Impact of Technology on Tribal Societies in Northeast India

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Northeast India is a landlocked region, connected with the rest of the country by a narrow bottleneck of about 50kms in North Bengal, with a hilly topography which is congenial for harnessing water resources. The paper addresses the impact of such projects and confines itself to a study of two projects, viz. the completed Doyang Hydro Electric Project (75MW), and the on-going Tipaimukh Hydro Electric Project (1500 MW). Lyotard’s ideas ( The Inhuman), though made in reference to the invasion of computer technology, could also explain the impact of technological development in tribal societies, in so far as he accuses “techno-science” of marginalizing the human dimension in its effort at further expansion, ( Sim : 2002: 169-171) The paper would attempt to analyze the technological impact on tribal societies along these lines. Hence from a historical perspective, the implementation of hydro-power projects, particularly, mega hydel projects, is dangerous in the sense that they bring with them avalanches of change in the socio-economic sphere with the destabilization of the traditional subsistence economy, on one hand, and affecting environment and ecology on the other vis-a vis tall promises of better economic opportunities, and higher standards of living or genres de vie, at the cost of the effacement of one’s historical and cultural heritage!


Keywords: Northeast India, Hydel Power, Tribal Societies, Marginalizing the Human Dimension, Destabilizing Traditional Economy, Environment and Ecology, Better Economic Opportunities, Effacement of Historical Heritage
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Impact of Technology on Tribal Societies in Northeast India


Dr. Meeta Deka

Reader, Department of History, Gauhati University
Guwahati, Assam, India

Meeta Deka, Reader, Department of History Gauhati University, Assam, India, and author of Student Movements in Assam, Vikas, New Delhi 1996. Her specialization is Modern India and Northeast India and the areas of interest are student movements/social movements, ethno history, gender, social and economic history.

Ref: T08P0067