Sunday, November 8, 2009

North East India

North East India is the region in India which included the area known as Seven Sisters States, and Sikkim. The Seven Sisters States are the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The region had a population of 38.6 million in 2000, about 3.8 percent of India's total. There is great ethnic and religious diversity within the seven states. For most of their history, they were independent, and their complete integration with India came about only during the British Raj.

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Sikkim (सिक्किम),is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayas. It is the least populous state in India and the second-smallest in area after Goa. The thumb-shaped state borders Nepal in the west, the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the north and the east and Bhutan in the southeast. The Indian state of West Bengal borders Sikkim to its south. Kangchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak, is located on the border of Sikkim with Nepal. Sikkim voted under a referendum to become 22nd state of India on 26-4-1975, and it was officially part of Indian on 16-5-1975.

Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh (अरुणाचल प्रदेश) is the easternmost state of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders with the Indian state of Assam to the south and Nagaland to the southeast. Burma/Myanmar lies towards the east, Bhutan towards the west, and its boundary with the People's Republic of China to the north is disputed and the McMahon Line is not recognised by the Chinese authorities. Itanagar is the capital of the state. Although Arunachal Pradesh is administered as an Indian State, the People's Republic of China (China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) claim portions of the state as South Tibet.

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Meghalaya is one of three states in India to have a Christian majority with 70.3% of the population practicing Christianity ; the other two (Nagaland and Mizoram) are also in the north-east of India. In 1971, the Parliament passed the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganization) Act, 1971, which conferred full statehood on the Autonomous State of Meghalaya. Meghalaya attained statehood on 21 January 1972, with a Legislative Assembly of its own.

Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its population at the 2001 census stood at 888,573. Mizoram ranks second in India with a literacy rate of 88.49%. Mizoram is almost entirely Christian. The church is an intimate and everyday part of Mizo culture and the Sunday School concept is actively followed by all ages. Some 87% of the population (including most ethnic Mizos) is Christian. The major Christian denominations are the Presbyterian

Statehood was officially granted in 1963 and the first state-level democratic elections were held in 1964. Christianity is the predominant religion of Nagaland. The census of 2001 recorded the state's Christian population at 1,790,349 (90.02% of the state's population), making it (with Meghalaya 64.58%and Mizoram85.73%) one of the three Christian-majority states in India, and the only state where Christians form 90% of the population. The state has a very high church attendance rate in both urban and rural areas. The largest of Asia's churches dominate the skylines of Kohima, Dimapur and Mokokchung. Among Christians, Baptists are the predominant group constituting more than 75% of the state's population.
Nagaland is known as "The most populated Baptist state in the world". The state's population is 1.988 million, out of which 90.02% are Christians. 75% of the state's population profess the Baptist faith, thus making it more Baptist than Mississippi (in the southern United States), where 52% of its population is Baptist

It was formerly an independent Tripuri kingdom and was merged with independent India on 15 October 1949 by the Tripura Merger Agreement. It was also known as Hill Tippera (anglicized version of Tripura) during the British Raj period. The Bengali Ganamukti Parishad movement led to the integration of the kingdom with India in 1949 within Assam state. Hinduism is the majority religion in the state, with 85.6% of the population following the religion.Tripura is the second most populous state in North-East India, after Assam. Native Bengalis represent almost 70% of Tripura's population and the immigrant tribal populations represent the remaining 30%.
Tripura was heavily affected by the partition of India and the majority of the population are Hindu Bengalis. Tripura became a centrally administered Union Territory on July 1, 1963 and attained the status of a full-fledged state on January 21, 1972. Armed conflict in Tripura has been a problem since the end of the 1970s as an aftermath of Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Widespread insurgency and militancy in the state with groups such as the Tripura National Volunteers, the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force of the Tripura tribals aiming to drive away the native Bengali people is the tripura tribal rebellion.

Manipur came under British rule as a princely state in 1891. This ended the independent status of the Kingdom of Manipur, the last kingdom to be incorporated into British India. After the 2nd World War, the Manipur Constitution Act 1947, established a democratic form of government with the Maharaja as the Executive Head and an elected legislature. In 1949, Maharaja Bodhchandra was summoned to Shillong, capital of the then Indian province of Assam. The legislative assembly was dissolved on the CONTROVERSIAL annexation of the state with the republic of India in October 1949. Manipur was a union territory from 1956 and later became a full-fledged state in 1972.

There has been a separatist movement in Manipur since the early 1970s, with several groups engaged in violent action in order to achieve their goal, i.e. a sovereign Manipur. Special permission must also be obtained for those who wish to enter Manipur, as it is considered a "sensitive area" on account of its political troubles and geographical location.

The people of Manipur follow several faiths and religions which can be traced down to its unique historical past. Sanamahi is the main religion of the land. Manipur preserved this ancient indigenous religion rich in mythology and colorful in ritual, known in this part of the world as the Sanamahi. The Sanamahi worshiped is concentrated around the Sun God/Sanamahi. Early Manipuris were the devotees of a Supreme deity "Lainingthou Soralel" following the footprint of their Godly ancestors.

Assam became a part of India after the British occupied the region following the Treaty of Yandaboo of 1826. It become British province after 1838 and the Indian state after 1947,the state came to be known as Assam.It is famous for its Assam tea.

Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck
North East India is connected to the rest of India by a narrow stretch of land , called The Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck. This strip of land is only 21 to 40 km in width, with the countries of Nepal and Bangladesh lying on either side of the corridor. The Siliguri Corridor, has been the center of a regional controversy in Asia for more than 50 years. First recognized in 1947, the Siliguri Corridor is located in a region between India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The city of Siliguri, which lies in the state of West Bengal, is the major city in this area. The city is the central node which connects Bhutan, Nepal, north-east India and mainland India.

The Siliguri Corridor was created in 1947 after the state of Bengal was partitioned between the Republic of India and Pakistan's former state of East Bengal, now independent Bangladesh. This strip was drawn on the map to allow India access to the state of Assam. Being a sensitive area amidst three countries, the strip is heavily patrolled by the Indian Army, the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force and the West Bengal Police. In recent times the area has become the focus of illegal crossings between Bangladesh rebels and Nepali Maoist insurgents, both in search of refuge from their countrymen. A flourishing narcotics and weapons traffic also takes place in this region.

All land transportation between the rest of India and its far eastern states have to make use of this circuitous corridor as free trade between Bangladesh and India has yet to be made a reality. The route has a major broad gauge railway line in addition to the old metre gauge line which connects the north-eastern states with the rest of India. National Highway 31 connects Siliguri to Guwahati in Assam which is the most critical highway in the region, owing to the insurgents in the vicinity.

The Chicken’s Neck is heavily used by India to connect its eastern states. Because Bangladesh and Nepal do not have a border that connects them, the only area that separates the two countries is the Siliguri Corridor. Great efforts are being made to establish this diving stretch of land as a free trade zone, as free trade between Bangladesh and India has not been secured yet. Tensions are very high between India and Bangladesh, and the highway and railway that runs through the Siliguri Corridor is the only stable factor that keeps India from being independent of Bangladesh.

Siliguri Corridor has also been a known area for criminal activity. It is a popular area for rebels and insurgents to make illegal crossings and many people fleeing their dire situations take on the Siliguri Corridor in the hope to find a better life elsewhere. And together with illegal crossings, comes smuggling. It has been a hot spot for the smuggling of drugs and other narcotic substances and many weapons are also smuggled through this area.

In 2002, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh studied a proposal which would set a free trade zone in the area which would enable all four countries to connect directly with each other without restrictions.

Much of the region is notably ethnically and linguistically different from the rest of India. In the region several armed factions operate. Some groups call for a separate state, others for autonomy while some extreme groups demand nothing but complete independence.

The states have accused New Delhi of ignoring the issues concerning them. It is this feeling which has led the natives of these states to seek greater participation in self-governance. There are existing territorial disputes between Manipur and Nagaland.

There is a rise of insurgent activities and regional movements in the northeast, especially in the states of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Tripura. Most of these organizations demand independent state status or increased regional autonomy and sovereignty.

Regional tensions have eased off as of late, with Indian and state governments' concerted effort to raise the living standards of the people in these regions. However, militancy still exists within the region. Among the rebellions in the area are Tripura Rebellion and Assam Conflict.

Historically the North East India was a political mess left by colonist,they have clean their hands in 1948, their promises, their agreement, their treaty; all had been gone with the old colony, gone in history. It is now the burden of the new master(no more new now) to handle the problems... . Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh are two typical examples of how the British colonist handled a weak tribal nation and a weak big established nation, their strategies are in two completely different policies, used to their political advantage. As usual it left a global conflict area for the new nation to fight over it. They washed their hand and now focus on human right.....and forgot their past human right violation records in the area... and now all things are new to the colonist....that is politic. They forgot the people of North East India, the minorities, the weak ; they forgot to reinstate the Tibet border from their past mistake. They only remember McMahon Line, Tibet and Dalai Lama.....and indulged in the confused state of duality politic(sovereignty vs religion/human right) ....... a story of sour grape and hypocrisy.

Related articles:

1. Assam rebels 'arrested in Dhaka' ,By Subir Bhaumik, BBC News dated 5-11-2009, Calcutta
2. ULFA enforces shutdown in Assam, November 9th, 2009 - 10:51 am ICT by IANS
Read more:
3. China angered by Dalai Lama's India visit, Do you believed it is only religion visit or is it political visit like Taiwan visit, to politically sensitive areas to boost his political image, a publicity tactic?)
4. Bordering on Danger, By MOHAN MALIK,

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