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Animal IntimaciesInterspecies Relatedness in India's Central Himalayas$
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Radhika Govindrajan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226559841

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226560045.001.0001

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Outsider Monkey, Insider Monkey On the Politics of Exclusion and Belonging

Outsider Monkey, Insider Monkey On the Politics of Exclusion and Belonging

(p.90) 4 Outsider Monkey, Insider Monkey On the Politics of Exclusion and Belonging
Animal Intimacies

Radhika Govindrajan

University of Chicago Press

This chapter describes how, over the last decade, hundreds of monkeys captured in Delhi and small towns in Uttarakhand have been released into forests across this region to keep them out of contact with people. However, these monkeys are resolutely urban creatures accustomed to living with humans, and soon make their way to the nearest village in search of people and resources. The chapter recounts how the sharp rise in instances of monkey-human conflict has become an urgent social and political issue in Uttarakhand over the last decade. These anxieties about marauding monkeys who are not from the mountains speak volumes about the contemporary politics of belonging in this region. As mountain villagers are dispossessed of their land by outsiders from the plains and face growing unemployment, they relate their status to that of mountain monkeys who are, they argue, similarly driven off their homes by interlopers. What sets these conversations in the Central Himalayas apart from anxieties about invasive species elsewhere in the world, the chapter argues, is a recognition of these outsider monkeys as distinctive individuals within a species, with their own tendencies and desires that sets them apart from local, mountain monkeys.

Keywords:   human-monkey conflict, invasive species, agrarian crisis, identity politics, land politics

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