Suicide Protest in South Asia
Consumed by Commitment
Routledge – 2014 – 208 pages
The radical act of suicide protest is undertaken by social movement participants in order to demand a particular previously articulated political outcome. This book examines the history and impact of suicide protest, which has been increasingly used as a protest tactic since World War II, adding to a growing area of research on the ability of certain actions to impact policy in favour of movement goals.
The book offers a combination of historical and contemporary cases analysis from South Asia, where different iterations of this tactic have been used extensively throughout the latter half of the twentieth century, including the use of fasting to the death, self-immolation, and deliberate drowning. Focussing on the success or failure or a particular action relevant to the movement’s broader mobilization strategy, the author examines the internal impact this has on the movement and the mechanisms by which suicide as a form of protest evolves.
Providing a unique contribution to the field of comparative politics, political violence and social movement studies this book will be of interest to scholars working on political science, sociology and South Asian studies.
1. Introduction 2. Gandhi and the Development of Suicide Protest in India 3. Successful Suicide: Potti Sriramulu and the Question of Andhra 4. Short-term Success: The Narmada Dam Bachao Andolan 5. Failure of the Tactic: The Anti-reservation Movement 6. The Tactical Approach and Suicide Bombing in Sri Lanka 7. Suicide protest in a Global Perspective 8. Conclusion
Simanti Lahiri is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama, US.