“Pickled Infrastructures”

Improvisation on Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman’s photographs and discussion paper: “Infrastructure Development in Northeast India – Examining Inequality and Exclusion in the Development Promise of Progress and Prosperity”.

Anton Nikolotov is an experimental anthropologist currently completing his PhD at the Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt University Berlin. His research interests are situated at the borders of urban anthropology of migration, critical border research and affect studies. 



Skeletal electricity grids—
proud monuments of state’s hydropower.

168 hydropower dams planned in Arunachal Pradesh
for construction in competition with China.1
“Who’s faster”, Mirza asks, rising his hands emphatically
“in destroying the region’s water ecologies?”

India— “Our Land of Rising Sun”
or the Grand OBOR’s Director?

© Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

Hydrocratic Opiumocracy
Act East Policy and Developmental Vision
for Better Plutocracy

Speculative Prosperity
and Private Companies
spin around “Compensation hearings”,
Gamblings and Opium

As State-Corporate Gifts
for Communal Complacency
They turn the inhabitants
into hyper-structural strugglers
and logistical pendelers.

All the while others simply turn their faces away and ask:

“why do the straight lines get so violent or never become the lines when one needs them to?”2

© Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

When, in Arunachal Pradesh , they do materialize as windy highways they only get used by the machinic bestiary of the army. Otherwise they remain empty.

Locals say these roads are “pickled”:
Not ready for use yet.

As the “future roads” pickle,
the lines weave and are weaved out of a web
of technocratic dreams, rents and little universes
of lands, bodies and rivers.

© Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman

1. See Rahman’s “China and India’s race to dam the Brahmaputra river puts the Himalayas at risk”. https://theconversation.com/china-and-indias-race-to-dam-the-brahmaputra-river-puts-the-himalayas-at-risk-65496

2. “Bridges and roads in north-east India may drive small tribes away from development” https://theconversation.com/bridges-and-roads-in-north-east-india-may-drive-small-tribes-away-from-development-78636


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