JORABAT, Nov 2 - A two-day national seminar titled �Ethnicity, Identity and Politics: Quest for Peace and Development�, sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) and organised by the Department of Political Science, Sonapur College successfully concluded on Saturday.
Altogether 85 research papers were presented in 11 technical sessions during the two days, which witnessed outstanding discourses by eminent academicians.
The seminar was inaugurated on Friday by Gauhati University Vice Chancellor Prof Pratap Jyoti Handique. Delivering his inaugural speech, Prof Handique said a comprehensive roadmap is the need of the hour for finding out solutions to issues of identity among the different ethnic groups living in the North East.
He, however, said that despite having strong voices for separate identity, at the national level, everyone from the region feels proud to stand as a united North East.
Prof Handique lauded the role played by the ICSSR for the study of various issues by providing fund for research, conferences, journals, etc. Referring to his new assignment as the GU vice chancellor, he said every possible step would be taken by his office to strengthen the rapport between the university and the affiliated colleges.
Delivering the keynote address on the theme �Ethnicity and Identity in the Age of Neo-Liberal Globalization: Reflection on India�s North East�, Prof Akhil Ranjan Dutta, head of the Department of Political Science, said the issue of development is intimately linked with the issue of identity, which is aptly referred to in an United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report of 2004.
He said people want freedom to participate in society without having to slip off their chosen cultural moorings. People want freedom to practise their religion openly, to speak their language, to celebrate their ethnic or religious heritage without fear of ridicule or punishment or diminished opportunity, he said.
In the inaugural session, Dr Devabrot Khanikor, principal of the college, delivered the welcome address and a brief note on the seminar was delivered by Dr Karabi Devi of the Department of Political Science and the convener.
The inaugural session was also addressed by Dr Dilip Kumar Kalita, director of Anundoram Borooah Institute of Language, Art and Culture (ABILAC) and Dr Jeet Ram Dutta, former academic registrar of GU and president of the Sonapur College governing body.
In the plenary session, Dr Sanjay Borbora, associate professor of Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), delivered a speech on �How Ethnic are the �Conflict� in North East India?�
Dr Sikhamoni Konwer, principal of KHS College, Guwahati; Dr Pallabi Borah of Folklore Research Department of GU; Dr Pallabi Deka of Handique Girls College, Dr Manasjyoti Bardoloi of Saraighat College, Suryasikha Pathak of the Centre for Tribal Studies, Assam University, Diphu; Dr Kalpana Chaudhury of the Department of Anthropology, Dimoria College; Dr Gaganjyoti Bora and Dr Prabalika Sarmah of Pachim Guwahati Mahavidyalaya; Dr Deepsikha Saharia of Nowgong College; Dr Dharma Ram Deka of Sonapur College and Dr RK Debbarma from TISS, Guwahati attended the technical sessions.