Arunachal Diary is still in hiatus(:)) and would be back soon with more news and analysis on Arunachal. Watch out.
It was on 25th November, 2007. A history was in the making-a history of getting Chinese Visa by an Arunachalee. The applicant was frantically waiting for his visa to be cleared with his finger’s crossed, whether his visa would be cleared or not-he being an Arunachalee, at a Coffee Shop of Samrat Hotel and at the eleventh hour his visa got cleared by the Chinese Embassy, finally after initial hesitation. He rushed to the IGI airport with loose visa sheet attached to his passport (no. 1503076) and boarded the fight to China amidst raised eyebrows from officials at airport on how on earth an Arunachalee got visa to China. So they say history was created. Well, that’s how the media portrayed it.
The news about this China visit by an Arunachalee was broke by the Head of the Department of the Institution where this Arunachalee worked as a lecturer and all the hell broke loose.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, accused the lecturer of using fraudulent means to get his visa to China, thereby maligning the name of the institution, the state whom he represented and the country as a whole and promised a disciplinary action against him when he returned and issued a memo to HoD for issuing a press release without his knowledge and without University’s consent.
But in a dramatic move, all of a sudden, VC Prof. K.C. Belliappa made a ‘U’ turn and retracted his earlier statement saying that the ‘actual factual fact’ to obtain the visa to China by his colleague has been ascertained and that he (Marpe Sora) didn’t gave false affidavit while applying for the visa.
“I have now ascertained the actual factual facts with the return of Sora to the campus. In the affidavit, Sora has testified that he is an Arunachalee by birth and that he is teaching in Rajiv Gandhi University, Prof. Belliappa said.
The address at Guwahati mentioned in the affidavit is where Sora’s brother-in-law lives. Sora was a resident in that house while he was pursuing his M. Tech course in Tezpur University, Assam. Hence, all the three statement made by Sora in the affidavit are factually correct and there is no iota of falsehood in the affidavit.”
Now, one wonders, why Prof. Beliappa made this sudden ‘U’ turn in his statement after vouching to take stern disciplinary action for using fraudulent means in his earlier statement? Being a VC of premier institute, shouldn’t he have verified the fact prior to issuing any press statement instead of retracting later? Or was it the case of ‘why should I be left behind when others (read HoD) are hogging the limelight of this historical event’? Or was it that New Delhi had asked the VC to do so i.e., to retract his statement (VC stated that he was getting lot’s of phone calls in the wake of his statement in the press about the ‘false affidavit‘)? But then, why would New Delhi like to do so? Hmm..sounds rational.
If the VC retracted his statement at the behest of New Delhi, the only sensible reasoning that I can arrive at is-in order to reassure that New Delhi is keen to solve the Boundary problem and they have made significant achievement through diplomatic talks, to the people of Arunachal, which has, off late become quite vocal about the Indian government’s stand on Arunachal vis-à-vis Indo-China boundary row over Arunachal, the statement of VC had to be changed, who was hell bent on proving (stated that he had documentary proof) that Marpe Sora got visa not as an Arunachalee but as a resident of Assam, in which case all the hailing of positive shift in Chinese diplomacy towards the vexed boundary dispute would all go down the drain.
Now that VC has corroborated the ‘factual facts’ (at whose behest or for whatever reasons) and stated that Marpe Sora had clearly stated that he was an Arunachalee by birth in his affidavit, should we say history was made by Marpe Sora becoming first Arunachalee to visit China on Chinese visa? No, if we go by the claims pouring in. In a Letter to the Editor that appeared in The Arunachal Times dated December 12, one Vishal P Nabam has claimed to have visited China on 90 days visa from Chinese Embassy, New Delhi during the month of October 2006 and that he knows several other Arunachalees who have visited China before him and that all the media hailing Marpe Sora as the first Arunachalee to visit China is ‘absurd and misguiding’.
“I would like to make a statement before your esteemed readers and the people of Arunachal Pradesh that I do not accept at all that Marpe Sora is the first Arunachal born citizen to obtain visa to visit China because I had visited China in October, 2006 by duly obtaining a 90 days visa from the Chinese Embassy, New Delhi. I reached Beijing on October 4, 2006 and stayed at Jillin, Changchun province, China for 7 days. I climbed the Great Wall of China on October 11, 2006 and obtained the Hero Card. I have seen Mao Testung Square, World Trade Center (WTC) and many other historical places.
I am not giving a counter claim that I am the first one to visit China but I would like to simply tell that I know that there are many Arunachalees who had visited China before me.”-Vishal P Nabam
I was wondering, why now? Why he didn’t come out with this information earlier? Was it that he couldn’t take the media attention that a fellow Arunachalee was getting for being the first Arunachalee to visit China and that he needed to share the limelight?
Whether History was set or not, whether all the media statements and claims made for hogging the limelight or not- but this entire event has made one thing clear that an Arunachalee like any other Indians are granted visa to visit China until and unless he/she is on an Indian Government Sponsored Programme.
Tom Simai | Jairampur
Jairampur December 12: An odyssey of discovery, unfolds a fascinating tale of attraction involving the global jetsetters and the alluring tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The sturdy temptation to comprehend about the ways of ethnic subsistence is inspiring the globetrotter to scout the remotest areas of the pristine state. To research and dilate the unassuming lifestyles of the naïve natives, their complex cultures and perplexing rituals, celebrated traveling scribes from Germany will arrive here on 14 December.
Mr. Stefen Loose a famous German writer whose Handbook is the most popular travel guide book, mainly read in German speaking countries, Mrs. Renate Loose (travel photographer & writer) and Mr. Klaus also a German national and an expert on rural tourism waste management in Nepal Himalayas, will meander through the verdure woods of Jairampur, Nampong, Manmao and Pangsau Pass to retrace the routes of migration, research the nomadic past and the ethnic heritage of the tribes residing near the Indo-Myanmar border.
In 2009, Mr. Loose will accomplish glorious 50 years of traveling and the Eastern India and the Northeast India will be the major attraction to commemorate his astounding achievement. But prior to that with three famous travel writers including Mr. Tony Wheeler the founder of Lonely Planet Guide, he desires to traverse Myanmar and Thailand via Pangsau Pass.
The convoluted indigenous culture attracts worldwide attention that inspires to stoutly append the glorious past with the mystified present. Apparently, the popularity of spectacular Pangsau Pass Winter Festival has been successful to impress inquisitiveness that obligates undivided attention of curious minds and gallivanting souls and enforces them to travel towards the panoramic valley dwelled by wonderful tribes renowned for their heartening hospitality.
Gradually, the legendary tribal hospitalities are crossing geographical barriers, connecting peoples from across the globe and winning admiration.
Last night I was going through the back issues of now discontinued ZIRO MIRROR, when I came across the cartoon that I did for the 5th issue of that fortnightly.
It was done in a zippy in flat 15 mins time as the issue was ready at press, about to roll but hold back for want of cover page. Introspecting, I thought, how it would have looked and how much time it would have taken had I gone the digital way. So, I sat on my computer and with the help of Adobe Illustrator 9.0, I managed to come up with this with caption and all (see below) and guess what, it took me whopping 6 hours to redo that cartoon the digital way. Quite a time you would say-I agree and it reminded me that I have lots to brush up my knowledge on Illustrator. For instance, how to apply hatch so as to give that pen and ink look.
SENA LAUNCHES AMAZING ARUNACHAL
By our special correspondence | Jairampur
Jairampur December 10: In the milieu of the ensuing Pangsau Pass Winter Festival 2008, Sri. Setong Sena, Speaker, Arunachal Legislative Assembly graced the occasion by pressing “Enter” button to launch the long awaited pictorial website www.amazingarunachal.com, here in Jairampur, today. The picturesque website is dedicated to the prodigious land of the dawn lit mountains, Arunachal Pradesh and its colorful tribes.
The website is firm travail of three devoted nature enthusiast hailing from different background combined with common interest, namely Sri.Arif Siddiqui, Jairampur, an engineer by profession, a well known photographer and the brain behind the conception of the website, Mr. Kamlesh Mehta, Mumbai, Art Director of an advertising agency, enticed by the natural beauty of Arunachal Pradesh extended unselfishly countless working hours for free to shape, design and upload the website and Sri.Tom Simai, Jairampur, a local and die hard nature enthusiast, who’s creative genius has added more fun to it.
The website is a simple effort of the three nature devotees who has came together with the reason to craft a stage to unravel the elegance of Arunachal Pradesh to the outside world. Moreover, the acrimonious experience of being unable to publicize and broadcast the first PPWF 2007 throughout the globe has inspired to launch this website. Thanks to the non-cooperation of the concerned agencies, the idea of creating the website was conceived. As last year without any publicity and broadcasting in local media, the festival ventured ahead through mouth of words and attracted millions of people.
In this small and simple inaugural event, Sri. Sena extended his heartfelt gratitude to the youths involved in the creation of the website. He urged further that the IPR, Tourism, NIC and other Government websites should carry the Link of this website for the world to access and accumulate the startling photographs and general information about the amazing peoples and astonishing places of AP.
The Zilla Parishad Chairman, Sri. Izmir Tikhak who was also present appreciated the contribution of the local youths and he speculated that participation of youths will guide and persuade the strayed youths to partake and familiarize with the modern technologies.
Furthermore, the launch of the website has inspired and entrusted new zeal of enthusiasm in the tireless spirit of the natives connected to the Pangsau Pass Winter Festival. The previous year’s success has heaved the anticipation this time and to redeem the expectations all efforts has been initiated. Regarding this matter, chain of meeting is organized regularly by the festival committee under the proficient supervision of Sri Sena. Every trivial aspect is cared and inspected. As the big day is inclining closer, the local inhabitants are enthusiastically preparing to welcome the domestic and international guests.
ADC Jairampur, Sri. M.Roy concluded the event by extending vote of thanks to the assembled crowd.
The www.amazingarunachal.com is determined to emphasize the exquisiteness of this shrouded paradise through the spectacular photographs of dedicated nature shutterbugs. Basically it’s a photo based website. The central concept of the website is to display the amazing things god has endowed to this emerald terrain of lively tribes through the nomadic lenses.
When Arunachalee’s had been denied visa to China on several occasions earlier, it came as a surprise to me when an Arunachalee, teaching Computer Science at Rajiv Gandhi University, Doimukh, Arunachal Pradesh was granted visa to visit China on a 2-week long academic tour organized by India China Alliance Center of CII. The local and national media hailed this a positive diplomatic stance of China towards solving the vexed Indo-China border row over Arunachal. I was not quite convinced with the media about this positive change in Chinese diplomacy, though. When China has been strongly voicing their assertion over Arunachal and denying visa to an Arunachalee saying that one does not need a visa to visit it’s own country (I should say, a very clever stance taken by the Chinese to assert their territorial claim), I wondered, how could China change it’s stance over Arunachal overnight? Am I being skeptical? Or is it that the marathon talks by Special Representatives on Boundary issue has bore fruit and has mellowed down the Chinese to change it’s stance on Arunachal? But then, what about the reports of incursions by Chinese army deep inside Arunachal of which the union government says is the difference in perception of LAC (Line of Actual Control)?
Everything didn’t seem quite falling into place until the report of disciplinary action against Marpe Sora-the lone Arunachalee to get Chinese Visa and memo to Dr. Sikhar Kumar Sharma, Head of Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Rajiv Gandhi University appeared in the local daily.
Apparently, for obtaining Chinese Visa, the lecturer from Arunachal University had retorted to fraudulent means by producing false affidavit before the CEO of India China Alliance Center, stating that he had been permanent resident of Guwahati for the last ten years and Piyush Bahl, Chief Executive Officer, India China Alliance Center had made a special request to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi to grant Visa to Sora vouching that he is cent percent permanent resident of state of Assam. The Chinese Embassy, after initial hesitation, as ‘affidavit’ declared Sora as born Arunachalee, finally cleared his visa to China for academic tour.
“Armed with documents, the VC (Vice Chancellor, RGU) revealed that Sora produced a “false” affidavit before the CEO of India China Alliance Center, giving “false address” that he was permanent resident of Assam’s Guwahati where he was residing for last ten years, to get the Chinese visa, whereas Sora, a native of Nari under Tellam in East Siang District is presently residing in Maharlagun and working with the RGU in Arunachal itself since September 7, 2005.
RGU Department of Computer Science and Engineering lecturer Marpe Sora had obtained the Chinese Visa through fraudulent method, the Vice Chancellor informed.
Piyush Bahl made a special request to the Chinese embassy in Delhi to issue a Visa to Sora communicating that he is a lecturer of a prestigious Central University and was keen to join his first ever educational tour to China. He further vouched that Sora was cent percent permanent resident of the state of Assam.”-The Arunachal Times
So, it was a case of ‘slip-up’ on account of visa issuing authority due to misinformed place of residence and not a ‘positive-shift’ in China’s Diplomacy as was hailed, afterall. This China-sojourn by the local only brought himself disciplinary action by his authority for using ‘false affidavit’ to obtain visa and a memo to his Head of Department for issuing press release about his visit to China in local media without prior consent and approval of the University. How sad! And we thought this vexed border dispute is nearing end with China recognising Arunachal a part of India by granting visa to an indigenous Arunachalee.