30th Convocation

Friday, 24 February, 2023

PhD - Honoris Causa

Dr Manisha Behal

Dr. Monisha Behal,  is the Co Founder and former Executive Director of North East Network, a women's organization working in the north east region of India. She is a social development worker and a feminist, engaged for many years in bringing social justice to rural women in north east India since early1980s. Her early years was spent diligently on touching critical local issues of women that communities needed to know for bringing in a change in their perspective. In fact, she worked through the Tezpur District Mahila Samiti, at Tezpur, her home town and sensitized several women’s organizations to add value to agricultural work with a right’s perspective.

It is in the backdrop of increasing debate on women’s issues that Dr. Behal travelled to several states of NE, working with women, women’s groups and understanding the urgent need to improve their social and economic lives. Dr. Behal took up research in the 80s - 90s, and was convinced that the collective expressions of women’s needs and rights, can better their lives and status in our society. Several articles have been produced by her in the print media during that time.

Building up a team of young activists was a priority for Behal and she facilitated the process through training, making their work create small impacts at the grassroots and enabling a sense of confidence to articulate issues collectively in the states of Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland. Monisha Behal’s work in Nagaland, between 1995-1998 flourished into an interesting community development centre in a village called Chizami, in Phek district. The Chizami Resource Centre has become a pathway for young people to thinking positively about the rich biodiversity of their state and their indigenous knowledge. Hunting was replaced by conservation with youth who engaged in the programmes that created a rich database of biodiversity and wildlife. For women it has become a space for learning and sharing too. 

Another achievement in Behal’s work is that of the birth of a film and video documentation centre called the Green Hub in Tezpur which was initiated in 2015. It is perhaps the first digital archive in the north east region with young Fellows documenting films on wild life conservation, environment and other social issues of the region.

Dr. Behal was a Member, High Level Committee on the Status of Women, Government of India between 2013 to 2015. She wrote the chapter on Violence against Women, drawing several examples of the north east region.

Dr. Behal is the Chairperson of Nenterprise, a Trust that engages with women weavers to promote their livelihood in several districts of Assam and Nagaland.

Awards and Recognition