Tag Archives: north-east India

Hydro Power Projects and Northeast India: Ecology and Equity at Stake

This is a guest post by RICHARD KAMEI

Recently a two-day North East People’s Convention on water and dams was held at Bethesda Youth Welfare Centre, Dimapur (on 17th May-18th May 2013) which brought together a group of 26 organisations from North East India under the banner of the North East Dialogue Forum. This forum called for a focus into the objectives raised in this two day convention, by writing to leaders of India, China and Bangladesh over the imminent adverse impact of the issue of water, impacts of constructing big dams and mining in various regions of North-East India. The outcome of this two-day North East People’s Convention on water and dams, is the joint appeal known as ‘Dimapur Declaration’.  At the time of this declaration, prime address was made to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; the Premier of China, Li Keqiang and Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh. The main objectives of Dimapur Declaration are:  to protect the inherent rights of local people over their water, land, forest and other resources based on customary and international laws as guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous People 2007 etc., and their self-determined development of their water bodies in the region. The recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, 2000 have also been given a special mention in terms of its implementation in all decision making processes on dam constructions over Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) River. “The Thatte-Reddy Expert Committee said the present hydropower work on Subansiri contravenes the basic premise of the Brahmaputra Board Act with regard to flood control, irrigation and other benefits. The report agreed that the present planning of the project ignored the flood control aspect. Therefore, the committee agreed that the very purpose of the project and purpose of the Brahmaputra Board Act is defeated and the mandate of the board diluted by this action,” opined Akhil Gogoi, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti ( KMSS). Continue reading Hydro Power Projects and Northeast India: Ecology and Equity at Stake

Reading the Violence in Assam: Here and There: Musab Iqbal

Guest post by MUSAB IQBAL
… the fact that violence was not merely transitional, a birthmark or a departure, but a much more general and continuous aspect of modern life – Gyanendra Pandey


The misreading or out of place reading of any local and contextual issue and putting it in a wrong frame can be very catastrophic. The recent episode of violence in Assam and the fury it triggered across the country is a classic example of such misreading. But apart from the misreading this complete episode is certainly indicator of certain other phenomenon underlying our fragile society.

Moreover it looks that this is not only adding to verbal construction of abuse but also a very controlled confusion working at someone’s behest. The rally and violence in Mumbai, Ranchi, and Jamshedpur whose motivating factor was this violence happening in northeast and cross border against “Muslims”. The other episode, which adds to cynicism, is through popular newspapers in South India and in Assam publishing that Assamese will be subject to target and then under the cloud of rumor and suspicion these residents of the state is forced to run.

Continue reading Reading the Violence in Assam: Here and There: Musab Iqbal

The Myth of the Bangladeshi and Violence in Assam: Nilim Dutta

Guest post by NILIM DUTTA

Map credit: idsa.in

The recent spate of violence that began in the Kokrajhar district of Assam in the month of July 2012 and then spread to the adjoining districts of the Bodoland Territorial Council, primarily between the Bodos and the Muslim community of immigrant origin settled in these districts, has once again unleashed a vicious debate on the perils posed by alleged unrestricted illegal immigration from Bangladesh, this time even on the floor of the Lok Sabha.

The situation has been further complicated by a ‘protest’ in Mumbai against ‘violence on Muslims in Assam’ turning into a riot or by sundry attacks as ‘retaliation’ against people from North East elsewhere in India. Thanks to either shockingly uninformed or brazenly motivated opinions being aired around incessantly, much of it in the national electronic and print media, the dominant discourse that has evolved around the issue has created three distinct perceptions:

First, that illegal immigration of Bengali Muslim peasants from neighbouring Bangladesh into Assam has been continuing unabated, leading to skewed demographic profiles of Assam’s districts bordering Bangladesh and thereafter, turning several adjoining districts of Assam to Muslim majority. Continue reading The Myth of the Bangladeshi and Violence in Assam: Nilim Dutta

Talking to ULFA: Assam’s Peace Myths and Reality: Tanmoy Sharma

Guest post by TANMOY SHARMA

Last week, when an eight member delegation of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) returned to Guwahati after the first round of peace-talks with the central government in New Delhi, the response in Assam is a mixed bag of emotions. Arabinda Rajkhowa, the ULFA chairman who led the delegation, while addressing the press, said that they had been assured of an honourable solution to the three decade long Assam conflict by the Prime Minister.  Earlier, on 10th February the ULFA made history by coming to the talks table in New Delhi for the first time with no firm pre set conditions on its agenda.  It is understood as of now, that no substantial talks would begin before the Assam assembly elections which are expected to be held in April-May this year.  However  this ‘familiarisation exercise’ of the centre with one of India’s most influential and violent separatist outfits at such a crucial time is a hugely significant move in contemporary history of  the insurgency-hit election bound Assam. Continue reading Talking to ULFA: Assam’s Peace Myths and Reality: Tanmoy Sharma

10% Anthology: Tarun Bhartiya


The Oxford Anthology of Writings From North-East India : Poetry and Essays
Edited by Tilottoma Misra
Oxford University Press
New Delhi, 2011, 332 Pages / Rs. 595 ISBN 0-19-806749-6

If you are on the marginalisation trip, and India’s North East is your illicit high, you should be worried. In the last ten years, trying to make up for the dark fifty years of Indian ignorance, anthologies of literature from the region have begun to appear almost annually.

But before I get accused of an inside job, a disclosure that I am loathe to make:

I know many of the poets (some of whose biographies smell of Shillong) who feature in The Oxford Anthology of Writings From North-East India : Poetry and Essays. We share little magazines, anthologies, dark bye-lanes of love, anger, feuds, booze, and journeys to find our next fix.  So, I promise to dull my taste and leash my judgment. And only occasionally lapse into pointless gossip. Continue reading 10% Anthology: Tarun Bhartiya