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.


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.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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