North East Zone Political Training Camp
After a gap of 12 years, Indian Youth Congress held a "North East Zone Political Training Camp" at Dimapur, Nagaland on 5th and 6th October, 2001. 350 delegates from five sister states i.e. Nagaland, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Manipur ( Excluding Mizoram) enthusiastically participated in 2 day long deliberations in an unique intermix of cultural activities.
We, at Indian Youth Congress, had particularly designed specialized topics for deliberations and circulated background paper on each to the delegates with a view to enable them to initiate discussions in their respective states on the subjects discussed.
- Indian National Congress's contribution to the Indian democracy (Special Emphasis on North Eastern States).
- Employment and Govt. Schemes.
- Role of youth Congress in National Integration.
- Unrest in North-East Causes and road to consolidated development.
- Role of education and Information Technology with its use in Agriculture and Cooperative Sector.
- National integration and secular Polity - Challenges of Regionalism and Communalism.
- Women Empowerment
- New perspectives for New Century - Politics for development.
Each session was interactive and had 2 speakers. Inquisitiveness, curiosity and keen participation of delegates can be gauged from the fact that IYC President, Sh. Randeep Singh Surjewala answered 50 or more questions after each session.
Camp was inaugurated by Shri S C Jamir, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Nagaland who delivered an inspiring address. Besides IYC President, Shri Randeep Singh Surjewala, IYC Treasurer and IYC General Secretaries: others who participated in the camp were Shri Apok Jamir, MP, Shri R C Chitten Jamir, Former PCC president, Shri Aheto V Yepthomi, Minister, Shri P Enyie konyak, Minister, Mrs. Rose Mary, Lecturer, Nagaland University; Shri K V Pusa, Minister; Shri Imkong L Inchen, Vice President, PCC; Vice President of All India Mahila Congress Vice President, Smt. Neebha Konwar; Shri Devanand Konwar, Finance Minister of Assam and a number of former presidents of Youth Congress and Youth Legislators. Needless to add that 'Training Camp' was a unique learning experience - not only for participating delegates but also Speakers.
IYC Presidents message
Randeep Singh Surjewala
President, Indian Youth Congress.
It is a special pleasure to be amongst you in this beautiful atmosphere of Dimapur on the occasion of the North East Youth Congress Training Camp. In this time of growing terror and tension across the continents, we are gathered here to train our youth to fight against all the prevailing evils of the society, and to promote and propagate ideals of the Congress party.
We also must appreciate the efforts of Youth Congress in propitiating the ideals for which the Congress party stands. It is our fundamental duty, under the leadership of Hon'ble Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi, to commit ourselves for the overall development of the nation so that a decent level of life is guaranteed for all the young people of India. Moreover, it is committed for an India where every citizen will have 'freedom from fear'. We are very well aware of Youth Congressmen's common action so that pain would soften in stricken areas and suffering peoples, and especially for youth. We know Young Congressman's solidarity, granted wherever and whenever is needed.
The country suffers due to crisis of perception and lack of credible action. This applies more to the North-eastern region. The British talked about the multistage isolation of the region from the country and that of the hills and the plains within the region. Our own communal politicians talked about the 'splendid isolation'. They misinterpreted the society and culture; gave colonial bias to our history. We uncritically accepted their ideas; followed in their footsteps; promoted all round social, cultural, ethnic and religious divide. They introduced the racist thinking in our society; we made assertion of separate identity and social distancing' profitable and most alluring. Ethnocentrism occupied the central stage. Certain sections developed vested interest in generating sense of alienation among the people.
Demographic invasion from across our borders is a matter of serious concern in this part of the country. There are no serious attempts on the part of the Central and few State Governments to solve the problem. The Northeastern states got most favored assurances and policies from HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral Governments in the past and now it is the Vajpayee governments turn to announce new policies. Although, Northeast is getting most favored treatment from the Central Government at present but the governments political will to implement all the policies is lacking. All because of this the general impression in the mind of the northeastern people is that the Central Government neglects the region. The people of the region are thus allowed to be misinformed and misled resulting in anger and alienation.
A large number of our people have such misgivings and misperceptions and they are sulking. This helps in aggravating the sense of alienation. Moreover, in many case the outward expression of the sense of alienation is the violence in the society. Steps should be taken to resolve the crisis of perception. Genuine grievances of the people need immediate remedial action.
PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has no perception of the problems of the Northeast. Why does not one check out this Northeast balance sheet ? Has Shri Vajpayee actually ever evinced even an iota of the knowledge that he does happen to know what Northeast is about, why the problems are what they are ? So far, he has not, Shri Vajpayee has made those customary trips to the region and made cosmetic statements about how much economic development is the key to all evils in the Northeast. Nevertheless, what has his government actually done about it ? Nothing except some small talk about an economic package that is as ridiculous as the Tughlaquesque, which is doled out every year with increased amount.
The PM's understanding of a situation is reflected on how he or she handles the issue. Mere knowledge does not necessarily denote deep understanding. Everyone knows lack of economic development is the root of most evils in the Northeast. In the Northeast, every 'ill' has a different root. In addition, the region, we all know, is replete with these 'ills'. There is no panacea that is going to work. The present government at center has, so far, not done anything that would exhibit the kind of perception of the Northeast that is looked for.
It seems that NDA government does not have thinking of its own. Firstly, the Naga ceasefire agreement with NSCN (IM) was extended to areas outside of Nagaland in haste, and when it created furor in the northeast and caused loss to life and property it was confined to Nagaland only. What was the haste ? Why leadership of the region was not taken into confidence ? Why the issue was not thoroughly discussed with all the involved parties ? Moreover, after the blunder mistake the government tried to fix up the blame on its own envoys. There might be essential differences between the mediators of yesterday and the interlocutor of today, but what remains a fact is that you do not try to drop/change/sack/remove negotiators midway through a thorny negotiating process. Parallels cannot be drawn either with the ceasefire agreement of 1964 or the Peace Mission efforts that followed.
The recent political turmoil in the Manipur is an evident that how expert this government is in spoiling the system. BJP and Samta duo by their negative approach and destroying political nature have clearly given an indication that they are hell bent upon on destroying the political culture and ethos of northeastern states. You do not play around with a process that is touted to bring about lasting peace. Ignorance and apathy from stem from each other. It is difficult to pinpoint the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government's understanding and consequent handling of the Naga issue to either ignorance or apathy. Either way signs are threatening.
Friends ! We have several other things and topics to forethought. Today, the world is witnessing many changes, positive as well as negative changes. Changes in politics, in economy and in society. Revolution in information technology has transformed the life of people world over. Advancement of communication technology is making 'vasudhav kutumbakkam' or globalization a reality.
New dreams for a better life for all have emerged, new hopes that political leaders hear youth aspiration. But in the meantime, in this era of globalization, increasing rate of illiteracy, drug abuse and increasing rate of unemployment are the main causes of youth unrest.
Education is essential not only for the development of the country but also for the efficient functioning of our democracy. But unfortunately, even after having entered in the 21st century India is home of the largest numbers of illiterates in the world. Education is key in enhancing students functioning and working capacity to enable them in contributing fully in the process of national development and nation building. In fact education and development are interlinked. We must focus on the issue of the education with utmost priority.
The biggest challenge in front of us today is the growing unemployment and unavailability of any cure to check it. It could be anyone's guess, how far a country could go with such a gross lack of concern for youth, who are supposed to provide direction and requisite energy for growth of nation. Indifference towards youth, however, has become ingrained in Indian society. Result of this indifference is too glaring, every nook and cranny of the country is witnessing increased violence, increased crime.
Some of those youth who are pushed to wall are committing suicide, taking recourse to harmful drugs, or even becoming militants and terrorists, thus making precious human life go wasted. Matters like these don't even make sensational headline any more. Even the self-immolation by unemployed youth does not break the inertia of insensitive governments, which have tens of ministers and thousands of minions.
Sometime, a few peanuts are thrown upon the youth as part of the routine mercy. India is moving ahead without any concrete policy for the biggest problem of youth - unemployment. Reams of pages are wasted to discuss the problems facing youth. Words of assurance remain mere words. Promises of action remain as concrete inaction. In the name of sky, earth beneath the feet is loosened. Hope of job becomes a wild chimera. It is, however, a different thing altogether that when nation needs sacrifice, youth are martyrs and the rest are left dying. What an irony ? But who is bothered ? Almost none.
The Indian youth, on the other hand, will determining the destiny of India in the 21st century especially, keeping in mind the fact that around 60 per cent of India's population today is below 24 years of age and 72 per cent of the electorate is below 35 years of age. Therefore, it is necessary for us to be vigilant to the fact that the mistakes, blunders, retrogressive tendencies of the last century will not have any place in this century.
One more issue that must not go unnoticed is the issue of rural youth. The rural youth so far have attracted lesser attention, due to host of factors among which bias in the psycho-cultural attitude of the public is one. Because of their proximity to institutions like universities, centers of political power and organs of mass communication and by virtue of being integral part of the modernization process like developing a rational outlook, adopting distinct sub cultures and promoting cosmopolitanism, the urban youth constantly remain in the limelight.
The adoption of economic liberalization policies by the Government of India in 1991 has transformed the scenario a great deal. Consequently, migration of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled youth to urban areas in search of employment has risen phenomenally. This automatically has resulted in a steep decline in work force in the agriculture sector and also uprooting of the rural youth from their culture milieu.
The upsurge of private sector, paradoxically, is accompanied by large scale disinvestments and closing or privatization of the public sector undertakings, rendering a large number of unskilled and semi skilled labourers jobless. The rural youth invariably form a majority among these sections.
Hence, on this occasion, I would like to request all of you "let's go to the rural areas to render community service." Once, the rural development work is left exclusively to the rural youth their achievement motivation will certainly rise. Government of India and state governments must realize the problem of unemployment and unrest in rural India. It is the time to take up community development works in villages at war level with 'food for work' and 'shram daan' programs, forming the core of such rural infrastructure development programs.
Today, the policies of imperialist domination have intensified. Imperialism is becoming more aggressive. The gap between developed and developing countries, between have and have not is increasing at a tremendous rate. In this era of ' nuclear fear' and increasing terrorism, global security is still at stake. Conflicts are increasing - ethnic as well as religious. We must aspire for a world of peace; free of weapons of mass destruction, based on social justice, international cooperation, sustainable development, in which human beings are in the center of development. We must strive for international solidarity, peace, friendship, respect of human rights, democratization relationships and a world free from imperialist domination and exploitation.
It is a matter of serious concern for us that we have entered in the new millennium with half of the word population living in extreme poverty and hunger. More than 1.5 billions of people are still deprived of drinking water, each year 2.7 million young people below 25 years get infected by HIV, 90 per cent of them in developing countries.
It is imperative to tackle the basic problems of poverty, illiteracy, over population, shortage of food and drinking water, arms race, regional conflicts, terrorism and environmental degradation. We will have to fight against the evil forces of castism, communalism and regionalism as well as criminalisation of politics and society, which are detrimental to the nation.
Emphasizing on the need of positive contribution to the development of the nation our beloved leader Bharat Ratna Shri Rajiv Gandhi had once said that, "Every Indian has to contribute his energies to the task. This is all the more necessary today because the changing map of the world affords an opportunity to make a place for India. If this opportunity is missed, there is no knowing when another opportunity to make a place for India, that is why it is so necessary to maintain our strength today, to devote all our energies to making India great. In this endeavor, we seek your help, your cooperation and your strength. We are confident that with your strength, we will be able to raise India to the greatest heights. We will be able to make India great."
Last but not the least, Confidently I can say that Indian youth is determining the destiny of India in the new millennium, and I am hopeful that our friends from Assam, Arunanchal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizorum, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura will be the largest contributor. I believe that there is an urgent need of new leadership pattern with innovative skills and imaginative powers to chanellise available resources for national construction.
Jai Hind ! Back