Burma–Bengal Crossings: Intercolonial Connections in Pre-Independence India

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Journal Article
Asian Studies Review, 2016, 40 (2), pp. 156 - 172
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© 2016 Asian Studies Association of Australia. The large-scale movement of people between Burma and Bengal in the early twentieth century has been explored recently by authors such as Sugata Bose and Sunil Amrith who locate Burma within the wider migratory culture of the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. This article argues that the long and historical connections between Bengalis and Burmese were transformed by the British colonisation of the region. Through an analysis of selected literary texts in Bengali, some by well-known and others by obscure writers, this article shows that, for Indians, Burma constituted an elsewhere where the fantastic and superhuman were within reach, and caste and religious constraints could be circumvented and radical possibilities enabled by masquerade and disguise.
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