This book explores contesting identities, international politics, migration and democratic practices in the context of globalizing India. Drawing on extensive ethnographic research, it looks at one of the oldest migratory routes across a volatile region in eastern India which is fraught with violent claims of separate statehood.
The book offers an account of how the ‘North Bengal’ region has acted as a gateway to migrant populations over time and points to why it must be understood as a shifting and liminal space through a study of Bodoland, Gorkhaland, Kamatapuri, Siliguri and the Greater Cooch Behar movements. It shows the region’s politics of identity or quest for homeland not as a means of compensating for the lack or absence of identity, but as an everyday practice of living that very absence, across borders and boundaries, without arriving at any definitive and stable identity, along with impacts and manifestations in democratic political processes.
A major intervention in modern political theory – shedding new light on concepts such as home and homeland, space and self, sovereignty, nation-state, freedom and democracy – this book will be of interest to scholars and researchers of political science, modern South Asian history, sociology and social anthropology, and migration and diaspora studies.
I. Transit Spaces
1. The Violent Gateway
2. The Moving City
II. Unsettling Identities
3. Dangerous Journey to Citizenship
4. Living the ‘Absence’
III. Democratic Practices
5. Home, Homeland and Politics of the Unhomely
6. Democracy’s Unusual Sites