A Social Construction of ‘identity’ among the Indigenous and Immigrants in Assam

By Kuntala Das

A complex web of representing, preserving or contesting one’s identity dominates societies across the globe today. Identity, in its simplest sense, refers to the idea of how one perceives the self. Identities prescribe who one is, what role one is to enact and how one is unique from others in a society. Identity invokes the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘other’. This paper is an attempt to study the role of ‘indigenous and immigrant’ identity in Assam. Identity as a contested subject was for the first time raised in 1979 when the Assam Movement began, with a demand to deport the immigrants from the region. Discords in the name of identity between both the factions of indigenous and immigrants turned hostile with time. The conflict of the Bodos with the Bengali speaking Muslims is one such example which has resulted in bloodsheds since 1993. The indigenous peoples struggle to preserve their identity in the name of being the ‘son of the soil’, while the immigrants try to establish an identity that helps them sustain in their adopted land. The study aims to look at identity from perspectives of the indigenous and the immigrants.

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