Developmentalism as Strategy: Interrogating Post-colonial Narratives on India’s North East, Rakhee Bhattacharya (Ed.), Sage Publications, 2019

Reviewed by Yenshembam Chetan Singh

The book is an anthology which consists of articles written by different authors which
are critical examinations of the development modules undertaken in India’s northeastern
periphery. It is a strategical collection of twelve chapters which are
comprehensive field work studies carved out in a form to depict the socio-economic
conditions of the northeast India and how developmentalism would improve the
conditions in the post-colonial era. The book attempts to reconstruct the narrative
that the north-east India have been reduced to periphery and neglected in the national
development strategy. With contestations between the national and local elites over
the control of the region, it has become highly vulnerable to different market forces
in the course of globalization process. Its resources, development and marketability
has become a bone of contention among various global, national and local players.
While keeping these considerations, the book critically examines the post-colonial
developmental trajectory of the Indian State in the region. Besides the socio-economic
conditions of the region, its unique historical geography has led to systematic
marginalization and underdevelopment. India’s economic nationalism within the North
East has been largely acted upon the context of resource appropriation and national
security, and producing new arrangements of knowledge, power and practices. Within
this context, this book attempts to understand the exceptions to India’s dominant
development policies in the region by adopting a methodological approach of

Aquaculture Development in Meghalaya: A Critical Evaluation of MSAM in West Khasi Hills

By Renuka Paul

With rich resources in terms of water and fish species, aquaculture is identified as a priority sector in the Indian state- Meghalaya. To fast track development and create self sufficiency, the state adopted a mission mode approach, launching Meghalaya State Aquaculture Mission (MSAM) in 2012. Owing to the progress achieved in terms of fish production, income generation and employment creation, MSAM 2.0 was introduced. The study aimed at assessing the performance of each of the 5 mini missions under MSAM2.0 in West Khasi Hills, the largest district of Meghalaya. Based on data, collected from various published and unpublished sources, and inputs from district officials and beneficiaries of various schemes, the overall status of aquaculture in the district was explored. It was observed that while the mission factored in measures for economic and environmental protection, MSAM 2.0 did not offer any mechanisms for social protection. Therefore, a re-evaluation of the strategies, to introduce human centric approach seems necessary to ensure an equitable development in the fisheries sector.

Community, Trust and Belonging: Reflections from a Periodic Market in Assam

By Pratisha Borborah

This study describes how the concept of trust is built within the market space. The bazaar, also known as haat belong to members of the Karbi community who live in an urban village of Guwahati. I had begun my study on the functioning of the market with an unstated assumption that it would be primarily about the buying and selling of commodities every week. What I found was that without the unstated presence of ‘trust’ and ‘belongingness’ which binds the different stakeholders, the market would not function. The periodic market functions every week with this trust and belonginess that is the glue that ties community members on the basis of ethnicity. This paper draws upon what one observed and what one gleaned through their narratives. It looks at how the question of trust comes with a certain ‘social capital’ that helps them to be a part of an active member of the market.

Personhood in Naga Culture

By Kekhrongu-u Dazo

This paper looks at the cultural practices of the Nagas in order to understand how Naga personhood is constituted. It posits that Naga personhood is constituted through the performance of cultural practices and norms which are formed both discursively and through embodied acts and practices. In drawing upon a range of arguments about performativity, personhood and identity, I have tried to develop a theoretical framework for the analysis of Naga cultural practices. I also develop in this paper a theory of performativity, drawing on the work of a number of writers in performance theory and ritual studies. The two arguments – the constitution of personhood and forms of cultural performativity –constitute the conceptual framework that I use to examine and problematize Naga personhood. I follow an interdisciplinary method drawing on both discourse analysis and concepts from anthropology as methodological tools to understand the symbolic universe of the Nagas past and present.

Re-theorizing livelihoods: Impacts of floods and traditional adaptation practices in Majuli, Assam

By Bikash Chetry

Re-shaping the Brahmaputra valley has been happening due to the twin processes of flood and riverbank erosion in last few decades. At the same time flooding and river bank erosions has been a significant part of natural landscapes of the Brahmaputra valley. Majuli too has been perennially affected by the twin process of flood and riverbank erosion which result to the loss of land by the Brahmaputra river and its tributaries and threatened the traditional livelihood systems of the isle which were dependent on the natural resources have undergone significant changes. On account of which the communities who were traditionally dependent on agriculture, pottery making etc. are forced to migrate due to resource depletion. This paper will attempt to uncover these theoretical concerns to look at how the traditional livelihood insecurity and varied livelihood changes are brought by floods and river bank erosion and its impacts on the communities. Also, the paper would gaze into the significant ingenuity shown by the islander through their livelihood strategies and adaptations practices in agriculture and other tertiary sources. By doing this, it will not only contribute towards the field of livelihood scholarships but also sheds light upon the concerns over island sustainability practices in general.

Issues and Challenges in Fiscal Decentralisation to Rural Local Governments of North-Eastern States in India

By Kausik K. Bhadra and Panchali Banerjee

North-eastern states in India are the most fiscally stressed states. Due to their unfavourable geographical terrain, the states have limited capacity to mobilise revenue from own sources, which has made them excessively dependant on intergovernmental fiscal transfers. In this regard, the study, at the outset, attempts to understand the underlying issues in devolutions of functions, functionaries and finances, and subsequently empirically explores the issues in fiscal decentralisation to the PRIs through flypaper effect for these states using local level fiscal data. Notwithstanding sparse own revenues of the PRIs, the result from Arellano-Bond dynamic panel model shows that local expenditure is more responsive to local own revenues than transfers, hence, there is no flypaper effect. The sparse and incongruous devolutions of functionaries and finances relating to the devolved functions signify that the completion of clear activity mapping is imperative so that the the devolved funds would not go wasted.

An Empirical Analysis of Islamic Extremism in North East India

By Saroj Kumar Rath

Extremism perpetuated by Islamic organizations in the Northeastern region has received near no scholarly scrutiny despite the overwhelming evidence that there is rise of extremist violence amongst the Muslim population of Northeast India. A less known fact about Assam is, it is the only province, among the Indian provinces, which successfully defeated Islamic invasion throughout the Islamic rule in India. Surprisingly, Islam made its rampant entry into the province during the Christian-led East India Company and British Crown rule in India. It was the time when British took full control of Assam. Exponential population growth among the adherents of Islam coupled with unrestricted influx of migrants from the neighbouring areas changed the demographic composition of Assam. The growth of Muslim population particularly since the turn of 20th century directly pitted the community against the ancient local Assamese culture. The infighting, when aided by outside powers, soon received a transnational character where global Islamic extremists opened contact with Assamese Muslims and started guiding on how to protect Islam and establish a model Islamic State in the region. Two issues would be dealt in this paper. Firstly, the paper would make an empirical analysis on how Islamic extremism permeates into the Northeastern India and secondly, the research would scrutinize linear contributing factors responsible for the growth and thriving of extremism in the region with special focus on Pakistan’s motivation to take over Assam and support armed groups.

Impact of Emotional Intelligence on Academic Achievement Among High School Students in Nagaland

By Nouzhienini Peseyie and PSS Rao

Several studies in India and abroad have explored the link between emotional intelligence and academic achievements among adolescents. While most have reported significant associations, a few disagreed. Nagaland shows poor academic levels and deteriorating standards which could be attributed to low emotional intelligence despite rich culture. Hardly any studies published. This paper presents data from a major research done during 2019 among high school students in Nagaland determining the impact of emotional intelligence on academic achievements. Emotional intelligence was low but correlated significantly with academic performance based on a random sample survey of 911 adolescents, both boys and girls, in 9th and 10th grades from government and private schools using validated measuring tools and in depth qualitative studies. Findings comparing with similar studies done elsewhere reveal an urgent need for education and counseling of students,teachers and parents on emotional intelligence and how it could be enhanced to improve academic performances.

From Burma to Ramgarh: The Origins of the Chinese Expeditionary Force Ramgarh Training Center

By Dr. Cao Yin

In 1942, the Chinese Expeditionary Force was sent into Burma to fight against the Japanese. As Burma fell into the hands of the Japanese, the Chinese soldiers were brought to Ramgarh, northeast India, for training. The process of withdrawing the Chinese units from Burma to India and the negotiation of selecting Ramgarh as the site for training the Chinese troops, however, have not drawn any scholarly attention. This article argues that the establishment of the Ramgarh Training Center was a result of decades-long colonial internment camp building in India and the disputes and compromises that arose between the British, American, and Chinese authorities during World War II. It further points out that the transnationalization of approaches and archives is necessary for us to better comprehend China’s War of Resistance that has long been narrated within the Chinese national historiography.


Vol. 1, No. 1, July-December 2011

Research Papers

1. Sanjay Kanti Das, Women Empowerment and Self Help Group: An Analytical study of Constraints in Karbi Anglong District of Assam, pp. 1-22.

2. Paominlen Haokip, Belief in Malevolent Spirit “Inn-Kaose” in Traditional Religious System of Chin-Kuki: A Descriptive Analysis, pp. 23-35.

3. S Thangboi Zou, Disrupted and Dislocated Livelihoods: Impacts of Khuga Dam on the Livelihoods of the Displaced People (IDPs) in Churachandpur, Manipur, pp. 36-60.


4. Paocha Gangte, Significance of Kuki Uprising, pp. 61-80.

5. Paotinlen Chongloi, Business Opportunities with special reference to Northeast India and Realigning strategies towards Look East Policy, pp. 81-99.

Book Review

6. Ngamkhohao Haokip and Michael Lunminthang (eds.).The Kuki Society: Past, Present and Future.New Delhi: Maxford, 2011. reviewed by Letminlun Khongsai, pp. 100-106.

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