“A Paradigm Shift of the Conflict in South –Thailand: From the Quest of Identity to Terrorism” by Dr Diptendu Sarkar, PhD Graduate, Department Of South and South East Asian Studies, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India
According to well-accepted definition of terrorism, we came to know that in a broad sense, any terrorist activity has consisted of main two characteristics. Firstly, it must have to be motivated by any ideology, maybe it political or religious and the other aim of that activity has been always to weaken the opponent’s lethal power by which they have taken steps against them. Based on its characteristics, we can categorize different terrorist activities into main two groups like subversive terrorism and repressive terrorism.
In my view, when we try to take the example of the conflict of South Thailand to discuss about terrorism, then we are getting a chance to see those both main two kinds of terrorist acts like subversive and repressive. As when southern Malay – Muslims reacted violently against Buddhist Thai Central government, then this activity corroborated with Subversive terrorism and on the other hand, Repressive terrorist acts may be exemplified when the Thai central government through different government run tools aims to provoke fear among the Malay Muslim population, to suppress their protest against them.
From the ancient time to present Thai rulers way of ill-administration in this area is also imposing a great threat towards the sovereign ethnic, social, religious and linguistic identity of the Malay Muslims. After the failure of negotiations with the Thai government by the Malay Muslims to regain their sovereignty, they were forced to take up the path of terrorism from 1960.
But Bangkok never tries to agree with the argument that for the failure of their governance, that trouble still exists in that area and that also created a vacuum of mistrust in between both sides. This situation also had given an opportunity to the foreign terrorist organisations like Al-Qaeda, ISIS or others, to spread its wing in southern Thailand, along with the other parts of South East Asia.
So peace can never be achieved by Bangkok, by using suppressive measures against Malay Muslims without real measures to implement a good governance in that area. As use of force may give them a chance to win a battle against terrorism for a short period, but never win the heart of the Malay people, by which they can prevent themselves to being an ally of terrorists or their works.
Dr Diptendu Sarkar has done his B.A. Honors in History & Bachelor of Education from University of Calcutta, India. He did his Masters in Islamic History & Culture and Political Science and also going to complete another Masters’ in Education. Completed M. Phil and PhD from the department of South and South East Asian Studies of the University of Calcutta. He completed his M. Phil with specialisation on the role of religion in the politics of Bangladesh and completed PhD on the topic “Muslim In Southern Thailand And Their Political, Educational and Religious – Cultural Status In the Post – Colonial Period (1946-2005)”. His area of interests is politics, minority, ethnicity, identity and terrorism in the context of South Asia and South East Asia. He has already published several papers in national and international journals.
His published works are:
- “Thai Muslims and Their Historical Perspectives” published in the Proceedings of the 18thConference of the ‘Paschim Banga Itihash Sansad’, 2003
- “Thai – Malay Border Provinces : Some National Security Aspects of Two Countries” published in the Proceedings of the First Biennial International Conference of Indian Association of Asia Pacific Studies, 2004.
- “Role of the ‘Businessmen of Religion’ in the Politics of Bangladesh” (1972-1991) published in “SPOTLIGHT” a Journal of the department of South and South East Asian Studies, University of Calcutta, India, 2007.
- “Religious Minority, Education and Separatism in South Thailand” in the proceedings of the 12thThai Studies Conference, which was held at the Sydney University, Sydney Australia, 2014.
Dr. Sarkar had got the prestigious Charles Wallace Fellowship in the academic year of (2007-2008) and Visiting Researcher Scholarship from the Walailak University, Thailand in the year 2009. He also got the scholarship from Indian Council of Historical Research and Indian Council of Social Science & Research. He has participated and present paper in different national and international seminars in different countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Australia etc. Diptendu is widely travelled many parts of South East Asia, South Asia, Europe and Australia for academic work and research. He knows English, Bengali, Hindi, Sanskrit and elementary Thai and Malay language. He is presently working as a Principal of a government High School in Kolkata, India with 19 years and above teaching experience.