Across the world, the modern nation-state has paid little attention to indigenous people, and excluded them from the mainstream development process. The state has even deprived indigenous people of their legitimate claims to land, civil rights and legal recognition of their ethnic identity. Life in Peace and Conflict is a collection of nine essays, many of which are empirically grounded, on the conflict and peace-building measures between various indigenous groups and the state in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh.
Home to eleven indigenous groups of people collectively known as the Pahari, the CHT lies at the crossroads of South and Southeast Asia, and shares borders with Myanmar and the Indian Northeast. As such, it is geo-politically vital in South Asia. The policies of both the colonial and postcolonial states, which privileged the dominant Bengali community over the Pahari, resulted in violent conflict. After years of armed conflict, a ?peace accord? was officially signed in 1997 between the State and the representatives of indigenous Pahari people. Two decades on, however, peace still eludes the CHT?the region is still apparently militarised, cross-border insurgency continues to haunt Indo-Bangladesh relations, and the influx of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar has complicated an already fraught landscape.
While the book discusses the politics of indigeneity, it also documents everyday forms of discrimination and resistance among dispossessed communities, and critiques the ?developmental? efforts of international agencies and NGOs to resolve conflict in an understudied region of the world.