In-Situ Displacement: A politics of Belonging, Recognition, and Rights
This project investigates the practices of in-situ displacement, being displaced while remaining in place, that lie at the heart of the construction of Hindus as national others. My focus is on the unfolding of everyday practices of rule as a window on the politics of bureaucracy and state and on interactions between class and religious collectivities as constitutive of majoritarian rule. I trace these practices in the territory known as East Bengal in undivided India, then as East Pakistan as a colony of Pakistan, and lastly as the independent country of Bangladesh. Against the backdrop of the 1947 Partition which presupposed a Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India, displacement, (mis)recognition, and the expropriation of resources and rights continue to haunt understanding Hindu belonging and sovereignty in the construction of majoritarian rule, where the contingent meanings of belonging are constituted in the context of changing relations between the territory that is now Bangladesh and her regional neighbors, India and Pakistan. The project is conceptually grounded at the intersections of critiques of pluralism as a legal and social order, everyday rituals of state formation and nationalism, relations of rule and belonging, and theories of social reproduction. Transfer Notes of District Commissioners as emblematic of the decentralization of political rule and court documents of land cases and passport infringements provide the evidentiary basis for this historical ethnography.