ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Gautam Chandra Roy

Making of a Frontier Identity

A frontier is a “contested” geopolitical and cultural space. The emergence of the frontier has often been attributed to the complex historical, political, cartographic and cultural rearrangements that took place in a region at different points in time. The paper attempts to examine the making of the erstwhile Goalpara as a frontier and its “transition” to a “contested space” spreading between Assam and West Bengal. Based on an anthology, it tries to locate this frontier, considering its close proximity with both the states and the resultant identity imbroglio, in the context of the Koch-Rajbanshi community living in the region.

Dynamics of Being Rajbanshi

The transition from tribe to caste has remained a contested phenomenon in India. Many tribal groups had left their religion, culture, language, and traditional practices to elevate their social status in the caste-based hierarchical society. This complex transition is addressed in the context of the Rajbanshi identity, highlighting the intricacies involved. Adopting the frame of “retribalisation” questions the simplistic tribe to caste narrative and reiterates their consistent effort to embrace “generic” roots left in the past to bargain with the wider society.

Negotiating with the Changing Landscape: The Case of the Rajbanshi Community

Once spread over a vast contiguous landmass that covered India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, the Rajbanshi community has undergone several changes in the colonial and postcolonial period due to the drawing and redrawing of the political borders. Particularly, the emergence of modern nation states in the Indian subcontinent has impeded the consolidation of the Rajbanshi community.