Ambiguity, conflict and compliance
Land has been a contested issue in Myanmar (like Northeast India), with the country witnessing large-scale dispossession of land through indiscriminate logging, mining, hydropower construction with profits often deciding the future course of action. The chapter delves into the multiple causes and consequences of land conflict in Myanmar. It not only looks at the major points of disagreement between the government and the people but also at the slow but definite transition occurring in the country now visible not only in the responses of people, from being “silent spectators” to “active participants” (in the debate over land and rights), but also in the small policy initiatives being undertaken.
The volatile ethnic mix, the presence of the military, the challenges faced by rural women, the beginning of socially relevant rural activism, the enterprising and resilient spirit of the people of Myanmar remind us constantly of the Northeastern terrain of India - both regions trying to balance the constant pressure to comply with the state norms along with the urge to remain true to its community members and address long-term grievances and needs. The nascent democratic process is challenged by land-based conflicts, inter-communal tensions and ethnic exclusion in Myanmar, a phenomenon not unknown to Northeast India.