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

A+| A| A-

North-eastern India as a Frontier

The Colonisation of Assam

Becoming Assamese: Colonialism and New Subjectivities in Northeast India by Madhumita Sengupta, Routledge India, 2016; pp 290, 1,095.

 

The book under review begins with the cursory invocation of some of the reigning deities of South Asian history (Benedict Anderson and Partha Chatterjee on nationalism, Sudipto Kavirajs fuzzy identities, Homi Bhabas hybridity, Jrgen Habermas on the public sphere and Fredrik Barth on ethnicity). However, invocations remain mere invocations and are never worked through in any detail in the books arguments. The author, Madhumita Senguptas stated aim is to recover aspects of 19th century Assam and its colonisation under the British that have remained unaddressed in extant historiography.

The book begins with a discussion of changes in the political economysedenterisation, colonisation of wastelands, the introduction of land settlements and their impact on the ryotof the province of Assam and its surrounding areas during the 19th century. The second chapter titled Languages of Identity looks at the debates between officials of the colonial state, Baptist missionaries, and sections of the Assamese intelligentsia over the Assamese language and its subsequent standardisation. The educational policies of the colonial state and its accompanying rhetoric of progress is the subject of study of the third chapter titled the Burden of Progress.

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Or

To gain instant access to this article (download).


Pay
INR 59

(Readers in India)


Pay
$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.