Numerous ethnic movements have over the years confronted the central state within India's multicultural democracy. India thus provides laboratory-like conditions for the study of these movements. In this paper I analyze three such ethnic movements—those of Tamils in Tamilnadu during the 1950s and the 1960s, of Sikhs in the Punjab during the 1980s, and of Muslims in Kashmir during the 1990s—with the aim of explaining both their rise and decline. The focus will be less on details of these movements and more on deriving some general conclusions.

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