Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Free-Wheel: Ode to Vehicle


Public transport is a Tata Sumo is a multi utility vehicle.

Tata Sumo! An accepted mode of public transportation in hilly region, which can carry ten passengers in each trip excluding the driver. Three in front, four in the middle and four more in the rear.

However, travelling in it is both extraordinary and a grueling one, especially when you are going via Hoji to Itanagar or Ziro.

Nearly three hours ride of rough road.

Did you ever notice that the onus is always on the passenger no. 3 who usually does the work of a doorman? If a passenger from rear seat need to shed some loads or for some other purpose, it’s no. 3 who has to get off first.

A scrawny passenger like me can be easily tossed about like a roll of dice in an empty vehicle or when it had too few passengers. So I always have had to grab whatever support I could find and hold onto it to stay put in my seat. But, when the vehicle is jam-packed with passengers and I find myself seated between two plump passengers, which may have never happened with you, can instantly reminds me of the thin slice of salami of SUBWAY’s sandwich.

In such lucky hot humid dusty summer day, when perspiration rise from hibernation and tickles every passengers’ foreheads (I guess plump people sweat more than the skinny one) and its odor amalgamate with strong perfume that your co-passenger is wearing to conceal their body odor, then suddenly someone rolled up the window to prevent the dancing dust to get inside the vehicle. I tell myself it’s not a carbon monoxide. This is not a time for your breathing exercise. Inhale it just this once and won’t feel the difference later on.

Then there’s the fare of Tata Sumo. Brand new fare for the passenger travelling to Ziro from Itanagar and vice versa at Rs. 300/-. I reminded the employees at ticket booking counter that it was Rs. 250/- sometimes ago. “Hike in petrol price, they reasoned.” But their faces seem to be saying, “You Moron”.

Increment of Rs. 3/-in petrol price is directly proportionate to Rs. 50/- from each passenger. I said, “You Moron” with my face. I immediately realized, while taking out the Rs. 50/- note from wallet, that I was actually the real moron – you know, he was the first person to use the word and besides I was paying him.

Imagine you are languishing in a hotel owing to Strike/Close/Bandh for three or four days while hotelier is happily lapping up your rapidly running out cash with their worthless but expensive breakfast, lunch and dinner. You spend a wakeful night in a hotel bed, counting the remaining coins and praying “bandh, bandh ho jaye”.

In another trip; in order to escape from money sucking leeches, nauseating Tata Sumo and to deprive the employee at the booking counter of an added argument, I decided to drive my third-hand motorbike to Itanagar. The ride on my motorbike was pretty perfect until my return trip to Ziro.

This time I choose to dodge the rugged road that test your spirit; that test your endurance.

En route, there were almost half a dozen cattle resting on the warmth of bitumen covered road. My eyes were on the road. I remember seeing an ox approaching the resting group. Suddenly two ox packed with full of testosterone and their horns locked against each other, moved swiftly towards me and bumped my motorbike.

The impact of smack was great. But I am amazed; the first thing that occurs to my mind was will I be able to reach home. What if my bike is broken down completely? So I got up to see the damages done to my motorbike. It looked okay. At that moment, I realized that the bone at the ball of the thumb is dislocated. I could clearly hear a sound which was a little familiar – F@%k! – When I was fixing my bone by myself.

Really I am not that very enthusiastic about motor vehicle as I am in to some other things. Bookcase crammed with novels? Yes please. iPod? Definitely yes. PS3? Why not. I can comprehend people’s fondness for their engines. And why the “have-nots” want to have it? I, at any given day, I would settle on hitchhiking rather than maneuvering it – talking to the person on steering and keeping him awake.

Last time when I was at my friend’s place I asked for a car as a present for my “not-in-the-sight-marriage”. I was, in fact, kidding. Have I succeeded to give you a fright, my friend? Don’t worry I would be more than well-contented with the Dslr you are planning to buy from online shop.

I wonder why Department of Transport won’t upgrade all those vintage “blue and sky blue colored buses” that have been plying on the road of Arunachal since time immemorial.

Would it be a sin if I plead to be carried in a clean public transport? Not in freight truck.

Till then, can I hitch a lift with you? We could save some fuel, money and bloodshed. More importantly, I can give you a treat to a plate of “butter chicken and Nan” at Punjabi dhaba in Banderdewa. All on me.

(Cross posted here)

Monday, October 10, 2011

An open-letter to all the "Bandh" callers of Arunachal Pradesh

Dear President of [put your organisation's name],

Lest you feel that I'm against your organization and invite unnecessary attention to myself, let me make myself clear at the very outset that I'm not writing in to protest or to criticize your organization's act of repeated call of "Bandhs". In fact, I'm writing in to show my solidarity and gratitude for your frequent "Bandh-Calls". You are doing yeomen service to the people of Arunachal Pradesh by calling "Bandhs" and I highly respect and support your cause/s-be it political, apolitical, personal, non-personal, profit, non-profit or even the "Bandh-Call" against "Bandh-Call", of which I believe that even the Apatani Protagonist would surely agree with.

Had it not been for your "Bandh" call, we wouldn't have this "quality time" with our family that we forgot in the midst of our daily chores of running around to make our ends meet. Now that you've called a "Marathon Bandh" giving us whopping 4 days of "quality time" with our family, we are really indebted to your organization.

The general public is of the opinion that the development of the state has taken a backseat due to your organizations's frequent "Bandh Calls". I say, to hell with your opinion. You and your organization are doing great job by letting the public servants of the state avail paid absence from their duty and they are indebted to you and your organization. Their only complaint though, is that two of your organizations are calling the "Bandh" on same day, therby depriving them of one more paid absence from their duty. They would really appreciate if one of your organization defer their "Bandh" call to another day not coinciding with any other organization's "Bandh" call. Further, they have a request that kindly prepare your annual schedule of "Bandh Calls" and circulate in the greater interest of the salaried personnels so that they can plan their station leave in advance taking into consideration the scheduled "Bandhs".

The Business Communities of Arunachal Pradesh are complaining that their business are dipping owing to your frequent "Bandh Calls". I say, are you kidding! What abour the profit made by you during the non-"Bandh" period by charging us above MRP's in the product/goods, huh! You and your organization are doing great service to the consumers' by making the business establishment shut down their shutters and letting the consumers' pay back the businessmen by not letting the consumers' making any purchase during the "Bandh" period. The consumers' of Arunachal Pradesh thank you for your kind act.

Elected representatives of Arunachal Pradesh are complaining that their business of developing the state is getting hampered owing to your frequent "Bandh-Calls". I say, excuse me, sir! But for their organizations' frequent "Bandh Calls", you are getting this opportunity to remain absent from your duty and head off to foreign tour or to some farm houses in some exotic location. So, you and your organization are doing great services to our politicos too.

I say, keep-on doing the good work that you are doing and don't listen to what your detractors have to say about your act. After all, you are doing the act in the interest of the people and the development of Arunachal Pradesh and one day, who knows, you and your organization may bring laurel to the state by making Arunachal Pradesh a numero-uno state in the country in terms of number of "Bandh" calls in a year. Amen.

Long live "Bandh culture".

Indebtedly yours,


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Would we see Pradeep Thakur Issue finding logical end anytime soon?

The so called "Pradeep Thakur imbroglio" has given, so far three "Bandhs" to the residents' of Twin Capital City of Naharlagun and Itanagar; and going by the developments in this issue, the solution seems nowhere near the horizon. Atleast not until, NES and ANSU are ready to accept solution other than their laid down demands which are:

  1. Immediate arrest of Pradeep Thakur

  2. Unconditional apology from Pradeep Thakur

  3. Revealation of Source of deregatory remark

  4. Detailed call records of his two phone numbers.

Source-The Arunachal Times dated Sep 2, 2011

So far, the Times of India Group has pulled down the content that offended the Nyishi Community of the State and had given an apology on the issue on 26th of May, 2011. Further, the journalist in question, one Pradeep Thakur is supposedly on anticipatory bail over the issue and has tendered his unconditional apology; the video footage of which is available online on social networking sites like Facebook etc. For wider circulation, the tendered video apology is embedded herewith, if it helps mitigate the issue.

However, all this effort by Times of India group and the State Government who went ahead and brought the video footage of apology of Pradeep Thakur did not help to resolve the issue once and for all. Apparently, may be because so far the source of remark has not been divulged or the details of call records has not been given.

But the question is, would all these "Bandh Calls' be enough to make the ToI Group or one Pradeep Thakur to divulge the source of remark? What if ToI group declines to reveal the source of remark? What if they invoke "Reporter's Privilege"? In that case, are there any alternatives to bring the issue to the logical end other than accept the fact that ToI has pulled down the content and has apologized and Pradeep Thakur has issued a video apology? I guess not. Or are there any?

By dragging the issue, the remark over which the NES and the ANSU started the fight for their community, would be re-quoted again and again while reporting about the issue, thereby defeating the sole purpose of fighting for the issue. Further, the people, who initially empathized with the Nyishi Community over the derogatory remark by one Pradeep Thakur may start believing that the whole issue is not about remark on Nyishi Community but entirely political, as is being discussed in some pockets.

While the issue may not come to logical end soon, (not until NES and ANSU accept the solution other than their demands) it would surely make the reporter, who was a non-entity prior to May 4th, 2011, (In)famous; let that "derogatory remark" alive forever and subject the resident's of Twin Capital City of Naharlagun and Itanagar to further hardships as they are being subjected to for 48 hrs since 0500 hrs of 5th of September, 2011.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Quintessence of Apatani Language (Prelude)-Book Released


-Dr. Hano Hailang

[caption id="attachment_679" align="alignleft" width="148"]The Quintessence of Apatani Language (Prelude) Book Cover[/caption]A book on Apatani Language titled “The Quintessence of Apatani Language (Prelude)” was launched by Hon’ble Minister for Power, Forest, Environment and Parliamentary Affairs, Setong Sena on Dree, July 5 last at Ziro.

The Book is authored by Nending Ommo, a young Linguist serving as Assistant Professor at Rang–Frah Government College, Changlang. He has two Masters of Arts in English and Linguistics and an MPhil in English. He is registered for PhD at Deccan College Post Graduate & Research Institute, Pune.

The book underscores on the importance of preserving Apatani language, talks on the linguistic affiliation of Tani Languages, spotlights on the dialectal variations in Apatani, highlights on the provisional phonetics of Apatani language, accentuates on the exigency to standardize orthography, discusses the limitations of Tani Lipi with regards to Apatani etc.

[caption id="attachment_680" align="alignright" width="300"] Hon'ble Minister for Power, Forestry, Environment and Parliamentary Affairs, Setong Sena releasing the book on the occassion of Dree[/caption]

The writing of the book is sociolinguistic in nature and it challenges the readers to contemplate on saving of one’s mother tongue. The copies of books are now available in all leading book stands in Arunachal.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Mystery Caller at Large

April 30, 2011, Pawan Hans helicopter carrying CM Dorjee Khandu and two passengers took off from Tawang at 9:56 am and lost radio communication after 20 minutes. By around 12:30 pm news of the missing chopper was broke out in news channels. Search operations were pressed on. Meanwhile, Principal Secretary to CM received a call informing him about the safe emergency landing of the chopper somewhere in eastern Bhutan in a place called Tapurejho. Similar information is reported to have received by IG SSB and IG Law and Order Assam. Then around 3 pm interviews were given by top brass of the state, including Governor Gen (retd.) JJ Singh, to various news channels about safe landing of the choppers. Later sources from Bhutan denied having any report of emergency landing of the chopper in Bhutan. Thereafter, in following days based on the images taken by ISRO satellite and IAF Sukhoi 30, search operations were finally zeroed in to Nagajiji area in Indo-Bhutan border west of Sela Pass. On the fifth day, some villagers spotted the debris of the chopper some kilometers east of Sela Pass.

Appears like a plot of mystery movie.

Who is this anonymous caller? Did he have prior information that the chopper is going to crash on its route? Did he call all these important persons to misguide and delay the search and rescue operations so that the survival possibilities from the crash are minimized? Whoever be this anonymous caller, he doesn't appear to be ordinary mischief monger who made prank call for fun. He knew the contact numbers of persons who matter. The Principal Secretary to CM even thought he was Khandu himself.

How could the likes of the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, the Principal Secretary to CM and others be so easily duped by the anonymous call? Have any effort being made to trace the caller? Indeed the inclement weather and the terrains of Tawang and West Kameng Districts made ISRO's satellite and IAF aircraft so difficult to trace helicopter which crashed only few kilometers away from where it lost the radio communication?

Indeed, was there conspiracy behind the chopper crash which killed the CM of Arunachal Pradesh? Or is it just a wild speculation?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nyokum Celebration

Come February 26, 2011, Nyokum festival was celebrated across the state by Nyishi community in a big way. This reporter had set his focus on Mega Nyokum Celebration at Yazali and that of a village level Nyokum celebration at Talo village. They were contrasting yet impressive in their own different ways.

At Yazali the Nyokum celebration was indeed a mega event. The Hon'ble MLA of the area Mr. Likha Saaya was involved body and soul in making it big. Tagged as hi-fi Saaya, he ensured that the event was hi-fi, be it the list of VVIPs attended in the event to the arrangement of Bollywood singers and actors to entertain public. The celebration site was delight to watch-long Nyishi house having a hearth each for all Anchal ssegments of Ziro-II area in a single roof, beautifully constructed food stalls and a grand stage. It appeared like beautifully conceived amusement park. He sent a clear message to the world that he a youthful leader with new ideas and lot of energy.The event was costly but it worth when one intends to showcase culture and tradition of a community.

At Talo, the celebration was simple and participation was complete. Here also youth energy was palpable. This reporter was told that during the late 1990's and early 2000, the Nyokum was not celebrated in the village for some years. Reason: about 90% of the population in the village got converted to Christianity. In year 2008 a group of young people just out from college did the soul searching on their root. They felt necessity of celebration of Nyokum to get reconnected to their root. They formed a team, and started campaining for the celebration of Nyokum and delinking religion from indigenous culture. Thanks to the effort of the Briyani Team, Nyokum celebration was re-instated in the village and has never looked backed ever since.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Popi Sarmin Society Website Launched

Did we tell you that Arunachal Diary has a subsidiary called AG Design that looks after the design needs of Arunachal Diary? Of late, this design house has been taking assignments from the clients (NGO's etc., based in Arunachal Pradesh) approaching AG Design for their design requirements right from print media to logo design to website design, development and hosting.

And it was quite a hectic week for team AG Design as it was giving final touches to the official site of Popi Sarmin Society befor handing it over to the society for it's official launch yesterday.

The Popi Sarmin Society's official site was launched by Chief Guest Padi Richo, Hon'ble MLA and Parliamentary Secretary for Land Management & Labour and Employment in a special function held at Hotel Arun Subansiri, Itanagar yesterday.