India has recently excluded four million people from the National Register of Citizens, thereby deeming them ‘illegal’ and, if their appeals fail, will deny them citizenship. In our specially curated conversation series Suddenly Stateless, The Polis Project takes an in-depth look at the controversial National Register of Citizens through conversations with various scholars, reporters, writers, artists, historians, anthropologists, and political scientists.
The Polis Project’s Suchitra Vijayan spoke to Dr.Malini Sur,  first traveled to lower Assam’s border char (seasonal inland) areas in 2007 on dissertation fieldwork, seeking to explore the life-worlds of undocumented Bangladeshi laborers. Dr. Sur ‘s most recent piece on the NRC is, “The Story of Atabor the Bandit, or How the NRC Reinforces Divisive Narratives.”

Dr.Malini Sur

Dr.Malini Sur who is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society and teaches anthropology at Western Sydney University. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam (2012). She has conducted fieldwork in Bangladesh and India, and with South Asian asylum seekers in Belgium.

Sur, Malini 2016, ‘Battles for the golden grain: paddy soldiers and the making of the Northeast India–East Pakistan border, 1930-1970’ Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 58, no. 3, pp. 804-832.

Sur, Malini 2014, ‘Divided bodies: crossing the India–Bangladesh border’, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46, no. 13, pp. 31–35

Sur, Malini 2012, ‘Through metal fences: material mobility and the politics of transnationality at borders’ Mobilities, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 70–89.

The above podcast is a part of
Podcast Series
The Polis Project podcast can
also be found on