Thursday, November 10, 2022
Monday, May 9, 2022
Sunday, October 24, 2021
Monday, March 15, 2021
The need of addressing the fundamental Mising aspirations
Majority of the Mising public are in the dark about the terms and conditions of the sudden shift. As the key issues of Mising aspirations are not yet addressed, there are concerns of loss of cultural identity and potential threats to language, customs, tradition and resources in the absence of independent political assertion.
The talk of granting constitutional status to tribal autonomous councils including that of Mising Autonomous Council of Assam at the peak of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act movement is nowhere to be seen in the political theatre now. The big dream of achieving Sixth Schedule under the Indian Constitution today is gradually dying down. Of course, it is claimed that the current phase of political alignment is part of the process of ethnic movement itself.
Flood and erosion are one of the prior concerns of the Misings. This perennial problem has triggered displacement and conflict in various parts of upper Assam districts. Natural disaster based internal displacement should get priority in resettlement and rehabilitation agenda. It is compounded by conservation based displacement and worries of eviction from their traditional habitat. In the name of wildlife conservation and expansion of protected areas especially the Kaziranga National Park, it is observed that Mising people of Gohpur and Bokakhat are one of the foremost sufferers. There is need of reviewing the current conservation approach followed by the government that constantly keep indigenous people and forest dwellers under threat of eviction and forceful relocation. There are also demands for Poba reserved forest of Jonai in Assam-Arunachal border should be declared as protected areas. However, from the evergrowing experiences encountered by the people, all these matters need to be carried forward to environment and conservation policymakers of the country . The grievances must find solution. People and conservation must co-exist, they should not be mutually excluded.
In the cultural front, the demand of state holiday on Ali-aye Lígang could not be realized even after years of movement. In the context of development of language, the issue of medium of instruction in mother tongue in Mising inhabited areas in primary schools are not yet addressed. The New Education Policy, 2020 has been welcomed by Mising organizations as it automatically stressed on providing education in mother tongue in primary level. However, given the scenario of language politics prevailing in the state of Assam, the introduction of such language policies will face challenges. Key Mising inhabited area lacks a full-fledged university or a medical college. A proposed campus of Tezpur University which was to be set up in Jonai did not see the light of the day even after years of donation of land by local people. While rehabilitation and land crises are on the rise among the Misings, the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park residents are yet to be fully addressed. Vast majority of people does not own land entitlement certificates. Forest land inhabited by Misings should be dereserved and be accorded as habitat tag.
In the southern bank of Brahmaputra river, the riverine belt from Kaziranga National Park to Bogibeel bridge communities live in pathetic condition in terms of road and communication. Majority of the Mising inhabited river bank areas live a challenging life in monsoon season in districts like Jorhat, Sivasagar and Golaghat. There is a need of attention from policy makers to improve the infrastructure along the river bank to ameliorate the miserable conditions. Raised platforms for cattle are required more in the region. Embankment built in the river bank should be transformed into a highway for better communication in order to address the communication bottleneck beginning from Kaziranga area of Bokakhat to Bogibeel bridge after proper scientific study.
Will national parties be committed to Mising aspiration?
The fundamental aspects of Mising aspirations must be addressed at first while the quest for power and influence might continue like any other politicized ethnic groups. Otherwise, the remnant of ethnic mobilization will not decompose easily even after capturing power in the future. It will, of course, satisfy a section of clietilistic network of followers but collective benefits in the form of public goods cannot be accrued for the community at large. This assembly elections of 2021, for Misings, is nevertheless a new beginning in political participation of the Mising nationalist path. However, common Mising public will wait and watch whether the national parties honour with commitment to the fundamental aspirations of Mising tribe.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Saturday, April 27, 2019
The Conservation Discourse in Assam must Consider a Sustainable Rehabilitation Plan for the Mising Tribe
The Misings in Upper Assam continue to lose most of their arable territory to constant floods, forcing the affected people to look for alternate living spaces. Often, they find themselves occupying land in protected forest areas, leading to conflict and opposition; both from conservation groups and the local population of the region.
Read more : https://www.epw.in/author/bhasker-pegu-and-manoranjan-pegu
Monday, February 26, 2018
Apparently, the government has failed to rehabilitate the suffering people that has compelled them to look for settlement in forest areas in their own. On July, 2017 there was written understanding between the representatives of Mising student union TMPK and the government authorities that the people would be rehabilitated in eight months after similar events erupted in the district.
When even illegal migrants cannot be expelled forcefully by the state but have to follow the procedure established by Indian laws, it is quite disheartening that marginalized indigenous tribe like Mising are accorded with partisan and contemptuous words in the heights of plight in the Assamese language press. Flood, erosion and legal restrictions in National Park have already crippled the Mising tribesmen but some Assamese language media who are dominant in Brahmaputra Valley are celebrating the sufferings with their disparaging and vexatious content devoid of public responsibility and civility. It is no less than adding salt to the wounds.
Read more on the plight of Mising people:https://bhaskarpegu.blogspot.in/2017/08/the-selective-silence-of-civil-society.html?m=1
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
|Although Assamese dailies does not provide eye-catching front page headlines, they cared to publish few news items in the inside pages about the sufferings of indigenous Misings.|
5. Encroachers re-occupy cleared land in Namphai RF, arrested, The Assam Tribune, August 8, 2017
Monday, June 12, 2017
|Source: Tani Agom Ésar, Guwahati, Mising-Assamese Bilingual fortnightly, June 1, 2017. Language: Mising/ Tani|
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
|Asomiya Pratidin, April 17, 2017|
|Source: Amar Asom, 17 April, 2017|
|Amar Asom, April 18, 2017|
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Hegemonic nomenclature over ethnic minorities' place in Assam: The latest example from Indian Railways
|The railway notification for the nomenclature. Source: NFR/ Facebook page|
The Kamakhya-Murkongselek Intercity Express that was started in 2015 after a gap of decade due to conversion to broad gauge (BG) brought many cheers to the people in upstream north bank of Siang river, the region characterized by underdevelopment and non-industrialization in Assam. Being inhabited mostly by tribals, it is one of the most neglected region in the state. Silapathar, which is in the same region, was recently in news due to the attack on a local office of influential student union by supporters of refugee rights body.
The train to Murkongselek, which was once a part of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) now Arunachal, was introduced post-1962 Sino-Indian war as metre gauge (MG) line in 1976. The foothill Mising inhabited region was clubbed under the "Excluded Areas" (Sadiya and Balipara Frontier Tracts ) in the colonial British period that followed restrictive intervention in interaction and policy matters and total exemption from provincial laws unlike the other plains part of Assam.The then MG train was named Arunachal Express. But, what surprises many in recent times in greater Murkongselek region (also known as Jonai) is the Indian Railways lack of demographic and cultural sensitivity after the introduction of BG line. Without any consultation with any quarters, the train was named via notification in March , 2017 as Lachit Express, which has no cultural resonance with the place. The Mising people, who are otherwise the second largest tribal group, having their own language and culture, came under the grip of hegemonic project adopted by ruling elite's parochial nationalists. The Mising has no influential and conscious leaders in the political quarters which could had exert influence or offer resistance to such chauvinist policy. There has been many trains running from dominant Assamese elite belt such as Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Guwahati , Kamakhya which are also a developed and industrialized region located in the south bank for many decades almost to all parts of India. The majoritarian communities has produced influential leaders who has enormous say in policy matters of Assam since the post-independent period. There cannot be just one but ten of trains named after the great general Lachit Borphukan. But it remain a questionable policy as to why the north bank's tribal belt was targeted?
|The order copy from Indian Railways to Guwahati office. Source: Facebook|
These trains running for decades in southern bank of Siang/ Brahmaputra has never been named Lachit Express but some has quietly pushed the nomenclature to a place where train has been introduced in recent times. It may be noted that Rajen Gohain, a long time BJP Assamese MP is the minister of state for railways in India whereas Suresh Prabhu is the union minister of railways. The policy matters relating to Assam and the northeast must have been under the Assam minister's charge. If he was not aware of it or involved in naming it, he should help in withdrawing the same as matter of ethical public policy practice .
|Screenshot from IRCTC app, notice the nomenclature|
|Source: The Assam Tribune news on inauguration of new train to Murkongselek in June 19, 1976|
|The train to Murkongselek was named Arunachal Express. The news report also mentioned Murkongselek was in Arunachal Pradesh.|
|The train was inaugurated by then Assam CM Sarat Chandra Sinha,one of most progressive chief minister Assam ever had, in presence of S. Tayeng from AP due to absence of CM Prem Khandu Thungon..|
N.B. We are not against Lachit's ideals and his great deeds in protecting Assam. One of our great warriors Miri Sandikoi was subordinate of Lachit, fought in the historic battle of Saraighat of 1671 to repel Mughal invaders. Many Mising soldiers took part in the battle. For further details on the role of Miri Sandikoi (Hazarika), please read eminent historian Surya Kumar Bhuyan's book , Lachit Borphukan and His Times. The step taken by Ministry of Railways reflects Mising's contribution to peace and harmony being undermined, cultural insensitivity and ignorance about the demographic significance of the region.
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