Mizoram Assembly Election 2023: Bucking Bipolarity and Regurgitating Ethnicity and Governance

By V. Bijukumar

The recent Mizoram assembly election gave a clear verdict in favour of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), a third political force in the state, against the conventional binary electoral politics centred on the Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Congress. While the incumbent MNF government, in its last leg of the tenure, clinched on new wave of ethno-regionalism to beat the perceptible anti-incumbency, the Congress tried to regain its lost electoral space promising efficient, transparent and corruption-free governance. The BJP unleashed a high-voltage campaign, but its outreach mostly confined to smaller ethnic minorities like the Chakmas and Maras than the dominant Christian Mizo ethnic community. Despite all these, ZPM’s promise of good governance with the slogan of “vote for a change, give this new party a chance” won the mandate of the electorate, both in rural and urban areas of the state. However, fulfilling its promises would be a daunting task.

Fulltext PDF

Shrinking Academic Space

By Thongkholal Haokip

The censorship on academic publications and imposition of CCS (Conduct) rules in Manipur, and the attempts to impose it in other parts of India, is not only an affront to academic freedom, it will hinder the achievement of the goals of India’s new education policy.

Fulltext PDF

Understanding the Income Tax Exemption for Sikkimese

By Satyabrat Sinha

In a recent judgement, on 13 January 2023, the Supreme Court (SC) of India extended Income Tax (IT) exemption to the ‘Indian-origin’ old settlers of Sikkim and to Sikkimese women married to non-Sikkimese.1 The old settlers, most of whom are Marwaris, will now be treated equivalent to the people of Sikkim who are recognized as Sikkimese for the purpose of IT exemption. So far, only Scheduled Tribes residing in Sixth Schedule areas and so recognized as native or local had IT exemption. The inclusion of an immigrant group into the differentiated citizenship regime in North East India is both, an opportunity to address grievances of non-local communities and at the same time a source of fear to communities identified as native and local.

Fulltext PDF

Re-Imagining India’s Northeast: Beyond Territory and State

By Prasenjit Biswas

Northeast India is doubly displaced within the Constitutional nation-space: as a political-territorial space of the nation, it is still a “periphery”, while as a culturally specific locale its difference is misrecognised. Although the discourse of development normalises the space of difference, in the case of Northeast, it produces a disjunction between the “developmental ensemble” and the lived and the experiential world of multitudes. This disjunction can be thematised in the opening and the closure of the region in the logic of exclusivity in the very operation of the Constitutional mechanism. Suffice it to say that the logic of power privileges a discourse of “top-down” instrumentalist development over and against the primacy of the constitutional forms of justice and equity. The inherently communitarian character of resource distribution and ownership is significantly distorted and altered by the process of “mainstreaming” that the constitutional mechanism simultaneously upholds and debars. The contest between ethnic-communitarian sphere and the civic domain produces a dialectics of containment for both the State and the community.

Fulltext PDF

Artificial Intelligence and Endangered Languages

By Thongkholal Haokip

The increasing use of virtual digital assistants and multilingual neural machine translation services, which use artificial intelligence to recognise and respond to voice commands or translate voice into text of another language, could increase language endangerment, particularly indigenous peoples who are in the category of critically endangered languages with few thousand, or even less, speakers around the world. The use of natural language processing technology is also unlikely to be extended in the preservation of such languages which has no market value, unless governments or philanthropic and nonprofit organizations intervene on this particular matter.

Fulltext PDF