Archives at the National Centre for Biological Sciences
Public Lecture Series
43rd edition
Monthly talks framed around explorations in and around archives. Discussions by artists, archivists, academics, lawyers, teachers, journalists and others.
People of the Brahmaputra: On crisis, care and complex relationships
Sanjoy Hazarika
Thursday, Nov 18 2021. 4:00pm
Ninety-six percent of the borders of India's northeastern region are with other countries- China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan. This is a highly diverse area home to more than 220 ethnic groups that speak almost as many languages. They live a range of cultural legacies and are inheritors of stunning landscapes and rich ecosystems.
The region is environmentally fragile and diverse as well. Yet at a time when we are told that India is giving equal emphasis to environmental security as to national security, we should also underline that over 300 dams are being built across the rivers of the Himalayas including in India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. How will these impact people, their societies and ecosystem? Those with the greatest and deepest knowledge of the rivers at the local level are locked out of participation in the development and growth paradigm process.
We will explore the complex relationship between the Brahmaputra, its fellow rivers and their peoples. We will also look at crisis and care and how simple, small-scale interventions not giant efforts can benefit both communities as well as the ecosystems they inhabit. 
Sanjoy Hazarika is the founder of the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), which pioneered the boat clinics on the Brahmaputra. He is currently the director of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). Author of several books on the Northeast and the neighborhood including the acclaimed Strangers of the Mist (1994), Hazarika recently published Strangers no More: new narratives from the North East (2018). Hazarika is a columnist and film maker, and often a panelist on public discussions on a range of issues including the North-East. He had earlier set up the Centre for NE Studies and Policy Research at Jamia Millia Islamia and has been on numerous government committees.