- argue that autonomy has to be an essential ingredient in the building of post-colonial democracies, not merely a residual measure to keep some constituencies happy;
- draw attention to the contending principles of autonomy, the consequent politics of autonomies, the inescapable co-existence of autonomies, and the need for dialogue; and
- analyze the instructive Indian politico-historical experience because of its diversity and range, the extent of colonial institutionalization, multiple forms of autonomy, the complex path of constitutionalism, a wide variety of accords, and the unyielding state that is determined to keep the nation intact.
In the process, the contributors traverse a wide range of issues relating to women`s autonomy, peace accords, the nature of federalism in the Indian Constitution, autonomy in international law, and the fiscal decentralization. These debates are then supported by case studies on the autonomy experiments in Kashmir, Darjeeling, and the entire Northeast, and on fiscal devolution.