DIBRUGARH, Nov 8 - Eminent historian and former chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), Professor David Reid Syiemlieh, recently said that the North East has been neglected in the Indian history because historians of mainland India do not consider the region significant.
“In history we talk about ‘significant’. For the historians of the North East, it is significant for us to go back to our roots, our cultures and to our politics, and we want to write about our own histories. But when historians of mainland India look at the North East, they do not consider the North East significant. It is insignificant for them,” said Professor Syiemlieh, while delivering a lecture on ‘North East India: Mutiny, Freedom Struggle and Integration’ during the annual lecture event of Dibru College here.
According to Professor Syiemlieh, the modern histories of India make little mention of the region other than its annexation into the British colonial state, with some mention in economic histories of the discovery of tea and its cultivation and the production of Assam oil. “Precious little is said of the people in general, their cultures, languages, religion and their link with the people of the further east. History texts make no mention of the cultural and religious connection between the North East with the mainland India. The impression created reading textbooks on the history of the Indian National Movement is that the region did not have anything to do with the Indian Freedom Movement,” the eminent historian pointed out.
He further emphasised on incorporating the history of the region into the broader Indian history. He said historians must bring out the participation of North East India. “So far we have been very insular. It would be encouraging that historians from the region take up the presentation of history of the North East into Indian history,” said Professor Syiemlieh.
The lecture event was attended by several eminent historians of the region, faculty members of Dibrugarh University (DU) and nearby colleges, students of Department of History of DU, nearby colleges and the host college. Dr Jitu Buragohain, Principal of Dibru College, presided over the annual lecture programme.