SA 654

TITLE : Ethnicity, Religion and Politics in Afghanistan
Code : SA-654

Teacher: Ambrish Dhaka
Instruction method: Lectures, Seminars/Tutorials
Evaluation method: Session Work and Semester Examination
Course duration: One semester
Contact hrs: 3 per week

Course content
This course content has been designed to draw a systemic analysis of a unique triad of
ethnic, religious and political factors that is quite enigmatic of Afghan society. The
quest for stability reflected in ever persistent Afghan conflict. However, the inability
to transform and the external influences detrimental to its statehood, the Afghans have
seemed to withstand their fragile nationalism. The role of religious authorities in rural
life has an overarching importance, thereby creating a dualistic feature with Kabul as
a city-state versus rest of the nation-state.
There are numerous tribes in Afghanistan viz. Pushtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek and
other, who have been the major socio-cultural constituents of Afghan society. Their
political economy ranges from pastoral nomadism to sedentary agriculture, with
geophysical differentiations. Their society seems to be lacking a homarchical
structure just like in South Asia. Their spatially autochthonous evolution of tribal
politiy has been reflected all through the period of jehadic pursuits and the current

I- Historical-Geography: Afghanistan, ancient times- Greco Bactrian to Kushans,
Medieval period and advent of Islam; Consolidation of State in 18th century,
and later connections with South Asia.

II- Socio-Cultural milieu: Cultural and Civilisational moorings vis-à-vis South
Asia and Central Asia; Major ethnic groups, Major Occupations and other
demographic contents.

III- Religion and Socio-political Order: Islam and its major sects; rural political
economy and the role of theological heads; ethnic representations, tribal polity
and religious differentiation; State consolidation and tribal-religious resistance
in late 19th century and 20th century.

IV- Nation building in Afghanistan: Islam, Communism and Monarchy.

V- State and Global polity: Cold war and its degenerating effect; the post-Cold
war occupancy of the State.

VI- Taliban, its emergence and universalization of terror tactics;
religious fundamentalism and terrorism; global implications.