Society and Identity
In this paper I seek to make sense of recent years ethno-territorial assertions in Meghalaya built around two controversial laws; first the colonial legislation known as the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, and secondly the recent amendment to the Khasi Social Custom of Lineage Act, of 1997, by the Khasi Autonomous District Council. These very different legal provisions have recently been subject to large-scale political mobilization as well as controversies and conflicts. The need for these legislations, as suggested by those who rally behind them, is to curb influx of outsiders who are claimed to take control over indigenous lands and in the long run jeopardize the very survival of the Khasi community. If the threat in the first instance is from outside, in the latter case the threat is identified as coming from within the community, that is, Khasi women marrying non-Khasis. The larger question asked in the paper is what these increasingly desperate ethno-territorial measures will lead to.