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

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A Historical Study of the 'Zo' Struggle

A post-colonial liberal polity like India does not seem to be at ease in managing the stark reality of identity-related interests today. In spite of disavowal by the Indian state, current international debate on indigenous tribal peoples may serve as a crucial point of departure to historicise the self-definitions of indigenous tribes and also to document little known struggles of non-dominant internal minorities like the Zo people who inhabit India's eastern borderland. There are significant historical anomalies specific to the "hill tribals" of Manipur. Foregrounding such singular conditions may explain, at least in part, why and how Manipur remains in a state of siege, especially since the 1980s. Perhaps a degree of compromise may be required, if not desirable, between liberal regimes that represent dominant interests on the one hand, and indigenous collective claims to some sort of redress for past wrongs - especially when they have the force of justice behind them, on the other hand.

SPECIAL ARTICLE

A Historical Study of the ‘Zo’ Struggle

David Vumlallian Zou

A post-colonial liberal polity like India does not seem to be at ease in managing the stark reality of identityrelated interests today. In spite of disavowal by the Indian state, current international debate on indigenous tribal peoples may serve as a crucial point of departure to historicise the self-definitions of indigenous tribes and also to document little known struggles of nondominant internal minorities like the Zo people who inhabit India’s eastern borderland. There are significant historical anomalies specific to the “hill tribals” of Manipur. Foregrounding such singular conditions may explain, at least in part, why and how Manipur remains in a state of siege, especially since the 1980s. Perhaps a degree of compromise may be required, if not desirable, between liberal regimes that represent dominant interests on the one hand, and indigenous collective claims to some sort of redress for past wrongs – especially when they have the force of justice behind them, on the other hand.

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