Current Issue

Man and Society: A Journal of North East Studies
Volume XVII, Summer 2020
List of Articles and Abstracts:

1.‘Geography behind History’: Roadmaking during the First World War in Colonial’s North– Eastern Frontier by Doungul Letkhojam Haokip


 During the First World War, the British carried out what was called ‘the largest military’ operations in present North-East India against the Kukis. Military operations and road making go side by side. Road connectivity to isolated villages who rely on ancient bridled paths in the Manipur eastern and southern Manipur became a big affair. This paper studies road making based on old maps, landscape and archival sources and questions, Why it became a big affair? The study shows the influences of geography, topography, or landscape upon the war as the reasons for the transitions of the British logistics from mere offensives to road-making. Roadmaking facilitated transportation, communication; military outposts opened up in the hills. This paper looks at the glorification of war or nationalists, views (a conventional approach,) from the natural forces that dictum the whole business of the war. On close and cross observations; the mode of operations, maps, and archival sources, it was found that road making during the war was the result of logistics failures and a compulsion imposed by the natural landscape. On this backdrop, this paper questions the discourse on the militarism of the colonial Government and observed that road making was necessitated by the natural landscape, a view that does not appear in conventional or colonial perceptions. Thus a fresh look on the subject is necessary.

Keywords: Roadmaking, Base-camps, River routes, signal stations, economic blockade

2. Ethnic Conflict in Kokrajhar, India: History and Consequences by Kaveri Khound and Utpal Kumar De


Ethnic conflict has been part of human life since time immemorial. Socio-political movements in India in recent past have been marked by an increase in intensity of ethnic conflict over territorial space and identity. North-Eastern region of India is well-known for being the hotspot for terrorism and ethnic conflict for a long period of time. Assam the gateway to North-East India is severely affected by ethnic violence for several years. Unrest in the region is inherent in the history of political, economic and social issues among the ethnic groups. Bodoland, the most virulent zone of conflict in Assam, has experienced violent conflicts for past several decades. Continuous and unabated ethnic conflict have retrogressed economic development of the region. There is scratch reporting of the issues of ethnic conflicts in Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) of Assam, which is susceptible to ethnic conflict. But, there is no such concrete study on the socio-economic issues related to the conflict. The objective of this paper is to examine the impact of ethnic conflict on the socio-economic development in BTAD region of Assam as reflected in the changes of several related parameters of development, migration, activity pattern of the people in the region particularly in Kokrajhar district.

Keywords: Ethnic conflicts, Assam, BTAD, Kokrajhar, History, Impact, Economy

3. India-Bangladesh Energy Relations and the Northeast of India by Ramakrushna Pradhan and Atanu Mohapatra


Energy has been the lifeline of India – a welfare state with a national policy committed towards poverty reduction, economic growth, rural development, basic education and adequate health facilities. Given that the population of India is growing fast and is expected to reach at 1.47 billion by 2031-32 and the fact that the sizeable population of the country, today is living below the poverty line; rapid growth at around 8% per annum over the next 25 years has become essential for attaining these goals. Therefore, India needs the energy to fuel this economic growth at a sustained rate. As of 2015, India imports about 70 per cent of oil. By 2020 India is expected to import 80 per cent of its energy needs. Domestic energy sources of India though huge are inadequate for fuelling the sustained economic growth in the long term and insufficient in meeting the development goals of the country. Therefore, the import of energy has always been one of the supreme foreign policy objectives of India in recent times. Amongst other options, India has been looking eastwards to the extensive natural gas reserves of Bangladesh, which have become vital for India’s economic growth. The geographic proximity of Bangladesh to India makes the import of gas, not just convenient, but an economically attractive proposition as well. In addition, the energy needs of eastern India, particularly the north-eastern states, would be better served by gas from Bangladesh rather than from reserves elsewhere in the world. It is in this context, this article makes a modest attempt to venture into the newly emerging area of energy relations between India and Bangladesh. With this premise, this article attempts to know the role and position of Northeast of India in establishing and expediting energy cooperation between India and Bangladesh.

4. The Geopolitical Significance of the Northeast Region in India’s Foreign Policy Calculus:       The Case for Northeast Region as a Transformational Zone of Peace and Stability by Dominic K. Khanyo

5. Act East Policy, India’s North Eastern Region and ASEAN: An Essay in Regional Economic Integration by Bhagirathi Panda


The Act East Policy in its operational aspect is being projected to be the Macro Development Strategy for the overall development of the North Eastern Region of India. The policy derives it strength from the theory regional economic integration and the success of the contemporary development practice in ASEAN countries. Regional economic integration of North East India with ASEAN should be undertaken by adopting a multi-pronged strategy. This includes (i) strategic relationship with ASEAN by improving people to people contact through cultural exchanges to reduce information asymmetry, (ii) improving the physical and digital connectivity with the countries of South East Asia and (iii) most importantly expanding the size of trade and investment with ASEAN. At the present juncture, the volume of trade and investment with ASEAN is extremely low. The important bottleneck in this field is the absence of efficient production environment in the NER and this is primarily because of the existence of high transaction costs and lack of entrepreneurial culture. To reduce this transaction costs, concerted efforts should be made through better governance and involvement of the other stakeholders such as the market, community, civil society along with Government in the development space.

Keywords: Act East Policy of India, Regional Economic Integration, North East India, ASEAN, Transaction Costs.

6. Politics of Delicate Ethnic Protectionism and Elusive Peace: BJP’s ‘New’ Strategy in North-East India by V.Bijukumar


In the context of the widespread protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by various political parties, ethnic organisations, public personalities and civil society organisations, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) resorted to delicate ethnic protectionism and elusive peace fearing a political backlash in the region. The extension of Inner Line Permit (ILP) to more areas and concluding peace accords with the Brus and Bodos were the desperate attempts of the party to dislodge its critiques and firming up its roots in the north-east India. However, the potentiality of these twin strategies still has to reckon with the public anger against the storm created by the anti CAA protests.

Key Words: Hindu Nationalist Politics; ILP; Citizenship Amendment Act; Brus; Bodoland.

7. Meghalaya-Assam Boundary Dispute with special reference to Langpih: An Overview By Airpeace W. Rani

8. The Politics of Gender: Hope Cook in Sikkimese History by Rosy Chamling


This paper is an attempt to analyse the nature of political activism that govern women through tracing the political aspiration of Hope Cook, the wife of the twelfth and the Last Chogyal of Sikkim, Palden Thondup Namgyal. If political participation is an indicator of empowerment, what are the reasons for woman’s constant marginalization and ‘othering’; what are the gender bias hindering the inclusion of women in a ‘man’s world’. In case of Hope Cook, the paper seeks to grapple if it was her American blood; or her gender that led to her exclusion from Sikkimese Politics and ultimately her ignonimous departure from Sikkim. Portrayed through fanciful accounts by scholars, journalists and media, Hope Cook has been given undue attention for the wrong reasons, marginalizing her small but significant contribution in trying to preserve the distinct identity of Sikkim within the Union of India. Although Sikkim was recognized as a protectorate state of India on the ground of distinct religious and cultural identity, India’s lordly attitude towards Sikkim till its merger in 1975 has made Hope Cook an unjust suspect in the eyes of both traditionalists and pro-merger groups alike.

Keywords: Gender and politics, othering, private/ political space.

9. Heritage Resource Consortium for Preserving the Past to Create the Future by S. Binoy Singh and Ch. Ibohal Singh


Heritage resource centres are the legacies of physical and intangible artifacts of the society. These resources reflect all the aspects of culture, custom, religion, language, tradition, etc of a society. Preserving and conserving the same and transferring it from the present generation to the next generations are very crucial to create our future. Such centres in the form of libraries, archives, museums, galleries, etc have been playing an important role for promoting rich heritage of a region. There are many such centres in different parts of the world. A recent study has shown many clues on this aspect in respect of Manipur, a tiny border state of India’s North East. There is the need for developing a consortium of such heritage resource centres that can play a very crucial role in preserving the age old heritage of the land to create the future in the emerging digital age. This paper is an attempt in this regard towards having a consortium for heritage resources.

10.Technology at a time of the Covid-19 Pandemic and the way Ahead by Munmun Majumdar


The COVID-19 pandemic is a classic non-traditional security challenge that has brought an unprecedented threat to the life, livelihood and wellbeing of entire populations. The greatly increased reliance on technology for work, education, business, social interaction, public health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the urgency to comprehend the prospect of deploying technology in the days ahead.

Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemic, Fourth Industrial Revolution

11. Gandhi’s Swadeshi and the Contemporary World Economy: An Assessment of its Significance and Perspectives by Biswajit Mohapatra


The contemporary world aided by rapid industrial and technological development, in the present day globalized era, as presents before us the picture of posturing of supremacy, practices of cultural hegemony, dehumanizing competition, high degree of commoditization and commercialization, and uneven development, which have endangered the very existence of the human species and the fragile ecosystem in the poor countries. While the West is busy achieving global control, there is also sharp rise in the phenomena of intolerance, terrorism and war and enslavement of the people in the poorer countries. In such times, where people mostly helpless, we are reminded about Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of Swadeshi and our minds feel like questioning if the idea of Swadeshi, held as much significance now as it was during the days of colonialism. In order to find a proper answer, my paper attempts a critical assessment of Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of Swadeshi and also its significance for ushering in an appropriate development process, in the present day era of Globalization. Further whether the Idea of Swadeshi will secure livelihoods and preserve the scarce resources and prevent the present day waste has also been examined beside the question of non-violence.

KeywordsGandhi, Swadeshi, Globalization, World Economy, Self-sufficiency, Sustainable Development