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

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Monuments, Memory and Forgetting in Postcolonial North-East India

This paper looks at how "official" memories are produced in state-sponsored public spaces and how a multi-ethnic, multicultural north-east India responded to it. Official memory sites like museums, monuments and memorials not only reflected but also shaped ethnic relations to a great extent. The emerging states in the region have assiduously favoured the historical imagination of a politically dominant community, which is masculine, and remains persistently insensitive to the marginal "others" in the state. This, on the one hand, encouraged the dominant community to assimilate and thereby produced ethnonationalism around that notion of shared pasts. On the other, it generated a sense of neglect in the minorities who responded with vernacular memorials to embody their historical imagination and likewise developed their own ethnic nationalism around it. This parallel rise to prominence of often competing ethnonationalisms within the region, or sometime within the state, has thereby produced violent forms of contestation often dangerously imbued with fissiparous tendencies.
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