State and Local Conservation Traditions: A Comparative Study of Fortress Conservation and Traditional Forest Forts

By Rajiandai Bariam

The paper attempts to contribute to existing discourse on conservation and political ecology by juxtaposing the concept of “fortress conservation” which favors the creation of protected areas, to the concept of “forest forts,” a traditional conservation practice woven into a traditional village society. By drawing insights from the theory of political ecology and colonial conservation laws and practices, the present paper reiterate the critique of “fortress conservation” while advocating a dialogue between the state, conservationists, and the local people. Unlike the forceful and displacive conservation projects and discourse that harbors dissent and protests, straining relationships between state and people, the paper shifts the paradigm emphasizing the healing of relationship among human agencies as of utmost importance, and a vital step in restoring our relationship with nature. It opines that if conservation is to be deeply successful and sustainable, the minimization of casualty and cases of displacement must be part of the equation. Furthermore, it seeks to explain such a possibility through the traditional forest forts in which the local people engaged in the traditional practices of conservation themselves based on their long-standing and time-tested traditional ecological knowledge.

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Land Use and Livelihood: The Case of Shifting Cultivation among the Kukis

By M. Mangkholen Haokip

Shifting cultivation as the main source of livelihood framed the life-world of the Kukis in the hills of Manipur. The socio-cultural, politico-administrative, religious practice and most importantly the land use system have an intertwined relationship with it. Though shifting cultivation has been debated and invites stringent scrutiny in policy arenas, it withstand as the chief source of sustenance for many in the tropics and sub-tropics till today. Important debates on the questions of sustainability and environmental consequences of shifting cultivation are intrinsic to the land use system of the cultivators. This paper is an attempt to examine the practices of shifting cultivation vis-à-vis the land use system among the Kuki shifting cultivators through a qualitative analysis. It argues that the land use system, reasoned by their livelihood (shifting cultivation) and the notion of forest conservation is an ingeniously developed sustainable technique of their association with the rough topography over a long period of time.

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Identity and Violence: Exploring an Ethical Framework for Peace in the Context of the Indo-Naga Conflict

By Venusa Tinyi

Violence is still one of the biggest threats to human civilizational values. It looms large around the globe in various forms. Despite advancements at several fronts, including the existence of several peace norms and organizations, we are yet to find an adequate panacea for violence. In this paper, an attempt is made to provide a conceptual framework to understand and address the problem of violence through the philosophical lens of Emmanuel Levinas. According to him, violence is grounded in how we see ourselves and how we see the others. Identity construction is thus seen as the root cause of violence. Having outlined the basic ethical ideas of Levinas to address the problem of violence, I present a case study of a conflict – the Indo-Naga conflict. I suggest that for understanding and resolving the conflict at a much deeper level, one has to go beyond the socio-empirical conditions to conceptual pre-condition that comes with a sense of ethical responsibility.

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The Politics of Coal Mining in Meghalaya: Land, Ownership and Local Autonomy

By Teiborlang T. Kharsyntiew

In the Northeast region of India, the state of Meghalaya is endowed with rich mineral resources like coal and limestones. Protected under the special status of the Sixth Schedule, land and its resources belong to the people. But over the last few decades, mining of these resources has changed not only the physical environment but also the tenet of indigenous land governance. While this transformation can be attributed to the change in land governance during the colonial and the post-colonial period, the extensive resource extraction from the mid-1990s onwards exposed the shortcomings of decentralisation of power and its effect on land governance in Meghalaya. Today the existence of multi-layer institutions of land governance that are inconsistence in powers and functions shapes the dynamics of coal politics and land governance in the state.

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Living a Flooded Life: Women, City and Community in North East India’s Dibrugarh

By Evy Mehzabeen

The paper makes a case-study analysis of the annually flooded Dibrugarh town of the Brahmaputra valley of India’s northeast, and looks at floods as disasters in the context of how women negotiate, adapt and survive an annual phenomenon of flood. The paper has tried to interweave multiple narratives arising from differentiated gendered roles played by women in the pre-flood, during floods as well as in the post-flood periods, as collected through interviews and discussions to showcase how women use their agency to make place within as well as outside the community through dialogues, shared experiences and inter-community social capital. It discusses gendering space through the changing lived spaces of a household in the flooded and non-flooded period for four different communities united by flood. The first section of the paper looks at the City as a site for recurring disaster. The second section discuss agency of women as an emanating tool to face, adapt and survive disaster, expanding beyond herself to family and community. The third section presents the spatialities of adaptation manifested through built-form, arising as an outcome of gendered vulnerability and adaptation practices, as translated onto the spaces they inhabit, throughout the flood-cycle.

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Work and Livelihood of Northeast Migrants in Delhi: An Empirical Study

By Khansemphi KK Raleng

With the recognition of the rise in migration of people from Northeast states to metropolitan cities to pursue a better livelihood, this paper aims to uncover various aspects of their working lives. Responses of a sample of 225 Northeast migrants working in formal and informal sector reveal that they strongly believe that there is a way and possibility of earning a good living in the city. About 12 per cent of workers are engaged in more than one work, a few of them being engaged in both wage work and self-employment. Despite several challenges in working life including the experiences of differential treatment, a majority of respondents reported a better livelihood in the city. Although the BPO sector work has been one of the most preferred jobs for these migrants, most of them tend to change jobs for better opportunities and payment. It is strongly believed that communication skills are most important for a job. While factors like facilities in the workplace, organized and professional environment, and new learnings shape good working experiences for wage workers; for the self-employed, extra income, passion for and interest in own business, and financial independence are the motivating factors. The impact of the pandemic on Northeast workers has been quite evident from the fact that about onefourth of people took new jobs in the city in the aftermath of the pandemic.

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Patient-Provider Relationship in Cancer Care: Insights from a Study in two North-Eastern States of India

By Dindi Kuru and Anil Kumar K

In the journey to cancer treatment, the doctor-patient relationship is pivotal in strengthening oncology service delivery which is sparingly understood in the study area. In this paper we examinethe doctor-patient relationship in cancer care in two states of northeast India. A descriptive multiple-embedded case study approach was followed using mixed methods for breast, cervix, lung, oral and stomach cancers- an integrated framework was a guided referee. In phase one, 388 participants were selected by stratified random sampling and 21 semi-structured interviews in phase two, comprising of patients and oncologists. Cancer patients described their feeling of non-involvement in their treatment due to the condescending behaviour of a few nursing staff with the lack of doctor’s visits in day-care chemotherapy centres were described as discouraging. While, the request for non-disclosure of diagnosis to the patient by their relatives and the preference for alternative cancer treatment was a challenge for doctors. Incorporating locally relevant activities such as lotteries has supported patient outreach for cancer care. Relational communication between doctor-patient while acknowledging the psychosocial aspects of cancer patients and incorporating them as a mandatory part of the medical and nursing curriculum will enhance the cancer treatment journey.

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Nutritional Characteristics of North-East Indian States

By Malini L Tantri, Channamma Kambara, and Harshita Bhat

In this paper we investigate the trend and pattern of nutritional status of women and children in North East India and explore the factors that perhaps explain the same. The analysis is based on secondary data available from various rounds of NFHS survey, Economic survey of India and other supporting secondary literature portrait the dichotomy between growth and development through the lenses of nutritional parameter. Apparently different NER states have flared differently in nutritional parameter and thereby urge to have states specific approach in identifying and targeting factors contribute the same.

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Agro-Economy in the Hills of Manipur: An Interplay of Peasants, Middlemen and Markets

By Hoineilhing Sitlhou

The paper examines a peasant society’s interface with modernization, essentially the penetration of capitalist relations of production in the hills of Manipur. The space for labour has changed and has become commoditized. It is no longer the bonds of kinship, operative through families of clans and kindred, which govern production and distribution. Though there are a sizable population of rural poor, mostly landless labourers, who are dependent on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood, the introduction of peasants to commercial market economy have made them a vulnerable prey of the middlemen who exploit them in the business transactions. The outcome is the ensuing dwindling interest of the peasants in agriculture production as it is no longer considered to be a productive enterprise. This is despite the fact that they have no alternative vocation or source of livelihood or resource capital to fall back on. The study concludes that the peasants need to be encouraged by the state keeping in mind their important contribution to the state’s economy and subsistence.

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Ethnic and Counter-Ethnic Mobilization: A Study of Bodoland Territorial Region, Assam

By Dipika Paul

Northeast India for long has witnessed ethnic mobilizations for greater autonomy. The Government of India’s attempt to meet such demands with statehood and Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) did not end such demands. Formation of ADC under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India in a multi-ethnic society like in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) of Assam have proliferated ethnic mobilization. BTC has only 33.5% ST population with the Bodos as the dominant tribe. Therefore, introducing BTC for empowering the Bodos led to the question of marginalization and counterethnic mobilization of other communities. It also led to the strengthening of “Non-Bodo” as a collective identity. The paper analysed counter-ethnic mobilization as a consequences of the formation of ADCs in a multi-ethnic society. It discusses the factors for such mobilization i.e., incidences of violence, insecurity, and questions of deprivation. It also discusses the consequences of the mobilization in strengthening of “Non-Bodo” identity.

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