Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Faculty of Arts


Nationalism is a way of dealing with a world where 'everything melts into thin air'. It is a form of self-love in which individuals elebrate their collective identity. And like all forms of self-love it gets its strength more from the hatred of others than its love for the self Here lies the secret behind some of the most intractable conflicts in the world.

Nationalism is, probably, the only form of self-love that gets its life-blood from an institution, the modem state. Had the state not been behind the self-love of the Germans, they would not have been able to torture and murder so many Jews in such a short period of time. Likewise, had the west not helped the Jews to establish their own state in Palestine, the Jews would never have been able to displace and kill so many Palestinians.

Nationalism is not the 'pathology' of the odem world, but is, as a sentiment and as a doctrine, only a pathetic way to deal with a pathetic world. But nationalism as a game of power, as a politics, is lethal and destructive. As a sentiment and as a doctrine nationalism may be the child of an unstable and fast changing world but as a politics it is the child of the nation state.

This thesis explores the relationship between the nation-state and the nationalisms of four ethnic groups, namely, Pukhtun, Sindhi, Baloch and Mohajir, who have, at various points in time, contested the legitimacy of the administrative structure of the Pakistani state. It starts with identifying the issue of ethnic conflicts, goes on to review the available literature and then outlines a framework for studying ethnic nationalism. As the emphasis here is on the role of the modem state in provoking ethnic discontent and resistance the second chapter discusses the interventionist role of the state and tries to highlight its relationship with nationalism. The second section of the chapter looks at various approaches to nationalism and explains as to which approach is more suitable and why for dealing with ethnic nationalism.

The third chapter endeavours to explicate the difference between pre-colonial and colonial state in India as well as the way the colonial state despite being modem was different from the modem state system in the west. The fourth chapter discusses the state system in Pakistan and argues that the postcolonial state is a replica of the colonial state. The next four chapters examine the emergence of four ethnic movements and their varying strategies for dealing with the centralising and homogenising policies of the state. Throughout, the focus remains on the ethnic groups' distance from and proximity to the state system as the major factor in determining their relationships.

02Whole.pdf (2966 kB)



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.