Importance of transport infrastructure development in Arunachal Pradesh along the Line of Actual Control

By Rupak Bhattacharjee

The development of transport infrastructure in India’s easternmost state Arunachal Pradesh, which shares 1080 kilometre-long disputed border with China, assumes significance in the context of the country’s security interests and economic development of this isolated region. In the wake of China’s growing aggression and hegemoy that were well demonstrated during the recent border conflict in Ladakh, the improvement of Arunachal’s transport infrastructure has become all the more necessary. This paper seeks to analyse the Centre’s current transport infrastructure projects, including roadways, railways, airways, bridges and inland waterways to improve connectivity in the frontier state. The major focus of the paper is to evaluate both state and central government’s efforts to address the twin challenges facing Arunachal—security and development, against the backdrop of China’s massive infrastructure development in Tibet. An attempt has also been made to recommend policy measures regarding the improvement of Arunachal’s transport infrastructure to attain sustainable development and ensuring India’s security and territorial integrity. The primary and secondary source data have been subjected to a rigorous test of content analysis.

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Decolonising ‘Christian Mission’ of the Tangkhul Nagas

By Taimaya Ragui

The history of Christian mission among the Tangkhul Nagas in Northeast India (NEI) is mostly recorded from the viewpoint of the colonials, specifically American Baptist missionaries and British administrators and/or ethnographers. When researching Christian mission, historians, clergy, and theologians frequently turn to colonial sources, such as colonial findings, reports, letters, articles (journals), and monographs, if not exclusively. They disregard regional factors, including indigenous occurrences, which influenced not only Tangkhul Naga Christians but also other populations. Given this reality, I propose decolonisation, or decolonial thinking, of Christian mission among the Tangkhul Nagas, which would re-look and give locals’ roles and the effects of local events more importance than relying solely on colonial sources. To make the case for decolonisation is to reclaim the voices that have been marginalised (the micro voices) as a result of colonial hegemony during the colonial era and ongoing colonial captivity in the contemporary environment. This is meant to make the case for the necessity of recognising the tribal-indigenous historical details and occurrences that aided in the expansion and success of the Christian mission among the Tangkhul Nagas. This is also a proposal for a colonial difference: highlight the voices that were silenced because of colonial dominance and captivity i.e., offer an alternative history of Christian mission among the Tangkhul Nagas from the perspective of a vision that was given to the Tangkhuls (a vision akin to a dream) and the revival movement of 1923.

Gender in National Identity Formation: The case of Assamese Subnationalism

By Manashi Misra

A rich body of scholarship exists on the Assamese identity question and the mass movements arising out of it. The gender aspect of this identity quest however has remained a curious omission in these scholarly debates. This omission is significant as women’s large- scale participation in all the democratic protest movements was considered to be one of their most legitimising factors. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap, while steering clear of reducing it to an additive study. Drawing from the Foucauldian notion of power, it is argued that the process of consolidation of Assamese identity was simultaneously a process of disciplining and liberating women. Through an analysis of the writings of the late 19th and early 20th century Assamese nationalist writers, it is argued that there was a conscious effort to draw a distinct identity for Assamese women in these writings, which in turn was used to demonstrate the uniqueness of the Assamese jati, primarily juxtaposing them with the Bengalis. In such a context, how were women themselves situated in formulation of identity? Did they chart out their own course of journey or did they choose to follow the path already decided for them?

The Interplay of State and Religion in the Brahmaputra Valley from 16th to the 18th Centuries

By Diplina Saharia

This paper intends to analyze the frequently changing relationships between the Ahom state and the Vaishnava Sattras. The Ahom state, throughout their rule, followed different policies of persecution, peace and patronage to deal with the Vaishnava Sattras keeping in mind the exigencies of the time. Sometimes the Vaishnava saints were persecuted by the Ahom kings and sometimes they were patronised. Sometimes a period of comparative peace prevailed. This paper draws upon what made the Ahom rulers to be in continuous rift with the Vaishnavas. It also looks at the Ahom state’s acceptance and patronization of the Brahminical religion and their persecution of the Vaishnava saints of few Sattras; the reason behind the persecution of the Vaishnava preceptors of some selective Sattras and how it affected the social structure and political scenario of the time.

Intersectionality and Resistance: A Sociological Study of Women Inmates in the Central Prisons of Assam

By Dwijiri Ramchiary

According to the existing pieces of literature, the women inmates, because of their gender, are very vulnerable inside the Indian prisons. Women inmates are being portrayed as victims because their needs are not paid attention to compared to men inmates inside the prison. This research paper aims to understand the experience of women convicts of backward communities inside prison through “intersectional feminism” in their voices. This paper argues that women convicts of backward communities are subjected to discriminatory and authoritative treatment inside the prisons of an Indian state, Assam, despite India’s legal safeguards. Such treatment is based not just on gender but also on ethnicity, caste, class, religion, and nationality. The paper also argues that women convicts resist and express agency despite being inside a total institution wherein different power structures of gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, and nationality subjugate them by stigmatizing and discriminating against them. The research is conducted using the primary method of data collection. During the fieldwork, forty-one women convicts and five prison staff members inside the Central prisons of Assam were interviewed.

Impact of Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 on Tribal Rights and Autonomy in Tripura

By Pratyush Bibhakar

The consistent demand for autonomous tribal state in Tripura is rooted in the long history of accommodating and transforming large tribal area with Bengali speaking plainsmen and eventual uprooting of tribal dwellers towards the forests. Although effective decentralization combined with successful land reforms and systematic promotion of agriculture has contributed to a large extent in the overall development of the state, the tribal rights remain a significant problem in the region. The tribals in the region continue to struggle for getting access of their own agricultural lands, forests, etc. and they are being deprived of education, health and livelihood. The situation stiffens further with the New Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 as it leads to growing wave of resentment among the state’s tribal population. The paper looks at the root causes of such contentions as well as implications of the CAB in the region.

Keywords: Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, History of Tripura, Tribal Rights, Autonomy in Tripura

Reading ‘Colonial’ and ‘Post-Colonial’ Methodologies on Land: Perspectives from the Hill Tribes of Manipur

By Somingam PS

The historical experience of hill tribes1 in ‘post-colonial’ Manipur in relation to state laws and policies, administration and development process around the question of Land has invariably been the subject of much controversy over the decades. One such continuum is the recent contention between the hill tribals and state government – aided by valley settlers over land area identified in the construction of National Sports University (NSU) in the foothill of Manipur. In these lights the paper set forth that, such continuity illustrates about the intactness of colonial knowledge and power: predominantly of caste & western epistemological framework perpetuated in the existing state structures, coaxed with ethnic power relations (majoritarianism). In doing so, the author revisits the historical trajectories of colonial encounter; the basis of colonial epistemology, methodological issues that it manifests in post-colonial structures.

Amalgamation Policy Revisited: Three British Proposals toward the Indo-Burma Frontier

By Pum Khan Pau

The paper probes the trajectories of colonial policy towards the Indo-Burma frontier and to what extent they affected the local population. It focuses on the Zo people, or Chin, Kuki and Lushai people, with whom the British had a long history of relations in the Indo-Burma frontier. The paper basically focuses on three British proposals for “amalgamation” of Zo inhabited areas in the Indo-Burma frontier. It argues that colonial policy towards the Chin-Lushai hills largely hinges on its larger policy in Burma, Bengal and Assam respectively. Because colonial policy was driven by an underlying objective to fulfill “administrative convenience” and local interest found no place for consideration; thus, the net result achieved was fragmentation rather than amalgamation.

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.

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