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Stateless in South Asia

Stateless in South Asia
The Chakmas between Bangladesh and India

First Edition

January 2010 | 320 pages | SAGE India
What does it mean to be ‘stateless’ in the modern postcolonial context? This fascinating study addresses this complex question through the case of the Chakma refugees in Arunachal Pradesh. The largely neglected social history of the ethnic Buddhist Chakmas, whose homeland is the Chittagong Hill Tracts (in the present day Bangladesh), carries the multiple imprints of partition, dominant development paradigm and religious persecution. As refugees in the strategically sensitive and disputed territory of Arunachal Pradesh in India’s Northeast, they are locked in an intractable conflict over land and resources with the indigenous Arunachalis, themselves marginalized and alienated from the rest of the country.

Setting a new dimension in refugee studies, the arguments in this book are developed on the framework of oral narratives, incorporating the self perceptions of both the Chakmas as well as the Arunachalis who host them. The book critically analyses national and international official documents and policy statements and demonstrates the absence of legal-institutional and legislative structures to address the concerns of refugees. It throws into relief the sharp contestations over nationalism, citizenship and ethnicity in South Asia, both at the level of political movements and academic discourse. It sheds new light on the outcomes of partition, boundary making and state formation, as well as dominant development models by examining the everyday experiences of these communities.

This book will be a useful resource for scholars and students of politics, international relations, sociology, anthropology and history. It will also help policy makers and lawyers.
Foreword Ramachandra Guha
Chakma Refugees: Partition Residues and Development Victims
CHT AND NEFA: From Colonial Outposts to Post-colonial Peripheries
Politics of Demographic (Dis)Order in Northeast India: The Idiom of Protest
Chakma Diaspora in Northeast India: Excluded Communities, Fragmented Identities
Official Discourses of the Chakma Issue: Centre versus State
Chakmas' Self-perceptions: Understanding Everyday Lived Experiences of Refugees
Arunachalis' Self-perceptions: Assertion and Reconstruction of Identity and Ethnic Nationalism
The Making of Refugees in South Asia: Nation, State and Outsiders
Interrogating India's Refugee policy

This reviewer firmly believes that the book definitely will help researchers of different subjects to explore an area which has remained isolated and unknown even in other parts of northeast India… offering hopes to both Chakmas and Arunachalees, especially by opening a strong debate, through questioning why there is no solution to these people’s predicaments even after fifty years of refugeehood.

South Asia Research

Singh provides a detailed account of the conflict between the Chakmas and the Arunachalees. The authenticity of the book lies in methodology…Singh effectively opens up a strong debate by questioning why there is no solution to the refugee problem even after 50 years of refugeehood.

The Book Review

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ISBN: 9789353881443
ISBN: 9788132102366

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