IIT Mandi faculty publishes book on 'politics of ethnic renewal' in Himalayan region

Nilamber Chhetri has published a book on demands of recognition of a Scheduled Tribe in Darjeeling and how it links to ethnopolitical climate of the region.

IIT Mandi faculty, Nilamber Chhetri. (Picture: Press Release)IIT Mandi faculty, Nilamber Chhetri. (Picture: Press Release)

Ishita Ranganath | March 23, 2023 | 01:11 PM IST

NEW DELHI: A faculty member from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, school of humanities and social sciences, Nilamber Chhetri has published a book titled 'politics of ethnic renewal'. The book discusses about the ethnopolitics in the Darjeeling region.

The book talks about the increase of demands for recognition, rights and autonomy of a scheduled tribe. The book links the wider politics of classification and categorasation in the region to the discourse of ethnic mobilization in hills. The books aims to offer an in-depth understanding of the political climate of Darjeeling.

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The published book details the nature of such demands the ways in which the people of the region negotiate for their identity. It further demonstrates that the ethnopolitics unfolding in Darjeeling have a wide-scale application to understand similar recognition struggles unfolding in South Asia.

The author argues that the recent mobilisation for ST status are determined by the politics in contemporary India. The book is designed for academics, students, and research scholars working on issues of state classification and politics of categorization.

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A press release claims that the book can benefit policy makers, activists, and students of law from the engaged discussion on the classificatory practices and discourse of cultural rights and affirmative action in India.

Speaking about the book, IIT Mandi, Nilamber Chhetri, said: "The book is timely as it considers the discursive strategies adopted by ethnic associations to frame their identities as primitive and indigenous groups inhabiting the hills. While doing so the book captures the practices through which ethnic groups re-cast their identities and retrace their genealogy in the ritual context.”

Further, he mentioned,“In this regard the book offers a crucial reading of the performative and discursive claims of ethnic groups in Darjeeling.The book also offers a diachronic analysis of ethnic mobilisation based on regional and group recognition in Darjeeling.”

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