Traditional Knowledge in Assam and its Effective Protection

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The traditional knowledge of the indigenous peoples are the assets upon which the identity of their community depends. They have exclusive right to use these knowledge for themselves and no one can steal them.

Traditional knowledge is an Intellectual Property Right of the indigenous peoples and they have every right to pursue their means of subsistence. There are various international, regional and national legal and customary protections which are theoretically available for the protection of these people. But the actual situation is something else. The reason of this problem is the non-implementation and inadequacy of these available laws.

Indigenous peoples are discriminated everywhere in the world even in this modern era when the concept of welfare state is spreading its wings. These people are the most disadvantaged people as they are exploited and often tortured by the governments who are supposed to protect them. When the protectors themselves become exploiters, it really hampers the peaceful existence and survival of the indigenous peoples.

The indigenous peoples of Assam also face the similar kinds of problems regarding protection of their traditional knowledge. In spite of having a diverse range of such art and crafts, these people face insecurity and threat towards their identity. When the basic cultural traits and knowledge of these people are taken away from them, there remains nothing to prove their uniqueness. Hence, they lose their identity.

In this book, the writer wants to focus on the identity crisis of the indigenous peoples due to the non-recognition of their rights over art, crafts, practices and resources. There are various international, regional and national legal protections which are theoretically available for the protection of these people but the lack of proper implementation has made these protections some dead letters only.

The author also seeks to highlight the need for an alternative law which will exclusively provide protection to the traditional knowledge of the indigenous peoples. Only a stringent sui generis law is expected to protect the traditional knowledge of the local peoples.

About the Author: Dr. Smita Sarmah has been teaching Law in different institutions of Assam since last 8 years. She did her Doctoral research on traditional knowledge of the local people in Assam and her area of specialisation are Human Rights, Humanitarian Law and Intellectual Property Rights. She also has worked as an activist for safeguarding rights of women found in vulnerable conditions in Assam. Currently she is serving as an Assistant Professor of Law in Cotton University, Guwahati.


  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: White Falcon Publishing; 1 edition (2020)
  • Author: Dr. Smita Sarmah
  • ISBN-13: 9789389932294
  • Product Dimensions:  21.5 x 1 x 27.9 cm

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