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Choosing Citizenship: Investigating the Binary of Inclusion and Exclusion in the Former Border Enclaves in India and Bangladesh

Author Anuradha SEN MOOKERJEE
Director of thesis Professor Alessandro Monsutti
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis In a historic move the Indian Parliament ratified on 7 May 2015, the Land Boundary Agreement (popularly referred to as the 1974 LBA) with the Government of Bangladesh, which had been pending ratification for 41 years. This allowed for the exchange of 111 Indian enclaves and 51 Bangladeshi enclaves scattered along the border between the two states. My ethnography examines the reconfiguration of the border and of citizenship practices entangled with it by focussing on the lives of the erstwhile de facto stateless residents of the former Bangladeshi enclaves in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, India, who have now opted to become Indian citizens. This multi-sited study involving eight months of fieldwork was made possible by a one year grant (Dec 2015-Dec 2016) from the Flash Program of the SNF. The dissertation explores the historical and contemporary micro-struggles and evolution of everyday citizenship practices in this borderscape. It studies the political activism of the new citizens, the shifts in their identities and their quotidian experiences with the 'idea of India’ in locations of historically constituted marginality and struggles over belonging. It seeks to understand the experiences of transition during the first eighteen months since the exchange of the enclaves and the grant of citizenship at midnight of 31st July, 2015 by investigating the political agency of the new citizen, their experiences of bordering, and search for recognition as full citizens.
Status middle
Administrative delay for the defence