Framing the indigene in a frontier in flux: Responses from Northeast India

Animism is about a sense of empathy. And empathy is what we need now, as a people, as a species, as a planet, more than ever before.

Artwork by Abhishek Chauhan.
Teaser Image Caption
Artwork by Abhishek Chauhan.

This engagement with Andreas Weber’s essay, "Sharing Life:  The Ecopolitics of Reciprocity", draws from observations made and experiences encountered by the author across communities of India’s Northeast. Placing Weber’s enunciations on the ‘animistic worldviews’ in the context of the region, this essay as an engagement with Weber goes on to muse on the ruptures and flows ‘animistic cosmologies’ in the ‘eco-cultural landscape’ of Northeast India, woven around the intimate interaction between nature, nation and nationalities. Built around three broad themes, which I call the testament of the rocks, the journey of the roads and the tales of the rivers, the essay interrogates whether there an ‘indigene’, already and always out there? How to understand the ways human society and the physical-natural environment constantly and dialectically shape each other over time? How can we place the idea of ‘cosmology of animism’ in the context of the ‘lived experiences’ of the people of Northeast India? From the examples of rock relics in geo-security terrains of Arunachal Pradesh to life-worlds in mountainous Naga villages enduring through changes and course shifting rivers in the Brahmaputra Valley, this essay emphasises that the continuous production of the region as a ‘resource frontier’ in the perilous slopes of capitalism needs to be factored in which would tell us that ‘animistic world-views’ and ethos of reciprocity has a milieu that goes through a flux.

A mighty river, a burning gas well and bunch of cats: My personal yard

I began reading Andreas Weber’s essay when the pandemic related to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was gradually building up in our part of the world, the state of Assam in India’s Northeast. By the time I finished reading it, besides the ever rising pandemic we were in the grip of few more catastrophes. The annual floods were heavier and more severe this time, the mighty Brahmaputra had been flowing well over the danger mark for the most of last two months and an unprecedented gas well blowout had occurred a few kilometres from my home town. The unrelenting fire keeps the sky in the night an eerie, fiery red, even as I type these words. Hundreds of families evacuated to ‘temporary’ camps, doubly devastated, being twice displaced, once by ‘industry’ and then by ‘nature’, continue to languish there. Furthermore, two of our cats, Kiki and Naomi have given birth to litters of seven kittens during this period, filling the house with a sense of joy and responsibility in the midst of a pandemic caused ‘lockdown’. So in a way, Weber’s essay arrived at a pertinent time. His emphasis to consider the outbreak as an ecological disaster, to take the world as a composite space based on fecundity and reciprocity between beings had a special resonance. My reflection on the ideas of the essay, the propositions it offers and the questions it raises, comes from my location and the times we inhabit. From where I’m located I looked at the essay as a treatise of a compelling ideal, a plot with which I could relate in most part and felt disjointed at some others. Thus, the following is my way of engaging with Andreas Weber’s essay, in which I muse on the ‘ecological story’ of the region I come from, sharing glimpses into the intimate interaction between nature, nation and nationalities that makes up the region of Northeast India. Citing examples from my last many years’ interactions with communities in the region, I will try to see how Weber’s essay fits with the ‘lived experiences’ of the people of the region. Weber’s emphasis on ‘indigeneity’ as emancipatory and animism being the ‘cosmology of indigenous peoples – ‘the most radical form to think and to enact reciprocity among beings’ – pushed me to define my own ‘sense’ of these categories. After all, just recently Northeast India, our region, had gone through a phase of intense social conflict and clash with the authorities around the pivotal issues of the rights of the ‘indigenous’[i]. Who then is an ‘indigene’ in my context? As the essay will elaborate further, in Northeast India today, being ‘indigenous’ has come to mean new ways of placing oneself in the world, and as such of pursuing a new type of politics (Karlsson, 2001). My response is built around few broad themes, such as, is there an ‘indigene’ out there and whether the trope of ‘indigeneity’ can be rescued from its instrumental use? How to understand the ways human society and the physical-natural environment constantly and dialectically shape each other over time? (Foster, 2009) Since we know that Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and wisdom are highly sensitive to the changing relationships between people and their ecological resource bases (Gadgil et al. 2000), what does the experience of Northeast India tell us? Finally, I would urge that the continuous production of the region as a ‘resource frontier’ standing in the perilous ruins of capitalism needs to be factored in, which would tell us that one’s sense of ‘animism’ (which Weber refers to as ‘the cosmology of indigenous peoples’) is constantly negotiated and embedded into a site of production that can be meaningfully construed only as a site under flux. To elaborate on it further, I will use three broad themes, which I call the testament of the rocks, the journey of the roads and the tales of the rivers.

Northeast India: The disruptions of the cosmic oneness

While the region of Northeast India comprises only 8 percent of the country’s area, it makes up a fourth of India’s forest cover. One useful way to approach this region is by treating it as an ‘eco-cultural landscape’, the total regional environment, composed of both natural and cultural elements. In such situations, conservation of natural resources amongst traditional societies arises out of their animistic belief systems, which are fundamental aspects of people’s culture, strongly conditioning use of natural resources. It is a worldview where with a sense of cosmic oneness, all entities are seen to share a fundamental bond, that connects them in their interaction with each other. In this sense of wholesome harmony of rocks and trees, the humans and animals, the living, the dead and ancestors are all one. What Weber calls as “the family of being(s)’ – reciprocity among beings – human and nonhuman persons”, is relatable here. It has been sufficiently agreed that the ‘tribal’ communities in the region practice an animistic faith, deriving their sustenance from a careful reverence towards forest ecology and co-existence with the natural world. A sense of appreciation of the animal spirit, both mythical and mortal has been a recurring theme in the region. An excellent example can be found in the creation myth of the Adi community of Arunachal Pradesh, which talks about a lost civilisation of ‘KajumKaja’ where the whole of nature is presented in the being of a ‘divine daughter’– “the green vegetation on the surface of the earth is the green-bordered skirt that she wears. Her silken white robe is transformed into clouds. The changes of the seasons are her appearance at different social occasions. The water and rain are her sweat and tears. Her melodious songs and music are transformed into the sweet voice soft birds and humming insects” (Dai, 2006:4). Another beautiful example of oneness with the natural world can be found with the Lepcha community of Sikkim, their primogenitors Tukbothing and NazongNyu are said to have been created by God from the pristine snows of Mount Khangchendzonga’s peak.

At this point, however, I will emphasise that to understand the travails and triumphs of the diverse people of this region in sustaining their ‘indigenous life-worlds’ one will have to engage first with the ways the region has been historically conceptualised and continues to be reproduced. A long history of colonial interventions followed by post-colonial conflicts has shaped up the very foundation of the region, setting up the region as a resource frontier, as ‘empty’ or under-populated wilderness, which holds the promise for high rates of return on investment. An inevitable product of ‘capitalist globalisation’, when “capital actively seeks out and establishes new resource peripheries, thereby reproducing uneven development and marginalisation” (Barney, 2009:148). For this we need to understand the (yet unfolding) history of these frontier spaces invested in resource appropriation. The 19th century ‘discovery’ of oil, tea and coal in the eastern Himalayan foothills had a profound impact on the life in the region that endures the passages of time. With these ‘discoveries’, the region turned into one of the most important eastern frontier outposts of the British India empire. As the locals were seen as ‘lazy natives’ and the hill groups as ‘wild tribes’, indentured labourers from outside served as the foot soldiers for improving the empire’s garden estates (Sharma 2011: 87). Like in other parts of the world, in the enterprise of colonialism the gun, the compass and the Bible moved together in Northeast India. Territories were mapped, people were subjugated and cultures were labelled. In the root of the ensuing political violence was an epistemic violence, beyond objectifying the ‘geo-body’ of the region, a cognitive dissonance was thus created with the image of the region portrayed as a land of witchcraft and magic, animism and wild tribes.

Weber’s argument on the artificial schism that western cognitive produces by dividing the world into productive and wasteful can be traced to the experience of colonialism in Northeast India. It also meant a consolidation of the anthropocentric attitude where man was given the right to dominate and exploit the nature for his own needs, an essential part of the modernity and its empiricist and capitalist discourses. In the interest of colonialism, new reservation policies and structures were introduced in the region of Northeast India to restrain native access to valuable forests and to stimulate the clearance of fertile lands. Thus the communities that had once enjoyed full access to land and forest became ensnared by a strangling dichotomy of restrictive forestry structures, policies and processes, and the rising livelihood demands of an expanding population well into the post-colonial times (Vandekerckhove & Suykens 2008: 450–451). This foundational reality of the region has come to become the conditioning factor not only of the various state-society and inter-community interactions in the region but also of the ways people began to make sense of their natural surroundings. In other words, it was a rupture into the cosmic oneness, a split of the ‘spirit worlds’, where all entities of past and present, living-dead, human-non-human were considered bound together. It was the onset of a particular discourse of ‘development’ where the region was (and continues to be) construed through overlapping binaries of ‘settled’ and ‘wild zones’, the latter demarcated for resource exploitation.

What does this kind of ‘intervention’ do to a people and how much does these disruptions endure?

My ethnographic experiences of the region present a rather complex picture where due to the radical commodification of the land and the resources over the years the indigenous populace cannot anymore have a meaningful interaction with their resources (Karlsson, 2011). Most importantly, consequent to the making of the region into a ‘resource frontier’ there has been a powerful emergence of social classes in the region, which exists and thrives by exploiting this ‘new’ equation between nature and ‘development.’ As I will discuss below, it becomes difficult at times to separate the tropes of indigeneity in the region from the complex machinations of such exploitations.

The testament of the rocks: From ally to victim

A telling example of the complex influence of a modern ‘penetrative’ state onto people’s social memory is that of Membas, a small Buddhist community that lives in Tibet as well as the Menchukha Valley nestled along the Yargapb-chu river in Arunachal Pradesh of India. The Membas consider a particular stone formation by the river, on the way to Dorjeeling village as a sacred relic, which they believe, is installed by their ancestral deities there and which with full accuracy depict the entire topographical design of the Memba habitat, spanning across the ‘men made’ international border. This traditional belief seems to have received a boost, after Indian military pilots apparently ‘confirmed’ the same, comparing the stone shape with their aerial maps of the region. This ‘fact’ was told to me by almost everyone with lot of pride and satisfaction, whenever the topic of the stone relic was raised. This response was contrasting with the matter of another sacred spot, a waterfall and a cave by its side, which the Membas consider holy as they believe it to be a spot where the great Buddhist master Guru Rinpoche once meditated. However, once the region became a prime zone of military troop movement, the spot was ‘discovered’ as one where founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak meditated on his way to Tibet. An installation mentioning the same has been put up since then and tourists crowd around it to take photos. A Gurudwara (the Sikh place of worship and assembly) has been constructed too and it was only after some local resentment that the construction was erected across the road. Understandably, the overwhelming presence of the military and the fact that it has become one of the mainstay of local income generations, resentments against such ‘cultural’ encroachment has been limited and self-contained. It also gives rise to the question, can geo-politics displace the traditional knowledge systems as well as disrupt the animist cosmologies?

Moving few states across, in many Naga villages tales are abound as how the various rocks of the villages took shape of ‘giants’ of different sizes and stood up with the villagers to face invaders from ‘outside’. Every rock thus has a being, with distinct ‘individual’ name and connected to the social memory of a people – something difficult to fathom through the lens of development based on ‘infrastructure’. One thus needs to understand how the cultures that used to consider the rocks as active part of their social life-worlds have aggressively turned into ‘extractive’ development, being a ‘contractor’ becoming one of the most lucrative job opportunity for the young generations.

While finalising this essay, I received a video sent on my phone from a friend from Arunachal Pradesh. It was of a traditional dance performed by the youth of the Adi community on the day of paddy plantation. There was a sense of elation and fulfillment about it, of men fulfilling an ancient pact with nature. Reminiscing on another such soothing occasion, once on a walk in Mima village, Nagaland I came across framers engaged in paddy plantation, in fields under the shadow of the mountains and dotted with stone monoliths marking ‘feast of merit’: A Naga cultural tradition dating to pre-Christian times when the social status of a person was assessed by how much he gives to the needy. A custom that marked the spirit of generosity and compassion that were at the core of the ‘indigeneity’ defining these communities. This resonates with what Weber says in his essay, ‘generosity is simultaneously a moral and a material imperative’.

How far can such bonds be maintained? In the logic of ‘extractive capitalism’, will the dictates of ‘profitable’ alternative ventures overpower such traditional practices? ‘Science’ has now confirmed the ecological benefits of traditional agricultural methods, including the ‘slash and burn method’ (‘swidden’/ shifting cultivation) of the hill tribes. Adi people identify nine types of soils and plant crops according to the properties of the soil. “Their knowledge is far more nuanced because their concern appears to be not just the field they cultivate, but also the surroundings,” a report observes[ii]. However, the official state position continues to vilify and discourage these methods. Instead, potentially pernicious ‘cash crops’ alien to the region like Oil Palm has been vigorously promoted. This has been done fundamentally from the point of view of ‘profitability’, discarding the potential harm to the bio-diversity and most importantly the disruption to the traditional nature-human connect that it will bring in these areas. Consider here also the fact that many communities of the region follow the practice of maintaining a ‘sacred grove’, a small patch of the natural ecosystem that traditionally serves as an area of religious rituals, symbolic of nature-human interconnections. Concerning reports are coming out about sacred groves being threatened and destroyed by projects of infrastructural expansion.

A generation that is moving out: Some roads taken, some not

What I’m trying to emphasise on is that the ‘indigene’ in practice is not an abstract and timeless entity but is produced through constant negotiations. One important way to capture these tensions is to look at the rising trend of the outmigration of the young people from the regions like Northeast India to various urban pockets of Indian ‘mainland’, a trend that has been advancing in recent years. This migration is both aspiration and conflict driven. The younger generation is evidently moving out from their traditional life-worlds, where the village used to be ‘a Universe in a nutshell’. This takes me to one evening in Karbi village of central Assam some years back and what I had noted down then:

“Evening comes fast here but it gongs of celebration, of food, of music and of course of storytelling! Perhaps, it is the endless rounds of Hurlong (traditional rice millet beer) with smoked pork steaks that weave the perfect ambience. Sitting by the fireplace, with the soft sound of fermenting Hurlong dripping from one pot to another, Samson punu (uncle) takes us back to the ancient age with ease and with conviction. What fascinate me are the astonishing sense of continuity and a deep sense of association with the stories! The rock on which the giant eagle attacked the first Karbi hero Teron, happens to be the huge granite rock that we passed by on our way to Bisikri (the sacred lake), and when God created the first Man and Woman from the soil of the hills, it is that Sinhasan peak that God used, the one we can see faintly in the far under the moonlight. Punu’s folk-tales one after another makes me believe that life and death is a simple narration, repetition of an ancient cycle but coloured by generations after generations.”

As the world outside crumbles down and goes through a whirlwind of change, the villagers are holding on tight. But cracks in these ‘idyllic’ worlds are visible already and they are deepening. Young boys are taking the long road out of their villages. They are defecting, sometime from the traditional occupations and sometimes from the places altogether, not willing to continue what they feel is a harsh life. The dilemmas confronting the Karbis of Assam are relatable to that of the Brokpas (also known as ‘Drokpa) of Arunachal Pradesh. The words of Norbu, a septuagenarian Brokpaherder from high altitude West Kameng captures this tragedy well: “But, then, if you stop the annual migration the Brokpa has been known to practice since ages, you lose the essence of your identity. If you opt for a settled, sedentary life, you are no longer a Brokpa”[iii]. Can they find their way back? Is there a road to and from indigeneity?

The rivers were alive, once

Rivers have always held sacred spaces in the traditional cosmology of the region. Life in the Brahmaputra Valley revolves around the river. And both in moments of love and lamentations the mighty river or one of its many tributaries are always present. The different names other than Brahmaputra by which the river is referred to by the different communities who lives in its embrace – Burlung-Buthur by Bodo), Di Lao by Dimasa, Ti-lao by Tai, LuiTo by Deuri, Luit Aroi by Karbi, Abung by Mising, Dhapaci by Rabha, Ammawari by Garo, Leuti by Tiwa and so on –resonate a deep rooted reverence and attachment with it and exhibit a pluralistic ethos that has historically defined the region. However increasingly there have been attempts at controlling the rivers for hydro-electric power generation. Structures of dams and mega embankments have been raised and more are proposed that amounts to a gross simplification and reduction of the social and natural world to a distorted geophysics, disrupting the ways societies used to interact with the rivers and vice versa. As mountain rivers are drying up in many places, due to these ‘developmental interventions’, and downstream rivers are frequently shifting course, causing substantial damage, what is facing extinction is the traditional cosmologies around the river where water usage and sustainability was at the core. I often enjoy watching the fishermen cook a slow meal by the river in their day out, the river being their protective deity and a nurturing mother; it is like watching children playing at the bosom of their mothers. Increasingly such scenes are depleting though with callous acts like setting up of industrial mega plants right next to the rivers and subsequent release of the industrial wastes onto them, thus making them unsuitable for the fisher-folks.

An emergent ‘elite’: When ‘spirit brothers’ became preys

In one of my first visits to the Dzukou Valley of Nagaland, famous for its unique landscape and flora and fauna, I had encountered a hunting party composed of presumably respectable officials proudly displaying their spoils. Let us remember here that for many tribes of Northeast India, most prominently the various Naga and Mizo tribes, animals like tigers have been considered as ‘spirit brother’, the soul of the men residing in the tigers in the forest. ‘Folk-tales’ and creation myths suggest that men and tigers were once blood brothers. In fact, a beautiful representation of this quintessential balance between all elements can be found in the Mao Naga myth according to which Tiger, Spirit and Man were three brothers who came into existence through a union between the first woman and the clouds of the sky[iv]. In a similar vein, in their traditional belief the Angami Nagas call the supreme creator as ‘U-kepenuopfü’ which translates into ‘female one who gave birth to us’. True to all shamanic cultures, in the societies of Northeast India too, traditionally the relation between the hunter and the hunted was not a lineal one but one of reciprocity and divine respect. What happened then, that from a position of reciprocity animals came to be seen as coveted preys, more than anything else? Here one would need to understand and engage with the years of trauma accumulated in the region due to the prevalence of conflicts of various kinds, mostly around one’s assertion of socio-cultural -political identities and territorial rights. Unleashing vicious cycles of violence, these conflicts emanating from groups against the state as well of communities against each other have led to a deep militarisation of the region, a fetishisation of ‘gun culture’ and the emergence of a new ‘elite’ disrupted from the traditional ethos of life. Consequently, even in the indigenous communities where once all living beings were considered as part of one big family, wanton acts of hunting became commonplace, being increasingly considered as a matter of ‘pride’, a marker of triumphant ‘masculinity’. More perturbing is the examples like that of Manas National Park in Bodoland in Assam where despite the rhinoceros being considered sacred in the Bodo cosmology, in the peak of the Bodo insurgency against the Indian State in the 1990s, one-horned rhinoceros were extensively hunted by the militants who considered it upholding their ‘indigenous national rights’, which included their rights over the land and all its resources. The lucrative international bio-piracy of rhinoceros made the animals highly profitable for the militants, the rhinoceros coming to be considered only as instruments to something else, their organic connection to the community obliterated.

Thus, one cannot ignore these complex ‘developments' taking place in the ‘lived experiences’ of the indigenous, while discussing changing tenors of Animism in these contexts. Besides these critical negotiations with power structures of various kinds, due to the influences of the market economy and modern communications, the communities themselves are becoming more heterogeneous, which also challenges the ‘tribal ethics of land relations’ (Soreide and Gloppen, 2019:2). What the experience from the Northeast tells us is the need to be cautious against taking the ‘indigenous’ as some entity that is timeless or ‘pure’. At times, supporting ‘indigenous’ rights claims might mean the dilemma of having to support a ‘sedentarist metaphysic’ that legitimises a sort of ‘hierarchy of belonging’, which can translate into exclusion and violence against ‘migrant’ and other ‘non-indigenous’ communities (Li, 2002: 362). In such situations, one can surmise that the claims to indignity and the continuing assertions of indigenous rights needs to be placed in the context of continuing articulations of the communities’ traditional knowledge and the animistic cosmology. Andreas Weber asks to take his essay as a question, not as an answer. So I also leave my own question at the end, is there an ‘indigene’ out there and if so, can we rescue her? How to salvage the ‘traditional’, or if needed, ‘reinvent’ it?

Conclusion: Hope comes from a tree house for the birds

In all the examples cited in this essay, nature was seen as an ally of the indigenous people, a kindred spirit that guard against adversaries. And yet in changed circumstances, it has come to be seen as the adversary, an ‘object’ itself, to be tamed, controlled and profited from. True, Northeast India is a land of ‘indigenous’ communities that consider nature as part of their very selves but undeniably it is also a theatre stage of “an urban transformation that has followed a counter-intuitive path, influenced by the socially disruptive capacities of capital, calamities and counter-insurgency” (Barbora, 2017). The fact is that historically the nature of interaction of the indigenous communities with the state has been premised on the ecological niches and the livelihood patterns that prevailed among them. Again a good example here would be the historical expansion of the colonial state into India’s Northeast where the incursion of the ‘modernist’, revenue seeking state system was resisted by the various indigenous communities as they felt their relational sense of ecology was being disrupted by this newly imposed system of authority. In another sense, this development was relatable to what Arturo Escobar calls a crisis of nature’s identity itself, as he points out that the meaning of ‘nature’ shifts throughout history according to cultural, socio-economic and political factors. These shifts subsequently change the indigenous life-worlds. I’m raising this point here to stress on the importance of engaging with the making of India’s Northeast as a resource frontier raised on a framework of extractive industrial regime. Anna Tsing’s insightful ethnographic works in Kalimantan, Borneo Island of Indonesia is helpful in conceptualising the ‘frontier’ when she describes: “Frontier landscapes are particularly active: Hills are flooding away, streams are stuck in mud, vines swarm over fresh stumps, ants and humans are on the move. On the frontier, nature goes wild. Where making, saving, and destroying resources are utterly mixed up, where zones of conservation, production, and resource sacrifice overlap almost fully, and canonical time frames of nature's study, use, and preservation are reversed, conflated, and confused”[v]. Such frontiers do not recognise indigenous knowledge as well as systems of communal property and other local customs. Tsing calls these unfolding global phenomena as “the tragedy of the commons”. On the one hand, the ‘local’ gets stamped, circulated, and reproduced as pristine and mystical and on the other, it turns into a frontier landscape of struggle over natural resources. This struggle takes place primarily through the points of contact between various actors of the global and local maps[vi].

In such a scenario, where does hope lie? Is Weber’s appeal a lost call then – the one where he invited “all who are living in worlds which are shared between human and nonhuman persons to chime in, walk hand in hand under a tree, where relations are not analysed, but felt, and made”? After all, it is a most important appeal the validity of which the traditional life moorings of the indigenous societies of Northeast India has always confirmed. Animism, more than anything else, is about a sense of empathy. And empathy is what we need now, as a people, as a species, as a planet, more than ever before. Although the cosmology of animism is integral to the life-worlds of Northeast India, in practice its concrete manifestations have differed across time and space. The challenge will be to situate the essence of it amidst all the ruptures and chaos that have been sweeping through these indigenous societies. For this, I believe, one will have to think of animism primarily as a conversation or a dialogue with one’s environment or nature. And in this dialogue, the issue, as Nurit Bird-David points out, is “one of authority whether authority is given to relational ways of knowing (how, where, when, how much, by whom, etc.) in particular cultures/ times/ places”[vii]. Thus, talking about Animism and indigenous cosmologies in contexts such as Northeast India inevitably takes me to the realms of eco-politics, “ultimately about who is entitled to what, who owes what to whom, how such rights and entitlements are to be enforced, and who gets to decide” (Kathleen McAfee, The Politics of Nature in the Anthropocene, 2016).

I come back to my little town by the mighty river and find some hope. On a walk by the Brahmaputra on twilight, I noticed that some compassionate person has built a series of wooden tree houses for little birds to take shelter, drink water. We have always heard from our grandmothers, tales of the birds being our kith and kin, once sharing a common tongue. Getting to know that this particular initiative was undertaken by a person with a violent past of a ‘militant’, makes me think that the ‘indigene’ can definitely be recovered, ‘re-invented’ too if needed. The COVID-19 pandemic has also given rise and strengthened new bonds in the town. Young people across communities and classes are increasingly coming together to take care of the many homeless ‘animals’, sharing duties and responsibilities in this regard. Our cats have become foster mothers to many an orphaned kitten rescued and our oldest male cat, to our delight, has almost become a foster grandpa, playing and ‘training’ the little ones. The animal companions, like always, helped us make a better sense of the world in these otherwise confusing and gloomy times. All these, perhaps, have been experiences of what Weber calls as moments of ‘deep communication’. The spirit brothers (and sisters!) can meet after all!


[i] A detailed discussion of this phase of conflict which was around the issue of passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 can be found here :

[iv] For the detailed story one can visit:, accessed on 05.08.2020

[v], accessed on 02.08.2020

[vii], accessed on 04.08.2020


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This contribution is part of Alternative Worldviews.