Friday, October 23, 2009

Dream Weavers

Candidates for 16-Yachuli Assembly Constituency: Likha Saaya (INC), Jotam Toko Takam (PPA), Nikh Kamin (AITC):

And the winner is -

Likha Saaya with the Returning Officer and General Observer.

Candidates for 17-Ziro Hapoli Assembly Constituency: Kuru Tai (BJP), Padi Richo (INC), Subu Koyang (NCP), Nani Ribia (AITC):

And the winner is -

Padi Richo with the Returning Officer and General Observer.

Friday, October 16, 2009

EVM Tampering

History of sorts was created on October 13, 2009 when repolling was ordered in two polling stations at Ziro Assembly election. This is so unexpected of the people of Ziro who are known to be honest and peace-loving. I don't recall a single occasion when there was a repoll in Ziro-Hapoli constituency. It is shameful.

A sticker, exactly similar to the original one with the names of the candidates and the party symbols was printed and pasted over the EVM. The orders of the BJP and TMC candidates on the EVM was exchanged while those of the INC and NCP was exchanged. This manipulation does not seem to benefit either the INC or the TMC candidates who are considered the two strongest ones. Is it a case of an attempted cheating of the electronic machine by a candidate or just a mischief by a prankster? Whatever is the answer, it has cost the government dearly and caused lots of hardships to the voters. Especially this time of the year - the entii pillo.

On the other hand, this single incident exposes one of the hitherto overlooked drawbacks of the much acclaimed electronic voting machine (EVM) introduced in India recently. Possibilities of tampering the EVM has been discussed in many forums, but no one had anticipated this seemingly simple one. One more agenda has been added to the training curriculum for the polling officers in the next election.

People are now talking about the 'brains' of the Apatanis. Well, I like to take that as a compliment. At the same time, I like to take that as a challenge - the challenge to show the right direction to young people with such 'brains', as they can either be used or misused.

I dream that we use them.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

First Batch of Students from Ziro

The non-tribal people -halyañs - represented power. The Apatanis had learnt their lessons in several incidents, notably Kure Chambyo. While the nightmare of these incidents were still haunting the people, the government had initiated the process of bringing in education in the Ziro valley. Naturally, the teachers were looked at with suspicion and fear. They, however, cajoled several of the parents to send their children to school.

It was unimaginable to send a girl-child to school those days. And the better to do people refused to send their children to school as they had more important jobs at home like helping in agricultural fields and in the jungles. The poorer people were usually persuaded to educate their children.

The first several batches of students persisted due to their sheer determination. The neighbors looked down upon them as good-for-nothing lazy boys who avoided works and went to school. Most parents constantly tried to pressurize them to drop out. In order to keep their parent happy, they had to get up early in the morning, get a bundle of firewood and then go to school. After returning from the school again, they either brought more bundles of firewood or joined in the agricultural works. There are several instances when a boy lied to his parent that he is going to the jungle to fetch firewood, then attend the classes and return home with a bundle of firewood.

The children in this video, our abañs, beat the way for the rising sun.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Harvesting Time

On the instigation of Tini Rungya, Abotani had married her and divorced his virtuous wife, Diilyañ Diibyu. As the years went by, Tiini Rungya showed her true colors and ruined Abotani. A day came when not a morsel of grain was left.

Abotani realized his mistake, divorced Tini Rungya and tried to woe Diilyañ Diibyu back. Ayo Diilyañ Diibyu would not listen. Abotani begged for some food. No mercy.

He had to survive. Humankind had to survive. He had to get some food somehow.

"Go to Diilyañ Diibyu's house," Abotani told his dog. "She must be drying paddy on the piipiñ. Roll on it and come back running fast."

The faithful dog did as he was told. However, Diilyañ Diibyu saw Tani's dog and immediately knew his trick. She caught hold of the dog, cleaned all the paddy crops sticking to his hair and sent the dog back, "Now you can go back to Tani."

When the dog returned Tani was disappointed. As he petted the dog, however, he noticed a morsel of grain in each of the small pocket that all dogs have on their ears. Now, he had to multiply these grains to feed mankind.

The first year, Tani sowed the grain in the hearth - ugu. Next, he sowed them in the space around the urinal - si sita. Thus as the years went by, he had enough grains to be sown in the seed bed - midiñ.

It is entii piilo now. Time for harvesting paddy that our ancestor had propagated all around. This is one of the two seasons when the Apatanis cannot wait for anything. The other is the transplantation time of the paddy saplings.

The dog being the one who brought grains to us, the Apatanis never beat them during harvesting time.

Entii piilo is also the time for entii patañs to get together. A patañ usually consists of ten members - five male and five female. It is because it takes around two weeks to complete the harvesting of paddy.

It is a time to rejoice - reaping the fruits of the year-long labor.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First College at Ziro

Ziro is today known for the numbers of good quality private schools. What was lacking was an institute for higher education. In spite of being one of the oldest district headquarters in Arunachal Pradesh, there was no sight of such an institute. All these changed, however, when the picturesque Salalya was donated to the Claretian Missionaries to establish a college in 2003. The St. Claret College, Ziro came into existence.

A pleasant road now leads to the sprawling college campus. One goes through the Laji Bogya where the Bulla Middle School, one of the oldest schools in the entire area is located. With the Kalung Rantii on the right and mythical Dogiñ Nanii on the left, one can see magestic pine trees and picture post-card like landscapes all along.

The neatly maintained college in the cradle of nature is worth a visit.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Oldest Lapañ

When the Apatanis migrated to the present valley in an unknown past, they are said to have planted the Rantii Piisa that we can see in the Hari Rantii and constructed the first lapañ which is famous today as the Dokañ Lapañ. This lapañ is considered the oldest one in the Apatani valley and is maintained by the Mudo halu of Hari village.

It is a pity, however, that the construction of the lapañ has been modified using iron pipes and concrete posts these days. This could, otherwise, be the right one to be designated the heritage lapang. It is still a significant landmark at Ziro because of the history and mythology associated with it. Welcome to Hari village.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

After 64 Years

1945 (a still from Haimendorf's film). An agricultural field and an irrigation channel.

2009. The same agricultural field and the irrigation channel.