Lectures & Talks
Special Lecture Series on“Act East Policy and North East India”
By Prof. Prabir De
Head of ASEAN-India Centre (AIC), Research and Information System for Developing Countries
22-23 October, 2019
The Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University organized a two days special lecture series on
“Act East Policy and North East India” at Gauhati University on 22-23 October, 2019 wherein Prof. Prabir De, Head of the ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) at Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi under the Ministry of External Affairs. Prof. Prabir De is a noted economist of India and a well-known expert in the field of International trade and Act East Policy.
On the first day, Prof. De delivered his lecture on “The Emerging Bay of Bengal and North East India” on 22nd October, 2019 and interacted with the faculty members, research scholars and students of Political Science Department. In his lecture he highlighted the shift in global significance to the area of Bay of Bengal and International Relations surrounding this region. Bay of Bengal is a potential region of growth, development and regional cooperation and holds great significance in reaching out to the Indo-Pacific region and to the sub-regional arrangements like BIMSTEC, SASEC, BCIM etc. Following this, he primarily stressed the significance of North East India in all these arrangements of sub-regional cooperation and the bottlenecks that exists in filtering down the benefits to these regions which are treated as ‘the ‘potential corridors of India’s Act East Policy’. Prof. De made a point that following the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand-Growth Triangle (IMSGT) Model and ‘sub-nationalist cooperation model’ in the countries of South East Asia, North-East India can be a major beneficiary in India’s Act East Policy. After the address, Prof. De interacted with the research scholars and students and exchanged their understanding on the topic.
On the second day of the Lecture series, Prof. De delivered his address on “Act East and North East: Unlocking the Potentials” on 23rd October, 2019 and the lecture was attended by academicians and economists from the institutions like IIT-Guwahati, Indian Chamber of Commerce, CDPS, NEZine Magazine, Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Mangoldoi College. Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, the Director of the Centre for South East Asian Studies, G.U briefly introduced Prof. Prabir De among the gathered audience and his contributions in the field of India’s Act Policy and North East India. In his initial remarks, Prof. De shared his belief that presently North East India is a ‘relatively darker region’ despite having immense potentials and geo-strategic significance in sub-regional cooperation. He underlined the North East pivot to Act East Policy and the factors make this region pivot in Act East Policy. He highlighted that NE is strategic in the sense that the region is a crucial ‘juncture’ of the sub-regional arrangements like SASEC, BIMSTEC, BBIN, MGC, GMS, BCIM etc. The way forward for the development of the NER is through getting India, CLMV countries and ASEAN act together and supporting and complimenting each other for connectivity and human resource development, sustainability and inclusiveness.
In the post-lecture discussion session, the experts from the audience exchanged ideas and discussed about the benefits that can be made available to the people of these region not being just a facilitator but as a drawer of benefits for the development of the region and benefiting the people and community people of the region.
Golap Borbora Memorial Lecture on "Citizen/Outsider: Law, Citizenship and Belonging"
By Dr. Anupama Roy
07 April, 2019
The C.S.W.C – Golap Borbora Memorial Lecture is organised every year to commemorate the legacy of Former Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Golap Borbora. The lecture series is organised with the purpose of inducing discussions on issues that have critical
implications for society and politics in Assam and beyond. The Centre for South East Asian Studies extended its collaboration for organising the 2019 C.S.W.C –Golap Borbora Memorial Lecture. The collaboration was occasioned because the topic of lecture had a direct relevance with the ambit area around which the Centre has been working. The 2019 edition of the C.S.W.C – Golap Borbora Memorial Lecture was delivered by
Dr. Anupama Roy on the topic Citizen/Outsider: Law, Citizenship and Belonging. Dr. Roy is currently teaching at the Centre for Political Studies in the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. It should be noted that Dr. Anupama Roy is one of the leading academic personalities in the realm of studies on citizenship. Her work on Citizenship is substantially focused upon the citizenship discourse in Assam and she has written extensively on the citizenship issue in Assam.
The 2019 edition of the lecture was Presided by Dr.Nanigopal Mahanta.
Dr. Mahanta is the Registrar of Gauhati University and also the founder Director of the Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University. In his address, apart from speaking briefly about the former Chief Minister and the Guest speaker, Dr. Mahanta dwelt on how the very discussion of the citizenship discourse in Assam has a cross-border dimension that lends a cross-national character to the question. He opined that Assam’s citizenship question has a direct historical and socio-economic relation with the neighbouring countries in India’s eastern frontiers that make it important to look at the citizenship question of Assam from a broader cross-national perspective.
As part of her lecture, Dr. Anupama Roy spoke on the issue of citizenship in Assam by grounding her ideas upon a range of theoretical frameworks as well as by situating the question upon the broader legal and political structure of India. Dr. Roy spoke on how the National Register of Citizens (N.R.C) and the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 have introduced newer dimensions to the question of citizenship in India. She showed how these instruments have led to a legal fixation of categories like an ‘Illegal migrant’. More interestingly, Dr. Roy opined that what the N.R.C has done is to foreground a notion of hyphenated citizenship. According to this, an individual from now onwards has to become an Assamese first in order to claim their Indian citizenship. Professor Roy, showed how the course of the citizenship discourse in Assam has had a transnational character and how the southeast Asian dimension of Assam’s citizenship question has become even more pronounced with the emergence of newer discourses that are calling for extending citizenship rights to persecuted minorities in India’s neighbouring countries.
Apart from Dr. Roy and Dr. Mahanta, noted social worker Padmashri Ajoy Kr. Dutta, Shri Hiranya Kr. Bhattacharya, retired I.P.S and C.S.W.C President Abhinav Pankaj Borbora also briefly spoke as part of the lecture programme
A Special lecture on “The Civilisational Dialogue: Buddhism and Hinduism in South East Asia”
By Dr. Chirapat Prapandvidya,
Silpakorn University, Thailand
20 December, 2018
The Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University in collaboration with Cotton University organised a Special Lecture on “The Civilisational
Dialogue: Buddhism and Hinduism in South East Asia” by Dr. Chirapat Prapandvidya of Silpakorn University, Thailand on 20th December, 2018 at 3:00pm in the Conference Hall of MCB Building, Cotton University.
Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Director i/c of Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University spoke about the event and the civilisational linkages shared between India and South East Asia. Prof. Mahanta talked about 4 impotant phases of India’s connection with South East Asia that existed even before the commencement of the Look/Act East Policy of Government of India.
Prof. Bhabesh Chandra Goswami, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Cotton University inaugurated the event and he shared his understanding about the origin of Hinduism and Buddhism as the two oldest religion being the part of Indian Civilisation and their cross-boundary impacts in South East Asia.
Dr. Chirapat Prapandvidya thanked CSEAS, Gauhati University and Cotton University for organising a special lecture on a very relevant topic of India and South East Asia’s relation as religion has been the classical way of integrating and connecting these two geographical units. Dr. Prapandvidya began his lecture by giving a short snippet of origin of Brahmanism and Hinduism in Thailand. He mentioned that Hinduism existed in Thailand since 6th Century BC. Brahmanism also existed since then and the Brahmins worked under the Thai Kings.
The position of Lord Shiva in Thailand is different from India as in Thailand the Lord is more entrained than worshipped. Lord Vishnu is considered to be a source of peace and love and is worshipped only in Vishnu or Narayana Temples. The Thai Brahmins chants mixed verses of Sanskrit, Tamil and Thai in religious festivals and rituals. The Coronation ceremonies of India and Thailand also had similarities as these were performed by the Brahmans in both the countries. Unlike India, Brahmanism is used instead of Hinduism.
Dr. Prapandvidya also mentioned that parallel to Hinduism, Buddhism has been the widely accepted religion among the Thai people. Moreover, Sanskrit inscriptions are found in many parts of Thailand reflecting the conquest of King Mahendravarman of India in the North Eastern Thailand. On the other hand, the oldest Buddha statue of Gautam Buddha is located in Indonesia inspired from the Amaravati Style of image in India.
The speaker mentioned that the King in Thailand is considered a ‘deity’ and future king. He is also considered as the Human God in Thailand. The civilizational connections between India and Thailand is also visible through the celebration of festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi.
Though the Thai people practise Brahmanism, majority of them are known for adopting the Sri Lankan form of Buddhism throughout Thailand. However, Ashoka played a major role in building India’s civilizational relations with South East Asia and particularly with Thailand. The followers of Buddhism in Thailand as well as in South East Asia are believer in the cause and effect theory of Buddha. Dr. Prapandvidya highlighted that Theravada Buddhism was the earliest form of Buddhism dispersed from Myanmar to the other South East Asian countries. Later on, Mahayana form of Buddhism was introduced in the South East Asian countries. The early followers of Buddhism in South East Asia still believe in the Teachings of Samadapada i.e. Four Noble Truths given by Buddha.
With the photographs and video clippings of many inscriptions and literary texts, Dr. Chirapat tried to show the intimate connections of Shaivism and Buddhism in South East Asia.
The lecture was followed by an interaction with the audience where the speaker replied and clarified the questions and queries of the audience. In the end, the speaker thanked the organisers for conducting this talk and suggested to take it as a starting of the cultural reconnections of the two geographic regions through education and academics.
A Special lecture on “Transformed Partnership Between Japan and India: Special Strategic and Global Partnership”
By Hon’ble Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India.
13 November, 2018
On 13th November, 2018 at the Conference Hall of Gauhati University- Institute of Science and Technology (GU-IST), Gauhati University organised a
special lecture as part of an initiative of the Centre for South East Asian Studies (CSEAS), G.U. on “Transformed Partnership Between Japan and India: Special Strategic and Global Partnership”, delivered by Hon’ble Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India.
With the opening remarks about the event, Dr. Suresh Kumar Nath, the Registrar of Gauhati Uiversity welcomed Mr. Hiramatsu and Mrs. Patricia Hiramatsu to Gauhati University and felicitated the Guests on the dais.
In the augural address of the event, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr. Mridul Hazarika highlighted the historical and civilizational linkages of India and Japan and stressed on the possibilities of forging a better bilateral relation by utilising the Government of India’s Act East Policy as a platform.
Mr. Hiramatsu highlighted the historical and civilisational connections shared by the two countries and stressed on possible areas of cooperation and friendship. Ambassador Hiramatsu focussed on the existing bilateral relations based on shared security concerns, prospect for shared prosperity and shared destiny. He highlighted the pattern of Japanese economic and technological investment in the infrastructure development of India. Mr. Hiramatsu referred to the examples of infrastructure projects like the construction of Delhi Metro, Mumbai Metro, Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail project and green projects like Ganga and Yamuna River Water treatment projects, Blue Sky initiative to ensure healthy and better lives of the people in India. Although there is a trade imbalance between India and Japan, Ambassador Hiramastu also emphasised on the increasing Indian exports and acceptability of Indian products in Japan like the Baleno Car designed by the Japanese automative Company Suzuki under the Government of India’s Make in India initiative.
Recognising the geo-strategic and security salience of the North East India and the Government of India’s Act East Policy, Ambassador Mr. Hiramatsu underlined the importance of extending the platform of BIMSTEC to Japan that will not only help in fostering economic development of this region but also in the management of the natural disasters like earthquake, cyclones, floods etc.
It is well-known that Japan has invested mostly in the already developed industrial regions of India from the very start of India’s economic engagement with Japan. However, their presence in the development of the North East India is very trifling. Keeping these facts in consideration, Japan now intends to invest and assist in the economic and infrastructural development of the North Eastern region of India. The Japanese companies are engaged in 9 ongoing projects and have recently undertaken 3 new projects for the development of entire North East India ranging from biodiversity management to road construction and water supply facilities. In Assam, Japanese Companies are mainly engaged in developing the facilities of Guwahati Sewage management and Water Supply in Guwahati and construction of a new river bridge connecting Assam and Meghalaya as a part of the North East Connectivity Phase-III Road Project.
Ambassador Mr. Hiramatsu also accented on the people-to-people connections that Japan shares with North East India and concluded his address with an optimistic note of forging closer ties with India keeping North East India at the centre.
A Special lecture on “Democratisation of India-Nepal Relations”
By Dr. Khadga K.C.
12 th November, 2018
The Centre organised a special lecture on “Democratisation of India-Nepal Relations” delivered by Dr. Khadga K.C. of Tribhuvan University, Nepal on 12 th November, 2018 held at the Digital Class Room of Department of Political Science, Gauhati University.
In the welcome address of the event, Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Director i/c of the CSEAS, G.U. shared his view that India and Nepal are the two organically connected countries of South Asia and have a long history of friendly and diplomatic relations. Prof. Mahanta also referred to the 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Friendship that is the basis of this bilateral historical relations.
After the inaugural address, Prof. Shiva Lal Bhusal (Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences) and Dr. Khadga K.C. were felicitated. Prof. Bhusal in his address emphasised on the educational facilities and environment available at the Tribhuvan University and the possibilities of mutually exchanging students between Gauhati University and Tribhuvan University.
In the special address, Dr. Khadga K.C. mainly focussed on the changing dynamics of India-Nepal Relations by employing the realist perspective of International Relations. India and Nepal has concluded several bilateral agreements and treaties that decide their bilateral relations. Dr. Khadga referred to the provisions of the agreements like the Sugauli Treaty of 1950, Arms and Ammunition Treaty of 1965 etc. that made it mandatory for Nepal to get consensus from India. Therefore, he believes, Nepal has diversified her foreign policy beyond India to balance India and minimize its sense of insecurity and over dependence on India.
However, he blamed India’s approach towards Nepal’s Foreign Policy engagement with other countries and more particularly her relations with China. He strongly criticised India’s apprehensions about the closer Chino-Nepal ties and considered it as an infringement of Nepal’s sovereignty and autonomy in deciding her foreign and diplomatic relations. He was critical of the paradoxical realist attitude of India as on one hand the Indian Government was involved in negotiation with then powerful King Gyanendra as well as with major Nepalese political parties and on the other hand allegedly hosting Maoist insurgent leaders within Indian territory. Eventually India was held responsible for discontinuation of her two pillar foreign policy to Nepal and favoured Republican form of government in Nepal quitting her support to King. Althought, Post Republic Nepal (2006 onward) had better relations but India’s intense engagement in micro management in Nepal’s internal affairs derailed the trust of Nepali Government and citizens.
Referring to public perception towards India, Dr. Khadga commented that public of Nepal have developed more trust on Chinese development projects and economic assistance compared to India. It is mainly because of the comparative advantage China enjoys in terms of the completion of the development of infrastructure projects whereas India has a very poor record of project completion. However, the speaker holds an optimistic view in the present Narendra Modi led Government of India and his initiatives who has prioritised the amelioration of relations with the neighbours and Nepal is one of them.
While sharing his desire to advance the bilateral relations between India and Nepal by employing soft power mean of educational exchange of students, he was dissatisfied with the responses from the Indian Universities. Dr. Khadga expressed his gratitude to Gauhati University and the Centre for South East Asian Studies in particular for taking the initiative of exchanging students between the Tribhuvan University and Gauhati University and he believes that it will help immensely help in advancing the bilateral relations of India and Nepal.
Special Lecture Series on “Rise of Asia”
By Dr. Darwis Khudori
25 & 26 April,, 2018
The Centre for South East Asian Studies in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, Gauhati University organised a two days special lecture series on the “Rise of Asia” by Dr Darwis Khudori on
25th & 26th of April,2018. Dr Darwis Khudori is an Associate Professor in the University of Le Havre, France. The special lecture series commenced on the 25th of April, 2018. In the welcome speech, Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta (Director of CSEAS and Head, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University) welcomed Dr. Darwis Khudori, and had also emphasized the geostrategic importance of Asia.
Dr. Darwis Khudori in his presentation on “The Rise of Asia: Where Are We Going” laid emphasis on the position of Asia in the contemporary world politics. Dr Khudori also highlighted a list of Major Economies in the world and he held an optimistic view of India becoming the leading Economy in the world by 2050 by surpassing the economic growth of China and Unite States of America. The speaker also used certain terms like “Western Galaxy” and “Bandung Constellation” and stressed on the characteristics of western galaxy that includes- European conquest of the world, genocide of indigenous people in America & Australia, Slavery, Colonialism, Two world wars, Holocaust, NATO, Wall Street, Bretton Woods, World Bank, IMF, WTO, Apartheid, American war in Vietnam, Washington Consensus, G7, Davos, Subprime. The characteristics of Bandung Constellation includes- Bandung Conference, Belgrade Conference (NAM), Havana Conference, OUA/UA, ASEAN, SAARC, G77, UNASUR, CELAC, SCO, WSF, BRICS. According to Dr Khudori, The Western Galaxy dominated the Bandung Constellation through Colonialism and post colonialism. The tools of domination under colonialism include – territorial control; exploitation of the people and the territory; imposition of political, cultural, social and economic model; racial discrimination; peopling (replacing the indigenous people). The tools of domination under post colonialism include- Sciences & Technology; information, communication, media; financial systems & institutions; mass destruction armament; access to natural resources. Dr Khudori also highlighted the principles of Bandung Spirit like the respect for fundamental human rights & for the purposes & principles of the charter of the United Nations; respect for the sovereignty & territorial integrity of all nations etc. He further emphasised the five core values of the Bandung Spirit. The speaker tried to address two questions through his presentation-first, whether the interaction between the Western Galaxy & the Bandung Constellation will lead towards violent collision or towards peaceful fusion? Second, what should be the characteristics of a society for peaceful and sustainable world? The presentation of Dr Khudori was followed by discussions where the faculties, research scholars & students raised certain significant questions.
The second day of the lecture series began on the 26th April, 2018, and it commenced with an introductory speech by Prof. Akhil Ranjan Dutta (Professor, Department of Political Science, Gauhati University). Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta had also welcomed again Dr Darwis Khudori. On that day Dr Khudori gave a detailed presentation on ASEAN and the Malay world. Dr Khudori had highlighted that the ASEAN is marked by one one vision,one identity, one community. However, ASEAN is full of widespread diversity in terms of language, religion, culture etc. ASEAN countries have painful experiences of colonialism. In the Malay World, Malay language is the means for inter-ethnic communication. Dr Darwis khudori also presented a detailed information on Indonesia where he highlighted that the Indonesia is also marked by diversity. The presentation of Dr Khudori was followed by discussions. The wrap of the fruitful lecture series was marked by the vote of thanks by Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta.
Special Lecture Series on “Myanmar and Northeast India”
18th and 19th January, 2018
The Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, Cotton University organised a special lecture series on “Myanmar and Northeast India” on
18th and 19th January, 2018.
Professor Nani Gopal Mahanta, (Head, Department of Political Science and Director i/c, Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University) in his welcome address outlined the geo-strategic significance and political dynamics of Myanmar and the spill over effects of its political developments on the geographically contiguous North-eastern part of India.
On the first day of the 2-days lecture series, Mr. Bhaumik delivered his lecture on “Myanmar: Democracy and Federalism on Trial”. In his opening remarks, the speaker gave a comparative reference to the process of democratisation and deepening of federalism between India and Myanmar. He stressed that though the two countries attained independence at a same time, India succeeded in insulating the post-partition separating tendencies whereas Myanmar failed to cope up with the separatist rebels led civil war that threatened to balkanise the latter. Bhaumik also pointed out the functioning of the political parties in these two countries which were the major actors of freedom struggle in their respective countries. He said that unlike the Indian National Congress (INC) which retained its unity and continuity of leadership, the AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League), which led Burma’s independence struggle split into factions.
He also stressed on the trends of military controls in Myanmar, by stating that unlike the Indian army that never entertained take over plans of civilian government, the Tatmadaw- the Armed Forces of Myanmar took over full power following a military coup by claiming that the country’s unity was in danger from the Communist forces and only the Burmese Army could prevent this threat of Communist political take over.The Burmese military take over was backed by United States and Western Allies to stop a Communist takeover because the Burmese Communist Party (BCP) was backed by China and was then the most powerful Communist Army commanding a regular force of more than 25000 fighters organised into regular battalions. The West saw a repeat of Vietnam in Myanmar And felt the army was the only institution which could prevent it. So the military take over enjoyed the blessings of West which is otherwise vocal about democracy.The Communist challenge coupled with the spiral of ethnic insurgencies like the Kachin Independence Army (KIA)uprising helped the Tatmadaw Legitimise its grip on power.
In the next section of his presentation, the speaker gave a special description of the democratic movements and the emergence of new young leaders in Myanmar after experiencing decades long military rule controlling the political power. In the political history of Myanmar, “the 8.8.88 movement” holds a crucial place as Myanmar got a new political leader, i.e. Aung San Suu Kyi. Prior to this movement, the democratic protests and movements were highly unorganised as Myanmar lacked a political party and an iconic leader to fight for democracy. But the protests found a shape in formalising political resistance when Suu Kyi managed to mobilise a clutch of new leaders (mostly from the 88 uprising but a fewMilitary dissidents as well) and formed the National League for Democracy (NLD). In the 1990 elections to the national Parliament, the newly formed NLD swept the polls winning 80 percent of seats, but the Burmese Army refused to accept the people’s verdict. Instead the Army put Suu Kyi in jail and she fought hard for the restoration of democracy in the country.
He pointed out that like the 88 movement, 2007 was the next most important watershed in Myanmar’sStruggle for democracy. That year, Buddhist monks, most revered in Myanmar, rose inrevolt against the military rule and Myanmar experienced the saffron revolution. The army was totally discredited and alienated from the people after this revolution. During this course of democratic upsurge against military control, the major development was the adoption of a new democratic constitution in 2008 in Myanmar, but also playedinto the system crucial provisions that gave the army a major role in the new powerstructure. The constitution gives the army 25% of the seats in both houses of the Parliament, control over three ministries of Home, Defence and Border Affairs (whichindirectly gives it control over Myanmar’s neighborhood foreign policy).
In his concluding observations, he has considered that democracy in Myanmar is still fledgling, as the army retains much power and the crisis in Rakhine has helped in regaining some of its lostimage. He has argued that the Rakhine crisis has helped create a national security bogey which the army has shrewdly used to project itself as protector of national unity, asin the late 1950s and early 1960s. The NLD is seen as the only national party but its grip on regions like Rakhine are weak.The peace process initiated by Suu Kyi, that she calls Second Panglong, has failed to bring in any major change. He concluded his lecture with a very pessimistic note that unless the Suu Kyi government is able to come up with a federal solution that is acceptable to the ethnic armies, the foundation of the Myanmar’s democracy will remain weak for a long period.
Public Lecture on 'World Peace, Role of India & Future of Tibet'
By Lobsang Sangay
3rd November 2017
B.K.B. Auditorium, Gauhati University
The Centre for South East Asian Studies, Gauhati University organized a public lecture on World Peace: Role of India and future of Tibet by Dr. Lobsang Sangay (SIKYONG), President of Central Tibetan Administration
on the 3rd of Nov, 2017 at B.K.B.Auditorium, Gauhati University. The occasion was graced by the presence of Dr. Mridul Hazarika, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor,Gauhati University, Dr Suresh Nath, Registrar, GU, and Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies amongst others.
In his lecture Dr. Sangay briefly touched upon the international dimension of peace, the current situation of Tibet also delving into the possible solution of the issue highlighting the role of India and future of Tibet. He pointed out that the decline of liberalism and internationalism has posed many challenges. In place of liberalism, there is rise of extremism and in all this violence extreme nationalism has emerged as an additional development. According to Sangay, the ideas of liberalism and internationalism should be embraced and promoted to achieve genuine peace.
Speaking about the rise of India and China on the global stage, Dr Sangay outlined the stark contrast between these two rising powers. He described China’s ideology as development without democracy while India follows a more rational approach of marrying development and democracy. He recalled the Doklam stalemate and China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative as some of the examples that reflect China’s growing expansionist designs. He mentioned how the reality of Confucianist China’s expansionist design is being reflected all over the world today especially in India and Southeast Asia. Highlighting the case of Tibet as a lesson for the world to learn from, Dr Sangay urged countries around the world to not be fooled by China’s economic largesse.
Dr. Lobsang Sangay further spoke about the historical relations that Tibet and India shared over the centuries and how the bond has strengthened the two countries respectively. He further outlined Tibetan Buddhism as a key outcome of Tibetan resilience. Dr. Sangay said that Tibet is relevant for peace, water, civilization, teaching of Buddha, geo–politically for India. He said that world peace is required and the Tibetans follow the Gandhian notion of ahimsa. Tibetan administration is based on values and presents the Nalanda tradition. He concludes by saying that he hopes for the success of Tibetan movement with help of India.
The lecture was followed by an interactive session where questions were raised on issues of security, the future of Communism, etc. An informal discussion with the Health and Education Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma was also held on the sidelines of the lecture.
K. D. Goswami Memorial Lecture
21 January 2017 Phanidhar Dutta Semar Hall, Gauhati University
The Centre for South-East Asian Studies, Gauhati University and Srimanta Foundation organized the 1st K.D. Goswami Memorial Lecture on ‘India’s Northeast: Issues Of Comprehensive Security with Reference to Act East Policy’ on the 21st of January, 2017.
Dignitaries present on the occasion were Shri G. K. Pillai, IAS (Retd.), former Home Secretary to the Government of India, Dr. Mridul Hazarika, Honourable Vice Chancellor, Gauhati University, Prof. Nani Gopal Mahanta, Prof. Udayan Mishra and Shri Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta. Delivering the K.D. Goswami Memorial Lecture, Shri G.K. Pillai talked about the strategic importance of North East for India and its physical isolation from the mainland India. He expressed his views about how North East is being neglected in spite of many visits to nearby countries to enhance ties with them by the presidents and prime ministers of India. There is a great reluctance on the part of Ministry of External affairs to open up North East due to security reasons. He was of the view that India’s soft power is more powerful than the hard power, so there can be cultural and educational connectivity between India’s North East and its neighbouring countries. Prof. Udayan Mishra presented his brief comments on Mr. Pillai’s speech. The event came to an end with the cultural program performed by Srimanta Foundation.
A Lecture on ‘Civil Services and Governance’
10 May, 2018
Venue: Department of Political Science Gauhati University
Mr. Virendra Mittal, the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup Metro delivered a lecture in the orientation programme “Civil Services and Governance” on 10th May, 2018. In his lecture, Mr. Mittal encouraged the students to develop self-confidence which he considers as the first step to achieve any success in life and professional career. At the very outset, Mr. Mittal talked about his own family and academic background and despite several roadblocks his self-confidence and perseverance helped him in qualifying the UPSC exam with a higher rank. It was not a smooth way for him to achieve this feat, but he also recalled the contribution of his school teachers who shown him Civil Service as a career option.
The Speaker then stressed the role of civil servants in good governance and highlighted his own initiative of “Daan Toilet” to the rural households in Jorhat when he was the Deputy Commissioner of Jorhat District. It was initiated to make the Jorhat District and Assam free from open defecation following the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and Government of India’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. However, Mr. Mittal also requested the public assistance in the governance process through performing their civic responsibilities. The administration and government cannot successfully implement any policy initiative without the cooperation of the citizens.
Recognising the academic importance of Gauhati University as a prime seat of higher education, he gave a call for the students to take pledge to make the campus free from plastic bags use and to maintain the greenery and environment of the University Campus.
An orientation Lecture on ‘Self Reliance: Success Stories in Assam’
7 May, 2018
Venue: Department of Political Science Gauhati University
Samudra Gupta Kashyap, a noted journalist delivered a lecture in the orientation programme on “Self Reliance: Success Stories in Assam” on 7th May, 2018 on “Self Reliance: Success Stories in Assam”. In his lecture, Mr. Kashyap primarily stressed on the need to realise the inner-capacity and skills of the youth to do some extra-ordinary, unconventional activities. He encouraged the students to utilise the in-born talents they have which can also be a source of livelihood in the job-scarce world. Referring to the success stories of Hima Das and Rima Das in their respective fields, he believes that hard work and perseverance always leads to success. He has extreme faith on the capability of the youth power and skills they have, and if right direction is guided to them they can also become a part of the success stories of Assam. Mr. Kashyap also motivated the students to go for alternative opportunities instead of trying hard only for traditional jobs. The students present in the programme were highly motivated by this encouraging lecture.
Motivation on Carrier in Civil Service
26 March, 2018
Venue: Department of Political Science Gauhati University
A Lecture on “Motivation on Carrier in Civil Service” was delivered by Diganta Bora, an IPS Officer based in Guwahati on 26 March, 2018. The lecture was organised primarily to motivate and encourage the students for competitive examinations and to provide some guidance about how to prepare for these examinations.
At the outset of his lecture, Mr. Bora referred to his own family and academic background. He believes that language or medium of instructions in schools cannot be a hindrance in achieving success in life. Though the students from vernacular mediums have to face lots of hurdles and stumbling blocks compared to the English medium students, continuous hard work, determination and the thirst to achieve the goals are the key requirements for success. Mr. Bora also encouraged the students to carry on their efforts even if they fail to qualify the examinations once or twice as every failure would teach their own mistakes and lacuna. After that he discussed the apprehensions and queries of the students regarding the pattern of the UPSC civil services exam, and the proper methods of preparing for this exam. His lecture motivated the students extremely for appearing the competitive examinations.
A Talk on ‘Homeland Politics and Ethnicisation of Space in North East India’
22nd Sept, 2017
Venue: Department of Political Science Gauhati University
The Centre for South and South Asian Studies, Gauhati University organized a “Vartalap” programme with prof. Chandan Kumar Sharma, the Head of the Department of Sociology of Tezpur University on 22nd of
September, 2017. In his lecture Prof. Sharma provided a brief historicity of the ethnicisation of space by various groups in the Northeast of India, a region which can be seen to be at the continental crossroads being inhabited by many transnational groups some of whom are migratory in nature. Tracing the trajectory of tribalisation and detribalisation processes he said that in the pre-colonial times the division between the hills and the plains was not much important. Marginal groups existed in both the hills and the plains. With the process of Hinduisation or Aryanisation or more appropriately de-tribalisation it became incumbent upon the state to merge all these
groups. The process of detribalization brought in many groups under the banner of the newly emerging Hindu society. The relation between the hills and the plains further changed with the enactment of the Inner line Permit in 1873 and the Outer line permit in 1875. Fixed identity with fixed space was created. After inclusion in the Indian sub-continent North-East became a periphery region. The task of reorganization of state further created problems of internal tensions as the land is highly multi-cultural. It is clear that the region’s present predicament is rooted in the flawed ethnic policies of the colonial regime persisted with by the post-colonial Indian state. An alternative approach based on an inclusive, incorporative ideology has the possibility of incorporating the ethnic aspirations of the various groups of northeast Professor Sharma towards the end of the lecture reiterated the need for enlightened leadership and regional councils to deal with the complexities of the modern state.
A Talk on Insurgency and Human Rights: The Rohingya issue
16 November, 2017
Venue: Department of Political Science Gauhati University
The Centre for Southeast Asian Studies organised a lecture on ‘Insurgency and Human Rights: The Rohingya Issue’ which was delivered by Mr. Rajeev Bhattacharya In his lecture, Mr Bhattacharya highlighted the complexities of the crisis and entailed a detailed insight into the matter depicting factual statements and data that are being collected by rigorous field study conducted by none other than the speaker himself along. Rohingyas were people of South Asian origin dwelling in Arakan region in the 8th century which is now known as Rakhine state in modern day Myanmar. In 1945 Britain liberated Burma (Myanmar) from the Japanese with the help of Burmese nationalist and Rohingya fighters. Rohingyas felt betrayed as the Britishers didn't fulfill their promise of autonomy for Arakan.In 1948 tensions increased between the government of newly independent Burma and the Rohingyas, many of whom wanted to join Muslim-majority Pakistan. It is believed that Pakistan today also has great influence over Teknaf.
Mr Bhattacharya speaks of three categories of Rohingyas based on the identity. The first is the 1978 batch many of whom went to Saudi Arabia and is believed to be funding the activities in Myammar. The second is the 1992-2012 batch composed of those Rohingyas who are willing to give up their identity having migrated to Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The third batch are those in involved in the 2016-17 crisis who are still in the process of settling down, India being the safest destination for them.
He also said that human rights violations is tremendous with people across a broad spectrum ranging from the boatmen who transfer the refugees to the distributors of medical aid being involved in these violaions. The most critical and complex development is the rise of insurgency related acivities and groups such as ARNO,ARSA,RIF,RSO have mounted up their activities particularly being facilitated by the availability of human resource(specially young Rohingya men angry with the Myanmar government) and the huge influx of weapons.
The lecture was also attended by faculty members from other departments were followed by an interaction with the students and research scholars of the department.