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: The chapters in this volume analyse issues relating to political governance, national identity, economic development and regional security that have preoccupied the states of South Asia in the fifty years following independence. India has been faced with the challenge of developing effective democratic structures in the world's most diverse and populous society. It confronts tensions in its efforts to carry out economic reforms in a competitive resource-scarce context, and to maintain its commitment to secularism in the face of the growing influence of Hindu nationalism. The role of the military and of religion have complicated the task of stabilising democratic structures and socio-economic development in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sri Lanka's political problems have escalated due to the failures of its leadership, unsuccessful constitutional experiments, and unresolved ethnic differences. The transition of Nepal from a centralised monarchy to a participatory political system has generated stresses in its traditional social relations and group rankings.The essays by an international groups of scholars explore these themes with a view to highlighting the complex processes of political change and development that are underway in the South Asian states.