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On the Edge of Empire

On the Edge of Empire
Four British Plans for North East India, 1941–1947

First Edition
Edited by:

February 2014 | 270 pages | SAGE India
In the closing years of the British rule in India, a secret plan was conceived and discussed at the highest circles for a crown colony comprising the hill areas of North East India and the tribal areas of Burma. The plan could not be implemented largely because it came up for discussion in the closing years of the British rule over India. The plan has been referred to in many publications. What was of concern was that scholars have made reference to the Crown Colony Plan/Protectorate without reading the actual texts. 

For too long, secondary references have been used in writing about these plans as the original documents were not easily available for research. This book compiles the four British plans into a single volume. There is a connection between the four plans of Reid, Clow, Mills and Adams. All four were members of the Indian Civil Service, all four served in various capacities in the region and all officers left their accounts/notes perhaps not mindful that even if these were not implemented the notes would come up for discussion many years after their departure. 

David R Syiemlieh
Sir Robert N Reid
A Note on the Future of the Present Excluded, Partially Excluded and Tribal Areas of Assam
James P Mills
A Note on the Future of the Hill Tribes of Assam and the Adjoining Hills in a Self-governing India
Sir Andrew G Clow
The Future Government of the Assam Tribal Peoples
Philip F Adams
Some Notes on a Policy for the Hill Tribes of Assam

A great work for those who are interested in tribal development and more specifically the development of the northeast of India...indeed an eye-opener...[The authors’] painstaking efforts to bring out all the important documents from the concealed vaults and let them speak for themselves are really laudable...the notes contained in this volume show this can really be done with real love.

The Hindu

Syiemlieh’s painstaking scholarly effort will provide scholars with materials for rethinking the politics and economy of this region and eventually empower the subjects of history...the book is a must read for not only intellectuals and policy makers of this region but for those social and political groups who claim to vice the aspirations of ethnic communities in the region...through such a project Prof. Syiemlieh has and will strengthen the ground for doing alternative history.

Man and Society

“[This book] brings into the public domain primary sources on a crucial aspect of planning for the region following the departure of the British administration establishes a solid empirical foundation on which future debates can now be anchored…the book, in chronological order takes readers through plans written by four different colonial administrators towards the end of the Raj…. [It is] hugely significant in providing direction for further research that might give greater clarity to the events that followed, and which determined the fate of the region.

Pacific Affairs, December, 2016

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