Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ziro Putu and Apatani Settlement Story

Ziro Putu today occupies the center of the Ziro valley. This is sometimes called the Army Putu as it became the cantonment area of the Indian Army in the sixties. It is said that the whole troop was killed in the war for liberation of present Bangladesh in 1972. For a long time after the soldiers left, it remained an empty hill covered with gentle green grass and fetching ferns. Some government establishments are being set up these days on the hillock.

Ziro Putu was once the village of the Ziro clan of the Apatanis. The first batch of the Apatanis to have settled down in the present habitat were the clans of Ziro, Tabyu and Dusu. Ziro people established their village in the north-west of the valley at Ziro Putu. Likewise, Tabyu clan settled down in the north-east at Tabyu Putu and Dusu clan in the southern end of the valley at Hula Putu.
The next batch of the Apatanis to have come to the valley were the people of Hong, Hari, Kalung, Reru, Tajang and Hija. They initially settled down at Bwrw but dispersed to different directions at their present habitats. The last batch to have reached the valley were the people of Dutta, Mudang-Tage and Michi-Bamin.

It is one of the ironies of history that the first settlers – Ziro, Tabyu and Dusu, who remained most influential and powerful for a long time – are today being reduced to minorities. Ziro clan left the valley and their whereabouts is uncertain at present. Almost all the people of Dusu clan were killed in a conspiracy by the rest of the Apatanis, but the descendants of a few who escaped to other villages survive today. Tabyu clan is survived by few families and we hope that the numbers will increase in the coming days. These are the materials for more stories, though.

In the meantime, welcome to visit the Hula Putu by the Hong village, the Tabyu Putu in Tajang village and the iconic Ziro Putu to relive the history of Apatani settlement in the Ziro valley.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ziro - Cyclists' Paradise

In the seventies and eighties, bicycles were the most prestigious mode of local transport at Ziro. Groups of young boys could be seen on their bicycles in colorful dresses, often carrying their girlfriends in front of them. Students would paddle their way to their schools at Hapoli from far away villages like Bulla or Hija. School compounds were full of bicycles. So were the office complexes. Bicycles shops were doing good business in the twin towns of Old Ziro and Hapoli.

Popularity of bicycles started waning in the nineties with the advent of two wheelers - first the scooters and later motor bikes. Shops too disappeared one by one. When two wheelers were replaced by motor cars, Ziro was looking like a sinking town.
When a group of concerned citizens, under the banner of NgunuZiro, organized a bicycle expedition around the villages of Ziro last August, it elicited enthusiastic response from within Ziro as well as from outside the valley. More than fifty cyclists participated in the expedition and HE the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh sent a special emissary to participate and to convey a message of good will. 

Ziro looks a happy town again with increasing number of bicyclists and addition of more bicycle shops at Hapoli. One can see people happily paddling around even in the chill of this winter. NgunuZiro has mountain bikes for rent for interested visitors to Ziro.