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15 August - ‘Transfer of Power’ Day


A decade back, when in my mid-teens, I went on a trip to Kameng in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh. I knew that my generation had been very successfully indoctrinated with the concept of Indian and India. So I was looking out for an old grandpa to know the unadulterated reality of erstwhile N.E.F.A (North East Frontier Agency). My wish was answered when I met a gaonburha (village headman), with his grandchild near a hanging rope bridge. I struck a conversation with the tiny tot and his grandpa. When I asked the gaonburha whether he thought himself to be an Indian or a Chinese, I got the most amusing answer I have ever come across till date. The grand old man said, “Xeitutu moi naejanu” (I don’t know that).


In the present day grand Indian socio-political and economic scenario, the gaonburhas are like microbes. They are there, but their existence cannot be seen nor felt. The local politicians and ministers are the jelly fish. They are there, they can be seen, but spineless, without a backbone to support themselves. The central ministers and the massive corporations and giant companies are the whales and sharks, ready to gobble up the numerous microbes and quite a many jelly fish any moment, any time. No doubt, mega dams is imminent in north-east. The pitiable ignorance of the microbes, the lack of assertion of the jelly fish and the disturbingly high ethno-diversity will contribute to the realization of mega dams by the whales and sharks of India. Their best prey being Arunachal Pradesh, followed by Assam.


During the British reign in India, the East India Company acted as the representive of the British Crown. Post 1947, the desi governments act as the representative of the corporate. Mega dams are symbols of greed, more than need. How do we substantiate the generation of more than 70,000 MW when the required stands at 400 MW? The British used the Assam for extraction of fuel (petroleum, coal) and tea production. The scheme continues till date. Nehru made use of Assam (the Assam of the 1940s) for immigration and settlement of refugees from East Bengal. Indira Gandhi continued with the same scheme in the 1970s during the Indo-Pak war 1971. Now Assam and Arunachal Pradesh will be used mega dams. The question is who decides for our resources? Pre-1947, it was the British. Now it is the power lobbies who call the shots from Delhi and their glitzy offices in the commercial capital cities of India. The ground reality has not changed after the British left India. What happened in 15 August, 1947 is more of a shift of power. This can be called ‘Transfer of Power’ Day (T.O.P. Day). It was on this day that the political decision making powers was transferred by the Whites to the Browns (or lets say the ‘Coloured’ to sound politically correct).


The numerous militant groups will defy the Independence Day. But even day can join in to celebrate the event as T.O.P. Day, since they are giving dictats from the ‘Top’. They might also enjoy the ‘transfer of power’ once they get ministerial posts, be it in the present political boundaries or those envisioned by the C-in-Cs. Going by the mode of operation, the percolation of message is from the bosses rather than the echo of the grassroots. While the leaders build fortunes in foreign countries and indulge in all delights, it is the village youths and their families who end their precious lives chasing the elusive mirages created by their respective bosses.


As for me, the next time I visit Kameng, the gaonburha and his village will be long gone. There will be a huge lake instead. The tiny tot might be in some urban pocket. And if I ever come across him, we shall be talking in Hindi. Some persons have decided everything for us. The resentment and aspirations of millions, the pride of existence of the grassroot populace hardly matter for this set of policy makers. Indeed, 15 August carries the essence of ‘T.O.P. Day’.


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pallavibarua's picture

Comments

arunachali's picture

as an Arunachali i agree wid most of wht u say..we are like colonies also i find it sad we speak hindi with u assamese, we even speak hindi to our own parents
VoxPopuli's picture

Am I getting a sense of deju vu? The sentiment echo those uttered by Maniram Dewan. And those of Ambika Giri Roychoudhury. Both before our times. And in our times, those uttered by Bhrigu Phukan, Bharat Narah, Prafulla Mahanta, and other student leaders (not the politicians as they reincarnated!!) But there's not an iota of change of ground reality. In times to come, there would definitely be more such sentiments. But there may not be anyone caring or daring to voice it out. Yes, definitely we have to voice our feelings. Else we will be dubbed as a dead civilization. But are we not already!! Fate decided by those who dont belong to these parts, and hence has no feelings for these 'backward' areas, nee colonies... But scream, till your voice turns hoarse, and even burst to lose your voice. That's all we can do. Latest example, the volte-face of Mr. Jairam Ramesh. More will come in days, years and decades to come. But our civilization and culture would be long gone by then. Aztecs and Incas wont be the only dead civilizations. Till then, EXIST and SURVIVE, but dont ever expect to LIVE. Amen
gajendra patil's picture

your thoughts are correct power is shifted from british to Hindi spiking people on basis of large flux of illiterate people from hindi belt are grabbing land, power, jobs it is very dangerous situation in maharashtra we were 95% marathi speaking in 1960 reduced to 65% , it is essential that each state must be given more power and permit syustem for sttlement otherwise people like Milind deora, Priya datt,Vijay Drada,Suresh Kalmadi,Kripashankar Sing are notknow our basic destroying our culture and langauge using money. Spineless marathi leaders are acting as servants.
I love my india's picture

Hey I agree your thinking partially.Everyone of us have to work head to solve the mentioned problem.The same problem was not solved by the Suvash chandra Basu,but was solved by Jatir pita. Why was it possible at that time?, because he wanted every indian to be self independent.It not the matter of language or the matter of the place are you living but it is the matter of the attitude, diligence and love towards motherland.By making 'andolon' and making a new independent country that matters nothing but the matter is the progress of the people living in the country.The question is that ''Why did British govern over 200 years in india? Ans: The indian people were running behind the small self interest and neglecting the great interest towards the motherland.As for example "MIR JAFOR".So form my side I welcome all the people of India to make every moment of our life to work for our development of the country.. India. Jai Hind
arunachal citizen's picture

The central govt has been feeding arunachalis like goats and appeasing them with good grass (money), only to be butchered with dams now.
Truth is Bitter's picture

Gandhi succeeded because he knew that the British were a civilised nation. Look what Indians are doing to Kashmiris. The Indian army and paramilitary has unleased military terror in Kashmir. What India is doing to Kashmir in 2010 is worse than what British did to the freedom aspirants before 1947 in India. The British did not impose military rule in India. Just rememeber how masss genocide was committed in Punjab during Operation Bluestar. Just remeber how Indian govt ordered the killing to thousands of Sikh youths, children and old people also in Punjab. Had Gandhi used non-violence against the present Indian govt, he would be killed in a fake encounter in no time.
common man's picture

'I love my india' is suffering from govt fed hallucinations....Stop believing blindly, start thinking rationally.
indian's picture

I agree with the sentiments expressed partialy.However we must agree the development process ,its sequences and its effect on social,cultural & economical asspect of the society.The modern technology changed the boundary & ethnicty concept.one can not think isolated boundary for preservence of the society,look at andman tribes,Are u imagine to look & live like that?? we must make the system more vibrant & accomdative apart from the language,state & other virtual boundary.Last but not leat in our democratic system it is always possible to change the system with in the system.beleive me I am working as an engineer for mega Dam in arunachal & always try tokeep these vibrant societies pace tandem with the present sceniaro.
VoxPopuli's picture

Indian engineer, this article is not about what you are commenting. You have diverted the entire issue. It is not about matters like virtual boundary or Andaman Nicobar tribes. They are lone doomed. Bo language doesn't exist anymore. They are on the verge of becoming history. The issue is about mega dams and man-made destruction and govt imposed calamity which dams will bring in. Anyways, you are not expected to agree since you are an INDIAN ENGINEER, who takes part in the chorus of corruption.
common man's picture

Burma seperated from the umbrella of British India with the help of the Government of India Act 1935. Had the political leaders of Assam had some foresight, they could have used the oppurtunity. Now, with a massive Indian army and ruthless paramilitary force, hundreds and thousands of our youths have died in different mass movements after 1947.
Andre Blanchard's picture

Mega Dams are a violation of Human Rights. This issue will be taken to the global forum soon. Andre Blanchard Marseille France Andre Blanchard
citizen of Arunachal's picture

INDIAN talks rubbbish. The societies which these Indians find naive and simple have been made corrupt by Indian engineers, contractors and politicians. Showing Arunachali ministers greed of money, they are out to ruin both the host state for dams and neighbouring Assam.
Zhen Yi's picture

When Indian minister Jairam Ramesh was in Beijing, he said the Indian home minister's policy for China is paranoid and alarmist. When Indian media was against him, he sought support of China media. Now in India capital Delhi, the same man is bad-mouthing China. When Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is protesting dams, he is saying that it is because of China we are building dams first. Why do Indian ministers tell so much false and lie about China? Now he is telling lies like home minstry which Jairam Ramesh himself admitted in May. We are not so bad and corrupt like Indian ministers. We respect the life and rights of our brothers and sisters in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We will never plan to kill them like Indian ministers in delhi. Our workers, scientists, engineers, businessmen follow the ideals of collective good and long term sustainable developement which is eco-friendly. We know how to harness energy with micro-dams in small river projects. We don't kill colony people in the name of development by mega dams. We will never harm Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Never. China will respect the life and share the concern of Assam and its Arunachal always. Chinese people are not as bad as Indian ministers and Indian media projects us.
Zhen Yi's picture

When Indian minister Jairam Ramesh was in Beijing, he said the Indian home minister's policy for China is paranoid and alarmist. When Indian media was against him, he sought support of China media. Now in India capital Delhi, the same man is bad-mouthing China. When Assam and Arunachal Pradesh is protesting dams, he is saying that it is because of China we are building dams first. Why do Indian ministers tell so much false and lie about China? Now he is telling lies like home minstry which Jairam Ramesh himself admitted in May. We are not so bad and corrupt like Indian ministers. We respect the life and rights of our brothers and sisters in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. We will never plan to kill them like Indian ministers in delhi. Our workers, scientists, engineers, businessmen follow the ideals of collective good and long term sustainable developement which is eco-friendly. We know how to harness energy with micro-dams in small river projects. We don't kill colony people in the name of development by mega dams. We will never harm Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Never. China will respect the life and share the concern of Assam and its Arunachal always. Chinese people are not as bad as Indian ministers and Indian media projects us.
VoxPopuli's picture

What 'development process' is the "Indian" talking about? Isn't there any alternative to hydro-power? What about Wind energy, Solar energy which are far more eco-friendly and heralds Sustainable Eco-Friendly Development? Look at how happy a country Netherlands is with the wind power potential tapped so beautifully. And look at the ugly Naxalism given rise by projects like dams in India. One of the core reasons of Naxalism is displacement and disorder which a dam brings in. But Indian ministers, businessmen and their power companies, contractors and engineers like the idea of mega dams as their construction involves hundreds and thousands of crores unlike wind and solar power projects. Can the Indian engineer try development through wind and solar power projects instead of hydro power in his trial to 'keep these vibrant societies pace tandem with the present sceniaro' (as commented by him).
Ropi's picture

The greedy ministers of Arunachal, the selfish govt employees and officials will make a lake of this state soon...but why do they have to worry...they have bought posh flats, luxurious appartments in delhi, bangalore, mumbai etc. But when their children will face racial discrimination and be called 'chinkis' on the Indian streets they will curse their greedy and corrupt parents. There will be tragedies like Bhopal gas tragedy in ARunachal and Assam. If it was a gas tradegy in Bhopal, it will be a water tragedy in Arunachal and Assam.
Indian's picture

I am thank full to all comments,at leat we started a dialogue regarding dam. Look only commenting anti etablishment & other development process is not gurantee the Pro Human right and Pro people approach. its jst a psycological satisfaction rather than hiding the face with the real society.Sitting in the guwhati Or Itanagr and commenting on the human right asspect is not acceptble. Just imagine the people living in Takla Phar area(dibang Valeey or Apptines people in Zeroh and people in Dhemaji.They are lacks the very basis eminites,medicla facilites,live hood probelm to survive their lives and other numerous probelms facing day by day.Hydro project by virtue of its design & topography located in this area and empowred the people with all the modern facilites,communication & enterpnership. I agree there is corruption in the system but on this lone fact you can not deny the right of the local people.You use the RTI Act,media and all other preventive measure to expose all these bad things.We must beleive that the resources,geography & all other geo polticla asspect before denying any process/development.Some of my chinse counterpart commenting about the system.I think they must aware the ground reality of Tibbet region & constructing the largest dam in the world by displacing the 10 crore of poulation foricbly. In india one can not even think to do this.So using the latest zizmos & enjoying other world class facility one can not keep the maojority of people in last centuary just to preserve the history for their so called intellectal satisfaction.
Ropi's picture

This article and some comments show what India has made of its north-eastern states like Assam and Arunachal. THIS SHOULD BE SENT TO INTERNATIONAL POWERFUL ORGANISATIONS TO MOUNT INTERNATIONAL PRESSURE ON INDIAN GOVT TO STOP MEGA DAM PROJECT IN THE INTEREST OF HUMAN RIGHTS. THANKS TO ANDRE BLANCHARD FROM FRANCE WHO WILL CIRCULATE THIS IN EUROPE.
VoxPopuli's picture

Indian engineer has no answer to the question of alternative energy other than hydro-power? What stops wind and solar energy from being harnessed? China is defamed and brought in by Indians from time to time. All reports are not exact about China. Indian ministers and media manipulate a lot of data. As residentS of present India, we know what hell Indian forces presence has done to Kashmir. No where in the world, not even China such military rule has been enforced. Kashmir is a case of plain genocide. The govt sponsored military rule in Kashmir has mounted to massacre like proportions and soon may become genocide of young Kashmiri youths. The opposition to dams is not because of preserving history....THE INDIAN SHOULD KNOW IT BECAUSE OF THE CONCERNS OF FLASH FLOODS WHICH HAS BECOME A PROBLEM IN ASSAM. IF DAMS GIVE WAY, NOT EVEN GOD CAN SAVE ARUNACHAL AND ASSAM.
P. Konwar's picture

ALTERNATIVE WAYS FOR 'DEVELOPMENT'---- Ministers and bureaucratic officials in Arunachal Pradesh keep telling the people that these hydro power companies are not fools. Yes, these companies are not fools. Infact, they are far cunning than people of the north-eastern states can imagine. We stand no where when it comes to cunningness and making profit. However we all are equally corrupt. But when it comes to cunningness, people of north-east are not yet cunning enough. That is the reason we believe in the idea of development shown by these companies to us through bribing our state governments. These companywallas cite the example of Himachal Pradesh where hydro projects are coming up. But in that state, rivers are very few, the number of dams are also very few. Its not 784 as in Arunachal Pradesh. Most importantly, the size of the rivers is very small compared to the rivers in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. So drawing comparisons among rivers of Arunachal and those in Himachal is not a wise thing to do. These companies and the people who work for them say that, for development, the hydro power companies should construct the dams otherwise people have to live at the same stage where their forefather lived. At least the forefathers lived. With the number of dams looming over our heads and home, we don't know when we might face a catastrophe. Many countries have developed their economy based on agriculture and horticulture. Arunachal Pradesh can become the fruit basket of the world if we harness our agriculture potential. Small scale industries can be set up in each village and medium sized factories for fruit based products can come up and earn revenues and create sustainable development. But who wants to work hard in Arunachal? Everyone is happy with easy money. The grass called money has been fed well by the power companies for the time being to the naivette population of this tribal state.
Neil Lyngdoh's picture

Gajendra Patil comments, "power is shifted from british to Hindi spiking people". That may be the case in Maharashtra. But in north-east apart from Hindi peoples, the Bengalis also have formed a very strong lobby. All the Bengali Hindus who have migrated to north-east states have changed the demography of many areas in north-east, especially Tripura and Assam. Maharashtra faces only problem from Hindis. North-east faces problems from many peoples like Bengalis, Nepalis, Bangladeshis apart from Hindis. The foolish north-east people fight among themselves while these peoples are doing very very good business and also grabbing jobs and marrying girls for land in north-east states.
Ranu Gogoi's picture

Neil Lyngdoh is speaking the reality of the north-east. He rightly says that men from other parts of the country and refugees from Bangladesh are marrying our girls for land and settlement. Not only the boys, the girls of migrants like Bengalis, Nepalis, Marwaris, Biharis try their level best to hook onto Assamese boys or any boy from north-east states so that they can settle here forever and claim rights to landed property and real estate. Also north-east boys donnot take dowry. Even if there is little dowry, the quantity is very very less compared to other Indian communities. The families of these refugees support their girls to get educated and well-settled men from north-east and think them to be a prized catch. More than love marriages, for these migrants, marrying a north-east boy is 'laabh-marriage' (where love is based on 'laabh', that is, Profit).
Ropi Jamoh's picture

Damned 'DAM PRADESH' With 784 dams looming over Arunachal Pradesh, the government of India wants to make this land of ours the "Dam Pradesh" of India. We, the people of Arunachal will be the worst sufferers of this damned 'Dam Pradesh' in the 21st century. The quality of construction is also a matter of concern because of the rampant corruption in India. These projects will help the industrialists, ministers, contractors, engineers and bureaucrats rich by millions and billions. The security factor after completion of these projects will always be doubtful. If there is any Indo-China war in the future, the Chinese would first attack the dams. Once dams are attacked, the Indian army wouldn't be able to do anything.
Vox populi's picture

--Arunachal ministers Not Tribals Anymore-- Despite stiff opposition, the Arunachal Pradesh Government is adamant on continuing with the construction of dams. The CM of Assam Tarun Gogoi a least has a heart which has been proved by the heart surgery. Gogoi is somewhat considerate to the concerns of the grassroot peoples. But the CM of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu is a robot employed by the ministers and industrialists of central government. The way poor villagers were mercilessly beaten in the Pongging near Pasighat will go down as a black day in the history of the Adi tribe and all the marginalized poor people of the world. No media covered this merciless attack which was no less than a massacre. Only a few days back, labourers in the NHPC dam project were also beaten mercilessly by the Indian army and Arunachal police. “We are happy and welcome the NHPC’s announcement that the Subansiri project would be commissioned in 2012,” MP from Arunachal Pradesh Takam Sanjay. Takam Sanjoy, Dorjee Khandu, Gegong Apang, Mukut Mithi, Bosiram Siram, all politicians of Arunachal Pradesh should not be tagged as tribals anymore. Their reservation facilities under the scheduled tribe category should be stopped. These ministers who are going against the spirit of democracy should be excommunicated and be regarded as outcast by the tribal forums of the state and the country. The United Nations Forum for Indigenous People should also de-recognise these politicians of Arunachal Pradesh as tribals. There lives have become far removed from the life and living of a tribal. A tribal man loves nature and not money. A tribal man fights for his environment, and does not sell out his land for apartments in Delhi, Mumbai, London and New York. The lives of the ministers of this so called tribal state has become far removed from the lifestyle of a tribal. They send their children abroad and have no concern for their state or people. They talk to them in Hindi and no longer use their tribal languages or Nefamese. They are torturing the tribal people in the villages and using armed force and police to beat poor villagers. Can the present ministers and politicians who have gone against the spirit of humanity for the sake of money and power be any longer called tribals? They can only be called the stooge of industrialists and the voice of the Hindi lobby from mainland India. These so called ‘tribal’ ministers of a tribal state have become as money-minded as a shopkeeper in Jaipur or Delhi. Even dowry in the demanded form is showing its ugly head in Arunachal Pradesh. Their only contribution to tribal ethos is the one-day drama where they come in the traditional waist coats to attend the traditional festival nowadays organized in the state capital by some students union.
Hayang's picture

LESSONS FROM DELHI FLOODS: Stop dam activities in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh Delhi faces fresh flood threats as Haryana releases more water from the Hathini Kund barrage. It is for the first time in last 100 years Yamuna is overflowing in such gigantic proportion..People staying in low lying areas are being asked to take shelter in high places. Delhi is a dryland where there is minimal rain. If such a place is facing this from a dam, what will happen to a flood prone Assam? Its time the policy makers in Delhi see the future of the north-eastern state of Assam and many parts of Arunachal Pradesh from the example of the ongoing Delhi floods. More than natural flood, the present catastrophe in Delhi is an example of man-made floods.
yadab das's picture

I liked this article very much, very nicely said. I was reading the Arundhuti Roy's "Walking the comrades". I do not like terrorism or any hate-ideology. But for that we need good leaders not selfish bureaucrats and politicians ready to sell anything comes in their way. I think it is time for us to get educated and help our own people to get educated so they can understand the world they are living. We are in a slavery mode and should get out of it through education and prosperity of our people. At least I am able to see this, which means the education helped me to realize this bitter truth.

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