From a Correspondent
DULIAJAN, September 26: A two-day UGC sponsored tiol semir was held at Duliajan College recently on the theme ‘Democracy, Human Rights and tion Building in India: Issues and Challenges’. Patricia Mukhim, the editor of Shillong Times, was the keynote speaker of the semir.
In her keynote speech, Mukhim dwelt at length on the concepts of democracy, human rights and tion building and said that the very definition of democracy did not apply in the true sense in a country like India where laws like AFSPA were still in force in several States of the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir. She was critical of such oppressive measures of the Indian state in the me of containing militancy and opined that without protection of human rights and fundamental freedom, there can be no democracy in any meaningful sense. She added that a rights-based approach to democracy grounded in the rule of law was the strongest safeguard against human rights abuses.
Referring to the definition of tion in Wikipedia as a large body of people united by common descent, history, culture or language and inhabiting a particular state or territory, she called it problematic as far as India was concerned. She said that the country was inhabited by different racial groups with no common descent. They each have their own ‘unique’ histories, unique cultures, and languages and in such a backdrop, it was difficult to develop a sense of community among people cutting across linguistic, racial, cultural and regiol divides. She remarked that if the diversity of India was not respected, the tion building project itself was at risk.
The iugural session of the semir was chaired by Dr Girin Phukon, former Professor in the Political Science department of Dibrugarh University and tiol Fellow, ICSSR. The semir was well attended by more than 100 participants. The participants comprised of research scholars, college teachers and students. A total of 50 papers were presented in the semir.