Deboleena Sengupta invokes her personal experiences and contemporary politics while reviewing the Netflix film Axone.Continue reading “The desire to eat, and eat unapologetically: reflections on the meaning of home via Axone”
On 30th July 2018, the government of Assam , a state in the Indian North-Est, published a National Register of Citizens. Of its residents, 4,000,000 people and counting did not find their names on the Register.
Amid fears about the fate of these people, the real and increasing concern around statelessness, the modalities of having separate citizenship registers within a federal structure, and the history of the Assam Accord: CRG sought to lay bare the issues at stake in a roundtable discussion.
Prof. Ranabir Samaddar, Distinguished Chair, Migration and Forced Migration Studies, was joined in a roundtable discussion by eminent journalist Mr. Subir Bhaumik, and Prof. Samir Das, Professor of Political Science at the University of Calcutta. Mr. Rajat Ray, senior journalist, moderated the discussion.
[As a part of my research on Conflict and Social Governance in North East India (Principal researcher Prof. Paula Banerjee), I went to Nagaland for 10 days between May 1 and May 10, 2017.[i] This field report, written immediately after coming back from Nagaland is based on interviews and informal conversations conducted in Dimapur and Kohima.]
It was 7pm on a Monday, when I came out of the office of Morung Express, a well circulated daily of Nagaland, after interacting with one of their journalists, Aheli Moitra. Morung Express has provided a platform to scholars and activists involved in the new protest movements within the state. It was the first day of my field visit and also the first time when fear gripped me. Completely immersed in darkness, the road ahead was deserted, with no transport in sight. Aheli was unperturbed and helped me get an auto, which charged almost double to commute back to the hotel. Answering my protests to the increased fare, the driver said in Hindi, if translated which means, “It’s not safe here madam in the evenings, and you won’t find transport to take you back, so I am charging you double”. “Why”? I asked. “Things are much better now, so why do you say it’s still unsafe”? “Madam, there is no guarantee and the people here (read Nagas) always target the outsiders like us”. The auto driver, Shambhu, was a resident of Bihar. I reflected back to my conversation with Aheli on the same evening, some time back. Aheli is a Bengali by birth, and has been raised in various parts of India, which prompted me to ask, where does she situate herself in the state? Does she feel safe being an ‘outsider’ there? Her answer was, “Of course. More than I would in Bengal. There are no problems in Nagaland, especially regarding the safety of women. There is not a single problem that I have faced in my last three years in the state. I am happy with my work here. Only at times I crave to go back to the proper city life as everything is so quiet here”. From my experience of touring Nagaland in the next ten days, I had to agree with Aheli. I was helped by every stranger I met and interacted with, although a nagging discomfort of working on a subject that rarely evokes empathy remained through out the field work. Continue reading “Through my Lens: Field Notes from a Trip to Nagaland in May 2017”