The monograph examines issues of ethnicity and identity with specific reference to a particular ethnic group from India’s Northeast, namely the Mizos.
In seeking to understand the emergence of Mizo identity, the book makes a general contribution to how identities are formed and constructed. By examining how mainland India views the Northeast, the author engages with notions of how “difference” plays an important role in the creation of identity. Notions of “difference”, it is argued, are embedded in the politics of domination and hegemonisation. Another thrust in the book is to look for patterns in social organization that impinge on identity-making that are not far removed from self-ascribed notions about the “ethnic self”. Such self-ascribed notions are seen as instruments of agency that defy the views of the “other”, while also organizing the ‘ethnic self’. In this, the community’s engagements with Christianity, which is “localised”, and its practices surrounding death are seen as prime organisers. “Praxis”, especially in the context of Christianity and death, are thus seen not only as chief organisers of Mizo identity, but also as the boundary markers around which notions of belonging and exclusion are invoked.
The monograph historicizes these issues thereby looking at ways in which pre- and post-colonial situations, reflection on these situations, religion and social practice all impinge on and imbricate identity construction for the Mizos.