South Asia

Roundtable Session

The Making of India's Northeast: 1947 and After

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Amaltas, Lower Ground Floor

The proposed roundtable will focus on the transformation of India’s Northeast from a frontier during colonial times to a borderland in 1947. An understanding of the genealogy and configuration of India’s Northeast subverts common assumptions about 1947, particularly on issues of communal polarizations, the formation of the border as well as the participation of non-political groups like the tribal populations who had a very little stake in the playing out of the Radcliffe Line.


India’s Northeast is a prime example of the fissures that existed in the nation-building project that emerged from the dominant nationalist discourses around 1947. The spatial and temporal realities that came into being in the Northeastern region remains largely uncharted although the postcolonial state making practices in the region have produced irreversible patterns of social and political turmoil. In 1947, issues of ethnicity, language, and belonging became contentious questions in this region and have remained so to this day. An exploration of complex current issues will, therefore, mean an understanding of local societies, their encounter with external communities and the various forms of politics and collectivities that have emerged in the region after 1947.


The proposed roundtable is, therefore, a much-needed moment of recognition of the importance of this region within Indian historiography. The questions that can be debated and discussed are the movement of populations, border disputes and control and dissenting or marginal voices within the region, with special emphasis on women. The relationship between the Northeast with the rest of India will be discussed through the processes of state formation and militarization. The roundtable would bring together academics and researchers who have worked on the Northeast, a writer whose short stories have explored the contradictions of borders in the region and a journalist who have travelled extensively in the Northeast, all of whom will try to lay bare a more nuanced understanding of the region’s historical and contemporary realities through an understanding of people and places through the lens of their collective and historical memories and experiences.


Debajani Sengupta

Indraprastha College for Women, India

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Debajani Sengupta

Indraprastha College for Women, India

Presentation(s):

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Sunanda Bhattacharya

Independent Scholar, India

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Kishalay Bhattacharya

O.P. Jindal Global University, India

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Debajani Sengupta

Indraprastha College for Women, India

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Debajani Sengupta


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