Abotani Lotta, Gogamukh, Dhemaji-787034, Assam, India
Takam Mising Porin Kébang or TMPK is a prominent students’ organization in Assam, India. It is the Apex students’ organization of the Mising tribe in the state. It mainly focuses on the upliftment of Mising Nationality in respect of socio-economic development, Education, culture, tradition, language, literature, political issues and rights of the Mising Nationality. This organisation is known as the Takam Mising Porin Kébang founded on 16th October, 1971 at Jonai Higher Secondary School, Assam. Mg. Medini Mohan Doley was the founder president and Advocate Sunadhar Patir was the founder General Secretary.
Since its inception in late 70s, it has been making relentless and painstaking efforts and struggle to lead the problem ridden society to a new dimension of thinking. As a student body the office bearers are making efforts to uplift the community as a whole with their knowledge and strength for building and develop the future of the community in the present challenging and rapid changing world. It is one the most popular and dynamic student body in the northeast region. The main guiding organisational principle of TMPK is on democratic centralism.
Demand for inclusion of MAC in the Sixth Schedule. TMPK is spearheading the movement of the Mising society relentlessly demanding for the inclusion of the Mising Autonomous Council (MAC) into an Autonomous District Council as per the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
The Misings currently enjoys a bit of state autonomy under the Mising Autonomous Council (MAC ), which was formed after the Mising Autonomous Council Act of 1995 passed by the Assam Legislative Assembly and assented to by the Governor of Assam following violent clashes in early 90’s for greater autonomy. MAC includes 40 constituencies in eight upper Assam districts comprising core areas and satellite areas. Executive Councillor (EC) and General Member(GM) from 36 constituency are elected democratically while 4 other members are represented by the ruling government of Assam. Tensions exist between the Mising tribe and other communities regarding the inclusion of few Non-Mising villages in MAC although no violence occurred between Misings and non-Misings but some other Assamese unions clashed with the police. MAC areas constitute of more than 60% Mising population and other communities are a minority. In Assam’s Dhemaji and North Lakhimpur District, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, the population of the Misings is largest followed by Majuli District. Since 1984 Mising organizations have been demanding Sixth Schedule status under the Constitution of India in Mising dominated areas. Various Mising nationalist organizations have been formed during the modern era of civilization like Takam Mising Porin Kébang (All Mising Students’ Union – 1971), Mising Ba:ne Kébang (Mising Apex Council – 1924), Mising Mimag Kébang (Mising Action Committee) – 1993 (MMK), Takam Mising Mime Kébang (All Mising Women’s Front) – 1990 (TMMK), Mising Agom Kébang (Mising Language Society- 1972) and Mising Dirbi Kébang (Mising Cultural Society – 1980).
The Kébang shall try to achieve better mutual understanding among Mising youth and public of different parts of India. The Union shall make efforts particularly to find out ways and means to:
(i) Struggle to achieve the Just and constitutional rights through democratic process.
(ii) Settle the issues relating to the political crisis that may arise among the Mising people threatening the national existence of their future generation.
(iii) Propagate among the masses the need of imparting education through the mother tongue.
(iv) Improve the Mising language through magazines and other literary works.
(v) Develop and safeguard the culture of the Misings by bringing reforms to it through various perspectives.
(vi) Develop the Mising people economically by taking economic programmes from time to time.
(vii) Fight for all found security and if the above goals are denied and ignored, the union further shall not refrain even from struggling for political self determination.
(viii) Support the principle of socialism for economic emancipation.
(ix) Raise voice for human rights and civil liberties and develop socio-cultural relations among the Mising nationality of the country
Life & Culture of Mising people revolves around agriculture and fishing. Agriculture practice of the Mising people was originally ‘Jhum’ or slash & burn method. However after settling down in the plains of Assam they have mastered the art of wet paddy cultivation and at present they are good settled cultivator. Drawing their origin in Jhum cultivation, the main festival of the Mising people is ‘Ali-Aye-Ligang’. Ali means edible root, Aye means seed and Ligang means sowing festival. They celebrate this festival on the first Wednesday of every Falgun month from which date onwards Mising people start cultivation.
The Mising people practice the cult of ‘Do-nyi – Po:lo’ which literally translates in to worshiping the Sun and the Moon. Mising people considered the sun and the moon as the main source of energy for life.
The main guiding organisational principle of TMPK is on democratic centralism. Its focus area is on the upiftment of the Mising nationality in respect of Culture, Education, Language, Literature, Political, Social and Justice.
The Misings have been demanding for territorial council under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian constitution which is a political demand. The TMPK (Takam Mising Porin Kébang) which literally translates into All Mising Students’ Union has been spearheading the movement till yet.
The history of the formation of TMPK. A big need for a political identity and an organisation who could voice the demands of the Misings led to the formation of TMPK and it has not been a one day affair. Efforts were made before the independence of India. The Asom Miri Chatra Sanmilon was formed as early as 1933 AD. It was renamed as Northbank Mising Students’ Union (North bank implies the north bank of the river Brahmaputra in Assam) during post independent period. In the year 1951 the organization was again renamed as Murkong Selek Transferred Area Mising Students’ Union. The Southen Bank Mising Students’ Union was formed in 1959. Collaborating with the NEFA (present day Arunachal Pradesh) the Assam-NEFA Mising Students’ Union was formed in 1971 (Foundation year of TMPK). Clubbing all these organization the All Mising Students’ Union was formed in 1978. And this organisation later got its present name of TMPK in 1985 in a conference held in Jengraimukh, Majuli on the 22nd, 23rd and 24thof February. One of the first demands that were articulated were the fixing of a definite date for Ali-aye-Li’gang and also asking for Mising textbooks and educations to be imparted in primary schools. Everyone would agree that it is a political demand and needs political will of the Assam government to agree to those demands. Student organisations have played strong role in shaping up the politics of the nation and making democracy more participatory. The fight against the Bangladeshis in Assam was spearheaded by AASU which later led to the formation of AGP.
The Misings have a long history of struggle for Autonomy.
They remained a free people with their own self governing system till the advent of British colonial force. Even during the rule of 600 years of Ahom dynasty in plains of Assam, the Misings enjoyed a great degree of Autonomy and the Ahom rulers hardly interfered into the internal affairs of the Misings in order to avoid clash. Though the plains as Assam went under British colonial rule in 1826, the major portion of Mising territory, particularly the Murkong Selek and Sadiya area, had remained free from British occupation till 1911, when a British Expedition conquered this area along with adjoining Adi territory.
The colonial rulers, only for their colonial interest, grouped and regrouped, bifurcated and joined the tribal peoples and their territories and thus played with the geography, demography and everything in a mess, which remains to be undone till date.
As per suggestion of the Montagu-Chelmsfort Reports, 1918, section 52-A was inserted in Govt. Of India Act, 1935 as a consequence of which the following territories of the then province of assam in British India were declared as backward tracts;
The traditional Mising territory was divided and parts of the territory were placed in Sadiya, balipara and Lakhimpur backward tracts while the rest were kept under the provisional administration of British Assam. Again, in 1936, backward tracts were categorised as “Excluded and partially Excluded areas” after such recommendation was made by the India Statuary Commission, 1930 (popularly known as Simon Commission), by an order of 1936, the Govt. Of British India regrouped the backward tracts as follows:
Partially Excluded Areas:
Thus, a large area of the Mising territory were grouped with NEFA and separated from the rest. These areas were exempted from the power of provincial legislature. The Excluded areas were administered by the Governor himself and the partially Excluded areas were his special responsibly. This provision of the Government of India act, 1935 were, by and large, retained by the Indian (Provisional Constitutional) order, 1947 when India Became independent. After independence, a committee named Bordoli committee was appointed for determination of the future of these excluded and partially excluded areas. The committee submitted its reports to the advisory committee on fundamental Rights, Minorities and Tribal and excluded Areas for the consideration of the constituent assembly. The recommendation of the Bordoloi Committee were incorporated into the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and under section 19 of the sixth schedule the Governor was to ensure creation of autonomous district councils for each of the following areas:
The committee recommended incorporation of the sixth Schedule to the constitution of India providing Autonomy to the Excluded and partially excluded areas by creating autonomous districts councils. But, the committee, most probably, moved by the objective of assimilating the plains tribals of Assam into the mainstream Assamese nationality, did not strongly recommend for providing autonomy to the Mising and other plains tribal areas in line with other hill areas; rather, with some ambiguous observation, it recommended separation of the plains tribal areas (mostly Mising territory) and amalgamation with the general areas of Assam without providing any constitutional mechanism.
The important portion of the Reports of the sub-committee is as follows: “the population of the plains tribals, which is being gradually assimilated to the population of the plains, should for all purpose be treated as minority. Measures for protection of their lands are also in our view of necessary action. We have kept in mind the possibility of their being certain areas inhabited by tribals in the plains or the foot of the hills whom it may be necessary to provide in the same manner.”
With more reports, the sub-committee stated that- “We have also provided that administration of the areas to be brought under the provincial administration in future should also be similar to that of the existing hill districts. We also conclude from the evidence collected at Sadiya that the Saikhowaghat portion of the excluded area south of the Lohit river and possibly the whole of the Sadiya plains portion upto the inner line could be included in regular administration; but feel that the question needs more detailed investigation and recommend that it should be undertaken by the government”.
Following the report of the sub-committee, the provincial Government of Assam separated the plains tribal areas from NEFA and amalgamated them with other advanced areas of Assam in 1951 and declared these areas as ‘Transferred Areas’ (Vide Notification No. TAD, 25/50/109, dated 13th February, 1951) and appointed Asstt. Political officers at Charduar, Balipara, Murkongselek and Sadiya (vide notification no. TAD 35/50/154, dated 8th may,1951).QUIRK OF HISTORY
The constitution of independent India for two schedule in the constitution for administration of the tribal areas. These are the Fifth schedule and the sixth schedule. The sixth schedule provides for formation of autonomous district councils in the tribal areas of the north east and fifth schedule provides for formation of tribes advisory councils in all other states of the country. But the vast tribal areas in the plains of Assam and the hills of Manipur have been left out these two schedules. Dr.Bhupinder Singh committee or the three member experts committee on plains tribals of Assam constituted by Govt. Of India in the wake of Bodoland movement has strongly criticised this lapse and describe it as a “quirk of history”. This ‘quirk of history’ remains the root cause of tribal agitation in Assam.THE FIRST RESOLUTIONS
The first resolution to raise the demand for separate autonomy for the Misings and allied groups was North East frontierMiri-AborSonmilon. The sonmilon, during its first session held on 20/05/1947 at Murkongselek with Mr.Howard William, the then political Officer of Sadiya on the chair adopted the following resolutions. These are the first resolutions adopted by Mising people demanding Autonomy.
Resolution 1: The sonmilon resolve to extend thanks to the British Govt. On its decision to create independent provincial administration for Assam on its declaration of 20th February, 1947 and farther resolve to supports the proposal for separating Assam from East Pakistan.
Resolution 2: Resolved that we, the Miris (with Miris of provincial administration) Abors (Adi), Daflas (Nyshis) and Charak (Galong) communities firmly and unitedly move today to create an autonomous unit for these tribes as per specific boundary given hereinafter as the said tribes are the uniformity in language, religion, culture and manners. Formation of autonomous unit preserve the oneness of Assam in general. Boundary: North: Tibet. South: The Brahmaputra River. East: The Nizemghat (Sadiya). West: Subonsiririver towards Boginadi in a straight line to meet the Aka hills.
Resolution 3: The autonomous unit shall be consisting of one district legislative council represented by those tribes with their elected representatives. All administrative functions shall be confined within the indigenous Assamese people shall be treated as minority community with their right to vote and shall deserve right of citizenship.
Resolution 4 The council shall elect four representatives to the legislative council of the states.
Resolution 5: All revenues including land revenue shall be remained with district council with the approval of the legislative assembly, if necessary.
Resolution 6: No outside non tribal shall have the right to settle or claim land property to be there, no business be allowed to run by them without the prior permission of council.
Resolution 7: In case of distribution of land amongst the plains Miri-Abors and Hill-Miri-Abors, the existing inner line shall be treated as the boundary for hills and plains and there shall be equal right to settle in hills and plains for the people of hills and plains and vice versa.THE SECOND PHASE OF THE MOVEMENT
Though denied their right of self rule, the Misings were also carried away by the euphoria of end of British Colonial rule and hoped for better treatment under independent India. The extended full supports to the congress. They hoped that their territories would be restored, their right over their ancestral land and forest would be back and they would again be free to unite their community and territory and would be able to live as a distinct people with pride. With such hopes and dreams they kept their autonomy demand in the cold storage for almost two decades. But their hopes and dreams got shattered very last. The Mising people exhibited their first aspiration to live as one people by forming “MisingAgomKébang (Mising Language Society)” in 1972 and launching a movement for preservation, development and recognition of their language.
The Mising educated youths and students played a leading rule in organising the Mising community. Till this time,There was no common Mising students organisation covering the whole of Mising inhabited areas. The first missing Student body was formed in 1933 named as AsomMiriChatroSonmilon. This was renamed as North Bank Mising Students Union after independence. In 1951, Murkong Selek Mising Students Union was formed and 1959 saw formation of South Bank Mising Students Union. All these groups were united in 1971 by forming Assam NEFA MiriChatroSonmilon. In 1974, this sonmilon was renamed as Assam Arunachal Mising Students Union. The next session of the union was held in 1978 at Dergaon (Golaghat) and the name was again changed to All Assam Mising Students union. The next session was held in September,1982 at All Assam Miri High School, Matmora, Dhakuakhana and it was in this session that an unanimous resolution was passed to demand autonomy for the Misings under the provision of the Sixth Schedule of the constitution. Finally, in the session held on 22, 23 and 24 February, 1985 at Jengraimukh, majuli the union was permanently named as “TakamMisingPorinKébang (all Misingstudents’ union)” and a popular mass movement was launched on the Autonomy demand.THIRD PHASE OF THE MOVEMENT:
As the autonomy movement grew stronger and popular, a new batch of young political leaders emerged out of the community and they soon developed differences with the existing old generation leadership of “MisingBa:néKébang”, the so-called parent body of the community. Most of the leaders of ‘MisingBa:néKébang’ belonged to the rulling political parties and therefore, they did not supports the autonomy movement. In this political polarisation of the community, all other missing organisations took the side of pro-autonomy movement and walked out of the 31st general conference of the ‘MisingBa:néKébang’ held at Bodoti in lakhimpur district in 1992. All the organisations jointly announced ‘Social Boycott’ of ‘MisingBa:néKébang’ and a convening committee was formed immediately to form a new broad platform to organise the Mising people in supports of Autonomy demand. Later, in February, 1993, ‘MisingMimagKébang (Mising Action Committee) was formed at a Mising National Convention held at Jonai in Dhemajidistrict. Democratic agitational programmes, such as Bandh, picketing, mass mobilisation started.
Considering the growing popularity of the Autonomy movement, the Govt. Of Assam led by the then Hon’ble CM late HiteswarSaikia announced grant of autonomy to the Misings and invite TakamMisingporinKcbang (TMPK) and MisingMimagKébang (MMK) for negotiation. The Govt. Gave a written proposal to create an autonomous council named as Mising Autonomous Council (MAC), which said that: 1. There shall not be any definite boundary and compact area for the MAC. 2. Revenue village having 50% or more Mising population would be identified and included unto the MAC. 3. The MAC will not have any legislative power; it will have only executive powers on 34 subjects enlisted under 11th schedule of the constitution of India incorporated after the 73rd amendment. 4. Fund to the MAC would be provided only from the tribal sub-plan of the state. 5. The MAC would be created under a state Act and not under any provision of the constitution. Nine rounds of discussion were held between the Government of Assam and the leadership of TMPK and MMK. The TMPK-MMK insisted that ‘autonomy without boundary’ was an absurd proposition and was not acceptable. They also objected to the creation of 50% Mising population in a revenue village for identification and inclusion into proposed MAC. The TMPK-MMK strongly demanded that the existing ‘tribal belt & Blocks’ and the tribal sub-plan areas in Mising dominated areas should be included into MAC and that the MAC should be provided with powers and function similar to Bodoland Autonomous Council. But, the Assam Govt of congress-I party refused to concede to divide the Mising people.
Overnight, a fake organisation named ‘Mising Autonomous deemed Committee (MADC)’ was launched with full patronisation of the Govt and put into dirty fight against the TMPK-MMK. Simultaneously, the Congress-I took up a plan to revive the ‘Mising Bane Kcbang (MBK)’ to use it against the struggling missing people. The MBK and MADC agreed to accept the boundary less farce Mising Autonomous Council and organised the 32nd general conference of the MisingBa:néKébang on 21, 22, and 23 april , 1995 at Bilmukh under Dhakuakhana PS and invited the Chief Minister of Assam for formal declaration of the council. This move sparked strong resentment among the Misings and TMPK-MMK vowed to resist the conference. A 60 hour Bandh was called. On the first day of the conference,about five thousand Mising people took out a heroic protest march at Bilmukh and when the procession was advancing towards the venue of the conference to register their protest , CRPF and Assam Police opened indiscriminate fire killing two person namely martyr Mahananda (Boga) Medok and Martyr NoreshTaid. Hundreds were injured. As the 60 hour Bandh continued, police atrocities started in almost every Mising inhabited areas. Thousand people came out to the streets to protest. At Gogamukh in Dhemaji district, police brutally lathicharged on hundreds of woman picketers and a young girl named AnjanaPegu was wounded by bayonet. She later succumbed to her injury.
The Band turned violent. Roads were blocked by felling trees, bridge were burnt down and markets were ablaze. Amidst such wide spread and strong protest, late HiteswarSaikia, the then chief Minister of Assam came to Bilmukh by a chopper and addressed a very thinly attended meeting. He however, could not venture to announce his boundaryless autonomy. Police repression continued and more than 500 activists of TMPK-MMK including all the top leaders were jailed and when most of the TMPK-MMK leaders were in jail, the Govt signed a so called Mising Accord on 14 july, 1995 with MADC and MBK. Later, the Govt. Constituted and interim Mising Autonomous Council headed by a person named LaxminathPangging known for his closeness to the Chief Minister. After some month, he was replaced by one Mr.DoneswarModi, a Congress-I leader from Jonai.
The TMPK-MMK continued their democratic agitation against the farce boundaryless Mising Autonomous Council and successfully prevented the leaders of MADC and MBK from entering into Mising Villages. The Mising villagers gave punishment to many persons involve with MADC and MBK by imposing social boycott, shaving of head and parading through village. At many places, violent clashes took places between supports of TMPK-MMK –TMMK and MADC-MBK.