~By Gitismita Das
The north east is one of the most beautiful and mysterious parts of india and the least explored and understood. This is a land of scenic beauty. Its a terrain of located by hills and rivers, these states fall in the category of Easters Himalayan ranges and Patkai-Naga hills along with Brahmaputra-Barak river system and valley plains. The hills basins is a mixture of mountain ranges, plateaus, low hills and valleys. Rich in natural resources and flora and fauna, the region is a gateway to east and South-East Asia. The region is mostly multi-dymantional in nature. The term “urban revolution” was introduced in the 1930s by V. Gordon Childe, from this different scholar & activist redefined the term suitable to their respective region. Urban revolution in the North-East seem to be based on the question of autonomy, territory, political power, self-determination and even sovereignty. These variables are some of the intrinsic components of various revolutions in India’s North-East. These factors are often seen as the basic sources of protecting ethnic boundaries, promoting socio-cultural and economic development, preserving the very political rights of ethnic communities. Assertions for autonomy, power, sovereignty, etc. In the North-East by various communities often inflicted towards inter-ethnic clashes, ethnic cleansing often challenging the very security question of whole northeastern common people.
The Indian North-East is a hotspot of multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic, multitribes diversity. It’s a land of heterogeneity, instead of the peaceful, artistic, innocent land of the people this heterogeneous character create severe problems from time to time. Due to because of it’s strategic location geo-politics has been started. The gratitude of this urban revolution happening gradually because of the reluctant and indifferent attitude showing by the government machinery towards the region. It seems that the government does not even value indigenous people’s emotions in this region.
Key Words :
Urban Revolution, North- East, British, Indian Government, Strategic Location.
Ever since the British occupation Northeast is administered by the old traditional norms. That time whole seven sister was in one. Sikkim has agglomerates after 1975 and a combination of these eight states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim are eight state known as the Northeastern region. Before coming up with the British the urbanization process in northeast India was very stagnant. A kind of slow and steady growth of urbanization was started with the coming of the British. The signing of the Yandabu treaty in 1826 paved the way for the British to enter directly into the Socio-economic system of Assam. With their expansionist policy, they gradually annex all the territory of the NE region, through this annexation the process of modernization and urban revolution also started. People started to earn knowledge about technological know-how.
The region has remained isolated from the remainder of the country as a result of its location and tract and has didn’t secure equal advantages within the method of development. This has resulted in social-political disturbances and unrest for a few years. While the region has a lower level of industrial and economic development.
Understanding the regional urban revolution of NE:
After independence the process of urbanization moving first. By the set up of modern Political Institutions economic and Intellectual innovation also started to taking place. But the process of urban revolution in northeast India is still a pathetic condition, it’s still a slow process as compared to mainland India.
Causes for backwardness: There are some reasons for the backwardness of urbanization, which can be mentioned as below-
- Landlock position of the region: North- East situated in a land lock region. This place is totally disconnected from the sea. But the sea is always playing an important role in trade and commerce.
- Poor marketing facilities and slow growth of industrialization: There is also a lack of adequate marketing facilities in this region. The northeast is often Started as the supplier of raw materials.
- Heterogeneous society: The existence of different inhabitants makes the social set up more complex. Different inhabitants still followed their age-old traditions and practices.
- Low resource utilization: Although the northeast is rich in natural resources, its level of utilization is very pathetic.
- Poor foreign direct investment: FDI is an important pillar to bring urbanization with the technological revolution, in comparison to other parts of mainland India. FDI is very low in this region which is less than 2%”(approximate).
Petroleum and tea are two significant resources harnessed in the region. At the same time, agriculture, horticulture, and handloom continue to be the main activities of these states. After coming with the British they have explored the tea estates of Assam and they have seen the huge potential with this. Interestingly they have welcomed foreigners from other states by the means of inter-state migration. Coming of the different culture, language speaking people the demography of whole North-East (NEFA at that time) has been changed. Buck of the people from Bihar getting a job under British supervision in tea estates. Road construction because they are known as hard-working people. Britishers identified northeastern people as some laziness they have, even today as well Assamese people reluctant to do some works. So by the process of Britishers inter-state migration demography of whole northeast has to change. And in a later phase, it has created vote bank politics in the northeast.
Obviously, the virgin and fertile soil of North-East had attracted a large number of people coming from mostly the state of Odisha. Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Bihar. And this assimilation process has created identity conflict. We have seen different social mobilization such as the Naga movement, Mizo movement, different autonomous movements in these eight states. And slowly this process has been moved towards the Urban revolution because the skeptical attitudes have grown against plain people. The tribal people of the hilly area think that plain people are not given equal opportunity to all. Even most of the hilly area doesn’t have any school. Mainland India also identifies backward and doesn’t give as much importance to any issues of the northeastern region.
The motive of ULFA and NSCN in some way looks like the same. Through the movement of NSCN Nagaland has trying to become a sovereign nation by combining the naga people of all parts, the movement known as greater Nagalim. The ULFA also fights for the same independent thinking. The urban revolution basically started because of the otherness viewpoint showing by the center. The movement against NHPC plans to commission Subansiri project along with Assam- Arunachal, government promise Assam will be retrieved 24×7 electricity power but it is a probable downstream effect over Brahmaputra river. Assam is known as the valley of Barak and Brahmaputra river. If such a big dam project over the Brahmaputra river constructed it has posing question of livelihood specifically for the indigenous people of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and the different region as it is a transboundary river.
Nevertheless, North East is not a region which familiar with urbanization, it’s a terrain of surrounding hills, rivers, abundant forest resources. The huge natural reservoirs are there but the sources which have utilized them monopolies over local people. So urbanization in North East is a somewhat undemocratic process, which is opposing people’s consent throughout the revolutionary process has evolved. BTC in another sense holding a revolutionary process for their statehood. But it intensifies political autonomy as well as educational, economic, commercial in the sense trading by the construction of road, and all these lead to the social upliftment of the Bodo people living in the Bodoland area.
Arunachal has a huge cultural affinity and the biggest tourist possibilities, despite that Arunachal is no less modern in any measure than many other states of India. In the area of modern education and administration, Arunachal has taken long strides in recent years. This is the Cause of serious transport and communication problems in the state due to its topography and climate. The presence of women has been quite visible in various fields, including education. There are a lot of captivating places in the state. Meghalaya has very development in institutional in terms of different higher educational hub regardless of that the ratio of dominating other people is much higher than the local people. Manipur on the other hand has been the principal overland trade route to South East Asia gives it a unique advantage and importance in the country. Loktak lake, the main beauty attraction of the state, environmentalists expressed concern over the deteriorating condition of the hydroelectric power project. The Doyang area of Nagaland also having the same problem with the hydroelectric power project which has create severe disturbances in the local people because they do not even get a proper supply of electricity. It looks like the “drain of wealth” once proposed by eminent personality Dadavai Naoroji.
The ILP(Inner Line Permit) in another sense introduce by the British In the run-up to the likely introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill during the current session of Parliament, the concept of Inner Line Permit has been part of the conversation. The railway system which is known as the biggest trading route in India, itself it’s doesn’t even touch the many parts of North-East. The ILP actually segregated the communication system of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram from mainland India.
The strategic position of the northeast has become the center of attraction, the geo-politics has carried by the central government more significant in this region. Accordingly, Act East policy has been introduced and the northeast figures out a significant hub for this. During the time of the 2nd world war, the Stilwell Road was constructed as a tactical military route. Northeast seems like a hotspot trade passing by the Indian state to the neighboring country for since long.
The story of the northeast is a story of neglect. Issues like the flood in Assam, severe illegal immigrants from Bangladesh into Assam Tripura Meghalaya, border issues do not captivate much preference by central revolution. The entire area is hilly and full of tribes, more than 200. To escape diseases and dangers from headhunting, the tribes lived on higher mountain areas, developed their own dialects and customs and identities, and remained isolated for a long time. The British never ruled them in the true sense but the missionaries risked their lives in bringing them to the mainstream for civilized these peoples. The government on its part has doled out huge chunks of money and thought it has done its duty.
Looking into the discourse of urban revolution in the northeast, the question of security purpose in development parts and economic self-sufficiency has been blurring one. For simultaneous growth of NE is not possible in one particular time period. because of the societal environment, most people are hesitant to do many things. additionally where most people don’t aware of their rights. and the position of this dubiousness of the people fully utilizes by different corporate sectors and multinational companies with the supportive hand of the government body. as it is a huge probable natural reserve area, we should have to restrain it by giving the priority to local people. In this respect, EIA draft 2020 should denial by the government machinery. The resource should be consuming for sustainable production and consumption.
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- Chaube, S.K. (2012) Hill Politics in Northeast India, Third Edition; ISBN : 978 81 250 4550 2
- Gait, E. (2008) A HISTORY OF ASSAM, EBH Publishers(India)
- Chinai, H. (2018) Understanding India’s Northeast – A Reporter’s Journal