The Politics of Ethnic Renewal in Darjeeling : Gorkhas and the Struggle for Tribal Recognition book cover
1st Edition

The Politics of Ethnic Renewal in Darjeeling
Gorkhas and the Struggle for Tribal Recognition

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 24, 2023
ISBN 9781032403793
February 24, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge India
250 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the nature of ethnopolitics evolving in the Darjeeling hills, located in the Eastern Himalayas. It highlights how in the wake of regional politics minorities pursue alternative avenues to attain rights and recognition. The book provides an astute analysis of competing claims of culture and identity engendered both by demands for regional autonomy and struggles for scheduled tribe status. It highlights the varied forms of ethnic demands often demonstrated through performative and discursive claims. The volume initiates a timely discussion on the discourse of recognition, politics of difference, and alterity which has wider implications and applications to understand South Asian realities.


Drawing on rich empirical research, this work will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of politics, anthropology, sociology, tribal studies, ethnography, minority studies and South Asian studies.

Table of Contents

List of tables

List of figures

A Note on Transliteration

Introduction: Setting the Stage


1.      Discreet Groups and Collective Identity: Consolidation of the Nepali/Gorkha Community


2.       The formation of ethnic associations and changing ethnopolitics in Darjeeling


3.       Moving forward to become backward: Claims for Recognition as Scheduled Tribes


4.       Remembering the past, Restructuring the Future: Demands for Recognition and Politics of Difference


5.       Ritualizing Ethnicity, Ethnicising Rituals: Engaging the state and Performative claims


6.       From Construction to Constitution: Negotiating Multiple and Overlapping Identities




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Nilamber Chhetri is Assistant Professor at School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India. Before joining IIT Mandi, he taught at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. His broad areas of interest are politics of social and cultural identities in South Asia, scheduling of tribes and practices of state classification in India, ethnic groups and demands for recognition, borderland politics and infrastructural issues in the Himalayan highlands. He regularly contributes research papers and book reviews to leading journals and has also served as referee to journals such as The Indian AnthropologistsAsian EthnicityThird World Quarterly and Journal of South Asian Development.