Search This Blog

Historians to bridge knowledge gap on NE

SHILLONG, Sept 3  – Concerned over a knowledge gap about the North East over decades that has created stereotypes and increased misunderstandings, historians and scholars met here to consider the development of a syllabi and teaching tools on the region for undergraduate and postgraduate students across the country.

Organised by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, in collaboration with the ICSSR-NERC in Shillong and the National Book Trust, India, the scholars met over two days to consider the gaps in history teaching as well as broader areas of knowledge about the region in university curricula and in schools.

Existing literature and curricula in universities, including teaching of the NE region within the region, were also reviewed.

“This is an effort by historians and social scientists from the region and elsewhere to meet a widely expressed need for inclusion of its history in curricula across India, plug gaps where possible, put correctives in places where needed and create opportunities for developing and teaching a history of the region in the general curricula,” said the colloquium.

The meeting stressed that modest ‘do-able’ goals needed to be set. This is in the background of decades of neglect of the region’s history and different perspectives in the NE region about these histories.

The proposed areas include the development of readers and the framing of an ‘Introduction to the History of the North East’. This could be a basic foundation course for universities across the country, starting with Central universities under the aegis of the University Grants Commission.

Future meetings would be held in the NE region and Delhi to finalise the work in progress. The UGC was represented by Dr Mohammad Arif, Joint Secretary, and the initiative is that of the CNESPR of Jamia which has completed two publications on little known fighters against the Raj, including one of Meghalaya.

The event was curated by Prof Sanjoy Hazarika, Director of the North East Centre at Jamia and those who took part in the discussions included Prof David Syiemlieh, former Vice Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University, Prof FA Qadri, Head, History Department, NEHU, Prof Rizwan Qaiser, Head, History Dept, Jamia, Dr Mukul Kesavan of Jamia, Dr CJ Thomas, Deputy Director, ICSSR-NERC, Prof Samir Das of Calcutta University, Prof Imdad Hussain, formerly of NEHU, Prof L Gassah from Dept of Political Science and Prof Manorama Sharma, History Dept at NEHU, Prof Sheila Bora, currently with Women’s Studies in Gauhati University and earlier with the History Department at Dibrugarh University as well as Prof N Venuh of Nagaland University, Dr Salam Irene, Head of History Department, Manipur University, Prof SN Singh of Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal, Prof Sukhendu Debbarma, Tripura University, Dr Ritu Thaosen of Cotton College State University, Prof Sajal Nag of Assam University, Dr Joy Pachau, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Dr Arupjyoti Saikia, IIT Guwahati, and Dr Lalngurliana Sailo of Mizoram University. It was stated in a press release.