`Northeast has taught Indian State to respect small nationalities and nationalism`

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IMPHAL, December 30: `In spite of transgressions and violence, the great thing about the Northeast region is that it has taught the Indian State how to respect small nationalities and nationalism`.

This was stated by Prof Udayon Mishra, National Fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla delivering the fourth Ojha Sanajaoba Memorial Lecture entitled, `North East: Common Aspirations – Shared Destiny` 2014, which was held today at the Court Room, Manipur University, Canchipur.

The Memorial Lecture was organised by the Ojha Sanajaoba Memorial Trust, OSMT in commemoration of the 69th Birth Anniversary of Late Prof Naorem Sanajaoba.

Prof Mishra remarked that Prof Sanajaoba is one of the most illustrious sons of the soil who had worked on diverse topics and subjects. He defined the late Professor as a `Public Intellectual`™.

Prof Misra also observed that there were also numerous adverse reactions to the works of Prof Sanajaoba. He recalled that one such reaction pertained to the late professor`™s take on feudalism and self-determination. Nevertheless, the person who criticised Prof Sanajaoba endorsed that he was interested in Sanajoaba as person committed to the people`™s suffering, he added.

Further Prof Mishra said what is worthwhile to be considered an academic is not just the quest for knowledge, but he or she must also engage with the practical realities of the world, and at the same time respect differences of opinions. Prof Sanajaoba undoubtedly has those qualities, he said.

Prof Misra quoted the introductory remarks of Prof Temsula Ao in her work, `These Hills Called Home: Stories from a War Zone`, who said that the `Nagaland`™s self-determination movement started with high idealism and romantic promises. It has ended in disillusionment. It has become the very things that have become to be overcome.`

According to Prof Misra, Prof Ao has a grasp of the sordid affairs of `things` in the Northeast, where oppression is the response to violent insurrections and ultimately the common people and the innocents are left to bear the brunt.

Prof Mishra continued that the Northeast as a collective has reached a stage where it is difficult to differentiate between governance and atrocity; acknowledging that the idea has come from an editorial of the IFP.

He said nationality, identity and culture do not remain static, and the Northeast has also reinvented its own heroes. In this sense, it is an exciting period of the Northeast. It is on a rediscovering mission, to find its own heroes by going back in time and discovering the same, he added.

Prof Misra also maintained that Northeast is going through difficult times of uncertainty, chaos and turbulence overwhelmed by ethnic nationalism and traditional structure of power and dominance.

In this context, historical figure such as Hijam Irabot needs to be remembered. He was someone who tried to relate to people of similar thoughts; for instance he reached out to Burma and Assam to make friends, Prof Mishra said.

Prof H Nandakumar Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Manipur University, Canchipur graced the function as the Chief Guest and Prof N Lokendra Singh, Registrar, Manipur University, Canchipur was the Guest of Honour. Prof. N. Rajmohan Singh, Department of Chemistry, Manipur University, Canchipur & President of OSMT presided the function.

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