Shillong: Concerned over a knowledge gap about the Northeast over decades that has created stereotypes and increased misunderstandings, historians and scholars met in Shillong to consider the development of a syllabi and teaching tools on the region for under-graduate and post-graduate students across the country.
Organized by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (CNESPR) at Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, in collaboration with the ICSSR-NERC and the National Book Trust, India, the scholars met over two days to consider the gaps in history teaching as well as broader areas of knowledge about the region in university curricula and in schools.
Existing literature and curricula in universities including teaching of the NER within the region were also reviewed.
"This is an effort by historians and social scientists from the region and elsewhere to meet a widely expressed need for inclusion of its history in curricula across India, plug gaps where possible, put correctives in places where needed and create opportunities for developing and teaching a history of the region in the general curricula", said the colloquium.
The meeting stressed that modest, doable goals needed to be set. This is in the background of decades of neglect of the region's history and different perspectives in the NER about these histories.
The proposed areas include the development of readers and the framing of an 'Introduction to the History of the North East', that could be a basic foundation course for universities across the country starting with central universities under the aegis of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Future meetings would be held in the Northeast and Delhi to finalize the work in progress. The UGC was represented by Dr. Mohammad Arif, Joint Secretary, and the initiative is that of the CNESPR of Jamia which has completed two publications on little known fighters against the Raj, including one of Meghalaya.
The event was curated by Professor Sanjoy Hazarika, Director of the North East Centre at Jamia.