Monday, December 29, 2008

Old Ziro - a little history

Come 2012 and Old Ziro township will be 60 years old. The neglected and worn out stone at Old Ziro has silently witnessed the changes coming to the place over these decades.

Since the first recorded visit in 1889 of an outsider to the Ziro valley by HM Crowe, a tea planter of Joyhing Tea Estate in Assam, there are records of sporadic similar visit to the area till India attained independence. Though a provisional base was established at Ziro when the now famous anthropologist Furer von Haimendorf was in the area in 1944, the official base was in Kimin at the foothills for a long time. The journey from Kimin to Ziro those days involved several days of perilous journey through pestilential forests. It was on March 24, 1952 that Ziro township was formally established by R. G. Menzies, Political Officer, and divisional headquarters of Subansiri Frontier shifted to Ziro. And on August 15, 1960, the headquarters was shifted to Hapoli.

Today, the part of Ziro called Hapoli is a town whereas Old Ziro still retains the status of a rural area. And true to its status, little has changed over the dedades, except for some concrete building standing like odds men out in the old Old Ziro.

The initial headquarters of the entire Subansiri Frontier Division, comprising of today's Upper Subansiri, Lower Subansiri, Kurung Kumey and Papum Pare districts has an airfield (constructed in 1951 also under the supervision of R. G. Menzies), the office of the Block Development Officer (BDO) and a Community Information Center (CIC) to reckon with.