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Mapping a Contested Space: Northeast India Through the Ages


Northeast India, home to diverse ethnic communities, has often been described as the cauldron of ethnic violence and insurgencies. The ongoing crisis in Manipur (in the form of a fratricidal war between the Meiteis and Kukis) and the State’s failure to contain it calls for deeper scrutiny of the geopolitics of the region. Whereas the region was once a crossroad that facilitated the movement of these ethnic groups, its transformation into a frontier area during colonial times and as a borderland after India’s partition turned it into a contested space. Further, with the introduction of colonial modernity, the old socio-cultural and economic structures have radically altered the relationship among the communities giving space to necropolitics. In this context, by referring to Rituparna Bhattacharyya’s edited volume Northeast India through the Ages: A Transdisciplinary Perspective on Prehistory, History, and Oral History and other research works, this commentary maps the transformation of the territory into a necrospace. In doing so, this study argues that while much of the complications had been foisted due to the colonial map-making process and immigration, an ethnic resurgence had further facilitated the growth of necropolitics in the region. Additionally, the study will focus on the representations of socio-cultural history and politics by relating those to the multifaceted aspect of necropolitics and its entangled colonial history.


Necropolitics, Northeast India, Colonial Modernity, Ethnonationalism, Biopolitics



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