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.

Lisu language mispelt as LIJU in Census of India list of Languages

Some years ago I did an analysis of the Lisu language spoken in India based on the 2001 Census of India Data. I did not get the result.

Then I searched what language is spoken in Vijoynagar Circle and in our villages. To my surprise it was Nocte! What on earth that happen? I reasoned: Perhaps our language must have been merged for administrative reason. Because for some reason, the Government of India does not show languages with speakers below 10,000 people (some kind of magic number).

This confusion became clearer in June 2016 when a team of data collectors under the Mother Tongue Survey of India (MTSI) came to record the Lisu language. In that document from the Office of the Director of Census Operations (Arunachal Pradesh), Shillong (Order No ARZ. 11094/4/2015-Language, Dated 29th April 2016), the language spoken in Sidikuh village under Vijoynagar Circle, Changlang District AP is LIJU. Just one spelling mistake.

And in another list he had there was a language called LIJU NOCTE. That made my confusion clear. With our language mispelt as LIJU instead of LISU, ours got merged under Nocte language, which is a gross error.

To correct the Data gatherer asked to write a letter of correction. We did that and sent the letter. Hope that correction will appear in the next Census.

False Projection of Dawodi (Vijoynagar) as Dangerous and Security Threat Area

In recent time I am learning more that the Ex-Servicemen Settlers of Vijoynagar and perhaps the military and administration seem to enjoy claiming that Dawodi area is sensitive land. There are Chinese threats, smugglers and anti-national elements there. So the Settlers project themselves as the protector, guardian for the safety and security of the land. Here is an extract (full article can be accessed by the link),

…The majority of Jawans of the expedition [Srijitga Expedition 1961] belonged to Gorkha Community, then and therefore Government of India ordered them not to come back rather and to settle over there on service to check antinational elements and illegal immigration.… (Extracted from “Historical facts should not be ignored” by G.S. Gahire Published in Readers’ Forum, AP Times, 7 March 2013)

What an erroneous claim! Here are some of the reasons:

1. Dawodi is NOT surrounded by China; it is in three sides covered by Myanmar. This is easily verifiable on map.

2. There were military post and a police outpost in Gandhigram village until 1990s. But later they were removed most probably because they don’t see a point to be posted in a peaceful village as ours.

3. Till date, I don’t recall any incident of exchange of firings between security forces and anti-national people.

4. Lisu people have never killed a Settler, government officers or travelers in our locality. Rather we have treated anyone passing by our area with respect and kindness.

Between 1981 to 1986, the Anthropological Survey of India deputed their Anthropologist, Mr Asim Maitra, to do ethnographic research on Lisu. He stayed in Shidi village for 9 months. His finding is recorded in A Profile of Little Known Tribe (Mittal Publications, 1993). When he first came to the area he had this experience:

… the local administration looked at me with an eye of suspicion. They told me that “The Lisu are ferocious people, no one dare to move in the Lisu village in the evening. It is advisable not to go and stay there”. My stay in the Lisu village proved that statement wrong. The Lisu have a poisonous sorrow, they use it for killing wild animals and not for killing human beings… (page 4).

People love making up stories. But truth cannot be hidden forever as the anthropologist discovered by himself.

Lisu, Yobin in India

This information on Lisu of India is from Christian strategic points. We may not be thinking ourselves from these angles. I post this with the hope that we will introspect ourselves to grow as followers of Jesus as a tribe.

Source: Joshua Project (accessed: 9 June 2016)

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Lisu, Yobin in India

Prayer Cards

Population

2,800

Christian

99.88%

Evangelical

Unknown

Largest Religion

Christianity(99.88%)

Main Language

Lisu

Progress

Introduction / History

The Lisu people in India are called Yobin.

The Yobin live in Vijoynagar circle (in Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh state, India). In this circle (administrative unit below a district), there are 10 villages where Lisu people live: Dawodi, Hazolo, Pritnagar, Maludi, Gandhigram, Shidikhu, Sichoto, Mibodi, Ngwazakha, and Aguchi. Gandhigram is the largest village; other villages have fewer houses. Now about 100 persons are also residing in a nearby town called Miao, basically for education and businesses.

Access to these villages is limited. The villages are about 100-150 km from the nearest motorable roads, Miao town. People have to walk on foot this distance to purchase necessary items from towns. It takes 4 days of walk on foot! The other alternative route is through cargo flight. It just take an hour to fly into the village. The problem is, you never know when you get flight. You might get it in a week or a month. It depends, due to frequency of flights or weather etc.

Estimates of the Yobin population is about 1000 to 3000 people.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of the people live in villages, very few are employed in government offices. The place Yobin live is virtually all rural. People basically live on agricultural products. Rice, potato, maize are staple foods. Cabbage, cauliflower, beans are also cultivated. Each family has paddy field, gardens to plan vegetables or even jhum cultivation for additional food.

Yobin rear cows, buffalos, chicken, pigs for food. Buffalos are much more for farming the paddy fields. Pigs are main meat for festivals and marriages.

The Yobin observe several festivals, mostly Christian Good Friday, harvest, Christmas, New Years. Yobin celebrate Good Friday atleast 1 or 2 days. Harvest is for 2 days in October. Christmas celebrated for 3 days. On Christmas, Lisu Christians from all the villages come together in one village. Marriages are usually done in November and December. That is when harvest is completed, people are free from work, and the weather is dry which makes marriage preparations easier.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Now almost all Yobin claim to be Christians. Some may never come to church, but they do not belong to another religion either.

Arunachal Frontier Highway (AFH)

I heard about this highway two years ago (October 2014) in a news release by MoS Shri Kiren Rijiju. At that time the information available was the road has been approved by the Union Cabinet. And this road will be constructed along the McMahon Line, starting from Tawang and ends in Vijoynagar, covering about 2000 km.

Map courtesy: TribuneIndia

Since then I have not searched much till today. A note that I read yesterday triggered the interest. For the first time I learned the road is called “Frontier Highway” and further I came to know it is specifically called “Arunachal Frontier Highway”. So today in spite of slow internet connection, I decided to explore more about this Highway. The following are new information to me.

· Status: The Defence Ministry has cleared this road with proposed changes. Existing road will be used in Tawang. The actual starting will be Nafra, Lada and Sarli. Home Ministry has cleared too. Now file is with the Cabinet Secretariat (AP Times, 22 May 2016). Meaning, the road is still at the conceptual stage, not implementation level. See map (slightly outdated) for details.

· AFH will intersect two very important roads: East-West Industrial Corridor Highway and BCIM Economic Corridor. Both these roads are still at planning stage.

· This project is monitored by the Ministry of Home Affairs with other ministries coming in to take part different functions. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to prepare a detailed project report and others like Defence Ministry and Ministry of North East Affairs. It seems Shri Kiren Rijiju is the main player in this project.

· The cost is Rs 40,000 crore, the single biggest infrastructure project in the history of India.

· With all the optimistic propaganda, there still some reservations over this highway proposal.

But for us once this road reaches our villages, we will no more be the same for good or worse. What would help is preparation to take advantage of this communication facility. Who can and who will facilitate that?

Further details in Wikipedia.