Essays

Lest We Forget: The Many Partitions and their Legacies in Northeast India

By Issue 01 November 25, 2019 No Comments

Religious Divisions of the Indian Empire. The Imperial Gazetteer of India Oxford University Press, 1909 (Wikimedia Commons)

A. The Predicament of Writing Partition

It is ironical that, for a state that celebrates the rhetoric of non-violence, the birth of modern India was conspicuously marked by conflicts and bloodshed leaving over fifteen million people displaced and over one million dead. These are only conservative estimates, primarily emerging from Punjab and marginally from Bengal. It is even more curious that despite these experiences, the post-colonial state in India has been reluctant to enter into any official public engagement with it. Official history of the same is marginal and there are no memorials erected to remember those who lost their lives in what Madhav Godbole calls, ‘the holocaust of India’s partition’.[1] In fact, attempts to write of violence in India are fraught with grave risks. On the one hand, there are fears of rekindling old wounds, which the state presumed to have healed over the last seven decades and on the other, it often leads many to suspect such scholarship as a conscious campaign against the policy of secularism.

Some scholars even argued that attempts to talk of violence were only a part of the fascist agenda, which sought to destroy the unifying strains of the Indian state. Engaging with the issue, Neeladri Bhattacharyaa from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in one of his pieces argued that, “[w]here communal historians can only see the hard lines of the boundaries that separate communities, secular historians have emphasized the porosity and open-endedness of these boundaries.”[2] This crisis is even more pronounced in state sponsored Indian history texts, where for example, discussions of the violence were almost kept to a minimum.[3] The emphasis in these texts were to assert the antiquity of syncretism in Indian social life and the unitary character of the new nation and were replete with the conscious suppression of parts of its history which were seen as undesirable to national interests of ‘unity’ and ‘integrity’.[4] The will of the state is to create a history that reflected the ethos of ‘unity’, as systematically built into the institutions that the state established and the pedagogy that it promoted. Unfortunately, many sections of society lost their voice in the history that emerged as a result of this statist policy. Marginal sections of society such as the Dalits, tribal communities, religious minorities and women were the worst victims of such memocide.

In a country where geographical proximity to the national capital has ensured overwhelming attention within Partition history to Punjab, it is important to remember the multivocality of Indian Partition discourse. Beyond Punjab, Bengal is the other big site of Partition experience in the sub-continent in the east along with Assam. It is also pertinent to record that Assam, in the context of this narrative, is the colonial province of Assam, which in today’s terms includes the states of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram. And yet, there is so little of the Partition story that emerges from these sites. Perhaps, the focus was on Azadi and not on Batwara; Pierre Nora probably summed up the Indian situation well when she said, “History’s goal and ambition is not to exult but to annihilate what has in reality taken place.”[5] It is interesting to observe that in recent years, this is a trend which is under challenge as individuals and communities affected by Partition have come forward to either correct these statist narratives or write and compile their alternative narratives that contest statist history. This shift has been to focus public attention on state betrayal of the displaced who perceived the Indian State to be their own as they gave up their home and hearth to migrate to India.

Celebration of Independence Day in recent years and a plethora of texts that have seen the light of print to commemorate the occasion have only helped to assert this crisis. While some of these texts have attempted to articulate the question of victimhood, and the story of violence and territorial loss, they have only succeeded in exposing the fault-lines within Indian Partition historiography. [6] In recent years, when revisionist writings on Partition of India emerged, as Bengal finally came to find space in it, the story of the Partition in Northeast India is still absent. This story is perhaps more complex and multilayered than what has been hitherto imagined by Partition scholarship. Here, Partition is not an event of 1947 but a process that has spread itself[7] over two centuries engaging early colonial cartography, ethnicity and religion. The genesis of Partition as the corner-stone of political map-making can be traced to the inception of colonial rule in eastern India, when the English East India Company Government in Bengal decided to constitute the district of Sylhet and subsequently separate the hills of the Khasi-Jaintia lands from their plains in the 18th Century and make it a part of this new colonial frontier district.

B. Northeast India: Writing ‘Absence’

Sketch of the British military with Nagas, 1875 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Bengal Boundary Commission Award made on the eve of transfer of power in India demarcating the boundary between India and East Pakistan in 1947 by Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the barrister who headed the Commission, was the culmination of a long process of cartographic maneuvers by the colonial state in India. Political scientist and policy maker Sanjoy Hazarika sums up the situation well as he points out that, “what is not often understood is that the North-East suffered the impact of not one but two partitions.”[8] The first was the separation of Burma in 1937 which partitioned the Nagas, Mizos, Manipuris and the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh between two independent administrations, devastating kinship relations and trade connectivities, and the second was the partition of Bengal and Assam in 1947, culminating in the Radcliffe Line of 1947. However, most scholars engaging with the Partition of India and working in India remain silent about the fact that this Partition was also the culmination of a process that began as early as the eighteenth century. In the context of northeast India today, it is pertinent to mention that the coming of the English East India rule in the Brahmaputra valley as administrators in 1826 accelerated a series of cartographic maneuvers and map-making in the region, both in the hills and the plains. In sharp contrast to the area being at the centre of connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia, the region was steadily transformed to acquire the shape of international borders in the twentieth century between India and Tibet, Burma and East Pakistan.

In the early 1820s, company officers visited the Naga hills and that became an interesting precursor of expanding colonial interest over areas that would transform into a contested borderland. Since 1834, the Patkai range watershed came to be recognized by the British as the boundary for colonial control cutting across Naga inhabited areas. Such cartographic exercises were also rampant in the Manipur frontier as the defeat of the Burmese forces by the Company in the First Anglo-Burmese War brought about British colonial hegemony over Manipur. Pradip Phanjoubam, one of the scholars from Manipur points out in his texts that, “in the Manipur sector the border was officially made in 1834. After ending Ava (Burmese) occupation of Manipur and Assam in 1826 at the end of the first Anglo-Burmese War and the signing of the Treaty of Yandaboo, the Chindwin river was deemed the boundary of the British protectorate Manipur, putting the Kabaw valley under Manipur. But in 1834, […] the British persuaded the Manipuri king that a new boundary should be negotiated and Captain R. Boileau Pemberton as Boundary Commissioner drew what came to be known as the Pemberton Line along the foot of the ‘Murring Hills’ on the western edge of the Kabaw valley […] In 1881, this boundary was realigned by the then British political agent in Manipur, Major James Johnstone. […] In 1896, another British political agent in Manipur, Colonel Maxwell put 38 boundary pillars along this boundary which then came to be known as the Pemberton-Johnstone-Maxwell line”[9] that subsequently was ratified by India and Burma as international borders in 1967.

In Tripura, the colonial interests of revenue and resource appropriation combined with demands of law and order and succession conflicts to culminate in an elaborate process of boundary demarcation which “worked with contrasting dimensions.”[10] Therefore in 1782, “when the Rani of Tripura asked the Tippera Collector to assist her son’s succession, the Collector obliged, and in return, secured a new boundary at the base of the hills, inducing the Raja to move his capital to Agartala. The Raja kept private landholdings in Tippera District, but in 1782, his royal authority had officially retreated to mountains east of Comilla.”[11] The Company was therefore now free to constitute the district of Tippera in 1790. But subsequent disputes between the English East India Company and the Maharaja of Tripura over khas lands located in the bordering Parganna led the English Company Government to appoint Mr. Henry Rickett to demarcate the boundary between Tripura and Tippera in 1846, who ordered a couple of surveys in 1848. But it was only by 1854 that the boundary between the state of Hill Tripura and the British district of Tippera came to be settled after survey by arbitrators Messers Leycester and Campbell. Brick boundary pillars were erected in 1866 which were maintained by the colonial government. This boundary was not only the district boundary but also the imperial frontier line of British India.[12]

The process of boundary demarcation cutting across the Zo territories was concluded in 1901 as the colonial state drew a boundary between the Lushai hills and the Chin hills. This boundary has persisted and has since been legitimized as the boundary between the Mizo Hills District/ Mizoram and the Chin State of Myanmar. The process of boundary demarcations was not limited to the eastern borders of Northeast India alone. In the north, the boundary between Tibet and India in the eastern Himalayas came to be formalized with an agreement signed between the representatives of the British and Tibetan representatives in July 1914, which came to be known as the McMahon line, named after the man who negotiated the treaty on behalf of the British government. The result of this exercise was the drawing of an 850 mile line which ran from the northern edge of Bhutan to upper Burma and “reflected the colonial concerns for a militarily defensible boundary alignment”.[13]

The partition of Bengal and Assam in 1947, culminating in the Radcliffe Line of 1947 divided not only the Hindus and Muslims of this region on religious and ethnic lines, it also divided the smaller ethnic communities like the Khasis, Garos, Hajongs, Rabhas, Karbis Koch-Rajbongshis, the Reangs and the Chakmas, to name a few. It is interesting to note that within a few days of partition of the subcontinent, boundary disputes arose between the Khasi States and the Sylhet district of East Pakistan. A boundary that was demarcated as early as 1886 was converted into an international boundary by the departing colonial government.[14] An interesting note from a colonial officer to the Advisor to the Governor of Assam on the 3rd of July, 1947, says that “the boundary of the Khasi States and Sylhet and Khasi States and Kamrup […] has never been demarcated. The notifications are in many cases vague quoting such boundaries as the foot of the hills, where the hills gradually merges into the plains, it is impossible to say where the foot is.”[15] These cartographic alignments though initially introduced to assist the needs of colonial exploitation continue to divide people and create disputed borders both internally and internationally, shaping the politics of this region and determining India’s relations with its immediate neighbours.

C. Partition of Sylhet and Tripura and the making of Northeast India in 1947

Assam became enmeshed in partition politics through the district of Sylhet, which was a part of the province of Assam from 1874 to 1947, except for a brief period when Assam itself was made a part of a larger province called Eastern Bengal and Assam between 1905 and 1911. Therefore, when agreement came on the decision to partition the Indian subcontinent, the Assam Pradesh Congress and the Muslim League agreed that only the Muslim majority district of Sylhet in Assam would be put up for a referendum to decide whether it should be amalgamated with East Pakistan or retained in India and the province of Assam. When the result of the Referendum was made public, it came to light that a majority of the votes were in favour of amalgamation with East Pakistan. Sylhet was put on the dissection table of the Boundary Commission, and both sides in the contest were apprehensive about the role of the Bengal Boundary Commission. Many Congress leaders both in Assam and the central leadership felt that the Bengal Commission would not to justice to the cause of Assam and demanded that a separate Boundary Commission be constituted for Sylhet. The Viceroy, on his part, dismissed these apprehensions and rejected the Congress demand for paucity of time, leaving no option but for the Sylhet question to be placed before the Bengal Boundary Commission.

On the 14th of August, Sylhet (except for three and a half thanas) became a part of East Pakistan. What remained in India became part of the Cachar district of the composite state of Assam in post-colonial India. Along with Sylhet, the Khasi-Jaintia, Garo and Mizo lands were also partitioned, and it is important to place the experiences of these communities on record within Partition historiography as these communities suddenly found themselves invented as border communities as a result of colonial cartography. This is despite Sir Cyril mentioning in his report that, “In my view, the question is limited to the district of Sylhet and Cachar since the other districts of Assam that can be said to adjoin Sylhet, neither the Garo Hills nor the Khasi and Jaintia Hills nor the Lushai hills have anything approaching a Muslim majority of population in respect of which a claim could be made.”[16]

Such statements reflected a complete ignorance of the Boundary Commission about the situations at the ground, both administrative and social. What the Commission failed to appreciate was that the boundary between Sylhet and the Khasi native states on the one hand and the Jaintia hills on the other, till 1947 were inter-district demarcations which had no real impact on the transactions and movement of people on the ground. That was set to change completely with the transformation of inter-district boundaries into international boundaries. The passage of more than seven decades since the moment of parting has not contributed to understanding the process of Partition beyond its religious stereotype of Hindu-Muslim antagonism. The tribal communities in Northeast India were the unacknowledged victims of India’s partitions that spread itself over the last decade of colonial rule.

As has been discussed in the previous section, the Tripura Kings were the rulers of both the hills and some areas in the plains of eastern Bengal since the fifteenth century especially Comilla and parts of Sylhet, Noakhali and Chittagong districts. These plains areas came under the sway of the colonial control in 1761 after an operation led by Lieutenant Mathews on behalf of the Chittagong Council instituted a legal fiction whereby the Maharaja was reduced to the status of a zamindar of the lands that he controlled in the plains of eastern Bengal, “known as Chakla Roshnabad,”[17] a total area of 555 square miles. This was only a legal fiction as, in the perception of the people, the Maharaja was the ruler of both the hills and the plains. A reference to the plains is important in the context of Partition as lakhs of people migrated to Hills-Tripura from their homes in East Bengal between 1946 and 1971[18] which had a significant impact on the politics and administration in the border province. Though the Maharani, as the President of the Regency Council signed the Instrument of Accession to the Indian Union on the 13th of August, 1947,[19] there was no separate reference to Chakla Roshnabad in the Instrument. The award of the Boundary commission also did not make any separate reference to Tripura, unlike Assam. Though the Commission formalized the process of Partition and accordingly the estates of Chakla Roshnabad which belonged to the Maharaja of Tripura as a zamindari found itself located within East Pakistan, technically the areas should have been acceded to India along with Hills-Tripura. But that was not to be as both the Maharani along with the Regency Council and the Government of India were conspicuously silent about the Tripura territories in the plains of Bengal. Thus with the Partition of India, princely Tripura, along with Punjab, Bengal and Assam also experienced the process of Partition and the people living in the princely state of Tripura were also exposed to the vicissitudes of post-Partition politics.

Confident about the wisdom of the rulers, the Hindu subjects of Chakla Roshnabad did not submit any memorandum to the Radcliffe Commission for inclusion of the zamindari into post-partition Tripura, though they were an inalienable part of the territorial possessions of the king of Tripura much before the onset of colonial rule. Thus after 1949, Tripura was made a Chief Commissioner’s province and Chakla Roshnabad became “the absolute private property”[20] of the Tripura royal family, over which they had no real political control, with the creation of Pakistan. With the formation of East Pakistan, Chakla Roshnabad was lost on transfer of power to East Pakistan despite the protests by Hindu subjects and the subordinate zamindars,[21] completing the partition of Tripura as well.

D. Partition’s Lingering Legacies

Men loading tea onto bamboo boats. Bourne & Shepherd, Photographic Print, c. 1903 (Wikimedia Commons)

Beyond the narratives of the administrative history of Partition politics, when Partition finally took place, it affected politics and the lives of the people in Assam in many ways. It physically separated northeast India from the rest of the country except for a small passage of 22 km commonly known as the chicken’s neck. Assam lost 4,769 square miles of territory and a population of 2,825,282 persons. But the loss of territory was not as significant as was the loss in paddy fields, lime and cement industries and tea gardens of Sylhet.[22] The adverse impact of the transfer of the Sylhet district to East Pakistan was noted in the Census Report of 1951 which observed that “the far reaching effects of this loss will continue to be felt by Assam as well as India for many years to come.”[23] Partition disrupted the natural channels of riverine communication, rail and roads networks that linked the hill areas of colonial Assam through the Surma valley. One of the scholars crisply noted that, “Assam’s rail link with the rest of the country was snapped following Partition. It was only in January, 1950 that the rail-link was restored by a metre-gauge line through the narrow chicken-neck corridor of north Bengal. The disruption of the rail link had a very adverse effect on Assam’s economy. Partition also resulted in the loss of Chittagong port which was a major outlet for Assam tea.”[24] Partition of Assam and the loss of Sylhet[25] made Assam a land locked province as its outlet to the sea since 1904[26] was through the port of Chittagong that became a part of East Pakistan.

Partition of colonial Assam in 1947 also adversely affected the social and economic lives of the various tribal communities residing within colonial Assam. It disrupted the traditional links that the tribal communities such as the Khasis, Jaintias and the Garos had with the East Pakistani districts of Sylhet and Mymensingh respectively. These tribes were settled not only in the hill districts of Assam but also in the plains of Sylhet and Mymensingh. At the stroke of a pen these people were internally split into Indians and Pakistanis depending on their residence. The traditional inter-community linkages in the area was so strong that these hill tribes “for ages depended on their trade with the plains […]”[27] Centuries old prosperous border-trade based economy was destroyed by closing the borders and erection of check-posts.[28] In the pre-Partition scenario, the plains of Sylhet used to be the main market for the produce of the hills and foothills of the Khasi-Jaintia lands.

As a result of the partition of Sylhet, a border of about 150 miles in length was created across the Khasi-Jaintia hills. The boundary of the new state of East Pakistan partitioned the lands inhabited by the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo as a boundary came to be demarcated “from boundary pillar No. 1071 located at the tri-junction of Rangpur district of Bangladesh, west Garo Hills district of Meghalaya and Goalpara district of Assam and ends at the boundary pillar No. 1338 at the tri-junction of Sylhet district of Bangladesh, Jaintia Hills district and Cachar district of Assam.”[29] Partition and the amalgamation of Sylhet with East Pakistan caused “a virtual economic blockade of the Khasi hills.”[30] The movement of goods were initially discouraged and subsequently stopped from moving between Khasi-Jaintia hills and East Pakistan. While the Khasi-Jaintia people of the hills found themselves cut away from their kinsmen in the plains they were also reduced to penury without a market for their agricultural produce and mineral resources. Trade which amounted to more than three crores of rupees annually in the pre-Partition days came to a standstill which resulted in the tribal communities residing at the borders between Khasi Hills and Sylhet being brought to the brink of starvation.[31] The affected in the Khasi Hills district amounted to about 80,000 people and about 16,000 households. This resulted in large-scale migration of people from these border areas to new settlements selected for their relocation in the Ri-Bhoi region of present day Meghalaya.[32]

Partition in northeast India was therefore not just religious but also ethnic and was not limited to the machinations of the colonial officialdom. Indian middle class leaders who were now aspiring to contest for public and elected offices were also responsible for encouraging the philosophy of partition between the two largest ethnic communities sharing this region, that is, the Assamese and the Bengali. Such support for separatist philosophy could be seen in a promise that the Assamese leaders had made to their electors as early as 1945 through the APCC Manifesto arguing that,

“unless the province of Assam is organized on the basis of Assamese language and culture the survival of Assamese nationality and culture will become impossible. The inclusion of Bengali speaking Sylhet and Cachar and the immigration of lakhs of Bengali settlers on wastelands has been threatening to destroy the distinctiveness of Assam…”[33]

The visit of Gopinath Bordoloi to the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, after the elections only reinforced this sentiment. In his report of the meeting, the viceroy observed that,

“He said Assam would be quite prepared to hand over Sylhet to Eastern Bengal.”[34]

In post-Partition India, the idea of ethnic partitions found new advocates in Assam. The Governor, addressing the first Assembly session after the transfer of power on the 5th of September, 1947, pointed out that,

The natives of Assam are now masters of their own house. They have a government which is both responsible and responsible to them. The Bengali no longer has the power, even if he had the will, to impose anything on the people of these hills and valleys which constitute Assam.[35]

Post-colonial state of Assam began to work towards making Assam a predominantly Assamese province. Though there was no restriction on movement of people from East Pakistan to Assam in the initial years after independence, gradually the provincial governments and the Government of India began to discourage migration of people from East Pakistan to India by 1950. Partition introduced the ‘foreigners’ dimension into politics in northeast India with the introduction of the passport system in 1952. The situation became critical as the initial trickle of people wanting to migrate to India from East Pakistan became a flood by 1950 as the political atmosphere in East Pakistan became increasingly hostile to the minority communities. The Census Report for Assam, Manipur and Tripura, 1951 observed that,

“the recent influx of Hindu refugees from Pakistan constitutes the biggest migration stream into Assam during the last decade. Following partition, there has been an almost steady and continuous exodus of the Hindus of Pakistan into Assam. The number of displaced almost touched about half a million people by April, 1950. The grave situation led the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan to meet in April and come up with an agreement, popularly known as the Nehru – Liaquat Pact. But despite the pact there was no improvement in the situation on the ground and a large number of displaced preferred to settle down in Assam. The Census of 1951 revealed that as many as 274,455 persons were settled in Assam, predominantly in the plains. Partition of Sylhet from Assam and its amalgamation with East Pakistan had a major impact on the flow of refugees from East Pakistan to Assam. The Census report pointed out that “most of the refugees come from the bordering district of Sylhet.”[36]

E. Partitions in Inter- Community Relations in North-East India

As community lives were disrupted in post-colonial Assam by the operation of Partition, migration of refugees from East Pakistan had an adverse impact on community relations both in the plains and the hills of Assam. Settlement of these refugees in the various districts of Assam was viewed as a threat to the idea of political homogenization of spaces. In Shillong, located in the Khasi Hills District, 66 acres of land was requisitioned by the Government of Assam in two blocks of Bhagyakul estate and Umpling village for the settlement of 351 families, due to which tribal-non tribal relations deteriorated and the non-tribals came to be perceived as ‘dkhars’ or foreigners for the first time. Inclusion of non-tribals in the District Council established under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution led to staging of black flag demonstrations on 27th June, 1952[37] and attempts to obstruct the inaugural ceremony. The protests was accompanied by a procession which “was dispersed by the police with tear gas that was used for the first time in Khasi and Jaintia Hills to break a political procession.”[38] It was almost prophetically noted in the Census Report of 1951 that, “the far reaching effects of this loss will continue to be felt by Assam as well as India for many years to come.”[39]

F. Conclusion

In sharp contrast to what is now in focus as the proposed centre of connectivity between East Asia and Southeast Asia as part of India’s ‘Act East’ and ‘Neighborhood First’ policy , Northeast India has persisted as a borderland of an expanding colonial empire and post-colonial interests. We need to come to terms with India’s colonial past and the making of this region’s colonial character, if we are to have a way forward in the logjam that the region suffers from in the disconnect between the ‘Act East’ policy and the disruptive voices on the ground, that appear oblivious of the statist policy perspective enshrined in the North Eastern Region Vision 2020 document that calls for taking an imaginative leap in foreign, defence and internal security policies beyond the bottlenecks imposed by the Partition of India. The decision of the Supreme Court of India to monitor and ensure the updation of the NRC as a mechanism for identification of and deletion of foreigners from Assam in its judgement on 17th December 2014 and the subsequent preparation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam whose final list was published on August 31, 2019 has only helped to revive the importance of engaging with the Partition of India. The Central Government has contributed to further confusion by first issuing a notification by the Ministry of Home in September 2015 which exempted the Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to the minority community entering India on or before 31st December 2014 without proper relevant documents from being declared as illegal entrants or foreigners, and exempt from the Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920 and the Foreigners Act of 1946, and then proposing a bill to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955.

None of these decisions have actualized into any closure of the antagonisms or the misery that was set loose in this region by the politics of Partition. In reality, the antagonisms have only aggravated over time with newspaper reports indicating gross mismanagement of the NRC enlistment process on the ground, a number of people committing suicide, thousands being pushed into detention centres and countless people being harassed in the name of detection and identification of foreigners.[40] Partition continues to fester in our lives despite the lapse of more than seven decades since the event of 1947. Over years, the unresolved boundary question in Northeast India and the continuous acrimony over the legality of migration across the created state-nation boundaries has become a pointer to the assertion that Partition is not an event but a process which is far from its closure. This needs serious engagement by politicians, policy makers and academics alike. This is something that is yet to happen till now.

Notes and References
  1. Madhav Godbole, The Holocaust of India’s Partition: an inquest, Rupa &Co, New Delhi, 2006.
  2. N. Bhattacharyaa, Predicaments of Secular Histories, Public Culture, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2008
  3. Bipan Chandra, Modern India, NCERT. New Delhi 1990.
  4. N. Bhattacharyaa, opcit
  5. Pierre Nora,Between Memory and History, Representations 26: Spring 1989
  6. Anita Inder Singh, Partition of India, New Delhi, 2006Stanley Wolpert, Shameful Flight(2006), NewYork, 2006Madhav Godbole, The Holocaust of India’s Partition,(2006) Bidyut Chakraborty, The Partition of Bengal and Assam,(2004) to name a few.
  7. It is important to appreciate that in most of the major publications on partition, north-eastern experience does not find adequate treatment.
  8. Sanjoy Hazarika, Strangers No More, Aleph, New Delhi, 2018, p.xi.
  9. Pradip Phanjoubam, India’s War Against Itself: A View From Manipur, Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XXXXX, no.24,2015.
  10. Anandaroop Sen, ‘Conquest and The Quotidian:Violence and the making of Tripura (1760-1793) in Lipokmar Dzuvichu&Manjeet Baruah(ed) Modern Practices in North East India: History, Culture, Representation, Routledge, London, p.2018.pp. 56-88.
  11. David Ludden, ‘The First Boundary of Bangladesh’ in Anandaroop Sen, ‘Conquest and The Quotidian:Violence and the making of Tripura (1760-1793) in Lipokmar Dzuvichu&Manjeet Baruah(ed) Modern Practices in North East India: History, Culture, Representation, Routledge, London, p.2018. pp.80-81.
  12. W. W. Hunter, Statistical Account of Bengal, Vol- VI, Trubner &Co, London, 1876, p.356.
  13. BRnice Guyot-Rechard, Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, Cambridge University press, Cambridge, 2017, p.51.
  14. Home Political, Boundary Commission (K&J Hills- Sylhet- Pakistan) File no.3. 1947 Deputy Commissioner’s Record Room, Shillong. MSA.
  15. Home Political, Boundary Commission (K&J Hills- Sylhet- Pakistan) File no.3. 1947 Deputy Commissioner’s Record Room, Shillong. MSA.
  16. Nicholas Mansergh & Penderal Moon (ed)The Transfer of Power 1942-47, Vol- XII, p. 756.
  17. The Word Chakla denotes an administrative unit/category introduced by the Nawabs of Bengal. The area named Roshnabad was therefore a distinct administrative unit or Chakla. Reference may be made to Anindita Ghoshal, From Hosts to Hostilities: Lands, Migrants and Contest for habitat in Tripura, Journal of History, Vol.33, 2019, p. 163. Also see N.R. Roy Choudhury, (1983) Tripura Through The Ages, New Delhi: Sterling Publishers, p 37-38.
  18. The Noakhali and Tippera Riots broke out in October, 1946 as a prelude to partition of India in 1947 and the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 the two signposts to understand the politics of immigration in Tripura .
  19. S.P De, (2005) Illegal Migrations and the North East, New Delhi: Anamika Publishers and Distributors, p. 106
  20. M. Chakravarti, ‘Documentation of the process of Integration of princely Tripura with the Indian Union’ in S.Nag, T. Gurung and A. Choudhury, Making of The Indian Union, Akansha Publishing house, New Delhi, 2007, p.321
  21. R.K. De, ‘Merger and Princely Tripura’s Political Transition:1947-1949’ in S.Nag, T. Gurung and A. Choudhury, Making of The Indian Union, New Delhi, Akansha Publishing house, 2007, p.351.
  22. Census of India,1951, Vol.XII, Part I-A, pp. 2-3.
  23. Ibid, p. 3.
  24. Udayon Misra, The Periphery Strikes Back, IIAS, Shimla, 2000, p. 148, ft.nt. no.2.
  25. Almost the entire district of Sylhet was transferred to East Pakistan except only an area of 709 square miles and a population of 291,320 persons in the three thanas of Bararpur, Ratabari, Patharkandi and a part of the Karimganj thana which was joined with the district of Cachar and formed a new subdivision. See the Censusof India,1951, Vol.XII, Part I-A, p. 2.
  26. Since 1904, a rail link linking Dibrugarh with Chittagong was set up to carry the bulk of the tea trade from Assam. See Udayon Misra, The Periphery Strikes Back, Shimla, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, 2000, p.115
  27. Ibid,p.115.
  28. Ibid, pp.115-16 and 149 ft.nt.3
  29. Statement of the then Chief Minister of Meghalaya Donkupar Roy in the Assembly in(2008, May 6) Oneindia News, www.oneindia.com/2008/05/06/border-fencing-with-bangladesh-in-meghalaya-sector-stalled-1210068341.html accessed on 03.05.017.
  30. Nari K. Rustomji, (1973) Enchanted Frontiers, Calcutta, Oxford University Press, p 110-111.
  31. O.L. Snaitang (1997) Memoirs of Life and Political Writings of the Hon’ble Rev. J.J.M. Nichols Roy, Vol.1, Shillong, Shrolenson Marbaniang, p 170.
  32. Ibid p 175.
  33. APCC Manifesto quoted in Sujit Choudhury ‘God Sent Oppurtunity’ Seminar No 510.
  34. Meeting dated 1st April, 1946, in P.Moon, Wavell The Viceroy’s Journal, OUP, London, 1973, p. 233.
  35. S. Chaudhuri, ‘God-sent’Oppurtunity’, Seminar, no.510.
  36. Ibid, p.358.
  37. The Chronicle, ( 25th July, 1952) an English Daily.
  38. R.T. Rymbai,(25th April, 1997) ‘Integration of the Khasi States’, The Shillong Times.
  39. Ibid, p. 3.
  40. The Telegraph, dated 3rd April, 2016
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