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.


  1. wow!!

    where from is this footage and which circa?

    Amazing! the kids look quite well fed,clothed,polished and contented..atleast much better than our own childhood schooldays when we were semi-barbarians:))
    The background songs make me relive the AIR Dibrugarh days!

    This reminds me of an anecdote I heard recently--in those olden days( early 50s) the kids in Galo areas used to attend classes with their working Daos(hung in wall or desk)& loincloth! Once one (Assamese) teacher beat one of my(late)uncle with a rod for some reply to which he chopped the stick to pieces and chased the teacher:)His parents later apologised to the teacher but this boy never returned to school.We must never overlook the courage and sacrifice of the teachers of those times--most of them were ethnic Assamese fired with zeal & idealism.It turned to Hindi-centric after the '62 war due to Central policy.

  2. @buru. This is a clip from Adventure production for BBC TV entitied "APA TANI" and filmed by Haimendorf. I would guess this was filmed in 1954.

    You are right. Assam is still our 'big brother' and the teachers who served in Arunachal Pradesh in those days deserve our richest tributes.

  3. I would like to contact the college in Ziro about my program which I'm trying to publicise. Please email me their contact at womenaloud at gmail dot com

  4. Yes,

    But this big brother has turned malignant with time..It has lost all its past goodwill by continually harassing Arunachalis at official & unofficial levels; and grabbing land( while curiously giving its own prime land over to Bangladeshis,Nepalis etc!) continue prev anecdote, one Assamese teacher in our ancestral village in 50s even went to the extent of donning the loincloth and wielding the bow& arrows as a routine!

  5. @buru. I agree with you. Even so, our respect for the Assamese teachers who actually served our state in the fifties and sixties should not diminish.