Speech on 'Voices from Arunachal : India-China Border Problem and related Arunachal Folklore' on 25.03.2015 at Rajiv Gandhi University
I am glad to be with you this morning in the seminar organized by Research Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regional Studies (CENERS-K), Kolkata in collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi University and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata.
I take this occasion to extend my heartfelt appreciation to the organizers for choosing a very relevant topic for the seminar in the context of India and our State Arunachal Pradesh in particular. The topic of the seminar “Voices from Arunachal: India-China Border Problem and related Arunachal Folklore’ is very thought provoking and I am hopeful that some very interesting and new insights will be emerge out of this seminar.
Arunachal Pradesh stands tall along the eastern borders as the sentinel of our great nation. While Hindi is the lingua franca of the State, people living even in the remotest corner of the State exchange the salutation "Jai Hind" with each other-a testimony of our fierce patriotism for India.
Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and has a long history of constitutional and administrative growth beginning from pre-independence era to till now.
Though a late starter in the journey of development, we have come a long way witnessing many highs and lows from the NEFA days to the present stage. Starting our First Five Year Plan period with a meager plan allocation of only Rs 3 crores our plan expenditure last fiscal stood at Rs 4915 Crore.
The development policy of Government of India towards Arunachal Pradesh was with a sense of caution till recently. However, announcement of PM's economic package of about Rs. 33000 Cr in the year 2008 by the then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, changed the face of developmental trajectory of Arunachal Pradesh. Communications like roads, railways, air and tele-communication have been given priority and Infrastructure development is holistically taken up. We have devised programmes and policies to make Arunachal Pradesh a front runner in the days to come.
Because of physical and psychological distance, the indigenous folklores, customs and traditions have remained elusive to study and research. Some vital work has been documented by some researchers such as Heimendorf etc. I would attribute the communication bottleneck for the harsh geographical terrains as the major hurdles for which these important aspects of ours remained unstudied and undocumented.
As I said earlier, our state has taken a major leap in terms of communication. With roads and tele-communication reaching far flung interior villages, it has now become very easy for the researchers, scholars and enthusiasts to study and document the rich unexplored treasured folklores of distinct communities and tribes of Arunachal Pradesh which is in abundance.
In a bid to improve the research work and to preserve the ancient records, we have started digitization of old records. We are paying special attention towards maintaining Archives which I believe would benefit the researchers and scholars to a great extent.
Lastly, I once again extend my sincere gratitude to the Rajiv Gandhi University, Research Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regional Studies (CENERS-K), Kolkata and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute for Asian Studies, Kolkata. I wish you all a very fruitful deliberation.
Thank you! Jai Hind Jai Arunachal