Wasbir Hussain’s new book deals with power play in Assam’s hill district

NURUL ISLAM LASKAR

A book throwing light on Assam’s economically backward hill district of Dima Hasao, its people, society, insurgency, and developmental efforts was launched in the presence of an august gathering in Guwahati on Saturday. Authored by renowned journalist, researcher, and TV anchor Wasbir Hussain, the book titled ‘Power Play in Assam Hills: Aspirations, Development & Politics in Dima Hasao was released by Dr Mridul Hazarika, Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University.

It may be mentioned that Wasbir Hussain is also a political commentator and strategic analyst whose core area of work includes writings and speaking on issues of peace, security and development in North Eastern India and its immediate neighbourhood. One of the founders of the research and policy think tank, the Centre for Development and Peace Studies, he is currently its Executive Director. Hussain was twice nominated Member of India’s National Security Advisory Board (2006–2008 and 2010–2012). Hussain hosts a popular weekly English talk show ‘Talk Time with Wasbir Hussain’ on News Live, one of the popular TV news channels of North East India.

Beginning his career as a journalist in 1984, Hussain covered Northeast India, Bangladesh and Bhutan for major Indian newspapers and journals, including The HinduThe TelegraphThe Asian AgeIndia Today Group Online, and Outlook. He was also Editor of The Northeast Daily, an English daily from Guwahati, and was Consulting Editor of The Sentinel, a premier English daily from Assam. In 1996, Hussain received the Sanskriti Foundation National Award for excellence in journalism. Till date, he has authored more than two dozen books most of which deal with issues pertaining to the North Eastern States of India.

At the launch event held on Saturday, Hussain told the audience that in the absence of documented data it was very difficult for his research team to gather necessary facts and figures for the book. In many cases, they had to file RTI applications to obtain information. Anuradha Sarma Pujari, author and Editor of Assamese weekly ‘Sadin’, recollected her memories of visits to Dima Hasao while she was a student. She said life was so peaceful there but today Dima Hasao is a hot bed of militancy, corruption, and all round poverty.

Dr Mridul Hazarika expressed the hope that this new book of Hussain will not only remove many misconceptions about Dima Hasao but also hasten the pace of developmental activities in the area.