State and Indigeneity Interface on Construction of Historical Identity: An Ethnographic Study in Arunachal Pradesh

Dr. Sucheta Sen Chaudhuri, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi, India

This is an ethnographic account based on fieldwork and documentary evidence on a first centenary celebration of colonial town Pasighat (2011) of Arunachal Pradesh, India. This study locates the state and indigenous people’s interface in perceiving centenary celebration and locates indigenous intellectuals’ apathy to incorporate colonial intervention experience within their history of celebration (festival) as part of heritage. In fact the establishment of colonial government and establishment of colonial post in Pasighat happened after British defeated the indigenous people in the same year 1911. That year is earmarked as the year of establishment of the town of Pasighat by tribal state government. The colonial town of Pasighat established around administrative centre which was altogether a very new concept in culture to the then communities stayed in that region. Therefore, the very idea of town emerged as Pasighat using British administrative centre as well as military post within the cultural ecology of the Pasi, Padam and Minyong communities. Those communities mentioned here are known as ‘Abor’ tribe in colonial literature and by neighbouring communities of plains and categorised by the Government of India as Adi, as one of the scheduled tribes in independent India. The growth of the town of Pasighat in one hundred years transformed demography of Pasighat and social relations of the neighbouring communities as well as identified as a centre for modernity in the region. In this backdrop the present paper locates different dimensions in perceiving history by the people on the hundredth year age of the town and influence of differences of opinion across the communities.