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
interdisciplinarity.

Forest Ecosystem and Wellbeing: A Tribal Community in Transition

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.

Hira Moni Deka, Politics of Identity and the Bodo Movement in Assam. New Delhi: Scholar World, 2014

[Book Review] Hira Moni Deka, Politics of Identity and the Bodo Movement in Assam. New Delhi: Scholar World, 2014.

Reviewed by Anup Das

The Northeast region of India has witnessed political movements in the form of either demands for cessation or separate autonomy among different ethnic groups. Each ethnic group express and asserts one’s cultural identity in order to claim a territory and political control over natural resources. The present book attempts to provide a holistic understanding of the Bodo movement in Assam which is demanding for a separate state within the democratic framework of India. The author focuses on different issues that have fuelled or motivated the identity movement among the Bodos since the colonial period. She systematically traced the different phases of Bodo identity assertion beginning from the colonial period to the post independence era. The Bodo identity assertion movement is divided into four different phases. Altogether the book has six chapters.

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