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Volume-18 No. 3 January-March, 2017
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Editorial Advisory Board Mrinal Miri
Editor B.B. Kumar
Consulting Editor J.N. Roy
ASTHA BHARATI DELHI
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The views expressed by the contributors do not necessarily represent the view-point of the journal.
© Astha Bharati, New Delhi
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DIALOGUE, Volume-18 No. 3 5
Contents Editorial Perspective 7 Recent Assembly Elections: The Emerging Trends
1. North-East Scan The Myth of ‘Community’ in Meghalaya 11 Patricia Mukhim
Customary Law and the Northeast 14 Pradip Phanjoubam
BJP Comes Out on Top in the Manipur Election Cliffhanger 17 Pradip Phanjoubam
2. Development Experience of Northeast India: From Post-Colonial Reversals to Twenty-First Century Resurgence 20 M.P. Bezbaruah
3. The Border Trade in North-East India: The Historical Perspective 38 B.B. Kumar
4. Expanding Horizons of Opportunity for India’s North-East from Look East to Act East: ASEAN and Beyond 45 P.P. Shrivastav
5. Act East Policy: Attempting to Integrate Northeast India with ASEAN 58 Wasbir Hussain
6. India’s Act East Policy – the Role of State Governments 74 Tridivesh Singh Maini
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7. Northeast India and the Act East Policy : Opportunities and Challenges 82 Saswati Choudhury
8. Act East Policy and ASEAN 95 Jajati K Pattnaik
9. Partition and Economy of the War Area of Khasi and Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya 104 Lasoborki Pyrngap
10. Christianity Among the Scheduled Tribes of the Northeast: Arunachal Pradesh 113 Dr. J.K. Bajaj
11. Mahabharat Retold with Scientific Evidences 135 Saroj Bala
12. Book Review Pakistan and Cross-Border Terrorism 162 Bimal Pramanik
13. Garo Songsarik Religion: Belief in Immortality of Soul and Reincarnation 166 Rajesh M. Marak
14. Studying Khasi-Jaintia Society: A Perspective 174 Babhador Khongdup
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Recent Assembly Elections: The Emerging Trends
The emerging trends in the last Legislative Assembly elections of the five States of our country, especially in the case of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, have shown certain positive trends, some of which are the following:
i. The voters, by and large, have rejected the family-based politics;
ii. They have voted against the caste-politics; iii. They have voted to defeat the politics of vote-bank; iv. Some parties, as for example Congress, are fast moving to the
margin due to various factors, such as the lack of mature leadership, family based politics, over reliance on the politics of social divide;
v. BJP is acquiring new grounds, as for example in Manipur in the last election;
vi. The trend of voting is clearly against the crime and muscle- power as lesser number of candidates with criminal records have succeeded in winning the elections;
vii. The overwhelming vote for the party, elected to rule Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab, clearly indicates that the popular conscious wish of the electors was for the empowerment for delivery;
viii. The parties relying on the mechanism of social divide for winning elections have failed to a great extent;
ix. The people have duly rewarded for positive performance, and punished for the negative performances;
x. It was the endorsement of the Prime Minister’s policies and actions, keeping in view that he was the main campaigner, especially during the last phases of the campaign; at the same time, he was also the main target of the opposition campaign, and a section of the electronic and print media;
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xi. The outcome clearly indicated the maturity of the Indian electorate;
xii. It is a sad fact that a large section of the Indian media and Indian intellectuals raise emotional issues during the elections; they mostly confuse, rather than educate; they lack nation- centric/society-centric agenda. This election has clearly shown that their designs may be thwarted;
xiii. The electoral win is the endorsement of the organizational capacity of the BJP and the RSS, and that of the Party President, Amit Shah.
This country had suffered for decades due to inertia in the field of policy initiatives. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has broken the trend by taking multiple initiatives in many fields. Many of his initiatives have started showing results; some may take years to bring result. The point is that a mature leadership must take calculated risk in taking initiatives, and a mature electorate must ignore even if there is only partial success. Both the Prime Minister and the Indian electorate has done it in the case of demonetization. Anyway, the initiative must be rewarded even if partially successful.
So far the government formation in U.P. is concerned, a very hard signal has been sent to the opponents, especially to a section of intellectuals and journalists, that the people have empowered the “elected” to carry out their own agenda, rather than the agenda of those rejected by them.
The BJP government in UP, like in Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand, has elected fresh faces as Chief Ministers, rather than old action leaders. This is certainly a novel way of getting rid of the faction politics, a malady of the present day power politics of India.
North-East and the Act East Policy North-East region of our country is most suitably located to derive maximum benefit from our ‘Act East’ policy due to its geographical contiguity with East and South-East Asia.. The country and the region, however, must fulfil the following conditions for the success of the same:
i. Infrastructural input: The intra-regional and inter-state connectivity with the rest of the country, as well as the connectivity of the region with South East Asia need to be improved. This is key to the success of Act East Policy.
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ii. Generation of the export potential in the region: The region must develop export potential of whatever our eastern neighbours need. A preliminary survey of the needs of our neighbours keeping in view our capacity of producing the same is the first need for the same.
iii. The North-East region of the country has huge tourism potential. For the fuller utilization of the tourism potential of the region, we need (a) to have developed tourism infra- structure, especially the roads and proper accommodation and developed modes of conveyance; (b) the security scenario must change; and, (c) tourism potential, including, natural beauty and cultural richness of the region, need be adequately publicized.
iv. Awareness generation about our historical, cultural and trade links need to be promoted.
In our country, the transition from “Look East policy” to “Act East policy” has not been smooth. It is a sad fact that we have practically done nothing to make the transition smooth. We have not moved an inch to make the endeavour succeed. The bureaucratic inertia and the lack of political will are perhaps the main reasons of our failures. Anyway, there is an urgent need today to take positive steps to ensure the success of the Policy.
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The Myth of ‘Community’ in Meghalaya
The Book Development Dilemma: Displacement in Meghalaya 1947- 2010 published by the North East Social Science Research Centre, Guwahati and authored jointly by Walter Fernandes, Veronica Pala, Gita Bharali and Bitopi Dutta is a very revealing study of the status of land ownership in Meghalaya and how a huge tract of land acquired by Government over the years for public purposes are not properly recorded. The study was carried out by interviewing people in the Government, retired Government officials and key informants. The writers admit that getting data from official sources was a big challenge because of poor record keeping. Officials in Meghalaya claimed that since the state was under Assam until 1972, the land records were kept in Guwahati, but officials in Assam say that all papers have been sent to Meghalaya. Another interesting information is that land donated by an individual or community to the Government is not recorded. Citing from A.K. Nongkynrih’s study (2009) the book says that about two- thirds of the land in Megha