Exploring the ‘Seven Sisters’
North—Eastern region of India is one of the less developed regions of the country. This region is commonly known as ‘Seven Sisters’ that consists of the states; Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur. Nowadays, Sikkim is also considered as the member of North East. So, these states can be celled as ‘Seven Sisters and One Little Brother’. This region is not only separated in different administrative units but there are several tribes, language, culture and custom that resist them to be united. Ethnic conflicts between different communities and tribal groups are common matter here. Another matter is also common to all the states of North-East i.e. Under Development. But development of the Northeast is now receiving attention from the Government of India, both for the well-being of the people of the region and for its potential contribution to the Indian economy. This region is blessed with natural resources and very much enriched with bio-diversity. Due to its strategic location (Gate Way to South East Asia) and scope of healthy economic relationship with neighbouring countries, this region could be one of the potential economic regions of India. Due to remote location and inhospitable physical conditions, the North-Eastern part of the India was untouched to the other parts of the country for a long time. This situation was become worst after the partition of India because all the major road and railway links through East Bengal were cut down.
Even today the people of North-East are facing the problem of poor infrastructure. In spite of the inadequate infrastructures, the people of this part of the country are showing the satisfactory socio-economic growth conserving their tradition and cultural heritages. Central Government enlisted several development programs to prevent the poverty and underdevelopment of the region. The Ministry of Development of North-East is the separate ministry of Govt. of India, trying to run such development programs across the region. But due to lack of infrastructure (mainly transportation and electrification) and natural calamity especially flood in Monsoon season are the main obstructions in developmental process.
The relevance of anthropological research in the context of massive human diversity in North East India need not be exaggerated. It is true that no other region can boast of impressive array of monographs, district gazetteers, hand books, research reports. The field of anthropological research in North East India is enormous and un-researched areas are numerous. It is in this context the book Explorations in Anthropology of North East India is a good read. The book presents a collection of sixteen research articles written by eminent social scientists to acquaint people with the vast horizon of contemporary anthropological researches on varied ethnic groups living in diverse habitat of North East India.
In a nutshell, this book presents unique materials and wide- ranging analysis which can be extremely helpful to the anthropologists researching the above-said region.
By Nilabh Krishna