The problems of Assam and the Northeast have their roots in the Nehruvian era on account of faulty understanding of the issues, distorted world view, defective grasp of national security interests, and the faulty policies and remedies that flowed from them. Nehru, driven by vote-bank politics, allowed migrations from East-Pakistan—please see Blunder#5, 59. Also, no-holds-barred proselytization by the Christian missionaries promoted fissiparous and anti-national tendencies (dealt with in the next blunder: Blunder#61).

Nehru’s policy of division of Assam into a number of smaller states to satisfy certain ethnic groups has actually been counter-productive. One , because there are so many different ethnicities—over 220 ethnic groups. To what extent can one keep dividing? Two , it started divisive identity politics. Others too have raised their demand for separation. Three , such small states are not economically viable.

Egged on by Verrier Elwin, Nehru’s advisor on tribal matters and a British missionary and anthropologist, Nehru’s broad policy was to treat Nagas and the like as “anthropological specimen”. This came in the way of development and integration of the Northeast. Wrote Dr NS Rajaram:
“The Army Chief General (later Field Marshall) Cariappa [advised] Nehru that the northeast should be developed to bring its population into the national fold. But a British missionary called Verrier Elwin advised Nehru that the region that had many tribal communities should not be interfered with to preserve their pristine character. This left the field open
for foreign Christian missionaries who went on to dominate the area…
“Elwin was a British missionary who exploited tribal girls, sometimes under-aged, in the guise of being an anthropologist. When he was 40 Elwin married a 13 year-old tribal girl Kosi who was his student. He treated her like a guinea pig, the subject of his anthropological studies including publishing intimate sexual details in what is called participant observation. After nearly nine years of marriage, Elwin left her and married Leela, a tribal girl in NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh) leaving Kosi in dire poverty.”

States an article in ‘The Dharma Dispatch’:
“This diabolical pervert [Verrier Elwin] managed to seduce Nehru to such an extent that he appointed Elwin as the Anthropological Adviser to the Government of NEFA (today: Arunachal Pradesh). The missionary inside Elwin remained unsleeping. Behind his sugary insistence on preserving tribal identities, customs, etc worked the same colonial chicanery that held that India was never a nation of one people with a shared heritage, and that the tribals were the “original aborigine inhabitants”. The result? A near-total segregation of almost the entire North East for over fifty years. Elwin’s preservation policy left a devastating trail of Churches, inter and intra community hostilities and the “separate” Christian State of Nagaland. Dams, highways, heavy industries, universities, and hospitals for the rest of India. Bibles and Churches and Communism and guns for the North East.”
“The contrast couldn’t be more savage when we consider the havoc wreaked by the peaceful armies of Christian missionaries on every non- Christian soil their viperish foot stepped on. Over sixty years, they systematically, leisurely uprooted precisely this cultural and traditional continuity and wrecked the inter-community harmony in the North East thanks to their bellicose religion which is premised on spiritual larceny. And it wasn’t accidental. It owes to two characteristic character-flaws in the person of Jawaharlal Nehru: a highly-developed immunity against wisdom, and an incurable fascination for white skin . Nothing else explains the manner in which he literally squandered away the destinies of millions of people in that region by gifting it to the vile Verrier Elwin.”

What would have won the hearts of the people and brought them into the mainstream would have been not a State for each group, for that benefits only the elites; but solid, good, empathetic governance, effective criminal- justice system, assurance of security to people, delivery of services, education, health-care, providing connectivity and communications, putting in place adequate infrastructure, and economic development. But, that requires dedicated, committed, competent, empathetic and honest human resources, ensuring which should have been the top-priority task of independent India. But, no. The arrogant, callous, selfish, self-serving, exploitive, rent-seeking, corrupt, anti-people babudom, bureaucracy and the criminal-justice system continued, and rather than being replaced or reformed, became worse and vicious, as amply brought out by Ved Marwah in his book ‘India in Turmoil’ .

Further, with socialism as the Nehruvian creed, India had condemned itself to poverty, want and international beggary, and had neither the surplus to invest in development, nor policies to promote private investments and foreign investments. The NE states are unable to take care of either their development or their expenses. All the states have been categorised as Special Category States: they get 90% of the funds as grants from the Centre, and have to only generate the remaining 10%.

The PCB nexus (“P” for politicians, “C” for contractors, and “B” for businessmen and babus/bureaucrats), and in many regions the PCBI nexus (PCB plus “I” for insurgents) takes care of major portion of the funds. Without ensuring proper end-use of funds, the Central Government keeps announcing special economic packages for the region, most of which go to line the pockets of the PCBI. Continued militancy, and need for development to tackle it, provide a convenient pretext to get more and more funds to loot.

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