1st Edition

Reflections on Myanmar Identity, Heritage, Aspirations

By Reshmi Banerjee Copyright 2023
    238 Pages
    by Routledge India

    238 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Myanmar is known for its engaging history, rich cultural heritage, and diverse ethnic communities. Its tumultuous political past has been discussed by academics and policy makers for decades; however, the land of the Shwedagon cannot only be defined by conflict and contestation. Myanmar is complex and multi-layered with innumerable issues shaping its identity and manifold interpretations creating its distinctiveness. A deeper comprehension of its past glory with thoughtful deliberation on its socio-economic challenges helps to understand the country better. This book fills this gap by focusing on four broad themes––reminiscence, restoration, re-evaluation, and resurrection. It studies interconnected issues ranging from nostalgia and belonging to Myanmar’s contribution to art and heritage (through its museums, cinema, folk traditions); from the problems of landlessness, resource dispossession, and climate change to the experience of marginalized groups. The author weaves these themes into a common narrative of discovering Myanmar through a holistic lens. The book aims to explore the country through its history, culture, communities, and challenges.

    A unique contribution, the book highlights the myriad facets of Myanmar by contemplating on its inherent strengths and visible weaknesses. It would be indispensable for scholars and researchers of Southeast Asian studies, Asian studies, area studies, Myanmar studies, political studies, cultural studies, and sociology.



    List of Abbreviations            


    Section 1: Reminiscence 

    1 A Walk Down Memory Lane      

    2 The Diary of a Quiet Man

    3 Memories for a Lifetime – The Return of Indians from Burma: A Tale of Trauma and Tenacity

    4 Familiarity across Borders

    5 Eric Arthur Blair’s Burma

    Section 2: Restoration

    6 Rhythms of Folk Traditions         

    7 Lost Glory: Reviving Arakan Art

    8 Museums Matter

    9 The Fading Spotlights

    10 Sour, Salty and Spicy (chin ngan sat)

    Section 3: Re-evaluation          

    11 Climate Change: A Permanent Reality for Myanmar    

    12 Beneath the Still Waters

    13 Beyond the Silent Fields

    14 Feeding the Hungry Souls

    15 Boats and Balloons

    Section 4: Resurrection  

    16 Justice for All     

    17 The Smile of the ‘Other’: Chin Refugees in India

    18 Plea of the Helpless        

    19 One Step at a Time         

    20 The Young Collective 




    Reshmi Banerjee is a political scientist based in London, UK, and is currently a visiting research fellow in the King’s India Institute (KII), King’s College, London. She is also a visiting research fellow in the Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi. She was previously an academic visitor at the Asian Studies Centre (Programme on Modern Burmese Studies) in St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, a research associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, a post- doctoral fellow at the department of international relations, University of Indonesia (UI), and a researcher in the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Jakarta.

    She has been a visiting professor in Jamia Millia Islamia and a fellow in the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies (RGICS) and has taught in Delhi University and in the University of Indonesia. She completed her MA, MPhil., and PhD from the Centre for Political Studies (CPS), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. She also has a Masters in Museum Cultures from Birkbeck, University of London, and has volunteered in the London Museum of Water and Steam. Currently, she volunteers in the Royal College of Music (RCM) Museum in London.

    With a specialisation in food security, agricultural policies, and cross- border studies on the Indo- Myanmar region, she is the author of Land Conflicts across Frontiers: Contested Spaces in Myanmar & North East India (2018) and has co- edited three books: Fixed Borders, Fluid Boundaries – Identity, Resources and Mobility in Northeast India (2020), Gender, Poverty and Livelihood in the Eastern Himalayas (2017), and Climate Change in the Eastern Himalaya: Impact on Livelihoods, Growth and Poverty (2015). In 2022, she published 12 Months (a short memoir) and Potpourri – Yearning and Learning (a collection of essays on travel).