Thursday, December 14, 2023

Talks with state government on Mising issues by TMPK, MMK, TMMK

A new update is being shared by the Chief Minister of Assam that the state government has set for talks with the national organisations or Mising tribes such as the TMPK, MMK and TMMK.
 It i is stated the government held parleys regarding host of issues related to Mising tribe. This development is seen amidst the ongoing debates on satte holiday of Ali-a:ye Lígang between TMPK and informal group such Sacheton Mising Samaj which are said to be linked to political parties like Congress and Raijor Dal. While state government has partially declared holiday in 10 upper Assam districts but few disgruntled Mising groups are still critical of the state government over the Lígang state holiday.
However, the latest talks looks importance as it has pointed out the nature of political communication on ethnic issues  such as constitutional autonomy of the Misings, introduction of the Mising language in "selected scholls" (mind the words used by the government), an university in Jonai (whereas Tezpur University campus is still pending), sports facility in Kareng Chapori near the Bogibeel bridge , socio-cultural project in Gogamukh etc. 
We have to see whether it is an exercise to pacify the growing movement for demand for sate holiday of Lígang or an electoral promise since Lok Sabha polls are approaching next year.It would be a great step if the points of talks are reflected in reality for the Mising society.
A significant observation is that the talks are still in state level. The issues of constitutional status of  Mising Autonomous Council (MAC) need thorough discussions including  in depth community level consultation. Since the matter of constitutional status rests with the central government of India, we have to see whether Mising organisations' democratic movement are responded positively or not. There is yet to be 'talks' or dialogue on ethnic autonomomy ever by central government in regard to unarmed and non-violent movement led by any tribe of North East India.

Image credits: X (Twitterr ) handles of Chief Minister of Assam andi Ranoj Pegu , Minister of Eucation r and Welfare for Plains Tribes, Assam. December 7, 2023.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Draft Delimitation, 2023 of Assam: Mising and other tribes may become politicaly insignificant in days to come

Draft delimitation and  the most likely implications for Misings:

1. No increase of Schedule Tribe (ST) assembly (MLA) seats in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji or Majuli despite the rise in Mising and other tribal population over the decades even if counted on 2001 census basis.

2. All current four ST seats occupied by Mising  ( all BJP legislators ) to remain intact. They are!.Jonai, Dhemaji, Dhakuakhana, Majuli.

3. A new unreserved constituency named Sisibargaon is created in Dhemaji district. 

4. There is no MP seats reserved for ST in upper Assam districts except Kokrajhar and Diphu Lok Sabha constituencies. 

5. No chances of Mising becoming MP through Lok Sabha unless elected from open constituencies like Lakhimpur or through nomination/ indirect election to Rajya Sabha if favoured by  big political partie. 

6. Majuli is left out from Lakhimpur parliamentary constituency leaving the Mising  that is likely to decrease the influence of Msing voters in Lakhimpur. Majuli is clubbed with Jorhat LS constituency. The bargaining power of Misings is likely to be decreased. 

7. Ramganadi will be a new assembly constituency in Lakhimpur while Nowboicha , currently occupied by a Mising, from the opposition Congress party,  will be reserved for Schedule Caste (SC).

8. Political importance of the Misings is likely to be decimated as number reserved constituencies for ST have increased in others parts of Assam but not in upper Assam. In tribal inhabited parts of the state such as Karbi hills(Amri), Rabha and Garo inhabited Goalpara and Kamrup districts ( West Goalpara and Boko), Bodoland autonomous region ( Dotma and Tamulpur by territorial  realignment but Bodoland got plus one from existing 6 ST constituencies). One Mising legislator  always become a minister in Assam but this may not happen all the time from now.

9. Mising, Deori, Soniwala  and Tiwa inhabited areas were left out reserved constituencies in the latest draft delimitation proposal. Although three ST (16 to 19) and one Schedule Caste (SC) constituencies  were increased, there are uneven distribution.

10. The Dergaon constituency that was reserved for ST in 1970s (that even had Mising MLA ) had not come   to the fold of ST reservation ( while many constituencies are realigned). Misings living in southern bank or Brahmaputra river continue to be deprived of political representation in the Assam assembly.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Mising language in primary schools: But when?

The chief minister of Assam has announced that government is trying to introduce Mising, Rabha and Tiwa languages as medium of teaching in pre-prmary and primary level on May 30, 2023 in the closing ceremony of Golden Jubilee celebration cum 24th Triennial Conference of the Mising Agom Kébang held in Gogamukh, the headquarters of the Misings Autonomous Council, Assam.
The education minister ,  Mising nationalist turned national political  party politician , Ranoj Pegu tweeted   several pictures of Mising textbooks meant for the students at the pre-primary and primary schools that were shared again by his followers among Mising social media groups, reflecting a jubilant mood among Mising language enthusiasts. Nonetheless, the efforts of the Mising Agom Kébang and the state govt run State Council of Educational Research and Training ( SCERT ) must be appreciated in its efforts to materialized the books  after years of prayers, persuasion and movement.
Mising language will get a face-lift if implemented,  from being only one textbook  in Class III and IV to all textbooks in the primary level thanks to the National Education Policy (NEP)  recommendations. However, public policy needs time to materialize as it would need a strong political will to implement practically on the ground.

The academic session in the schools are already underway. Government should have made it clear from which academic session the Mising medium is aimed to be introduced practically.  As it would be a radical  change in imparting primary education to the citizens of tomorrow , the herculean task of  human resource management and financial resources  are involved in it. 

If we turn the pages of history of introduction of Mising language, the regional party, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) was the first political party to recognised and introduced the Mising language in 1986-87 when it came to power after the Assam agitation that ended with the Assam Accord.  The regional party  accommodated the linguistic aspirations of the Misings albeit to a little extent. The AGP had considerable support base in Mising inhabited areas during those times. Currently, AGP is a coalition partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government. The BJP has four legislators from the Mising tribe out of the five Mising legislators. The BJP has drawn its leaders from the Mising nationalist organisations that has a stable and loyal support base across Mising areas. 
In this backdrop, the onus of implementation of Mising language in primary schools lies with national political party. The ethnic aspirations of having a Mising medium schools is a long-standing one. We have to see whether the BJP follow the foot steps of AGP despite having  the NEP in its hand or delay the dream.