Gandhiji’s Statue at Shidi

Photo: Gandhi Statue at Shidi (Taken by: Ahdi Mark and Friends)

Photo: Inscription on the Gandhi Statue at Shidi (Taken by: Ahdi Mark and Friends)

This statue of Gandhi at Shidi village made milestone in our history.

First, this indicated once for all that Shidi village falls within the territory of Independent India. One source told this was installed in 1972 (date not found in the statue). If that were true, this is immediately before or after the international border demarcations with the Burma government was completed.

Second, the name of the village was changed from Shidi to Gandhigram. Shidi in local dialect means, “fields of grass” (a kind of grass used for roofing the house). But since the coming of the statue until today, the village is known officially as Gandhigram, though all villagers still use Shidi amongst them.

For those who have not seen it, this is located within the church compound, which is located at the center of the village.

I wonder why at Shidi village this was installed. Could it be because the Indian Army first met the Lisu people at Shidi on 7th May 1961?

Older people told me a special helicopter brought this statue.

Photo: PC Lal (IAF)

The person who unveiled it was a high profile officer. I came to know about him only after reading Whos who in the Indian Air Force at a General Knowledge book. After digging a bit more, I found the following about him.

  • His full name: Pratap Chandra Lal
  • Served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1969 to 1973
  • He has written a biography, finally completed by his wife called “My Years with the IAF” published in 1983.
  • More about him at Indian Air Force site.
  • Perhaps, at that time none of the villagers might know such an important person came to unveiled the status.

Some stories Phamatse, an 80 year old man shared the following on 29 Nov 2016:

A Carebo plane was specifically consigned to transport to Vijoynagar Headquarter and on the same night, it was brought to Shidi by two PWD staffs. Along with it, the Circle Officer wrote a letter to the Headmaster of Govt. Middle School of Shidi village, Mr Bor Saikia, to find some people and paste the inscription on the Statue body that was already completed. Phamatse joined them.

Also he remembers the day PC Lal came. Mr Lal spoke briefly about the significance of that statue and that he has two years to retire from his post.

Another elderly person, Motika (about 75 years) said two helicopters came on the day PC Lal came to unveil the Gandhi Statue. The helicopters landed at School Play ground.

For the school students, this is an important location to pay homage on every Independence Day and the Republic Day.

And this site will continue to play a part of our society’s life even in the days to come.

Mugaphi Team: Won Runner Up Cup in Miao

Our team reached a historic moment in football this year. We got Second Place trophy at the Miao Independence Tournament 2016 from among the 28 teams. Another proud moment is when Jolisa (in pic with cup) received the Best Player Award.

A person narrated to me some years ago, we never won a single match. In fact those days, one team returned with 0 to 11 goals and later with 0 to 7 goals. We began winning one match in 2014; two matches in 2015; and four matches in 2016. This is big leap for us.

Courtesy: Facebook [STANDING – Dhanwar, Tiyoye, Bayosa (Captain), Dilisay, Akhi Josali, Phiyosa, Yodawu, Bilija and Adi Jolisa; SITTING – Papu (Manager), Fulakhi, Gujosa, Tweni, Jolidi, Athiye, Gelisa, Tsisa and Ngwayotsi (Coach)]

Teams we have challenged this year:

Match Played with Scored Goals Result
Mugaphi vs New Khamlang 5 – 1 Winner
Mugaphi vs Ralungkan 5 – 1 Winner
Mugaphi vs M’pen 4 – 2 Winner
Mugaphi vs Scorpion Return 3 – 0 Winner
Mugaphi vs Upper Miao 1 – 3 Lost

Trophy with Flag in background

What Contributed to this success? I could think of a couple of factors:

· Our boys have taken interest and improved their football skills over the years.

· Four experienced players joined from our villages and a keeper from outside.

· Good leadership given by Manager, Coach and Miao Yobin Welfare Association. Support by Yobin people.

Why did we loss the Final Match with the Upper Miao FC?

· They are really good players. They played much better than most of our boys. We have much to pick up from them in terms of speed, passing and strategies.

· Another setback for our team was lack of diet knowledge. Our boys had lunch with beef curry just 3 hours before the match. That reduced speed and generated heat. As a result our team cannot run and due to thirst they drank lots of water. If this blunder had not happen, the match would have been much livelier.

What Should We do For Next Year? I overheard the following from our gatherings before and after each football match.

· We must develop good goalkeepers.

· Our boys should be trained is striking goals. We have slow and weak shots.

· Passing is still weak. We should aim at quick and correct passes.

· Play tactics and strategies is still at baby stage.

Now we are good in running, long shots, heading. Our team did not get even a single card. That is good sign of players. If we develop the above, we would play well.

This tournament received much news coverage on the Mugaphi team.

FC Gara XI, Mugaphi Vijaynaga win (ET Correspondent, 30 July 2016, The Eastern Today)

Mugaphi Vijaynagar thrashes Ranglungkan FC 5-1, enters quarters (Indrajit TIngwa, 7 August 2016, The Eastern Today)

INDEPENDENCE CUP FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT 2016 : Mugaphi Vijaynagar and UMFC enter the finals (By Indrajit Tingwa, 13 August 2016, Dawnlitpost)

Students union threatens agitation over buffer zone issue

The one sided approach of the Tiger Authority seems to be consistent even in other areas too. Here is one strategy we can use to challenge the undemocratic declaration of the Tiger Reserve and its buffer zone in our villages which they declared as Namdapha. (AP Times, 2 August 2016)

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ITANAGAR, Aug 1: All Pakke-Kessang Pijerang Dissing-Passo Seijosa Students’ Union (APPDSSU), which has been demanding to revoke the order declaring the areas around Pakke Tiger Reserve as buffer zone/ Eco-Sensitive Zone, has threatened to launch democratic movement, if the authority does not pay heed to their demands

Claiming that majority of the residents of the concern area oppose it, the union, in a representation, demanded the Chief Secretary to constitute a high power committee with people of the affected area within a week and also to ask the department concerned to form an expert committee with affected people to study the matter seriously.

The union alleged that the declaration was made arbitrarily whereas the limits of such areas should be determined on the basis of scientific and objective criteria in consultation with the Gram Sabha and expert committee. But with regards to this instant case, these criteria were not maintained and blatantly overlooked.

BJP stages rally, demands better roads

Good to see at least one rally to demand for the betterment of roads yesterday. Many more such are needed.

One of the highlights from the speakers at that public rally was COMPLETE lack of transparency and accountability by the ruling government. For examples:

· I heard that the Buri Dihing bridge (bridge via Balinong to Namsai) has been under construction for the last 15 years. Almost completed but now another business is going on where one person constructed a bamboo bridge and collects revenue at Rs 60 per head.

· Miao to Namchik Road remains incomplete even after four years. Namchik to Jagun remains no man’s road. Glad to hear at the rally there will be a question on who will construct.

· Lastly on MV Road. Thanks to this political party. Not one voice we have raised on our own. They did for us.

I look forward to the TWO MONTHS ultimatum served in the memorandum. What will be next?

Read more on this from the news item by Indrajit Tingwa (AP Times, 2 August 2016).

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MIAO, Aug 1: The Bharatiya Janata Party, Miao Unit on Monday took out a peaceful protest rally to press for early completion and maintenance of roads under 50-Miao assembly constituency.

Prior to the rally which commenced from Miao Bazaar and concluded at the ADC’s office, a brief public meeting was conducted where the party leaders expressed their resentment over the prevailing bad communication network in the constituency. Almost all the roads in Miao Sub-Division are in a dilapidated state for lack of maintenance or not being completed on time.

In a memorandum, the BJP Miao Unit stated that common people are suffering a lot due to pathetic road communication.

BJP Miao Unit gave two months to complete the road construction.

Responding to the public memorandum, ADC Miao T.Mara said that the bad road connectivity was not only affecting the lives of the common man but even the government functionaries and departments. He assured to do his part in forwarding the grievances of the people to the government for early redressal.

The incomplete roads are 157 kilometres Miao-Vijaynagar Road , which is currently being constructed under PMGSY scheme, Miao-Namchik Road whose construction have been going on for some time now and is the life-line of Miao Sub-Division, sanctioned under NLCPR and the village link roads and the bridge over Buri-Dihing which started construction about a decade back but yet to be completed.

The members of BJP Miao Unit led by Hunpong Tangha, President of the mandal, the members of Yuva Morcha were present besides District President Ngyilang Tangha, General Secretary District Unit Gumjanong Singpho and Chamjong Haidley who was the party candidate from Miao during last assembly election.

State Executive Council member Thiksal Morang and National Executive Council member and former minister Samchom Ngemu were also in attendance.

Lisu in Miao

Miao is a kind of “transit camp” for us. This is where we get basic necessities and carry them home to Shidi area. We get education for our children. And it functions as a station for us to receive medical care.

In 2011 a head count of our people was made by the YTWC leaders and found we had 140 adults to look after the 238 students (Published in Sentinel). All totaled to 378.

We made another census for the 2015-16. By then we have increased to 444 people including old and young. During that period five of our people died and buried in Miao. One was a student studying in Miao. Three people came for medical treatment but did not recover since they came to seek medical attention at the terminal stage. One woman died on her way from Shidi to Miao. Even this year several people are undergoing medical treatment.

Our boys and girls study in various schools in Miao. The highest numbers would be in Higher Secondary School, Light of the World, Town Middle School and Upper Middle School. Fewer students are in Primary School (New Singpho village), Little Tots School and Kendriya Vidyalaya.

I counted from the last year’s census for Class xi and xii. We had 16 girls and 9 boys for Eleven. I assume the number of students for class xii would not change much since admission to Class xii is rare. There were 30 students for class xii last year – 15 boys and 15 girls.

Our population here is very fluid meaning we keep moving on. Students leave on completing their course of studies. Patients go home once they are cured of their sickness. Villagers pick essential commodities and return to their villages. Less than 20 families with businesses/jobs are here on regular basis.

I wish this level of facilities available at Miao is possible to our people in Shidi area. That would allow our young to stay with parents. Patients can avail early detection of diseases. And also communicate better with the outside world. We are yet to see that day.

Photos of the Lisu Picnic at Miao

First time ever picnic together on the New Year of 2015. All transport vehicles were volunteered. The vehicles lined up near C. Lisu’s house and marched together from there with a flag infront.

The spot was a beautiful place on Nao Dihining river bank, at 4th mile.

On reaching the location, ladies became busy with preparation for curry.

Meanwhile, the men prepared meat

We also played games

Women preferred to stand on one side during games

Leaders of games in front

Meal time is memorable

Closing photo together… we were about 300.

There were traditional dance performances. I wish I had the photographs.

The First Picture of the Lisu with Indian Soldiers

The Miao Vijoynagar Road is difficult to trek even now. What would be the situation in 1961? Moreover, the Expedition team was marching during the flood season, reaching Shidi on 7th May 1961.

I wish more pictures and larger size photos were available to us from the 1961. I might even see Uncle Motika, who was back then 20 years old. He along with other boys went along with the Expedition team on their return and stayed at Khonsa for three months and then returned.

In the two pictures below, the Lisu posed pictures with jawans. In one Lisu women seated, some did not face even camera very typical village style, surrounded by the standing jawans. In the second photo, the three Lisu ladies faced the camera squarely and two or three Lisu men standing behind them along with the soldiers.

Major Sumer Singh must be in the pictures. I wish I can locate him.

Source: Dipti Bhalla and Kunal Verma.2013. Children of the Dawn (North East Triology – III). New Delhi Kaleidoindia. Page 28. (This book is worth reading. Here is a brief review).

Pul emphasizes on wireless telecom services in border areas

Good plans from CM – GSM mobile connections in remote areas, including Vijoynagar (AP Times, 9 July 2016)

Pul emphasizes on wireless telecom services in border areas

July 9, 2016

ITANAGAR, Jul 8: Chief Minister Kalikho Pul has emphasized on internet connectivity and wireless telecom services in all remote and inaccessible areas of the state.
Detailing his plan during a meeting with BSNL officials on Thursday, the Chief Minister gave priority on new GSM mobile connectivity for remote border places such as Anelih, Mipi, Vijaynagar, Pumao, Payum, Tali, Pipsorang, Parsi Parlo, Lada, Thambang, Thingbu and Balemu. Wherever GSM services could not be availed due to connectivity barriers, other means of telecom services such as WLL and Digital Satellite Phone Terminal (DSPT) should be provided, he said.
“The last mile connectivity will be of great help to people living in remote border areas, especially during the natural calamities where information on time can save many precious lives,” said Pul. He further said wireless telecom connectivity in the border areas will also be helpful in reporting border intrusions by the enemy forces, attaching great importance in terms of country’s security.
Emphasizing on providing full telecom services for all administrative posts, he said mobile connectivity or high speed internet services will enable businesses to grow faster, students to learn more, and government officials to access state-of-the-art services for fast and effective administration. It will also provide latest information on weather forecasts, market prices for commodities which will be great help for agriculturists rural areas.
Regarding the plan to create an “Information and Telecom Highway” along the major highways in the state in order to provide high-speed wireless services, the CM informed that necessary directives will be issued to the state authorities for providing telecom cable duct along the state and national highways to lay high speed optical fibre network. The CM decided to have beforehand the provision for inclusion of telecom cable duct in the DPR of all the proposed highways in the state in order to reduce multiple expenditures.
Further to provide stable and alternate telecom connectivity, the Chief Minister discussed on the plans to use the 132 KV transmission power lines for laying of optical fibre. Necessary directives will be issued on that matter, the CM said and assured all administrative and financial support of the Govt to BSNL’s initiatives for a thrust in telecom services in the state. The CM also promised to waive off high electricity bills for the BSNL, and assured to provide new electricity connections at reasonable rates for the telecom services to be expedited.
Pointing out the repeated damage to optical fibre and the resultant disruption of internet connectivity due to road widening and reconstruction work, the Chief Minister issued directives to the highway agencies that proper precautions and care must be taken before commencing of any works.
The meeting was attended by Dilip Siram, General Manager, BSNL and Rajkumar Kulkarni, Divisional Engineer, BSNL. (PRO, CM)

Streams, Rivulets and Rivers from Deban to Chaukan Pass

Source: Profile of a Little Known Tribe by Asim Maitra (Mittal Publications, 1993), Page 19

A quick glance show, maximum numbers of rivers/rivulets are between Deban to Shidi. After that there are relatively lesser numbers. Just near Chaukan Pass there is a river called Mogulo. I wish to walk there some day.

I counted 18 rivers on the right side of Yimaphalo (Nao Dihing) and 18 on the left. And one directly originates from the Chaukan Pass. How amazing!

And there are locations in the map. See the INDEX for other information.

Sketch of Shidi village in 1980s

Source: Profile of a Little Known Tribe by Asim Maitra (Mittal Publications, 1993), Page 18

The basic structure of Shidi village is still the same. What have changed over the last three decades is the size, increase of households. At the time of documenting this

· The last house in khagu/Tsomelo (South-East) was Phuyeja’s house. Now there are seven houses added. Plus several families moved to other locations.

· In khado Late Michephu’s house was the last plot as it is today. No changes.

· In sijodi, Late Holotsi’s land was the last habited house. Now alot have added, perhaps about 30 houses. In those days beyond “Student’s Football ground” no one lived. In fact in all the sijodi only 31 families were there. Asim mentioned that in those days, sijodi was called Hinduline because many people who drank alcohol lived.

· In APP camp/Sika:ja, no one lived. Only Police Station was there. Asim recorded there were police personnel those days. Now those places are completely filled and even moved over the river (koba).

The Shidi population in

· 1971 Census was 929

· 1981 Census was 971

· Asim Maitra head counted and found 1016 persons

He counted Lisu in all locations as 1293 (Shidi 1016, Hazolo 114, Dawodi 86, Pritnagar 25, Ledo 52). Now we have increased to about 4000 people.