The land of the rising sun, the land of the dawn-lit mountains, the largest of the north eastern states, Arunachal Pradesh, recently celebrated 25 years of statehood. From being the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) for 18 years, administered through the Ministry of External Affairs, to being a Union Territory for 15 years, to finally transforming itself into a full fledged state, the people of Arunachal Pradesh have come a long way. Or have they?
Arunachal continues to remain the mysterious state of India. Administering the state with a diverse and scattered population, that too with a density of 15 persons per sq km, is definitely not easy. Masses of numerous tribes and sub-tribes are mostly isolated from each other due to the mountainous terrain. To administered the state after independence, NEFA was created in 1954. After the Chinese tried to make their imperialist conquests on the state in 1962, Arunachal was declared to be a Union Territory in 1972. The landmark improvement in governance came in 1975, when Arunachal acquired a legislature. And finally, on 20th February 1987, statehood was conferred on Arunachal Pradesh and it became the 25th State of India.
Of late, Arunachal Pradesh has come to face threats from certain insurgent groups, notably ULFA and NSCN, who are believed to have base camps in numerous districts of Arunachal. There are occasional reports of these groups harassing local people and extracting money. Moreover, India has so far failed to create infrastructure development and bring the International community to a consensus where Arunachal is given the status of a state of India and not a disputed land. Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, historically and culturally. Arunachalis are democratic in their blood and veins. Let’s not forget the Kebang system in their Adi society. Disputes apart, we hope the life of the people of the state improves and they live their lives in safety, with dignity.