[ by Charles Cameron — an enclave within an enclave within an enclave within a state no more! ]
You know my obsession with form — and that one form of particular interest to me is the world within a world, the play within a play, or that potentially infinite regression of dolls we know as Matroshka?
Dahala Khagrabari, the Washington Post informs us, was “a part of India, surrounded by a Bangladeshi enclave, which was surrounded by an Indian enclave, which was surrounded by Bangladesh”.
No more, it’s not.
India and Bangladesh have swapped out various enclaves, 160 of ’em in all, and Dahala Khagrabari is no longer “the only third-order enclave in the world – an enclave surrounded by an enclave surrounded by an enclave surrounded by another state.”
But all is not lost, nor won. At least for fictioneers, there still remain the Groaning Hinges of the World of which RA Lafferty informed us:
Eginhard wrote that the Hinges of the World are, the one of them in the Carnic Alps north of the Isarko and quite near High Glockner, and the other one in the Wangeroog in the Frisian islands off the Weser mouth and under the water of this shelf; and that these hinges are made of iron. It is the Germanies, the whole great country between these hinges that turns over, he wrote, after either a long generation or a short generation. The only indication of the turning over is a groaning of the World Hinges too brief to terrify. That which rises out of the Earth has the same appearance in mountains and rivers and towns and people as the land that it replaces.
We all know how dire the result can be when that happens.
Back to the enclaves — there’s a games angle there too. Again via the Washington Post:
Old stories say that the enclaves were the end result of a chess game between the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Faujdar of Rangpur many centuries ago, or the result of a drunk British colonial spilling ink on a map, both apocryphal stories but a good indication of how arbitrary the borders seemed.
Chess, a game of skill. Spilled ink, a game of chance. Is that what this post is? A game of virtual spilled ink?