India Against Itself Assam and the Politics of Nationality
- List Price: $59.95
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Univ of Pennsylvania Pr
- Publish date: 06/01/1999
- ISBN: 9780812234916
- ISBN10: 081223491X
Baruah offers a bold and lucid interpretation of the political and economic history of Assam since it became a part of British India and a leading tea-producing region in the nineteenth century. He traces the history of tensions between pan-Indianism and Assamese subnationalism since the early days of Indian nationalism. The region's insurgencies, human rights abuses by government security forces and insurgents, ethnic violence, and a steady slide toward illiberal democracy, he argues, are largely due to India's formally federal, but actually centralized governmental structure. Baruah argues that in multiethnic polities, loose federations not only make better democracies, in the era of globalization they make more economic sense as well.
This challenging and accessible work addresses a pressing contemporary problem with broad relevance for the history of nationality while offering an important contribution to the study of ethnic conflict. A native of northeast India, Baruah draws on a combination of scholarly research, political engagement, and an insider's knowledge of Assamese culture and society.