North East India Clippings
The northeastern territory of India is a vast landlocked tract stretching from the eastern flanks of Bangladesh to the Chinese border in the north, Burmese hills and jungles on the east and Bhutan in the west. The region covering a total area of 2,55,037 sq.km. inhabited by a population of 3,19,53,771 belonging to a number of religious, linguistic and ethnic groups, remains a backward region within the general framework of underdevelopment of the country as a whole. As it is today, the region is divided into eight States with equality of status guaranteed by the Constitution Of India; Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the latest entry into Indian polity.
And though politically separated, from the academic angle of ethno-sociological dynamics and geo-political logistics, Bhutan, Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh and Chin hill-Patkoi region in Burma are intimately linked with the North East. This compact geographical and ethnic zone, play important roles, directly or indirectly, in shaping the events in this region of South Eastern Asia. Emergence of the North East as a discordant identity in the body politic with its Mongoloid root is a post-independence phenomenon. A new identity is, indeed, discernible –an identity born of years of dilemma and dichotomy, confusion and conflict slowly leading to a unique awakening in tune with the compulsion of history and geography. Recent times have witnessed many volatile quests in the North East for self-discovery, and the convulsion associated with these exercises –hangovers of which still haunt the region. In this process, or rather as an outcome of it, the North East is facing turmoil in all spheres –society, religion, politics, economy and ecology .
The North East India has shown angry confrontation yielding to reasoned cooperation, discord to accord and diffidence to confidence. That is why the North East India promises fascinating tales of isolation as well as integration, alienation and assertion, exploitation and exploration, discrimination and determination.
In independent India, either the NE region as a whole or parts of it have almost always remained in political and social turmoil. Both Government and non-governmental organizations have been engaged in carrying out hectic exercises to examine the problems of Northeast India. But, unfortunately most of these exercises cover segments of the problem in isolation. So, in view of paucity of authentic data on contemporary events in the turbulent North East India, urgent need for documentation of reliable published material is felt for quite some time. ‘The North East India Clippings”, a monthly compilation of clippings which has emerged as the outcome of some serious exercises in that direction, is aimed at filling up this information gap about the region and to be of help to the policymakers, academicians, administrators and students for record and references. ‘The North East India Clippings’, is a pioneering endeavor to record the dynamics of interrelationship between the people and their environment – social, cultural, economic, political and physical –in the region.
A lot of things are happening in and around the North East. And interest in the region is generated, more or less, over some explosive issues drawing headlines in the national press. But in the eagerness to cover the immediate, the fact is often lost sight of that many more complicated and complex factors are always working either in concert or in contradiction – silently and imperceptibly and a long process is culminating in the present explosion. A desire for a closer view and greater knowledge of the North East among the policy-makers and academicians is very much evident. Whatever little data is available to them point to the exciting possibilities of multidimensional experiments in the coming days. News of these small day-to-day developments missed in the metropolitan dailies, are meticulously reported in the regional press.
THE NORTH EAST INDIA CLIPPINGS in its exercise to help the media, policymakers and researchers to keep a watch on the trend of events in the region, intends to give more emphasis on hard news collected from the regional press than those scattered in national newspapers . The journal intends to give more emphasis on collecting news from all the states as reported by regional press and will contain nearly 1000-1500 clippings. Besides, the DOCUMENTS SECTION of each issue will contain relevant documents collected from different government and non-government organizations, students unions autonomy movements and other conflicts, statistics of casualties due to secessionist movements by organizations active in the region but operating from our neighboring countries, causing a threat to the internal security of not only the region but the country as a whole.
The problems in North East India may be attributed to several reasons, a few of them having a development base, a few having ethnic base and still others having political connotations. A proper understanding of the region is possible only through a combination of several factors. ‘North East India Clippings’ presents the clippings broadly subject wise and each issue contains a loose index of news items, editorials, experts’ views, statistics and documents, followed by a comprehensive index at the end of the year. The first digit of the page numbers indicates the month, like for the May issue all page numbers start with 5. At the right hand bottom corner of each clipping, the abbreviation stands for the newspaper from which it has been collected.
To make the journal effective and expeditious, maximum emphasis will be given on:
• Health, and Education.
• Women, Children, and Drug abuse.
• Ethnic tension, tribal insurgency.
• Nationality and sub-nationality questions.
• Border war, frontier threats, alien infiltration, interaction between religion and politics.
• Territorial disputes, inflow of political activists and refugees from neighboring countries.
• Urban terrorism, emergence of student power, smuggling and drug trafficking.
• Flood havocs, extinction of small tribes, preservation of endangered plants and animals.
• Language controversy, autonomy movements.
• Exploration of oil, gas, mines and minerals, progress of mercantile economy.
Researchers, administrators belong to a secular category and it is as such their bounden responsibility to dispassionately see for themselves and for others, what went wrong, where and why? We have always felt that the ability to work in a group in a cooperative fashion is an inherent human attribute and mandatory in the field of any research, especially today, where a high degree of specialization also calls for increased interaction in trying to puzzle out and solve the intricacies in our society.
With proper documentation, we can create a database to generate the strength to face all myths and illusions nurtured so cleverly over the decades, and with sufficient information, the policymakers and researchers can not only identify the real maladies but also rectify them in an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.