The BBC documentary that alleged a darker side to the ‘success story’ of conserving the one-horned rhino in the Kaziranga National Park has provided an occasion to think about the intertwined destinies of the animal and certain conceptions of Assamese nationalism. The article argues that the discourse of conservation in the state is constrained by a failure to see the animal as an end in itself. Conservation efforts are instead subordinated to various ideological agendas and therefore the animal’s value is seen as residing in the ideological role that it fulfils. The article traces the history of constructing the animal as an indispensable constituent of Assamese nationalism and how the metaphors used to represent this relationship have changed in response to the changing notions of Assamese nationalism.
Author: Rupam Sindhu Kalita
Rupam Sindhu Kalita is an MPhil student at the Department of English, Delhi University.