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TitleBorderland Lives in Northern South Asia
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Table of Contents
Introduction: Northern South Asia’s Diverse Borders, from Kachchh to Mizoram - David N. Gellner
One. Borders without Borderlands: On the Social Reproduction of State Demarcation in Rajasthan - Anastasia Piliavsky
Two. Allegiance and Alienation: Border Dynamics in Kargil - Radhika Gupta
Three. Naturalizing the Himalaya-as-Borderin Uttarakhand - Nayanika Mathur
Four. On the Way to India: Nepali Rituals of Border Crossing - Sondra L. Hausner, Jeevan R. Sharma
Five. The Perils of Being a Borderland People: On the Lhotshampas of Bhutan - Rosalind Evans
Six. Developing the Border: The State and the Political Economy of Development in Arunachal Pradesh - Deepak K. Mishra
Seven. The Micropolitics of Borders: The Issue of Greater Nagaland (or Nagalim) - Vibha Joshi
Eight. Nodes of Control in a South(east) Asian Borderland - Nicholas Farrelly
Nine. Histories of Belonging(s): Narrating Territory, Possession, and Dispossession at the India-Bangladesh Border - Jason Cons
Ten. Geographies and Identities: Subaltern Partition Stories along Bengal’s Southern Frontier - Annu Jalais
Afterword: Making the Most of ‘Sensitive’ Borders - Willem van Schendel
Document Text Contents
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Page 159

150 | D E E PA K K. M I S H R A

India’s role in East Asia and Southeast Asia”; the Politics Paradigm, which
acquired relevance in the 1970s, was based on the presumption that lack of
political representation in ‘mainstream’ democratic processes has led to the
alienation of people of the region. Thus the creation of new States was part
of a policy to accommodate subnationalist and ethnic aspirations within the
broad framework of parliamentary democracy; the Development Paradigm
of the 1980s is an economic response premised on the belief that “if we build
schools, bridges, internet centers, iits [branches of the Indian Institute of
Technology] and refineries, the people will be happy. Give them development
and they will forget about problems of identity, problems of assertion, prob-
lems associated with creating a nation out of essentially tribal communities.
Thus the 1980s was the period marked by a substantial increase in public ex-
penditure in this region.” Since the 1990s, one may add, another phase in the
dominant thinking about the Northeast has been added: the neoliberal para-
digm, linked with the much-hyped transnational dimension through India’s
Look East Policy (compare Farrelly, in chapter 8, this volume). For entirely
different reasons, both critics and policymakers for the region seem to agree
that once international trade and markets take over, the highways linking the
booming economies of Southeast Asia and China with that of India through
the Northeast will also bring peace and prosperity to the region.15 Ramesh
(2005) himself argues that “the future of the Northeast lies in political integra-
tion with India and economic integration with Southeast Asia.”

Many analysts believe that the political decision to create a number of small
States in the region did not pay adequate attention to the question of their eco-
nomic and fiscal viability (Sachdeva 2000; Rao and Singh 2004). The States of
Northeast India, including Arunachal Pradesh, have been heavily dependent
upon central government assistance and are routinely described as States fac-
ing a severe “fiscal crisis” (Sarma 2005), mainly because of their low internal
revenue-generation capacities. While this ‘asymmetric federalism’ has acted
as a means of preserving the unity of India in the face of secessionist move-
ments (Rao and Singh 2004), the center’s policy has also been blamed for the
crisis of state finances in India, particularly in the case of the special category
States.16 Political commentators like Sanjib Baruah (2003a), however, argue
that this policy of creation of unviable States, which are perpetually dependent
on the center for their day-to-day survival, has given rise to a ‘cosmetic’ re-
gional federal order, in which the center retains sufficient control to achieve its
strategic and developmentalist objectives. The heavy dependence on central

Page 160

Developing the Border | 151

assistance has also meant that there is little local control over development
schemes. The centrality of the government sector in general and public ad-
ministration has shaped the growth trajectory of the State to a great extent.

The other signi�cant aspect of the ‘developmentalist’ vision in this bor-
der state is the interrelationship between the security and developmental as-
pects of government spending in general, and in infrastructure in particular.
As noted by Baruah (2004a), the state has always placed heavy emphasis on
building roads. Poor connectivity to the plains was a major reason for the
military debacle in the 1962 war with China. In subsequent decades consid-
erable e�ort was made to develop road connectivity in this di
cult terrain,
a process that has been termed ‘nationalizing space’ (Baruah 2003a, 2004a).
The construction of roads, mostly by the Border Roads Organisation, has had
many signi�cant consequences for the State’s economy, both intended and un-
intended. First, most of the roads were developed in a north-south direction,
connecting the borders with China to the plains of Assam, which probably
makes sense from the security point of view, but it also means that to visit one
district headquarters from another, the people of Arunachal have to travel a
long distance through Assam.17 Second, these roads have become so signif-
icant for the people that the settlement patterns in the uplands have under-
gone signi�cant changes. Many villages have shi�ed from old sites to newer
sites nearer the roads. This has led to the creation of multiclan, multitribe
villages with several implications for control and management of community
resources, including land and forests. Third, in the construction of roads local
people were employed as contractors, which not only cemented the relation-
ship between the locals and the administration but also played a catalytic role
in creating a local contractor class.

State, Market, and Community

These speci�c characteristics of Arunachal Pradesh play an important role in
creating the overall context in which the political economy of development
is shaped by the actions and inactions of various forces — local, national, and
international. In this analysis, I attempt to understand these processes by
looking at the ways the local State, market forces, and ‘community’ interact
with and in�uence each other.

As discussed earlier, in Arunachal Pradesh most villages had some institu-
tional mechanism such as a village council to manage and safeguard property

Page 318

Index | 309

Sharma, J. R., 16, 27, 87, 270
shifting agriculture, 12–14, 152, 155, 249
Shi’ism. See Muslims
Shneiderman, S., 4
Sikkim, 33, 75, 119, 123–25, 139, 271n1
Simon Commission, 173, 179
Sinchula, Treaty of, 119
Singpho. See Kachin
Sino-Indian War. See Indo-China War
Skardu, 49–54, 60, 62–63, 66
smuggling, 16, 26, 86–88, 101, 108, 197,

South Asia, 1–6, 13, 26, 125, 139, 188,

194–97, 268
South Asian studies, 1–2, 5–6, 25, 194–95,

201, 267
Southeast Asia, 3, 11, 13, 150, 176, 188,

194–201, 267
Sri Lanka, 6, 17, 85
Srinagar (Garhwal), 74, 84
Srinagar (Kashmir), 49, 50, 58, 65
ssb (Sashastra Seema Bal), 8, 106–7
state, the, 2–3, 12; at the border, 40–41,

48, 68–69, 107f, 238; fleeing/evading,
1–4, 19–20, 199, 205; idea of, 2–3, 14,
19–20; nonstate space, 25, 27, 93n9,
164, 166; premodern, 5, 7, 11–13, 18–20;
role in development, 66–67, 149–51,
199, 207–8. See also maps; Zomia

state of exception, 15, 59, 68, 217
Stiller, L., 7
Sturgeon, J. C., 198
Sunderbans, 247, 249, 256–57, 261–63
Supreme Court, 154, 227
swidden. See shifting agriculture
Swu, I. C., 183, 190n8

Tagore, R., 258, 263, 265
Tambiah, S. J., 11
Tangkhul (Naga), 174–75, 183, 185–86
Tanvir, A. H., 54

Tarai, 13, 15, 17, 91n2, 98, 100–101, 117
Tawang, 143, 145–47, 156, 165, 206
tea plantations, 127, 164, 173
territorialization, 4–5, 17–19, 59, 73, 80–

81, 99, 113, 117, 211, 267. See also borders
(as relational)

Thailand, 6, 14, 59, 195, 198–99, 209
Thakur, S., 57
Tharus, 13, 21n5
Thongchai, W. See Winichakul
Tibet, 3, 7, 72–73, 76–80, 83–85, 87, 89,

119, 201, 206, 268. See also trade
Tibeto-Burman languages, 13, 49, 119,

172, 175, 197
timber, 154, 157, 205, 228
Tin Bigha Corridor, 215–17, 222–27,

trade, 16, 49–50, 76, 78–79, 142–47, 150,

157, 165. See also smuggling
trafficking, 95, 101, 105–6, 108–9, 114n1,

tribes, 13–14, 76, 206; in Arunachal,

143–48, 150–52, 156–58; “Criminal
Tribes,” 29, 32–33; in Nagaland, 163,
170, 172–73, 175–76, 180, 183, 185–86,
188; Scheduled, 22n21, 50, 92nn8–9,
192n25, 206

Tripura, 10, 33, 178
Tsing, A., 66, 93n14
Turner, F. J., 27

Uberoi, J. P. S., 49
United Nations, 63, 136, 181, 211n1, 269
unpo, 175–77
Urdu, 62, 250, 263
Uttarakhand, 33, 72f, 100, 115n7, 249
Uttar Pradesh, 22n10, 28, 33, 53, 75, 84,


Van Schendel, W., 1, 4, 20, 26, 80, 148,
165, 176; Abraham and, 23n30, 40,

Page 319

310 | Index

Van Schendel, W. (continued)
77, 80, 86, 113; on Bangladesh-India
border, 9–11, 15, 70nn11,20, 214, 219–
20, 234, 255–56; Baud and, 21n6, 25–
26, 40, 97, 117, 122, 139, 170, 251, 255; on
historiography, 172, 188; on Partition,
7, 9, 69n6, 220, 250–51, 256, 260; on
types of border, 7, 25, 266–67, 269;
on Zomia, 3, 188, 195–99, 210–11

Whitecross, R., 119–22
Whyte, B., 215, 219, 231, 241n20

Wilson, T. M., 14, 21n6, 22n15, 23n31,
43n3, 48, 240n10

Winichakul, T., 6, 14, 59, 198, 200, 210

Yadav, 15
Yandabo, Treaty of (1826), 164

Ziaur Rahman, 230, 234, 237
Zomia, 3–4, 188, 195–202, 205–6, 209–11
“Zomian thinking,” 4, 19–20, 200–201,

208. See also hill-plains interaction
Zurick, D., 76

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