Research Project on Support for Northeast India

Project Outline

This study project aims to examine issues focusing on the North East India and to design future programs which enrich diverse local cultural heritage and to promote sustainable development in the region.

Implementing Agency The Sasakawa Peace Foundation Year Implementation year(1/1)
Project Type Self OperatedGrantCommissionedOther Year project budget implementation 15,600,000yen
Roundtable workshop with Prof. Arupjyoti Saikia (Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati) held in Tokyo

On 27th June, 2016, the SPF invited Prof. Arupjyoti Saikia from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati, India, who is one of the most prominent environment historians in the region, and held a closed roundtable discussion at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation Building in Tokyo, Japan.


The roundtable workshop, organised as part of the on-going project called ‘Research Project on Support for Northeast India’, was attended by 15 people, most of those are young scholars and researchers specialising in Northeast India as well as its neighbors: Myanmar and Bangladesh.


Followed by a presentation by Associate Professor Makiko Kimura from Tsuda College, Tokyo, on ‘Ethnic Conflicts and Movements in Assam’, Prof. Saikia provided a lecture entitled ‘An Economic History of Assam after 1947: The Long Term Trends’. From a historical point of view, Prof. Saikia pointed out a number of reasons why Assam has been left economically under-developed until now despite of its relatively prosperous position before 1947. The most impactful event was partition between India and Pakistan in 1947, according to Prof. Saikia. A series of consequences due to the partition, such as the sudden denial of access to Kolkota (which was a hub for international trade in the region) via the Brahmaputra River and the Bengal Bay, as well as a sharp decline in Bengali merchant capital inflows, have seriously destabilized Assam’s trade and commercial activities which had heavily relied on the geography of East Bengal for a long time. He also provided a fresh explanation of how the new Indian border redefined the agrarian and plantation economy of Assam, by showing specific examples such as the change in ownership pattern of tea estates and the growth of small peasant tea cultivation, as well as the tragic fall of jute production.


During the Q & A/Discussion sessions, Prof. Saikia, along with Mr. Hiroshi Sato, Commentator, also engaged in lively discussions with the participants.