GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 1, Issue 1, May, 2015

Pasighat: Post-colonial Geography and History in Interface

Author: Chaudhuri, Sucheta Sen

Category: Research

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This is an ethnographic account based on fieldwork and documentary evidence on the first centenary celebration of colonial town Pasighat (2011) situated in Arunachal Pradesh, India. This study locates the state and indigenous people’s interface from the perspective of the town’s centenary celebration. It also records the indigenous intellectuals’ apathy to incorporate the experience of colonial intervention within their history. In fact, in the year 1911, the British

government in India had conquered the region and founded Pasighat’s colonial outpost in the North-East frontier. Hence the year 1911 is observed as the year of establishment of the town of Pasighat by the tribal state government of Arunachal Pradesh. The establishment of the colonial town of Pasighat as the outpost of the British administration in the North East Frontier region

introduces a new cultural concept to the indigenous people of the place. Therefore, the very idea of town emerged within the cultural ecology of the Pasi, Padam and Minyong communities. Those communities in colonial literature were known as ‘Abor’ tribe. Later, the local community(s) felt it derogatory to refer them as ‘Abor’ because they thought that the term was originally coined by neighbouring communities of the plains to refer them. Hence,after India’s

independence, they appealed to the Government of India to recognize them as Adi (People of Hills) and categorise them as scheduled tribe.

In the span of hundred years, Pasighat transformed its demography and social relations with the neighbouring communities. It also identifies itself as a centre for education in the region. In this backdrop the present paper locates the multiple dimensions of the hundred year’s history of the town Pasighat.

Keywords: Postcolonial Geography, Decolonised Space, Indigenous People, Pasighat, Tribal State

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