Proceedings of The 8th International Conference on Social sciences Humanities and Education
Indigeneity, Agency, and the Everyday State: The sociocultural dimensions among the Tiwas in the Assam- Meghalaya Borderlands
The decentralized administration of the Indian state has led to the emergence of many unique forms of governance. In such a context, how the idea of ‘indigeneity’ gets constructed, experienced, and contested rests upon a combination of historical, political, and cultural factors. Sociologists and political anthropologists now perceive the everydayness of the state as a product of sociocultural nodes of power as well as complex negotiations between citizens, intermediaries, and government.
This paper looks at the intersections of indigeneity, agency, and the state apparatus in the lives of the Tiwa community, predominant in the borders of the northeast Indian states of Assam and Meghalaya. It examines the sociocultural implications of such complex dynamics on the community and their possible linkages to their claims to autonomy, their development, and contemporary reality.
Borderlands are liminal spaces, constantly in a state of flux. The Assam-Meghalaya borders, that fall under the Eastern Himalayan belt, have had a history of frequent territorial reconfigurations and overlapping ascendancies, making it far from static. Using a socio-historical approach and grounded theory, the paper aims at bringing out nuances in contemporary discussions of ethnicity, tribal identity, and related concepts. Content analysis of existing literature and documents shall be complemented by primary methods of interviewing and observation for writing the paper.
keywords: Borderlands, Development, Eastern Himalayas, Ethnicity, Governance