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Reconsidering Ethnic-Based-Autonomy Movements in Meghalaya: An Analysis

Singha, Komol and Nayak, Purusottam (2015): Reconsidering Ethnic-Based-Autonomy Movements in Meghalaya: An Analysis.

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Abstract

To the unfamiliar, communities living in Meghalaya appear to be homogenous ones. In reality, however, they are socially, politically and culturally not only heterogeneous but are also defined by distinct tribal and clan markers. Three major tribes, namely, the Khasi, the Garo, and the Jaintia dominate the State. Each of them had their own kingdoms until they were brought under the British colonial administration in the 19th century. Consequently, after independence, these tribes and their territories were merged with undivided Assam, and then carved out as a full-fledged state of Meghalaya in 1972. Soon after attaining statehood, tensions cropped up between the indigenous communities and migrants mainly over the issue of economic opportunity. However, these days, it has slowly shifted towards the internal feuds among the indigenous tribes and separate demand for States within the State. With this background, the paper attempts to analyse the causes and consequences of autonomy demands asserted by different communities/tribes within the state.

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