Northeast India is home to numerous ethnic communities. Considered a marginal geographical space, this region is as diverse as India itself in terms of its languages, cultures, and ethnicities. However, the dominant tendency is to conceptualise the Northeast as a singular, homogenous territory, and this problematic construction both implies a shared identity among different ethnic communities and determines the way the region is governed by the Indian state. Identity and Marginality in Northeast India rectifies this construction and highlights the heterogeneity of the different groups and their unique experiences, contestations, and conflicts.
The volume explores the connection of the history of the Northeast to the present issues affecting the region, such as intra- and inter-ethnic conflicts that result in human security concerns, the racism faced by Northeasterners outside the region, discrimination against non-normative sexualities, and state violence in the form of AFSPA. The book inspects how colonial policies transformed internal social relations within the tribal and non-tribal communities and led to a state of marginalisation. This was further reinforced and reproduced in post-Independence India not only through an exclusion from mainstream society, but also through the invisibilisation of Northeasterners in official statistics, state policies, media and research.
This volume challenges colonial, nationalist and regional historiography and its marginalisation of Northeast India, and will interest students and scholars of post-colonial studies, history and sociology and social anthropology. Readers interested in race and ethnicity, tribes and indigenous cultures, and Northeast India will also find it an absorbing read.
Hoineilhing Sitlhou is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Hyderabad.
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Foreword by Purendra Prasad
Introduction: Identity and Marginality
PART I Politics of Difference and the Articulation of Identities
1. Tribes, Colonialism and Postcolonial Predicament in Northeast India
2. Interrogating India’s Northeast as an Object of Knowledge Production
PART II Colonialism and Northeast India
3. Colonialism and History Writing: The Mizo Experience
4. Census and Identity Politics among the Plains Tribes in Colonial Assam
PART III Race, Ethnicity and Migration
5. Northeastern Migrants in Delhi: Racial Discrimination, Violence and State Response
Hoineilhing Sitlhou and Salah Punathil
6. Northeast Youth Migration to Cities: The Kuki Case in Delhi
PART IV Negotiating Gender, Culture and Identity
7. Alternative Sexuality and Civil Society in Mizoram
8. Women in Conflict Situations: Experiences of Marginalisation of Displaced Kuki Women in Manipur
9. Christianity and Gender: A Study of Protestant Mizo Women
PART V Indigeneity, Land and Identity
10. Megalithic Culture of the Chakhesang Nagas: Reinterpreting the Self
11. Livelihood Interventions and Marginalisation in Land and Forest Rights of Rural Khasi Women
Rekha M. Shangpliang
PART VI Borders, States and Markets
12. Marginalisation: Everyday Life Activities at the Myanmar-Mizoram Borderland
N. William Singh
13. Global Markets, Local Risks and Social Marginality: A Study of Cancer-Affected People in Mizoram
Notes on the Contributors