Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy

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About the Author

Pritam Singh is Senior Lecturer in Economics, Oxford Brookes University Business School, UK. His research focuses on radical political economy and development, secularism and religious revivalism; and nationalism, development and human rights. He is on the editorial board of several journals including North East India Studies, Journal of Punjab Studies and International Journal of Green Economics.


'India's sub-nationalisms come draped in discourses of culture but Pritam Singh's thesis is that the paramountcy of the project of Indian nation-building has forced individual states to play idiosyncratic roles - with profound consequences for the character of their sub-nationalisms. He illustrates this dramatically with the case of Punjab. Through flows of public finance the agricultural wealth of this culturally and geopolitically distinctive state has been harnessed nationally to the detriment of its balanced development. By 1991, Punjab was a curious paradox - a rich food bowl with a stunted industrial economy. Through his fine-grained research, Pritam Singh has made a significant contribution to our understanding of the politics of cultural aspiration and the political economy of federalism.' - Barbara Harriss-White, University of Oxford, UK

'Dr Singh's book must be read by those interested in modern India. It deals with the central issue in Indian politics and planning at a pivotal stage in the nation's development.' - Ceri Peach, University of Oxford, UK

'This book is a major contribution to the political economy of the Punjab, to the analysis of centre-state relations in the post-independence Indian union, and to the study of regional economic development in federally-organised states. One of its strengths is its wide reach in terms of scholarship and analysis - it integrates knowledge from economic history, ethnic studies, geography and constitutional analysis.' - Colin Clarke, University of Oxford, UK

'The book unravels Punjab's history, highlights the key turning points in the history of the Sikh religion and the demand of region-based nationalism. In the process, it offers a fresh insight into the administration of the state vis-`E0-vis the Centre.' - The Tribune

'Pritam Singh's book is an important work. His analysis addresses some difficult questions about the conflicting objectives of the center and the states. If this also raises more questions, that is only a good thing.'- KARNA BASU, University of Chicago, Journal of Asian Studies 68.3 August 2009

'This book presents a methodological breakthrough in studies on development, nationalism and federalism in the manner in which it examines the triangular relationship of society, polity and economy and then explores how this triangular relationship unfolds in a national context and a region. The book promises to be a critical text for future research and teaching in these areas, especially in relation to India and Punjab.' - Navtej K. Purewal, University of Manchester, UK; Contemporary South Asia, Vol. 19, No. 2, June 2011

'Pritam Singh's book is a truly wide-ranging work of scholarship spanning economic history, geography, analysis of the Constitution, the genesis of Sikh nationalism in Punjab and its conflict with Indian nationalism at the centre. The book is one of those rare academic publications which has the potential to make history... One of the strengths of the book is its wide reach in terms of scholarship and analysis. It integrates knowledge from economic history, ethnic studies, geography, and constitutional analysis to understand the nature of regional economic development within the Indian union.' - Ajit Singh, Cambridge University; Economic & Political Weekly, January 29, 2011 Vol XLVI No 5