Monday, March 21, 2005

BOOK REVIEW: Durable Disorder - Understanding the Politics of Northeast India

Baruah tackles the messy and controversial issue of immigration. While most writers and analysts have concentrated on the “pull factors” that attract large scale immigrants from neighbouring countries as well as from other parts of India into the sparsely populated, modern skills poor region, threatening to radically overturn the demographic balance, Baruah also points out the more systematic “push factors” prompted by the Indian nation’s need to “nationalize space”. This involves tuning local population to the national outlook as well as physically filling the poorly charted spaces with “nation-bearing” populations. While this agenda has not been pursued as aggressively as China has done, partly because in the case of India there is no single nation-bearing population, he argues the distinction between ethnic groups that are marked as indigenous to the region and those that are marked as immigrants from the rest of the sub-continent has remained quite significant in the politics of Northeast India.............More