Rubina Saigol

In this paper, the main concept discussed is that conflicts and narratives of justice tend to interpenetrate.  Conflict appears to be an inherent characteristic of modern states, especially ones that predicate their ideas of ‘the nation’ on one religion, and one ethnic or sectarian group.  Conflict affects the capacity of states to mediate between the competing claims of religious, ethnic, sectarian and gender groups.  The kinds of resolution of conflict effected can in turn produce further conflict demanding new varieties of resolution.  This process seems to inhere within the roots of the nation state idea.

The case of Pakistan is examined with a view toward understanding the relationship between a specific articulation of nationalism, the conflicts engendered by such articulation and the state’s responses in generating further conflict.  The impact of these processes upon citizenship and state formation are explored with regard to three systematic forms of exclusion – non-Muslims, women and ethnic minorities. These exclusions appear to be the manifestations of injustice arising from dominant state ideologies and imperatives.


Rubina Saigol received her PhD in Education and Development from the University of Rochester and her MA in Development Psychology from Columbia University. She is currently an independent researcher engaged in projects on Religions and Development, and ethno-nationalism and partition. She has authored and edited several books and papers in English and Urdu on education, nationalism, the state, ethnicity, religious radicalism, terrorism, feminism and human rights. Her work has been published in international journals and publications. Some of her publications include Knowledge and Identity; Symbolic Violence; Locating the Self; Social Sciences in the 1990s; A Critical Appraisal of the Human Rights Movement; Enemies Within and Enemies Without: The Besieged Self in Pakistani Textbooks; His Rights, Her Duties: Citizen and Mother in the Civics Discourse; A Tale of Two Communities: Textbook Representations of 1857; Becoming a Modern Nation: Educational Discourse of Ayub Era: 1959-1964; Training Manual for Human Rights Education; Women’s Education and Cultural Nationalism; Gender in Education; Women and Resistance; Engendering the Nation-state; Aspects of Women and Development; Deconstructing Terrorism: Discourse and Death in Pakistan; Militarization, Nation and Gender; Talibanization of Pakistan. Rubina has conducted teacher training workshops on human rights and gender equality in all the four provinces of Pakistan.

Rubina is a founder member of the Ajoka theater group and has participated in several of its plays against religious extremism and women’s rights. She is a columnist for the Express Tribune and also contributes articles to the daily DAWN and The News. She is an active member of Women’s Action Forum, Pakistan.


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