I’m an Arunachali and am angry not because of the reasons the filmmaker and the fiction writer cite in your story but because it took China laying claim to our land to bring us to the notice of other Indians and the central government (On the Wrong Side of Geography?, Nov 16). The Delhi University recently sent a call letter to a teacher in an Itanagar college to Andhra! When we, brought up in India’s remotest part, know every bit about the country, why can’t the rest of the country at least try to locate where we are too? I’m totally indifferent to being taken over by the Chinese because we’re anyway called Chinese in our own country! Rachel, Itanagar
Your cover story is a great satire on the Indian government’s lopsided approach towards strengthening our border areas. The story of Arunachal repeats itself across the Indian borders contiguous to Chinese territory. The Uttarakhand border, for instance. One visit to the people of Mana Pass or Munsiyari and you come across this neglect. It takes more than 50 hours to reach Dharchula beyond Pithoragarh from Bareilly to reach the Indian border. H.C. Pandey, on e-mail
India may offer them neglect, but at least it’s a democracy. Who knows one day Arunachal goes to China and the next we know China enslaves its people on sezs. Abhijit, Oxford, US
As long as the Indian government does not realise that the key to integration is corruption-free development of social opportunities, wounds in the Northeast or for that matter anywhere else in the country will never heal. It’s not that no money is allocated to these states; it’s just that the leaders supposed to put them to constructive use cannibalise 90 per cent of the funds. Navien K. Batta, Muscat, Oman
The neglect that spans a spectrum of geographies and issues within the country will prove to be India’s undoing. For long, the Northeast has needed better integration with the country by way of better infrastructure, better investment, better education and job opportunities. However, a dire lack of these has made the region a good ignition point for fissiparous tendencies. If New Delhi does not watch out, it will fall victim to its own myopia. C.K. Jaidev, Dubai
To imply that there was corruption in the election of three Congress MLAs, including CM Dorjee Khandu, is hearing only one side of the story. One has to remember that the Arunachal Times is a local daily owned by former CM Gegong Apang’s wife. He, incidentally, lost the recently-held assembly elections, as did his son Omak. Inter-tribal politics plays out big time in government formation and portfolio allocations. Khandu and the other two MLAs who were elected unopposed belong to a small tribe called the Monpas. The latter must have realised that it was wiser to send these men back to the legislative assembly as Khandu had a good chance of becoming CM again. It could have taken several decades again for a person from a smaller tribe to reach that position. Not all candidates, winning or otherwise, would have spent the speculated Rs 15 crore. It would be unfair to most candidates who won because of the hard work they put into their respective constituencies and to the fact that many non-performing MLAs were shown the door by the people this time. I’m surprised no one brought up the disturbing trend of highly placed government officials fielding their wives or brothers to contest these elections. And we all know where they got their money from! Joseph Tabang, Itanagar
Did Outlook think of the headline first, and then commission the story? Rajeev, Delhi
“People of our age now speak to each other in Hindi, our second language, because it was taught for years in our schools, while our ancient tribal languages were forgotten.” The imposition of Hindi has led to frustration here and, more than a binding force, it is becoming a threat to national integration. Shaan, London
Hindi wasn’t meant to be an imposition, it was meant as a bridge language among the different tribes which had no common language of their own. On the other hand, Chinese has been imposed on Tibetans even when they have a common language. Maneesh, US Minor Outlying Islands
Of course development has not taken place in the Northeast but the whole notion of preserving tribal identity has also been a reason for it. You cannot have one without diluting the other. Homogenisation is the price you pay for development. So instead of fighting this homogenisation, one should make an effort to identify what we can preserve about this tribal identity and what we cannot and be at peace with it. You can at least think of such a thing in India, any attempt to preserve cultural identity in China can either land you in jail or in the graveyard. Look at the Uighurs and Tibetans. Arpan Banerjee, Durgapur
China’s only competition in the world is poor India. However, India itself is a long-term contender. It’s not making cheap toys, fake drugs and other products that fall short of international standards. China is in a hurry, and nations in a hurry do not achieve greatness. The only redeeming thing about China is its hard-working people. And they are becoming fodder to the state. Vikram Chandra, Visakhapatnam
Arunachalis are just like any other xenophobic Indians who are scared that development will open up the floodgates for migrants who will eventually destroy the culture of the state. By this reckoning, Delhi and Mumbai should be completely cultureless now! Ramon Terence Iyer, on e-mail
The seeds of New Delhi’s neglect of Arunachal lie in the years before and after Partition, when Nehru and then Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi gave in to Pakistan’s claim for Sylhet, which had a deep political and economic relationship with India (On the Wrong Side of Geography, Nov 16). Had Sylhet remained with us, it would have given the Indian mainland broader terms of engagement with the Northeast and overall strategic depth. Mihir K. Datta, Ohio
New Delhi and all our bureaucrats have been quite foolish all these years in deciding not to antagonise China, and trying now to wake up to its intimidation. The moment China invaded India and let go, India should have focused on development in the region and shored up its defences instead of just conducting elections. Paul Deepak, Chennai
On The Wrong Side Of Geography? (Nov 16) was a rather thought-provoking piece. The Buddhist areas of the Himalayas have always been patriotic Indians. The reward? Consistent neglect by New Delhi. Compare us with Kashmir, a hotbed of secessionist sentiments and terrorism. Kashmiris are rewarded with phenomenal concessions and subsidies. It’s another matter that all the money hasn’t translated into real development due to corruption. Ladakh is a ‘beneficiary’ of the Kashmir problem, otherwise it would have been as neglected as Arunachal. But Buddhists here are being reduced in numbers by systematic family planning. There is also an influx of Muslims from other places. In fact, we are on the brink of extinction. Tsering Stobdan, Leh
While it’s true Arunachal lacks basic development, the Centre alone should not be blamed for this. The state government is equally responsible for the backwardness. And never do we think we’d be better off under Chinese rule. Raju, Tawang
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