There is a general view that the Northeastern States — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura (the Seven Sister States) and the Himalayan State Sikkim — are isolated from the mainstream consciousness of India. In the Rotary world, they form the Rotary International District 3240. To promote true integration of the region with the rest of the country, the District organised a Rotary Day event — Light up North East — on June 6 at Guwahati. It was a national conclave for promotion and media focus of the Northeastern region of India.
The meet, hosted by RC Gauhati West, was inaugurated by the Governor of Assam and Nagaland PB Acharya. PDG CT Liu, District 3500, Taiwan, represented the RI President Gary Huang. DG Swapan Choudhury, D 3240, welcomed the guests comprising PDGs and Rotarians from the District, educationists and policy makers.
Media personalities, editors and journalists from the print media deliberated on various issues pertaining to coverage of news about the region. Some of the participants included Debjyoti Chakraborty – National Affairs Editor, Hindustan Times; Amit Barua – Resident Editor, The Hindu; Sheela Bhatt – National Affairs Editor, Rediff.com; Pamela Philipose – Development journalist and former Editor, Women’s Feature Service; Sevanti Ninan – Editor, The Hoot; Kaushik Mitter – Managing Editor, The Asian Age; Nitin A Gokhale – formerly Defence & Strategic Affairs Editor, NDTV; Patricia Mukhim Editor, The Shillong Times; Pradip Phanjoubam – Editor, Imphal Free Press; Tongam Rina – Associate Editor, Arunachal Times; Sanjib Deb – Dainik Sambad, Agartala; Zarir Hussain – Editor-in-Chief, NewsLive; and Samudra Gupta Kashyap – The Indian Express.
Lok Sabha MPs Bijoya Chakraborty and R P Sharma, and Parliamentary Secretary, Department of Information & Public Relations, Government of Nagaland K T Assumi also attended the meet.
Three achievers from the Northeast — film-maker Padma Vibhushan Jahnu Barua; Mission Prabhughat fame social worker Temsutula Imsong and journalist Tongam Rina, who braved the bullets of the insurgents, while on duty, were honoured.
Discussions centred on drawing a strategy to overcome the prevailing negative perspective of the region due to poor knowledge of people outside these States and to promote the Northeastern States to the rest of the country through media in a positive manner. A brief presentation to adopt a Separate Time Zone for the region was deliberated by Jahnu Barua.
A report is being compiled on the deliberations and recommendations that resulted out of the conclave, with help from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Gauhati University.
The meet gave a huge boost to Rotary’s image among the people of the region and the media world.
(The writer is the Event Coordinator and member of RC Gauhati West, D 3240)