This book traces the changing long-term history of a vast Brahmaputra valley region by outlining nowforgotten relationships between its distinct languages, faiths, monastic traditions, and communities.
War, changes in revenue regimes, and the growth of the plantation economies in the nineteenth century fragmented this landscape and strained these relationships. These processes particularly affected the households constituted by the wives of monastic males, female cultivators, and labour-servants. Colonial officials described monks as 'savages' and female-dependent communities as 'primitive tribes'. In the process, colonial and postcolonial historians, ethnologists and political scientists continued the erasure of erstwhile monastic relationships across the historic geographic order, and the obscuring of women's histories.
On a deeper philosophical level, the book explores the nature of history itself, through 'forgetting'. It shows how friendships and a cosmopolitan past were buried deep under a collective amnesia, and how women centric societies were suppressed to forge a new nation.