Ethnography in the Assam–Nagaland border
The Assam-Nagaland foothill border conflict is not a new phenomenon which grabs media attention from time to time. Such conflicts are narrativized by each state along with the media from its own perspective. However, the narratives of the people living in the borders are hardly taken into consideration in the process. This chapter is the outcome of fieldwork carried out in the Merapani area, one of the foothill border areas between the two states. Merapani has been a site of border conflict between the two states since the state of Nagaland was carved out of Assam in 1963.
As against the dominant state narratives, this chapter deals mainly with the narratives of the people of Merapani who share the border and are interdependent in terms of livelihood, health and education. The chapter enquires into how the local people from both sides of the border perceive conflict and how they negate the dominant narratives. Considering the interdependency of the people, the chapter also looks into how they negotiate with conflict, citing various historical narratives and legends.