Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Decolonization, nation-states, and the emerging territoriality : indigeneity in a contested zone Chowdhury, Md. Nazmul Hasan 2005

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_2006-0020.pdf [ 2.84MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0092458.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0092458-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0092458-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0092458-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0092458-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0092458-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0092458-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

D E C O L O N I Z A T I O N , N A T I O N - S T A T E S , A N D T H E E M E R G I N G TERRITORIALITY: INDIGENEITY LN A C O N T E S T E D Z O N E by M D . N A Z M U L H A S A N C H O W D H U R Y A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R OF A R T S in T H E F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S ( A N T H R O P O L O G Y ) T H E U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A November 2005 © M d . Nazmul Hasan Chowdhury, 2005 Abstract The Chittagong H i l l Tracts (CHT) is home to thirteen different indigenous groups in Bangladesh. A n historical examination of the circumstances of indigenous peoples in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts reveals that indigenes had a complicated relationship with the Bangladeshi state over the last few decades, and prior to that with the British and the Pakistani regimes that ruled them. In this paper, I show how the formation of indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts is shaped by colonialism, decolonization, and the relationship between nation-states and global powers. Thus, in addition to studying the relationship between the state and indigenous people within a single nation-state framework, my focus is on situating it into a regional and global context. It is often argued that in this age of increased connections, nation-states lose control over their localities. This paper, instead, shows that the state still practices authority. The state has become more flexible over the last decade and ultimately signed a treaty with the representatives of H i l l inhabitants in 1997. Along with other factors, this process indicates the influences of transnational entities over the state. However, although the treaty guarantees a legal safeguard for indigenous people, their 'real freedom' has been undermined by the state's misinterpretation, or non-implementation of the treaty. This shows that the state can manipulate transnational entities' w i l l and vigilance and reconfigure relationship with the local. This particular tactic of the state creates a procedural problem for indigenous people and draws them into administrative complexities, and often indigenous people do not have enough expertise to overcome this bureaucratic 'red-tape'. It is a puzzle for these people in which they can neither neglect the state and choose a path of renewed resistance, nor get equal rights and enough cooperation from the state. In such a situation, indigenous people are even more vulnerable to an internal conflict than they were during the period of their violent struggle against the state. i i Table of Contents Abstract i i Table of Contents i i i Acknowledgments iv Introduction 1 Theories of Globalization: A n Overview 2 Globalization: A Critical Look at 'Deterritorialization' 3 National vs. Transnational Governmentality: Denial or Negotiation 4 The Context: The Chittagong H i l l Tracts 6 Emerging States and Local Conflicts: The C H T in the British Period 8 Economic Appropriation and the Legal Creation of the "Otherness" 8 Decolonization and the Awareness of "Indigeneity" 10 Contested Nationalism and the Politics of Place: The C H T in the Pakistani Period.... 13 The Relationship between Nation-states and Indigeneity 13 The Politics of Nationalism and the Expression of Difference 14 The Global and Regional Dynamics of Indigeneity 15 Territoriality and Indigeneity: The C H T in the Bangladeshi Period 17 The Role of India 19 The Implication of Indian Involvement 21 The Move toward a "Soft" Approach 23 The Peace Treaty 25 C H T and International Law and Conventions: The Politics of Non-Implementation... 27 C H T and Transnational Bodies: The Politics of Manipulation 30 Dominance and Dialogue: The Politics of Reconfiguration 33 Conclusion 40 References Cited 46 i i i Acknowledgments I express my profound gratitude to my supervisor, Dr. Bruce Granville Mi l le r , for his guidance, extreme patience and support throughout my M A . His thoughtful, critical, yet helpful comments on the draft of the thesis were indeed invaluable. I sincerely thank Dr. Gaston Gordillo for his time, support, and comments on my thesis and other academic matters. I also thank my reader Dr. Janice Boddy for her patient comments and suggestions on my thesis. I wish to thank other faculties in anthropology at U B C for their contribution on improving my knowledge on the subject. I owe a special debt to my friends in Vancouver- A . J . M . Shafiul A l a m Bhuiyan and Farhana Begum-for their support during my M A studies at U B C . I thank my fellow graduate students at U B C for their company and cooperation. M y greatest debts, however, are to my parents and other family members for their moral support, encouragement, and above all best wishes. A n y errors in fact or interpretation are my own iv Introduction In this age of globalization, people are thought to be coming closer and closer, and consequently there is heightened danger due to ethnic conflicts. These conflicts have become the major issue in the study of ethnicity. Indigenous groups are probably the most victimized by such conflicts. Anthropologists have shown their interests in these issues, particularly the relationship between the state and indigenous people (see; Maybury-Lewis 2002; Mi l l e r 2003; Dean and Levi 2003; Turner 1996; Nadasdy 2003). However, thus far they have largely approached such issues within a single nation-state framework. I argue for the need to broaden our lenses to look for critical external relations. Recently, the state and other groups have been influenced by their connections with the outer world, and, therefore, a focus only on the local level can obscure such factors that influence a particular institution's behavior. Building on this line of argument, I focus on situating the relationship between the state and indigenous people in a transnational context, in addition to considering the national features. I call this a 'local-global' approach to indigeneity. M y perspective, I believe, reveals the limitations of a purely local approach, situates the roots of such conflicts in regional and global politics, and rather than simply showing the relationship between the state and indigenous people, illustrates why certain institutions act in particular ways. In so doing, I build on globalization theories. Some scholars of globalization have argued for its unfettered domination (see; Hannerz 1990; Smith 1990). Others have focused on the connections between the local and the global (see; Appadurai 1990, 2003; Ferguson and Gupta 2002; Tambiah 1996; Comaroff 1996; M a l k k i 1997). I draw on the latter and use indigenous movements in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh as a case study to show the external connections of such movements. In the next section, I discuss globalization theories in some length. 1 Theories of Globalization: An Overview Appadurai (1990), in an influential and controversial essay, claims that this age of globalization is marked by 'deterritorialization' wherein people are increasingly losing their 'cultural' spatiality, as they are becoming more and more separated from their homelands. He later argued that sovereignty and territoriality in this age ' l ive increasingly separate lives' (Appadurai 2003: 347). I show that peoples' lives and 'cultures' are still tied to a sense of belonging to a particular territory. I do not claim that deterritorialization does not happen, but rather that Appadurai ignores important aspects of any deterritorialization process. Modern nation- states have imposed strong spatial barriers that restrict the scope or range o f deterritorialization. Ma lkk i (1997) and Comaroff (1996) problematize Appadurai's arguments. M a l k k i shows how dislocated people are reterritorialized in the present world by their claims on and memories of places (emphasis mine). However, I do not fully support Malkk i ' s (1997) view either. Instead, I problematize both deterritorialization and reterritorialization, and invoke Ferguson and Gupta (2002) in my discussion of the state's spatiality and control. In line with Appaduari, Ferguson and Gupta (2002) argue that transnationality weakens the state's ability to control its localities, and states, nowadays, reconfigure their relationship with the transnational entities, such as the World Bank. But such a view is unable to explain the national-transnational muddle. The state may not be free from transnational forces in the current world, but actually can manipulate this connection to its own interest, I argue. I also elaborate on the state's reconfiguration of relationship with opposing entities1. Such reconfiguration results in a shifting trend in the state's behavior over the years (elaborated in the last section of the paper). In the next two sections of the paper, I critically look at the arguments by Appadurai, and Ferguson and Gupta. 2 Globalization: A Critical Look at 'Deterritorialization' Appadurai takes a broad perspective in viewing globalization from economic, cultural and political aspects (Appaduari 1990). He differentiates between five different types of flows: ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, finanscapes, and the ideoscape, and argues that current global flows occur between and through the growing disjunctures between them. Appadurai claims that such a disjuncture between these flows causes 'deterritorialization', which is a major force in the modern world (Appadurai 1990). He argues that the present world can not be understood without considering the shifting relations between "human movement, technological flow, and financial transfers" occurring at an unprecedented rate and constitutive of an essential feature of the world (Appadurai 1990: 298). Mediascape and ideoscape are built on other three different scapes and altogether five scapes are oriented toward capturing state powers (Appadurai 1990). These processes result in a separation between spatial entities and peoples and increasingly the 'nation' is becoming more and more separated from 'states', that is identities are no more related to or dependent on territories and spatial powers (Appaduari 2003: 346). Thus, non-state and non-territorial forms of organization are prevalent in the current world (Appadurai 2003: 342-343). To illustrate his theory of deterritorialization, Appadurai cites the adoption of immigrant populations from developing countries into the lower working class category in the advanced world. Critically, this feature shows the separation between the spatial powers and the 'identity' of the people only in case of 'weak' spatial entities. This raises a serious doubt as to whether deterritorialization seriously affects all states, or describes only the weaker states and not the stronger ones. Appadurai ignores these complicated aspects of a theory of deterritorialization. Appadurai's (2003: 347) idea that in the present world "sovereignty and territoriality, once twin ideas, live increasingly separate lives" is thoroughly refuted in many cases. Instead, deterritorialization, itself, one can argue, is based on territories. For example, Tamil groups in 3 Canada have links to Sri-Lankan territory. Many populations in cosmopolitan areas organize themselves based on their territories, such as the South Asians in the United States. Deterritorialization, in this way, often has a territorial connection. Place is always important for identity, which makes deterritorialization problematic. M a l k k i (1997) shows how people are territorialized even by their memories of and claims on places. This is even the case for people who are displaced from their lands. The situation in the Chtittagong H i l l Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh shows that territoriality is still important and locality still plays a significant role in a globalizing world. Further, the C H T case shows how identity and territoriality are interconnected. Their interconnections reflect the spatial dimension of local-global relations, the state's ability to reconfigure its relationship with the global forces, and the simultaneity of national and transnational events. National vs. Transnational Governmentality: Denial or Negotiation Ferguson and Gupta (2002) claim that transnational governmentality weakens the state's 'vertical encompassment'; that is the state's control over its localities. Transnational bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Labour Organization (ILO), and the World Bank, they claim, have now become the key organizations that significantly control or weaken the state's ability to keep control over its localities. The local is now being helped by "grassroots" organizations that often have strong links with these transnational bodies. Together these two weaken the state's 'vertical encompassment'. They argue that "an increasingly transnational political economy today poses new challenges to familiar forms of state spatialization" (Ferguson and Gupta 2002: 982) resulting in an "outsourcing of the functions of the state to N G O s and other ostensibly nonstate agencies", which, to them, is a new "system of transnational governmentality" (Ferguson and Gupta 2002: 990). However, there are some 4 limitations to such a view. Many states have policies that directly go against the advocated policy of these bodies. Cuba is probably the best example of the state resistance. If the I M F and Wor ld Bank influence the ways states operate, clearly there are other forces that work against these bodies. The recent worldwide protest movements against globalization and global bodies are indicative of such a development. There is also a growing antagonism among different nation-states against the role of these transnational bodies. Ferguson and Gupta (2002) are silent on these anti-global forces. Thus, I argue that Ferguson and Gupta (2002) simplify the nature of 'national' governance in a transnational age, and portray a linear relationship between them. I cite examples from the Chittagong H i l l Tracts and suggest that the state can both manipulate and shape the role o f the transnational forces. In a latter work, Appadurai (2003) acknowledges that deterritorialization generates reterritorialization which rests on local autonomy or sovereignty rather than on national 'imaginaries' (emphasis mine). Some scholars have argued that these global and local, transnational and national distinctions are too simplistic, and in fact are complementary to each other (see; Comaroff 1996; Gledhill 1994). "I [Comaroff] see them [the local and the global] as complementary sides of a single historical movement" (Comaroff 1996: 174). Transnational flows need their 'domestication' or localization (Comaroff 1996; Gledhil l 1994). In what follows, I elaborate on this conceptual negotiation between deterritorialization and reterritorialization, or transnationalism and nationalism in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts of Bangladesh. I discuss the interactive relations between the state and transnational forces regarding the Chittagong H i l l Tracts in the British, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi periods, and show that their relationship is too complicated to demonstrate either one's unfettered domination. They are significantly influenced by each other. I discuss the inefficient role of international bodies, such as donor agencies, and argue that the state significantly manipulates 5 their behaviors in the H i l l Tracts. Overall, my discussion shows the simultaneity of national and transnational events. The Context: The Chittagong Hill Tracts The Chittagong H i l l Tracts ( C H T ) 2 o f Bangladesh is a part of hi l ly areas that branches off from the Himalayan ranges to the south through Assam and H i l l Tripura to Arakan and Burma, presently known as Myanmar. The H i l l tracts lie between 90°45 ' and 92°50' to the East longitude and 21°35 ' and 23°45 ' to the North latitude. It is surrounded by the Indian states of Tripura on the North, Mizoram on the East and by Arakan state of Burma on the South and East. The region covers an area of 5,093 sq. miles, which is about 10 percent of the total landmass of Bangladesh. Hi l l s in the region rise up to a maximum of 4000 ft and run generally northwest to southwest and divide the area into seven large valleys. The valleys are covered with dense forest, waterways, and swamps. Geographically, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts can be divided into two broad ecological zones- hi l ly valleys and agricultural plains. " C H T ' s vast natural resources far outweigh its demographic significance in the country" (Bertocci 1989:139). The Mughals ruled the place from 1666 to the British occupation of the sub-Continent. The British subsequently ruled the place from 1760 to 1947. The region became a part of Pakistan (East Pakistan) in 1947 and a part of Bangladesh in 1971. It was only after the British occupation of the sub-Continent that the C H T went through massive changes (Huq 2000). The colonial policies were carried on by all later regimes. Presently, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts is composed of three districts- Rangamati, Bandarban, and Khagrachhari. This is the home to the country's largest concentration of indigenous 3 population, numbering approximately 600,000 (Roy, C. 2000; Mohsin 1997). The 13 different groups whose members live in the Tracts are the Chakma, Marma, Tripura, 6 Tanchangya 4, Riang, Murang, Lushai, Bunjogees (Bawm), Pankhos, Kukis , Chak, Khumi , Mru , and the Kheyang. They are ethnically and culturally distinct from the Bengalees 5, and different groups of H i l l people are also distinct from each other (Mohsin 1997). The H i l l population can be categorized based on their residence and subsistence patterns. Some groups stay in valleys close to streams and use wet-rice cultivation supplemented by occasional jhum (Slash and Burn) cultivation and can be called streamside groups. There are 'ridgetop' groups who live on the 'hillcrests' and mainly use jhum cultivation. Some groups live in an intermediate situation between these two. A l l larger groups (the Chakma, the Marma, and the Tripura) follow the first way of life (Adnan 2004; Mohsin 1997). The dominant religion in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts is Buddhism (the Chakmas, Marmas, Tanchangya, and partially the Mru). The Tripuras are Hindu. The Lushais, Pankho, Bawm and some of the M r u are Christians. The rest maintain their indigenous beliefs. A l l the major religions are practiced with some indigenous elements in the Tracts. Historically, the region had greater connections with Burma and the Indian states of Tripura and Mizorum than with the present state that accommodates it. Although following the partition of Indian sub-Continent in 1947 the C H T became a part of East Pakistan (present Bangladesh), its leaders never wanted the region to be a part of Bangladesh, and as soon as it was declared so, they organized political opposition against the government. Since then, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts have had a complicated relationship with the Bangladeshi state. The situation was worsened by the involvement of regional and global powers (such as India, the U.S . , and the former U.S .S .R. ) 6 . A s a response to these translocal connections of different indigenous groups, the Bangladeshi government took numerous steps in different times to reinforce its control over the place. The state's policies varied from military strategy to socio-economic development7. Indigenous groups also fought against the state's impositions from political and armed fronts. Following several rounds of negotiations, a peace treaty was signed 7 in 1997 between the Government of Bangladesh and the representatives of indigenous groups in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. However, sporadic fighting is still not uncommon between the state and indigenous groups, and between different indigenous groups. To illustrate these events, I draw on materials from available secondary literatures; books, reports, electronic media, and other documents. These were obtained in archives and libraries. M y approach here is characterized by an inclusion of history and external relations into the conflict to demonstrate the interplay of local-global forces in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Emerging States and Local Conflicts: The CHT in the British Period In this section, I discuss the formation of the British legal frameworks regarding the Chittagong H i l l Tracts and argue that the area was targeted for the appropriation of local resources. To implement the appropriation, the British rulers created a line of ethnic difference between indigenous and non-indigenous people and between Hindus and Muslims. B y studying the interactions between colonial rule and local conditions, I show that local factors significantly shaped the British policy in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The British policy, H i l l vs. Bengalee distinction, and the macro political scene at the time shaped indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Economic Appropriation and the Legal Creation of the "Otherness " The British East India Company received tax collection authority over the Chittagong H i l l Tracts in 1760 by signing a treaty with the then Nawab of Bengal- M i r Qasim A l i Khan (Rahman 2003; Adnan 2004). Although the Tracts did not offer any market for British goods, it was as an attractive source of raw materials such as timber and cotton for the Company (Huq 2000). The British continued the taxation system introduced by earlier regimes in the region, but 8 at an increased rate. Because of high tax imposed by the British, H i l l leaders revolted for the first time and refused to pay taxes in 1776, and conflicts followed (Rahman 2003: 529). Understanding the commercial value of the H i l l forests, the British rulers relied on the creation of 'legal categories' to exploit local resources. They introduced the Forest Reserve Act in the C H T in 1865. In 1875, this Act was further sharpened by making a distinction between 'Reserve Forest' and 'District Forest'. The Reserve Forests Act absolutely denied indigenous peoples' access to the forests, which represented 24% of the total landmass of the area, and were an integral part of Adivasi8 (indigenous) lives. Through these legal creations, a vast proportion of lands of the region became state land and indigenous people became landless and rent-paying subjects of the state (Huq 2000). Nonetheless, the indigenous resistance to the British rule continued. The British rule of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts was marked simultaneously by the amalgamation of different identities into a single one, and the creation of new ones. When the military assaults aimed at rooting out indigenes' opposition to British rule failed, the British authorities realized that they could easily rule the place and collect taxes through local kings. Intrigued by this, in 1900 the British rulers enacted the Chittagong H i l l Tracts Regulation Act, which formed the basic structure of c iv i l administration in the C H T (Rahman 2003). This Act endorsed the existence of three chiefs- the Mong, the Chakma, and the Bhomong Chief. The Act also classified the right of entry and residence of 'outsiders' 9 in the area. While the 1900 Act endorsed the existence of three chiefs, it also denied the authority of many other less powerful kings and placed them under the rule of these three powerful new chiefs. Strategically, this Act restricted non-indigenous peoples' residence in the C H T and made the indigenes and the Bengalees competitors. A s a follow up to this Act and to restrict Bengalee influence and settlement, the British rulers declared the region a 'backward Tract' in 1920 and a 'totally excluded area' in 1935. This was a continuation of the policy of creating legal categories, which 9 ultimately made the British authority absolute and unhindered (Huq 2000) and severed the C H T ' s political link with the province of Bengal (Adnan 2004). While the 1900 Act guaranteed the continuation of'traditional ' administration, it also placed the Chittagong H i l l Tracts under the authority of a newly created Deputy Commissioner. This new system made tax collection more efficient for the British rulers (Huq 2000). Thus, the colonial rulers, on the one hand replaced complex H i l l identities with a simple one, and on the other hand, created a hitherto unknown distinction between the ' H i l l ' people and the Bengalees (Tripura 1992). The above Acts helped the British access and appropriate local resources. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts provided raw cotton and finished fabrics to Bengal in pre-colonial India. During the colonial intervention, cotton and timber tied the Chittagong H i l l Tracts into a wide network of overseas trade (Schendel 1995). Timber became a useful resource for British rule throughout the world (Wolf 1982: 261). Indian handicraft industries, such as cotton based crafts, were gradually destroyed (in the beginning, the British authority extracted tribute from the C H T in the form of cotton). W o l f noted that "Indian surpluses enabled England to create and maintain a global system of free trade" and that "India became a key foundation of the emerging worldwide capitalist edifice" (Wolf 1982: 261). Decolonization and the Awareness of "Indigeneity " Starting in the middle of the 20 t h century, the people of the sub-Continent became very hostile to British rule, and the latter day events in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts were largely affected by the politics of the partition of the region and the C H T ' s place in it. The indigeneity of the Chittagong H i l l people was largely affected by the process of this decolonization. There had been considerable mutual tolerance between Hindus and Muslims in the sub-Continent before the introduction of the British rule (Mohsin 1997). But the British policy was to create a distrust between different groups and then using it to implement the 'divide and rule' 10 policy. The British rulers created an English education system which engaged more Hindus than Muslims. The Hindus were more interested in using English as the official language, whereas historically Muslims used Persian and were indifferent to English. Subsequently, Hindus got more education and jobs. This imbalance made Hindus and Muslims competitors, and their rivalry ultimately initiated the process of the partition of the sub-Continent along religious lines (Samad 1999). The Mus l im dominated part created Pakistan and the Hindu dominated part constituted India. The H i l l peoples in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts were mainly Buddhists and had greater connections with India and Burma than with the state that accommodates them currently (Chaudhury 1991). When the partition became imminent, the Chakma and other indigenes were mostly in favor of joining India (Mohsin 1997; Chakma, S. 1986). The C H T was awarded to Pakistan in the end (Mey 1984). The British division of the sub-Continent and the C H T ' s place in it was a result of long standing political struggles between different groups. After the 1905 division in which Bengal was partitioned into West Bengal and East Bengal by the British rulers, the Mus l im leaders set up the ' A l l Indian Mus l im League' in Dhaka 1 0 to divide the country along religious lines. They proposed a 'Two-nation theory' 1 1 . In 1940, the Mus l im League leaders adopted a resolution called the Lahore Resolution, proposing a formula for the partition of India. The Mus l im league claimed that East Pakistan did not have any natural resources other than what they had in the C H T and argued for its inclusion into East Pakistan (Ahmed, A . 1994). On the other hand, the Indian National Congress 1 2 was making efforts to incorporate the region into India. The 13 Congress could not make a strong case and eventually the Bengal Boundary Commission led by Cyr i l Radcliff awarded the Chittagong H i l l Tracts to Pakistan. A t the time of the partition, 98.5% people of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts were non-Muslims (Ahmed, A . 1994). H i l l leaders could not endorse this partition. On August 15, 1947 the Chakmas hoisted the Indian flag at Rangamati. The Marmas hoisted the Burmese flag at Bandarban. This stand of 11 indigenous leaders in the politics between the disintegrating nation-states, which was based on a hitherto unemphasized difference between the Bengalees and H i l l people in shared heritage 1 4, illustrates that the Chittagong H i l l Tracts case shows an instrumental as well as a primordial notion of ethnicity 1 5 (see; Barth 1969; Nederveen 1996; Ryan 1996). The British partition or the process of decolonization 1 6, thus, initiated the 'awareness' of indigeneity in the emerging nation-states. The Indian flag was lowered by the Pakistani Army on August 21, 1947 at gun point against violent protest. However, the lowering of the flags did not diminish the zeal of H i l l leaders to act against the partition. Indian leaders also continued with their pre-partition sentiment. Two years after the partition, Sardar Patel, the central defense minister of India, appeased the East Pakistani minorities by saying that "those who are flesh and blood, those who fought by our side in the freedom struggle can not suddenly become foreigners to us because they are on the other side of a line" (Singh 2003: 508). A s a result of the British policy of classifying, dividing and ruling the colonized, the ' H i l l people' emerged as a different category of people opposing the Bengalees. During their rule, the British envisioned that the H i l l people needed to be protected from the Bengalees (Tripura 1992). Interestingly, in the partition, the British rulers did not think about protecting the H i l l people anymore, rather they were annexed to the Bengalee dominated Pakistan. After the partition, the relationship between the newly disintegrated nation-states largely affected the formation of indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In this way, indigeneity of the H i l l people, in the first place, was a colonial creation (Tripura 1992). The H i l l leaders locally resisted the next regime that ruled them, supported by India. The conflicting and appropriating Indo-Pak 1 7 relationship was the reason why India supported the H i l l leadership once the place became a part of Pakistan. Pakistan, not surprisingly, became hostile to the inhabitants of the H i l l Tracts. 12 Contested Nationalism and the Politics of Place: The CHT in the Pakistani Period The region in the Pakistani period (1947-1971) reflects tension between the local, national, and regional interests. In this era, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts became a contested zone because of the India-Pakistan rivalry, West vs. East Pakistan antagonism and their eventual separation, and the Tracts importance to the regional and global powers. A l l these dynamics influenced the formation of indigeneity in the Tracts. To keep the state's territorial integrity intact, Pakistan's policy appropriated the ethnic differentiation between the Bengalees and indigenes that had earlier been created by the British rulers. A s a result, territorial integrity and indigeneity collided head on in the Pakistani period. Adivasi resistance to the Bengalees complicated and encouraged regional and global powers to get involved in the crisis. The global and the local contexts significantly shaped each other. This period reveals how indigeneity evolved in an age of increased state intervention, and regional and global politics. The Relationship between Nation-states and Indigeneity A s mentioned earlier, H i l l leaders continued their struggle against the partition even after the Chittagong H i l l Tracts became a part of Pakistan. Finally the Chakma chief decided to join the partition, but politically, by the time the region had already been branded as pro-Indian. Although the supporters of India were branded as pro-Indian, the supporters of Burma 1 8 never were branded as pro-Burmese. The context of this branding was the intense India-Pakistan rivalry (Mohsin 1997). Here, I briefly discuss how the relationship between nation-states influenced indigeneity. After the partition, Pakistan maintained the legal and administrative structure set up by the British in ruling the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In 1956, the constitution of Pakistan retained the Tracts as an 'excluded area' 1 9 and gave voting rights to its inhabitants. Though this intervention apparently gave more rights to H i l l people, strategically, once free people, they now became 13 citizens of a state that they never wanted to be a part of and were obligated by the state rules that were foreign to them and which undermined their lifestyle (Huq 2000). Politically, the voting right was given less for the state's concern for the H i l l people and more for the sovereignty of the state (because the indigenes were 'pro-Indian'!). To stop the inflow o f local Bengalees into the region was another reason for the enactment of this law. Pakistan's policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts was a reflection of its regional concern. Pakistan manipulated the C H T crisis to strengthen its military position against India (Mohsin 1997). Once the Pakistani authorities realized that India and indigenous leaders were in close relationship even after the partition (discussed earlier in the paper), they attempted to stop this. The Pakistani authorities ordered a settlement plan in the H i l l Tracts to increase the Bengalee population and as such to lower the risk that the region would be annexed by India. Such a move also propitiated the Bengalee demand of opening up the region. B y the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the government transferred almost all local indigenous government employees to other parts of East Pakistan and only the Bengalees were running the C H T administration (Mohsin 1997). Strategically, most Bengalees were settled as close to the bordering villages of India so they could block the C H T peoples' day to day contact with India ( The Politics of Nationalism and the Expression of Difference Religion and language became the key elements that shaped the relationship between [West]Pakistan, East Pakistan, and the H i l l people in the Pakistani era. Soon after the Pakistani regime came into being, the relationship between [West] Pakistan and East Pakistan itself significantly worsened. West Pakistani rulers categorized other people based on their religious 'purity'. East Pakistan, to them, was largely influenced by Hindu culture. For this reason, West Pakistani rulers always looked down upon the Bengalees of East Pakistan, as they did on the 14 'tribals' (Mohsin 1997). Religion, thus, became the major arena of ethnic confrontation. However, religion was soon replaced by language. This replacement illustrates that elements that create and sustain ethnic politics are uncertain and dependent on expressing difference (see; Comaroff & Comaroff 1991; Comaroff 1996). Pakistan declared Urdu to be the state language of a state where the Bengalees were numerically dominant. The Bengalee elites ultimately fought for their own language against Pakistan. On February 21, 1952 a number of students were killed on the Dhaka University campus by the Pakistan army as they were protesting the Pakistani policy of declaring Urdu the state language. In the face of severe protests, Pakistan declared both Urdu and Bengali state languages. This Bengalee 'cultural' revival in East Pakistan alienated the H i l l people as they were not Bengalees. While the ruling of the C H T shows how the relationship between the nation-states (India and Pakistan) helps shape ethnicity, the relationship between East and West Pakistan shows how ethnicity shapes the role of the nation-states. Increasingly, the H i l l people became separated from the Bengalees, and more importantly from the Bengalee nationalism 2 1 (Mohsin 1997). The Global and Regional Dynamics of Indigeneity A n analysis of Pakistan's policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts unpacks how, among other factors, the relationship between local, regional and global powers influenced indigeneity. In the 1950s, Dhaka became a centre for the C I A ' s struggle against communism in the sub-Continent. From here the U.S . conducted covert operations against China and other pro-communist states, such as India. Pakistan got significant military aid from the U.S . for this assistance. Pakistan decided to support the United States to strengthen its position against India and the Soviet block (Mohsin 1997). In 1956, when the Naga National A r m y 2 2 began its struggle against India, Pakistan's ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) offered arms and sanctuary to its members who that operated from the C H T . Later M i z o 2 3 guerrillas received similar support from the ISI and 15 operated from the remote bases at Ruma, Bolipara, Mowdak, and Thanchi in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (Mohsin 1997). Later on China joined these covert operations 2 4 (Mohsin 1997). Because of the above mentioned favors, the U.S . was very silent on the Pakistan's policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Inside the C H T , the indigenes were becoming victims of progress and ecocide (see; Mi l le r 2003). Pakistan declared the region a tax free zone to accelerate its development, but in practice this policy only helped create a bourgeoisie of a few privileged families from [West] Pakistan (Huq 2000). The rhetoric of development further worsened the indigenous peoples' livelihood. The Kaptai Hydro-electric Project was commissioned in 1961 to help industrialize the region by providing electricity. The project inundated 303 sq. miles of land, including the best 40% of the cultivable lands in the area. Ninety-thousand to 110,000 people became homeless. The project also inundated 90 miles of roads and 10 sq. miles of reserve forests (Huq 2000). This was a time when the C H T problem became intensified. In 1964 Pakistan lifted the ban on entry, settlement, and acquisition of land by outsiders in the H i l l tracts . Subsequently, huge number of Bengalees moved to the tracts and initiated a process of Bengalization of both the place and the administration. This was a case of manipulation of the state 'power' by the dominant ethnic group against the minorities-a common feature of ethnic conflicts. The intense rivalry between the two parts of Pakistan continued on power and resource sharing issues. Subsequently, East Pakistan declared its independence in 1971, which initiated a nine month long war between the two parts of the country. Most H i l l leaders in this time supported Pakistan, particularly the Chakma chief. The M i z o guerrillas in India, who were getting training and support from Pakistan in their struggle against India, also supported Pakistan (Mohsin 1997). Bangladeshi freedom fighters had to escape from the C H T to India in order to save their lives from the attacks by the Pakistani forces and some indigenous fighters. Although India historically supported the H i l l leadership, because of its rivalry with Pakistan, this time it supported Bangladesh and provided its freedom fighters 16 with arms and training. The then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi justified this by saying that India would prefer a friendly Bangladesh to its side than a hostile Pakistan. Following the H i l l leaders' decision to support Pakistan, the newly independent Bangladesh became hostile to them in the post-independence Bangladesh period. The friendly relationship between Bangladesh and India, however, was not to last for too long. A s the relationship between the two states deteriorated, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts became the key place for India to trouble Bangladesh. Bangladesh did whatever it could to save the place and keep its territorial integrity, and reply to India. The indigeneity of the H i l l people was tremendously affected by this conflicting relationship. I discuss this in the next section of the paper. The indigeneity of H i l l people in the Pakistani era was shaped by national and transnational inter-play of events; including Pakistan's appropriation of the Bengalee vs. Adivasi distinction, East vs. West Pakistan antagonism, the Indo-Pak rivalry and their relationship with the global powers. The relationship between the state and indigenous people in the Pakistani regime, on the one hand, reflects tangled regional politics and the involvement of global powers, and on the other hand, shows newer and newer local regulations. Territoriality and Indigeneity: The CHT in the Bangladeshi Period In this section, I discuss the Chittagong H i l l Tracts in the post-independence Bangladesh period. I show that Bangladesh's policy on the region has been shaped by H i l l leaders' political links and strategies, the H i l l Tract's geo-strategic importance, and India's role in the conflict. India's interest in Bangladesh and the H i l l Tracts created fragmentation in the national as well as H i l l political ranks, which had significant implications for the state's policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts and its relationship with India. A strong state vigilance in the Tracts followed these transnational connections. In the beginning, Bangladeshi policy reflected hatred and enmity toward the indigenes 2 6. Territorial integrity and sovereignty became the key concerns for the 17 state and its actions reflected these tensions. The economic appropriation of British rule was replaced in this period by strict political control over the Tracts by the state because of the rivalry between Bangladeshi and India. The local contexts both in India and Bangladesh forced these two states to change their positions and take a more flexible position regarding the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The Bangladeshi period reflects how regional geo-political strategy, transnational connections of indigenes, the issue of territorial integrity, and bureaucratic illusion influenced the formation of indigeneity. The functioning of the Bangladeshi state in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts shows how the state, controlled by an ethnic group (the Bengalee), seeks reification by replacing complex identities with a simple one. The Bangladeshi government in the beginning tried to erase all other minor identities with a single dominant one-the Bengalee. Bangladesh adopted its first constitution on November 4, 1972. Irrespective of ethnic and cultural variations, Bengalee nationalism was imposed on all citizens of Bangladesh in the constitution (Mohsin 1998: 108). This was a process of reification of language as the dominant element in ethnicity, which had earlier been found in the struggle against the Pakistani rulers. During the liberation war of Bangladesh, the Chakma and Bhomong chiefs supported Pakistan, but the Murma chief supported Bangladesh. Some H i l l people also joined the ' C i v i l Armed Forces' set up by the Pakistani Mili tary (Adnan 2004). A s a reaction to this, as Bangladesh started to win the independence war, the Mukti Bahini27 (Freedom Fighters) and its supporters started attacking H i l l people. Such attacks on the H i l l people did not exclude persons who actually had been supporting Bangladesh in the war and ultimately many war veterans from the Chittagong H i l l Tracts were denied official recognition for bravery (Mohsin 1997). The attack on them ultimately led the H i l l people to take the left over arms of the Pakistani military and defend their own cause against the Bangladeshis; this group became the Shanti Bahini28 (Peace Force) (Mohsin 1997). Once the new government ignored all identities other than the 18 Bengalee in the constitution, many tribal leaders took refuge in India (Tripura), and from there they sent a memorandum to the Indian prime minister defending the cause o f the 'oppressed' people. The Indian government passed the memorandum to the new Bangladeshi government (Mazumder 2002). A t the request of India, the Bangladeshi regime accepted a general pardon for the Adivasis (Mazumder 2002). This was a time when India and Bangladesh had a friendly relationship, particularly because of India's help in the liberation war. The Larma 2 9 brothers, who were the main indigenous leaders, had good contacts with India. India at the time was heavily influenced by the U.S.S.R. and Bangladesh aligned more and more with the Soviet bloch and moved toward secularism and nationalization (Mazumder 2002). The C H T problem did not pop up at this time and only became important once the next regime in Bangladesh became anti- Indian from the very beginning. The Role of India India has always been a Hindu dominated country. The Indian role in the liberation war and later on Awami League's 3 0 association with India forced many to believe that Hindu domination in Bangladesh would follow the close relationship between the two countries (Mohsin 1997). The state-led radio and T V channels were broadcasting Hindu recitations, along with other religious doctrines! The education policy became more secular than Islamic. These issues led to a covert Hindu-Musl im dichotomy among the mass population in Bangladesh (Mohsin 1997). The importance of religion suggests that the major element that sustains ethnicity may be supplemented by a minor one; language, in this case, was supplemented by religion in the C H T 3 1 . A s a response to Mujibur Rahman's 3 2 policy of favouring India, a section of the Bangladesh army killed him in 1975. It is widely thought that the C I A had a big hand in ki l l ing the president, particularly for his inclination toward India and the Soviet Union. 19 Following Mujibur Rahman's death, Larma crossed over to India. India, at the time started to support the Parbattya Chattagram Janasamhiti Sammittee (Chittagong H i l l Tracts Peoples' Solidarity Association) (PCJSS) 3 4 because of the anti-Indian attitude of the next Bangladeshi regime that came to power after the assassination of the first President (Mohsin 1997). Larma conducted operations in the C H T from his Tripura base. Bangladesh claims insurgency efforts from across the Indian border were responsible for the problem in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (Moudud 2001). Given these developments, the new Bangladeshi government continued the Pakistani policy of Bengalee in-migration into the Tracts, but at an increased rate. H i l l people organized themselves politically, supported by an armed wing. Indigeneity in the Chittagong Hi l l s , in this way, was largely influenced by the enmity between the neighboring nation-states. Bhaumik (1997) breaks down the Indian policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts into four different phases. The first phase is the partition and its aftermath in 1947. Bhaumik (1997) claims that the next Nehruvian phase (1947-64) is marked by Delhi 's disinterest in the problem until the refugees from the C H T had started to come to India at the latter end of Nehru's tenure. The involvement of global powers, such as the U.S . and China in this phase clearly indicates that such a claim is overambitious. I have already discussed Indian policy during the partition and in the later Pakistani regime, which shows that the Nehruvian phase is also marked by an active Indian involvement. The third phase is the Indira Gandhi phase of an active interference (1966-82, 1982-84). The last phase is the phase surrounding the peace treaty. Indira Gandhi was in power in India when Bangladesh gained independence and the latter days of her regime were perhaps the most contested time for the C H T politics. Events that took place at the time show how the global powers' strategic interests and the use violence were important factors among others that influenced the formation of indigeneity. After the assassination of Mujibur Rahman, Ziaur Rahman (in office after 1975) became more connected 20 with the U.S . and reacted against India and the Soviet block, which made him unpopular in the Indian power center. The 'Joy Bangla' (Long live Bengal) slogan which was akin to Indian 'Joy Hind' (Long live Hindustan [the place for Hindus]) was replaced by 'Bangladesh Zindabad' (Long live Bangladesh). Following this, after 1975, the former Soviet Union began its South East Security Plan, under which the Chittagong H i l l Tracts was to be liberated. India was the main ally of the U.S.S.R. in the sub-Continent. The Research and Analysis Wing ( R A W ) of Indian intelligence established a 'clandestine' radio station and trained thirty Chakma youths with radio electronic training. Wi th the help of several training centers, India provided H i l l guerillas with arms and ammunition (Moudud 2001). Between 1975 -1977, a number of Shanti Bahini (SB) batches were trained in India. H i l l guerrillas also received consignments of arms and ammunition in November 1975 and March 1977 (Mohsin 1997). India allowed Shanti Bahini to set up their bases in the Indian state of Tripura and Mizorum. To facilitate such activities, ninety-four border security forces had been set up by India in Tripura and Mizorum, close to Bangladesh border (Baloi 1996). From the mid-1976, SB got enough strength to undertake guerrilla operations against the Bangladesh army in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The Implication of Indian Involvement A s a result of the developments mentioned above, the Bangladeshi government became worried about the growing connections between India and H i l l leaders, and their potential threat of taking control of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In face of these circumstances, the Bangladeshi Government took a multi-level approach to deal with the problem, which is an example of the methods the state employs to project and manage itself as a reified and spatial entity. The mechanisms were military intervention, socio-demographic intervention (relocating settlements), and socio-cultural development efforts 3 5 (Adnan 2004). This led to an armed conflict between the Bangladesh army and the Pahari (Hi l l people) guerrillas. 21 Territorial sovereignty is the reason why India took an active policy on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Its policy on ethnic minorities, however, is not very different from the Bangladeshi one. India faces an integration challenge that mainly comes from the Mus l im population, 'Sikhs, Nagas, Mizos and Assamese and so on' , and there is also a fear that it would eventually become a confederation of a number of autonomous units (Mohsin 1997). These threats make India very wary of any development that may lead to or strengthen 'revolutions' in her troubling parts. After the assassination of the India-friendly president, India took a policy of active support for the rebel groups fighting for their autonomy in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (Bhaumik 1997: 132). India justified its action, claiming that Bangladeshi authorities had been supporting M i z o and Tripura 'rebels' in the Northeast region of India. The Indian intelligence saw the C H T as a major regrouping zone for its Northeastern guerillas and kept track of the region mainly to trace Northeastern 'rebels' (Bhaumik 1997). The resistance movement of the C H T indigenous groups, though they gathered strength from India's and global powers' support, faced the consequences of this external linkage as well - an internal political struggle. A s a result of Indian influence, the movement suffered huge fragmentation and factional feuds in its political ranks. The Indian support created confusion among the H i l l leaders as to whether they should fight for a separate state or for regional autonomy. The Mukti Parishod 3 6(Liberation Council) was the main hostile force to the Shanti Bahini. The internal conflict of H i l l leaders led to the murder of Larma in 1983, the founder of the PCJSS (Bhaumik 1997). After Indira Gandhi returned to power (in 1982, after the first tenure), India did not give any direct help to the H i l l guerrillas, but their bases in India were tolerated (Mey 1984). Although India actively supported H i l l guerrillas, the refugee problems caused by the crisis had made the situation more complex, which is an example of how the local conditions can significantly shape the states' policies. The C H T conflict produced around 70,000 refugees who took refuge in the Indian state of Tripura and Mizorum. Some returned to Bangladesh in 22 1987 and the rest returned after the peace treaty . The refugees created political turmoil in India. Indian indigenous groups became hostile to the refugees as they were taking some money which otherwise would have been going to local tribals (Ahmed 2000). Many Chakmas from the Chittagong Tracts settled in Arunachal Pradesh of India as well . On the other hand, inside the Chittagong Tracts many indigenes were relocated in cluster vil lages 3 8 by the government. Another dimension of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts conflict suggests how indigeneity is linked to territory. The Chakma, who took refuge in Tripura, worked for lower wages than the locals and for this the Indian authority had restricted them within the refugee camps. This policy was taken as a response to the conflicts between the refugees and locals. Also, the Indian authorities did not allow refugee students to sit for school leaving public examinations. The refugees were known as Congress backers and the local indigenes in M i z o r u m 3 9 stood against them as they thought of the refugees a threat to the M i z o culture and survival. Subsequently, the Mizos assaulted the Chakmas and set their houses on fire. Following this conflict, India even considered sending the Chakmas to the Andaman and Nichobar Islands. The Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh also faced the same consequence and many of them had to move to Assam for their safety (www. A s the M i z o and Tripura groups in India were fighting for their independence, the presence of the Chakmas made the political scene more complicated, and all local indigenous groups wanted the Chakma out of that area. The Move toward a "Soft" Approach States' policies do not always reflect hatred and enmity toward the indigenes. States nowadays often take 'soft' policies either because of sympathy toward the indigenous, or because of geo-political reasons. India, for instance, recently settled the Tripura and M i z o problems, and following this took a softer approach to the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. This is the time when the 23 problem started to take a moderate turn. The Indian government had to convince the Bangladeshi government to take back the C H T refugees who had been settled in India. It was necessary that India make a political compromise with Bangladesh. A t this point R A W did not give any explicit major support to these groups even though H i l l leaders had a few requests (Bhaumik 1997). Bangladeshi authorities also took a moderate approach toward the problem from the mid-1990s. The continuing expense of the military operation and its failure to stop violence and international criticism were the main reasons for such a move. Following these developments, the first refugee repatriation was carried out in 1987. Thereafter, the PCJSS was forced to negotiate with the Bangladeshi government partially by India. India, however, occasionally gave minor military support to the indigenous leadership (Bhaumik 1997). At the time, the major concern for Bangladesh was maintaining its territorial integrity. India sent a special envoy to Bangladesh confirming India's intent to settle the problem within a framework of an integrated Bangladesh. The appointment of a fairly young man as the chief of Agartala 4 0 R A W office was indicative of India's lower priority for the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (Bhaumik 1997). Following these developments, in 1983, the Bangladeshi government suspended further Bengalee in-migration into the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The government declared the place to be a special 'economic area' targeted for promoting trade, commerce, employment, and overall agro-economic development (Shelly 1992) 4 1. Then, in 1989, the Bangladeshi government enacted laws to establish three separate local government councils for Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban districts to placate self-governance of indigenous peoples. These developments opened up a way for signing a treaty between the Bangladeshi government and the representatives of the H i l l people. 24 The Peace Treaty After the 1996 election in Bangladesh, the Awami League came back to power led by the daughter of the first President who had close collaboration with India before 1975. At the time, the Indian authorities pressed the PCJSS to reach a political solution to the problem. India set up deadlines to close down all refugee and Shanti Bahini training camps in India. These developments along with the failure of the state's earlier attempts to regain control of the place opened up ways for signing a treaty and finally a 'Peace Accord ' was signed between the Bangladeshi government and the H i l l peoples' representatives on December 2, 1997 4 2 . The Bangladeshi period shows a tightly-ruled Chittagong H i l l Tracts in the face of external linkages of its leaders. The Indian policy on the Tracts largely depended on its relationship with Bangladesh and its own indigenous people. The tight control of the place, the treaty, and the non-implementation of the treaty-a feature I discuss later- show both the negotiating ability and the strength of the state in this transnational age. The next two sections of the paper discuss the transnational features more specifically. In a nutshell, from a theoretical perspective indigeneity of the H i l l people can not be explained without considering both local (shared heritage and history) and international perspectives. A relational approach is also necessary to understand the conflicting relationship between indigenous people and the state (resistance movements and counter-measures by the state). Although indigenous groups in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts were differentiated by language and religion, their opposition to the Islamic way of life united them against the Bengalees. A steady movement for the revitalization of languages of different groups, especially of the larger groups, followed (Schendel 1995). Shared heritage, thus, contributed to the formation of indigeneity of the H i l l peoples. Moreover, a quest for "nation building" of the indigenes channeled the strength 25 of this 'shared' feeling toward the creation of a "homeland" for the indigenes (Schendel 1995). To achieve this homeland, the H i l l people appropriated local and translocal opportunities. Nation-states engaged in the crisis controlled and appropriated the struggle for indigeneity (such as Bangladeshi and Indian policy). In this way, political ambition also contributed to the formation of indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The struggle for a "homeland" by the H i l l people, who thought of land as a free gift o f nature and beyond anyone's possession, was an unprecedented development of "territoriality" in the indigenes' imaginaries (Schendel 1995). This dream for a homeland (either in the form of a separate state, or an autonomous unit within the state) helped keep the resistance movement running against many odds. Thus, "territorialism" was another element that contributed to the formation of indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Moreover, ever since numerous transnational organizations were formed in the 1980s, which explained the injustice against indigenes in different parts of the world in terms of human rights or minority rights, the H i l l people made connections with these organizations and explained their crisis through these human rights or minority rights discourses 4 3 (Schendel 1995). A s a reaction to the international awareness, the Bangladeshi state, to some extent, was forced to take a softer policy in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Thus, minority discourses and transnational networks also contributed to the formation of indigeneity. A s shown earlier, the emphasis on indigeneity of the H i l l people was mainly a creation of British classification. Even though indigenes persisted on their shared heritage, the state's actions in the Tracts were largely influenced by its regional strategic considerations. The local approach, which defines indigeneity by the absence or presence of some traits such as their spirituality or political leadership, can not fully explain the relationship between the state and indigenous peoples in the C H T . The relational approach, which defines indigeneity by their conflicting relationship with the state, provides good overview of the H i l l struggle, but misses the transnational dimensions in the H i l l Tracts. Both local and relational approaches are useful 26 in understanding the alleged threat that indigenous peoples pose to the state, and in understanding the consequent oppressive measures taken by the state, but fail to address the complex external connections of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts case. A focus on the relationship between indigenes and neighbouring nation-states, and colonialism are probably the most important aspects that deserve attention while explaining indigeneity in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. A n international perspective focuses on these issues in explaining indigeneity. Thus, only a combination of local and international perspectives can address the complexity of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts case. CHT and International Law and Conventions: The Politics of Non-Implementation Ferguson and Gupta (2002) claim that transnational institutions nowadays totally undermine the power a state performs over its localities. In an analysis of 'transnational governmentality' in African states they claim that "international agencies such as the I M F and World Bank, together with allied banks and First World governments today often directly impose policies" that are "directly formulated in places like New York, London, Brussels, and Washington" (Ferguson and Gupta 2002: 992). While the influences of transnational institutions and their policies on national entities are undeniable, their total take over of the power of the nation-state, as suggested by Ferguson and Gupta (2002), is an exaggeration of the nature of their encompassment of the nation-state, the Bangladesh case suggests. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case discussed below shows how these transnational bodies and their policies are still vulnerable and subject to manipulation by the state. Bangladesh ratified the International Labour Organization's Convention No. 107 on Indigenous and tribal populations in 1972. Article 11 of the convention provides-"The right of ownership, collective or individual, o f the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognized." 27 Although the Bangladeshi government does not say that indigenous people do not have rights over land, clearly there is unwillingness to ensure this on the government's part, and indigenous people can not enjoy such rights without hindrances (Roy, C. 2000: 137). Article 12 (sections 1, 2, and 3) of the convention guarantees that indigenous people can not be removed from their habitat without their consent, and i f this is done for unavoidable reasons (such as security, health etc.), they would be given land somewhere else in the country with even monetary compensation. The indigenous population of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts was displaced time and again without their consent and was not given any or enough compensation for the loss inflicted on them by programs such as the creation of government forests, and the Kaptai dam (Roy, C. 2000: 138). Article 13 (1) provides that "procedures for the transmission of rights of ownership and use of land which are established by the customs of the populations concerned shall be respected, within the framework of national laws and resolutions, in so far they satisfy the needs of these populations and do not hinder their economic and social development." Article 13 (2) provides that "arrangements shall be made to prevent persons who are not members of the populations concerned from taking advantage of the customs or of lack of understanding of the laws on the part of the members of these populations to secure the ownership or use of the lands belonging to such members." There are numerous allegations that indigenous people have been deprived of their lands in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts through trickery and fraudulence (Roy, C. 2000: 139). The Bangladeshi government has not taken care of the rights of indigenous people over lands and has not taken enough initiatives to stop the occupation of their lands by tribals and non-tribals, which is a breach of this international convention. In fact, the settlement program of the government of 1979 absolutely violated these laws (Roy, D. 1997: 180). The ILO has raised this 28 issue on different occasions, particularly on its 80 session in 1993 which mentions the application of the convention in Bangladesh-"[it] also recalls that many thousand of non-tribals have been settled in the H i l l Tracts area, often on the lands traditionally occupied by tribal families it therefore hopes that appropriate procedures w i l l be established to resolve land claims by tribals for the recovery of tribal lands" (Roy, C. 2000: 121). The land dispossession in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts is also contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), which states that everybody has the right to own land and shall not be arbitrarily deprived of one's property (Roy, C. 2000: 136). The U N Conference on Environment and Development ( U N C E D ) in June 1992, mentioned that indigenous people should be involved in the planning and implementation of development policies. In the C H T , indigenous participation in planning and development of lands and environment is minimal (Roy, C. 2000: 145). The U N Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992, declares that indigenous practices regarding conservation and biological diversity should be honored. The Environment Policy of Bangladesh in 1992 did not contain any reference to indigenous people. The government's practice of planting imported non-native species of trees such as teak, rubber, eucalyptus in the H i l l tracts is contrary to the Bio-Diversity Convention (Roy, C. 2000: 147). The Bangladesh government ratifies, but does not implement many international conventions. To cite a few, the International Covenant on C i v i l and Political Rights and Economic Social and Cultural Rights 1966, International Convention on the Elimination of A l l Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965, and the Convention on the Rights of the Chi ld 1989 (Kamal 2002). So far Bangladesh has not ratified the ILO Convention No. 169 which is more comprehensive than the 107. 29 The Chakma chief Raja Devasish Roy (1997: 185) claims that the absence of legislation and vigilance are the main problems keeping Bangladeshi and C H T law from conforming to international laws and conventions. Although these laws and conventions have created considerable pressure on the government, the lack of implementing mechanisms which can provide remedies in particular situations is the main problem with such laws (Roy, D: 1997). These very examples reveal the role of the state's 'power' in the implementation of international interventions. Here, the state is too powerful a body for international organizations to enforce their conventions mostly because international organizations do not have a direct method of implementing and monitoring their suggestions other than relying on that of the states'. CHT and Transnational Bodies: The Politics of Manipulation Ferguson and Gupta (2002) suggest that as a result of the influences of grassroots organizations and transnational forces, the state almost loses control over its localities, or at least, needs to reconfigure its relationship with transnational forces to practice some authority over its localities. They claim that "new forms of transnational connection are increasingly enabling "local" actors to challenge the state's well-established claims. . ." and "canny "grassroots" operators may trump the national ace with appeals to "world opinion" and e-mail links to the international headquarters of such formidably encompassing agents of surveillance as Amnesty International, Africa Watch, or World Vis ion International" (Ferguson and Gupta 2002: 988 and 989). They also claim that international organizations are "directly sponsoring their own programs and interventions via N G O s in a wide range of areas" (Ferguson and Gupta 2002: 993). The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case shows that these grassroots or/and transnational organizations may be manipulated by the state. Here I cite a few examples from the Tracts, which show how the state faces and resists the challenges that come from transnational 30 governmentality. In the H i l l Tracts the major development programs partially or fully funded by foreign aid are as follows: 1. A British funded telecommunication program 2. The U N I C E F ' s pure drinking water supply program 3. A Swedish forestry project 4. The W H O ' s malaria eradication program 5. The Asian Development Bank's livestock and fisheries project 6. Australia's road building project The British government funded a telecommunication link from the Chittagong H i l l Tracts to Dhaka, which ultimately helped Dhaka to have a better hold on the Tracts. When the British foreign office came to know that the Bangladeshi authorities were implementing the project to further strengthen their control over the area, they refused to take any formal action claiming that such an action might be an intervention into the internal affairs of a country. In reality, a better explanation is that the British officials refrained from taking any action against this allegation because of the profit the British private enterprises were making from this project (Mey 1984). The Asian Development Bank-assisted livestock and fisheries project only helped the Bengalees and pro-Bengalee tribals (Chaudhury 1991). Sweden financed a forestry project. The project initiated ruthless commercial logging of H i l l timber resources, which ultimately denied the interests of the tribal people. Due to the political situation there and policies pursued by the government on the Chittagong H i l l Tracts, the Swedish authority decided that the project was not helping the tribal people and stopped disbursing funds for it (Mey 1984). The Bangladeshi government undertook a transportation project in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts with the help of Australian funding. But Australia soon learned that the government was building these roads to facilitate the movement of military vehicles in the region, which would 31 support military oppression and promote the inflow of non-tribal people into the interior of the Tracts. The project was also intended to settle the Bengalees deep into the H i l l areas and provide adequate communication structure to different government bodies to exploit H i l l resources (Mey 1984). A s a result, Australia pulled out their funds from this project. The U N I C E F funded a drinking water supply program in the C H T to improve l iving conditions. But, the government implemented it in a way that guaranteed pure water supply only for the army camps, the Bengalees, and the Joutha Khamar (Joint Farmhouse) settlers who had been resettled by the government. The World Health Organization's Malaria eradication project eradicated Malaria only for the army personnel, and indigenous people did not get any benefit from the project (Mey 1984). However after 1976, the U S government endorsed the role of the Bangladeshi government in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts as an 'encouragement of attitudes sympathetic to the U S foreign policy objectives' and also claimed that the Bangladeshi authorities had been liberal in the Tracts (Mey 1984: 111). The United States' statement came in the light of the ongoing 'Co ld War ' at the time. Many international N G O s have expressed their frustration at the Bangladeshi government's behavior in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Among them are the Anti-Slavery Society, Survival International, International Fellowship for Reconciliation, the World Fellowship of Buddhists, Organizing Committee on Chittagong H i l l Tracts Campaign, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (Denmark). N G O s have also lobbied lending governments not to grant any economic loans and asked them to put pressure on the Bangladeshi authorities (Asian Cultural Forum on Development: 1995) N G O s ' operations contradict the local life in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts as well . N G O s in the region, as in other parts of Bangladesh, have formed separate groups for male and female members of the credit program. H i l l people, however, do not draw a sharp contrast between male and female labor. Thus, N G O s ' operations in the C H T do not reflect that they have taken 32 into account the indigenous lifestyle in creating the policies of their programs (Choudhury 2000). The interest rate of the credit program is high at 12-22 %. Investments in activities such as livestock raising and homestead gardening do not pay off instantly as prescribed by different N G O s such as C A R I T A S (the Catholic Agency for Overseas A i d and Development); many women are thus unable to repay their loans, and as such the credit programs draw them into debt. N G O s ' operations, in this way, further worsened the condition of indigenous people in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts (Choudhury 2000). Dominance and Dialogue: The Politics of Reconfiguration Ferguson and Gupta (2002) gave some hint but did not elaborate on the nature of the state's reconfiguration of relationships with other entities. In this section, I discuss the nature of this reconfiguration by examining the Bangladeshi government's different strategies to redefine its relationship with the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The state often relied on creating confusion among indigenous groups by fluctuating between a rigid and non-rigid definition of legal categories in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The 1900 Regulation, for example, preserved and protected the special status of the C H T and its people. In 1920 and 1935, the region was declared respectively an 'excluded area' and a 'totally excluded area'. In 1955, its status was changed to a 'tribal area'. In 1964, even its 'tribal area' status was withdrawn by the 1964 Act (Kamal 2004). After independence, the first Bangladeshi government rejected H i l l peoples' demands for their autonomy and reenactment of the 1900 Act. This was an attempt to create a Bengalee-dominated homogenous state 'under the rubric of Bengalee/Bangladeshi nationalism' 4 5 (Mohsin 1997b: 17). Strong vigilance to reify its governmentality was another method used by the state. When, as a reaction to the state's rejection of the 1900 Act , the PCJSS was formed on March 7, 1972, the government deployed the A r m y and Navy in the Chittagong H i l l tracts to counter the guerrilla 33 movements of H i l l people. After 1975, the PCJSS was outlawed (Mohsin 1997b: 20). In 1997, Shanti Bahini (SB), the guerilla wing of the PCJSS, had a force of 15,000 fighters and 50,000 trained youths in different mili t ia units within their six major territorial sectors of operation in the H i l l Tracts (Mohsin 1997b: 24). To deal with this situation, the Bangladeshi government deployed 19 infantry battalions, three artillery battalions, one engineering battalion of the Army, eleven B D R (Bangladesh Rifles) battalions, 18 Ansar battalions 4 6, and four armed police battalions (Mohsin 1997b: 25). Numerically, there have been 230 army camps, 100 B D R camps and 80 police camps which make a ratio of one security force member for every fifteen H i l l persons (Arens 1997: 46). These were the oppressive mechanisms employed by the Bangladeshi government to ensure the state's encompassment of its localities. Using and controlling opportunities for propaganda was another tactic of the state. While military forces had taken control of politico- economic life in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts during the conflict, H i l l people needed military authorization to hold meetings, perform religious ceremonies, and publish newspapers (Mohsin 1997b: 26). Moreover, the military tried to divide the H i l l leadership by creating pro-state organizations of indigenes and forming Bengalee politico-cultural associations. A long with that, the military also committed forced eviction and massacres (Mohsin 1997b: 30-38). A l l these were a strategy of creating a situation of extreme nationalist hegemonism in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In August 1992, the PCJSS unilaterally declared a cease-fire and expressed willingness for a political settlement. The Bangladeshi government also accepted it against increasing national and international criticisms (Arens 1997). Huge military expenditure for the conflict was another reason for the government to support political mechanisms. The PCJSS took this opportunity to set out a number of political demands for the autonomy of the H i l l people. Briefly, the demands were: 34 (I) The Bangladesh constitution shall recognize regional autonomy of the C H T as a special administrative unit and the area shall be renamed Jummaland (Land of the slash and burn people). (II) It should be administered by autonomous Jummaland regional Council (JRC). (Ill) A l l lands in the C H T , except some important state lands, shall be placed under the jurisdiction of the J R C . The PCJSS also called for a ban on Bengalee settlement in the C H T and demanded out posting of Bengalees who settled there after August 17, 1947. (IV) Special indigenous quotas in the government service, relaxed service rules and the establishment of a bank for the C H T ' s development. (V) Parliament seats of the C H T constituency to be reserved for H i l l persons. (VI) Solely an autonomous indigenous H i l l police force wi l l provide security of the region with the B D R in the border. (VII) Constitutional recognition of small nationalities and set up of a radio station. (VIII) Rehabilitation of the internal and international Jumma refugees and Shanti Bahini members. The government was unwilling to accept the PCJSS demands (Arens 1997). After a long process of delay and negotiation, an accord was signed between the Bangladeshi government and the PCJSS in 1997. The agreement named as the ' C H T Accord ' or the 'Peace Accord ' , declared the area a 'tribal-inhabitant region', recognized its previous laws, customs, and customary rights over land. Under the treaty, the H i l l fighters agreed to surrender and de-commission their arms for a general amnesty, the enactment and amendment of laws concerned with the indigenous life, and for the rehabilitation programs offered by the government (Adnan 2004: 33). The treaty also has a provision to rehabilitate internal and international refugees and to withdraw non-permanent military camps from the C H T . The accord led to the formation of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts Regional Council , H i l l District Councils, and a separate ministry for the Chittagong H i l l Tracts affairs where indigenous members w i l l be the numerical majority. Thus, the treaty endorsed a partial release of power to the indigenous authorities; even though 35 the devolution of power was limited by with the final say ultimately coming from the government (Adnan 2004: 33). This transfer of power in reality was an immensely complicated bureaucratic process and reflects how the state, nowadays, often uses bureaucratic 'red-tape'. The state took a strategy in which it tactically maneuvered between approving and disapproving indigeneity at the same time - it was case of the state approval of indigeneity for some purposes, but not for others; occasional indigeneity and occasional non-indigeneity for the 'indigenes'. The C H T peace treaty is a good example of this. Although the treaty was a considerable advancement for the recognition of indigenous people, its implementation has not been successful. A s a result, the law and order situation in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts has begun to deteriorate just after a year of signing the accord (Kamal 2004). The government claims that 95% provisions of the treaty have been implemented, whereas the PCJSS claims that only 5% have been implemented (Mohsin 1997: 215). The ruling power has not been transferred from former controlling bodies of the Tracts to these newly created ones and these new bodies can not exercise power (Kamal 2004). Rules and regulations required for the operation of these councils have not yet been formed and there is a lack of political w i l l on part of the government to do so (Kamal 2004). This obstruction created multiple authorities and opaque governance and led to a fragmentation of indigenous groups. Today, a few C H T inhabitants lean toward the former administration (most Bengalees and some of the indigenous population) and the others toward the new one (mostly Adivasis). Such a situation has left the indigenous people with a puzzling situation in which they have been recognized by the state, yet they do not get enough o f what they had expected. Because of the non-implementation, many indigenous organizations are now in a dilemma as to whether they should go ahead with advancing new movements against the state, or wait and watch the ineffective implementation o f the treaty. This has made the indigenous groups indecisive. The H i l l leadership have expressed their frustration with the situation (Adnan 2004: 36 34). It is a process in which the state's efforts to ameliorate the condition of the indigenes are 'paired with bureaucratic il lusion' (see; Mi l le r 2003). It reflects a strategy of the state in which it approves then technically denies the benefits associated with indigeneity; a double role play by the state (see; Mi l le r 2003). Before the treaty, the Bangladeshi government ratified the ILO convention 107, but then, either delayed or took no measures to hand over H i l l lands to indigenes. Indigenes also had been deprived of their lands in the C H T by complicated bureaucratic systems of land ownership that most indigenes did not understand. Although most international conventions ratified by the Bangladeshi state required it to involve indigenes in planning and implementation of numerous development programs undertaken by the state, in reality, indigenes were never given any opportunity to do so (Roy, C. 2000). A s mentioned earlier, the Bangladeshi government over the years has also exploited almost every development program in its favour over that of the H i l l people, even though most of these programs were originally planned for the interest of the H i l l people by different donor agencies. The state bureaucracy also has denied indigenes different state benefits by constantly changing definitions of different legal categories, such as the status of the C H T . After the peace treaty, along with refusal to implement the treaty properly, the state has been showing disinterest in creating different proposed bodies to placate H i l l self-governance. The state is also redefining the authority and reach of these bodies (PCJSS 2004); indigeneity locked in the state bureaucracy. Another dimension of the peace treaty reveals the power dynamics within the indigenous groups. Historically, H i l l people recognized power centers for each of three levels of local administration, i.e. Karabri, Dewan and Raja for the village, mauza and territorial level administration respectively 4 7. The peace accord places the ruling power on the Regional Council and the H i l l District Councils that are led by the newly emerged leaders born in the struggle against the Bengalees. The Raja, who was the center of power in previous practices, got little in the treaty. Thus, the treaty is not a pure reflection of their 'tradition'. Following this and other 37 limitations, a section of indigenous people initiated anti-accord demonstrations under the banner of the 'United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) ' . They rejected the accord claiming that the treaty was not a reflection of their demands and condemned it as a 'sell-out' (Roy, C. 2000: 163). These two groups-the PCJSS and the U P D F - often end up in clashes (Roy, C. 2000). Since the treaty, around 400 persons have been killed in various clashes between supporters and critics of the treaty [The Dai ly Prothom Alo: 02-12-2004 4 8]. Different small parties defend that the PCJSS does not have the sole right to sign the treaty. The United Peoples' Democratic Front (UPDF) , the H i l l Students Council , the H i l l Peoples' Council , and the H i l l Women Federation 4 9 oppose the PCJSS as the sole representative of H i l l people. The relationship between the state and indigenous people in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts has been more complicated than a simple form of dominance and control. Indigenous people's persistence on the C H T Regulation Act of 1900 and the peace accord of 1997 reflects these Acts ' ability to fulfill H i l l people's self-rule. Between 1960- 1990, the state strictly controlled the area. Starting from the middle of the 1990s, the government started to engage in dialogue with the H i l l people and give them more benefits and freedom than they previously enjoyed. However, after the peace treaty when law became more favorable to indigenous people, the state has been unwilling to implement the treaty. This is a critical juncture; what was once a struggle for creating a favorable indigenous legal body, has now become a struggle for implementing them. The Bangladeshi government used both its 'power' and 'development' rhetoric to rule the area. Presently, the state at least partially recognizes H i l l people's distinctness, a situation which gives space to indigenous cultural and political freedom. The state also retains its control over the C H T by negotiating with indigenous bodies. Overall the state is making compromises. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case suggests that the state is compelled to behave in particular ways to ensure its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and to tackle regional and global powers. The 38 states' role is also simultaneously influenced by ethnic antagonism and the states' need for appropriating natural resources. The state often ratifies international conventions, but does not implement them. The state hinders indigenous people's access to state facilities by placing complicated procedural barriers in the way of their access to different government programs. The state also manipulates the inability of transnational bodies to oversee the implementation of international conventions. Given the H i l l Tract's outer-linkages, severing indigenous peoples' political connections with India was the main strategy of the state; the Bangladeshi government was fairly successful in this regard. Similarly, indigenous people also developed strategies and built links to create more pressure on the state. The state, however, has never succeeded in taming indigenous people's resistance in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The state's reconfigurations, thus, include militarization to strategic militarization (before and after the peace treaty), divide and rule (secretly sponsoring pro-Bangladeshi indigenous leadership), non-implementation of the treaty, the use of bureaucratic illusion, and a simultaneous pacification and obstruction of the international community. These strategies are a combination of political, bureaucratic, and military means. Indigenous people's strategies include creating external linkages, creating political and armed violence, masking internal conflicts, and making links to pro-indigenous national level intellectuals; thus a triangulation of armed, political and intellectual efforts. The indigeneity of H i l l people in the Chittagong Tracts, thus, is an example of challenged and negotiated, dominated and compromised interplay of local-global, national-transnational forces. The shifting behaviors of both the state and indigenous groups indicate the existence of complicated deterritorializing and reterritorializing relations. A l l these tensions reflect a strong tie between 'sovereignty' and 'territoriality'. 39 Conclusion Deterritorilization and reteritorialization have occurred simultaneously in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. The.process of decolonization, which created internal ethnicity in the emerging states, set up the condition for the H i l l people to be involved in the national-transnational political dynamics. Differences in religion, language, the relationship between the contested nation-states and global powers, and different groups' historical connections, were the main causes of the conflict. In the face of H i l l leaders' growing external linkages, the state was afraid of losing the H i l l Tracts and therefore took stronger steps to retain its control over the area. The H i l l leadership was trying newer and stronger strategies to achieve its goal, that is to take control of the area. They were doing this against the state's newer restrictions. After the mid-1990s, both the state and the indigenous groups took a softer approach. The state's flexibility, along with other factors, is a response to the changing position of the state in a global age and the rising international awareness of atrocities committed against indigenous peoples. Indigenous groups, after receiving recognition from the state, at least partially gave up their deterritorializing activities, that is, their secessionist activities and transnational links. Sti l l , however, the relationship between the state and indigenous people in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts is complicated by bureaucratic illusion. In this sense both concepts-deterritorialization and reterritorialization- are problematic as none of these concepts consider the other side of the process. The concept of deterritorialization ignores aspects that may create reterritorialization in a particular situation. The concept of reterritorialization assumes that a total elimination of any deterritorialization process is possible and unproblematic, and as such denies the local-translocal muddle that is characteristic Of a connected world. The concept of deterritorialization ignores the state's panoptical attempts, and reterritorialization ignores the stretch of transnational forces. Indigenes' attempts to geographically 'deterritorialize' the H i l l Tracts from Bangladesh and as such severe the tie between identity and territory were foiled by 40 the state by neutralizing H i l l peoples' transnational connections. However, this move toward reterritorialization does not make the present H i l l existence resemble what indigenes had before their resistance movements against the state. The changed legal frameworks, power relations between them and the state, and recognition of their identity that followed the treaty are the reasons for such a non-resemblance. The present H i l l existence is not a complete return from deterritorialization to the previous condition of H i l l existence-a clear move from deterritorialization to reterritorialization, rather a return from deterritorialization to a new 'conscious' territorialized existence. The processes of decolonization created the process of deterritorialization in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Language in the Bangladeshi period has replaced religion, which had been historically the major arena of confrontation between the Bengalees and the H i l l people. Religion as an irritant also made a revival after 1975. The H i l l Tracts case shows an intertwined relationship between decolonization, deterritorialization, and reterritorialization. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case signifies that studying both micro and macro settings, cultural traits and organizational aspects (political ends), are important for a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between the state and indigenous people. Besides, a historical framework is necessary to explain the sources of different parties' behaviour. The British policy in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts was to create or acknowledge 'categories' that facilitated its appropriation of local resources. Indigenous resistance also played a major role in determining the colonial policy. The politics of the partition of the sub-Continent forced the British to concentrate more on the relationship between the two emerging nation-states and ignore 'marginal' areas. This ignorance ultimately intensified the C H T crisis rather than easing it. Religion became one of the major decisive factors. After the British departed from the sub-Continent, the Indo-Pak relationship played a pivotal role in determining the future of the region. The H i l l people suffered the consequences of Indo-Pak rivalry, East Vs . 41 West Pakistan antagonism, and the Bengalee-Adivasi confrontation. These complex tensions were active behind the creation of an administrative framework for the region. The involvement of global powers, such as the U.S . and the former U.S.S.R. , further complicated the problem during the Pakistani era. A s a response to these transnational connections, Pakistan ruled the place with iron hand. However, it also had to propitiate the demands of local Bengalees and open up the region for them. The Bangladeshi period is marked by an augmentation of Bengalee-Adivasi confrontation. This ultimately led to a constitutional rejection of any nationalities in Bangladesh other than the Bengalees. India's relationship with its Northeastern tribal communities, and the C H T ' s link with the rebelling Indian guerrillas, encouraged India to get involved in the H i l l Tracts affairs, which ultimately complicated the relationship between Bangladesh and India. After H i l l leaders started to get support from India, Bangladesh protected the Tract with an ever increasing vigilance. However, since both Bangladesh and India wanted to resolve the problem, the international dynamics of the problem became less influential, and the state, consequently, reached a solution with the indigenous leadership. A n account of the way the Chittagong H i l l Tracts has been ruled and the context which produced such rulings manifest the power relations of identity maintenance. Historically, local control of the region grew stronger in the Bangladeshi period than in the British and Pakistani period. The C H T case shows that power relations are not simply straight-forward dominance and control of the state over indigenous people; there are also dialogues. But within these negotiations, the state does not hesitate to misinterpret, refuse to implement, violate, or even change laws, conventions, or treaties. This particular tactic of the state creates a bureaucratic procedural problem for the Adivasis and captures them in administrative complexities, and often Adivasis do not have enough expertise to overcome this bureaucratic 'red-tape'. It is a puzzle for these people in which they can neither neglect the state and choose a path of renewed 42 resistance, nor get equal rights and enough cooperation from the state. In such a situation, they are even more vulnerable to an internal conflict than they were during the period of their violent struggle against the state. The opposition between the PCJSS and the U P D F is a good example of this. One way out of this almost 'no way' zone, for the Adivasis, is to seek international interventions. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case shows that the state can heavily manipulate international instruments. If the international instruments are to be truly effective, the Chittagong H i l l Tracts case suggests, the international agreements require strong vigilance and proper implementation. The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case illustrates the extra-indigenous factors that inform indigeneity. In the colonial period, the British policy of creating 'otherness', imposing legal categories, and aggravating indigenes-outsiders antagonism, along with the influence of political features of disintegrating nation-states created the path that the indigenes had to walk through. In the Pakistani period, indigenes had to cope with the politics between the nation-states and their quest for regional dominance, global politics and its local impact, and the conflicting group interests within the nation-states. In the Bangladeshi period, the difficult road of indigeneity was influenced by geo-political strategies of the nation-states, external connections of indigenous people, and the bureaucratic illusion of the 'modern' age. While the period from British rule to the signing of the treaty in 1997 reveals the process of becoming indigenes, the period after the treaty reveals how indigenes live in an age of recognition; this is the process of being indigenous. The history of the Chittagong H i l l Tracts reveals that the indigeneity has always been accompanied by other non-indigenous factors and indigenous strategies mostly have been reactions to these non-indigenous actions. In terms of non-indigenous factors, the British phase in the beginning was the phase of creation and appropriation of the 'otherness'-indigeneity in the age of 'colonial encounter'. The Pakistani phase was the phase of indigeneity in the 43 microcosm of regional and global dominance-indigeneity in the age of political hegemony. The Bangladeshi phase was the phase of indigeneity in the politics of nation-states and transnational awareness, that is, indigeneity in the age of global humanism 5 0 . The Chittagong H i l l Tracts case shows that both the internal projection (by the H i l l people) of indigenousness- shared heritage, political goal, and territorialism- and the external notion of indigenousness (by the outsiders)- colonial creation, international awareness, and minority discourse- created the notion of indigeneity as a whole in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. Although the state became flexible and signed a treaty with the H i l l people, the state bureaucracy now limits the contribution a recognition of indigeneity can make to the improvement of the condition of indigenous people. This illustrates that rather than the recognition of indigeneity as a "kind", the main problem that, in this age of 'international awareness' needs to be addressed in the literatures of state-indigenes relations, is the "degree" to which indigeneity is recognized. A historical examination of the circumstances of indigenous people in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts reveals not only the tactics of the state to suppress indigenes, but also the flow of regional and global malice toward them, even though the external entities may not be fully aware of the malignance of their involvement. The tragedy of the external roots of the conflict lies in the fact that the fate of these indigenes have been determined from such a faraway land, or place or force that indigenes probably have never seen in their life; neither had they have any enmity against, nor had they have any knowledge of this force. Perhaps, more confusing than anything else in the indigenes' imaginaries is the puzzlement over their unseen opponent; a force that is never seen, but always striking. The innocent nationalism and the beautiful 'globalism' are so very damaging for them that indigenes could neither accept them, nor stop them; they could neither accept history, nor could they stop it. 44 1 Although Ferguson and Gupta (2002) gave some hint of possible reconfiguration of relations between the state and transnational entities, they did not elaborate on it. 2 The 'Chittagong Hill Tracts' is considered as a single area or region in popular academic practice in Bangladesh. M y use of the term 'Chittagong Hill Tracts' follows this singular tone, even though it is the standard practice in English to consider 'Tracts' as plural. 3 In this paper, I use indigenous people, indigenes, Adivasis, Hill people, Panaris, and Jumma people alternatively. My use of all these terms refer indigenous people without distorting or undermining their 'status' as what is associated with the term 'indigenous people'. 4 Many scholars regard this a sub-group of the Chakma. 5 This term refers to a people who speak Bengali as their first language. 6 1 discuss the involvement of global and regional powers in the C H T conflict later in the paper. 7 1 discuss them later in the paper. Adivasi is a Bengali term to refer to indigenous people. The term has roots in Sanskrit. 9 People, who did not live in the Tracts before the arrival of the British rulers. It was mainly targeted against the Bengalees. 1 0 The Capital of present Bangladesh. 1 1 India be split into India and Pakistan. 1 2 One of the major political parties in India. 1 3 Because of the disagreement between the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, this commission was formed to create the demarcation. 1 4 Although originally Buddhists, the Chakmas were considerably Hinduaized and suggested a union with India at the time of the partition. The Marmas, on the other hand, because of the strong Buddhists influence, suggested a union with Burma The difference in religion between the Bengalees and the indigenes became the key focus of the indigenes' resistance. 1 5 The instrumental perspective explains ethnicity in terms of political ambition. The primordial approach, on the other hand, explains it in terms of shared heritage such as language, religion etc. 1 6 The partition was aimed at transferring the ruling power of India from the British authorities to sub-Continental leaders. 1 7 1 use this term to refer to India and Pakistan. 1 8 The Marma chief wanted the C H T to be declared a part of Burma in the partition. 1 9 It was a continuation of the 1900 C H T Regulation Act by the Pakistani authority. 'Excluded Area' status denied outsiders (non-indigenous) an entry to the Hill district to permanently settle for residence. 2 0 The reason for this hatred toward 'Hinduism' was Hindu dominancy in India. 2 1 An idea of a nationhood of a people who speak Bengali. 2 2 An indigenous guerrilla organization in Nagaland, India, which had a struggling relationship with the Indian state. 2 3 An indigenous group in India opposed to the Indian state. 2 4 China was worried that India would become her competitor for regional political dominance. 2 5 The Pakistani authorities lifted the ban, on the one hand, because of the intense pressure from the Bengalees to open up the C H T , on the other hand, to neutralize the influence of India in the Tracts. 2 6 The C H T inhabitants were labeled 'war criminals' by the power wielders as most of the indigenous leaders worked against Bangladesh in its independence war. 2 7 The Bangladeshi Force which fought for the liberation of the country. 2 8 The Army wing of the main political body of indigenous movements in the CHT, that is the Parbattya Chattagram Janasamhiti Samittee (PCJSS). 2 9 Manabendra Larma and Shantu Larma 3 0 Awami League, one of the major political parties led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, formed the first government in independent Bangladesh, 3 1 Language had earlier became the key arena of conflict between the Bengalees and the Pakistani authority. 3 2 The first President of Bangladesh. 3 3 Manabendra Larma 3 4 The main indigenous political organization that fought against the state. Shanti Bahini was the guerrilla wing of this organization. 3 5 1 discuss them later in the paper. 45 3 6 A political body in the C H T led by Priti Kumar Chakma and opposed to the SB. 3 7 1 discuss the treaty later in the paper. 3 8 The Government created these villages to relocate indigenous groups from the conflicting zones where the state needed to operate against the C H T guerrillas. 3 9 The Mizos were mostly communist supporters. 4 0 A place in India close to Bangladesh border. It was the place where India was conducting its operation on the C H T from. 4 1 The state offered tax holidays, low interest loans, and administrative favors by allocating 10% of the development projects to the tribal contractors. By the mid-1990s, the government reserved a certain quota of seats for Hill students in all higher education institutions. In 1988, 5% of all government jobs were reserved for indigenous peoples. The government announced 'Military Civic Action', which was an attempt to integrate the military more with the local communities and development projects by providing aggrieved tribals and non-tribals with cash and kind incentives. The program contained compensation for damages done by military actions, and medical facilities for the locals by the military in collaboration with the civil administration. 4 2 1 examine the treaty later in the paper. 4 3 1 discuss these features later in the paper. 4 4 This is a Bengali term to refer to 'King' 4 5 Bengalee is a term which refers to a person who speaks Bengali. Since India also has a Bengali speaking population, one criticism of the term 'Bengalee' has been its imprecision to define whether a person is a Bengali speaking person from Bangladesh, or from India. The political party which had close cooperation with India before the killing of the first president, uses "Bengalee', and the other one, which was opposed to India, uses 'Bangladeshi' even today. 4 6 This is a government civil force mainly responsible for maintaining village security. Members of this force are not the descendants of the ' Ansar' mujahidins (fighters) who were non-Qurayshi companions of the Prophet in 7* century Arabia. But the name 'Ansar Battalion' has a good willing over tone, which is borrowed from this past Islamic force. 4 7 A mouza, consisting of several villages, is the second powerful unit in the 'traditional' Hill administration. The territorial level is the top administrative unit in the 'traditional' Hill political 'structure' headed by a Raja. 4 8 A popular daily national newspaper in Bangladesh ( 4 9 Any Hill person can be a member of the UPDF and the Hill Peoples' Council. The Hill Students Council is specifically a student body and the Hill Women Federation a body for indigenous women only. Like others, these organizations are also fragmented on the issue of supporting the treaty. None of them are state sponsored indigenous groups. 5 0 1 use this term to refer to the current age in which human rights movements are one of the major forces that, to some extent, shape how the world operates. References Cited: Adrian, Shapan. 2004. Migration, Land Alienation and Ethnic Conflict: Causes of Poverty in the Chittogogng Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Dhaka: Research and Advisory Services. Ahmed, Aftab. 1994. Insurgency in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts: Modalities for a Solution. Paper presented in an international conference on Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: South Asian Experiences, Organized by the Bangladesh Defense Services Command and Staff College, Dhaka, December, 5-6. Ahmed, Imtiaz. 2000. Putting the C H T Accord into Practice: More Pain than Pleasure. South Asian Refugee watch. V o l . 2. No. 2. Pp. 109-117. December, 2000. Dhaka. 46 Appadurai, Arjun. 1990. Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy. In Theory, Culture and Society, V o l 7. Pp. 295-310. London: Sage Publications. - 2003. Sovereignty without Territory: Notes for a Postnational Geography. In The Anthropology of Space and Place. Low, Setha and Lawrence- Zuniga, Denise (ed). Pp. 337-349. Oxford: Blackwell Press. Arens, Jenneke. 1997. Foreign A i d and Militarization in the Chittagong H i l l tracts. In Living on the Edge: Essays on the Chittagong Hill tracts. Bhaumik, Subir., Guhathakurta, Meghna., Chaudhury, B R Sabyasachi.(ed). Pp. 45-80. Katmandu: South As ia Forum for Human Rights. Asian Cultural Forum on Development. 1995. Economic Dimension of Ethnic Conflict: A Study on the Indigenous People of Bangladesh. Dhaka: The University Press Limited. Barth, Fredrik (ed). 1969. Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. Boston: Little and Brown Company. Bertocci, Peter J. 1989. Resource Development and Ethnic Conflict in Bangladesh: The Case of Chakmas in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In Religious and Ethnic Minority Politics in South Asia. Pp. 139-173. Delhi: The Riverdale Company. Bhaumik, Subir, 1997. Strategic Pawn: Indian policy in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In Living on the egde: Essays on the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Bhaumik, Guhathakurta, Chaudhury (ed). Pp. 127-138. Katmandu: South As ia Forum for Human Rights). Chakma, Siddharta. 1986. Proshongo: Parbattya Chattagram (The Context of CHT). Calcutta: Nath Bros. Chaudhury, Buddhadev. 1991. Ethnic Conflict in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts of Bangladesh. In Economic Dimensions of Ethnic Conflicts: International Perspectives. Samarsinghe and Coughlan (ed). Pp. 135-155. Dhaka: U P L Publications. Choudhury, Ahmed F H , and Ahmad, Faridu Uddin. 2000. Anthropology of Macro and Micro development in Chittagong H i l l Tracts: A Critical Review. Paper Presented in the National Seminar on "Tribal Culture and Development". Organized by the Institute of Applied Anthropology, Dhaka, 14-16 Apr i l . Comaroff, Jean, and Comaroff, John. 1991. Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa. Volume 1. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Comaroff, John. 1996. Ethnicity, Nationalism, and the Politics of Difference in an Age of Revolution. In The Politics of Difference: Ethnic Premises in a world of Power. Wilmsen, N Edwin, and McAll is ter , Patrick (ed). Pp. 162-184. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dean, Bartholomew and Levi , M Jerome. 2003 (ed). At the Risk of Being Heard: Identity, Indigenous Rights, and Postcolonial States. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. 47 Ferguson, James., and Gupta, A k h i l . 2002. spatializing states: toward an ethnography of neoliberal governmentality. American Ethnologists. 29 (4): 981- 1002. Ghosh. Shyamoli 1995. Bangladeshi Cultural Symbols and the Bangladesh State. In Bengal: Communities, Development and State. Sekhar, B . , Abhijit, D . , Schendel, V . W . (ed). Pp. 194-208. Dhaka: The University Press Limited Gledhill , John. 1994. Power and Its Disguises: Anthropological Perspectives on Politics. London: Pluto Press. Hannarz, Ulf . 1990. Cosmopolitans and Locals in the World Culture. In Theory, Culture and Society, V o l 7. Pp. 237-251. London: Sage Publications. Huq, M Mufazzalul. 2000. Government Institutions and Underdevelopment: A study of the tribal peoples of Chittogong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Dhaka: Centre for Social Studies. Kamal, Mesbah., Chakma, Biplab., Sabri, A A l i . , and Khaisa, Dipujjal. 2004. Emergence of Regional Council and H i l l District Councils in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts and Its Implications. Unpublished research report submitted to P R O S H I K A . Dhaka: Bangladesh Kamal, Mesbah, and Drong, Sanjib. 2002. Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh: Life and Struggle. Unpublished Research report submitted to the Action A i d , Bangladesh, Dhaka. Kamal, M . , Chakrabarti, I., and Nasrin, J. (ed). 2002b. Nijbhume Parabasi: Uttarbanger Adivasir Prantikota Discoure (Foreigner on Own Land: Marginality Discourse of the Adivasis' of the East Bengal). Dhaka: R D C Publications. Kamaluddin, S. 1980. A Tangled Web of Insurgency. Far Eastern Economic Review. May, 23. . 1981. Wrong Sides of the Tracts. FEER. October, 16. Konker Singh. 2003. Bongobhag: Purbobonger Nimnoborgo o Rajniti (The Division of the Bengal: The Lower Caste of the East Bengal and Politics. In Banglaar Dolito Andoloner Itibritto (The A to Z of the Dalits Movements of the Bengal). Mandal, Chitta. A n d Raymandal, Prothama (ed). Pp. 507- 527. Kolkata: Annapurna Prokashoni Ma lkk i , Li isa H . 1997. National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorializations of National Identity among Scholars and Refuges. In Culture, Power, Place: Exploration in Critical Anthropology. Gupta and Furguson (ed). Pp. 52-74. Durham: Duke University Press. Maybury-Lewis, David. 2002. Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups and the State. Boston: A l l y n and Bacon. Mazumder, C Basu . 2002. Ethnic Politics in Bangladesh: A Search for Tribal Identity. In Ethnicity and Polity in South Asia. Gir in Phukon (ed). Pp. 71-87. New Delhi: South Asian Publishers 48 Mey, Wolfgang Mey, 1984. They are Now Burning Village after Village: Genocide in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. I W G I A document no. 51. Copenhagen: I W G I A . Mil ler , Bruce G . 2003. Invisible Indigenes: The Politics of Nonrecognition. Lincoln and London: The University of Nebraska Press. Mohsin, Amena. 1997. The Politics of Nationalism: The case of Chittogong Hill Tracts. Bangladesh. Dhaka: The University Press Limited. 1997b. Mili tary Hegemony and the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In Living on the Edge: Essays on the Chittagong Hill tracts. Bhaumik, Subir., Guhathakurta, Meghna., Chaudhury, B R Sabyasachi.(ed). Pp. 17-44. Katmandu: South Asia Forum for Human Rights. 1998. " C H T Peace Accord: Looking Ahead". The Journal of Social Studies. Dhaka. No.82. 1998. Pp. 106-11 Moudud, Hasna H . 2001. Eastern Himalayan Culture, Ecology and People: Ancient Heritage and Future Prospects. Dhaka: Academic Press and Publishers Limited Nadasdy, Paul. 2003. Hunters and Bureaucrats: Power, Knowledge, and Aboriginal-State Relations in the Southwest Yukon. Vancouver: The University of British Columbia Press. Nederveen, P. Jan. 1996. Varieties of Ethnic Politics and Ethnicity Discourse. In The Politics of Difference: Ethnic Premises in a world of Power. Wilmsen, Edwin N , and McAll is ter , Patrick (ed). Pp. 25-44. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Parbatya Chattagram jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS). 2004. Report on the Implementation of the C H T Accord. Dhaka: PCJSS Publication. Rahman, A H M Aminul . 2003. Parbotto Chattagram: Upojatio Bidrhoho (The Chittagong H i l l Tracts: The Revolutions of the Sub-nationals. In Banglaar Dolito Andoloner Itibritto (The A to Z of the Dalits Movements of the Bengal). Mandal, Chitta and Raymandal, Prothama (ed). Pp. 528-536. Kolkata: Annapurna Prokashoni. Roy, Raja Devasish. 1997. The Population Transfer programme of 1980s and the Land Rights of the Indigenous peoples o f the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In Living on the Edge: Essays on the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Bhaumik, Subir., Guhathakurta, Meghna., Chaudhury, B R Sabyasachi.(ed). Pp. 167-208. Khatmandu: South As ia Forum for Human Rights. Roy, Rajkumari Chandra. 2000. Land Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs ( IWGIA). Document No. 99. Copenhagen. Ryan, Stephen. 1996. "The Voice of Sanity Getting Hoarse"? Destructive Processes in Violent Ethnic Conflict. In The Politics of Difference: Ethnic Premises in a world of Power. Wilmsen, Edwin N , and McAll is ter , Patrick (ed). Pp. 144- 161 Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 49 Samad, Saleem. 1999. State of Minorities in Bangladesh. In Shrinking Space: Minority Rights in South Asia. Banarjee, Sumanata (ed)). Pp. 75-96. Katmandu: South As i a Forum for Human Rights. Schendel, Wi l l em V . 1995. The Invention of the "Jummas": State Formation and Ethnicity in Southeastern Bangladesh. In Indigenous Peoples of Asia. Barnes. H.R. , Gray, A . , Kingsbury, Benedict (ed), 121-144. Michigan: The Association for Asian Studies. Schendel, W. , Mey, W. , Dewan K A . 2001. The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living in a Borderland. Dhaka: The University press limited. Shelly, Mizanur Rahman. 1992. The CHT of Bangladesh: The Untold Story. Dhaka: Centre for Development Research, Bangladesh. Smith, D Anthony. 1990. Towards a Global Culture. In Theory, Culture and Society, V o l 7. Pp. 171-191. London: Sage Publications. Tambiah, J. Stanely. 1996. The Nation-State in Crisis and the Rise of Ethnonationalism. In The Politics of Difference: Ethnic Premises in a world of Power. Wilmsen, Edwin N , and McAll is ter , Patrick (ed), 124-143. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tripura Prashanta. 1992. Colonial Barriers to Integration in the Chittagong H i l l Tracts. In Bangladesh and SAARC: Issues, Perspectives, and Outlooks. Iftekharuzzaman and Imtiaz Ahmed (ed). Pp. 1-58. Dhaka: Academic Publishers. Turner, Edith. 1996. The Hands Feel It: Healing and Spirit Presence among a Northern Alaskan People. Illinois: Northern Illinois University Press. W o l f R Eric. 1982. Europe and the People without History. Berkley: University of California Press. 50 


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items