Landscape of identity: Transacting the labels 'Indian','Assamese' and 'Tai-Ahom' in contemporary Assam

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4 Scopus citations


By examining the connections between identity and memory, I explore the emergence of a new community known as Tai-Ahom in the heterogeneously fluid northeastern Indian state of Assam. My focus is on the community's struggle to unravel the past; particularly their attempts to memorialize a new history that is represented as authentically and uniquely Tai-Ahom. The paper also examines the Tai-Ahoms' often competing and contradictory claims of seeking legitimation from the national government of India while looking beyond to Thailand as the foundation of their historical ancestry. Finally, the paper demonstrates how the Luit river provides the gluing metaphor for the Tai-Ahoms to imagine a mythical history and homeland in Ujjani Aaham. Tai-Ahom identity, like the river, is fluid. defying strict categorization, being neither an end product of 'imagination' nor a fixed 'national reality'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-93
Number of pages21
JournalContemporary South Asia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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