Fencing off the people - Borders, Checkpoints and Frontiers: rules, technologies, symbols, rituals, the process - Snapshots from South Asia of legals, illegals, foreigners, locals, outsiders, enemies, migrants, militants, soldiers, ethnic militias . . .
www.sacw.net | January 30, 2006


Indifference, impotence, and intolerance:
transnational Bangladeshis in India

by Sujata Ramachandran
(Global Migration Perspectives, September 2005)

Defining a Border
If national cultures are considered by their guardian states as bounded and homogeneous, territorial boundaries must also aspire to be social and cultural boundaries
by Farhana Ibrahim [April 16, 2005]

South Asian Experiences of the Right to Return
by Paula Banerjee and Ranabir Samaddar [March 2004]

No-Where People on the Indo-Bangladesh Border

by Jagat M Acharya, Manjita Gurung, Ranabir Samaddar
[2003 SAFHR paper series - 14]
(PDF File 670 KB)

'Operation Pushback'
Sangh Parivar, State, Slums, and Surreptitious Bangladeshis in New Delhi

by Sujata Ramachandran (February 15, 2003)

An Interview with Sanjib Baruah

Durable Disorder by Sanjib Baruah

India/Bangladesh: "Push-in/Push-out" practices ... (Amnesty International)

Immigrants in Bombay : A Fact Finding Report.
by Shama Dalwai and Irfan Engineer

Theater of War Every Evening at the Pakistan-India Border

by AFP/Jean-Herve Deiller

Related Images:
The daily ritual at the India Pakistan Border at Wagah

Pakistan India Border Display images

A note from 'Niagara Falls' border hotel, India Pakistan Border (Wagah), Punjab, India, August 14, 2001

Celebratory ritual endures years of violence
by Winda Benedetti (October 4, 2003)

Indo-Bangladesh Border: Radcliff''s Ghost
Sumanta Banerjee (May 5, 2001)

Project: Surviving the border: social change in the India, Bangladesh, Burma Borderland, 1947 present

Wagah-Attari Memorial Proposal

The Wagah Canal [excerpt from a story] by Fikr Tauswi(1995, New Delhi)

The Actors Involved:

Border Roads Organisation

Border Security Force
Assam rifles

Bangladesh Rifles

Pakistan rangers
NADRA - National Database & Registration Authority, Pakistan
Source: The Daily Times (Pakistan)
December 29, 2003

Love, hate, display
by Abdul Basit Haqqani

Pakistan and India are going through one of their 'dovey' periods. Though not quite 'lovey', it is relatively free of overt hostility. How long this will last no one can tell. Not only are there strong forces on both sides that are opposed to normalcy, but the problems that underlie mutual bellicosity are not being addressed, nor are likely to be solved soon.
Besides these shoals in the turbulent waters of the subcontinent, dangerous squalls can be created by ill-considered pronouncements, statements meant to serve domestic political interests and just plain bad luck. There is, therefore, the very real danger of the relative thaw being reversed and another ice age advancing upon the subcontinent.
One obstacle that has to be surmounted is the widespread impression that India has never reconciled itself to the existence of Pakistan. It is true that the ideological position of several groups closely allied to the ruling BJP, tends to give the impression of impatience to herd the ëstrayed sheepí back to the political fold of a single state. The question for us, however, is how much attention we should pay to this mental aberration. That depends, in no small measure, on our attitude towards ourselves. This will determine our attitude towards our neighbour.
I migrated from India at an age so tender that my recollections are no more than a mosaic of scenes, some more vividly recalled than others. And of those imprinted on the mind, most are the kind that one would rather forget. They relate to the trek across East Punjab with the ever-present threat, or rumour, of violent death. Since coming of age I have lived in a number of countries. But I have never visited India. Nor, unlike so many of my friends, draped in green and white and striking a bellicose pose towards our inconvenient neighbour, have I been anxious to do so.
India, to me, is a foreign country and not even a shared history and commonalities of culture hold any allure for me (particularly the products of a Bombay turned Mumbai, if these can be dignified by the name of culture). Nor am I a visitor of graves or museums built to house the effects of great men. Even the sight of Ghalib or Mir's writing implements will not tempt me just as I have never been tempted to visit Shakespeare's birthplace or the house where Keats and Shelley lived in Rome.
But that, you might say, is a personal preference for the here and now rather than the there and once-upon-a-time. The point I am making is that I identify myself completely with my homeland, regardless of the place I migrated from in 1947. But, unlike super-patriots, I do not think it necessary to prove it to anyone. This sense of identity with Pakistan, I suspect, allows me to take a much more relaxed attitude towards India. If I desire peace with the neighbour, it is because its absence constitutes an immediate threat to myself and all those I love. Besides, I also hanker for what it will bring ñ the peace dividend, to use the currently fashionable term.
In war, neither combatant admits to having started it: the other party is always accused of aggression. When it is a matter of peace, both claim to have taken the initiative. This effort to score points over the other is, in a sense, the continuation of bellicosity by other means. Actually, it is not important who took the first steps towards a normal relationship as long as the goal is reached.
The benefits will flow equally to both sides ñ the one that took the initiative and the one that reciprocated. Unfortunately this is not how statesmen behave. But the insistence that they alone are responsible for the move towards sanity and their antagonist has been forced to respond because of their superior wisdom or diplomatic skill threatens to unravel the entire process. If an improvement in relations is genuinely sought, it would be advisable for both sides to speak, and to tread, softly.
And speaking of treading, is it not time to end that farcical show that is put on every day at the Wagah border? I have seen it only on television but I can never help being struck by the similarity between the display of beasts as they confront each other while staking out their territories or competing for females. Comic as this behaviour is, they have no choice in the matter. Their posturing is genetically determined, not politically ordained, and usually does not lead to bloodshed. But to have border guards glare, red-faced and apoplectic, at each other, stamp their feet like epileptic beasts, bang the gate shut with such force that it springs open again, and strut like roosters with erect combs, is to behave like circus clowns. More, it is to negate the objective of the peace moves for which the leaders hope to gain credit.
Would it not be better to discontinue these ridiculous antics? If the gates have to be symbolically closed, let it be done gently and sensibly and let the minatory stares be hooded. Let peace building have a chance in gestures as well as in substance.
News etc on what the nation states in South Asia (and also self proclaimed defenders of nations space) are upto and how people survive or succumb:

Jammu's borderlanders
by Elisa Patnaik
(Himal South Asian, November 2005)

Peeking out of your pocket:
India's national ID scheme is 'on schedule'

by Aman Sethi (Himal South Asian, November 2005)

Locked Out: The 65,000 Indians on the wrong side of the fence by Justin Huggler (The Independent, 12 May 2005)

AASU "ultimatum''

by Sushanta Talukdar (The Hindu, February 16, 2005)

National ID cards may be issued by Dec-end
by Moumita Bakshi
(Business Line , July 15, 2004)

New ID cards to check immigrant influx along Nepal border (ANI, June17, 2004)

Major portion of border fencing washed away
by Yudhvir Rana (The Times of India, June 15, 2004)

Multi-purpose ID cards for people in Assam (ANI, June 13, 2004)

Bangladesh, US sign accord on PISCES (May 20 2004)

Tales of the borders
(The Daily Star, June 11, 2004)

India to issue 'tourist cards' for foreigners (May 29, 2004)

India erecting a barrier along Bangladesh border
(Boston Globe, May 30, 2004)

Amarnath Yatra Takes IT Route To Security
Financial Express, May 18, 2004

Nowhere to run for Kashmir's leopards
(New Kerala, May 3, 2004)

Dismantling hostile barriers
by Praful Bidwai (The News International, April 15, 2004)

A fingerprint for the future
Biometrics technology moves from top-secret spheres to temples, laptops and beyond
by Erica Lee Nelson (February 23, 2004)

Pakistani, Indian fishermen hope for an end to harsh treatment
by Paul Haven (Jan 3, 2004)

Sri Lanka's 'state within a state' by Priyath Liyanage (BBC, Jan 2, 2004)

India returns Pakistani 'truants' (BBC, Dec. 2003)

Border Management Division set up (28, December 2003)

Entire border with Pak to be fenced Sify, India - 22 Dec 2003

BSF seeks modern gizmos for border
by Rajeev Bhattacharyya
(Dec 2003)

Villagers along Bangladesh border to get I-cards (Nov 18, 2003)

BDR foils push-in bid in Fulbari by BSS, Dinajpur Nov 17, 2003

Border moments, broader memories (Rana A. Siddiqui , September 2003)

Militarisation of Indo Pak border and the Issue of Land Mines
(Kavita Srivastava, PUCL, April 2003)

Pakistan-US Anti-Terrorism Cooperation (2003)

India: Surveillance and Snooping stories (2003)

Sri Lanka: Row over Military Territory ... IPS Jan 2003

Border control offer from Rumsfeld CNN, June 2002

Concerning the attempt to weaken National Security of Sri Lanka
Statement by JVP Sri Lanka

Failing the test: LTTE extortion continues unchecked UTHR, 30th April, 2002

Border Barrier: the fence designed to counter infiltration through the border with Pakistan by Praveen Swami September 2001

The 'privatisation' of public security by Ajai Sahni December 1998

US assitance to Pakistan: International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP)
Related Archives:

Picking mines on the border
Rahul Bedi (February 2003)

India angry over locust invasion (July 2002)

Refugees or Infiltrators? The Bharatiya Janata Party and "Illegal"Migration from Bangladesh
Gillan M. 1 in Asian Studies Review, March 2002, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 73-95(23)

Pakistan bans Internet along Indian border as "security measure (January 2002)

The New York Times Jan. 4, 2002

BJP Ruled Gujarat gets border security minister (1998) [Related: material on the India Pakistan Border in Gujarat]

Restriction on maps in India
S. V. Srikantia (1999)