Amoeblog

Obscure and Unrecognized South Asia & Indian Ocean

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 30, 2010 11:30am | Post a Comment
South Asia

South Asia
is the most populous and densely populated region in the planet's most populous continent. Not surprisingly, therefore, it's home to many culturally rich nationalities who still struggle in the post-Colonial world for recognition, equality and self-determination.

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(If interested, there are similar entries about Caucasia, Eastern Europe and North Asia.)

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Flag of Assamese Seperatists 
Assam

Assamese Dancers
Assamese dancers (photo by Ramesh Lalwani)

The earliest known settlers in Assam are believed to be the Khasi and Synteng people of southeast Asia. The were later marginalized by the arrival of the Tibeto-Burman language speaking Monpas, Sherdukpens, Bhutan, Mishings, Deuris and Bodo-Kachari. The last major wave of immigrants seems to have been the Hindus around 500 BCE, although small numbers of many other groups have arrived since. As such, Assam today is a highly hybridized place that nonetheless is struggling for autonomy.

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East Turkestan / Xinjiang/ Uyghurstan/ شىنجاڭ

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 10, 2008 06:58pm | Post a Comment


East Turkestan is the English name for an occasionally independent region occupied by China since it invaded in 1949. In Manchu Chinese it is known as Xinjiang, which means "new frontier", a phrase which belies its extrinsic nature to China. For the Turkic peoples that live beyond this "new frontier", the country is known as "Sharqi Turkistan" which translates to "Eastern Land of the Turks." The country is largely desert with towns built around oasises that were, in ancient times, important stops on the Silk Road.


The population of the region is mainly made up of Turkic peoples, the largest group being the Uyghurs (less commonly spelled Uighur, Uighur, Uygur or Uigu). Most Uyghurs feel more culturally aligned with their Turkic brethren to the West than the Beijing goverment of the East which currently controls the region. However, as with Tibet, China is attempting to dilute the region's culture and ethnicity by inundating it with Han immigrants lured by economic incentives and an apartheid system that favors them over the indigenous population. In 1949, when China invaded, the region was 75% Uyghur. As of 2003 it had been diluted to 45%. Ironically, identity in the region was largely based on the particular oasis communities and a strong coalescence based on a common, Turkic identity only really began in response to Chinese repression and occupation.

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