Interning Insurgent Populations: The Buried Histories of Indian Democracy
Based on the memories of elderly Naga and Mizo villagers in north-east India who underwent grouping in the 1950s and 1960s, this article shows how the concept of "success" and "failure" used by studies of grouping is flawed, betraying a bureaucratic calculus. Whatever the overt reasons given for grouping, what underlies it is the assumption that all people in a given area, whether civilian or combatant, are potentially hostile. Grouping is thus an act of war rather than effective counter-insurgency. This article describes the process of grouping, forced labour, surveillance and starvation in the camps. While descriptions of the process of grouping are consistent, people's opinions vary on its implications for their own lives, depending on their past and current location.
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