Bridging the gap through Social Media :Koch-Rajbanshis of South-East Asia

Anuj Choudhury: Today news and information is no more restricted to radios and TV channels.  Social media has brought a new wave of revolution in our traditional society. The mainstream media, mainly occupied by the ruling class, no more plays the determining role. It is the social media which has become the handy media for the middle class today especially among the youth generation. Digital tools like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and YouTube are defining social movements by giving rise to a new generation of activism today. This we have already witnessed in successful movements across the globe from Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring which took off due to social media mobilizations. Similarly the movement of the indigenous Koch-Rajbanshis in India and Nepal can be seen entering a new phase of digital mobilization. The first social media mobilization of Koch-Rajbanshis was seen in Orkut page named ‘Koch-Rajbongshi Community’ which was created on 16th September 2006. Koch-Rajbanshis of  Assam, Meghalaya and Nepal were part of this community page.   Through this community page the first ever get-together cum meeting was held in VIP Colony in Bongaigaion district of Assam on 9th November, 2009. Koch-Rajbanshi youths from Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts of Assam attended the gathering.  After Orkut, Facebook took the lead and today we see a number of pages and groups related to the Koch-Rajbanshis and digital mobilization of the community continues through these pages. In fact there are Koch-Rajbanshi organizations like the Koch-Rajbanshi Students Forum, etc which first mobilized students through internet before officially forming in the ground. Mobilization through social media has been so influential among the community that the Kamatapur Movement in West Bengal- Assam, India and Kochila Movement in Nepal, both demanding greater autonomy for the Koch-Rajbanshis are taking inspiration from each other’s movement. Thus, the political boarder has become blurred for the community staying across boarder. All credits to the social media! At the same time has been high level of cultural exchange among the Koch Rajbonghsis of both courtiers which is actually contributing in the Indo-Nepal relationship. There, are also online news websites like kamatapur.com and publication of newspapers like Kamatapur Bulletin by Kamatapur Association which keep the public updated with recent newsfeeds.  Also, there are several blogs relating to the community like rajbanshipride.blogspot.com,mahabirchilarai.com, kochrajbongshi.weebly.com, voiceofrajbanshi.blogspot.in, etc. Organizations like Centre for Koch-Rajbanshi Studies and Development (CKRSD) and Koch-Rajbongshi Cultural Society (KRCS) have also come up with their own websites- kochrajbanshicentre.org and kochrajbongshiculturalsociety.com respectively. All these attract thousands of viewers every day.

(The writer is Associate Editor at Kamatapur.com)

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Statehood demand for Kamtapur set to intensify

SILIGURI: Demand for a separate state ofKamtapur in the northeast is set to intensify with the movement gaining support in parts of Assam. 

“We had an electoral tie up with the BJP, which promised to give a deeper look into our language and aspiration in its election manifesto. But it did nothing in the last one year. This is our time to strike back,” said Anarul Sheikh, general secretary of theBengal wing of Kamtapur Progressive Party (KPP).  Read Full Story

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