ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Territorial Legends

Politics of Indigeneity, Migration, and Urban Citizenship in Pasighat

Exploring how the policy of protection of indigenous people works on the ground in Pasighat, a town in Arunachal Pradesh, this paper brings out the interlinkages between urban politics and indigeneity as an entitlement regime. Once boundaries are operationalised on the basis of territorial belonging, politics revolves around who is from a particular place and who is not. This has created opportunities for accumulation for the indigenous people through rents. The state simultaneously installs and destabilises this politics of indigeneity. The paper shows how the state and capital are implicated in the structures of enfranchisement that have historically shaped the town.

I thank Egul Padung for sharing his yet-to-be-published manuscript on the history of Pasighat. I am grateful to Vijay Taram, Raju, Okeb Jamoh, Onyok Tamuk, Yade Tamuk, K Dai, Dejir Tamuk and many other people of Pasighat for conversations and hospitality. Salah Punathil, Amiya Kumar Das, Ameya Abhyankar, N K Kumaresan Raja, and Madhuresh Kumar helped me fi nd a foothold in Pasighat. Eric Denis, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Marie-Hélène Zérah, Ben Rogaly, Audrey Richard- Ferroudji, and an anonymous reviewer read earlier drafts and I thank them for their suggestions and comments. The paper was written as part of a research programme to understand provincial urbanisation in India funded by French National Research Agency at French Institute of Pondicherry.

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