the International Relations Program at Collegium Civitas, Poland, and a second-year Ph.D. candidate in Japanese literature at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is going to interview some renowned scholars, policy makers, public figures about the contemporary Asia, its global influence, and other social, political, economic issues.

Voices about Asia: Deconstructing India and Sri Lanka- Interview with Professor Sankaran Krishna Reviewed by on 1 grudnia 2011 .

Prof. Sankaran Krishna is one of the few professors in Hawaiʻi, whose areas of specialization are both India and Sri Lanka, and Political Science. He kindly agreed to meet with me on September 9, 2011 in order to conduct this interview, although I am not a specialist on India, or Sri Lanka. We also met




Pozostaw odpowiedź