Bangladeshi Immigrants in Assam: Construction of a forced ‘Other’

Author Name

Jeemut Pratim Das

Author Address

Independent Research Scholar New Delhi E-mail: [email protected]


Immigration, Alien, Other, Nationalism, Political Exclusion, State Power, Top-down Approach,


While the experience of the Bangladeshi (Muslim) populace in Assam has been on a constant downturn post the Assam Accord of 1985, the political trajectory behind it has been often neglected and relegated to its core economic constituents. The state, through the exercise of the Weberian logic of monopoly over the use of power, has actively sought to perpetuate the continued friction between the two sets of people- a deeply fractured notion of an Assamese identity, juxtaposed against the evil other of a predominantly Muslim other. In such a scenario, no debates on ideas of multiculturalism or open versus closed borders can seek to offer a full-fledged explanation of the realities on the ground, with the lived experiences of a forced diaspora far outweighing the politics of identification and exclusion of a constructed alien community.

The absence of any double minority phenomenon can be best analyzed through the lens of the state, from above. Faced with the unenviable task of tackling the issues of Left Wing Extremism in the country, the Indian state has sought to bring together these issues under the common rubric of tackling internal security challenges. With the entrenchment of state power in the hands of the Assamese elites, the need to address the problem has gained traction after the 100th Constitutional Amendment of 2015. However, with the acceleration of a divergence between the two communities going beyond the economy to a religious sphere, the future seems uncertain given the political play as the backdrop.

This paper would thus endeavour to tread the fine line in distinguishing between the assertion of an indigenous and unique identity of an Assamese nationalism, versus the process of constructing a specific segment of a (religious) community as the other, all in line with the political power deciphered from the vantage point of a top-down approach.


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