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The current social and political processes of Assam in terms of demographic aspect and frontier area policies cannot be seen to be a development in isolation from British colonial policies. The entire system is linked to a historical process of ownership and inheritance. The British entry into the North-Eastern region of India, at the end of the Anglo-Burmese war, marked the beginning of colonial penetration with the consequence of unanticipated transformation of socio-economic and demographic profile in the region. The profound commercial significance of Assam explored by British colonialism led to the development of the Brahmaputra valley into a new economic space. Accordingly, the colonialists consolidated political interventions through the construction of frontier policies that created a divide between ‘Hills’ and ‘Plains’. The policies of social and cultural subjugation, followed by the colonialists, brought the neighbouring hill tribes under colonial control, and the entire region was being turned into a politico-economic jurisdiction of colonial subjects. Such policies envisaged by the British with a commercial motive, however, anguished the ethnic strife- the existing social landscape, the economic space and the political set-up of the region. The current problem of foreigners’ issue and the frontier issue is, in fact, the continuation of the colonial traditions. An understanding of the colonial pattern of exploitation of resources through social and political control would provide an apprehension of the past causes and present effect relationship. Hence, this study attempts to understand the implications of the colonial era political developments in Assam considering its economic potentiality that has given a whole new dimension to the entire regional set-up.
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