The Second Consultative Conclave of Women from Northeast India will be held on 7 August 2010 in Guwahati, Assam. Venue is  Bosco Reachout, Bholanath Mandir Lane, B K Kakoti Road, Ulubari, Guwahati, Assam. For participation or any query, please contact Binalakshmi Nepram at or phone us at     +91-11-46018541  

Second Consultative Conclave of Women from Northeast India

Northeast India Women Initiative for Peace
A framework for action for democracy, human rights, economic justice and
conflict prevention in India’s Northeast region

Date: Saturday, 7th August 2010
Venue: Bosco Reachout, Bholanath Mandir Lane,
B K Kakoti Road, Ulubari, Guwahati, Assam 
Phone No : +91 - 361 - 2515501 / 2633733
Time: 9 am to 4 pm

For more than a century women and women’s organisations and movements have mobilised in support of social empowerment, economic justice, democracy, human rights and conflict prevention. It started as early as April 28, 1915 for the first time in history when nearly 1,200 women called “International Congress for Women” from warring and neutral countries came together to protest the conflict at the Hague in Holland. This later became the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)[1].
One of the most evident mobilising factors is the building of numerous organisations from women’s roles as mothers. Women have often organised to protect their children as in the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo protesting the “disappearance” of their children in Argentina. And in Sri Lanka, a group of more than two thousand women from across Sri Lanka directly affected by the war.  In the 1990s women have also continued anti-war action as mothers in Macedonia and in Chechenya.

Northeast India and Women’s Movement

Northeast India comprising of the eight states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim is facing the onslaught of multiple armed conflicts since the late 1940s. No other part of India or South Asia has been subjected to such a prolonged violent struggle, which have held development to ransom, as the Northeast. The fire of insurgency has for long engulfed this strategic region for the last half a century or more making it one of the South Asia's most disturbed regions.

And it is not likely that this violence will end soon. In fact, the violence seems to be increasing with each passing day and the situation is becoming more and more complex. A level of militarization has engulfed India’s Northeast under the garb of insurgency and counter-insurgency. And in the process women are assaulted, humiliated, raped and murdered during conflicts which are not of their making. In the words of Anuradha Chenoy, "In 99 per cent of the world’s wars, the decision to wage them has been taken by men; women have only supported "men’s wars". Women are used by the state and non-state actors in different ways during conflict and in the practice of militarism without being conscious of it". Women in the region need to understand the political economy of militarism, to look at measures to bring peace and justice in the region.

Women groups in Northeast India have developed many a powerful programme of direct, non-violent, action designed to confront the armed violence of both insurgents and the security forces. However, most of their actions remain in "protest" form and after the initial action dies down, nothing much happens. The women’s movement in India’s Northeast that have emerged in response to the ongoing armed conflict is still now confined to "saving the sons of the soil" syndrome. We need to make ourselves, we the women in India’s northeast understand the issues of war, conflict, peace. We need to understand the political economy of violence, the militarization of Northeast societies. Besides, we also need to understand many of the internationally known United Nations Resolutions on women and peace building which rremains just on paper such as United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820.

In India’s northeast, women have always played a major role in many peace and social movements. Concepts of solidarity amongst women’s groups are very strong in the region. This is often illustrated in the existence of self-help groups, traditional cooperative systems, women’s markets and other forms of cooperative village action. Women’s contribution in the economic sphere is great and women have some amount of economic autonomy[2].

The first ever-organised women’s protest in entire Northeast India has its origins in the first Nupilal or ‘Women’s War’ of 1904. This took place in the state of Manipur and became a landmark in the history of women’s movement in entire Northeast India. The other strong women’s movement that came about was the establishment of Tangkhul Shanao Long (All Tangkhul Women's Association). The Naga Mother’s Association (NMA) is the one of the best well known women’s organisation in Northeast India which is working on peace issues. Mention may be made of the Bodo Women's Justice Forum, Kasturba Gandh Memorial Trust, Anchalik Mahila Samitis and Sajagata Samiti of Assam etcIn the matrilineal communities of Meghalaya women have a certain degree of control over economic resources and together with the women of Manipur and Mizoram play a very important role in trade and commerce. In Mizoram the women have been the key mobilisers for financial resources for the church through the practice of buhfaitham. This consists of putting aside a handful of rice for the church for every handful that is consumed by the family[3].

The proposed meeting aims to draw a blue print for women in Northeast India to strategise an Action Plan for rebuilding peace, providing justice and political rights in a society ruptured by years of conflict. It will look at all the plans drawn up at the local, national and international level to end violence against women and see in what way women in Northeast can use the knowledge and empower themselves. This will be done through a series of action plans which are listed as follows.

This action plan has been drawn up in a series of meetings which started from the 13 June 2009 meeting, which was a conclave of women from Northeast India who are based in Delhi and these meetings continued throughout 2009 in collaboration with India International Centre.

For more details, please contact

Ms Binalakshmi Nepram
Founder, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network
c/o Control Arms Foundation of India
B 5 / 146, First Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi - 110 029
Email :

Phone: +91-11-46018541 Fax: +91-11-26166234
Mobile: 9868233373

[1] Emily Schroeder, “Women and Disarmament Movements: Evolution and Continuity”, WILPF, 2004
[2] North East Network, Women in Armed Conflict Situations, 2005
[3] Ibid