Discussion on the indigenous communities of Northeast at Sonapur College seminar

The Sonapur College is initiating deliberations on the indigenous communities of the Northeast as the college hosts a national level seminar on October 13 and 14.

Speaking exclusively to The News Mill, the coordinator of the seminar Biman Patowary stated that the region’s livelihood, culture, traditional knowledge etc. were jeopardized by various forces and there is a need to initiate a discussion on the subject.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

Q. What are your objectives from the seminar?

Ans: Several forces have jeopardized the sustainability of the livelihood, culture, traditional knowledge etc of the indigenous communities of the region. The seminar would seek to weave together both physical and human strands of sustainability of the indigenous communities of the Northeast India. The purpose of the seminar would be to initiate a discourse on the same, which, we believe, would go a long way towards disseminating the ideas generated during the academic deliberations. The seminar is thought to bring into shape and focus the issues and challenges of the indigenous communities of NE India that has paved the way for socio-economic, political, environmental and other relevant transformations in the context of global scenario. This is more significant from the fact that these communities which inherits a significantly unique diversity. They represent bewildering profiles which essentially have nuances. The scenario needed to be adequately understood, questioned and debated in academic discourses. This outlined the aim and direction that the seminar is to undertake.

A book will also be published with the selected papers of the seminar which is expected to be a valuable document for the further reference of any research and other initiatives towards redressal of the plights of the indigenous communities of the North East India.

Q. What’s the role of your students in the event?

Ans: The students would be getting opportunity to listen to the resourceful deliberations of the persons from different organizations having sound academic base and experience to work in similar field. The research scholars from the universities, colleges and from other research organizations of India will also be a part of the deliberations. It would be highly beneficial to the student community at large.

Q. Hosting a pan-northeast event at your college must have given your students an exposure to a positive conversation. What’s the general reaction among your students?

Ans: The college have already hosted several events not only on pan-northeast level but of national as well. By exposing to the highly resourceful conversations of these events, the students get the opportunity to widen their horizon of knowledge.

Q. What are the various issues you believe will be raised during the event?

Ans: The various issues which are expected to be raised during the deliberation of the seminar are-

To focus the various issues pertaining to the particularly vulnerable tribal groups of or the Indigenous communities NE India, to understand the traditional practices of indigenous communities of the NE India Region and their role in Biodiversity conservation, to identify the various traditional practices of indigenous communities which upholds the Natural Resource Management system, to bring forth the issues related to Land right and indigenous community, to explore the various indigenous religious practices, values and ethics of NE India, to identify the threats and challenges of the practice and preservation of the traditional knowledge, folklore and folk culture of the indigenous communities of NE India, to initiate a resourceful discourse on customary law, institution, society and rights of the indigenous communities of the region and to open discourse on gender issues, indigenous community and protection of right of NE India.

Besides, to throw light on various issues pertaining to Perception and reality of safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities of northeast.

Apart from that, also to focus on some broader issues like, demography, development and overt challenges pertaining to the indigenous communities.

Q. The local communities are often found to be fighting for their rights as the ‘outsider’ has emerged as a big threat. What are the possible measures that you believe could be taken to safeguard the interest of the indigenous communities as well as not disrespecting the human rights of the migrants, if we can call them that.

Ans: A separate subtheme on ‘Identity Issues and safeguarding the rights of indigenous communities of North East India’ has already been assigned for the seminar. Similarly a full ‘Technical Session’ of the seminar would be exclusively dedicated for deliberation on this theme.

Q. Are we expecting some heated deliberations during the event?

Ans: Yes, of course. We are expecting a few.

Q. what are the other co-curricular activities you encourage among your students?

Ans: The students of the college are always encouraged to participate in various co-curricular activities for their physical, mental and spiritual upliftment. The students’ union society and different forums of the college shoulders the responsibility of organising literary and cultural activities, games and sports, debate and symposiums among others. Similarly coaching camps, trainings, workshops are regularly organized to grow the students at par in various co-curricular activities.

The NCC Unit of the college are has been active since the day of its inception. Currently the college has two units of NCC, one each for Army and Air Wing. The students enrolled in the NCC regularly participating in various camps, including Republic Day parade at New Delhi.

Moreover, the NSS unit of the college also encourages the students to participate in various social service activities and awareness programme.

In order to expose the students to various co – curriculum subjects the college has been regularly organizing various events in the campus. One of them is ‘Dr Dhanjit Medhi Memorial Talk’, which is organized in memory of its founder Principal in-charge, where the college invites renowned personalities of various fields. This year the college invited the renowned environmentalist and popularly known as ‘Forest Man of India’, Padmashree Jadav Payeng to deliver the talk.

Similarly the college also organizes a North East India Inter College Debating Competition on a regular manner.

About TNM NewsDesk


The News Mill is a Guwahati-based digital media with focus on content from across Northeast India and beyond. We can be reached through editor@thenewsmill.com


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