By Manjuree Dkhar and PSS Rao
Meghalaya state in northeastern India has low development indices, despite vast natural resources including a plethora of indigenous fruits with high nutritive and therapeutic value. These fruit trees are often grown in the forest, available only seasonally and suffer from poor marketing strategies. Based on in-depth interviews of a representative random sample of 300 households in East Khasi Hills district, and survey of farmers it was found that these fruits are highly popular but only half consume regularly due to low availability. Majority are aware of their high nutritional and therapeutic values and would appreciate more regular availability. The fruits have many positive features, but have short shelf life and suffer from poor storage and transportation problems. With governmental support for higher production, efficient marketing strategies including packaging, pricing, storage, transportation and promotional/educational campaigns, indigenous fruits can greatly enhance the economy and social life of indigenous populations everywhere.
By Longkumer Ningsangrenla and PSS Rao
In-depth interviews on representative random cluster samples of 510 rural and 300 urban households were done during 2017 to assess traditional healing practices for mental health in Nagaland. Three main modalities of traditional treatments – herbal, mechanical and psycho-spiritual were used either singly or in combination. Nearly 30% consulted a traditional healer, 34.8% in the rural and 16.5% in the urban. 58.9% reported that the outcome was good. 60% in the rural but only 24% in the urban felt that traditional healers are still popular for mental health as they are competent and adopt culturally acceptable methods. It is concluded that for a majority of people in Nagaland, traditional methods of healing mental disorders still remain the first point of contact. While traditional healers are still popular, their number is decreasing and also their capacity to deal with increasing substance abuse, stress disorders and younger clientele.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.