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QUO VADIS INSURGENCY AND IDENTITY: ACCOMMODATING ‘THE THIRD VOICE’IN CONFLICT ZONES OF NE INDIA.


 

Current discourse on identity, ethnicity and peace is dominated by two voices—the State voice (the first voice) and the militant’s voice (the second voice). The paper makes an attempt to highlight the importance of ‘third voice’ i.e. ‘the people’s voice’ which is missing in a conflict ridden area like Northeast India in general and Assam in particular. The paper provides a critique of both the first and second voices in the handling of issues like insurgency, identity and ethnicity. The paper is of the opinion that both the approaches have failed to actually mitigate the issues of deprivation, identity, and ethnicity which are in most cases based on the notion of history, perceived pride, community feeling etc.  

 

The paper is critical of the role being played by the State in its approach to the issues of insurgency in a state like Assam. Our argument is, there is very little in the Indian State's response to ULFA that can be called an engagement with the ideological chal­lenge posed by the radical turn in Assamese sub-nationalism. The history of resolving conflict in India shows that the State is always after a ‘rag-tag’, piece meal approach. The response of the State is myopic and devoid of understanding the identity issues in its totality.  State in this region follow a policy of ‘tribal to tribal approach’ in which attempt is to satisfy the elites of the ethnic organizations. 

 

The paper also provides a critique of ULFA’s discourse and argues that so-called insurgent groups who fight a war on behalf of the people have failed to provide an alternative—in-fact rather than solving any problem they themselves have become a part of the problem. The alternative movements fighting against the State are in some form or other have been reproducing the logic of the State. The problem with these violent articulations in Northeast is that they have never tried to take into confidence the opinion of the diverse communities whom they claim to represent. The homogenizing and standardizing principles which guide the Nation-state also regulate the internal and external functioning of these so-called alternative violent movements.

 

The paper finally urges to find a proactive ‘third voice’ in these issues of insurgency, development, ethnicity, deprivation and identity. In most cases the ‘third voice’ or the ‘people’s voice’ is missing in the conflict zone of Assam. It is either the State or the insurgent groups who claim an axiomatic acceptance of their views and fight on behalf of the people. But the very ‘people’ who they claim to represent are never taken into confidence in most decision making processes. The paper concludes that a representative accommodation of various stakeholders of society in the peace building process would help in finding a durable peace process in the region.

 

 

ROLE OF INDIAN STATE IN CONFLICT RESOLUTION : Our argument is there is very little in the Indian State's response to ULFA that can be called an engagement with the ideological chal­lenge posed by the radical turn in Assamese sub-nationalism. The political settlement that was attempted in the Assam Accord of 1985 turned out to be unenforceable. Since then there has been no fresh attempt to engage those issues. By and large, it is fair to say that the State's response to ULFA has been more militarist than political.

 

The Indian army and paramilitary forces have been employed to deal with the challenge, and in the process extreme authoritarian methods have been introduced into the fabric of everyday life, es­pecially in those parts of Asom that are seen as ULFA strongholds.The history of resolving conflict in India shows that the State is always after a ‘rag-tag’, piece meal approach. The response of the Indian State to some of the intractable ethnic insurgencies in the North-east have so far been to —· Divide the rebel organizations and attempt to control them with the help of the renegades,· 'Times New Roman'"> corrupt the leaders of insurgent groups in front of the public by providing all luxurious lifestyle once they come out for talks,· ‘Buy time’ as much as possible in the name of negotiation.·         physically eliminate the family members of rebel organizations,·         Develop and help counter insurgency forces,·         Put maximum State power with the help of police and army.·         Appoint the retired army generals , police and intelligence chiefs as the Governor of this insurgency affected regions,·         Put all the draconian undemocratic laws into practice.·      

 

   After a considerable period of time when the armed groups are tired, people are fed up, impose an accord (like Assam Accord, Mizo Accord, Bodo Accord, Shillong Accord—the list is endless) the provisions of which will be hardly implemented. It’s not that such accords resolves ethnic issues-but it gives provisional respite to the State and provides a face saving device to the leaders of the insurgent organizations, who immediately captures power of their respective states and becomes a part of the State machinery.

 

In such gambling of power, which is played in the name of the people, the real issues are always sidelined until this is taken by a new brand of leadership.In fact the most important objective of the Government is to bring the armed groups to the negotiation table. –“once they come out we shall see how do they go back to the jungles”—is the most important guiding principle of the negotiators comprising of the bureaucrats, intelligence officials, army and police officials. In addition to the above strategies—the response of the State is myopic and devoid of understanding the identity issues in its totality.  State in this region follow a policy of ‘tribal to tribal approach’ in which attempt is to satisfy the elites of the ethnic organizations . The typical security attitude of the Indian State was best reflected by a statement of the Governor of Assam in an all India Police Golf Tournament at the Shillong Golf club where he talked about his version of bringing peace to Assam. In a clear disapproval of the United Liberation Front of Asom’s (ULFA) demand for preconditional talks, he categorically said that the dialogues should be on “ or our terms and pressure should be maintained on the ULFA”.

 

His another point was militancy in the region has substantially declined due to fatigue and disintegration amongst the militants groups, and now seeing no other alternative, they were coming forward to the peace talks. In addition, the Governor in number of occasions talked about the “final battle” to “wipe out” ULFA forever. This is an attitude what can be termed as “victor and vanquished”. History has proved again and again that issues must be settled in its merit –not in the approach of victor and vanquished.

 

The USA is terrorizing the whole world to end terrorism. But the so-called defeated or the vanquished in Afghanistan, Iraq and in many parts of the world have bounced back again and again against the Americans. The same ‘victor and vanquished’ approach is in operation in the Middle East. The Palestinians are answering each and every act of State terrorism unleashed by Israel state—although the Palestinians are paying a heavy price for it.

 

 

State of course will not allow the terrorist to run their regime of terror—but in this attempt the real issues that sustain violence and its breeding ground must not get obfuscated.In many occasions dialogues are put forward not to solve conflict but to delay it. The basic premise of Kautilyan statecraft, argue that longer the negotiations, the easier it is to wear down the rebel leaders by partly discrediting them and partly by infusing a sense of complacency amongst the guerrillas. The crux of the argument is most of the accords that the Indian State has signed with various rebel groups have never resolved the substantive issues –they have merely capitalized on the conflict fatigue of the rebels and the people who have supported these movements. In most of the cases due to longer period of struggle and the realization about the futility of a never ending fight with the Indian State, the leaders come to a negotiated settlement that also paves the way for capturing of power of their respective states.

 

But the Indian State must realize the fact that this will never take away the merit of the case and even if one group of elites leading the movement is satisfied another batch of new leaders will emerge and they will come with a more vigorous battle and thus it virtually becomes a vicious circle. Thirdly, what is most appalling is the tribal-to-tribal approach of the Indian State as a method of resolving conflicts pertaining to the demands of the ethnic communities in the Northeast. Nowhere in the country have we found such diversity in terms language, dress code, food habits and ethnic compositions as that of the Northeast region. As politics is who gets what when and how—these groups are increasingly becoming assertive about their rights. The ethnic groups are demanding separate state, autonomous state and recognition under the schedule of the constitution.

 

The State has to maintain a delicate balance while giving concession to a specific community, as these regions are extremely heterogeneous. But granting of district council to one group and undermining the interest of the others is like opening up Pandora’s Box.So these “fire-fighting approaches” are not the appropriate language of conflict Resolution or would not in the establishment of enduring peace in the region.The state Government talked about a final battle to wipe out ULFA, once they are crushed, the ULFA will sit on the negotiation table on the terms as fixed by the Government. The basic philosophy of the State to wage a final battle against ULFA once for all and then Assam will be showered with permanent peace is problematic. 

 

The assumption of the Governor that once the backbone of the rebel group is broken, they should be forced for talks under the terms of the Government is a typical reflection of attitude of the military Generals and police chiefs who also happen to be the Governors of these states. Peace will be dictated by Police, military and bureaucracy—once those bad guys are killed or gagged Assam will have “permanent peace”. But the as a matter of fact until the core structural issues that provide legitimacy to the militancy is not addressed no matter howsoever agreements the central Government sign with the rebel groups of North-east, the militancy will emerge again and again which has almost become a source of livelihood and a plank for fulfilling unmet aspirations for the unemployed and frustrated youths of the North east India. 

 

While the act of containing terrorism and political violence by the State could be justified in certain grounds-the basic rationale and philosophy of the Government is defective and would generate more violence than peace. What we have seen in Assam is a glorification of negative peace where is peace is understood to be the absence of violence and killing. There is no effective attempt to address the structural issues that put the North East region in such abysmal condition. The core issue that needs to be understood is peace is not just stopping violence. A sustained peace effort will be to shun violence and prevent destructive conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problem through dialogue and negotiations among individuals, groups and State. 

 

ULFA AS THE ‘CUSTODIAN’ OF ASSAM : CLAIMS AND CONTRADICTIONS : The paper also provides a critique of ULFA’s discourse and argues that   so-called insurgent groups who fight a war on behalf of the people have failed to provide an alternative—in-fact rather than solving any problem they themselves have become a part of the problem.

 

 

Take for example the ULFA . ULFA has never attempted to take the people of Assam into confidence. It has never tested the people’s will nor has it maintained any close liaison with the people as such. It has given little evidence of having inner party democracy and has seldom considered as being accountable to the people. There seems to be a total absence of any critical dialogue between the ULFA and the people of Assam. There is little evidence to suggest that the ULFA provided enough space for the process of debate within the organization and for ascertaining the will of the people whom they claim to liberate.

 

Most important fact is, if some one makes an attempt to critically review the objectives of ULFA like secessionism and armed struggle –ULFA would immediately dub such a person as ‘stooge of Indian intelligence’. ULFA is in clash with almost all the important personalities and organization of Assam. ULFA’s fight with the premiere organization of the state AASU is well known.

ULFA has never attempted to take the people of Assam into confidence. 

 

The Naga extremist groups maintain and formulate their policies at least to begin with the tribal bodies such as Naga hoho, Tatar hoho , The Church and later on the Naga Mother’s Association , Naga Student’s Federation etc. Rather ULFA is in clash with almost all the important personalities and organization of Assam. Some of the prominent personalities who were attacked by ULFA for their anti-ULFA views are—Homen Borgohain, Dr Hiren Gohain, Dr Amalendu Guha, Kanak Sen Deka, Chandra Prasad Saikia , Jayanta Madhab, Dr Nagen Saikia and many others. ULFA has also fought with almost all the recent presidents of Asom Sahitya Sabha –the recent being Kanak Sen Deka who had opposed ULFA for their pro-Bangladeshi views. ULFA’s fight with the premiere organization of the state AASU is well known. In recent times in May, 2005 some youths of Chiringchapari , Dibrugarh appealed to all people for a total boycott of the Bangladeshi in all kinds of works.

This has led to the massive exodus of the suspected Bangladeshis from upper Assam. Among the organizations who had opposed such exodus was the Congress I and ULFA. In this occasion too ULFA and AASU came to open clashes. ULFA ridiculed AASU’s attempt to resolve the migration issue through tripartite talks with the Government of India. In this whole controversy ULFA’s stand is first we have to deport the Biharis, the Marwaris, Nepalis and other north Indian people and then only we have the right to drive out the so called Bangladehsi’s. Almost all the organizations and News papers criticized the viewpoints of ULFA. Even other prominent religious organizations such Asom Satra Masabha, Sankar Sangha and others have opposed ULFA for their recent activities.

 

ULFA claims that Assam was never a part of India. For instance, in his address on the eleventh foundation day of the ULFA, its Chairman, Arabindra Rajkhowa, declared: . . history does not sustain the argument that Asom and Asom's identity is part of India and the Indian identity. It is of this reason that Asom is not even mentioned in India's national anthem. …We are not secessionists.

The demand for Asom's independence is a just demand. History provides no instance of any Indian ruler ever ruling over Asom. The British were able to rule over Asom only half a century after they conquered India. After the British left, India had the moral right to take over Asom. At the time of India's independence the Indian rulers masquerading under the guise of democracy and Gandhism deceivingly forced us to be a part of India instead of allowing us to be independent". Prof. Udyan Mishra argues that ULFA’s claim on the issue doesn’t hold much logic. “ Obviously, in trying to build up his argument, the ULFA chairman has made a selective reading of Assam's recent history, especially about the struggle for independence from British rule and Assam's role in it.

 

In his speech, the ULFA chairman has not mentioned the participation of the Assamese masses in the freedom struggle against the British and the role played by countless leading intellectuals in the Congress-led movement. Not to speak of reformer-saints like Sankardeva for whom "Bharatvarsha" was such an important concept and who contributed immensely to bringing Assam within the Indian "mainstream", even rebels like Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and Bishnuprasad Rabha, and literateurs like Padmanath Gohainbaruah and Laksminath Bezbaroa, believed in Assam's destiny to be inextricably linked with India's. Mention is also not made of the many martyrs who embraced death in the belief that theirs was a struggle for an Independent India.”

 

 

The prominent ideologue of ULFA Parag Das also claims that Assam was never a part of India. Das goes to the extent of saying that Sankardev was not part of the overall Indian socio-cultural ethos because he was a fish-eater! Prof. Mishra refutes Parag Das logic in the following ways— “ Das draws lessons from a simplistic reading of the anthropological traits of the Assamese people to prove that the Assamese are closer to their Mongolian brothers and sisters and have little or nothing to do with the Indian peoples. All this shows that while the case of colonial exploitation of the region appears to go down well with the masses and may, in the long run, sustain the idea of a Swadhin Asom, the very selective reading of Assam's history is bound to lead to greater confusion. There is no dearth of instances of revolutionary organisations and governments tampering with history, but this has been always at their own peril. Assam's participation in the national struggle is much too recent history to be tailored to suit any particular outfit's needs.”  

 

ULFA has ever tried to gauge the opinion of the ethnic groups of Assam—whether they support the cause of ULFA or oppose their demand. They have never tried to take into account the opinion of the ethnic groups like the Bodos, Karbis, Rabhas, Koch-Rajbangshis, Deuris, Chutias, Mising, Tiwa and other caste Hindu groups in their proposed demand for independent Assam. In a survey conducted by the Assamese daily ‘Amar asom’ it was found that the other insurgent groups like “NDFB, Rabha people’s liberation Front, Tai Ahom Liberation front, MALTA and others don’t share ULFA’s view on independent Assam rather they oppose the views of ULFA” Does it have any plan about cementing the widening differences among the ethnic groups in Assam? Neither has the organization come up with any plan about the flood problem of the state that has caused about 500 human lives and had damaged Rs 7000 crore worth property and agriculture in the year 2004 alone [Mélangethe Sunday magazine of The Sentinel on October 31, 2004]? The organization has to say nothing except blaming the center for exploiting the resources in Assam [In an interview, Paresh Barua, the so called Commander-in Chief of ULFA said-the issues of flood and immigration are not important to them, they are struggling for an independent Assam- Asomiya Pratidin- November 17, 2004]. ULFA has never ever tried to answer these basic questions. 

 

The old hackneyed rhetoric argument --once the state becomes independent and then socio-economic issues, corruption, alcohol and drugs, and the divisions among the ethnic groups would be taken care of is too a far fetched argument and has no takers that the organizations like ULFA would like us to believe. ULFA claims that it represents the people of Assam. But ULFA have never defined the definition of the people of Assam. The question that comes to the minds of the people is where do the immigrants stand in this definition of ‘people of Assam’? On the ULFA’s claim that Assam was never part of India and became one after the treaty of Yandaboo in 1826 which they have rejected to accept was opposed by almost all the leading intellectuals of Assam. On this claim, Dr Amalendu Guha, the prominent social scientist of the state argued in an interview ---

 

“Indeed Assam was independent till the year 1826. However, Assam is not an exception here. That way Punjab was an independent state. So was the Bengal state. Before the independence in India there were seventy independent states in India. Later on all these have been brought together to form independent India. If we study the history of the nation-state this is the process how nation-state was formed –which is known as ‘law of agreement’. Even before the 1826 there were so many independent tribal tiny states of the Karbis, Dimasa, Kachari etc. The Ahoms have brought them together to form one unified ‘greater asom’  

 

 

If ULFA can bring back the treaty of 1826 there is no earthly reason why the other tribal groups can’t claim independence as they were too independent before they were brought together by the Ahoms to form what prof. Guha says—‘Bor Asoam’( Greater Assam). This is what the Nagas are trying to do by demanding –‘Nagalim’ or greater Nagaland by bringing some reference of history.  The main demand of the Nagas , i.e. unification of  all the Naga tribes into one Nagalim is structurally problematic  and recipe for ethnic clashes in the North East region.

 

This trend of identifying one territory as belonging to a specific group does not augur well in a highly mixed ethnic society like North East India—this trend is also becoming contagious in the neighboring areas of Manipur, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya. There are separatist and secessionist groups in all these states who are trying to create independent (or within India) a homogenous land for their respective communities Such domination of one group is simply neither possible nor desirable in any of the states as they are mixed with diverse groups and languages

 

AN URGE TO BROADEN PEACE-BUILDING PROCE IN NE INDIA :

 

Thus it is imperative that peace process in order to be enduring has to go beyond the usual two voices of conflict which proceeds in the form of negotiation and in the end - if successfully dealt with-leads to an agreement between two parties (what John Paul Lederach calls the ‘reconstructive approach’). Such Conflict Resolution is conducted at an elite level and is generally aimed at political concessions without involving representatives of civil society. Failing to identify and involve all actual or potential disputants in a conflict resolution process is one reason why such processes fail. Generally, it is desirable to make sure that all the parties who are likely to be affected by a decision are aware of the decision making process and are given the opportunity to participate in that process in some way.

 

mistrust,etica, sans-serif">If parties to a conflict are excluded from negotiations or other decision-making processes, or their voices are overlooked and ignored, they are likely to become dissatisfied with that process. This exacerbates public undermines the legitimacy of any agreements reached, and may well hamper implementation of those agreements. In addition, if the terms of peace are simply imposed on the population, this may perpetuate traditional power structures rather than bringing about social change. In general, it is important that representatives of civil society and non-combatant groups have some say in the design and implementation of peacemaking and peace buildingagendas. This does not mean that all parties must be directly involved in the negotiations–it is impossible to have hundreds or thousands or more people sit down together at a negotiating table. However, all the affected groups must feel that they are being adequately represented in the negotiating process. This requires that the people at the negotiating table be accepted by their constituencies as legitimate spokespersons, and that these representatives keep their constituencies well informed about the progress of the negotiations, collect dissenting views, and feeding these views back into the negotiating process in a way that allows them to be dealt with adequately.

 

If this is done carefully, thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people can feel that they were actually "involved" in the decision and are likely to support the results of the decision making process.Peace –building involving people’s voice what we call ‘the third voice’, covers a wider area and, in most cases, a longer time scale. Its aim is a change in the social structure underlying the conflict, and change in the attitudes of the parties to the conflict Such an approach what John Paul Lederach calls as the ‘transformative approa and Elizabeth Cousens as the ‘inductive approach’ attempts to examine the political, social and economic forces that have led to an armed conflict and invites more holistic assessments of the situation.

 

ACCOMMODATING ‘THE THIRD VOICE’ IN CONFLICT ZONE :

 

Thus, in protracted conflicts of NE India the importance of ‘third voice’ in these volatile issues of insurgency, development, ethnicity etc. hardly need to be reiterated . In most cases the ‘third voice’ or the ‘people’s voice’ is missing in the conflict zone of Assam. It is either the State or the insurgent group who claim an axiomatic acceptance of their views and all of them fight on behalf of the people. But the very ‘people’ who they claim to represent are never taken into confidence in most decision making processes. The logic of electoral politics has led the Indian Nation-state for reproducing the State power The identification of the political parties with the interest of the majorities by appealing to the categories such as ‘ethnic’, ‘religious’,’ linguistic’-or a combination of some or all of them is problematic. Such a situation not only puts pressure on the less powerful communities to organize its separate identity, but also ‘deepens the hatred between the well defined communities or nationalities, particularly when the nation-building is organized and measured in terms of the will of the majority’ which exercises state power.

The Government is creating mono-ethnic homelands one after another. What do the common people want –how do they look at the issues of co-existence, their own rights and rights of others? How the smaller ethnic groups of the state like the Singphos, Aiton, Turung, Tai-Phake , Lichu and many more are reacting to this process? The opinion of the people at the grass root level is always taken for granted. Even in the peace negotiations with various insurgents’ outfits there is no effort to involve civil society groups be it on the part of the insurgent outfits or on the part of the State. Accord centric peace with an exclusive social group can’t bring a durable peace process in Assam. Assam accord was never successful in bringing a durable peace; nor can exclusive peace package with ULFA, NDFB, DHD and UPDS. While acknowledging the importance of negotiation with individual groups, at some point of time we need to involve all the contentious groups together along with the representatives of civil society.

 

 

Assam movement (1979-1984) is clear example how an accord (most of the provisions are yet to be implemented) can create mistrust, fissures and multiplication of identities among various ethnic groups of Assam. The Assam accord was understood to be the constitutional protection mechanism for the Asomiya speaking people. This has led to the other groups to find for their own protection mechanism. Great then was their disenchantment with the Assam accord which sought to protect Assamese identity and culture but made no mention of tribal identities.

 

The Government of India is repeating the same mistake by involving single militant outfit in Nagaland. On the one hand the NSCN ( K) group is being left from the negotiation process on the other hand various civil society groups who have been espousing reconciliation among various Naga communities and relentlessly working for peace in the region have been left  out from the peace process. The core demand of “Nagalim” is being attempted to work out between the NSCN (I-M) and the GOI without involving the stakeholders who are going to be affected in this process. In fact the Naga Hoho attempted to a build a consensus with the neighbouring states on the issue of “ Nagalim” by constituting a “Reconciliation committee” headed by Niketu Iralu and Charles Chasie and others. But the militant groups opposed such a move and effectively took over the dialogue with the GOI.

 

 

Similar process is repeating itself again in the case of ULFA , UPDS, DHD and NDFB in Assam. At some point of time we need to involve all the contentious groups together along with the representatives of civil society. The State must understand that there are over 225 communities found in the NE India and over 150 languages spoken. In such heterogeneous society one particular rebel group can’t decide on behalf of the whole state. On other hand the decision/accord that is likely to be made with one group will have its repercussions on other communities as well. This had exactly happened when the Bodoland territorial council (BTC) was formed where the Bodos constitute about 40 % of the total population –to protect their interest, the majority non-Bodos ( like the Rabha, Koch-Rajbnagshi, Muslim, Asomiya speaking and others ) formed a body known as ‘ Assam Sanmilito janagustiya Mancha’ and the situation is likely to explode if not handled properly. On top of that in the same space of BTC –where another ex-militant group BLT is ruling after its surrender to the authority, there is another group called NDFB who are now in truce with GOI. 

 

The group who began its journey asking for secessionism is likely to settle with an autonomous arrangement. The question is what GOI or the State is going to provide to NDFB especially at a time when the ruling BLT is reluctant to share any power with their compatriots. At a time when politics is understood as who gets what when and how there is very remote possibility that the ruling elites will allow any room for the NDFB. The same logic applies with the DHD and UPDS who have been fighting with each other for an ethnic homeland in Karbianglong distict. In fact inter-ethnic clashes allegedly instigated by these two groups had claimed more than 110 lives towards the fag end of 2005.

 
CONCLUSION : The paper makes an appeal to give due consideration to the ‘third voice’-which is considered to be non-essential by the other parties of conflict. For a durable peace process it is important that the State takes the initiative in incorporating the ‘people’s voice’. The purpose of the paper is not to present the approaches in binary oppositions. But one can hardly deny the fact that the current peace discourse in NE India is more elite-centric and understands peace as absence of violence. Purpose of the peace negotiation at the behest of the State has been to reduce conflict to a manageable level and find some exit routes after mostly relying on the ‘conflict fatigue’ of the combatants. Banking on the ‘accord centric peace’ the combatants or the rebels too find a reasonably honorable formula that brings them to the power corridors of the State. The only problem is- the disgruntled lot left out from the corridors of power would go back to the jungles and thus conflict becomes an endless vicious circle. 
 
When all those most affected by the conflict have a voice in open and inclusive decision-making, this fosters conflict transformation and the consolidation of peace. Peacemaking and peace building processes that are informed by diverse points of view may contribute to a more lasting and stable peace rather than relying on single rebel group whose representative capacity and legitimacy is always in doubt.
 
 
[1] Sanjiv Baruah, India against itself, p-144.
 
[2] The Sentinel, October, 31, 2004.
 
[3] See Amar asom, May 27, 2005.
[4] All the news papers from 13 rd May to 25 th May are agog with this controversy.
 
[5] See Amar asom, May 27, 2005. The editor Ngen Saikia in a first page write up criticized ULFA for acting on behalf of Bangladesh.
[6] Frontline, May 12-25, 1990.
 
[7] Udyan Mishra, The Periphery Strikes Back,IIAS, Shimla, p-78
 
[8] Parag Kr. Das, Swadhinotar Prastab, Udangshi Prakashan, p-23
 
[9] Sanakardeva –the great philosopher, poet, dramatist, actor, artist and social reformer of the 13th and 14th century heralded the saga of neo-vaishnavism in Assam . It was Sankardev who initiated the Bhakti movement in Assam by propagating ‘Ek saran Naam dharma’.
 
[10] Parag Kr. Das, referred above, p-29.
 
[11] Udyan Mishra, referred above.
 
[12] See Gautam Sharma, ‘Ali Dumujat ulfa’Purbachal, the Sunday magazine pf Amar asom, 11th July, 1999.
 
[13]‘History doesn’t have solution for the practical problems of the present ’- interview with Dr Amalendu Guha, in Amar Asom, 2nd December, 2004.
 
[14] Some of these groups are –United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam, united National Liberation front of Manipur (UNLF) , PREPAK in Manipur, National Volunteer Force (TVF) of Tripura etc.. for details see--http://www.satp.org
 
[15] There are over 225 communities found in the NE India and over 150 languages spoken. For details see- BG Verghese, India’s North East Resurgent, P – 2-3.
 
[16] Nobert Ropers, 1995, “Peaceful Intervention : Structures, processes and Strategies for the constructive Resolution of ethno political conflicts”, www.b.shuttle.de/berghof/eng
 
[17] , John Paul Ledearch, Building Peace : Sustainable Reconciliation in divided societies, 1997, p-41
 
[18] Elizabeth Cousens, ‘Introduction’ in in E. Cousens & C. Kumar ed. Peace Building as politics: Cultivating peace in Fragile Societies , 2001, Lynne Rienner.p.5.
 
[19] Imtiaz Ahmed. ‘ A Post-nationalist South Asia’. Himal South Asia,, July 1996, p.10
 
[20] Bhupinder Singh referred in VG Verghese, India’s Northeast Resurgent, Konarak Publisher, 1996, p-61.
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