Often accounts that appear as ‘small’ like strawberry in comparison to the ‘big’ stories of development such as dams sit uncomfortably in the grand scheme of intellectual pursuits. We feel that it is precisely such distinctions that lead to erasure of ‘small’ developments that stem from what appears as trivial initiatives. Social sciences is often attracted to big stories where there is comprehensive literature and research materials. Thereby, reinforcing dominant epistemological frameworks. After all, development models of centre-periphery in relation to studying Northeast India reduce everything else as marginal. Unless relationships and networks are incorporated into the development, remoteness, and progress model for the region, our research risks being dismissed.
After learning that the broker Jokhim had arranged a “signal clear” for the transport of six bulls across the India-Bangladesh border, the cattle transporter Alibaba had no time to speak to anyone. Indian border commanders who had accepted Jokhim’s bribes had verbally granted a signal, which Jokhim relayed to Alibaba by rushing to his house. A signal clear comprises a precious two-to-three-hour window of opportunity during which Indian cattle workers such as Alibaba can cross the border to Bangladesh with their animals.“Signal clear,” Alibaba said to me, tying his cotton gamosa (towel) around his head as protection against the heat and the rain.
I am so glad I reached out to you after hearing your UCLA talk, and for your honest and generous response that unspooled into such a heartfelt conversation…
I like the idea of reflecting together via letters. For some reason I feel the format is perfect; sort of a very deep political and feminist conversation in a letter-writing genre.
It is the season for bambooshoot in Northeast India. Hundreds of women venture into the forests during these months to forage for the tender shoots. Some are consumed fresh, and a large quantity are fermented and preserved. As condiments, fermented bambooshoot (dried or wet) are generously added to meat, fish, and vegetables.
One of the first ethnographic accounts of Ka Shad and Pomblang of Hima Khyrim was by Fr. Christoph E Becker SDS who served as the…
Colonial politics of labelling communities have had disastrous consequences which continue to impact the lives of the colonized. Identities were created and circulated through this act which in turn had categorised, included and excluded the communities living in the colonial fringe. Karbis were labelled ‘heathen’, ‘worshippers of malignant demons’, ‘unwarlike’, ‘timid’, ‘coward’ ‘bloodthirsty’ and such other colonial vocabularies which continue to haunt them. Colonial authorities persisted with the misnomer, ‘Mikir’, over the ancient indigenous nomenclature Karbi and the label remained in force for centuries. Colonial categorisation of Karbis into Hills and Plains simply because of geographical locations continues to divide and distance the tribe psychologically, socially, culturally and politically. The colonizers however saw in the Karbis their ‘industriousness’ as it served the colonial enterprise.
The thrust of the Bill was to ensure that there is purity of race (a discarded concept) by forbidding marriages outside the community. But by leaving out Khasi men marrying non-Khasi women the cat got out of the bag. Racial purity (supposed) is going to be disturbed if any foreign element is brought in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from the men’s side or the women’s. The answer to this dilemma was given by one of the panellists in one of the TV debate held on the issue. “The problem doesn’t arise because the seed comes from the man” argued by one who was in support of the bill. Not surprisingly it was a man who said it.
Behdieiñkhlam is often defined by its literary meaning which comprises of three words beh-dieñ-khlam. ‘Beh’ literarily means to chase or to rid off and ‘dieñ’ means wood, tree or log and ‘khlam’ means plague, epidemic or pestilence. So literarily Behdieñkhlam means the festival to get rid of epidemic, plague and pestilence but is that what Behdieñkhlam is all about?