Synopsis Presentation of Mr. Ajay Saini

Name of Scholar
Mr. Ajay Saini

Prof. S. Parasuraman

DAC Members
Prof. Prof. Surinder Jaswal,
Dr. Sunil D. Santha,
Mr. Parthasarathi Mondal

Dr. Anil Sutar

Research Methodology Expert
Dr. Anil Sutar


Governmentality and Subjectification in the Central and the southern Nicobar Archipelagos

Power, as Foucault (1982: 789) insists, is a mode of action that does not directly act on subjects but their existing or future actions. Using F‟s oeuvre as a toolbox, especially the later one, this research focused on two lines of inquiry. The first line of inquiry attempted to understand and analyze the major issues concerning the survival and well-being of the community. The three main issues analyzed are- the Navy-Nicobarese Kamorta Island land Conundrum, Encroachment upon tribal land by the non-Nicobarese and the Katchal Island Sri-Lankan Tamil repatriates‟ Issue. The second line of inquiry focused on how the post tsunami humanitarian interventions in the Nicobarese society, which acted upon their circumstances, desires and environment, formed them as subjects. The research unpacked the post tsunami techniques of power, which acted upon the Nicobarese actions, turned them into objects and subjects of power, and ushered change within their society. The research concluded that the change among the Nicobarese is an upshot of interplay of two types of technologies, which Foucault terms as „domination‟ and „self‟. The governmental humanitarian intervention was an ensemble of technologies of power, which envisaged the Nicobarese transformation along the lines of a modern culture. The decisions, aspirations and desires of the indigenes were conducted through governmental practices in such a manner that the community started conducting its own conduct in the long run through the technologies of self (Saini 2013, forthcoming a, 2015c). Self is constituted through the force of truth (Foucault 1997b:165), and “each society has its regime of truth, its „general politics‟ of truth” (Foucault 1980a:131). In the islands, the non-Nicobarese‟ discourse on lifestyle and aesthetics formed a regime of truth. The Nicobarese traditional conduct, propensities, morals, food habits, dressing patterns, sexual conduct and so on were derided and problematized. The settlers‟ discourse and their verbalization of the Nicobarese shortcomings were slowly internalized by the latter that made them act on their own selves through the technologies of self such as self-observation and self-hermeneutics. The indigenes started learning modern precepts of conduct from the settlers, and through self-control and self-discipline, they modulated their indigenous sociocultural milieu (Saini 2014a, 2014b, 2015d). Foucault (2004: 29-30) argues that individuals are an effect of power being exercised on them through networks. With a change in the Nicobarese indigenous institutions, government transformed their life that was governed by these power networks. The Nicobarese were involved in the planning and execution of the welfare and development interventions. However, all the major decisions were taken by government, which made the indigenes as merely humble recipients of aid. The Tribal Council of the Great and Little Nicobar had negligible agency to influence the policy decisions taken for the community. The Nicobarese traditional leadership system was transmuted by overlooking the elderly in the post tsunami leadership structure and prioritizing the young Nicobarese as village captains (leaders). The elderly were the repositories and guardians of the traditional knowledge, which maintained social equilibrium within their society. With the development of hierarchical network post tsunami, the docile indigenes were inducted about the roles of government and the duties of citizens. Over a period of time, they were caught in the fine meshes of governmental apparatus (Saini 2012, 2015b, 2015c, forthcoming b).

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