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Beleaguered Nation (The Making and Unmaking of the Assamese Nationality)

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Item Code: NAZ936
Publisher: Manohar Publishers And Distributors
Author: Sajal Nag
Language: ENGLISH
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9789350981412
Pages: 504
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 600 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Thangal Kachari and Deuris, and even domiciled Gorkhas which if conceded would reduce the size of the Assamese nationality and Assamese territory to only a few pockets.

There are extremist outfits like the United Liberation Front of Assam which saw secession from India as the solution to the problem of Assamese nationality, others like the Karbi National Volunteers, United Peoples Democratic Solidarity, Dima Haloa Daoga (two factions), Kuki National Front, and Kuki National Army, Bodo Security Force, National Democratic Front of Bodoland resorted to violence as a mode of their assertions. Unprecedented turbulence, instability, violence, and internal displacement engulfed the entire region creating a severe crisis for the Indian state. Submerged in this ethnic cauldron, the Assamese were indeed a beleaguered nation fighting for survival amidst such multiple ethnic challenges.

This book is about contradictions, conflicts machinations, subversions, nature of state intervention, and the intricate process of making and unmaking of Assamese nationality vis-a-vis northeast India.

About the Author

Sajal Nag is currently Professor in History at Assam Central University, Silchar, Assam. He was formerly the first Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Distinguished Chair Professor in Social Science and History at Presidency University, Kolkata. He was also a Senior Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library, New Delhi. a Commonwealth Fellow at Queen's University, Belfast, and a Charles Wallace Fellow at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.


Roots of Ethnic Conflict: Nationality Question in North-East India was my first book. It was published by Manohar in 1990. It was perhaps the first full-fledged book on the tangled nationality question of Assam. It was a revised version of my Ph.D. dissertation which was undertaken to make an in-depth study of the situation. The thrust was on studying the making of the ethnic conflict between the Bengalis and Assamese with the development of the Assamese nationality forming the backdrop, both of which were inextricable parts of the same process. But since then two decades have passed by. The book was long out of print. The thought of a reprint of the book never occurred to me until I found that the wt3rks published recently on the same subject did not acknowledge the existence of my book as if between Amalendu Guha's Planter raj to Swaraj and Sanjib Baruah's India Against Itself there was no research on Assam.

It was during one of my discussions on the subject that my publisher Shri Ramesh Jain of Manohar mentioned that there were a lot of queries about the book in recent times and suggested I go for a reprint. He felt now when ethnicity and ethnic conflict especially in the Northeast were of such topicality, the book would God a larger readership. I agreed to a reprint but on the condition, I revise parts of it and add a few chapters that would take care of the developments since the last publication. The cumulative result is this revised version of the earlier book. Despite the change n title, which is now more appropriate I feel, the book retains the same theme through the added information and chapters only link to the current development to make the analysis more meaningful. It remains a study of the rise and development of Assamese nationality and the challenges and contestations that it confronted the process. It is the study of a political theme from a historical perspective.

Such a theme could hardly be studied without entering into the domain of social history because the social or societal aspect of man cannot be separated from other aspects of his being. It also cannot be separated from the ways in which he/she gets his/her living, the material environment, or his/her ideas. Since my absolute belief to be in total history, I have tried in this work to explore every possible aspect of man's being: from mentality to consciousness; from economics to culture and peasant behavior to a study of leadership. This effort necessitated a relative deviation not only from conventional historiography but also in methodology. Besides the archival sources which formed the basis of my work, there is also a heavy reliance on oral sources like interviews, conversations, and so on.

The arrangement of the chapters is thematic not necessarily chronological. The reader may also find that I have at times not adhered to the commonly accepted or classical notions of certain concepts. For example, I have taken the word 'socialization' to mean the injection of a particular idea which the entire society imbibes, thus making the idea universal for that particular society. People come to live with that idea making it social thinking. Likewise, protectionism through a common economic term is used here to impart a social meaning. On the assumption that a particular social group when faced with a sociocultural threat may organize a movement to protect itself. Such an attempt at conservation has been called social protectionism.

The original book had a foreword by Professor Amalendu Guha. It is no more necessary and hence is withdrawn. The bibliography has been updated in accordance with the new material to the addition. The acknowledgments remain the same. The only addition is that of Sri Ramesh Jain who persuaded, waited, and reminded me of overshooting the deadline for completing the project.

While credit for the book has to be shared with all the people involved in this collective effort, the responsibility for errors of facts or interpretation is of course mine alone.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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