This Book Offers A Comprehensive, Realistic Account Of Modi's Focus On Northeast

Surabhi Hodigere

Mar 10, 2024, 02:00 PM | Updated 03:45 PM IST

Book Cover: Modi's Northeast Story.
Book Cover: Modi's Northeast Story.

Modi's Northeast Story. Tuhin A. Sinha and Aditya Pittie (Editors). Rupa Publications. 2024. Price Rs 595.

The Northeast region of India, with its vibrant tapestry of cultures and pivotal role in the nation's narrative, has only recently begun to receive the attention it deserves. 

Perhaps the answer lies in the intersection of its rising prominence in sports, the spotlight from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's focused initiatives, and the establishment of a dedicated ministry to address its unique needs and aspirations.

Modi's Northeast Story emerges at a critical juncture, providing a much-needed platform for understanding and appreciating a region that is increasingly becoming integral to India's development story.

The authors of this volume, Tuhin and Aditya, have skillfully compiled a series of writings that shed light on the Northeast's journey through modern developments, historical events, and its evolving identity. While the book commends the region's progress and the central government's initiatives, it maintains a balanced perspective, recognising the complexities and challenges that persist.

Through a nuanced narrative, it captures the essence of the Northeast's transformation, highlighting infrastructural strides, a digital revolution, and economic growth, alongside an honest examination of its historical struggles and current challenges.

The book offers an insightful exploration into the lives and landscapes of the Northeast, urging readers to delve deeper into the narratives of this dynamic region. Its measured tone and comprehensive analysis provide a grounded view, inviting readers to reflect on the Northeast's past, present, and potential future within the fabric of India's national story.

The anthology stands out for its holistic approach, weaving together narratives on governance, development, culture, and innovation.

Himanta Biswa Sarma's "A New Assam" sheds light on the state's evolving governance and policy landscape, while Kiren Rijiju's "Empowering Border Villages for Growth and Development" focuses on strategic initiatives to bolster border areas, reflecting a nuanced understanding of regional nuances and strategic imperatives. Pema Khandu's "Transforming the Land of the Rising Sun" offers an inspiring account of Arunachal Pradesh's journey toward sustainable development, showcasing the state's leadership in embracing change and innovation.

The book offers an insightful exploration of Northeast India’s progress, juxtaposing its historical battles and resilience with recent developments under Prime Minister Modi's leadership. The contrast with the proactive engagement of Modi, compared to past political neglect, underscores a narrative of redemption and progress.

The Northeast’s cultural celebrations and reforms are portrayed as part of a broader revitalisation, symbolising a region reclaiming its narrative and stepping into a future that acknowledges its rich, tumultuous past.

"A Resurgent Northeast" by Baijayant Panda encapsulates the optimistic momentum sweeping across the region, highlighting the collective and individual achievements that signal a brighter future. The inclusion of personal narratives, such as in "The Northeast: A Personal Journey," adds a layer of authenticity and emotional depth, allowing readers to connect with the region's history and aspirations on a more intimate level.

The authors recount their experiences at IIM Shillong from 2014 to 2016, witnessing firsthand the transformative changes in the Northeast under Prime Minister Modi's leadership.

Chapter thirteen of the book delves into India's strides in financial inclusion, particularly in the Northeast, showcasing the impact of Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), the JAM trinity, and direct-benefit-transfer (DBT) initiatives. It highlights the issuance of over 2.62 crore PMJDY accounts and substantial DBT transfers in the NER, marking a pivotal move toward regional financial empowerment.

Readers will particularly enjoy the chapters on entrepreneurship and women's empowerment, like "Nurturing the Seed: The Start-up Ecosystem" and "Carving a Niche for Nari Shakti: The Modi Way," which underscore the forward-looking spirit and inclusivity defining the Northeast's current trajectory.

Particularly noteworthy is the chapter outlining the development in Tripura over the last nine years, where Prime Minister Modi's governance has driven substantial progress. Initiatives following the HIRA model have significantly boosted the region's infrastructure, enhancing connectivity, creating job opportunities, and improving access to various services.

While celebrating the region's advancements, the book maintains a balanced perspective, acknowledging ongoing challenges and the complexity of the Northeast's socio-political landscape.

This critical engagement ensures that the narrative remains grounded and reflective, avoiding overt glorification and instead presenting a thoughtful, well-rounded critique.

Modi’s Northeast Story is an engaging, enlightening, and essential read for those looking to grasp the full spectrum of Northeast India's journey. It successfully captures the essence of a region in flux, offering a hopeful yet realistic snapshot of its path toward a prosperous and inclusive future.

Surabhi Hodigere is the CEO Political Quotient Consultants Pvt. Ltd. She is passionate about politics, entrepreneurship, economics and all things spiritual.

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