ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Miya Poetry

Identity Contestations and Reappropriation

Miya poetry is a genre of poems written by Bengal-origin Muslims that highlight the angst of a community that has struggled hard to integrate and assimilate with the larger Axamiya society. In this paper I argue that an analysis of Miya poetry must be placed within the larger context of identity contestation of Bengal-origin Muslims. Accordingly, Miya poetry seeks to stabilise the contested identity of this community by reappropriating the stigmatised social identity of Miya.

 

The author thanks the anonymous reviewer for the careful reading of the manuscript and for providing insightful comments which helped to further develop the paper.

Growing up as Miya1 in Assam has been a troubled experience for many people of Bengal-origin Muslim community, having to prove their allegiance to the land with every step. The identity crisis faced by this community has been brewing for years, with their citizenship status alw­ays under suspicion. The historical experiences and memory, along with the everyday experiences of members of this community have found expression, in recent times, in poetic verses called Miya poetry that seeks to tell their tale. By means of poetry, they attempt to speak out their experiences and celebrate whatever little this community has (Hussain 2019). These words, however, come from the depths of sadness and frustration, from the apparent failure of years and generations of struggle to be accepted as integral and productive citizens of India and participants in the bustling, multicultural, multilingual, and multi-ethnic space of Assam (Hussain 2016a).

In order to fully grasp the importance of Miya poetry, we must not confine it to the literary context. After all, Miya ­poetry has raised larger questions of a deeply political nature. As one of the poets says,

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Updated On : 25th Apr, 2022
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