Speaker: Dr Santana Khanikar, Centre for International Politics, Organisation & Disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
As Dr Khanikar explains, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) fighting for secession of Assam from India was one of the most potent armed revolutionary groups of north-east India during its high moments in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Indian state had responded to the ULFA movement by banning the organization, and by bringing in the Indian army to suppress the movement under the extraordinary law AFSPA, with very little effort towards a political resolution of the issue. What is striking, however, about the armed movement of ULFA in Assam during its peak years and the Indian army’s subsequent presence over a period of two decades in the areas where ULFA previously operated as a de facto state, is the uncanny similarity in modus operandi of both the forces, through sports, myth, and use and display of physical violence. In this paper, Dr Khanikar will analyze what implications such practices have for authority formation in spaces that are marginal – both territorially and conceptually – to the project of the nation-state.
Dr Santana Khanikar is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She is a visiting India Fellow in the Department of History this autumn