Conflict and Reconciliation: The Politics of Ethnicity in Assam, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Conflict and Reconciliation

The Politics of Ethnicity in Assam, 1st Edition

By Uddipana Goswami

Routledge India

250 pages

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Diverging from reductionist studies of Northeast India and its multifarious conflicts, this book presents an exclusive and intricate, empirical and theoretical study of Assam as a conflict zone. It traces the genesis and evolution of the ethnic and nationalistic politics in the state, and explores how this gave birth to nativist and militant movements. It further discusses how the State’s responses seem to have exacerbated rather than mitigated the conflict situation.

The author proposes ethnic reconciliation as an effective way out of the current chaos, and finds the key in examining the relations between three communities (Axamiyā, Bodo and Koch) from Bodoland, the most violent region of Assam. She stresses upon the need to redefine ‘Axamiyā’, an issue of much discord in Assam’s ethnic politics since the modern-day formulation of the Axamiyā nation. The book will prove essential to scholars and students of peace and conflict studies, sociology, political science, and history, as also to policy-makers and those interested in Northeast India.


‘Informed by deep ethnographic knowledge and a thorough understanding of intergroup and intragroup relations in the region, this exceedingly carefully researched book on ethnic politics and conflict in Assam is a most sophisticated treatment of the forces that animate conflict and separatism as well as prospects for peace. For anyone interested in ethnicity in India’s northeast, this is an incisive, invaluable resource.’ — Donald L. Horowitz, James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science, Duke University

Table of Contents

List of Maps. List of Abbreviations. Glossary. Preface. Author’s Note. Acknowledgments. Introduction: Assam, Conflicts Part I 1. Conflicts Within, Conflicts Without: Communities and Concepts 2. What is AxamiyĀ: Understanding an Interethnic Identity 3. Identity, Interrupted: Nation-Building and the Break with Interethnicity 4. Ethnic Fragmentation and Divided Communities 5. State Policy, Ethnicity and Conflict Part II 6. Addressing Conflicts: Militarisation and the Culture of Violence 7. Addressing Conflicts: Negotiating, Power Sharing, Co-Opting 8. Resolving Issues, Transforming Conflicts, Restoring Relations 9. Back to the Future: Tradition and Transformation. Bibliography. About the Author. Index

About the Author

Uddipana Goswami is Editor, Northeast Review, and is based in Guwahati, India.

About the Series

Transition in Northeastern India

The uniquely diverse landscapes, societies and cultures of northeastern India, forged through complex bio-geographic and socio-political forces, are now facing rapid transition. This series focuses on the processes and practices that have shaped, and are shaping, the peoples’ identities, outlook, institutions, and economy. Eschewing the homogenising term ‘North East’, which was imposed on the region in a particular political context half a century ago, the series title refers to the ‘northeastern’ region to more accurately reflect its heterogeneity. Seeking to explore how the ‘mainstream’ and the ‘margins’ impact each other, the series foregrounds both historical and contemporary research on the region including the Eastern Himalaya, the adjoining hills and valleys, the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. It publishes original, reflective studies that draw upon different disciplines and approaches, and combine empirical and theoretical insights to make scholarship accessible for general readers and to help deepen the understanding of academics, policy-makers and practitioners.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General