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With India having given them nothing but neglect, the Arunachalis wonder if they’d have been better off with China


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1
Nov 30, 2009
The Angry Tide

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

2
Dec 07, 2009
It Started With Sylhet

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

3
Dec 21, 2009
Crooked Lines

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

Order by HAVE YOUR SAY
1/D-47
Nov 07, 2009
01:47 PM
The Indian political system is too CORRUPT and the Congress too full of MALE-HATRED, to bother with the fact whether AP belongs to India or China. God save India!
Partha persistent spammer
chennai, India
2/D-60
Nov 07, 2009
04:10 PM
It's an ill timed rather ordinary article playing with the emotion of people of Arunachal Pradesh.This type of article creats confusion in mind of different ethinic groups in India for no reason.The problem of development is not limited to Arunachal but is omnipresent in whole of country except Metro.Myself coming from Bihar, where the facilities are well known.But no one will write that Bihar has been colonised by New Delhi.But it will be different if any problem in J&K, or Assam or Manipur or even Tamil Nadu.For these type of Journalist only Hindi speaking area is India and rest are 'colonies' of New Delhi.sic!
Secondly, if the writer thinks that Arunachalis thinks , they would have been better with China then I suppose, author would have been repenting to have our independence as for him it would have been better had he still be an British subject.
Those who only thinks of physical prosperity and compare themselves with their chinese counterpart should talk to His Highness Dalai Lama and others about the liberty they enjoyed in Democratic India.
Having said so, I don't mean that everything in India is good.Corruption is definetely one of them and needs some serious remedies, but is it limited to these areas only or is omnipresent?
So, instead of passing such sensational statement in reputed national weekly as Arunachalis prefer China to India, think twice.
Mr Datta, don't go Ms Arundhati Roy, who always find faults in India and abuses the country.Everyone should try to understand democracy does not give you limitless privilege of infective verbal diarrheoa, which could be dangerous to everyone, including the one who spreads it.
My sincere apology for my hard thoughts, but our Country is much better than it is being projected by few intellectuals in this magazine.
Indian
Perth, Australia
3/D-70
Nov 07, 2009
05:31 PM
This neglect that spans a spectrum of geographies and issues within the country is going to be India's undoing. For long the north-east has needed better integrated with the rest of the country by way of better infrastructure, better investment in education and job opportunities. This has not happened despite dire warning signals. A dire lack of these has made the region a good ignition point for fissiparous tendencies. Yet, Delhi is lost in its own problems thus turning a blind eye to some serious issues across the country (population explosion being just one of them). When Delhi will wake up to real governance, will decide whether India stays united or whether it will fall victim to its own myopia.
C K Jaidev
Dubai, UAE
4/D-73
Nov 07, 2009
06:15 PM
The vacuum headed chatterboxes in Delhi often cite 'democractic credentials' as a good reason for people to remain a part of India. Well, democracy and freedom don't feed a hungry populace or provide jobs to the unemployed. China may be a dictatorship with scant respect for human rights, but it ensures that its citizens live a dignified life of high quality. What else does one need, at the end of the day? Is it a surprise that so many of our peple happily flee our free and democratic India to take up jobs in other dictatorships like Saudi Arabia or the other Gulf states, even China?
G.Natrajan
Hyderabad, India
5/D-79
Nov 07, 2009
06:51 PM
I have always wondered whether Delhi is India's capital, or just another North Indian city.

For Arunachalis, it's better that they decide what they want to do with their future. The article is not clear whether they want cities and industries or to preserve their native cultures. On one hand it states that they have been neglected, and on the other hand there is this fear of "invasion".
vikram chandra
Visakhapatnam, India
6/D-84
Nov 07, 2009
07:15 PM
“How about taking the ‘Soil’ of ‘House of Commons’ next time, because there too the modesty of a hapless lady called ‘Goddess of Justice’ - is outraged every moment?”
Rajneesh Batra
New Delhi, India
7/D-92
Nov 07, 2009
08:21 PM
Is Arunachal really nigleted by Indian government? Those who are grumbling and want to go China side Tibet will they happy there?I was in Tibet in 1997, I went there for Kailas Manssorover Yatra, I spend there 14 days.What I saw there I was shocked.China treated Tebitians justlike slave, sixty years China rulled there what kind progress China made there? 60 years back Tibetians living in extreme poverty same position is there now also.,No schools, no dispensery,nothing only Chineses population is increasing. Are Arunachli want to live in slavery?
Last year I visited Tawang and surrounding area, people are better fad, schools are there, Docters are there,freedom speach is there regular election conducting,Indian government pouring millions of ruppies there if this fund not reaching to common poor man ,who is responsible for that?Why not educated young fight for that. I had seen many youth organations`s posters there, why not educated youth rebel againest political leaders and government servents.Who meet your reporters they are only grumbling weeping and showing their helplessness. I think they are liers or may be cheaters
Ramesh Raghuvanshi
pune, India
8/D-109
Nov 07, 2009
11:19 PM
The blame for this mess lie with the stupid, naive idiot Nehru. He not only refused to allow any development in Arunachal, but even Indian citizens were debarred from entering the state (the few who did, needed a permit), for fear of offending his Chinni-bhais Mao $ Chou, who in turn, repaid his great efforts in full measure in '62.
His venal Congress Party continued the same stupid policies for years- even today, Indians from outside the state must still register when they enter the state.
Worse, instead of the Home Ministry handling matters concerning the state, it's the External Affairs Ministry. What message does that send to the Mandarins?
Fifty uninterrupted years of corrupt, bankrupt Congress Raj- their criminal neglect is shocking, yet the stupid idiot masses keep voting these criminals to power.
Had it not been for the IMF, India may still be where it was in the 80's- no reforms and a bankrupted economy under the Congies Commie policies.
The credit for India's progress must go to the NDA govt- it's the BJP-NDA govt policies which finally set the country on its development trajectory- almost everything that people now take for granted was initiated by NDA, as no new reforms or developments has occurred or implemented since under the succeeding useless Congress govt.
Bodh
Springfield, United States
9/D-2
Nov 08, 2009
12:20 AM
Dictatorial regimes can be efficient in implementing development programs. Democracies may be slow, often bogged down by debates, bureaucratic red tapes and corruption. People may complain of negelct, but it is most unlikely that they would opt to live in a dictatorial country. That however does not absolve us from the need to pay attention to development as well as to cultural sensitivities.
Anwaar
Dallas, United States
10/D-8
Nov 08, 2009
01:16 AM
rom entering the state (the few who did, needed a permit), for fear of offending his Chinni-bhais Mao $ Chou, who in turn, repaid his great efforts in full measure in '62.......

are you sure,he fingered the chinese repeatedlyand when they retaliated to his forward policy,he played victim in front of his countrymen.accusing china of backstabbing and treachery,
there are some hard questions here,why the boundary is still a bone of contention,what is the future of indo-china relationship?
given their actions l;ately in ladakh and elsewhere,they are in a no-nonsensical mood.
Bazeed Mirza
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
11/D-36
Nov 08, 2009
06:42 AM
First 1984, then Arundhati Roy's poison pen and now Arunachal. What is Outlook trying to prove.
Anil Kotwal
Adelaide,, Australia
12/D-44
Nov 08, 2009
09:50 AM
It’s not just Arunachal Pradesh. Ask the average inhabitant of any North East Indian state what India has done for this part of the country. The average ultra-patriotic India hyperventilates with indignation at the thought of China claiming Tawang yet can’t even name the states or Union territories the country has, and can’t locate Arunachal Pradesh on the map to save his life. Hell, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, there are “educated” Indians who would be hard put to find India on the outline map of the world. India treats the North east like a miser who, very occasionally, remembers a piece of gold he has hidden in a hole but will neither spend it nor give it to someone who can use it.

The average North East India sees that the most India has done for him is benign neglect, that is, if one is lucky enough to live in a “peaceful” part; without schools, hospitals, power or water, living as his ancestors did a hundred years ago. He might have a government of indolent and corrupt stooges placed over him, whose only purpose in life is to batten on Central government doles which are little more than bribes to stay peaceful. He will know how the Central government has cut off access to the North-East’s natural markets in South East Asia and compels it to “compete” with “mainland” India which doesn’t bother to remember its existence.

If he happens to live in Manipur, parts of Assam, or Nagaland, he will have a much sharper appreciation of Indian “democracy” where a non-commissioned securityman can shoot him dead, quite legally, without a question being asked. It happens just about every day.

Please don’t compare the situation in North East India to that in Delhi or Mumbai. We have our own reality here, and, frankly, given the choice of living under Chinese “tyranny” or Indian “benevolence”, I think most of us would be better off under the former.
Biswapriya Purkayastha
Shillong, India
13/D-45
Nov 08, 2009
10:02 AM
What load of hogwash! Some of my fellow bloggers’ gibberish in black and white form is utter bunkum. Didn’t the Arunachal Pradesh’s denizens recently elected a state government with an overwhelming majority? There was no dissent or call for boycott of the election. People, by and large, exercised their democratic rights and elected a state government of their choice. The key word is choice and the People of Arunachal Pradesh have the choice that approximates democratic rights-freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and all the other mundane democratic rights. If you think everything is hunky-dory in totalitarian China, would you like to live there? Here you take your democratic rights for granted and if you do there, you would be lucky to be alive. Big Brother is watching on your every movement and you will be on the spotlight all the time. People of Arunachal Pradesh must be aware of this, even though their state hasn’t developed the way they would have liked.

Yearning to be free is inherent in all of us- human beings and animals. That can’t be suppressed in perpetuity; it will come back to bite the totalitarian regime sooner or later. The question: what form will that be? Will it be like the fate of the Romanian totalitarian dictator Nicolae Ceauaescu?

Here the democracy has the advantage: the citizenry are the masters, who in turn can vote in or vote out a government as they please-the kind of release of exaltation or frustrations as the case may be. Whereas, under the totalitarian rule, the anger and frustrations of the citizenry are bottled up and simmering- ready to burst. When it bursts like a volcano, there will be total destruction in its path. The totalitarian regime is on borrowed time for the judgement day.
Scaria Varghese
Melbourne, Australia
14/D-109
Nov 08, 2009
09:40 PM
SCARIA:

India is a lost cause.

It is the country with wretched performance which uses its being a democracy as the ever-ready excuse for failure to perform.

This is, simply, suicidal.

Now it is involved in a confrontation with China, a far more efficient nation, with far greater resources. China may collapse in the long run. But that won't be much consolation if India doesn't exist by then.

India can survive the contest with China only by being far more competitive,efficient economically, and able to mobilise its population everywhere for the struggle. In the North-east, particularly, it has abjectly failed in doing so.
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
15/D-112
Nov 08, 2009
10:11 PM
Saikat Datta wants us to believe that Tibetans are grateful to the Chinese for occupying their country. Without occupation probably Tibet would have economic progress. But what is the price? Their very identity. Tibet is overwhelmed by the Chinese, so are other ethnic minority regions.

Infrastructure may be in shamble in Arunachal Pradesh, but it is no different from the rest of country. Does it mean that everyone should look up to Beijing for development? According to Datta's world, soon Assam and whole northeast will yearn for Chinese rule. Bengalis already believe that they are a Chinese province.
Rajesh
Phoenix, United States
16/D-16
Nov 09, 2009
04:50 AM
HI MOMEEN RASHID

I have to agree with your comment- China may collapse in the long run. Chinese totalitarian regime will collapse because history is any guide no totalitarian or dictatorship has lasted long.

On the other hand India will survive because of her democratic moorings. Moreover, Indian citizenry are masters who in turn can vote in or vote out a government as they please-the kind of release of exaltation or frustrations as the case may be. Whereas, under the totalitarian rule, the anger and frustrations of the citizenry are bottled up and simmering- ready to burst. When it bursts like a volcano, there will be total destruction in its path. The totalitarian regime is on borrowed time for the judgement day.

Unlike totalitarian system, a democratic system cannot be 'force marched' in a particular direction by railroading peoples’ democratic rights. In such a system it will be slow, cumbersome for the desired outcomes-like faster economic growth. India is progressing on a snail phase like the tortoise of the proverbial tale that won the race in the end.

I can wager on my bottom dollar that the Chinese citizenry would prefer freedom because yearning to be free is inherent in all of us- human beings and animals.
Scaria Varghese
Melbourne, Australia
17/D-28
Nov 09, 2009
09:11 AM
Dear Mr.Saikia,

1)Though your comments are valid please remember the Chinese have decimated Tibetan culture and swamped Tibet with Han Chinese majority.

2)China mirrors Nazi Germany in many respects and development in China is at cost of lives of thousands of minorities.Money power of Chinese is blinding many eminent analysts such as yourself and only good news from China is glossed over and in China itself dissent is never tolerated. What about harsh and barbaric treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs and other minorities in China? Why do you ignore the pollution and environmental degradation in China????

3)It is totally bizarre and utter nonsense to compare Indian democracy with Chinese autocracy. Tawang and entire Arunachal Pradesh is sovereign Indian territory.Without Arunachal and Kashmir and other vital border states, India cannot be complete.

4)PM Manomohan SIngh has done a great service to the nation by announcing development package and all Indians must put pressure on Congress Government at state and centre to see its benefits reach the common man of Arunachal.

So not forget that Aruachalis Pradesh are Indians and have demonstrated love for India time and again.Yes they deserve development and much better from rulers in Delhi and Itanagar.

Finally to all critics of Idnia and as Mr.Vinod Nehta Editor knows for all its ills Indian democracy allows even the smallest individual to voice his/her concern freely and for which in China you could be thrown in jail or worst beheaded.

Jai Hind
BharatMaata Ki Jai
Ram
Singapore, Singapore
18/D-40
Nov 09, 2009
10:51 AM
arunachalis are not well off with india?

and yet over 70% turned up for voting in the elections?

arunachal's election manipulation is no different from any part of india - or even the world. that is the way democracy works.

and the pictures at the top too say something : indians might not be using modern machinery. but they use more people which gives them employment and a livelyhood.

without freedom who wants "development"?

with desis like the author, no wonder india has been intellectually/psychologically subverted in mis-handling chinese hostilities.
nandakumar
chennai, india
19/D-65
Nov 09, 2009
04:43 PM
it is not india who duped arunchalis. it is the congress party which governed india for 50 bloody years. every single insurgency, be it kashmir, paunjab, assam etc is direct resultmof congress misrule. and now the congress is led by a christian fanatic sonia whose main aim is to convert india into a vatican state.
namo4
London, United Kingdom
20/D-70
Nov 09, 2009
06:21 PM
Aaaah KitKat Dutta and his popcorn journalism.
Rajeev
Delhi, India
21/D-82
Nov 09, 2009
08:59 PM
---
Flashpoint 5 Hydel projects will lead to influx of migrants and hasty environmental
clearances will wreak havoc
----
We hear the Chinese have trains running to Tibet. Here, we can’t even build roads.”
-----
The reason the people in the north east do not want railways lines is that the people from other parts of India will flood the state.
Try looking up the history of the opposition in the 1980s during the anti-foreigner's agitation to the proposed railway line to Byrnihat in Meghalaya from Azara in Assam. Only in the recent past has there been some enthusiasm for the proposed line.
Rajeev
Delhi, India
22/D-3
Nov 10, 2009
12:44 AM
China lacks good sense, as can be seen from the utterances of their leaders. What India lacks in aggression, it more than makes up for it through good sense. China's only competition in the world is poor India. They do not even realize this simple fact and will not until it hits them on their face. India is a long-term contender. We do not know to make cheap toys, fake drugs and other products that do not meet international standards. China is in a hurry, and greatness is never achieved by nations that are in a hurry. Those are deemed to fail. The only redeeming thing coming out of China is it's hard working people. But they are a fodder to the state.
vikram chandra
Visakhapatnam, India
23/D-18
Nov 10, 2009
02:08 AM
It's amazing how many people in this forum hold democracy responsible for various problems Indians are facing right now.
India's problems are governance problems that have got nothing to do with N ehru, or Congress or the BJP being in power. Saikat Dutta's sensational peace fails to point out that many other parts of India also deal with the same issues of pathetic infrastructure, poor law and order situation and the like. A massive administrative reform is needed to change all this. Don't forget that crores of rupees earmarked for development assistance often are not spent because of lack of timely implementation. This is even worse than siphonic off the public assistance money by the politicians, government officials and the middle men.
Even if India were to become a dictatorship these problems of governance would not disappear without administrative reforma. Moreover, in a highly complex multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi- religious , multi-cultural society like India's democracy is still the binding force and the best compromise among its diverse citizenry. And democracy also is the only power of the poor and weak citizenry to pull down those who are not ruling the nation or the states up to the expectation of the citizens. Don't forget that democratic politics also gives a chance to people to vent out their expressions and oppositions to the state's action.
I do agree that India is years away from the development needs because of the inefficiency of the governments at centre and at the states. But we will live in a fool's paradise if we believe that Chinese style of dictatorship that kills all dissenting views is better equipped than democracy to resolve India's governance issues.
DC
NEW YORK, United States
24/D-20
Nov 10, 2009
02:17 AM
“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. New Delhi never bothered to understand or value our culture. Now, we seem to be getting lost in the deluge.”

-Everywhere the imposition of Hindi is leading to frustration and Hindi has become more of threat to national integration. It is time the govt understands this and gives priority to local languages.
shaan
London, United Kingdom
25/D-24
Nov 10, 2009
03:14 AM
RAJEEV:

To be absolutely frank, if the North-east people care about their future, they have good reason to pray for their area to be conquered by China.

What is the alternative?

It is not, in the long run, Indian rule or Hindi-speaking migrants taking over.

It is take over by the flood of Muslim Bangladeshis.

At least Tibet is safe from Bangladeshi colonisation thanks to China.....

Ever thought of that?
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
26/D-26
Nov 10, 2009
03:20 AM
The alternative to China for for Arunachal and the other North-Eastern Indian states is NOT Indian democracy.

It is Bangladeshi Islamist domination and extermination of non-Muslims. Look what happened to the Buddhist tribes of the Chittaging Hill Tracts in Bangladesh!

The Indians bring Bangladeshi Muslim hordes with them -both because they are too lazy and inefficient and corrupt to be able to keep them out, and because the Congress Party uses these illegals as an easy vote bank.

Indian offers only Islamisation to the North-East peoples.
Momeen Rashid
Delhi, India
27/D-86
Nov 10, 2009
03:17 PM
In oue country, only Delhi matters. All else is the periphery, or the "backwaters." That is why Arunachal -- and all the other regions are neglacted. That is why the Indian government is not able to respond to Pakistani or Chinese threats, so happy are our politicians to live in their cocoons.
Today Arunacha, tomorrow the North-East, and then naxalites. All are symptoms of the Delhi disease.
Dinesh Kumar
Chandigarh, India
28/D-7
Nov 11, 2009
12:14 AM
First Hizda Manmohan and then the Italian Congress, kick them out of power as soon as possible. This is the remedy for all problems
M. Srinivasulu
Hyderabad, India
29/D-15
Nov 11, 2009
01:46 AM
A nice article, though it suffers from muddled and convulated thinking at some places.

1. The author talks about lack of development in Arunachal Pradesh in the same breadth as he talks about influx of new projects while describing the development across the border in Tibet. It is surprising that he does not see any irony in these statements. Problem is that development and new projects can never be mutually exclusive. One needs to accept change in order to enjoy the fruits of 'economic development'

2. It is claimed that people from Arunachal Pradesh feel resentment because of dilution of tribal identity on account of imposition of Hindi. It would have been good to add that there was no common language among different tribes and Hindi serves as a bridge language. Chinese has been imposed on Tibetians even when they have a common language. That is the difference.

It is the nature of rapid change in Arunachal society that causes adjustment problems and heigtens the sense of identity. All societies with rapid changes face these problems. It would be been good if the author placed his narrative in perspective and considered people's reaction to rapid pace of change over which they have little or no control.
maneesh
College Station, U.S. Minor Outlying Islands
30/D-61
Nov 11, 2009
03:40 PM
Perhaps, The Indian government wants to keep the Arunachal Pradeshi's to themselves, and also introduce democracy, within their social framework. The people of Arunachal Pradesh should be asked, what they desire out of their daily existence and what they desire from their live's. Building a consensus the government should then chart out policies for the people.Why is the state government of Arunachal Pradesh, not held accountable for the development of Arunachal Pradesh, if there is no Presidents Rule in Arunachal Pradesh?
Aditya Mookerjee
Belgaum, India
31/D-66
Nov 11, 2009
04:19 PM
MR,

Buddhists of Sri Lanka have undermined the people of their nation who are Hindu. There is hardly a common ground between Buddhists and Hindus as far as geo-politics is concerned. I do not think there will ever be a India-China alliance based on Hinduism and Buddhism.

You claim that supporting China's interests as far as Tawang is concerned, will act as a bulwark against Islamists from Bangladesh. These Islamists are mostly poor people and what is so wrong about they migrating to North-East, as long as it is a Indian controlled territory. When China cannot go to a war with India over these provinces, will the poor Bangladeshi Islamists dare to? Is USA able to stop inflow of Mexicans across it's borders, with it's fenced borders and well-equipped patrol teams? I seriously think the Bangladeshis fear the ocean more than Indian or Chinese military.
vikram chandra
Visakhapatnam, India
32/D-69
Nov 11, 2009
04:48 PM
MR,

For us, the shortest route to North-East is by crossing Bangladesh. We cannot neglect Bangladesh when considering India's interests in North-East. In fact, Bangladesh needs to be forced to accept the suzerainty of India over it's territory. This action should have been taken long ago; considering that Bangladesh lies within the Indian territory, it affects Indian interests in many ways. Indian government need to give opportunity to the North-Eastern people, to trade with south-east asian nations like Myanmar, Thailand.

The local people of North-East have every right to preserve their culture, and if required, they need to use arms. But it will not change the minds of those Bangladeshis wanting to migrate. Nor will it change, if the Chinese occupy North-East and use military force.
vikram chandra
Visakhapatnam, India
33/D-6
Nov 12, 2009
01:21 AM
Now it is Arunachal Pradesh tomorrow they say mumbai is belong to them.Days are not foraway for china that it will break like Soviet Union then only the world will be free from them.
balaji
Chennai, India
34/D-22
Nov 12, 2009
03:14 AM
Lets accept that North eastern states are being continuously neglected and probably kept out of media since politicians have very little benefits out of them. Lets accept even we are responsible for not making an attempt to know more about the happenings in that part of our country... If that scale of Ignorance happens in any other state there will be riots, so one would really wonder how did these states stayed with India so long.
But on the other hand China is bloody no democracy. One day we know Arunachal pradesh goes to China and next day Chinese state government will mobilize all the population to be enslaved in one of their SEZ's
Its better for them to be with India... but country has always neglected them and it is a hard truth to swallow.
Abhijit
Oxford, United States
35/D-61
Nov 12, 2009
10:43 AM
The article made me wonder if Mr. Datta had dreamt up the headline first and then gone looking for the story. If, in spite of having managed to converse with some of our most thoughtful representatives, his grand conclusion is that Arunachalis are wondering if they are ‘on the wrong side of geography’, then he needs to check his interview notes again. Had he paid more attention to what his interviewees were saying, he would have realized that Delhi is not Arunachal’s biggest problem today – maybe the second biggest at most. Its biggest problems are its politicians and polity.

As for “(T)he war had left behind a people who’d remember those months for generations to come.” For generations to come? Spare me the hyperbole. Maybe my grandparents reminisce about it once in a while (mainly because in the hullabaloo, all their livestock got stolen); as for the rest of us, we don’t even think about it. China didn’t even exist in our daily consciousness until recently when it started building dams on the other side and denying visas to Arunachali bureaucrats. Maybe we kid about shifting loyalties to China among ourselves especially when we are sick of explaining India’s geography and diversity to other Indians, but no one, really no one, in her sane mind is seriously considering that as an option.

To be fair, he has managed to get the scattered facts correct - about the electoral corruption, about the environmental concerns, about Hindi being the lingua franca (but with 50+ dialects with an average speaker size of 6-7000 or even less, perhaps it was the least hegemonic option), out of which he could have teased out the more difficult points about societies in transition, of the hard choices between ‘development’ and its environmental costs, of negotiating modern democracy on the crutches of clan and tribal affiliations. But alienation? Wow. That’s a heroic leap of imagination.

No, seriously, the Arunachalis are not alienated. Not yet. But if this nonsense is what Outlook chooses to publish instead of covering the recent dharna held by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union in Delhi pledging Arunachal’s allegiance to India, which incidentally was similarly ignored by all major newspapers and channels, alienation is an alternative.

What a missed opportunity, Mr. Datta. And no thanks for leaving me to field the coming onslaught of questions like ‘is it true that Arunachalis are planning to welcome the Chinese with open arms? It was in the Outlook.’

p.s. 1962 wasn’t so much ‘the end of innocence’ (the ‘noble savage’ drivel is so last century) as the end of the Elwin-Nehru experiment with NEFA. To me, that was the greatest loss of ’62.
nangki
Delhi, India
36/D-88
Nov 12, 2009
05:45 PM
---
The article made me wonder if Mr. Datta had dreamt up the headline first and then gone looking for the story.
-----
Welcome to the Outlook school of journalism my friend.
Rajeev
Delhi, India
37/D-109
Nov 12, 2009
09:08 PM
Even though I agree that development has not taken place in north eastern states, but the whole notion of preserving tribal identity has also been a reason for it. The question is how can government foster development of infrastructure without diluting tribal identity as it currently stands. I do not think it is actually possible. People on both sides must be ready to compromise. A great example is China, where tribal identities cease to exist (just look at the cover picture with no people in it) at the cost of better roads. There is so much about preserving tribal identity, I really wonder people in those areas love living in deprived conditions or born into it. For these matters this article does not help anybody. What we should rather wonder how can we get a middle ground between the top and bottom pictures. What compromises about tribal identity as a nation do we have to make? For example off course there will be citizens of India from elsewhere in India who would live in Arunachal when they work there by buying land like the tribals when they get the monetary power can buy land in any other parts of India. Homogenization unfortunately comes as the baggage of development in the western sense. At least that is the notion of development;e.g. better road, schools, medical facilities being talked about in this forum.
So instead of fighting homogenization, we ought to make an effort in identifying what we can preserve about tribal identity and what we cannot and be at peace with it. Easier said than done! As a cautionary not if you try to preserve your cultural identity at the cost of infrasturctural projects in China, you can land up in jail or dead. Look at Uighurs and Tibetans for example
Arpan Banerjee
durgapur, India
38/D-28
Nov 13, 2009
07:06 AM
As long as the Indian Politicians do not realize that key to integration is corruption-free development of the society; wounds in North East or for that matter anywhere else in the country would never heal.Its not that money is not allocated to these states but the leaders supposed to put them to constructive use cannibalize ninety percent of the funds. In addition, strong regional identities must be made a part of national school curriculum to foster faster assimilation into the mainstream.
Navien K Batta
muscat, Oman
39/D-58
Nov 14, 2009
11:49 AM
Going by all the facts of neglect of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and other states in the north-east, the ruling Govt all these years and the bureaucrats are born fools. By deciding not to antogonise China, have slept all these years and have now trying hard to wake to China's brazen attempts to intimidate India. The moment China invaded India, and then let it go, India should have built its military strength and done other development activities, instead of just conducting elections. India does not have even half the guts that Pak has. Look at Pak, it has provided a safe haven to Al-queda and playing the little bully to perfection. India has reopen Tibet and other issues if it wants to hold on to Tawang. China is not immortal, now that India has the strength and money, it should do a tit-for-tat and keep China guessing, instead of retorting to China.
Paul Deepak
Chennai, India
40/D-116
Nov 15, 2009
09:36 PM
Saikat Datta has very succinctly put forward the views of Arunachali. the reason why China claims Arunachal as part of China has nothing to do with the development across the border; historically Tawang was (culturally & by religion) part of Tibet & MCMahon line was an artificial barrier. If India had quite docilely accepted Tibet as part of China in 1959, they should also accept the claim of China to at least part of Arunachali.e. Tawang and its surroundings. If one has to accept the premises that there is good development of roads & infrastructure in China compared to India, then may be whole of India should be ceded to China. As for the developmental there are constraints of democracy in India - as we in west Bengal who are suffering from the short-sighted politician like Mamata know very well. As for corruption in Arunachal, it is upto the people of the state to get rid of the corrupt. Joining China will not make much of a difference unless Arunachal people accept to share the fate of Uigur rebels that were hanged by the Han Chinese government. Also Tibet of today is a Han colony - that also must be told to them by the likes of Saikat.
Yours sincerely,
Arunava Choudhury
Dr. Arunava Choudhury
Kolkata, India
41/D-20
Nov 19, 2009
02:23 AM
"On The Wrong Side Of Geography" is a wake up call to India's democratic framework. It cannot be denied that Delhi had been committing several blunders by neglecting the North Eastern States since it achieved independence. The seeds of this neglect lie in the years before and after partition when Pandit Nehru and Assam's Congress chief minister, Gopinath Bordoloi meekly gave in to Pakistan's claim for Sylhet which had a deep political and economic relationship with India.

Today mainland India shares a tenuous relationship with Assam and other North Eastern States in geographical terms through the narrow Siliguri corridor. Had Sylhet remained with India this link would have given us greater strategic depth in the Siliguri corridor, improved transport and facilitated greater integration of the North-East to mainland India.
Unfortunately, we continue to ignore history at our peril.

Thanking you,

Mihir K. Datta
Cleveland Heights
Ohio, USA
MIHIR DATTA
Cleveland Heights, United States
42/D-93
Nov 24, 2009
04:13 PM
It is the short sight policy of Delhi & people of the main land dont really care about North-East India. Many people even dont know that it is within India.
This reporter made nothing wrong.
Some of the people here say that his report is inadequate.This is mainly due to restriction imposed by Delhi. The inner-line premit which was designed to protect the identity of various tribe & its rich natural resources(forest) become meaningless with misuses. It has become a tool to shield corruptions in the state. Even journalists are not unrestricted from free reporting from the state. Medias are not allowed to take pictures freely. The situation is artificially more or same fragile as in Afganistan. Again this is a national media & can not describe very lengthy.
Corruption is also the main case. Corruption is there in the state which get inspiration on it from Delhi.

I m originally from North East India & I m giving what I see & get myself there.
Samyek Dutta
Pune, India
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