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2016 | 40 | 435-454

Article title

Overshadowed by kala. India‑Burma Relations


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India seems to fit well with Burma. Long common history, deep cultural relations, similar heritage and geographic proximity – all this should help to upgrade India‑Burma relations. There is, however, one major obstacle: a historical and cultural burden, which can be summarized by the Burmese name for Indians: kala. Literally kala means “alien,” but at present it refers to Indians only. In Burmese conditions it has a wider, metaphorical meaning: something between “unwanted,” “hated” and “despicable.” In this sense, kala is a cultural phenomenon, a kind of “burdensome heritage” that influences the political relations between India and Burma. In this way, kala still looms large on the horizon of India‑Burma relations blocks their development.



  • Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland


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