International Conference on ‘Eastern Himalaya-Gender, Poverty and Livelihoods’ at Jamia

BeyondHeadlines News Desk

An international conference on ‘The Eastern Himalaya-Gender, Poverty and Livelihoods’ was launched at Jamia with a focus on women and gender issues, eco-fragility, livelihoods and poverty. The conference which started on Feb 11 has drawn specialists from Europe, South Asia, including Bangladesh, Nepal and different parts of India. At the opening Vice Chancellor Prof. SM Sajid said “Absence of peace in parts of the region (continuance of ethnic strife, insurgencies and armed conflict) – has adversely affected women. They have borne the brunt of violence, yet despite protests and growing voice, their issues remain largely unaddressed as they do not have adequate representation in governing institutions such as national Parliaments, state legislatures and local councils such as Panchayati Raj. Women rarely take part in formal negotiations for peace. Even customary laws and traditional institutions tend to exclude women and are largely not gender-neutral.”

The conference also launched a new book on Meghalaya freedom fighters “Little Known Fighters Against the Raj: Figures from Meghalaya” was released by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research at Jamia. Prof. Sajid, Vice Chancellor, JMI, Mr. Pankaj Jain, Principal Resident Commissioner, Meghalaya House and Deputy CEO, Meghalaya River Basin Programme and Prof. David R Syiemlieh, historian and Member, Union Public Service Commission, Govt. of India spoke at the event. The book is an edited collection of papers presented at a workshop in New Delhi on 7-8 March 2011, organized by the Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew Chair and the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research in association with the Department of History, JMI.

“Given the continuing lack of understanding of the region and its people which lead to tragic incidents in process of discrimination, we hope that this book can form part of the teaching syllabus and curricula for graduate and post-graduate levels in the social sciences”, said Prof. Sanjoy Hazarika, Director of Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research. This book studies the lives of these little known fighters from Meghalaya through the essays by prominent historians, scholars and writers such as Prof. Imdad Hussain, Prof. David R Syiemlieh, Prof. SN Lamare, Ms. Patricia Mukhim and Mr. Abhijit Choudhury. The book marks the struggles of fighters such as Togan Sangma of the Garo Hills, U Tirot Sing, Syiem of Nongkhlaw, U Kiang Nongbah, Dharanidhar Mahanta, Monoranjan Nandi and Nar Bahadur Gurung, the last three of the INA.

This is a specific contribution to building knowledge and bridge between the North East and the rest of India. According to the book, “A widespread perception exists that the North Eastern region of India did not actively participate in the Indian Freedom Struggle. While the Assamese are better known to have taken part in the entire period conventionally termed as the Freedom Struggle, there were those who resisted and struggled against British imperialism in a very different manner and whose names are not known even among scholars and students of that period, for they came from small ethnic groups of the region. Their lives are rarely remembered, except by the work of a handful of academics from the region, occasional writing in the regional popular press and commemorations by local government and ethnic organizations.”

The Centre also celebrated its Fourth North East Annual Day ‘Celebrating the Mountains’ at 5:30pm at the Safdar Hashmi Amphitheatre in Jamia on Feb 11. The event was attended by about a 1,000 people comprising of scholars and students from Jamia and other universities of Delhi, faculty from Jamia, scholars from abroad as well as the media. Prof. Sajid, Vice Chancellor, Jamia Millia Islamia and Mr. Jaswant Singh, MP and former External Affairs Minister were the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour at the event.

A minute of silence was observed at the commencement of the programme to mark the death of Nido Tania and other victims of discrimination. The event which is a continuous effort to bridge the gap between the North East and the rest of India showcased contemporary music from the region and had The Homecoming, a band from Jamia, Toshanbor Nongbet and the band, First Runner-up, India’s Got Talent, 2012, Minute of Decay, the girl band from Manipur and Girish and the Chronicles, winner Yamaha Asian Beat, 2011, and winner Montenegro Suncane Skale Music Festival, Europe, 2010 performing.

For further details please contact:

Prof.  Sanjoy Hazarika: Email-<> and Anamika Deb Roy: <> Phone- +91-9717149868


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