Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Classic Group of Hotels
Politics in the Northeast is the story of belling the cat all over again

Rejoinder/ The Immigration Issue in Northeast in Recent History is Darker Than Often Made Out to be

Dear Editor,

This refers to your article published by The New Indian Express on April 11, 2024. You have been rather generous on the immigration issue in the Northeast. Let it not be forgotten that the Kulin, Kayasth, Baidyas were merely good compradors, and like many other groups from Hindustan sought to be in positions of trust under the east India company administration. many community groups had a long history of doing well as part of the mughal administration, and war machine. Rajputs for instance in the Mughal army. the East India Company took over all of the country abetted and aided by ‘natives’. In fact the empire expanded across to other parts of the world with the aid of  sepoys and subsequently administered by trustee babu-clerks. Tintin comics, The Blue Lotus, page 11.

There is a significant presence of Khasis, Garos in the districts south of Meghalaya in Bangladesh. and just as in the case of Chittagong Hills Tracts Bengali speaking immigrants had moved into the erstwhile non-Bengali Chakmas tribal areas, changing the demographics, taking over lands, villages. remember the Shanti Bahini. and  this has also happened in northern ml

Mymensing. the chattering classes refuse to see the commonality between Chittagong Bengalis spreading into the hills tract with their lebensraum over the Rakhine range into Rakhine state.

All very complicated. 1947 partition created a mess. and ’71 war was an own goal for India. 95 percent of refugees in our camps were East Pakistan Hindus, who were sent back at the point of Indian bayonets to the new Bangladesh. with the Bangladesh famine of 1973, Baksal, Jatiya Rakkhi Bahini, swarms of Bangladesh Muslims trekked into India and dispersed across the country. maybe we should have taken the route Ambedkar proposed, insisted on a transfer of populations. This would have taken the steam out of both the Muslim League and the INC posturing and we would had to learn to get along with ‘the other’. The ethnic cleansing that took place in East Punjab with not a single punjabi Muslim family remaining anywhere except Malerkotla where they were protected by Sikh theology, is a scandal nobody talks about. Just as nobody seems to even know about the Qissa Kwani Bazaar massacre and the heroic refusal of havildar Major Chandra Singh to allow his platoon to be used to murder the nonviolent protestors. A far cry from Jallianwala where sepoys of 54 Sikhs, and 1/9 Gurkha Rifles made up Dyer’s fifty riflemen who kept firing till they ran out of ammunition. There were no red-coats.

But I digress.


George Ninan


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