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

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Bureaucracy and Border Control

Studies on militarisation and borders in South Asia have often remained focused on zones of spectacular conflict such as Kashmir, or Punjab during the partition. This article tracks the production of a discourse on borders by those charged with border security such as the police and other senior bureaucracy in the decades following the partition. It suggests that the “border question” evolved gradually out of a series of everyday concerns over local criminality that finally coalesced into the more abstract category of “national security.” It examines bureaucratic debates on police reorganisation in Kutch between 1948 and 1952 to suggest that contemporary discourses on nation and borders were arrived at through intra-bureaucratic negotiations with the far less abstract categories of village, locality and region.

Ideology before Reality

This has reference to AM's Calcutta Diary (February 24). It is surprising that AM's comments on the 'Gujarat Earthquake' dwell mainly on the disaster in Ahmedabad, paying less than lip-service to the devastation in Kutch, parts of north Gujarat and other areas.

Weak at the Base

More than 15,000 are feared to have perished in the earthquake which spread across Gujarat and neighbouring areas from an epicentre near Bhuj on Friday morning. And the count has only just begun. As we go to press less than 48 hours after first tremors were felt, all systems are only just getting out of the stunned stupor. But it is already evident that the magnitude of destruction far exceeds the devastation caused by the Latur earthquake in 1993. Measuring a disputed 6.7 on the Richter scale (foreign meteorological laboratories have registered a higher intensity), the earthquake has almost razed entire districts to the ground. Bhuj, the worst hit, has been completely isolated, with no communication links working. While there will eventually, sooner rather than later, be put in place a management plan and programme for the rescue and reconstruction work, as yet the scene is one of utter confusion and desperate hope.

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