A Foreigner in my Own Land
India. 2017. 65 min
Nepalis (Gorkhas) of Assam are not foreigners or outsiders, except for few who may have migrated to Assam (India) post 1971. However, the prevalent sentiment among the Assamese masses is quite contrary to what history says and the Assam Accord of 1985 has agreed to.
Through this self-reflexive film, the filmmaker (who herself is an Asameli Nepali/Gorkha) explores the notion of identity of the community in Assam. The film encompasses the feelings of a common Asameli Nepali person regarding her/his own identity and her/his standing in the Axomiya society, the politics surrounding the ‘identity issues’ in Assam and the degree of assimilation by an Asameli Nepali to prove one’s projected notion of identity and loyalty.
About Assam Agitation and Assam Accord: The Assam Movement (1979-1985) was a popular movement in Assam, which was intended to repel ‘illegal immigrants’. The movement however affected and hurt the core of Non-Assamese communities (specifically Bengalis, Muslims and Nepalis) who wholeheartedly considered Assam as their motherland and ended up creating an irreversible divide of ‘us’ vs ‘them’. The movement finally ended in 1985 with the signing of the Assam Accord (between Centre and the Assam government) and a cut off date was decided for expelling illegal immigrants. The Clause 5.8 of the Accord said that the foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall be detected and expelled. For the Nepali immigrants, the cut-off year was 1976.
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