Imphal: North East is the centre of cultural gravity of India, there are many things that the rest of Indian states should learn from this region, the Member of Parliament Rakesh Sinha (Rajya Sabha) stated this addressing the gathering at the two-day-long National Symposium at Manipur's Imphal started from today.
It is to be noted that the National Symposium on Revisiting Colonial Legacy is jointly organised by the Intellectual Forum of North East; Dhanamanjuri University, Imphal and Department of Social Work, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Regional Campus Manipur, Makhan Village; Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University today at G.P Women’s College, DM University, Imphal.
While highlighting the need to protect the cultural identity, MP Rakesh Sinha, who is also the Member of ICSSR (Indian Council of Social Science Research), said that more than seven decades of independence, the entire Northeastern region has been exploited and marginalised. Indian should learn true nationalism, cultural unity and women empowerment from the northeast. There is no need for mainstreaming of the region.
Rakesh Sinha said after independence, “Mountbatten was appointed as the Governor General of India on 15 August 1947. The appointment of a foreigner as the First Governor General of India was made to protect the dignity of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. The book of history for transferring of power transfer is missing. Till the year 2014, there was an imitation of British rule in the country although there was no British rule. In order to decode the history of colonial legacy, we need to understand the people who are conspiring to harm the nation”.
KG Balakrishnan, Former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, emphasised the need to examine and revisit the colonial legacies in order to better understand the present political scenario.
He also said that colonialism or colonial rule was a historical phenomenon: conquest, emigration and subjugation happened in history. Colonialism is the establishment and maintenance for an extended term of rule over an alien people that is separate from and subordinate to the ruling power. Colonialism means domination of an alien minority, administrators, businessmen and soldiers asserting their racial and cultural superiority over the subjugated people.
Also, Professor, Kuldip Chand Agnihotri, Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh, said we all should try to understand ourselves with a case study, and stop saluting imposter historian and sociologists who infuse false ideas and ideals through their books and research.
Indian history will be a complete one only when the contributions of North East, North West and South Indian were included, otherwise it will remain as North Indian history, said Kuldeep, while adding that the western society and Indian society are two different entities- the last unit of a society in the western world is individual while it is the family in the Indian society. So, western always talk about individual rights while the Indians fight for the family rights.
J Nandakumar, National Convenor of Pragya Pravah said that as a colonial impact our art forms were also connected with colonial masters. What is happening in the country is the “blur view of the colonial era”. We are not concentrating on our potentials to unite the country.
The seed of British colonialism in the region of present-day Northeast India was sown with the treaty of Yandaboo signed between the King of Ava and the British on 24 February 1826 started the British rule in Assam. In 1830, Cachar came under British jurisdiction. Subsequently, in 1854 the hill areas of Cachar were annexed followed by Lakhimpur in 1835 and Sylhet in 1858. Manipur had retained its status as an independent region (princely state), as well as the Khasi Hills, but Jaintia Hills came under the British in 1835. The Naga Hills was finally annexed as a district in 1866, followed by the Garo Hills in 1869. The “Chin-Lushai Expedition” of 1889-1890 by the British Government finally led to the colonial permanent occupation of Lushai Hills. Manipur also eventually came under British rule following the defeat in Anglo Manipuri War of 1891. In the early 18th Century, the British Empire sought to establish trade routes with Tibet leading Sikkim to fall under British suzerainty. So, the whole of the region of present-day Northeast India (NEI) formed originally by seven states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Manipur, and Sikkim had been under British colonialism staring from varied times in the first quarter of the nineteenth century till independence in 1947, Nandakumar said.
Similarly, Radheshyam Singh, Minister of Education and Labour and Empowerment, Government of Manipur said while addressing his chief Guest Speech that British ruled the country with divide and rule policy, they destroy the economy and culture of the country during their rule.
Nowadays modern education has become a system, however, we should object if the education system destroys the cultural and social identity of our society, the Minister said while highlighting the urgent need to protect diminishing culture and identity of marginalised section of the society.
The time-honoured consciousness in the region undergoes a colossal transformation with the colonisation of the region. The existing ways of life have been severely disrupted leading to the near extinction of many of its cultural and ideological aspects after coming into contact and interact with the emergent ways of life brought about by the colonisers. The colonial administrators exploited the local subjects and resources in order to fulfil their own interests. Ethnicity and various divisive measures were also introduced as administrative policy with far-reaching consequences. The colonial administration utilized the services of the Christian missionaries to legitimize their rule over the conquered people. In the process, the colonisers outrightly rejected the native cultural practices including the belief system as ‘heathen’, ‘barbaric’, and ‘uncivilised’. This transformation compelled the native population to struggle to acclimatise to the new order that benefits the colonial masters, said the Minister.