Discordant Discourse: Revisiting Assam’s Ethnic Issues

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Book Code: 1111016936162

Bitasta Das

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ABOUT THE BOOK

This book examines the ethnic issues of one of Indian states—Assam, that has been believed to be inundated with ethnic discord. By examining three instances, we argue that an overwhelming ethnic discourse exists here that renders the imagination and expression of this region as fundamentally fragmented—ethnically . To explore the discourse, we study three recent conflicts that have been considered as ethnic conflicts—the Assam Movement (1979-1985), the United Liberation Front of Assam or ULFA (1979-present) and the Bodoland Movement (1987-present ). Following this, we forefront the following argument that while the presence and acknowledgment of diversity cannot be negated, categorization of identities in Assam as essentially “ethnic” emerged at a specific junction—the British colonial period. The study finally proposes that in this particular context ethnic strife arise from the nation's inability to emerge from the discordant colonial ethnic discourse about the region.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr . Bitasta Das is Instructor-Humanities, Undergraduate Programme at Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. She is a gold medallist in Cultural Studies from Tezpur University , Assam and holds Doctorate degree in Cultural Studies from Manipal University , Karnataka. Her Ph.D research was on “Unravelling Ethnic Tensions: Colonialism, Post Colonialism and the Question of Identity in Assam”. She has published four books so far on Indian culture, folk art and tribal issues and has several papers to her credit in national and international journals. At IISc she teaches a paper on Indian Folk Arts, one on Research Methodology and another on People and Nature.

CONTENTS

Acknowledgment ....................................................................................... 7

Preface .................................................................................................... .. 11

Introduction: Constituents of Ethnic Discourse ................................... 13

1. Recounting the Assam Movement, the United Liberation Front of Assam and the Bodoland Movement ............................... 55

2. Ethnicization of the Assam Movement, United Liberation Front of Assam and the Bodoland Movement ............................ 137

3. Windings of the Ethnic Discourse ............................................... 163

4. Probing the Ethnic in Assam’s Ethnic Discourse ........................ 173

Conclusion: The Discordant Discourse ....................................... 201

Annexures ..................................................................................... 211

Bibliography ................................................................................ 225

Index ............................................................................................ 243


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