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Unsettled autonomy: Ethnicity, tribes and subnational politics in Mizoram, North‐east India*

Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


["Nations and Nationalism, Volume 27, Issue 2, Page 412-426, April 2021. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article takes a critical look at the relationship between subnational struggles, tribal politics and political aspirations in Mizoram, North‐east India. It examines how community dynamics and relationships shape the demand for autonomy in a diverse and complex region like North‐east India. Looking at communities registered as tribes in the government scheme of classification, it underlies how autonomy becomes an arena where communities mobilise both against the central state and within themselves. The paper examines the formation of Lushai Hills District Council and the Pawi–Lakher Regional Council (PLRC) in Mizoram, their subsequent development as in the case of the Mizo Hill District Council to Union Territory and statehood and the split in the case of the PLRC into three distinct autonomous councils. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, it notes that while territorial autonomy requires recognition and legitimation from the state, the way ethnic groups deploy demands for autonomy is inspired, if not instigated, by the nature of the relationship and interface within and across communities.\n"]