Advertisement

Can Horizontal Inequalities Explain Ethnic Conflicts? A Case Study of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts of Assam

  • Rupan Boro
  • Rajshree Bedamatta
Chapter
Part of the India Studies in Business and Economics book series (ISBE)

Abstract

Inequalities play a major role in political and ethnic conflicts in different regions of the world. However economic literature has largely focused on vertical inequalities, i.e. inequalities among individuals as opposed to groups of people. In the recent times the focus has shifted to the role of horizontal inequalities, which refer to inequalities between groups of people sharing common identity such as race, ethnicity, language, religion or region (Stewart 2000). Therefore, they are multifaceted and include various dimensions (for, e.g. socio-economic, political and cultural status). This chapter refers to the recent Bodo-Muslim conflict in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts of Assam (BTAD) in 2012. We measure economic horizontal inequalities (EHIs) classifying population of BTAD into STs, SCs, OBC, other/general and Muslims using population weighted group Gini index (GGini). NSSO unit level data of 61st and 66th Consumer-Expenditure rounds have been used for calculations. We find that there are significant spatial and horizontal economic inequalities in the BTAD districts compared to the other districts of Assam. Among the social groups, Muslims are found to be the poorest while SCs are better off followed by the STs (mostly Bodos). In Assam as a whole, the extent of land owned by the ST households is found to be the highest while it is lowest among the Muslims. In sharp contrast, land ownership among Muslims is comparatively higher than the other groups (including the dominant Bodo group) in BTAD.

Keywords

Horizontal inequality Ethnic conflicts and Bodoland territorial area districts 

References

  1. Bardhan, P. (1997). Method in the madness? A political-economy analysis of the ethnic conflicts in less developed countries. World Development, 25(9), 1381–1398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basumatary, K. (2012). Political economy of bodoland movement. New Delhi: Akash Publishing House.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, G. K., & Langer, A. (2010). Cultural status inequalities: An important dimension of group mobilization. In Frances Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict: understanding group violence in multiethnic society. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  4. Chaudhuri, S., & Gupta, N. (2009). Levels of living and poverty patterns: A district-wise analysis for India. Economic and Political Weekly, XLIV, 9, 99–110.Google Scholar
  5. Collier, P., & Hoeffler, A. (2004). Greed versus grievance in civil war. Oxford Economic Paper, 56, 563–595.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Das, N. (1982). The Naga movement. In K. S. Singh (Ed.), The tribal movement in India (Vol. 1). Pathna: Manohar Book Service.Google Scholar
  7. Dixon, J. (2009). What causes civil war? Integrating quantitative research findings. International Study Review, 11(4), 707–735.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fearon, J. D., & Laitin, D. D. (2003). Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war. American Political Science Review, 57(1), 75–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. George, J. S. (1994). The Bodo movement in Assam: Unrest to accord. Asian Survey, 34(10), 878–892.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gohain, H. (1989). Bodo Stir in perspective. Economic and Political Weekly, 24(25), 377–1379.Google Scholar
  11. Goswami, B. B., & Mukharjee, D. B. (1982). The Mizo political movement. In K. S. Singh (Ed.), The tribal movement in India (Vol. 1). Pathna: Manohar Book Service.Google Scholar
  12. Government of Bodoland Territorial Council. (2013). Kokrajhar: The Bodoland Guardian.Google Scholar
  13. Gurr, T. (1968). A causal model of civil strife: A comparative analysis using new indices. The American Political Science Review, 62(4), 1104–1124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Langer, A. (2005). Horizontal inequalities and violent conflicts: Cote d’Ivoire. Human Development Report Office, Occasional Paper 2005/32. New York: UNDP.Google Scholar
  15. Langer, A. (2010). When do horizontal inequalities lead to conflicts? Lessons from a comparative study of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. In Frances Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict: Understanding group violence in multiethnic Society. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  16. Langer, A., & Ukiwo, U. (2010). Ethnicity, religious and state in Ghana and Nigeria: Perceptions from the street. In Frances Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict: Understanding group violence in multiethnic society. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  17. Lindquist, M. K. (2012). Horizontal education inequalities and civil conflict: The nexus of ethnicity, inequality, and violent conflict. Undergraduate Economic Review, 8(1), 1–21.Google Scholar
  18. Mahanta, N. G. (2013). Politics of space and violence in Bodoland. Economic and Political Weekly, 48(23), 49–58.Google Scholar
  19. Mancini, L. (2010). Horizontal inequalities and communal violence: Evidence from Indonesia districts. In F. Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict: understanding group violence in multiethnic societies. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  20. Mancini, L., Stewart, F., & Brown, G. K. (2010). Approaches to the measurement of horizontal inequalities. In F. Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal Inequalities and Conflict: Understanding Group Violence in Multi ethnic Societies (pp. 85-105). UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Mishra, U. (1989). Bodo stir: Complex issues. Unattainable Demands. Economy and Political Weekly, 24(21), 1146–1149.Google Scholar
  22. Motiram, S., & Sarma, N. (2014). The tragedy of identity: Reflection on violent social conflict in Western Assam. Economic and Political Weekly, 49(11), 45–53.Google Scholar
  23. Murshed, S. M., & Gates, S. (2005). Spatial-horizontal inequalities and the maoist insurgency in Nepal. Review of Development Economics, 9(1), 121–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nepal, M. A., Bohara, K., & Gawande, K. (2011). More inequality, more killings: The maoist insurgency in Nepal. American Journal of Political Science, 55(4), 886–906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ostby, G. (2007). Horizontal inequalities, political environment and civil conflict evidence from 55 developing countries 1986–2003. World Bank Policy Research Paper 4193.Google Scholar
  26. Pathak, S. (2013). Ethnic violence in Bodoland. Economic and Political Weekly, 47(34), 19–23.Google Scholar
  27. Ray, D. (2010). Development economics. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Stewart, F. (2000). Crisis prevention: Tackling horizontal inequalities. Oxford Development Studies, 28, 245–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stewart, F. (2010). Horizontal inequalities and conflict: Understanding group violence in multiethnic society. UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  30. Tiwari, B. N. (2008). Horizontal inequalities and violent conflict in Nepal. Himalaya, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies, 28(1), 33–48.Google Scholar
  31. Xaxa, V. (2008). State, society, and tribes: Issues in post Colonial India. India: Pearson Education.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIIT GuwahatiGuwahatiIndia

Personalised recommendations