ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Historical Trajectory of Modern Assam

The Quest for Modern Assam: A History, 1942–2000 by Arupjyoti Saikia, New Delhi: Penguin, 2023; pp 852, `1,299.

The book titled, The Quest for Modern Assam: A History, 1942–2000, by Arupjyoti Saikia is a comprehensive account of key events and developments in the region during a tumultuous period in its history, spanning nearly 60 years. While there have been attempts to write comprehensive histories of Assam earlier—for instance, by scholars like H K Barpujari and Amalendu Guha—Saikia’s work stands out on account of its sheer breadth as a commentary on both colonial and postcolonial events that had a transformative impact on the region and its people.

Despite its broad sweep, the work is bound to please the discerning reader for its minute attention to detail combined with an analytical approach to events and processes. This is no mean feat since the author is commenting on some of the most contentious issues in Assam’s political and cultural history. Being an “ethnic Assamese” himself, although the term itself is ambiguous and, understandably, left undefined by the author, writing about contemporary events could not have been an easy task. Having lived through many of the events that he talks about, Saikia’s neutral perspective on the same comes as a pleasant addendum to his eminently straightforward and easy-to-follow prose style that will make the book as useful to the lay reader as to the informed student of history and politics.

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Updated On : 21st Nov, 2023
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