Comment from Ayesha Siddiqa on Sarmila Bose’s recent book

Date : Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Author : Ayesha Siddiqa
Country concerned :
Regarding Justice process :
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Entry Type : News, Uncategorized
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I can claim to have seen Sarmila’s book grow in front of my eyes. We were together in DC in 2004-05 when she started writing her book. It was pointed out to her even then that there was serious problem with her presentation. First, most of her information was gleaned from one particular source. She has been wined and dined by Pakistani military establishment on several occasions. Second, her framework is flawed.
Sure when violence happens then a lot of people are involved. However, the problem with her presentation is that it makes both sides look alike without telling the difference that an aggressor’s violence is different from a victim’s. Had the aggressor not done what it did, the victim may not have responded the same way. The problem is not even in finding the correct numbers of people who died or women who were raped. The more annoying and unforgivable part is that this was state policy. I have never managed to understand what Sarmila wanted to do with this kind of a book. Surely, it will be a best seller in Pakistan. All military colleges, institutes and academies will buy the book and tell the rest of us who are critical of the institution how an Indian had better things to say about it.

Sarmila’s book is indeed problematic as are a couple of other titles that Hurst is publishing this year.

Ayesha Siddiqa
Author and Defense Analyst
Appearance Date:
Jan 2008 – May 2008

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa is the author of two books ”Military Inc, Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy and Pakistan’s Arms Procurement and Military Buildup, 1979-99: In Search of a Policy”  on defense decision-making and political-economy of the military. She has 17
years work experience in research, consulting, teaching, and running public sector projects with a particular focus on defense decision-making, defense economics, arms procurement and production, and revolution in military affairs (RMA) in South Asia.

Dr. Siddiqa has worked extensively on national security policymaking, military strategy, and the politics of Pakistan and South Asia. She is currently working the politics of democracy and development in the developing world, with special emphasis on Asia and Latin America, two regions which are crucial for understanding the subject, and the politics of Islam in Asia.

She has a B.A. from the Kinnaird College for Women in Lahore, Pakistan, an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Punjab, Lahore, and a Ph.D. from King’s College, University of London, UK.

She was also a visiting faculty member at the South Asia Studies Department for Spring 2008.

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