Making of Bengali Literary Culture in the 18th Century: The Case of Cachar and Tripura

By Tanima Dey

This paper intends to unpack the processes that shaped the contours of Bengali literary culture in Cachar and Tripura during the eighteenth century. In the context of shared political fortunes by Cachar and Tripura with Bengal since the ancient times, the socio-religious, cultural and linguistic similarities of these regions with Bengal were a spontaneous historical process. But eventually patronage extended by the rulers of both Cachar and Tripura resulted in the making of prolific Bengali literary cultures. But this corpus of literature produced beyond the ‘mainland of Bengal’ are often termed as residual and dialectic in nature, therefore do not feature in the ‘standard’ definition of Bengali language and literarines in the modern parlance. This paper attempts to draw attention to the cultural context of vernacularization in these two regions which essentially happened through the instrument of the Bengali language and the associated cultural elements of premodern Bengal.  

Forest Ecosystem and Wellbeing: A Tribal Community in Transition

By Chinmayi Sarma

This paper tries to trace indigenous health and well being practices prevalent among the Rabhas of Assam, who share a symbiotic relationship with their forest ecosystem. The role of religion in perpetuating the belief that the forest holds key to most ailments is unique. For Rabhas ethno-medicine does not merely mean meticulous mixing of various forest produce but a belief system, which each insider must adhere to. The social role of forest in promoting well-being and health is the key proposition. However in the neo-liberal period it is felt that such perception is getting eroded, as the state makes inroads into the forest economy making provisions for modern medicine. The erstwhile holism is gradually being replaced by a medical gaze. Alienation of the community from its ecosystem is bringing in new diseases and their past resilience is being compromised.

Centennial Year of Kuki Rising, 1917-2017: Reflecting the past hundred years

By Seilen Haokip

The year 2017 marks the centennial year of the Kuki Rising, 1917-1919. The spirit of the rising that took place during First World War, also evident in Second World War, when the Kuki people fought on the side of the Axis group, has persisted. Freedom and self-determination remain a strong aspiration of the Kukis. One hundred years on, the history of the Kukis, segmented into three parts are: a) pre-British, b) British period, and c) present-day, in post-independent India.

 

Behavioural Health Risks Associated with Substance Use: Tobacco and Alcohol Consumption among Ethnic Population in Tripura

By Benjamin Debbarma

Behavioural health risk is quite common amongst the male population of Tripura. Alcohol and tobacco use are highly correlated behaviours. The risk behaviours of tobacco and alcohol consumption and their socio-economic and cultural conditions often put risk for their poor health. One of the most common challenges that the state now faces is substance use disorder (addictions). This paper analyses the behavioral health risk of substance use among the Scheduled Tribes (STs) of the state as the prevalence of smoking and alcohol is high among them. The poor socio-economic condition suggests more with regards to high level of substance among the ethnic communities. Thus, tobacco and alcohol use remain higher among the STs. Lower socio-economic strata and vulnerable groups (STs) are predisposition to substance use (i.e. smoking and alcohol). Therefore, interventions to prevent substance use need to be targeted among ST population in the state.

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Status of Enrolment and Achievement in Higher Education in the Hill Areas of Manipur

By Thenkhogin Haokip

The hill areas of Manipur, which covers about 92 percent of the geographical areas of the state and 35.1 percent of its population, is comparatively backward in terms of higher education. There are only 17 colleges of general education and a lone law college in these areas serving the higher education needs. There are 33 recognised tribes living in the hill areas of the state. However, there is no separate policy for higher education in these areas. This article attempts to study the trends and status of enrolment and achievement of higher education in the hill areas of Manipur in terms of available documents like government records, College Development Council Reports and information gathered from the principals of these colleges. The presentations are made using tables and figures. The data for this article was gathered during the year 2013.

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Mobile Theatre of Assam: A Socio-Historical Perspective

By Rituparna Patgiri

Mobile theatre groups of Assam (known as ‘bhyrmoman natak’ in Assamese) consist of a collective of actors, singers, dancers, directors, action artists, makeup artists, workers, and the producer. The theatre group moves from place to place within the state – from villages to towns to cities as indicated by the word ‘mobile.’ Mobile theatre has become increasingly visible in Assam as a medium of entertainment and as a part of its public culture. In the present time, almost 60 theatre groups perform their plays all over the state, making mobile theatre widely popular and visible. In this paper, I intend to understand the visibility and popularity of mobile theatre from a socio-historical perspective. I argue that the emergence and popularity of mobile theatre is rooted in the socio-cultural history of theatre in Assam by using a combination of primary and secondary methods. The aim will be to unravel the circumstances and courses that led to the beginning of mobile theatre in the state.

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Difficult Decolonization: Debates, Divisions, and Deaths Within the Naga Uprising, 1944-1963

By Jelle J.P. Wouters

This essay traces the early beginnings of the Indo-Naga conflict, which erupts in the 1950s and continues into the present-day. It focuses on the period roughly between the Battle of Kohima in 1944, which ends Japanese expansionism in the east, and the enactment of Nagaland state in 1963 as an envisaged (but failed) political compromise to the demand by the Naga National Council (NNC) for complete Naga sovereignty. This essay uses hitherto scantily used tour and personal diaries, government reports, private correspondence, memoires, and recorded memories to interrogate the master-narrative of the Naga struggle that reconstructs a relatively straight and uncomplicated historical trajectory that sees the genuine awakening and NNC-led political mobilization of an upland community situated off the beaten track of both Indian civilization and colonial domination, and of Nagas’ collective resolve to take up arms to fight for a place on the table of nation-states. Alternatively, if the story is told from the vantage of the Indian state, the dominant narrative apportions blame to a ‘misguided’ Naga elite that seeks to undermine the territorial and national integrity of the Indian state. These prevailing views, attractive for their absence of complexity, however, ignore the anguished debates, interpersonal and intertribal differences, contingent histories and events, dissenting voices, political assassinations, and sharp divisions within the rank-and-file of the NNC, and whose inner dynamics and sentiments could as well have produced outcomes other than war.

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Naga Nationalism’s Dilemma over Meanings, Politics and Religion

By Elija Chara

When ‘Naga’ is discussed, it begins with the primordial cosmology and then to colonial politics and armed conflict with India, by a romanticised desperate tribal group, for a modern state. Apart from this, there is limited focus to understand the Nagas’ national political philosophies and methodologies. The paper examines the theological interpretation of Naga nationalism. It first defines the features of the Naga nation, patriotism, nationalism and state, and then explores the history of national movement to locate the ideological discourses and conflicts that transformed to the origination of the Naga theo-political theme – ‘Nagalim for Christ’. At the heart of the examination is the Nagas patriotic psychology, national and spiritual dilemma, that attempts to bring about reconciliation among nationalism, armed conflict, political ideologies, theology and modernism, which is largely misinterpreted by outsiders. The positives and negatives of mixing nationalism and religion are critically examined to question the Nagas’ being on self-determination, at the same time attempt is made to understand if Naga nationalism’s onto-theological nature is a reconciliation, or escapade or for notification, or a forced consciousness.

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The Kukis of Naga Hills: Rethinking Kuki-Naga Relations in Light of Kukis Contribution to the Early Naga Movement

By David Hanneng

Whenever we heard about the Kukis and Nagas, the binary identity is often assumed to be antagonistic and synonymous with conflicts over land and the antagonistic positions taken by both the communities over any issue in Manipur, which had clouded over all other stories of the past. The past may not be rosy but it is different from what has often been portrayed – a history supposedly of continuous hatred and killings. In the dispensation of sub-nationalist struggles in the northeastern region, often diatribes directed towards each other are a result of the present fights for bigger control over land and resources, particularly in Manipur. The Kukis and Nagas lived together for centuries in Manipur and composite Assam and their relationship in the past was not necessarily antagonistic, as often portrayed. In the then Naga Hills the relationship was even closer where the Kukis played an important role in the early Naga movement. This essay will trace the relationship between the Kukis and Nagas in the Naga Hills and discuss the contributions of the Kukis in the Naga political movement. Besides, this work shows the fallacy of focusing on conflicts of the past when warfare was a way of life in the tribal world, be it within the Kukis and the Nagas – often within tribes and clans, resulting in inter-village feuds. The Kuki and Naga relation in the past has elucidated interest in recent years. This study aims to present the historical facts so that people contemplate the past without relying on hearsay.

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Distribution of Ethnic Groups in Manipur Hills

By S. Thangboi Zou

The study of ethnicity goes beyond searching for its definitions and characteristics. Exploring the geographical pattern of ethnic groups is an interesting shift in the study of conventional and contemporary social sciences. This paper aims to analyse the nature of classification and spatial distribution of the ethnic groups in Manipur hill areas between 1991 and 2001, when the hills witnessed two ethnic conflicts during these decadal censuses. As per an official record, three tribal groups –Naga, Intermediate and Kuki-Chin-Mizo are found in the State. Internal dynamics on the discourse of ethnicity has different narratives on the ground reality. In terms of spatial distribution, the Naga group is more clustered than its counterpart Kuki-Chin-Mizo across the hills. The paper also looks into how the change in spatial pattern of distribution and redistribution of ethnic groups has largely contributed to ethnic homogenization in the hill areas of Manipur.

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