|Title||Identifying ‘Immigrants’ through Violence: Memory, Press, and Archive in the making of ‘Bangladeshi Migrants’ in Assam|
This research studies the violent conflict between Bengali Muslims, who mostly migrated from the former East Bengal during colonial times, and the Bodo Tribe, who mostly follow the Bathou religion in the Bodoland region of Assam. This conflict is often seen through the preexisting lens of communal violence between Hindus and Muslims in India. Here, conflict between a religious minority and an ethnic one is investigated in its locality and this investigation highlights the complex history of the region and its part in shaping this antagonism. It does so by looking into the colonial archive which introduced the category of ‘immigrant’ to the region, together with Urdu and English press coverage of four violent events that essentialize the categories ‘Muslim’ and ‘immigrant’, respectively. Defying simple categorization, the Bengali Muslims in the Kokrajhar district have devised their own strategy for narrating time. Through archival and ethnographic research this study shows the shifting meaning of the concept of an ‘immigrant’ and its implication for social and political realities. This research addresses some less studied dynamics of the clash between two minorities and its representation in both the English and Urdu Media.
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