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Embattled Frontiers and Emerging Spaces

Transformation of the Tawang Border

Swargajyoti Gohain (swargajyoti@gmail.com) is Assistant Professor of Sociology at IIT Kanpur and is currently teaching in Ashoka University.

In the years following the India–China War (1962), Tawang underwent a significant makeover. In 1964, the Indian government sanctioned the construction of the Nehru Gompa monastery to commemorate Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to Tawang. Nehru Gompa is a symbol of the new relations between the Indian state and the Tibetan Buddhist institutions that were forged in the early postcolonial period in India’s North East Frontier. This paper looks at the changing dynamics between the Tawang Monastery, the local population, and the state in this context, and focuses on how the Tawang Monastery negotiated with the local administration through the medium of official correspondence.

I carried out the research for this paper in Tawang in May 2013. This was a fi eld visit to Tawang following extended visits in 2008, 2009, and 2010. An initial draft was presented at the Asian Borderlands Research Network conference in Hong Kong (8–10 December 2014).

I am grateful to the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and the North East India Studies Programme, in Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, for supporting this paper at different stages of writing and revision. I am grateful to Kerstin Grothmann from Humboldt University, Germany, for her valuable comments on the fi rst draft.

Updated On : 18th Apr, 2017

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