ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Hoineilhing SitlhouSubscribe to RSS - Hoineilhing Sitlhou

Identity, Contestation and Ethnic Revivalism among Nepalis in Darjeeling

Nepalis in India tend to be treated as outsiders and this has prompted the political mobilisation of Nepali identity and the ethno-linguistic movement for “Gorkhaland.” However, the struggle in the Darjeeling Hills is not for a single homogeneous identity, but a composite of diverse ethnic and caste entities. This article studies the fragmentation of ethnic identity within the movement, the resultant political changes, and the processes of negotiation in the quest for identity formation.

Confronting the State

The relationship between land and identity in the hills of Manipur encompasses both "geographical territory" and "cultural territory." The colonial and postcolonial states are external actors that have restructured the society. They have reconstituted it ideologically, culturally as well as geographically. The three are interdependent: a geographical upheaval is always followed by ideological and cultural changes. Changes in land relations lead to a redefinition of identity. This is not necessarily due to physical changes in the landscape but a result of the ideological upheaval accompanying such change. This article will examine such changes while exploring the issue of land rights of the Kukis and their contentious negotiations with the colonial and postcolonial states.
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