On July 30, the final draft of the National Register of Citizens, updated for the first time since 1951, was published in Assam. The register is meant to be a definitive list of Indian citizens in Assam, separating them from undocumented migrants, mostly from believed to be from Bangladesh.
The final draft that was published left out 40 lakh individuals who had applied for inclusion in the register. While they will be given more chances to prove citizenship, this very large number now faces the threat of statelessness.
But what brought Assam to this crossroads? A timeline post Independence shows a history of population exchange, a state trying to regulate this flow of people, movements of ethnic nationalism that were defined by a fear of outsiders and attempts to define citizenship in a land of fluid frontiers.