175+ Years of Media in Assam and Beyond
Issues of Northeast and Role of Media
The issues of Northeast India are many and as diversified as its people here in this part of the region. The region has been named and renamed from time to time depending upon the power of its rulers and negotiated and renegotiated its boundaries as it was known for.
The inhabitants were branded as ferocious and because of its difficult terrain were inaccessible to many. The existence of ‘Pragjytoishpur’ or Kamrup was even found in prehistoric era and has found its place in the epics of ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’.
However, the predominant land of Bangal and its people has hardly been found in any of the epic or subsequent historical records. This is because, even about 1000 years before the Christian era, the greater part of lower Bengal were under the sea, whereas the greater part of northern Bengal were included in Pragjytosihpur.
From the epigraphic records it is possible to trace down the unbroken genealogy of ‘Kamrupa Kings’, (from the middle of the fourth century A.D. down to the 12th Century A.D) over a period of nearly 900 years. A few of the old ancient Hindu kingdom can present such genealogical records covering such a long period .
The Genesis of issues of present day Northeast i.e erstwhile ‘Pragjyotishpoor’ or ‘Kamrupa’ lies on framing its borders and people under different nomenclature at different times. The Northeast part of India known as ‘Seven sisters’ at times, have again been christened as “Asta Lakshmi” as on today with the inclusion of Sikkim.
The changes of borders of this part of the region from the prehistoric period of independent ‘Pragjyotishpur-Kamrup’ to ‘Kamatapur-Saumara’ to present day status are to benefit those in power. At times due to administrative reasons it was made under Bengal province and at times under Burma. However the ethos of the northeastern people remained same. The Northeast people are attached by a common cord, culture and a living style which are different than the mainland India.
Despite of this common umbilical thread, at times the border disputes are created to divide the age old relationship among the northeast people. Another pertinent issue is the language and its script they use. The Northeast India is a home to around 200 communities and they have their own language to communicate. Some of them have their own script like the Assamese. Some have taken Devanagari as their script whereas others have taken Hindi, Bengali or Roman as their script.
The fault line of northeast has its history in these offing issues that lasted till date. The primary issues of northeast lies in geo-political issues of its border, protection of its identity, culture and language. If these issues are fairly addressed the present day imbroglio of Northeastern part of India wouldn’t have been the same. The northeast would have been as prosperous as Gujarat or Maharastra and bear the potential as the hub of business activities of Southeast Asian region.
The story of publishing was equally enthralling by none other than an American Baptist Missionary Mr. Nathan Brown 175 years ago. It was a great voyage of Nathan Brown and his wife, a missionary, in the year 1844, to bring printing press machinery through Brahmaputra to Sadia and than in Sivasagar, to establish the first printing press or the sole media outlet in Assam.
It was a massive effort and a herculean task by none other than Nathan Brown to establish the identity of Assamese Language, its Script and people. Before that, in the year 1834, again for the administrative benefit of the British and with the help of ‘Bongal’ (Read Foreigner) that brought from Bengal, Bengali Language was imposed as the medium of instruction in schools and colleges and for all official purposes. From 1834 to the year 1873, Bengali language and its culture eclipsed the Assamese language and so their culture, and tradition.
The tyranny continues as a medium in Middle and High Schools in Assam till the year 1903. At the beginning, the imposition didn’t invoke any protest rather the Assamese elites used in their writings as well as in their day to day conversation and the language policy of the Government went unquestioned for almost a decade. The initial protest came from American Baptist Missionaries and subsequently a section of Assamese elite joined in.
From the voyage of Brown over Brahmaputra along with printing machines and subsequent transformation of platforms i.e establishing Radio stations after 1947, Introduction of HAM radio, establishment of electronic media ‘Doordarshan” in the year 1982, establishment of satellite news editions simultaneously from 2-3 locations, establishment of Private electronic private channel NE TV in year 2004, to the present day digital media platforms; Media in Northeast has played its constructive role towards formation of a cohesive Northeast. The genesis of all the problems lies in the colonial past and it does not exonerate post 1947 politics.
Key words: Geo-political reorganization; Identity, Information Deficit; Indigenous, Pride, Common Thread, ‘Bongal Kheda’, Immigration and Influx, Protest, Violence, Selective silence, 5th Schedule, Sixth Schedule, Treaties
The issues of Northeast are many, however the prime and foremost is the identity of its indigenous people and protection of their culture, language and land. The genesis of all the problems that the region has been facing dates back to its boundary, identity and its culture.
300 years under Varman Dynasty, 200 years under Pala dynasty, around 250 years under Koch dynasty, 600 years under Ahom dynasty and an over a period 100 years under the British rule, a strong linage of Kamrup-Kamata-Assamese culture and tradition was ascertained steadily which underwent restructuring occasionally. While the rulers have changed from time to time the lineage of the land and its people continues.
The tantric rituals practiced by people were incorporated as a sect as ‘Shakti Cult’ in Hindu and as ‘Tantric Buddhism’ in Buddhist faith. Later, Mahapurush Srimanta Shankardeva(1449-1568) has introduced Vaishnav movement, which gave remarkable shape to the Assamese culture. After 200 years of Sharkadeva, Azan Peer, a Sufi saint came from Baghdad and settled in Sivasagar, where he helped to unify the people of Brahmaputra Valley.
Azan Peer introduced Zikir and Zari, two forms of devotional songs induced with local musical traditions, which has striking similarities with ‘Borgeet’ of Shankardeva. With this backdrop the socio-cultural collage of northeast and that of Assam has been formed.
The present day Assam is mainly a mixture of Aryan and Ahom descendants and various tribes like Mishing, Deori, Kachari, Dimasa, Karbi, Bodo, Garo,Chutia, phake etc are with their own vibrant culture and tradition has formed the base of a greater Assamese population. However, the concept of Kamrup is much larger in dimension compared to the Assamese nationalism.
Like Assam, there are identity issues in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram despite of elevation to 6th Schedule state, protecting the tribal land and its culture. Tripura is another state where large scale influx from Bangladesh has made the indigenous Tripuri tribe a minority. The indigenous Tripuri tribes are fighting for their rights in their own ancestral land.
In Arunachal Pradesh, there are issues Chakma, Hajong and Tibetan refugees despite of protective laws in Place. There are three major tribes in Meghalaya i.e Garo, Jayantia and Khasi. Though Meghalaya is six schedule state, there are issues of power stated under 12 (A) of sixth schedule. Moreover there are issues of Influx too. In the Selsella block of west Garo Hill district, a major chunk of population immigrated and settled there.
Again in the west Garo hills illegal immigrates settled despite the prohibition order by the Chief of Land- Nokma. The influx not only changes the demographic patter but also influences cultural assimilation, which in turn affects their customs, food habits and the way of living. This is pertinent to mention that before 1900, the Garos used Bengali script in their schools and the American Baptist Missionaries have introduce the Roman Script in 1902, to do away the influence of Bengali culture.
In Nagaland they have their own set of Issues and they are fighting for the Naga cause and signed a framework agreement with the Government of India. There are many other issues that the Nagas used to suffer but the prime is to create a land of Nagas as Nagalim,including areas of Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh.
Likewise the Luchai hills i.e. Mizoram has issues of Lack of road connectivity, Border disputes and the infamous famine known as Mautam Famin that gave a shape of a statehood under the leadership of Laldenga. The issues of illegal Influx from Bangladesh is a major concern.
Manipur is facing many issues — both internal and national — i.e Illegal influx, insurgency issues, imposition of draconian AFSPA in the year 1970, Border disputes, Inner Line Permit and Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Etc. and so on.
The Northeast and its people have its genesis from age old period. British have rightly made specific provisions to safeguard the rights and interest of indigenous tribal people and the territories predominantly inhabited by them as Tribal areas, particularly excluded areas and excluded areas under Government of India Act 1935.
During the transfer of power, the constituent assembly of India has set up a sub-committee under the chairmanship of Gopinath Bordoloi, to advise the constituent assembly on the tribal affairs in the Northeast.
Based on the recommendations by various advisory committees, the indigenous tribal predominance in the northeast hill areas given the right to the autonomous district under 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution and the remaining Indigenous tribals aeras were given consultative status to safeguard the tribal rights and interest through Tribal advisory councils in all states throughout the country under 5th Schedule.
Despite the constitutional Status as sixth schedule states i.e The Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland and some districts of Assam under six Schedules Status, the plight of the indigenous people are not over. Other constitutional protection like Bengal Eastern Frontier regulation 1873, Assam Frontier (Administration and Justice) Regulation 1945 and Foreigners Protected Area order, 1958 are in force in Arunachal Pradesh.
In Meghalaya in addition to the sixth schedule status, the Meghalaya Resident permit Bill of 1979, the Meghalaya Resident bill 1985, the Meghalaya Resident safety and security rule 2017, Benami Amendment 2016 etc are in place, but fails to provide the desired results. In Assam too, for protection of tribal areas, tribal belts were notified where non-tribal people cannot buy any land.
Despite of all these laws in place, the people of Northeast has continuously losing their land and resources to the immigrants and the migrants. The trend transformed the place into a ‘resource wars’. Invasion, Political and cultural assault, extreme violence are becoming the order of the day.
The people of Northeast demanding their ‘prior rights’ to live where they always have been lived and the way they choose and control all the decisions pertaining to their land and its resources. The land bears only economic potentials for some but for the indigenous northeaster people they treat their land as cultural home as primary and economic potentials as secondary.
It is in these backdrops, the issues of Northeast has been widening to the present scenario that leads to a portrait of all the headlines like secession, insurgency, Bomb blast, Mass killing, Border disputes, Protests, agitations, that it has been known for.
The northeast Indian media is ensnared with a large number of factors and generated ensuing perceptions on the region and its people. The media is found entrapped with a number of political, security, military and administrative barricades and state specific policy decisions. The situation resulted in a variety of contrasting interpretations of generating stereotypes and under-reporting development.
The media content is determined by the size is of location specific readership and on superficial ethno-political and identity issues. There is a strong need to re-understand the lacuna in priority areas, coverage patterns, understanding ownership access and influence, role of revenue model, information deficit, and a number of other factors in comprehending the role of Media in the NE region.
175 years after the exemplary role played by Nathan Brown and his fellow American Baptist Missionaries, Assam and the Northeast region is still ensnared in the veil of selective silence to the rest of the world. The public media organisations generally busy upholding the people in power rather than trying to understand the true spirit of the region and its people.
As there are problems of under-development, landlocked conditions, varieties of conflicts, the contested form of media representation of the NE India has resulted in over reporting of violence and under reporting of the region. The role of news media, in the prevailing context, didn’t rise beyond reportage based on parameters of violence and security alone
Issues and Role of Media :
The northeast represents heterogeneity at its extreme with its high level of ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversities. The region exhibits multiplicity of socio-political instability and economic backwardness which is believed to have retarded the process of development in northeast. There are more than 200 ethnic communities that bear their own custom, legacy and lineage.
Some of the communities’ populations are very insignificant that can make enough impact in a democracy leading to a chance of political powers to exploit the situations. This is where media plays its role. As Malcom X Says’ the media is the most powerful entity on earth.
They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent. Media has been a tool that has proven to influence the minds, ideas, behaviours and attitudes of the masses. Thus it is imminent that Media could be an instrument which could foster change.
However, the major incidents of the northeast that hog the media attention can be summarized as follows.
|Sl No||Incidents that Hog the media attention||Place||Type|
|1||GS Road incident July, 2012||Assam||Violence|
|2||BTAD riots in 2012 (Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri Violence)||Assam||Violence|
|3||Ganeshguri serial blasts on 30 October 2008||Assam||Violence|
|4||Brahmaputra dam issue/protests/KMSS protests||Assam||Agitation|
|5||Rhino poaching||Assam||Wild Life|
|6||Agitation against Lower Subansiri Hydro Electric Power Project||Assam||Protest|
|7||Bhupen Hazarika’s death on 5th November 2011 funeral/cremation||Assam||Culture|
|8||Floods in Brahmaputra and Barak Valley||Assam||Natural Calamity|
|9||Beltola violence of November 2007||Assam||Violence|
|10||Dhing Express Hima Das||Assam||Success Story|
|11||Japanese official in Assam looking for their forefather’s remains of WWII||Assam||International Relations|
|12||2011 KMSS protest at Dispur/Akhil Gogoi Protest||Assam||Protest|
|13||MLA Rumi Nath abused by public||Assam||Political scandal|
|14||Assam Agitation/Implementation of Cluase-6||Assam||Protest|
|16||Insurgency/Infiltration/D- voters issue in Assam||Assam||Insurgency|
|17||Dhubri boat accident in April 2012||Assam||Accident|
|18||Hindi speaking people attacked||Assam||Violence|
|19||Anup Chetia/ULFA leaders/Peace Talks||Assam||Insurgency|
|20||Louis Berger scandal||Assam||Political|
|21||Karbi Anglong Mob Lynching incident||Assam||Violence|
|22||Namami Brahmaputra/ Namami Barak||Assam||Promotional /Tourism|
|23||Advantage Assam / Global investors Summit||Assam||Investment|
|24||Rima Das’s Directional debut Village rockstars||Assam||Success Story|
|25||Sarada fraud case-involvement of ministers||Assam||Political scandal|
|26||Separate state demands in Assam and Nagaland/related violence||Assam||Violence|
|27||Irom Chanu Sharmila’s fast/anti-AFSPA campaign in Manipur||Manipur||Protest|
|28||Thangjam Manoramam’s killing and subsequent protests in July 2004||Manipur||Protest|
|29||Nude Woman proetst in Manipur against rape||Manipur||Protest|
|30||Mary Kom winning an Olympic Medal||Manipur||Sports|
|31||Matrilineal culture of Meghalaya||Meghalaya||Culture|
|32||Garo – Rabha conflict along Assam – Meghalaya border||Meghalaya||Violence|
|33||Peace talks and Framework agreement with Naga Outfits||Nagaland||Peace talks|
|34||Helicopter crash of Arunachal CM||Arunachal Pradesh||Accident|
|35||Issues of Chakma, Hazong and Tibetian refugees||Arunachal Pradesh||Political|
|37||Bru-Reang Refugees||Mizoram / Tripura||Ethnic tensions|
|38||Pro NRC and CAA movement||Tripura||Agitations|
|39||Asian car rally||Northeast||International Relations|
|40||Implementation of NRC||Northeast||Protest|
|41||Agitations against Citizenship (Amendment) Act-2019||Northeast||Protest|
|42||Border Disputes with Assam||Mizoram||Violence|
The above list indicates the fault lines that has been inherited in its divided past. For the benefit of governance, the region has been divided, organised, attached with other province and again reorganized to suit their purpose. The genesis of all issues lies in their administrative reorganisation and encouraging immigration to suit their governance.
The British policy continues and does not absolve post 1947 politics. The region couldn’t progress because of the ineffective policies of the ruler and not because of its people. The people of northeast have close proximities with South-east- Asian countries. Ninety eight percent of India’s international borders exist in Northeast. The erstwhile Look-east policy christened as Act-east Policy is in place.
However, a sizable portion of business with southeast-Asian countries takes place through Chennai. The reason behind the business initiatives are a) early migration of Tamil people to south east Asia 2) access to sea port at Chennai and 3) the state of the art business corridors that has been developed in Chennai. With the intent to opening up the borders, the political leadership could have established similar corridors in northeast to tap the emerging market. The chicken neck policies of Government have matched the chicken neck corridors of connectivity, which creates the bottle necks for all developments.
But there are initiatives of improvement of connectivity through Asian Highway (1and 2), Mutlimodal kaladan Road Project and International corridors such as MIEC (Mekong-India Economic Corridor) and Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) connecting Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar too.
The Asian Highway 1 would go through Bangkok – Moreh – Imphal Kohima – Dimapur – Nagaon– Jorabat – Shillong – Dawki – Tamabil – Sylhet – Katchpur– Dhaka – Petrapole – Barasat and Asian Highway 2 would go through Bangkok – Moreh – Imphal =Kohima – Dimapur – Nagaon – Jorabat – Shillong – Dawki – Sylhet – Dhaka – Siliguri – Nepal. Again the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Project- Which would reduce the distance of 1000 KM between kolkata and Aizwal. 500 Km Sea route from Haldia to Sittwe port in Myanmar and than 64 Km International road and another 440 km road in India to connect to Aizwal.
The 3200 km long India-Myanmar-Thailand- Trilateral Highway is worth to mention here. These developments of creating infrastructure like transnational highways and corridors would be futile if the internal business corridors and support infrastructures within northeastern states are not created. A 4000 km Northeast Ring road in the offing and is in a very nascent stage.
Though these initiatives are taking place slowly, adequate stories on such developmental issues, educating the people of their rights and duties, highlighting their problems and prospects, making them aware of their resources and potential would definitely bring in a sea change in the society. It enhances our knowledge about the events taking place all over the world and helps in the exchange of ideas and expression of views at the global stage.
The ancient South Western Silk Road also comes under the purview of Act East policy by Government of India, the northeastern region having common economic interests needs to be revived which can play a role in the Global economy. It is felt that there are information deficit towards disseminating such information to the public at large in this region.
In the Past, the ancient Kamrup was well connected through trade routes with Tibet, China, and Burma (Myanmar). The south-west silk route known as mountainous range connected china, Burma and Kamrup-Assam was an economic lifeline for 1900 years.
The Northeast region took part in the vibrant trade connection that existed between present Assam and South East Asia. There were seven trade points known as ‘Duars’ with neighbouring Bhutam and one trade point known as ‘Kariapar Duar’ through a place called ‘Chouna’ with Tibet too.
Till the 18th Century the Northeast India was self sufficient and the region i.e the Kamrup and post facto Assam was meeting ground for various civilisations. People from South East Asia migrated into this land and settled here and contributed to the formation of the composite Assamese culture.
The Northeasterners as a community has always been very emotional and getting easily, moved by sentiments. News in Assam by all means sensationalised; it is more entertainment than news at times. As mentioned in the above table, the GS Road incident was sensational in nature and the channels were showing diverse images of the same issue with different shades.
Politicians exploit such situations by motivating the masses for their selfish gains. Emotions can be used as a positive force, if encouraged in the right direction. Here again comes the role of media.
In Assam politics, media has played a tremendous role towards dislodging and then formation of effective governments from time to time. Along with it, if media takes on this great social responsibility of creating a sound economy and a progressive social structure, a great positive social change can be predicted.
Another peculiar aspect of news reports from the region was that the media often portrays the incident of violent as acts and situations with facts and figures, but rarely does it do the follow-up stories that focus on the consequences of violence. It is derived that freedom completely lies in the hands of the media makers’ and it apparently is their prerogative to mention any detail or leave out on selective contexts while filing their story.
Assam constitutes a larger population of in the Northeastern region and the city Guwahati is the Gateway to all the state head quarters. The issues faced by Assamese people largely reflect major issues faced by other states.
The aspirations of Assamese people have been subverted for years. The colonial policies of British to bring people for their works and subsequent governments in transferring power to people and on Independent India, has corroborated policies of British to encourage immigrants to earn their mandate to rule the region. The leaders barring one or two have submitted to the will of the power hungry politician since the year of 1937 and the subsequent populist leaders have followed the suit.
The regional parties that formed on the sole objective of deporting the illegal immigrants too started the policies of appeasement of refugees and illegal immigrants. It is the arrogance of a government and their leaders whose empty rhetoric unmatched by caring policies forces detested and deprived Indigenous people to vote with their feet.
The concept of Assam and Assamese has been cut into pieces by commissioned intellectuals who created confusions in the minds of half-baked scholars, to question its very existence. Despite of all that it thrived and survived for years and consciousness of ‘being Assamese’ has been rising. The political leaders over a period of time have often failed to judge the mood of the indigenous people and lead their aspirations of Assamese.
Instead the Government of India has said in the UN floor that “There are no indigenous people in India as India is like a melting pot”. This has the offshoot of Globalisation that may have sufficed that concocted term of ‘Melting Pot’. But then the fire persists and snowballing protests in the streets of Assam, Tripura and other North-eastern states.
Protests as a form of weapon have been practiced here in Assam and Northeast. In fact the first protest in the colonial British rule in Assam was imitated by the American Baptist Missionaries to introduce the Assamese language as a medium of instructions in schools. Most of the Assamese elite by then started communicating in Bengali for a decade.
But later with the help of American Baptist Missionaries like Nathan Brown, some prominent Assamese started voicing their concern and Assamese language and culture has been survived. From then till now, there are numerous agitations, one after another, to establish the very identity and perceived rights. The protests and agitations have resulted creation of regional leaderships but failed to meet the expectations of the people they represent.
The leaders, thus evolved, either become puppet of central leaders or they are convinced by the scripts that has been drafted by some experts sitting at Delhi or advising different state governments as advisors. Their knowledge and degrees are unquestionable but their ground expertise of the region has failed to deliver what the people has been thriving for.
Some national media too echoed in unison of branding Assam Agitation as pro-Hindu or RSS sponsored movement. Even after 36 years after the signing of the accord, the movement has been proved to be neutral and equally addressing issues without any religious biasness. The experts and scholars are yet to come up with statements which proved them to be biased.
The selective silence of such experts on issues of northeast affairs raises eyebrows on their tacit alignment with their masters. The media in Northeast have been highlighting such issues but National media fails to do so.
The assimilation process of ‘being Assamese’ has been on for last few hundred years and the people have been paying due honour who has contributed in the formation of greater Assamese society. The assimilation process started by Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha, has faced various trajectories and evolved to become the present Assamese society.
Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva, the great social reformer and the propounder of Vaishnavite culture, gave due direction to the culture and spirit of the Assamese society. Azan Peer, the Sufi saint helped to unify the people of Brahmaputra Valley. Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla, considered as an Assamese Cultural Icon and regarded as ‘Rupkonwar’.
Assamese people used to celebrate ‘Xilpi Divas’ on 17th January in his honour. Despite of a strong legacy, the ethos of ‘Being Assamese’ has been constantly hammered. The common thread that tries to bind different communities under an umbrella has several loose ends. These loose ends provided a breeding ground for the power mongers to act upon. Media can help in creating a common thread where the communities can hang around and can fight their unified cause.
One of the incidents that hog media headline was the ‘Nude women strike in Manipur against rape’. Now to understand such level of protest to outrage ones modesty in public reveals the highest level of frustrations against the oppressed. Manipuri women have been in forefront in the regions struggles.
In Manipuri folklore, Queen Longthoingambi, Moirang Thoibi (princess of Moirang, in Bishnupur district) and other contemporary women have protected the land, daring death. In 1904, Manipuri women launched the first Nupi Lan (Women’s War) against the British for their subjugation of Manipuri/Meitei men, who were pushed into forced labour.
In 1939, the second Nupi Lan was waged against an artificial famine created by the diversion of our rice. This resulted in immediate reversal of the policy. To understand such form of protest by outraging their modesty, one needs to understand the psyche behind it. People from mainstream India have raised their eyebrows and fails to understand the dogma behind such form of protests. Media have highlighted these stories but needs to highlight the genesis of such level of protests.
Another issue that has affected the north-eastern people are the international treaties that are signed between India and respective countries. They are 1) Treaty : Indira Mujib Treaty 1971 2)1950 India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship 3)The Nehru-Liaquat Agreement of 1950. People at large, are not aware of the treaties that affects their lives. Media have time and often have highlighted the articles but it needs larger media coverage so the person understands it fully.
The role of media in the Northeast, in times of public crisis— i.e disaster management and terror attacks or on identity issues, alignment and realignment of boarders within the states and International boundaries, protests etc. are clearly brought out. In the case of disaster management the role of media is clear and simple— more information is better as it can only help people who are affected, and help manage disasters more effectively.
In the case of terror attacks too, the media reported while moderating the consent at times. Though the media in Northeast have highlighted the identity and border dispute issues from time to time, a pan northeast consensus and cooperation needed to address these issues so that the stakeholder’s interests are protected. Media can raise a platform to discuss issues so that a consensus may be achieved. If this can be achieved, the path of development for northeasterners would propel.
Origin of printing machine can be traced to ‘Phaistos disk’ in 1700 BC, when the symbols were used and the writing mechanism was clay, which was much bulkier and heavier and without any doubt that was an invention at that time .
Whereas Gutenberg’s printing machine with 1455 A.D Germany, had six technological advances like paper, movable type, metallurgy, presses, inks and scripts paper that spreads printing explosively in medieval Europe and later to all other continents.
Likewise. considering all the aspect for last 175 years of media in northeast it can well be narrated that the single act of transporting the printing machinery from Burma to Sadia and than to Sivasagar by the American Baptist Missionaries and to help in establishing the mainstream Assamese Language was an exemplary mission that shaped the history of restoring Assamese language and culture.
A strong lineage of over 2000 years of Kamrup-Kamata-Assam cannot be allowed to put on pyre to douse the spirit and aspiration of Assamese people. The ‘Assamese pride’ has to be rejuvenated by the people and the Media can play an active role on such issues. Issues such as identity and protection of its language and culture, the geo-political reorganiations of its borders are the raison d’être of the greater Assamese society and the mainstream media as well as some experts have failed to understand this.
Today’s media in Northeast have all the technological advances like state-of-the-art printing machine, Radio Network, Electronic Media, Digital and Social media that has the potential to disseminate information to the people in Northeast India and to the rest of the world.
The north-eastern part of India takes pride in its cultural diversity, its flora and fauna, its scenic beauty, potential international borders, higher rank of women in the society etc. that deserves recognition not only at the regional level but also at the national and international levels. But then, the onus is on the regional media to give north-east India the place it deserves.
[Monikangkan Barooah’s article is published in the historical book 175 Years of Media in Assam and Beyond published by Mahabahu on the occasion of 175 Years of Media in Assam]
 Early history of Kamrup by Kanaklal Baruah
 Early history of Kamrup by Kanaklal Baruah
 Chavan, A. (2017) The Other Silk Road. From livehistoryindia.com/snapshot-histories/2017/07/27/the-other-silk-route
 Chauna – Bhuyan, S.K. 1949, Anglo Assamese Relations 1771-1826, Calcutta
 Manipuri women have been at the forefront of region’s struggles by Lourembam ongbi Nganbi
 Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond
1) Indigenous : Published by Indigenous Forum, Assam, 2018
2) Hani Bwsa-Indigenous : Northeast Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, 2019
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