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Book Review Durable Disorder

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Introduction “Durable Disorder: Understanding the Politics of Northeast India” is a dense and thoughtful realization of author Sanjib Baruah about the political and social turmoil suffered everyday by the natives of India’s neglected seven sister .In the book the author blatantly expressed his observations regarding unfortunate abandonment of development, negligence of academics and people and carelessness majorly shown by the Government. This book let the reader know about the apathy suffered by the region in the past, which makes it next to impossible for them to catch up with other parts of India. The seven sister is a complex and colourful region of our country, Baruah had already established his academic excellence in politics of north east in his first book “India against Itself”. Where he has discussed about “United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA)” one of the most active insurgent group , in this book section four covers about ULFA, as it is the most significant group when it comes to North eastern politics. In Durable disorder Baruah discussed about the history and culture of the region and how Indian policies are not in line. At the end the author tried to bring some ideas which will help the people and the region to revive its harmony and glory.

Summery:

The book is divided into five major sections. In The introduction author mentioned about the different colonial structure of the region and failure of different strategies, in the entire book this cauterised idea is fabricated and discussed. Baruah portrayed the concerns of Indian society regarding security of the region as its frontier region. Due to mutiny issues, the north eastern region is categorised as special fraction of Indian state, though the region constantly faces crisis of democracy, relentless political confrontation, never ending violence , as a result the democratic fabric of the region is hampered which in turn deteriorating the area further. Sanjib Baruah had reach deep in the research in colonial histories of the region and hence the book is free of usual impression like nation-state', `insurgency' and `national security'. This book is more structured in a exceptional manner which would help the Mainland (India) readers to know about north east beyond `national security' paradigm”. The author amusingly combined various journals, and previously published essays, which gives the reader enough provisions for mind and a feel of incoherence about the book. The second chapter investigates the structures of governance in the region. In 1962, India and China fought a border war in this area, the war exposed India's vulnerabilities in the region. Since then, nationalizing this frontier space by extending the institutions of the state all the way into the international border region has become the thrust of Indian policy. The region's governmental infrastructure was fundamentally redesigned to put in place what can only be described as a cosmetic federal regional order with a number of small states dependent on the central government's largess and subject to monitoring by India's Home Ministry. Though the new regional order has put the region on a developmentalist track, but at a significant cost. The cosmetic federalism continuously creates complications between states and the central government in New Delhi. Though the process helped India settling down the security issue, but in turn it deflated the daily life of the citizens.
In chapter three, the author investigates the situation of insurrectionary in the state of Manipur which is a bit outside the central idea, but it added more poignant spirit to the book. The narration of the deteriorating effect of political and military turmoil on the social order and culture carried over in chapters four and five which deal with the colonial regime in Assam and the Naga war. This again gives the reader a feel of inconsistency of the central idea, but also creates a main attraction. Section four of Baruah’s endeavour containing chapters six, seven and eight are about state of Assam and the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). The author discussed about the concept of nationalism and sub-nationalism. He also tried to illustrate the significance of the above within the Northeast as a region and within Indian society. As the region is connected together by own sense of nationhood, and not by any physical, national or state borders that the idea of sub-nationalism is essential. The vast cultural complexity contributes to the persistent ethnic and communal conflicts in the Northeast and in India. The chapter five deals with the policies of the Indian state, and the attempt of considering all of the Northeast into a general Indian political mindset, but also shows that the policies are rather treated as an ‘invitation to violence’.

Conclusion:

Two of his policy ideas are worth noting here. One is to give the Northeast a `transnational' role in a reformulated `Look East' policy to allow it to flourish by reviving its historical, cultural and commercial ties with Southeast Asia. Baruah points to other nationalities like the Basque, Catalonia, Ireland or Tyrol to whom the European Union allows a `transnational politics of recognition' that compensates for their marginalisation within nation-states.
The other policy idea is to extend `dual citizenship' to both India and a state — which would anchor citizenship to a `civic principle' and get away from the politics of `ethnic homelands', which leads to an endless spiral of exclusion and displacement. Given New Delhi's insecurities even with dual citizenship with other countries, this idea will be hard to sell, but is worth exploring to give meaning to the multinational state that is India.
There are two reasons why Baruah might win a hearing in the policy-making corridors of India. He is terribly polite, while pulling no punches. And he is generous. Unlike the votaries of the great Indian nationalistic project, he leaves some space for `India' in his transnational, non-territorial imaginings.…...

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