On the Other Side of the Tracks: Infrastructural Borders in Guwahati, India

Ms Prerona Das1

1National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

The geopolitical event of India’s partition created a ripple effect of bordering and marginalization across time and space. While during the time of partition the borderlands were largely affected by population movement and the resulting violence, subsequently such bordering shifted to other scales and spaces including urban India. The border has now become manifest within cities, and is a part of everyday lives wherein the minority Muslim population often faces marginalization. In such contested urban sites, infrastructure plays a crucial role in intensifying divides between communities. Though infrastructure is usually meant for creating networks and connecting people, at the same time it also possesses the agency to disconnect people and spaces creating a fractured socio-spatial fabric. This paper explores such infrastructural borders in a micro urban site in the city of Guwahati, the largest and the fastest growing city in Northeast India. The paper looks at railway infrastructure, which in itself is a legacy of the empire, and analyses how it reinforces boundaries based on religion, language and class.


Biography

Prerona Das is a doctoral candidate at the department of geography in the National University of Singapore. Her research is on the micro-geographies of infrastructural borders in Guwahati, India. She has a master in arts from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences for which she was awarded a gold medal.

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