Category Archives: Cho’s Take

TREADING ON A TREADMILL

A high dose of adrenalin has been injected into the veins of commoner by religious fanatics. Is it justifiable? Where do we go from there?

-by Roto Chobin

The otherwise silent and sleepy town ziro was converted into discotheque by the aficionado of Krishna on the eve of Janmasthami as they were playing songs on stereo till the wee hours and the loud speaker they were using was blaring at full volume which forced the inhabitant of the town to stay awake. On the major day of janmasthami, I spotted one of the many loud speakers that hung outside the temple was facing my residence. Hence, the stereo was hurling the sound exactly at my bedroom. It seemed rather impossible to be able to endure the brouhaha; and to spend another wakeful night was out of question. So I move out of my place and stayed at my parent’s home. But it didn’t help actually as the resonance was coming seemingly from every nook and corner. It was later on I learnt that the festival was celebrated at two temples – one within the compound of ITBP force which is not far from my parent’s home and the other in close proximity to my residence – less than 40 or 50 meters from my den. Two days of fitful sleep was really taking a heavy toll on my soma. I felt as if I had been drugged, and I had become a bit irate too. Parenthetically, what prompt the temple to use loud speakers? Why do they use those annoyances things? I inferred that the bhagwan must be deaf causing the devotee to fall back on loud speakers. It’s kind of funny to me as I always argued in my sociology class at college that science is incompatible with religion as science, almost always, opposed to religion. I guess I was wrong as I failed to notice at all times the fine example of amalgamation of science and religion which I had always neglected – stereos, speakers and temple.


The good thing was: no one said a malevolent word about the two days pandemonium at Hao po lyang. In retrospect, I am proud of our folk as they have shown an unprecedented tolerance towards the religion and their rituals. Had it been us – celebrating the janmasthami with such fanfare instead of them, we might have been taunted. Or else, the central government is always there to draft a law that such festivities in disturbed area should end before dusk. Any Hindu would surely doubt if I was proper to use the ‘taunt’ word. Yes. I think I choose a correct word because in Hindi speaking belt taunting comes easily to them like taking candy from a baby. Moreover, most of them will get furious if anybody says anything against their way of life whereas they will never stop commenting on others. So we have to behave like a good White man who pops in from England or U.S.A that pops up in T.V. or magazine and says: Ooo! I love India. I love Indian curry. Indian girls are beautiful. We could also say those lines for one or two years, but not throughout our entire lives. During my sophomore year at college, one of my Tangkhul Naga friends invited me to his church to see how it looks. We were checking out the musical instruments when some drunkard Delhite, who seems to be coming from wedding party, entered into church and started poking around. I am not a Christian by religion but the whole tribulations really disturbed my mind. As I was about to rebuke them, my friend asked me to stay calm. If this incident was not taunting. Then what was it?

Two days after the Janmasthami, when all the excitement of festival perished, I felt a little relief. But two more temples that occupy the same area with the one I mentioned earlier have yet to celebrate their festival. In Arunachal, you may not see any significant infrastructure but the numbers of temple is slowly outnumbering human habitation. The Border Road Organization (BRO) is taking a painstaking job to build temple at every turn of the road. In late eighties, when I was very young I used to accompany my father in his occasional trip to Itanagar. It was during one of those trips that I visited Ganga town. It looked very neat with the broad road and its safety zone, and the hedges in it. A decade later, I saw a small makeshift temple inside the safety zone. Earlier there was some sort of figurine in it. Now the makeshift temple has changed into a colossal structure which housed a number of Hindu gods and is totally camouflaging the other part of the Ganga market. I wondered do we really need the house of worship in the heart of commercial hub. Can’t it be shifted to somewhere else? I thought we are badly in need of parking places for ever growing vehicles in the town.

If you are, by any chance, visiting Along (West Siang district) and you have some work to do at Basar before proceeding to Along. And you have no idea how you would recognize Basar. I suggest, don’t panic. You cannot miss Basar at all because as soon as you see a giant serpent looping equally giant Shivlingam, you would know you have arrived at Basar. Two years ago, there was a great commotion when a woodcutter found a rock, perhaps, resembling an organ of Shiv Shankar at Kardo (Ziro). Most of the visitors believe it is true lingam but the educated Hindu thinks that its shape and structure is due to weathering and erosion. Believe it or not, it is doing a roaring business. Last year, the priest who also was a caretaker of that lingam took all the offering money and the gold serpent proffered by a devotee and fled away. Seeing the brisk business of the find, my friend once proposed that we also install a lingam in our compound. I hoped he was not being serious about the proposal. As a matter of fact, I would have appreciated if they could contribute money to build hospital, orphanage, etc. in place of spending on building so many temples. People of Arunachal would felt eternal gratitude to Hindu missionaries.

Talking of the missionaries in Arunachal, they are really a potent threat, particularly to indigenous faith. Until a few years ago, the people of Arunachal had not known so many religions. But now, the Arunachalese are painted either with a black or cyan color, magenta or green. Hence; the missionaries has slashed Donyi-Poloism, Christian, Islam and Hindu from the flesh of Indigenous faith. Besides, the missionaries are helping to a large extent to create a rift among these religiou
s sect. A couple of months back; I saw a pamphlet, most probably circulated by Hindu fanatics which gives instruction to use the trick of money and lure for proselytize and if it failed, then to resort to manhandle. I wonder if they were referring to people like us who still believe in indigenous faith.

Personally, I do not abhor any religion as it is an important agent of social control. But I detest it when it breeds communal tension. And in immature society like India, the fear of communal disharmony between any two religious groups is always there because even unintentional brush can also generate a spark. However, it will be wrong to blame entirely the religion itself. In truth, it is the follower of religions who corrodes the essence of religion, and tarnishes and bends it beyond recognition for one’s own benefit. And the politicians are the vanguard of the movement. They can stoop so low so as to gain political mileage and extra vote. Extra vote is a windfall for them as it may fetch them a V.I.P. chair ultimately. And the people are simply allowing themselves to go with the tide without a second thought. When they raise their voice against Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, even some Arunachalese protested in unison without understanding how it is going to be detriment to India (particularly South India) and its people. Then again, everyone understands the modus operandi of organization in Arunachal. Unless the parent organization will not pump a lot of money, the remonstration just won’t stir. Yea! We all smelled the aroma of crisp notes when they came out to remonstrate against the demolition of Adam’s bridge/ Ram Sethu. It is indeed unfortunate that the name of Ram has been dragged around once again by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to be maligned in the court, just because the election is round the corner. Besides, it is really hard to understand the political party of India. On one hand, they want to keep pace with the world economy and on the other, they would not tolerate the change. I am afraid they cannot kill two birds with one stone all the time. To me; Ram, as I gather, is a mighty icon that cannot be easily vilified with affidavit or the demolition of Sethu / Adam’s bridge. I believe he would not bother so much about the Setu whether it should be demolished or not, unless the partisans follow his principle. As for Ram’s principle, I reckon even a hardcore RSS/VHP will run away a mile from his principle. To sum it up: I would just say that it is an era of: “Muh mein Ram-Ram, vagal mein churi”.

We all know that India is known for its staggering diversity as we all have been writing essay on this topic since school times. And because of this staggering diversity, our people and politician always choose to resort to middle path. Hence, India remained unified in one piece. There’s no denying the fact the Hindus are in majority which forms perhaps about eighty percent of the total population. So there is no need of maiming people here and there to prove the supremacy of Hindus? The reins of nation are fine and safe in their hands. Let’s give peace a chance.

Who the hell cares?

a quick glimpse at corruption in Arunachal

-by Roto Chobin

Until a few years ago, corruption particularly in the job market is unheard of. But by the end of twentieth century, it has taken a shape of epidemic form in Arunachal. And the rot is so deep-rooted that I can see no way out. As of now, according to BBC report, Arunachal is most corrupted state in Indian subcontinent. If we look for the reasons that engender the corruption, the first and foremost thing that comes to mind is the absence of industrial development and private enterprise. For most of the people in the state, enterprise means retail shop – to rent a premise and pile it up with couple of stuff here and some more stuff there. Lo and behold! You have become an entrepreneur in hinterland called Arunachal Pradesh. And having said that I cannot disaffirm the Hobson’s choice we have been offered. Even if one wishes to make a foray as an entrepreneur, there’s virtually no fund at all to help the person with perfect credentials except “the deficient Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) fund”. Who gets the PMRY loan and how the beneficiary uses it – is another story. Under the PMRY scheme, a person is granted a loan of Rs. 100, 000/- (1 lakh) through State Bank of India for which a person has to produce more than a dozen document. Earlier a person could take a loan up to Rs. 200, 000/- (2 lakhs), but this provision had been scrapped from this scheme since long. So when everything is attained, we think and assume that the beneficiary will get a sum of Rs. 100,000 and would start a new career. But it wasn’t so as one of the PMRY beneficiaries told me that the bank staffs normally deduct some money for processing the loan. My head spun. So, I asked, “How much did you get then?” “Around 80 grand if I don’t subtract the travel and other expenses” he told me and added “with this amount one cannot even think of starting a business properly. I don’t want to add up another grocery store to existed multitudes of grocery shop. I regretted taking this loan.” I told him that at least he was lucky to get it. I reminded him of hundreds and hundreds of graduates and post graduates student who is languishing without aid. I believe, most of us don’t ever hear of any other fund aside from PMRY if any. If the politician of our state had any concern for young generation, they could have arranged and set aside a fund from Apex Bank of Arunachal. But what they did was – to swindle the depositor and approving a grant of loan (since the dealings in Arunachal do not materialize until the minister nod in agreement) to their relatives and henchmen, and ultimately they made the bank defunct. Moreover, instead of recovering the bad loan from defaulter, they begged money to revive Apex Bank. The NHPC provided two hundred and twenty five crores of rupees to state government for this purpose (see also Revival Package for Apex Bank…… ) which seemed to me as the NHPC with this money has put a yoke on Arunachal. With no option opened to educated class, the scores of people rushed and still rushing towards service sector to join government job.

As a result, the demand for the government job has soared very high. Now, for every vacant post, there are uncountable candidate who vie for job. Paradoxically; in past years, circa 1951, I’m told that there used to be plethora of job but the workforce were so scarce that the people from Apatani villages were coerced to work for government against their will as it happened while leveling a land for an airfield at Old Ziro. Even in the eighties, jobs were given merely by seeing the pass certificate from high school and it lasted until around 1996. Then, before one could say Jack Robinson, the picture of job scenario started to look grim and entire job opportunities went into hibernation. And it instantly appears as the economic liberalization of 1990s was the cause, but it wasn’t. The liberalization, privatization and globalization of economy have little to do with Arunachal, its government and their machinery. I was in the final year at college when Arunachal Pradesh Civil Services (APCS) advertised some administrative job in 1996 which was to resurface after a lapse of six years in 2001. I dare not to apply for second time – for fear of parting with my hard earned pocket-money. Later on, I heard so many malicious tales about the exam that I thanked God profusely for sparing me the exam. Whatever the fact may be, they (APCS) still owe me my money that I sent to them during my college days in the form of Indian Postal Order (IPO). Similarly, three years ago, I applied for the vacant post that was advertised by Civil Secretariat in the local daily. I remitted my entire photocopied academic certificate with attestation (attestation of your certificate by gazette officer [sic] is a must in Arunachal if, by any chance, you’re applying for a job in Arunachal) from first class officer, passport size photograph and the fee as well. But I was never intimated regarding the interview they were supposed to conduct nor did I hear anything about rescheduling or cancellation of that interview. It seemed to me as if they had duped me again. Not only me, but thousand of candidates out there. I possibly had gave Rs. 45/- as examination fee. And perhaps there were more than thousand aspirants who applied for that post. So if we multiply 1000 by 45, the figure we get is 45,000 which mean we have been robbed of Rs. 45,000 before our very eyes. There could be many more such scam that had managed to give my eyes a slip. Besides, no one opposed, and life goes on.

At present, working in a government department is being seen as part of privileged and fortunate class. Hence, everyone wants to have a share of cake. Why? I suppose, the security of monthly salary in government job is secondary things for most. The government job is so tempting because of the power that comes with government job. With prestige and power comes a helluva lot of money in Arunachal, especially for engineering department. But the nepotism (sifarish, as they say in Hindustani language) plays a pivotal role in the process of gobbling up the jobs. And the deserving candidature often lay off in this process which, I think, will affect the functioning of administration sooner or later in the entire state. I am least worried about the brilliant and talented student; as they will find a niche for themselves one way or other. So what should the not-so-deserving candidature do? Grease the palm of bureaucrat at top echelon and politician, of course. Thus, the people are ready to cough up a huge amount of money even for some lowly position. In doing so, they prompt corruption and take it to a new height, and they themselves sink deep down in the quagmire of corruption – become a part of vicious circle – where they in turn want to regain their money manifold and quickly by resorting to fradulent, easy and corrupt means. I came across quite a few people who pawn their little belongings for money – to pass on as kickbacks to authorities. The kickbacks could be anywhere from Rs. 300,000 (three lakhs) to Rs.1, 200,000 (twelve lakhs). I’m afraid the demand and supply of kickbacks will go higher and higher in near future.

Everyone including our politician is aware of the rot and unequivocally speaks of curbing and eliminating it. Even Mr. Dorjee Khandu, chief minister of Arunachal, has been speaking of corruption-free state and abolishing the corruption in the state. I don’t know how. He didn’t say how. If he really apprehends the rot around him, he himself had to come clean and set an example for his ministers, and then incarcerates (Has the proposed jail been built? Maybe, Arunachal is the only state in India that doesn’t have a jail) all those from clerk to top bureaucrat and politician who is gorging themselves on fund meant for infrastructural development. To preach is easy – nowadays, even a five year old kid can give a lecture on corruption and how it affects our lives. Moreover, the ministers (politicians) are in no position to preach to us about corruption. Do you think the central government should be allowed to wash their hands from these sordid businesses? I don’t think so. I have accused the central government in my previous article (What is the cost of Arunachal?) for fattening the coffer of ministers and their enforcement arms. And I will accuse them over again and again as long as they will not monitor how the money (remnants, though), pumped from central government, is used in Arunachal Pradesh. Doesn’t it indicate that the politicians are being allowed to plunder freely? And then, there is ‘us’ who instead of opposing these mal-practices take refuge in oft-repeated phrase – “corruption is a way of life.” And ‘some’ would go too far to show admiration and respect as if the bribe-takers are not a criminal but a hero. In a way, we are becoming more and more reconciled to the corrupt state of affairs. As a result, there’s no more fear, and ghastly deeds are committed openly albeit a little shamefacedly. Let me cite an instance; last year, in November, I went to DIPRO office to collect the temporary permission to publish ZIRO MIRROR. A lady who was holding my letter asked me for largesse. It stunned me for a moment. I asked her, “Didn’t you get a salary?” After a while, I told her that letter she had in her hand is a permission to write and report the public of irregularity. And I could write about her and the incident. She went red in the face and handed me my permit.

The corruption in job-market is just the tip of the iceberg but as massive as other bureaucratic and political corruption. The menace of corruption is here to stay unless people at all level stop glorifying bribe-takers as a hero. Moreover, if we ceased to be dependent wholly on the government, and if trained personnel like engineer and doctor would start their own workshops and business. That may not bring an end to the menace of corruption, but that could certainly break the immunity of the people at the top echelon. Who knows! It may bring the corruption to an end in the long run. The future (to build or ruin the society) is in our hands.

A Review of the year gone by-Cho’s Take

Quite well before the anniversary of this blog, Cho offered to do a special post on the anniversary of this blog i.e., 7th of August. There was no reason I could deny. But owing to his pre-occupation, he couldn’t complete his post on time and finally today, after 22nd day into anniversary he submitted his post to be published.

On going through his post, I was quite flattered by what he thought about the blog but it put me in a dilemma whether I should publish his post or not. If published, it would be almost akin to blowing one’s own trumpet and elevating one’s own ego and if not, I’d be turning away from my word. Thinking that sometimes, an ego boosting is needed (I’m human too) ;), I opted to keep my word instead. So here it is, unedited.


The dawn of hope

by Roto Chobin

Three years ago; we, a group of friend (five of us, to be exact) would gather round in the evening as there was nothing much to do in a small and sleepy town like Ziro. The meeting-place, most of the time, would be my parent’s home. And we would discuss elaborately on every issue we could think of over a cup of black tea. But, generally, we would raise the issue of anomalies and the transitions that are taking place in our society. Sometimes our discussion would get too hot that it would turn into argument. At times, I would asked myself if I had offended anyone unintentionally but my notion always proved to be wrong as in the next day our discussion will continue with renewed enthusiasm. I cannot say for my friends, but I had become a bit depressed in course of time. I was depressed because our discussion made me realize how our state was going under the bog by leaps and bounds. It was nudging me to do something rather than preaching about utopia. And I didn’t know what. It seemed to me that there was nothing I could do to make the people aware of wrongdoings of vermin, let alone change. And the vermin were at large. They still are. It was then I started thinking of putting my thought into action – to find an outlet for my frustration. As the days goes by, the outlet comes in the form of ZIRO MIRROR magazine. Meanwhile, ‘AG asked me my opinion about starting a website. I thought, perhaps AG too is following my line of thinking. I was pessimist about owning our own site though. First, I was planning to launch my periodical as earliest as I could. Second, I had no idea how one could generate income through web hosting and pay for the domain. Besides, I believed that the magazine (print media) is more potent medium in our province than the internet as few people in Arunachal have access to an internet. Accordingly, the message could reach faster and spread widely – the more the merrier. With that thought in my mind, I forgot all about AG’s proposal. But two months after the launch of my magazine, I suffered fiasco. Consequently, I have grown to be more immune to action and reaction. And by that time, AG had already converted his plan into reality – arunachaldiary.blogspot.com.

I have heard so many vile tales about blogs and its “terror and hate” messages that I even feared to log on to blogging sites. And the authorities bid to crack down on bloggers which appeared in some national journal in July, 2006 had me thinking that one could be incarcerated and thrown into jail anytime if their site were black listed. But when I personally visited some blogger sites, my opinion about the blogs changed. I notice so many things in a blog that even journalists fail to report and in some cases the article/essay published in blog were much better written than the illustrious columnist that occupies space in a popular magazine and newspaper. I wonder why the blog site should be stemmed when it could be really beneficial for authorities or government if they are ready to take criticism and learn from it. Anyway, I don’t remember when my first piece appeared in arunachal diary but thanks to you, AG, if it is not for you and your site I might have gave up my writing a long time ago. Within a year, arunachal diary has gone from strength to strength. It has become world-class – mind you, I am not exaggerating. Then you have a regular visitor, Buru and Tanii gal (I am curious about their true identity), whose mere comments is full of remarkable insight and inspiring too. Further, readership is steadily rising day in day out. At times, when I see local dailies it seemed even they are turning to “arunachal diary” for help. And it could be possible. So, who knows, arunachal diary will become a harbinger of dawn for the people of Arunachal in the days to come. Time alone will tell. Happy Anniversary!


I SAW, I ANALYZED, AND I HATED IT

by Roto Chobin

Recently I saw a Bollywood flick ‘Dhoom 2’ at my friend’s home. The film didn’t appeal to me much as the entire scene seemed to be adapted from some Hollywood action movie. But one thing that struck my mind was: most of the cast was son of the established film star, director and producer. They linger on at the silver screen even after giving almost a dozen of flop film. And it made me think – how many people are there in the world that gets number of chances despite their repeated failure to make something big. Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan along with many other film star children might be biting the dust like any one of us if it is not for their influential father and very friendly page 3 journalists as most of their films were below mediocre. For the people as wretch as us, opportunity knocks only once in our lifetime. And the darned adversity would not just allow us to open the door also while it knocks. In spite of their good education from abroad, these kids of yesteryear film star choose acting career. Do they think they cannot compete academically with the rest of the youth? As for the Indian film industry, perhaps, seventy percent of the Bollywood films are shot at foreign location. So, the exchequer goes definitely to the offshore inducing the rich to become richer.

In sports, it was Sachin Tendulkar who became the apple of journalist eye a few years ago, after that Sania Mirza was treated like a centre-piece and now Dhoni. Every time I turn on TV, a film star or cricketer will be seen endorsing a product from gutkha to hair oil to underwear. And the unethical journalists are so happy to beam their spotlight at these not-so-important sport and film star as if they have bagged gold medal for country from Olympic. There are so many unsung heroes who silently work and garner gold for country but went unnoticed without publicity.

Traditionally, journalists are supposed to play as a role of social critics – exposing the abuses. On the contrary; they are fervidly feeding us the news of affluent class who, in turn, manipulates them to get cheap publicity. By the way, aren’t they instigating the mass to become superstitious by showing the influential people performing pujas and Havan Kund who would do at any given opportunity? News channel like Star News, Aaj Tak, and Zee News are all alike – content of news item, presentation, everything save for the name and their logo. Sometimes, they would go too far that they would invade and jeopardize the private lives of citizen. I still remember the case of Gudiya which was some sort of scoop for these news channels a year ago. The story of Gudiya was that she married a soldier who was stationed at Kargil during Indo-Pak skirmishes and went missing. Gudiya thought her husband died at the conflict and remarried another man. But her former husband came back. So the news channel, who was reporting this news, want us to SMS them and decide for Gudiya with whom she should stay. It was indeed utterly sickening. Do we really have to decide what one should do and one shouldn’t do with lives of other? And in print media, the two most popular news magazines in India are – India today and outlook. Again it appears to me as one person is managing these two magazines. I see no reason why I should buy both magazines when everything is similar. I’ll spare the detail anyway. In short, we could say that media, be it a print or electronic, are alpha and omega of news/article related to urban, its dwellers, and their grievances, and the stories that fascinate them.

If I loathe any, more than anyone else, it is a politician. I wish they could satiate themselves with the things they have been indulging themselves for so long – Money and Power, Whore and Sex, and leaving the people alone so that the fellow citizen may not partake in the communal riots charter by them, as in Godhra events. And after the Godhra incident, even a photograph of Narendra Modi that frequently appears in a magazine or newspaper irks me. Had I been in Narendra Modi’s place when Godhra incident took place, I would look like a corpse today – filled with remorse and repentance. But, strangely enough, he seems to be in perfect health. Then there’s Mr. Tony Blair, PM of UK, who fanned the flame of WMD and let Mr. George Bush Jr. loose to wage war on small country and, as a result, Mr. George Bush Jr. who will always be known in history for killing thousand and thousand of innocent people for oil and experimenting their high-tech military weaponry on weak countries. And these two modern days Adolf Hitler (Modi and Bush) are the product of much hyped “the two largest democratic countries”. It was some sort of funny to me when US embassy refused to grant visa to Mr. Modi because one despot thinks that the other despot is more harmful. The majority of Indian population may not be well-educated, but I would like to think that the Americans are not. How could they elect a fascist as representatives who can send their country to the gallows? Are they fool? I guess the America had most probably fooled the world once already by announcing that the Neil Alden Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon. Considering the technology back then in 1969 and the problem face by engineer and technician at present day, wear and tear of vehicle while launching and repair of the space shuttle by astronaut et al, it’s becomes literally impossible to draw inference that any men could set foot on the moon when there’s so many difficulty in launching the vehicle into space today. Furthermore; in thirty eight years since Apollo 11, the America couldn’t repeat the saga again whereas it could be a piece of cake for them if they had really sent a man on the moon.

Whether a men and women may have been sent on the moon, on the mars or the sun, it doesn’t make much difference to the ordinary people. When we can’t handle the problems encompassing earth viz., global warming, so why should we bother about the space mission. Former US vice-president Al Gore has been apprising the people about the global warming through his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth – a Film on Global Warming. Suppose that Mr. Al Gore is elected as US president in the co
ming presidential election, would he sign the Kyoto Protocol then? A likely story, eh? There’s not even one country in this whole world that is selflessly ready to prepare a meal and serve it to other. On the contrary, everyone wants to be served on a silver platter. Let’s forget about the global warming as we cannot stop ourselves from emitting carbon dioxide excessively. So, let’s suffer and face the Armageddon together. But, I hope, we can certainly stop the fundamentalist for vandalizing property willfully. The hooliganism carried out by Hindu fundamentalist at Star News Office in Mumbai was indeed unfortunate for democratic country. Moreover; a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) storming into Chandra Mohan’s exhibition at M.S.University in Vadodara and vandalizing it deliberately was a sheer attack to the Indian constitution. In addition, there are many who were spanked by the communal forces viz., M.F.Hussein, Aamir Khan, Deepa Mehta, to name a few. Whenever dire incidents occur, a small number of people reluctantly comes forward and opposed the act of radicalism but the voice usually dies down after a month. However, Can we prevent such radicalism? Or, are we loving it? – like the tag on fast food company McDonald says.

Karl Marx said, “Religion… is the opium of the people.” It sounds perfectly a sound argument to me. The people are absurdly swearing, splurging, fighting and killing in the name of God and their religion. What will happen to them if they will learn that there’s neither heaven nor hell. Even a God doesn’t exist. Whatever the priest in temple, the clergyman in church, and the people who read namaz five times a day are doing is all in vain. And that we are merely a component of earth. Will the people like Amitabh Bachchan cease to believe that the priest could control the planet and the solar system by chanting few mantras? Whatever the fact may be, the biggest miracle on earth is that the human beings reside in a thatch house while the God have concrete houses with marble floor and stained glass window.

The weeds

- Roto Chobin

They look so fat. so flabby.

But so familiar and so abundant.

They move in a motor vehicle

To carry their baggage.

And when they walk;

Sycophants admire them, drool over.

This makes them

To pat their pot-belly like a Pandora’s box.

Who are they? What are they?

a clerk. a bureaucrat. a politician.

With food and money their body inflates

Their spirits infect. They corrupt.

Shall we open up their stomach?

To see if it is a fat. Or paper.

As if it is not enough

We are made to stand and wait

Sir, I request you….

Madam, will you please…

Are we a watchman? a beggar. a leper.

Are they an angel? an almighty god.

Do they think when they will die

They will be buried under a gold-dust,

Do they think when we will die

We alone will be thrown to earthworm.

The grease in the brain slowed their mind

They forgot that we all are but a posse

Traveling on a same road.

Heading for same end. On our way to our funeral.

They with their baggage – filled with fat and paper.

We with our empty belly, and tormented mind.

WHAT’S THE COST OF ARUNACHAL?

-by Roto Chobin

A game of ping-pong has been playing between India and China since the first half of 20th century, in which the state of Arunachal is being used as a ball. The British, being a judge to this game, made a mess by crushing the ball and rushed out of this game in haste, leaving behind two ambivalent countries to play with deformed ball. The so-called border talks are being held at the expense of Arunachal. The debate on border issue seems incredibly long and the outcome is not on the horizon. And if today the Arunachal is being treated as a whore, the British and Tibetan must share a part of blame. The Tibetan, who had some sway over certain part, didn’t took care of the maiden, the British broke its virginity and passed it to India, and then the India kept the state like a mistress and now China wants to have it.

Let’s take a look at the historical records to unravel if Arunachal really were a territory of China or an integral part of India. The starting place of border dispute extends back into the 19th Century, when both China and British India asserted claims to remote mountain areas between China and India. But the people of Arunachal unknown to the doom, existed as a sovereign state. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the tide of development was lapping into the foot-hills. So the British drew a line along the foot of the hills which was to be called the “Inner Line” and the “Outer Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873. The Inner Line was an administrative line, in the Assam tribal areas, to keep hunters and traders out of the Assam tribal areas; no taxes were collected beyond the Inner Line. The Outer Line was the international boundary of British India. However, little publicity was given to the demarcation of the Outer Line. On March 30, 1911, Noel Williamson, Assistant Political Officer of Sadiya, and a tea estate doctor were attacked and killed by Adi tribesmen in Komsing. Williamson was formally warned not to cross the Inner Line without expressed permission. Williamson’s death provided for the revision of the tribal policy for which Williamson himself had argued for years. A British expedition, headed by Major General Hamilton Bower, was mounted in late 1911; the mission continued until 1913. The alleged purpose of the expedition was punitive; indeed, the Adis were punished for slaying Williamson. However, the ultimate objective of the expedition was to define a new border and to inform the Chinese of the new limits of British sovereignty. While the British were exploring Assam, the 1911 Chinese Revolution erupted. By 1912, Chinese influence in Tibet had fallen drastically. As Chinese power in Tibet waned, Chinese pressure on the Assam border ceased to exist. The British now endeavored to secure the Assam Himalayas from any future Chinese intervention.


The fall of Chinese power in Tibet led to negotiations between British Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan delegates to the Simla Conference of 1913-14. The British had decided to make Tibet a genuine buffer state. The British chief delegate, Sir Henry McMahon, introduced the idea of a second buffer into the long Sino-Tibetan debates over the boundary between Chinese control and the Tibetan buffer. The Chinese government immediately repudiated the agreement. The Chinese rejection was a blow to McMahon’s buffer scheme. However, McMahon had meanwhile negotiated another buffer and zone of defense for the Himalayas. He had made a separate agreement with the chief Tibetan delegate; this agreement defined the frontier line along the crest of the Assam Himalayas, based on the 1911-13 Abor Expedition. The line was marked on a large-scale (eight miles to the inch) map; however, this map and the details of the McMahon-Tibetan agreement were not communicated to the Chinese. The task of making good the McMahon Line was given to J.P.Mills, the government’s adviser on tribal affairs, who was to say that: “the tribes to be incorporated (in India) belong naturally more to Tibet than to India. In race and in language they are mongoloid. They all speak Tibeto-Burmese languages which have nothing in common with the Assamesse of the Aryans of the plains. It follows therefore that what one might call the cultural and social pull is towards Tibet …. The McMahon Line therefore suffers from the disability that though it may look well on the map … it is in fact not the natural boundary, whereas the frontier along the plains is the natural one.” The Indian government also recognized that the population along the north-east frontier was ethnically and culturally closer to Tibet than to India, but due to the strategic and geopolitical considerations that had formed Britain’s approach to the north-east border applied with equal force for the new (Indian) government. One of the last acts of the Chinese nationalist ambassador in New Delhi was to remind the Indian government in February 1947 that china did not recognize the McMahon Line, and held the simla convention invalid.

In the early1950s, a strong Assam Rifles patrol moving up the Subansiri River was warmly welcomed by one of the tribes, feasted and given shelter – and then massacred almost to a man. Under Nehru’s order, no punitive action had been taken. In 1952, G.S. Bajpai, then the governor of Bombay urges that India should take the initiative in raising the question of McMahon Line with the Chinese government, only to be told by K.M.Panikkar that the Prime Minister (Nehru) had decided that it was not in India’s interest to raise the question of the McMahon Line. By 1958, the Indians had completed the work left unfinished by the British and made good the McMahon Line. In December 26th 1959, the china implied that the Indian maps are ‘cutting deep into Chinese territory’ in the western sector, while of the eastern sector it is said that ‘the whole boundary line is pushed northward, including an area of about 90,000 sq km which originally belonged to China. In 1986, differences raise again over the McMahon line in the Sumdorung Chu area of Arunachal. After Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to china in 1988, a Joint Working Group (JWG) forum was formed to find a real solution to boundary problems and thence, the delegates from both side debated on this issue from time to time. Ironically, the JWG forum has focused more on peace along the border than on a real solution to the boundary problem. And so far umpteen JWG meeting was conducted without making much headway, and so far not even a single representative of Arunachal was invited to participate in the border talk.

The natives of Arunachal not only resisted Indian occupation when Indian officials moved into inner line, but were equally intimidated by Chinese troops when they entered in Arunachal during 1962 war. The peoples of this region never had a direct contact with China nor with India which makes the state more or less a sovereign state. But from the day Arunachal Pradesh was lifted up into the category of ‘Indian states’ from Union Territory in 1986, she has worked diligently with Indian constitution. And in these 60 years, from the Independence Day till today, the development of infrastructure is not worth mentioning which leads to grave doubt that India’s incapability to develop physical infrastructure in Arunachal lays in the reason that India cannot hold on to Arunachal for a long time. On the contrary, the Chinese has developed Tibet beyond recognition, even laid a rail tracks up to Lhasa which is situated 3
,600 meters above sea level, and which, I anticipate, will bind Tibet more close to the mainland. Apart from development of infrastructure issue; if we analyze the statement made by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Chandigarh last year and in a recent parliament session- 1. “Some adjustments will take place here and there on Arunachal Pradesh and J&K at the conclusion of the ongoing talks with China and Pakistan respectively.” 2. “India and china are exploring the framework of a final package settlement covering all sectors of the India-China boundary (May 10, 2007 Arunachal Times),” it corroborate the doubts enormously. On the other hand, China left no stone unturned to remind the people of Arunachal that they are Chinese citizen. For instance, lately, Chinese embassy refused to grant visa to an IAS officer, Ganesh Koyu who hails from Arunachal, because he comes from a disputed area and which didn’t come as a shock to me as this kind of denial had happened in late 1990’s to then the chief minister, Gegong Apang, when he sought a visa to visit China but was told by Chinese embassy that he doesn’t need a visa to visit his own country.

However, most of the people of Arunachal are of the opinion that the Arunachal would do better under Indian constitution. But the question still refused to subdue is: does the Indian Government and Indians are ready to assimilate the state within its republic. The ‘flip-flop’ attitude of federal government and their vague opinion on Arunachal not only perplex us but also steer us into dark alley. Besides, We (Arunachal along with Mizoram and Nagaland) were accused of being a parasite state by substantial section of the populations that claims that we survives on the flesh of Indians who allegedly labours night and day at IT industry et al to make Indian economy bullish. And we have been blamed for the lack of infrastructure in their state, for the potholes, etc. as well because their money has been pumped into these three states. Perhaps, they may be right in pointing out this. And if this view is defended by Indian government and Indians, then the privilege to call Arunachal an integral part of India is wholly invalid. And the Arunachal should have been given back their earlier status of sovereign state. Furthermore, the Indians are not happy with reservation (reservation in job and educational institution for scheduled tribe and caste), and we (the youth who have been to metropolis and influenced by it) are not happy about being ‘scheduled’ tribe (ST) for so long and to be called ST makes us a part of highly caste ridden and feudal society of Aryans.

At long last, considering the dealings of the centre with our state, it does indicate that the federal government of India, who is directly responsible for corrupting our state government by fattening the wallets of our politician and their enforcement arm, will never be able to oversee our state efficiently. The failure of Indian government to administer competently must not suggest that the whole of Arunachal is for bargain. And the Arunachal and its people shouldn’t be used as pawn in order to strengthen the bilateral ties between India and China. The talk show of two giant goliaths must go on and, but, let the Arunachal be a buffer state – free from Indian and Chinese influence.