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Chakma Students’ Voice Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013

A Newsletter of Chakma Students of Arunachal Pradesh

Contributory price: Rs. 99


CONTENTS

Published jointly by APCSU, New Delhi & ACN, Diyun Email: aapcsu@gmail.com arunachalchakmanews@yahoo.com Website: www.apcsu.wordpress.com http://ar.chakmanews.net/

Published in April 2013 © APCSU & ACN, 2013 No part of this publication can be reproduced without the prior permission of APCSU & ACN

From the Editors’ Desk

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3

Messages from APCSU & ACN

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4-6

Presentation of APCSU

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7

Arunachal Chakmas need strong and bold leadership

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12

Need a strong cultural organization to protect our culture

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14

Live Happily

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16

Chakma society of my dream

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18

Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh: As much Indians as other Indians

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19

Brief information about the Chakmas

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22

Chakmas: An introduction

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26

The celebrity Buddhists

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30

The qualities of perfect leaders

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32

The twinkling stars

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34

The struggle for identity continues in Arunachal Pradesh

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36

Women in our society

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39

Misfortune to Hope: Journey so far

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40

Lack of income source driving Chakmas to despair

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41

The Giant Elephant Vs the Tiny Layer Toad

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42

Poems

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43-49

Digboi Chakma Students’ Union

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50

Landmark Supreme Court judgment

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52

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Chakma Students’ Voice, Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013


From the Editors’ Desk We are very excited to publish the first issue of Chakma Students’ Voice, the newsletter of the Chakma Students of Arunachal Pradesh. It is like an awakening of Arunachal Chakma students and is particularly encouraging to see the students from all over the county expressing their thoughts and concern through this magazine. This newsletter is a joint venture of Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union (APCSU) and Arunachal Chakma News (ACN), a group of social minded students studying in various cities in India. This issue has highlighted some of the most serious problems faced by Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh today while cherishing the thoughts of a better tomorrow. We have tried to highlight the sufferings, aspirations and hopes of our people, and at the same time to educate ourselves with the Chakma history. Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union came into existence on 2nd November 1991 to represent the aspirations of thousands of Chakma students of Arunachal Pradesh. APCSU since its formation has been motivating young minds and leading the torch of student activism which saw many young leaders emerge from grass root. We the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh have suffered worst human rights abuses and have been fighting the odds bravely for a long time now. Though we are nearing a negotiated political solution, it is high time we people wake up and try to seek an answer to our problems by ourselves. We must aspire to improve our situations by helping each other. We may have suffered and became victims of discrimination all through our lives but it cannot hold us back, keep us down for ever. We will rise from the ashes like the phoenix by our indomitable spirit and resilience. Let us all be united for the sole purpose of community reconstruction and effectively campaign for our social upliftment, and at the same time let us raise our voice against injustice, discrimination and deprivation. We would like to appeal particularly to the Chakma Student Community to stand as one and make our unheard voice heard. Let us pledge to make an effort to eradicate the existing social impurities. As citizens of Arunachal Pradesh, we have a responsibility to contribute to its development as much as we have a right to expect certain services from the Government. We also strive to be a prosperous community where all communities irrespective of their caste, creed, religions, ethnic origin etc would live in peace and harmony. We are equally delighted to launch this magazine on the eve of Bizu, our most celebrated festival. Bizu unites us all and in the same manner it is our wish and hope that this magazine will be a small step towards uniting our community. We are about to wake at the dawn of a new year (nou bozor), let the nou bozor begin with enlightened thoughts, spirit of fighting injustice and strive for social upliftment of our community. “Now bozorot bekkunore patturu turu” Editors

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Chakma Students’ Voice, Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013


Message from President, APCSU

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Chakma and Hajong Communities, I am happy to note that we are no longer an individual but now we have thousands of people with us and behind us; enough to give confidence and momentum to march ahead for the common cause of the society. Let us pledge together to join each other to make our society a well literate and well aware society and really happy to see our brother and sister discussing regarding our issues like fundamental right, education systems, culture, livelihood etc which is very much encouraging sign for one and all. What brings us together; I think we all are concerned about our situation what we are undergoing. Let us take the pledge not only demanding citizenship but also contributing our self towards peace and development of the society. Sometimes many of us think some certain things need to be changed in our society. Let us begin the same by changing ourselves right from you and me by cultivating progressive thoughts and by supporting leadership that has a potential to change our uncertain condition into certain. Many a times we thought that had we acted in some favorable ways or taken proper decisions together without even a slight difference among us, we would have been in a better situation today. But history can’t be changed; what can be changed is our future by acting constructively in the present. To get all these done, we need each one of you to step forward and contribute in any ways that you can and conduct your responsibilities, that not only benefit you but benefit the society as a whole. Bab Bhei log Ma Bhon log ajo Uji somarey!

Ranjan Kumar Chakma President, APCSU

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Message from General Secretary, APCSU I am extremely glad and proud that finally we have undertaken to publish a magazine in the interest of the whole Chakma community in collaboration with ACN. I firmly believe in the time to come, this initiative will create a platform to share, debate, invest and motivate our people for a common vision. We are currently facing the worst identity crisis. 50 years have passed and the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh are yet to settle down and obtain the least amount of opportunities and respect to live a life of dignity. The highest court in India has upheld our right to citizenship and its attendant benefits. However, we have remain stateless, disenfranchised and the target of attacks. Government inaction has left us to extremely disgraceful socio- economic conditions. Lack of opportunities and education has impeded us to improve our living condition. We are one of the most exploited and depressed community in the world. Every year a large number of us had to flocked in various part of Tamil Nadu, Guajrat, Kerela, Noida etc and work in extreme hazardous conditions in factories, chemical workshops, restaurants just to fetch the minimum amount to be able to sustain a family. Back home our parents have no choice but to work as traditional farmers and vegetable vendors. One year back I went to Arunachal. For three months I took free tuitions to around 200 students from three or four schools in Diyun circle ranging from class 1 to class 9. I saw that all of them are so eager to learn and everyday with their books in hands they wait for me in the schools with their bright faces. But none of them can comprehend even the most basic sentences in English. None of them can read, none of them can write anything at all, none of them can converse in English and none of them can explain me a simple arithmetic sum. I was very frustrated, angry and sad that our coming generation are being exploited and cheated in the name of education. If at all, any teacher had taught them for five years in Primary schools or middle schools, they would have known at least something. Just imagine the thousands of our children coming out of those schools having learned nothing! None of them will ever pass the board exam and almost all of them will end up in factories in other states and the girls will be married off just to produce babies. Does not THIS make you angry? Doesn’t this make you motivate? APCSU have made a resolution that we will start a movement to fight back with all the instruments of democracy and we will not rest until our identity is recognised. And we call upon all the students and all the youths of our community to join APCSU to move the movement. If we want to change these situations, we need you to wake up, and be the change. We need each and every Chakma of Arunachal and India for that matter to be a significant part of the solution. We need you to lead our community out of this crisis. I know you probably have a million thoughts going on right now. I know you probably have a million plans already made for your future. But, I also do know that We need YOU. We need leaders like YOU to change the state of Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh. I once again congratulate all the change minded people who have initiate to bring the first edition of this book. I thank all the secretaries and members of the APCSU to show such a zest and energy to come together and to work for the development of the whole community. I thank everyone involved in running the group Arunachal Chakma News for proactively taking the ownership of making all of us aware of what is happening in the world of Chakmas. It is high time that we rise to the occasion and march on against all odds. Prahlad Chakma General Secretary, APCSU 5

Chakma Students’ Voice, Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013


Message from Arunachal Chakma News Dear Readers, Arunachal Chakma News (ACN) is created by group of young Chakma students from Arunachal Pradesh studying in various places across India. Our aim is to spread true facts related to Chakma and Hajong communities who belong to the most economically and socially backward sections of the society in Arunachal Pradesh. Most of them are illiterate and mere paddy cultivators. They don’t know what goes outside the four walls. We want to live in peace and harmony among ourselves and with our neighboring communities. We sincerely appeal to them to help us recover from our past mutual wounds that harmed each other in some or the other ways. Together, we have to pledge that instead of angry blows and nasty conflicts, let’s find a better solution to such incidents through understanding and peaceful negotiations. We have to believe that we are one with souls and blood running through us and teach our genera tions to remain so as long as human civilization lasts. We, the ACN team, are very hopeful that the state Government of Arunachal Pradesh will very soon consider the Chakmas and Hajongs as citizens of India and we also hope that there will be a peaceful solution to Chakmas-Hajongs problem. Finally, we, the ACN team, are all young students and not trained journalists, just school and college going students. But we hope to work for our society. We are trying our level best to contribute, in our own little way, towards our society to make our presence felt in platforms like Facebook and other social media. We are only trying to express our views to the world and to let our unheard voice heard. So, if there are any mistake on our articles or posts, do let us know. We can be reached at arunachalchakmanews@yahoo.com. We will happy to receive your suggestion. Thanks, The ACN Team

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Presentation of APCSU With a series of meetings, talks and debates between the last year office bearers, advisors and students members and Chakma communities in NCR region, we have formally remodeled and renovated the long founded apex body which represents and stands for the voice of all the students and youth of Arunachal Chakma community present in all the parts of the country. Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union or popularly known as APCSU is the stronghold of the aspirations, hope and belief of the students and youths community of Arunachal. This year APCSU will be led by two youth leaders, Ranjan Chakma and Prahlad Chakma along with a committed and strong team of diverse capabilities and competences. APCSU has never before witnessed such a powerful patriotic spirit and enthusiasm among the executive members and team members of its association as it has sensed now. Powered by the patriotic spirit and fuelled by the energy and one mission we have drawn a very powerful challenging yet feasible agenda for the whole session in our general meeting held on February 10, 2013 at Ashok Buddha Vihar, Rajghat, New Delhi. The general meeting was attended by more than 100 members, core members of CCRCHAP, APCSU office bearers, ex- presidents, ex members. Games and competition were also organised during the meet. The agenda for the session 2013-2014 are as follows: •

Starting a national non violence movement comprising every single Chakma in Arunachal to fight for our identity and citizenship which also involves investing and mobilising our own people and people from our networks.

Striving to integrate every single student and youth belong to Chakma community of Arunachal Pradesh. It also includes integration of all the informal Chakma students groups and associations around the country.

Strive to build the brand identity of APCSU among the Chakma population in whole Arunachal and sought their sup- Members of APCSUduring General Meeting held on 10 February port and assistance through three ways; 2013 at Ashok Buddha Vihar, Rajghat, New Delhi participations, advices, and fund donation.

Empower the students and youths through leadership camps, retreat, character development programs, training on life skills etc. Integrate and build a sustainable relationship with other student bodies in Delhi as well as in the Northeast.

Structure of APCSU APCSU is headed by a President and a Chief Secretary General headquartered in New Delhi. There will be regional units in Diyun, Lohit, Subansuri, Digboi, Dibrugarh, Bangalore and Kolkata headed by secretary general in each unit and will be termed as APCSU Diyun, APCSU Lohit, APCSU Subansuri, APCSU Digboi, APCSU Dibrugarh, APCSU Bangalore and APCSU Kolkata respectively. The main Unit – APCSU Delhi,

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have five departments headed by two or three secretaries with five or more executive members and an organising secretary to coordinate between the departments. Communication Finance Development Welfare Event All the Regional units will be headed by one General Secretary and organising secretary with the same five departments having the same portfolios: President:

APCSU Logo

He is the official spokesperson for the entire Union in concerned to any legal matter. He would serve as primary contact person for the council and chair. He would also act as liaison between the Union and head as well as leaders of Chakma communities, concerned government officials, other students associations as well as Chakma citizenship right committee and families of Delhi and in Arunachal Pradesh. He is responsible for presenting a detailed report of all the activities undertaken on behalf of the union at regular meetings of the council. In all the regional units, the secretary general will hold the same responsibilities and powers as the President hold in APCSU Delhi Unit. General Secretary: He will be the chief executive officer of the Union and shall see that all orders and resolutions of council are carried into effect. He would provide direction and leadership for the advancement and promotion of the aim and objectives of the union. He further represents the union as a whole. He would be responsible to determine and supervise the secretaries of development and operation, event, communication and Public relation, finance and student welfare. He would be a liaison between the secretary general of regional APCSU units and the APCSU Delhi Unit. He would also be a primary contact person for all members nationally. He would also prepare overall agenda in all the meeting and present the annual report. He is also responsible for taking all type of correspondence on behalf of union. Organising Secretary: He will coordinate and supervise all the department of the organisation in support of the Chief Secretary General. He will fill the gap in terms of man power and ideas in the time as he deems necessary in all the departments. With the support of the communication team he is responsible for the integration of all the students and youths of Arunachal. Communication and Public Relation: For this session this department has the most important role to play as national movement and integration cannot be realized unless we have huge social media presence and do not work on our brand identity and awareness program. This Team is responsible to keep national integration of entire Chakma students’ society and carry out different communication activities both internal and external. Further, they would be responsible for keeping every detail of documentation. Besides, they would also maintain the social media presence of the Union such as maintaining the facebook and website of the union. They would also carry out brand identity, brand strategy as well as the core messages of the Union. Lastly, they would create momentum and awareness among members of the body and other people in general. They further shall test the impact of communication activities carried out. They would keep records and details of all the members.

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Students’ Welfare Welfare department works closely with the development team. They would avail assistance during certain emergency problems such as accident, quarrel etc. They would lead new students coming from different places in seeking admissions and counselling of their careers in consultation with other members having expertise. Further, they would also responsible for keeping the relationship healthy and promising among the members and with the union in general. Event: This department is solely responsible for planning and organising conference and events under the supervision of General Secretary. They would also be responsible for hosting of cultural programs. They would carry out activities relating to promotion of culture and tradition. Further, they would carry out the organising task such as Protest and March. They also responsibly organise retreat camp and mobilise people and resources as well. Finance: Finance team is responsible for maintaining the bank account transparently. They would also prepare budgets and keep all the records of transaction and expenditure. They would allocate fund for different developmental functions. They further, shall purchase resource and materials. Additionally, they would provide briefing as audit for year’s expenses. Development: The main functions of this department include creating of database of all the members and identifying as well as enrolling of new members. Besides, they would be responsible for generating fund and fund collection. They would further assist in smooth functioning and operation of the Union. The Executive Body: President: Ranjan Kumar Chakma +919711526082 General Secretary: Prahlad Chakma - 9560596408 Organising Secretary: Arunjit Chakma - 9654152243 Secretary Communication: Vivekananda Chakma – +919899324933 Secretaries Development: Sujit Bikash Chakma +918826024841 Nipen Chakma - 9711675313 Members participating in a fun-game named “Pila Pala Ranjan Kanti Chakma - 7503573696 Pong” during the General Meeting on 10 February 2013 Prem Kumar Chakma - 9953174424 Secretaries Finance: Rakesh Chakma-8802611971 Shyamal Mitra Chakma-8860222163 Secretaries Welfare: Suman Chakma - 7827592767 Bimal Jyoti - 9873029367 Secretaries Event: Drisyamuni Chakma-8595370181 Rathul Chakma-9650406654 Roshika Chakma-9891326046

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Advisory Board Members: Tejang Chakma Uttam Chakma Anton Chakma Punya Mitra Chakma Sangha Mitra Chakma Subash Chakma Executive Members: Communication: Sandidas Chakma, Natun Kumar Chakma, Sunil Kumar Chakma Finance: Gyanamoni Chakma, Khemon Chakma, Sushanti Ex-students who carried forward the legacy Chakma, Sunil Bindu Chakma Development: Lakhimoy Chakma, Prakash Chakma, Amardeep Chakma, Rahul Chakma,Sobi Kumar Chakma,Mangal Shanti Chakma, Roshika Chakma, Reema Chakma, Arunjoy Chakma Event: Reema Chakma, Priyanka Chakma, Manoj Kumar Chakma, Shishimoy Chakma. Bibison Chakma, Kisan Chakma Welfare: Rakesh Kumar Chakma, Mangal Kumar Chakma, Bidya Ratan Chakma, Punya Lal Chakma

Tentative dates for events Months

Date

Program/event

Venue

Integration program in Arunachal Pradesh

Arunachal

April

17th 30th

Setting up of regional units, Diyun, Lohit, Subansuri

Arunachal

April

13th 15th

Biju Celebration

Rajghat- New Delhi

May

15th20th

Leadership development program

New Delhi

May

20th 30th

Integration program of all APCSU units

Arunachal

Setting up of Digboi, Dibrugarh APCSU unit

Digboi/ Dibrugarh

Setting up of Bangalore APCSU unit

Bangalore

July

Integration program with Mizoram Chakma Students’ Union and Tripura Chakma Students’ Union

Delhi/Tripura

August

Conference with various students bodies of North-east India present in Delhi

Delhi

August

General Body Meeting

Delhi

September

National movement - first phase

All India

June

1st- 7th

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Chakma Students’ Voice, Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013


Recent activities: In February 2013, APCSU intervened with regard to barring of Chakma students from taking examinations in Chowkham, Lohit following the unfortunate rape incident. APCSU immediately sent an urgent appeal to the President of All Tai Khampti Singpho Students’ Union (ATSSU) with copies marked to the Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Extra-Assistant Commissioner, Khampti Chief, Gaon Burah, Chakma Basti and Principal of the School. In the appeal APCSU highlighted that it would be unfortunate if the whole community is held responsible for the misdeed and actions of few criminals that exist in all the communities. APCSU also held a detailed discussion with the Principal of Chowkham Higher Secondary School with regard to holding of special examination for who could not sit for examinations. The Principal assured that he will make every possible arrangement to save the academic year of the students. Later, APCSU also held telephonic discussion with the APCSU in support of Anna Hazare at Ramlila ATSSU leadership over various issues. Ground, New Delhi in August 2011

Contact details: Email: aapcsu@gmail.com Blog: https://apcsu.wordpress.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArunachalPradeshChakmaStudentsUnion

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Arunachal Chakmas need strong and bold leadership By Punya Tannya I am not an ardent writer and I have not written anything till date. And writing is not my cup of “Coffee” but the failed or it would be appropriate to say delayed Chakmas’ Dialogue compelled my inner soul to write this piece. The art of leadership plays a vital role in shaping the society. A good leadership brings prosperity and development. Whereas a bad leadership bring failures, tense and confused atmosphere in which the common men are the worst sufferers. In our case, it is the latter one which has engulfed us since long time back and it is engulfing us on and on. A good leader is the one who can judge and analyse the capabilities of his/her team members and accordingly, allocate it’s various activities among them keeping a close supervision on the less committed and skill ones. The willing and committed members should be given much empowerment i.e. they should be given independent charges. This will boost the smooth functioning of the team and the leader can focus immensely on the pertinent subjects at ease. Leadership comes from the individual commitment and tough thinking power along with the skill of decision-making. The leader must excels at motivating the common men and he/ she should be ready to deliver the masses the workable solution, take up initiatives and monitor the follow-up action, whenever the necessity arises.

ing with the people at the grass-root level and opinion of the general public should be sought. Accordingly, the leaders should put forth their steps in the interest of the public. We, the Chakmas don't have the intelligence to move forward and develop ourselves as we always wanted to; and still wanting to. We have no courage to confront the adverse situation tailored against the Chakmas. This is not an insult or outcry but is a fact. You are aware that if you ask any Chakma, “Ho-mo-leh citizenship peh bong? You will get a straight answer with a dismal, often angered filled tone, “Changma goon gom noy”. “Changma goon ek-kui-noy”. What do the above responses signify? The answer is simple. We have no good leader who can deliver the appropriate action as and when situation demands. We should have common values and aspirations to fight for the our rights. Our past leaders might have been betrayed and the present leaders are confused due to the lack of strategy/agenda, clear present/futuristic plans. We should remind the leaders 'DO IT OR IF YOU CAN’T DO IT, PLEASE LEAVE ….’. Often, I wonder, it can be that our leaders though having good intentions or character beforehand, they may be ending up getting monetary assistance. That’s why our present condition is pathetic one. Don’t take it seriously. This is just an assumption. Also the group politics is killing us. Information, communication need to be coordinated among the leaders as well among the general public. General public should not be kept in dark. Let’s keep aside all our individualistic ideologists now; and work in a unified manner, hand-in-hand towards our main goal which is obviously the acknowledgement of our identity as true citizens of India.

For me, any leader who fails to deliver the appropriate action as and when situation arises is a failure one. It does not matter the number of experiences one holds. I rate leader based on their ability to provide the public quick amicable and reliable solution. What sense does it make to collect and spend the public money Very often, you can find someone comes out now when they are left with no concrete and reliable and again to chase juicy gossip, talk big, big legal answer? Our leaders should keep on interact- words, stand to attention but when the necessity

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arises, they could not be contacted for comments. What I am trying to say is that in the absence of good leadership there should be checks and balances to call such soft, confused leadership to attention but unfortunately that area is equally grey and inactive and so the saga continues. Most of us just complain about leadership of the Chakmas, but think over it before pointing the fingers: it is not easy to lead the sleepy people. We must wake up and do something that goes towards prosperity. We can’t altogether rely on the present leaders. The world is changing too fast. If we don't take up our issue seriously, then we will never be able to make a better tomorrow for our coming generations. A strong and bold leadership among the Chakma society in Arunachal Pradesh is the need of the hour. (The views expressed are solely of the writer)

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Need a strong cultural organization to protect our culture “Ojhaapaat.” By Tejang Chakma As I was told that the newsletter will be published during Bizu, the main festival of the Chakmas, I decided to write on our culture which is at risk of fading out due to our pathetic conditions in Arunachal Pradesh. During my recent visit to Diyun I was delighted to see a Chakma cultural team participating in the Republic Day celebration on 26 January. It is a healthy sign, but the overall situation is not that encouraging. The lack of recognition and denial of basic rights is the primary reason for this, but we are also equally responsible for showing neglect. This has resulted in gradual disinterest shown by the youth over learning and preservation of our cultural values. This is a matter of great concern. Cultural identity is an important contributor to people’s wellbeing. It gives a sense of security and belongingness. Marcus Garvey has rightly said “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” Chakmas have been blessed with distinct and beautiful culture and traditions. We have our own traditional dresses and dances. The dances are beautifully orchestrated with the rhythm played with traditional musical instruments known as “Henggarang, Baji, Singya, Duduk, etc.” Chakmas are lovers of music. Our traditional music composed in three forms “Ghengkhuli” (which deals with our history and mythology) “Uba geet” (folk love songs) and “Tengaa Baangaa geet” (two liners romantic songs) makes one nostalgic of our past. Chakma folk literature is quite rich. We have many folklores, folk songs and fables. Proverbs and traditional sayings are a unique feature of the Chakma language. Unlike many tribes the Chakmas have their own script called

Unfortunately, much of our energy is focused on the citizenship issue. No doubt, citizenship is of primary importance for our identity, but at the same time there are many issues which cannot be ignored, one being our cultural identity. We are the custodians of our culture and traditions and at least we have the right to preserve and develop our culture and traditions. This is not impossible. The time is still with us. We need to make sure that our rich cultural ethos are preserved and passed on to the younger generation. For this, we have to first understand the importance of our culture and traditions. Collective initiative is the need of the hour. It is a social responsibility needs to be shouldered by all of us in particular the youth with the cooperation of our elders. We have to learn from our brethrens in Mizoram and Tripura. In Mizoram, there are many NGOs including the Mizoram Chakma Development Forum, and MAADI in Tripura who are trying to protect and preserve our cultural values. Last year, the Chakmas of Tripura have been successful in introducing the Chakma scripts in schools. People may say that their situation is different from ours, which is true, but it is the willingness to work and contribute to the society, which matters at the end. What is required is not government assistance but determination. We can contribute in our own little ways. First, we have to protect and preserve what we have been bestowed with such as the traditional dance, music and instruments, folklores, fables, script, etc. These are gradually disappearing. We have already lost the opportunity to get information about our past from those who first migrated to Arunachal Pradesh due to neglect. Most of them are no more. Currently, there are little over 5000 persons who are alive since migration from East Pakistan. They will be of great help to pass on the information for the younger generation. All we need is to approach them. Then comes promotion else preservation will have little meaning. 14

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A strong cultural organization will be meaningful in this regard. Sadly, we are a divided lot and of crab mentality. The existing cultural association formed few years ago has almost become redundant due to lack of support, both moral and financial. The association is remembered only in times of need. Consequently, it could not carry out its work. The lack of support was evident when the Chakmas were invited in the 10th Annual Conference organised by All Bodo Cultural Society, not a long time ago in January 2012. We somehow managed to send a team in the eleventh hour. There are also people who are against having different organizations. It’s no harm to have multiple organizations/associations if it is transparent and accountable and in the service of our society. CCRCHAP is important but its mandate is limited. It cannot take up all the issues. We have to give time and space to the cultural association. There are issues which can be better handled by dedicated and specific organizations/associations. Ad hoc arrangement will serve no purpose. A dedicated cultural organization with the support and cooperation of all will go a long way in preserving and promoting our rich cultural heritage. The Chakmas are the only community other than the Khamptis to possess their own script which makes us proud and distinct. Presently, there are only few especially the “Boidyos,” who can read and write the “Ojhaapaat.” Our brethrens in Mizoram and Tripura are making effort to promote the script. In Arunachal Pradesh we could not initiate any progress so far due to our dismal condition. However, we can make the beginning to teach the script to the younger generation and a dedicated cultural organization will be quite effective.

Another issue requiring urgent attention is over our religion. Religion and cultures are intertwined and have influenced each other. Almost every Chakma village has a Buddhist temple (kiyang). But we are divided in two groups. The gap between the two has widened so far that one group cannot see eye-to-eye with another group. Worst, our monks (Bhikkhus), who preside at religious festivals and ceremonies, are also divided. This has an adverse impact on our social and cultural lives. An established cultural identity provides access to social networks, which provide support and shared values and aspirations. Social networks can help to break down barriers and build a sense of trust between different communities. Cultural exchange with our neighbours will only help building bridges of friendship with them.

Devotees listening to Bhikkus at a religious ceremony at a village in Diyun

Culture is not just wearing the traditional dresses; it is a way of living, loving, treating, receiving, sharing and respect towards human values. (The writer works with a Delhi based human rights organization. He is also one of the Adviser of Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union. The view expressed in the article is solely of the writer. He can be reached at tezang@gmail.com)

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Live Happily By Ven. Nanda Priya

Life is precious, but only when you care for it. Nowadays life is tough and very hard but sometimes these things are there due to the lack of support. In our country people wants to make their future strong and want to live a better life. But due the complexity of system and lack of guidance leads to dark and unsatisfactory life where it is tough to be happy in life. To be happy in life is most important thing because it shows the respect for life. But when we did our best to be happy but don’t get the right result then it is hard to be happy and to enjoy life. Life is full with ups and downs. But sometimes our down phase leads us so down that it is impossible to overcome from it. And there are millions of people who never see the ups in their life. Life is hard but we cannot use this word to hide our society and country’s loopholes. In our country there are millions of people who deserve better life but never get it. Reasons are straight, society and governments. It is harsh to listen that most of the time it is true that we are unsatisfied with our life because of our own country. If someone is poor or some family is not economically sound then what is the basic reason for that. Luck or something else! Definitely not just luck, it is more than that. And that is the lack of support, help, motivation, guidance and opportunity. Because nobody wants to be poor, nobody wants that their children suffer like them and everyone wants to be happy. Everyone try their best. If some young person who wants to fulfill their dreams but due to complexity of society and country failed to achieved it then as result his or her life tends to be less happy .

Opportunity and chances are big words but when they are not there then it is impossible to do anything better. Not everyone wants to be a “crorepati” or “arabpati.” But everybody wants to be happy and it will only be possible when people get the opportunity to achieve what they actually want. But when we even don’t get the opportunity to prove ourselves then it affects our life negatively. At the end, money doesn’t matters; at the end life satisfy all. And it is satisfied only when we get the chance to do what we actually want to do. It is vice versa when you even don't get a chance to do it. If our own society and country limit us, bound us and restrict us to achieve something better in our life then it leads us to disappointment, frustration and dejection whether we are poor or not . It feel more harsh when the authority, government, judiciary, politicians, law and order, bureaucracy, democracy and constitution, who are there to help, support and guide us, turn their backs and leave us alone in the society where many unethical people are there to cash on our misfortune. Sometimes our bad luck is not because of our fate but because of our society and our own country. Understand the real meaning of life and importance of happiness and satisfaction. We have to held down the accountable reason, which always be there but we never dare to raise the question and never accept the fact that these are the reasons why our life is so complex and hard.

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It is the time when everybody has to think about it whether our life is happy and satisfactory or not. People of our country are not happy, and it is responsibility of rest of the people to make sure that everyone gets the chance to live their life happily. Let’s create more opportunity for people so that they can do better and bring down the reason for unhappiness. Let's say no to wrong things and raise the question on wrong people. Let's do ethical things rather than just talk. We are human and we are not just here to live our own life but also to help and support other life, so that everyone can live happily. We need to reduce the complexity of life and spread the feeling of happiness. We will make things happen but just need to help and support each other. (Ven: Nanda Priya can be reached at Maha Bodhi Society of India Buddhagaya Centre, Buddhagaya, Gaya, Bihar)

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Chakma Society of my Dream

By Priyanka Chakma

I want to share with you the kind of Chakma society I imagine and dream of. A society where people can dream and hopes can be fulfilled. I dream of my society which has safe atmosphere, where one can raise a family, where everyone has good opportunities to excel in life.

vided. I hate when I hear that my people are getting divided into groups under Buddho Dharma. The divide is getting wider and in future we might get into very big problems because of such divide in our religion. I think I am very lucky that I am able to study in a very good school and somehow write down my feelings also but I wish all our Chakma girls and boys were also lucky like me that they could study in good schools. I hope someday things will be good for our society and everyone will be happy. (The writer is a Class VIII student)

I wish there were good schools in my village or nearby so that I don’t have to stay in boarding far away from my parents. Even my friends could also study in those schools and we talk in English with each other. I dream of a Chakma society where there are good hospitals and every house has electricity and water supply. Everyone would have a decent home where one would feel very safe. Good roads and transport will also be nice to travel from here to there. I feel like crying when I hear about the Chakma people’s hard life, their struggle to survive and how they feed their families. I know we deserve better than what we are getting and I wish someday we will live peacefully with other communities and they also respect Chakma people. I wish all the Chakmas were equal and undi-

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Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh: As much Indians as other Indians By MCDF Research Group Due to brutal repression unleashed against them and after their lands went under the waters of Kaptai dam, about 35,000 Chakmas and Hajongs migrated from then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and settled in the then North Eastern Frontier Agency (NEFA), the present day Arunachal Pradesh between 1964 and 1969. Here two things must be borne in mind. First, Chakmas did not secretly sneaked into India but were brought under the arrangements made underthe direct supervision of then PrimeMinister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi. The government of India had granted them “migration certificates”. Second, since they had not been paid any compensation or rehabilitation by the Pakistani Government the Chakmas and Hajongs could bring very little from their homelands during the Great Exodus (which is still in the memories of the Chakmas as “Bor Porong”). As any Chakma elder belonging to that generation will tell us, the dogs wailed as they left but those could not be brought along. They did not know where the road will take them as they gave the last glimpse of their villages where they lived for generations. They traveled for days on bare foot. As it was inevitable in any exodus, many members within families and relatives were separated during and after the Bor Porong. At that time, NEFA was scarcely populated and majority of locals were Buddhists and of mongloid stock, and perhaps that is why the government ultimately decided to resettle them in that part of the country. Another point was that NEFA was administered by the Centre. In the meanwhile, in 1971 East Pakistan became a new nation called Bangladesh, and NEFA became a new state called Arunachal Pradesh in 1987. This changed the dynamics and the future of the Chakma and Hajongs. While their dream to go back to Bangladesh was never fulfilled as Bangladesh refuse to accept them as its citizens (they were citizens of East Pakistan!), they have turned “stateless” in India. Until 1980, the Chakmas and Hajongs enjoyed all the facilities including employment as accorded to the fellow local tribals. But as anti-foreigner movement swept the North East India, the Arunachal Pradesh Government withdrew these facilities from the Chakmas and Hajongs. Since 1991, the Chakmas and Hajongs have been fighting for citizenship rights under the aegis of Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCAP) led by Mr Subimal Bikash Chakma. Thus another democratic movement was born in South Asia. In the mid 1990s, there were efforts to forcibly evict the Chakmas and Hajongs. The CCRCAP approached the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) to seek protection and security. In October 1995, the NHRC approached the Supreme Court (SC). The SC in its judgement on 9 January 1996 in the case of NHRC vs. State of Arunachal Pradesh and Anr (Civil Writ Petition No. 720 of 1995) directed the Central Government and the State government of Arunachal Pradesh to, inter alia, process the citizenship applications of those Chakmas and Hajongs who had migrated in 1964, protect their lives and liberties and not to evict them without following due process of law. About 4,000 Chakmas had submitted their applications to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India in 1997 pursuant to the Supreme Court judgement but not a single application has so far been processed.

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Legally speaking, the Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh fall under two categories: one who migrated from East Pakistan and the second who were born in India. In its judgement on 28 September 2000 in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 886 of 2000, the Delhi High Court ordered the registration of all eligible Chakmas and Hajongs who are citizens of India by birth under Section 3(1)(a) of the Indian Citizenship Act 1955 which provides that every person born in before 1 July 1987 is a citizen of India. As this order was flouted by the authorities, a contempt petition (CWP 537 of 2001) was filed before the Delhi High Court. Pursuant to the order of the Delhi High Court, the Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered special revision of electoral rolls in four Chakma and Hajong inhabited Assembly Constituencies of Doimukh, Chowkam, Bordumsa Diyun and Miao. A total of 11,360 claims were submitted but only 1,497 claims i.e. 13.19% were accepted and enrolled into the voter list. Yet, these 1,497 claimants were later arbitrarily deleted through a notification on 26 June 2003 pursuant to the decision of the cabinet of state government of Arunachal Pradesh of 14 May 2003 that their inclusion violates the Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873 or Inner Line Regulation. On 2 January 2004, the angry ECI suspended all electoral activities in these four Assembly Constituencies for non-inclusion of the Chakmas and Hajongs who are citizens by birth. The ECI held that “the preparation and revision of electoral rolls was a constitutional duty conferred on the Commission by Article 324 (1) of the Constitution and the preparation and revision of electoral rolls were governed by the provisions of the Constitution and the Acts and the rules relating thereto and that the State cabinet resolution dated14- 05-2003 in so far as it related to the preparation and revision of electoral rolls was not in consonance with the provisionsof the constitution and acts and rules governing the matter”. The ECI in its order (No.23/ARUN/2003) of 3 March 2004 held that “the names of the aforesaid eligible Chakmas in the State of Arunachal Pradesh have not been included in the electoral rolls mainly for the reason that they belong to the Chakma tribe/race, which is violative of the Constitutional mandate of Article 325” and ordered the inclusion of 1,497 voters. For the first time, 1,497 Chakmas and Hajongs who are citizens of India by birth exercised the right to franchise in the parliamentary elections in May 2004 and the State Assembly elections in October 2004. However, more than 20,000 Chakma and Hajong who are citizens by birth and over 10,000 who had migrated from East Pakistan have been denied the right to citizenship. On 9 August 2006, the Gauhati High Court (Itanagar Permanent Bench) dismissed the three writ petitions [WP(C) No. 154 (AP) 2006], [WP(C) 155 (AP) 2006] and [WP(C) 156 (AP) 2006] challenging the order of the Election Commission of India of 2 January 2004 directing the concerned Electoral Registration Officers to include names of 1,497 Chakma and Hajong voters in the electoral rolls. The socio-economic conditions of the Chakmas and Hajongs have been utterly pathetic. They have not access to state-sponsored education, basic healthcare services, drinking water facilities, and development. But the root cause of all these problems is the denial of India citizenship. LK Advani who was born in Karachi (now in Pakistan) became India’s Home Minister and present Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh too was born in Pakistan. Other migrants/refugees from Pakistan have also been granted Indian citizenship. So, a solution in case of the Chakmas/Hajongs must be found. And, of course, efforts are being made. In February 2008, the High Power Committee on Chakmas and Hajongs headed by Speaker of the Arunachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Setong Sena submitted its report to the Government of Arunachal Pradesh. On 10 August 2010, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) constituted a Four Party Committee consisting of the MHA, the state government of Arunachal Pradesh, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) and the Committee for the Citizenship Rights of the 20

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Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCHAP) to find a solution to the decades old problem. So, is a solution in sight? The Joint High Power Committee (JHPC) gave the much needed ray of hope to the Chakmas and Hajongs. The JHPC held two meetings at Itanagar. The latest meeting was held on 26 October 2012. It was decided that a Core Committee under Chairmanship of Secretary (Political), Smt. Indra Mallo Jain with three members each from CCRCHAP and AAPSU to be constituted for a joint survey verification of the Chakma & Hajong families settled in the state between 1964-69 with the census report to be ready by 20 February and to be submitted to MHA by 28 February 2013. However, the Core Committee could not complete the census as per schedule as it got delayed to a number of reasons including the AAPSU elections and land dispute at M-Pen. On 12 March 2013, the new leadership of AAPSU set pre-conditions in order to carry the talks forward during the 2nd Meeting of the Core Committee. One of the pre-conditions include apology by CCRCHAP for the unfortunate rape incident of Lohit district. The pre-conditions have created confusions and concerns on the minds of the Chakmas. The CCRCHAP has extended an apology for the rape incident and further committed to cooperate with the administration to make the state crime free irrespective of caste, creed or ethnicity of the criminals. However, the AAPSU as per media reports is not satisfied with the CCRCHAP apology. The next meeting of the Core Committee is expected to be held on 26 April 2013. Hopefully, the Core Committee will be able carry out its function without any further delay and a solution will be arrived at. Editors’ Note: This article, except the last four paragraphs, is written by MCDF Research Group for “The Chakma Voice”, a bi-monthly newsletter of Mizoram Chakma Development Forum. The article is reproduced with the permission of MCDF. The last four paragraphs are added to update with the latest developments for the benefit of the readers. To know more about the Chakma Voice and Mizoram Chakma Development Forum (MCDF) kindly visit its website: http:// mcdf.wordpress.com/.Readers can read the Chakma Voice newsletters in the above mentioned website. Below are some of the published Chakma Voice newsletters:

Photos source: MCDF, http://mcdf.wordpress.com/.

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Brief Information about the Chakmas Meaning of “Chakma” It is believed that the name Chakma had been derived from the Sanskrit word called Sakthiman which literally means beholder of power. In fact, it was a Burmese king who gave this name to Chakmas during Bagan era. During those periods, numerous chakmas were hired as advisers, ministers and translators of Buddhist Pali texts. As employees of the king, the Chakmas wielded power in Burmese court disproportionate to their number. The Burmese people still refer Chakmas as Sak or Thit which are shortened and corrupted forms of Sakthiman. At one stage, the accepted name of the tribe was Sakma. Later it was further corrupted to Chakma. History of Chakma people The Chakmas are also popularly known as the Changhma which is a community that are widely scattered in different parts of the world. They are mostly found dwelling in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh and the North-East India as well. The Chakmas that are available in the in the Chittagong Hill Tracts usually form to be largest ethnic groups with more than half the tribal population. However, in Myanmar the people of Chakmas are popularly known as Daingnet people. Basically, there are 46 clans or Gozas having their own identity in terms of their cultures, customs, religious tradition and languages. From the beginning they have following the Theravada Buddhism. History has it that people of Chakma are Tibeto-Burman having closer relation with tribes inhabiting in the foothills of the Great Himalayas. It is believed that Chakmas are originally from Arakan and moved further to Bangladesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura

and Mizoram. Besides, some are also found scattered in Assam. There is a strong reference given to Arakanese to Chakmas as the name of Saks or Theks. During the year of 1546, when Arakanese king, Meng Beng was busy in the battle with the Burmese, the Sak King came out from north and attacked the Arakan which also resulted in seize of Ramu of Cox's Bazaar which was territory of Arakan kingdom. In a published map of Bengal by famous Portuguese called Diego de Astor, he vividly mentioned in his book called Quarta decada da Asia (Fourth decade of Asia) in 1615. The map revealed a place which was known as "Chacomas" which was situated at eastern bank of river Karnaphulli. Based on his map it was the place where Chakmas used to live at that time. In 1666, Shaista Khan, who was then Mughal Governor of Bengal, defeated the Arakanese, conquered Chittagong, and renamed it Islamabad. However, in the early days the Mughal supremacy was confined only to the plain areas of Chittagong, and the Chakmas remained practically unaffected. After a few years, when a dispute developed between the Mughals and the Chakmas, the Mughals demanded tribute from the Chakmas for trading with Chittagong. In 1713, peace was established, and soon a stable relationship developed between the Chakmas and the Mughals; the latter never demanded complete subjugation from the former. The Mughals also rewarded the Chakma king Sukdev, who established a new capital in his own name, in an area is still known as Sukbilash. There are still ruins of the royal palace and other establishments. Subsequently the capital was shifted to Rajanagar. Religion The vast majority of the Chakma are followers of Theravada Buddhism, a religion they have been practising for centuries. In the past Lories (a sect of Buddhist priests ) used to perform all religious rites in the Chakma society. They used to follow a religious 22

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book called Agartara. The language of these is nothing but the corrupt form of Pali text of the Holy Tripitaka. The Lories are still found in remote rural areas, but their numbers began to decline due to rise of monastic form of Buddhist order in the society. At present it is the Buddhist monks who play vital role in religious matters in Chakma social life.

non and the Haadi are colourfully hand weaved with various designs. The design is first embroidered on a piece of cloth known as Alaam.

Language

Bizu

Originally speaking a language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family, some of the Chakmas have been influenced by neighboring Chittagonian, an Eastern Indo-Aryan language closely related to Assamese. Many linguists now consider the modern Chakma language (known as Changma Vaj or Changma Hodha) part of therma.

Bizu is the most important socio-religious festival of the Chakma.This festival gave birth to the Bizu dance.The festival lasts for three days and begins on the last day of the month of Chaitra. The first day is known as Phool Bizu. On this day, household items, clothes are cleaned and washed, food items are collected to give the house a new look with the veil of different flowers. The second day known as Mul Bizu day starts with the bath in the river. People wear new clothes and make rounds of the village. They also enjoy specially made vegetable curry known as "Pazon ton", different homemade sweets and take part in different traditional sports. The day ends with the Bizu dance. The last day, which is known as Gojjepojje din, involves the performances of different socioreligious activities. In the context of its nature some say that Bizu is a festival, which revolves around agricultural activities because it is celebrated in mid-April when the earth is just drenched with the first rain and the jum sowing is taken up. And it is believed that with the objective of getting rich harvest worship of the earth was arranged which later on took the form of a festival.

The Eastern Indo-Aryan language. Changma Vaj is written in its own script, the Chakma script, also known as Ojhopath. Chakma is written in an alphabet which allowing for its cursive form, is almost identical with the Khmer and the Lanna (Chiangmai) characters, which was formerly in use in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and southern parts of Burma. Culture Chakma handicrafts and fabrics are subject to widespread tourist attraction in Chittagong hill region in Bangladesh. The Chakmas are a people with their own culture, folklore, literature and traditions. The Chakma women wear an ankle length cloth around the waist which is also called Phinon and also a Haadi wrapped above the waist as well as silver ornaments. The Phi- A Chakma girl weaving Haadi

Festivals The most important festivals celebrated by the Chakmas are Bizu and Buddha Purnima.

However of late it has lost its agricultural character. Buddha Purnima It is celebrated on the full moon day in the month of Baisakh. It actually encompasses the birth, enlightenment (nirvāna), and passing away (Parinirvāna) of Lord Buddha. On the day of the worship devotees go to the monastery with Siyong (offerings of rice, vegetable and other fruits

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and confectionaries). The Buddhist priests known as Bhikkhu lead the devotees for chanting of mantra composed in Pali in praise of the holy triple gem: The Buddha, The Dharma (his teachings), and The Sangha (his disciples). Apart from this,other practices such as lighting of thousands of lamps, releasing of Phanuch Batti (an auspicious lamp made of paper in the form of a balloon) are also done as and when possible. Kathina Chivara Dana This is one of the major religious festivals often observed by Chakma Buddhists during the month of October-November. On this special occasion, a holy robe is woven or prepared by entire community out of a fresh cotton within a period of just 24 hours and then offered to Chief Monk called (Bhikkhu) of the temple. In this entire process, the fresh cotton is first threaded into yarn, dyed and woven followed by stitch in order to get ready for offering to Sangha Dana on this wonderful auspicious day. In this entire process, many women participate in large number. In the evening, people gather in large number playing religious ringing instruments and lit candles. And after that paper balloons which are traditionally known as PHENACH are set off higher into the sky. Chakma Septs or Goza The Chakmas or Changmhas have only forty gozas or septs. They are: Anghu, Baburo, Boga, Bongsha or Wangjha, Borbwa or Borwa, Bar Bungo, Guro/Chigon Bungo, Bor Chege, Chege (Rwa Chege, Bhwa Chege, Bannya Chege), Mhulheema Chege, Khyang Chege/ Khyangya or Khyangjoy, Chadonga or Chadogo, Chekkoba or Chekkaba, Dachchya or Dhachchya, Dhamei or Dhavenga, Haia or Hoia, Hedoga, Bor Kambhe or Bor Kammhei, Guro Kambhe or Chigon Kammhei, Kudugo, Hurohuttye or Hurohujjye, Kngha, Larma, Lakchara, Lebha, Mhulheema, Pwa, Bor Phaksa, Guro Phaksa or Chigon Phaksa, Pugho or Pumha, Phema, Padugo, Pittingya or

Pittinghya, Pedangchhuri or Pedangsari, Rangya, Tonnya, Phedungsa Tonnya, Puran Teyha, Nwa Teyha, and Uchchari. Dresses Chakma men have given up their traditional clothes for Western-style shirts and trousers. It is the women who maintain the traditional Chakma style of dress, which consists of two pieces of cloth. One is worn as a skirt, wrapped around the lower part of the body and extending from waist to ankle. Its traditional color is black or blue, with a red border at top and bottom. The second piece of cloth is a breast-band, woven with colored designs, that is tightly wrapped around the upper body. This is worn with a variety of necklaces, bracelets, anklets, rings, and other ornaments. Chakma women are skilled weavers and make their own cloth. Traditional dance & music Like many other tribes, Chakma people have also their own traditional music and dance. It is only during certain social events or any other special occasions such dances are performed. There are major traditional musical instruments such as DHUDHUK, HENGORONG and SINGHA. The most popular ballads often sung by selected group of Chakmas during occasions are known as GEINGKHULIs. These ballads reflect the historical account of Chakma people. There are different kinds of ballads and certain ballad of GEINGKHULI is sung on certain specific events and occasions. Such ballad performance can be run for days but mostly people perform only from evening to till dawn. Traditional Games and Sports There are different kinds of traditional games and sports that are played during fairs and festivals observed by Chakma people. The major such games comprised of PUTTI-HARA, GUDUHARA, DUURI-TANA-TANI, GHILE-HARA, POWR-HARA and DOLA-HARA. These games, played both by men & women, are fun-filled. Some games are played individually and some are of group games. However certain 24

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games that are played individually with one another include as SARHA-HARA, BODABUDI, NHADENG-HARA and HUROHJUDDHO (cock-fight). Besides, there are also certain games that are played indoors which comprised of games such as BHOGK-HARA, SHAMUK-HARA and DOLA-HARA. Weaving and Craftsmanship Most of the traditional houses of Chakma are basically constructed with bamboos and thatch, having wooden pillars supporting. However, with passage of time people have been changing their life-styles and it can be felt in the way houses are constructed today. Apart from that the people of Chakma tend to be excellent craftsmen and they create their own items and crafts out of bamboos and wood. There has been a strong relation of Chakmas with bamboo and without it the life of Chakmas would appear colorless. Bamboos are basically sliced into different long thin pieces which are popularly known as BETH. It is used for tying of pillars and woods during house construction. More often, such BETH is utilized for making traditional mat called, TOLOI, AHRI (different types of baskets), Hallwong, Mezang, Ludhung, Bareing, Odhok or Huroh-bah. Major food drinks

and

The major staple food for people of Chakma is rice and nonvegetarians with fewer exceptions for some. There are dif- Mezang Photo: ferent traditional www.cadc.gov.in styles of preparing rice and curry. Most of major traditional way of cooking comprised of GORAN which includes slow cooking in a bamboo intermodal tube, PEBANG or Herbang (Cooked on leaves on red embers), GUDIYE (Cooked and grinded in a bamboo intermodal tube), HORBO which consists of raw vegetables mingled with chilli paste and PUJCHYA (roasted).

One of the major ingr edients which is put during preparing curry is CIDOL. It is basically a pungent smelling paste made up of fish and shrimps pastes. It is added only in every vegetable dish. When it comes to drinks, the most traditional drink is rice beer famously known as HANJI and JOGORAH. However, these are further distilled and make it harder which is known as DWOCHUNI through using of different traditional distillation methods. These drinks are served to people during special occasions and events such as BIZU, Marriage parties etc. When it comes to hospitality, the people of Chakma go far beyond to delightfully serve the guests providing whatever one has. Language and Script Chakma language (Changma Vaj or Changma Kodha) is an Indo-European language spoken by the Chakma people. Its better-known closest relatives are Bengali, Assamese, Chittagonian, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Tanchangya, Rohingya and Sylheti. It is spoken by nearly 310,000 people in southeast Bangladesh near Chittagong City, and another 300,000 in India in Mizoram, Assam, and Tripura. It is written using the Chakma script, which is also called Ajhā pāṭh, sometimes romanized Ojhopath. Literacy in Chakma script is low. In 2012, the Government of Tripura announced it would "introduce Chakma language in Chakma script in primary schools of Tripura. Imparting of education up to elementary stage in mother tongue is a national policy. To begin with Chakma language subjects in its own scripts will be introduced in 58 primary schools in Chakma concentrated areas." In Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC), Mizoram, the Chakma script is already taught in schools. The Chakma and Daingnet people now speak what may be considered divergent dialects of Bengali. However, this is due to language shift from a Tibeto-Burman language; that medieval language may have been related to Sak (Beckwith 2002) or Chairel (Voegelin 1977). (This article is based on information available on the net) 25

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Chakmas: An Introduction Article sent by MAADI, Tripura, written by L. B. Chakma Introduction The Chakmas are one of the hill tribes living in the region lying between 21 to 29 degree north latitude and 88 to 92 degree east longitude. Their main habitation is in the Chittagong Hills Tracts of Bangladesh, Lawngtlai, Lunglei and Aizawl Sourh districts in the Indian states of Mizoram, North and South districts of Tripura and Tirap, Changlang, Subansiri and Lohit districts of Arunachal Pradesh, a group in the Chin Province and Arakan Province of Myanmar and some in the Indian state of Assam. The present population of the Chakmas is about four lakhs in Bangladesh, about one lakh in Mizoram, about 55 thousand in Arunachal Pradesh, about 50 thousand in Tripura, about 20 thousand in Assam, and about 80 thousand in Myanmar. Their habitation is said to be in the northern part of Rakhine state at Bhutidaung, Mrauk U and eastern bank of Lenbre river at Sittwe, and Kaladan river. A Chakma village is named Naukya, 6 miles from Mrauk U town. The Chakmas have their own script, culture, folklore, history, traditions and literature. They have own food habit and games and sports and medical system. The Chakmas have a history of orogin, ascent, home, and tradition with distinct culture, language and script. They have traditional song, folklore, games and sports. The Chakma women weave their own clothes in their traditional feather weight handlooms called BEIN. The main dress of the women is called PINHON, the lower garment, KHADI, the breast cover and KHABANG, the turban or headgear. The clothes are artistically decorated by weaving flower design from the traditional flower pattern called AALAAM. Origin of the Chakmas

Chakmas. The contemporary histories are silent about the existence of the Chakmas. There is no evidence of the Chakmas before the 13th century AD. From 13th century AD some evidence of the existence THEK//TSAK (as the Chakmas are known to Burmese/Arakanese) could be traced in the Burmese and Arakanese history from the 10th century AD. The Chakma history called Bijak also does not tally with eadch other. However writers boast about the originality of their manuscript. That it was written in BAMUNI (Brahmi) and on palm leaves which have been recorded by their forefathers and handed over to them .The ballad singers GEINGKHULEEs also cannot sing the proper account on the origin of the Chakmas. All the Bijak and the folk songs are based on the traditional beliefs which have been transmitted from generation to generation. However all of them mostly agree that (1) Chakmas are Khatriyos (warrior class) (2) they are descendents of Sakyas, (3) their original capital was Kolapnagar, (4) their second capital was at Champaknagar, (5) they shifted to another Champak nagar on the bank of Irrawadi, (6) they conquered new land to the south west of Champaknagar by crossing river Lohita and named it KALABAGHA after the General. The capital of the new land also named Champaknagar, after the old capital. From this new Champaknagar, the prince and Governor of Kalabagha, Bijoygiri led expedition against the Magh with the help of Hosui troop provided by the king of Tripura, (7) Bijoygiri led the expedition with seven CHOMU of fighters and reached CHADIGANG through Meghna after six days and six nights. They made CHADIGANG as their base camp. During the expedition Radha Mohn and Kunjha Dhan were the commanders of Bijoygiri and they conquered many countries which includes Maghs, Kukis, Axa, Khyengs, Kanchana Desha and other kingdoms.

History is obscure to locate the origin of the The expedition said to have lasted for 12 years. 26

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On receipt of news of conquering new land by Radha Mohn and Kunjha Dhan, Bijoygiri is said to have went forward from Chadigang upto Safrai valley to receive his commanders. Here he learnt about his fathers death and ascending of his younger brother to the throne. After mourning seven days for his father, he decided to settle at Safrai valley. He also said to have given option to his men to retun to old kingdom or remain with him. Radha Mohn is said to have returned to Champaknagar.Bijoygiri is also said to have permitted his men to marry girls from the defeated kingdom, Bijoygiri also married an ARI girl and established RAMPUDI (Ramavati) kingdom at the Safrai valley.

circle. The said Chakma circle was annexed to Pakistan in 1947 during India’s independence. The said circle is now Rangamati and Khagarachhari tribal districts of Bangladesh.

Afterward, the Kalabagha kingdom was reportedly annexed by the Tripuri king and communication with old kinghdom was cut off. The capital of Ramapudi kingdom was later named as MANIJGIR.

The followers of the middle prince Chandrajit or Champro of Mian or Mizza or Mingdoza are said to have assimilated with the Burmese.

As per Biraj Mohan Dewan, in the CHAKMA JATIR ITIBRITTA, in 1333, Burmese king Mengdi (Minthi) with the help of the Portuguese brought downfall of Chakma kingdom through deceitful means. He made king Arunjuk captive with his three princes, two princesses subjects and settled them in different places. Ten thousand solders were made slaves and renamed as THOINHA (pronounced Doinak) meaning badly defeated (Whose descendents are living in Burma till date). After a hard attempt a group of Chakmas could make a habitation at Mongzambroo. After sometimes they had to flee to Chokkaidao on the bank of Kaladan when atrocities of the Magh remain no bound. From Chokkaidao they have sought permission from Jallal Uddin the son of Raja Ganesh for settlement and Jallaluddin permitted them to settle in 12 villages at Chadigang. It was in 1418 they could flee to Bengal leaving behind the followers of second prince and the Doinaks in Burma. From these 12 villages, after many ups and down the Chakma kingdom was established at Chadigang which lasted there until the British transformed it into a mere

Group of Chakmas: As per Bijak and the Geingkhulees the ancestors of the Chakmas are believed to have remained at Kolapnagar at the foot of Himalaya. The second group is believed to have remained at Champaknagar, on the bank of Irrawadi. The third group remained at Champaknagar of Kalabagha which is believed to have situated at Srihata. The present Chakmas are said to be the followers of the eldest prince Surjyojit or Sojui who was made Governor of Kyudeza.

The Tongchangyas are said to be a portion of foll owers of the youngest prince Satrujit or Chouta who was made tax collector of Kongza by the Burmese king. They are said to have legged behind while fleeing to Chadigang. Some opined them to be a portion of Doinaks who fled away from Burma to unite with the mainstream Chakmas of Chadigang. It is also said that since they are a portion of Doinaks, the number of their goza or septs have remained the same. The Doinaks are said to be the descendents of the Chakma soldiers who were made captive by the Burmese and made slave. The Chakmas of Bangladesh are the mainstream Chakmas. The Chakmas of Mizoram are the aboriginal inhabitants of the border of the Chakma kingdom. It was only in 1891 this area was transferred to Lushai Hills District of Assam. They are also descendents of those people who have shifted to this area in search of fertile jungle for JUM cultivation before independence. The Chakmas of Tripura are the descendents of those people who had settled in Tripura in 1770 during the reign of King Haramani. 27

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They are also those people who had taken shelter in Tripura in and after 1947 due to fear of atrocities from the Pakistani Government since they have opposed inclusion of Chittagong Hill Tracts in Pakistan at the time of independence. The Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh are those who have been uprooted from their ancestral homeland by the Pakistani Government by constructing Hydel Project Dam at Kaptai, Chittagong Hill Tract in 1964 with the finance of America and who took refuge in India. The Indian Government granted them settlement in the erstwhile NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh but have not yet granted citizenship. The Chakmas of Assam are believed to have migrated from Tripura in search of fertile jungle for JUM cultivation. Characteristics The Chakmas are very simple and peace loving. They believe in Buddhism. But sometimes they appease other deities and spirits. For example, if it is water born disease, they will appease Gonga Maa ( the water goddess), for rheumatism and other circulatory disease, they will appease the Dein (witch), if it is muscle related, they will appease the Bhoot (the ghost), if it is mental, they will appease the Pari (fairies) and if it is on air circulation, they will appease the Dyo ( male fairy) etc. Physical features H. H. Risely classified the the Chakmas as Lohitic tribe. Major Tom Herbert Lewin grouped them with the KHYONGTHAS meaning son of the river or the tribe who live along the river courses. Antropologically the Chakmas belong to the people of South East Asia. They belong to the Tibeto-Burman group of people. Dr. Hutton and H. H. Risely classified them as Mongoloid. Mr. Hutchinson in his book ‘CHITTAGONG HILLS TRACTS’ observed that ‘the Chakmas are of medium stature and thick set built with fair complexion and a cheerful honest looking face. Physically they are finer specimen of manhood than the

Magh (now Marmas/Arakanese). They posses none of the hereditary laziness of the latter and althoughntheir independence will prevent them from working as a manial of others. Yet they work exceedingly hard to further their own interest. They posses a relantive memory, grasp detail quickly and appreciate the advantages that can be secured by industry. As a tribe, they are stolid, argumentative and stubborn, but on the whole truthful’.There are many divisions among the Chakma tribe. These divisions are called GOZA or GOSA (sept) and GUTTHI (sub-sept or clan). Among the main stream of Chakmas the number of GOZAs is forty two and the number of Tongcangyas and Doinakyas 12 each. The names of Gozas and Gutthis are derived from curious adventures, or personal peculiarities, sometimes place of habitations like rivers, hills of the founder. For example, the founder of Khyangjoy Goza is said to have defeated a magician of Khyang tribe in magical game called TUMBRU KHARA. so his name became Khyangjoy, THE DEFEATER OF KHYANG. The founder of Bungo Goza said to had a big lump on his back muscle. In Chakma a back muscle is called Bung and hence Bungo Goza. The Kurho khuttya people are said to have lived on the bank of KURHO ANGUTTYA SORA (jungle foul scratched river). Some say they were the chicken slaughter or cutter in the royal palace and so they were named KURHO KUTTYA (chicken cutter). The founder of BOGA GOZA is said to be a tall fair complexioned fellow with a long stretched neck, like a heron. In Chakma a heron is called Boga. So, Boga Goza. The title CHEGE is said to be of a minister and his descendents became Chege goza. Likewise Bor Chege, the big minister or Prime minister. The title BORBO is said to be of a general. So the follower of a Borbo were known as Borbo Goza. The Lakchars were the soldiers and they were named as Lakchara goza. The leader of the LEBHA Goza is said to be a stammerer. In Chakma a stammmerer is called LEBHA, hence the Lebha Goza. The leader of Kudugo Goza said to had strong hair like the quill of a porcupine. In Chakma a porcupine is called KUDUK. So he was named Kuduk Sen and his followers were known as KUDUGO GOZA. There was one Chakma king named TOIN SURESWARI 28

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who lived on the bank of TOINGANG. His followers were known as tonya goza. It is like the Rais and Liboos of Nepal. Prior to the British Rule in India the Chakmas had an independent state which consisted of the present Chittagong Hill Tracts, a portion of Plain Chittagong district of Bangladesh up to Dhaka Trunk Road (Nizampur Road) and some areas bordering the southern part of Lusha Hills (present Mizoram). As per Harry Barrylast, the Chief of Chittagong district, the Chakma kingdom was extended as follows in 1768: East : Kuki kingdom, West: Nizampur road. The Chakmas had to pay only business tax in the form eleven mound of cotton , annually to the Moghul as per business treaty signed in 1715. Though the East India Company took over the administrative powers of the Moghul in 1757 and business treaty also transferred to them, they remained peaceful and did not interfere with the Chakma until 1777. The Chakma kingdom was then known as COTTON MAHAL. In 1777 they demanded more cotton. On the denial to pay more cotton by the Chakma king, the British lead two expeditions under Mr. Lene in 1777 and under Mr. Turman in 1780. But the expeditions were not successful. The Chakma Commander Ronu Khan attacked them at every opportunity with the assistance of the Kukis and forced them to back. The British blocked all supplies to the hills and blocked the markets to force surrender. As a result, the common subject suffered miserably. When the suffering went beyond tolerance, the Chakma king Raja Jan Bask Khan surrendered before Governor General Corn Willis at Calcutta in 1815 and signed an agreement to pay more tax in the form of 501 mound of cotton. In 1819 they made to pay Rs.1815 in liu of cotton. It was again re fixed at Rs. 2822 in 1832 and Rs.2584 in 1837. The British did not interfere with the internal affairs. In 1866 Captain T. H. Lewin was transferred to Chittagong Hill Tracts. From

the year of his transfer, the powers and boundary of the Chakma kingdom started day by day. 26 places were exceeded to Chittagong plain district and later the kingdom was transformed into a mere circle, dividing it into three circles, Chakma, Maung and Bomang. Many of the power and functions of the king were striped and the king was reduced to a mere ‘CHIEF’. Further in 1891, the present Demagiri area of Mizoram was also transferred to Assam. As a result, the Chakma kingdom had to forgo its land and subjects beyond the river of Thega and Sazek. Such a treatment on the part of Captain Lewin is said to be due to personal misunderstanding with Chakma Rani Kalindi. In 1947, during India’s independendence, the Chakmas wanted to remain with India as they did not feel safe under Islamic sovereign since the division was based on religious differences. But the Chairman of Bengal Boundary Commission on 16th August 1947 declared the annexation of CHT in the Islamic Sovereign of Pakistan. 98% of the ethnic people were thunder struck and there was wide spread resentment. Some people under the leadership of Sneha Kumar Chakma even unfurled the India tri-color at the Deputy Commissioners office of Rangamati. Which remained there for three days. As a result, they had to flee to India. The present Chakma people of Arunachal are the uprooted people of the then East Pakistan who took shelter in India after their lands and houses were drowned by the Kaptai Hydel Dam which the Government of Pakistan constructed with American fund without providing adequate compensation to the affected. The Chakmas of Tripura are those, who have been residing there since British rule and also those who took shelter in fear of repercussion by Pakistan Government. The Chakmas of Mizoram are those who have been residing there since British period. The Chakmas of Assam are those who have shifted there mostly from Tripura in search of fertile jungle for jum cultivation. The Chakmas of Myanmar are the descendents of those who could not escape to ANOK (Chittagong) after the fall of Chakma kingdom in 1333. They are the Doinakyas, the badly defeated people as in Burmese DOINA, means the badly defeated. 29

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The Celebrity Buddhists By Arunjit Chakma I have done an extensive research over internet to find out the most famous celebrity Buddhists from all over the world. When I dug deeper into the web world, I am amazed to read about some celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Beckham family to be practicing Buddhists. Hey, did you know that Orlando Bloom, the dashing star of The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean is a devout Buddhist practitioner? Keanu Reeves is believed to be a Buddhist practitioner as he has worked in “Little Buddha”, he played the role of Siddhartha. Naomi Watts also said that she was also drawn to Buddhism. Goldie Hawn is considered a Jewish and Buddhist. Action movie star Steven Seagal is also an ardent follower of Buddhism. Adam Yauch (MCA) of the Beastie Boys became from a hard-drinking brat to serene Buddhist. Some people have also speculated that Angelina Jolie is now a Buddhist and rumour also has it that Angelina and Brad Pitt had a Buddhist marriage ceremony. The list is very long, it includes Leonardo Di Caprio, Bradd Pitt, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Jet Li, Alanis Morrisette, Sting, Oliver Stone, Kate Bosworth and others. Based on my research, I have made a list of 10 celebrity Buddhists who are my personal favourites and the list goes like this: 1. Dalai Lama Who does not know, his Holiness Dalai Lama, the Buddhist spiritual leader- the 14th incarnation as a lama? He certainly tops the list of my favourite celebrity Buddhists because of his modesty and he describes himself as being a “simple Bud-

dhist Monk”. 2. Aung San Suu Kyi The leader of the National League for Democracy in Myanmar (Burma) who campaigned for democratization of Burma all through her life is at second spot in the list. Nobel Prize for her peaceful and Non-violent struggle under a military dictatorship says it all for her as a Buddhist practitioner. 3. Tiger Woods I did not know, Tiger Woods – the king of Golf was a Buddhist practitioner until I read about him. He said “I believe in Buddhism … not every aspect, but most of it”. His mother Koltida is a Thai Buddhist. He is in top 3 even though he is not a consistent practitioner because of the fact that he really believes in Charity and the Tiger Woods Foundation is helping millions of people. 4. Richard Gere You would see him in newspapers and magazine in company of Dalai Lama. He is a well-known Human Rights activist and he is also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for 30

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Tibet. I feel for Tibetans as I do for Chakmas, I wish he supports our cause. 5. Orlando Bloom He is one of my favourite celebrity Buddhist Practitioners because he is one of my favourite movie stars. He believes in Buddhist philosophy as they are very current today and believing in them helped him to stay away from the selfdestructive path.

8. Harrison Ford The star of Indiana Jones’s series of movies and best known for his roles in Star Wars, Harrison Ford is a follower of Tibetan Buddhism and Dalai Lama. His faith inspires him to do community work and he volunteered to serve food at Ground Zero following 911 attack and regularly helps out the homeless in LA every Thanks giving. 9. Herbie Hancock

6. Steve Jobs Absolutely, I did not know Mr. Apple or iPhone or iPod or iPad was a Buddhist. I thought the list would consist only living people but I could not stop myself to include Steve Jobs at #6 spot. He and his world-altering company- Apple is a great inspiration to us. He dedicated his life to Soto Zen Buddhist Meditation Practice. 7. Tina Turner The “Queen of Rock and Roll” is a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism and famously chanted Nam-myohorenge-kyo on Larry king Live (Talk show). She credits Buddhism with giving her strength at toughest time of her life and to be able to leave an abusive relationship.

He is one of the most respected contributors to modern jazz and is a long standing practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism, which emphasises on Chanting as a form of meditation. He is also a member of Japanese Buddhist movement. 10. Leonard Cohen The godfather of gloom, the Canadian singer was ordained a Buddhist Monk in 1996. Practising Buddhism helped him do away with chronic drug -addiction. Buddhism has always attracted celebrity practitioners. The main reason why educated westerners and celebrities get attracted to Buddhism is because it does not ask merely to believe. It is a way where one is free to doubt. It offers a practical way of finding out the Truth through one's own experience rather than through accepting the teachings of other people. 31

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The Qualities of Perfect leaders By Ven. Nanda Priya “Leadership is a quality which cannot be acquired from others but it can be acquired by self-determination of a person. Leadership can best be called the personality of the very highest ability - whether in ruling, thinking, imagining, innovation, warring, or religious influencing.” Introduction Leadership is a quality hidden in the personality of a human being. Human personality is very complex and it is very difficult to grade individuals according to one’s personality. Leadership, on the other hand, depends on the organic structure of the personality which includes experience, skill, responsibility, intelligence, power of organizing people and social interaction. Leadership is an indispensable activity, which every leader has to tap to perform for directing the people working under him. It is the ability of the leader to induce subordinates to work with confidence and zeal. In other words "Leadership is the process by which a leader imaginatively directs, guides and influence the work of others in choosing and attaining specified goals by mediating between the individuals and the organisation in such as manner, that both will obtain maximum satisfaction. Mental Strength Some people have a misconception that only those people who are physically strong can become good leaders, but this is not the fact. A leader may not be physically strong but what requires is mental toughness and firmness in decisions. For example, Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation was the greatest leader but he was active and had a firm desire to serve the nation. He had the power of organizing and uniting people and attracting people towards him by his speeches. This is the best quality of a leader which he had in him. We can also say

that, a person who can satisfy the basic psychological needs of his followers can also be an effective leader. Leadership is a quality which cannot be acquired from the others but it can be acquired by selfdetermination of a person. Leadership can best be called the personality of the very highest ability. Leadership classification Leader can be classified according to their work. For example, those who are related to politics are the political leaders or officers who are related to the profession of army or police are the leaders in their respective fields. In fact, leadership is the most important quality required in a political leader and equally in Army and Police Officers because the future and security of the county lies in their hands. Therefore, it is important to properly use their power and be always attentive so that any enemy whether within or outside can not cause any harm or damage to the Nation. Because with power comes responsibility. Intelligence and Alertness The most important quality which a leader should possess is intelligence and alertness. A leader has to use his/her mind every time and also has to remain alert with eyes and ears open otherwise he/she could easily be deceived by any fraud or enemy. Many a times we see such situations around us, where a person in trouble or problem doesn’t hesitate in blaming and embarrassing even his closest friend to save himself, and also does not bother about his friends at all because the person has to get rid of his problems anyhow. So, he just thinks about himself and his life, the life of other does not matter to him much. Almost all of us are having one or more such close friends, so a leader should always keep in mind that he should not trust even his closest friends 32

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more than required as it can create problems for him. At the time of war, an Army Officer who leads his soldiers has to apply his mind every second and has to be attentive while marching ahead. Similarly, a Police Officer has to be attentive always while he is at work as his duty is to control crime and provide safety to the people. The political leaders of the county should be most intelligent as the security of not only few people but of the whole nation depends in them in one way or the other. Therefore, we can say intelligence and alertness are the indispensable qualities of a leader. As for example, one of the greatest leaders of his time, Winston Churchill could win the Second World War just by applying his brain and his alertness. Action Oriented approach The other qualities of a leader include impartiality, action-oriented approach and positive attitude. A good leader should always be impartial towards all his followers, because the moment he becomes partial, he no longer remains a leader as he loses the confidence of others. The duty of a leader is to encourage and raise the standard of all his followers and not just a few of them, and he should always remember his duty. Further, a leader should be action-oriented. A single leader cannot do every work by himself, so he needs help of others for doing constructive works. A leader should be effective enough towards himself and encourages everyone through his words to do constructive work while walking on a right path so that everyone in this country can become aware of his/her rights as well as duties and can provide his/her help in the development of the country. In our country, the constitution has given us the right of democracy through which everyone whether a beggar or the President has been given the right to choose a leader. Everyone wants his leader to be effective, intelligent, active, and action-oriented who can encourage the masses and do the needful for his people.

A leader should also be an optimist having a positive attitude. He should not think negatively or plan something showing negative attitude. A person who thinks or plans something showing his negative attitude can never be a good leader. A leader should always be courageous. He should have courage to face the troubles or problems and solving the problems by himself in place of blaming and embarrassing others. Cowards, who at the time of facing problems or troubles in their life try to blame and embarrass others can never succeed in their life. Such person remains at the same place where he stood in the beginning. To gain height and achieve something, one should come out of cowardness, jealousy and should become innovative, courageous, action-oriented and optimist. A good leader has all these qualities in him. To elaborate further the qualities of a good leader there are three theories of leadership and these are (a) trait theory (b) behavioral theory and (c) situation theory. The first approach (trait theory) views leadership as a conglomeration of a set of personality traits. The older tradition in these studies of leadership has been the search for a cluster of traits, attributes or other types of individual difference, which see leaders apart from their followers or which distinguish effective leaders from ineffective ones. A good leader, as it found more often, is a good teacher. Instead of acting as the boss among his followers or group members – a good leader always helps them through experience that brings a changed mind and motive. Conclusion Finally, a good leader must be faithful to his group members and activities. This in turn, will result in an atmosphere of assurance among the followers. Having faith in self abilities and the world around him/her the leader gains inspiration and also inspires others in the process. (Ven: Nanda Priya can be reached at Maha Bodhi Society of India Buddhagaya Centre, Buddhagaya, Gaya, Bihar)

Optimist perspective 33

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The Twinkling Stars ample,” Said Arun in an emotional tone.”

By Vivekananda Chakma

It was a spring season. Trees started getting new leaves; flowers blooming, fragrance spread everywhere. Wherever one goes, one would find plants laden with full bloomed flowers with bees buzzing around. Arun and Satish are two good friends; the way they behave with one another makes people go confused. If one hurts other, one does not take too long to reconcile. They seemed as if they have been destined only to be with another in this world. However, luck has some other ideas. There has been no single occasion where one went leaving the other. With passage of time, both of them realized they have to go towards different direction as per demand of the situation they were. Before parting from one another, they discussed all their secrets and promised many things. “Satish, I know you have given me your helping hands during all my trying circumstances, so tomorrow you are leaving me here in the village. I’m very sad that I couldn’t give you anything except my love. I wish May almighty help you in realizing all your dreams. I don’t know for whatever reason I couldn’t have the fate you have. I fully know you would become an established person one day and you will definitely be coming home carrying prestige, reputation, honor and love as well. So, if tomorrow I die, please help my children and show them good path showing your ex-

“Hey, what are you saying? No need to show such emotion ok! I’m gonna nowhere right; I have been with you and will be with you forever. Tell me what happened to you today!” saying Satish shook him and gave a warm hug. “Nothing, just wondering how I have to wait for again five years to see you here, even I don’t know what I will have become by then,” he further added. Next day Satish went to City for his further study with tears in his eyes while leaving Arun, the only true friend he has ever had in his life. The fate began showing signs during all those long five years! Arun had a marriage right two years after Satish left him. He sent him a letter mentioning everything about his wedding. Satish used to reply him saying he would come and joke with his new ‘Babhi’. It has been a long time no mutual correspondence was going on between the two. Satish was so occupied with his research works that he had little time to keep in touch. Here Arun had to work for entire day to look after his family comprised of his two kids, wife and his ailing father. He lost his mother when he was twelve years old. That year was a year of drought; crops failed to flourish and he had to borrow money from others. Day after day his father’s health was deteriorating. It was very hard to find job during those rainy days in the village. One day he met a man known as ‘Setji’. The man knew his condition and took no time to convince him about his drug business. He was offered certain amount of money and the only work he had to do was to keep drugs supplied by some group of people and sell them to others. Finally, he after contemplating for sometime accepted the offer. That evening he narrated all to his wife. His wife refused it and told him to return the cash. She knew once he starts the business, he would also be addicted to it. Few days later his father passed away. Now all those people involved in the business kept visiting to his home which was not tolerated by his wife. There were always quarrels between the husband and the wife. Whatever his wife earns, he takes 34

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half of the earned money to buy drugs to keep him satisfied. Out of frustration and depression, one day his wife took her two children to far away to a relative. While returning both the kids were crying looking their only mother leaving them behind. They both followed for some distance and her relative took away. On asking she told her relative that she had some urgent work to do and once the works get finished, she would come back to take away her children. On that evening she put kerosene oil all over to her body and burnt down herself. Looking her doing so, some neighbors rushed towards her and put off the fire. They took her to nearby hospital. Soon later her drug addicted husband reached the hospital. Next day she passed away leaving her two small kids behind.

would not have done these things, shame on all of you!” saying he wiped out his slow dropping of tears. Thereafter, he started taking care of those two kids like his own children and finally they went on to lead successful lives unlike their parents. (The writer is the Secretary Communication of Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union)

One day both the kids sat under their father’s lap. They were under bright moonlight, cool breeze kept blowing. One of the kids asked his father about the twinkling star in the sky, saying, “Dad, what are these high in the sky twinkling blue, white, red and green?” He said these were the mothers of many little children like them watching them play from the sky. One day Arun went to hills to cultivate Jhum cultivation. Staying there for a couple of weeks, he fell seriously ill. One of the villagers gave him Rs. 1500 to cure his illness. But he, instead of purchasing medicine, bought drugs and some days later he also passed away. All of a sudden the two kids became orphans. Was it their sins done in previous births or simply got irresponsible father for their orphanage? In the meanwhile, Satish successfully completed his course and got a lucrative job. He thought he would purchase a new lifetime gift for his friend Arun and his wife from the very first salary he would draw. However, before that someone told him what happened to Arun and his wife and their two little children. He even knew the message that some of people in the village were looking for people who take care of orphans. Having heard the information, Satish rushed back to village and called up an urgent meeting. In the meeting he almost abused everyone about the incident. He said, “Had you all been helpful, Arun and his wife 35

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The struggle for identity continues in Arunachal Pradesh The agonizing wait for a permanent solution continues for the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh. Jubilation was writ large on the hearts of about 54,000 Chakmas including the Hajong community, as the Government of India constituted a Four Party Committee on 10 August 2010 to find a permanent solution to the long pending Chakma issue. The Committee ignited a ray of hope for the Chakma and Hajong communities. However, the talks delayed as the Committee failed to hold even a single meeting at the end of 2011. Finally, the Committee held its first meeting at Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh on 9 January 2012. The Committee arrived at a consensus that the Chakmas including the Hajongs who migrated to India between 1964 and 1969 will be accepted as Indian citizens. In this context, the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh has been asked to conduct a survey to identify those who migrated during 196469. The next meeting of the Committee will start once the survey report is verified and submitted. Currently, the survey is under process. This is a major breakthrough on the fate of the Chakmas and Hajongs who remained statelessness for the last 48 years and deprived of the very basic human rights. One of the most abstract of human rights, the right to an identity and a name, is intrinsically linked to nationality. The statelessness of the Chakmas and Hajongs means that they have no legal identity and have no voice in influencing the society in which they live. Consequently, the Chakmas and Hajongs are not only deprived of the basic rights but also the supplementary rights which are not covered by the principal human rights conventions which are available only to the citizens. Some of which include higher school educa-

tion and various other economic, social and cultural rights. The majority of the Chakmas and Hajongs are poor. With no support from the government their condition can be best described as pathetic. Before describing the present condition of the Chakmas and Hajongs I would like to emphasize on the events and developments since the arrival of the Chakmas and Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh. The situations of the Chakmas and Hajongs can be broadly divided into three categories according to the developments in each respective period as noted below. 1964 to 1979: A period of harmony In the early part of 1964, about 2,902 Chakma and Hajong families comprising of about 14,888 persons migrated to India. The Government of India made all arrangements and provided all the basic facilities required during their transit. Later, the Government of India, after detailed deliberations with the native tribal chiefs of the then North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), Administration, and the then Government of Assam, settled the Chakmas and Hajongs in three districts namely, Lohit, Tirap (now Changlang) and Subansiri (now Papumpare) under a ‘definite plan’ of rehabilitation. The Government of India allotted agricultural lands and extended all helps including free rations, cash doles to the Chakmas and Hajongs to help them rebuild their shattered life. The Chakmas and Hajongs are tribal communities and are Buddhists and Hindus respectively. So, they immediately got assimilated into the native tribal culture. By dint of sheer hard work, the Chakmas and Hajongs established a settled life. Many of the educated Chakma and Hajong youths were absorbed in services in the state government. The Chakma and Hajong children received free education, stipends, book grants etc. Trade licenses were also issued. 1980 to 2009: A mixed period 36

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Since 1980 misfortune struck the Chakmas and Hajongs. As the anti-foreigner agitation in neighboring Assam spread to Arunachal Pradesh, the Chakmas and Hajongs started receiving hostile and discriminatory treatment. All the facilities previously enjoyed were gradually withdrawn. The discrimination aggravated with Arunachal Pradesh becoming a State in 1987. The Chakmas and Hajongs realised that the situation will continue in the absence of citizenship rights. In 1991, the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh (CCRCAP) was formed to demand conferring of Indian citizenship to the Chakmas and Hajongs. However, the State Government became more hostile. In 1994, the Chakmas and Hajongs were asked to leave the state by September 1994 or face dire consequences. Fearing for their lives, a large number of Chakmas fled the state and took refuge in the neighbouring State of Assam. However, the Assam Government ordered shoot-at sight against the fleeing Chakmas. With no option left, the CCRCAP sought the intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) following the deadline and threat to lives and properties. In December 1994, the NHRC directed the State Government to take all necessary steps to protect the lives and liberty of the Chakmas and Hajongs. But, the State Government failed to honour the direction of the NHRC. Faced with this dire situation, the CCRCAP again approached the NHRC in October 1995. Hence, the NHRC approached the Supreme Court (SC) to seek appropriate relief. In January 1996, the SC gave its judgment, among others, ordered the state and central government to process the citizenship applications of those who had migrated and protect the lives and liberties of the Chakmas and Hajongs. So far, not a single Chakma and Hajong who had migrated to India have been granted citizenship. The State Government also made every at-

tempt to create obstacle to deny enrolment of the eligible Chakma and Hajong voters who are citizens of India by birth in the electors’ lists. Aggrieved with the non-inclusion, a writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court. In its judgment on 28 September 2000, the Delhi High Court ordered enrollment of all eligible Chakma and Hajong voters into the electoral rolls. This period also witnessed a historic moment. Although, the judgment of the Delhi High Court continued to be flouted, 1,497 Chakmas and Hajongs for the first time exercised their franchise in the Parliamentary and Arunachal Pradesh State Assembly Elections in 2004. Subsequently, thousands of claim forms were submitted by the eligible Chakmas and Hajongs. However, majority of them were rejected on fictitious grounds. Yet, this is the defining moment for the Chakmas and Hajongs. 2010 to present: A ray of hope The beginning of this period was bumpy. There were desperate attempts to show the Chakmas in bad light through media campaign. Gradually, the situation calmed down with the formation of the High Level Committee by the government of India to find a permanent solution to the long pending Chakma-Hajong issue at the request of the Committee for Citizenship of the Chakmas and Hajongs of Aruanchal Pradesh (CCRCHA). The Four Party Committee, constituted on 10 August 2010, is headed by the Joint Secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and comprises representatives of State government of Arunachal Pradesh, CCRCHAP and All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union. After delays, the talks finally started and it was decided that the Chakmas and Hajongs who migrated between 1964-69 will be accepted as Indian citizens. A Core Committee under the high power committee was formed to conduct a census. Unfortunately, the Core Committee could not begin the census as of date due to various reasons. The next meeting is scheduled to be held on 26 April 2012. Now all eyes are on the meeting which will decides the next course of action. 37

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Present conditions of the Chakmas No doubt, the high power committee is a landmark development. But, there is no improvement in their overall situation. The lack of citizenship has been the primary reason for their pathetic socio-economic conditions. Due to state government’s policy of neglect and exclusion no schemes, including Central schemes, are provided for their development. The problems being faced by the Chakmas and Hajongs are increasingly showing its ugly heads in recent times. Lack of health facilities The health facilities available to the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are grossly inadequate. There is only one health centre at Diyun circle where majority of the Chakma and Hajong population resides. There are villages where there is no health centre despite substantial population. As a result, a number of people die due to lack of medical facilities every year. Some even dies from curable diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, viral fever, etc. In October-November 2011, at least 10 Chakma children died due to malaria at M-Pen village in Miao subdivision of Changlang district. There is no health care centre in the village. The villagers have to cover a reasonable distance by foot to reach the nearest Sub-Divisional Hospital at Miao. No effective step was taken by the local administration to control the disease and no health camp was set up. The health officials rushed to the village only after the deaths of more children in November. In fact, representatives from the health department rarely visit Chakma inhabited areas. In the absence of medical facilities, the Chakmas have to go to Assam for treatment. But as the majority of the Chakmas are poor they cannot afford and have to rely on traditional healers for every disease. Lack of higher schools

Education, which vital for development and progress of any society, remained grim in Chakma inhabited areas in the state. There is no denying the fact that most of the Chakma inhabited villages presently have schools. But, these schools provide education only up to elementary level. There are lack of secondary schools in all the three districts of Changlang, Lohit and Papumpare. The situation is worst in Changlang district where majority of the Chakmas live. There is only one secondary school for the entire Chakma and Hajong population. It is difficult to get admission in secondary schools which are located in nonChakma areas. In some areas, Chakma students are not given admission at all. Consequently, the right to education of these children is blatantly violated, resulting in their future being uncertain. Students who have the financial capacity take admission outside the state such as Assam, Delhi, etc. But, the majority of them, who are poor, have no option but to discontinue their studies. Consequently, drop-outs rate is increasing every year. School drop-outs marry early, ends up as unskilled labourers, domestic servants and few even get involve in antisocial activities. Every year, many of these drop-outs, including the girls, are going outside the state such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, etc in search of petty jobs. They work in hostile conditions and remain extremely vulnerable to abuse. Similarly, the Chakmas face problems of unemployment and excluded from other basic facilities. The Chakmas are neither covered under the public distribution system nor jobs are provided under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Yet, against all odds, the Chakmas are surviving and hopeful that one day their struggle will bear fruits. (Editors’ Note: This article is written by Tejang Chakma and published for magazines and blogs. It is reproduced here with some changes with due permission) 38

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Women in our Society

By Roshika Chakma, New Delhi

A society consists of men and women. They contribute equally to the development of the society. But in a family, women play vital roles. They look after the children, take care the needs of the whole family. They run the family budget. In a way, they are the backbone of a family and society as a whole. Without a woman a family is incomplete. With time the roles of women changed especially in the last several years. They are at equal level fields with men. In some families they are the breadwinners. They now have more opportunity to excel in any field they want. They have achieved a lot in private and government industries, sports and the media has become a familiar sight.

The health status of women is one of the important indicators of their well-being and quality of life. However, the Chakma women in Arunachal Pradesh could not avail the health scheme of the government. The existing health care institutions being available to the Chakmas are inadequate and not easily accessible. If we want a better society, our women’s economic and social status should be enhanced. First, the government has to come forward irrespective of ethnicity. Second, our parents should have to educate their daughters as far as possible despite the low resources. Even our people, though less, still think that girls should be within the four walls of our houses. This attitude has to change and we should encourage and support the girls same as boys. More importantly, they should be given a good education and encourage them to pursue it. Since, they are the backbone of the society and if they are well educated then we can say that our future generation will be in safe hands. At the same time, the government has to ensure that the education, health and other schemes meant for women and girls also reaches the Chakma women to improve their overall status.

But in our society in Arunachal Pradesh, the (The writer is a student of Delhi University) status of women is far below the national standard. The situation is abysmal. Access to education plays a significant role in expanding opportunities for all including women. However, majority of Chakma women remained illiterate due to poor socio-economic situation. Lack of schools adds to the problem. The percentage of dropout from primary school is high. The women and girls don’t have any income generating avenues like their counterparts of other communities. This leaves no option but to get married early. As a result, the number of girls getting married below the age of 18 years is high. Early marriage has a negative impact on the society. 39

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Misfortune to Hope: Journey so far

By Arunjit Chkama, New Delhi

Our misfortune started when we were made to be part of Pakistan without our consent. Chakmas were Buddhists and from the time of Independence, we wanted to be part of the Indian Union, which is why the Pakistani Government considered us as a threat. Then the decision of building a Dam on the river Karnaphuli by Erstwhile Pakistani Government displaced more than 30,000 Chakma people residing peacefully and prosperously since time immemorial. This so called Development project sealed our fate without our consent for a time which is so painful to think of, but that is not the end of our misfortune. The building of the dam in Chittagong Hill Tract was a deliberate attempt by the then Pakistani government to uproot and suppress the Chakmas.

sands of relationships were broken. Since then many families were torn apart and the tragedy of separation on the two sides of the border continue from generation to generation. Imagine if we would have had settled in Andaman and Nicobar or Bihar. But, we had a greater misfortune stored for us. We were living as loyal citizen of India and healing the wound of the great Exodus, still everything was almost fine with us. But, the creation of a full-fledged state of Arunachal Pradesh on 20 February 1987 turned ever thing upside down. Since then, the Chakma are treated as second class citizen with denial of the basic rights. I am hopeful that very soon the state Government of Arunachal Pradesh is going to recognise us as citizens. I hope that there will be a peaceful solution to vexed Chakma problem. I dream of prosperous Chakma community in Arunachal Pradesh where we are living in a great harmony with all the communities. I remember my grand-father telling me this painful story of all the Chakmas:

“Bohut somoy agey, ikko gazzot ikko pegay baa bani nei, sou phudiye. Ek din birat sile boyerey aecche-sei sile-boyeranot bekkun pharog oyon.” As a result, from 1964-1969 some 30,000 Chakmas started their journey of a greater misfortune to Arunachal Pradesh. Initially, all (The writer is the Organising Secretary, the Chakmas were to be settled in the district Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ of Lushai Hill (presently Mizoram) which did Union) not work out completely. The Indian government planned to settle us in Andaman and Nicobar Island, where we wanted not to go. Since we were Buddhists by religion, the Indian government wanted us to settle in the Gaya District of Bihar. Some Chakma families were taken to Bihar as well but due to cultural differences and climatic condition we didn’t stay there much. Finally, we choose to go to NEFA, present day Arunachal Pradesh. No words would be enough to express the pain and suffering we have gone through. Hundreds of people died in this journey, thou40

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Lack of income source driving the Chakmas to despair By Pulin Chakma

There are about 54000 Chakmas and Ha- the local markets.

In the absence of other income generating opportunities the local markets is the only ray of hope for the majority of the people. Whatever they cultivate in their small plots of land must be sold to buy other daily essentials for survival. They even have to spare some amount earned from selling products in the The economic conditions of the Chakmas markets to buy dresses for their children, school remain pitiable due to lack of income gener- fees, etc. ating avenues. Majority of them are poor and can qualify for being recognized as be- The situation becomes more challenging when the low poverty line (BPL) persons even if the local markets are closed due to some untoward incicentre’s controversial yardstick is applied on dents. These are the occasions when many families them. Sadly, the Chakmas remained out of have to go to bed hungry. the purview and public distribution system remains a dream since it has been with- One can only imagine the conditions of the poor drawn over two decades ago. The situation is Chakmas as price rise and inflation are worrying the becoming worst with every passing day as people across the country. the Chakmas are still treated untouchables jongs in Arunachal Pradesh as per the 2011 Special Survey of state government. They are found in three districts namely Changlang, Lohit and Papumpare. Majority are concentrated in Changlang district.

A view of the Diyun Bazaar, the only income source of the Chakmas and Hajongs

in the field of employment, jobs etc. Consequently, the Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh have to depend only on agriculture and by selling the agriculture products, poultry, fruits, handicrafts, etc in 41

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The Giant Elephant Vs the Tiny Layer Toad By

It was a summer day when a giant elephant was walking along the river bank of Rev. Bodhisopto the forest where a tiny layer toad was dwelling near the bank of the same river. The giant elephant encountered with the tiny layer toad while it was searching Chakma for leaves. Seeing the giant animal, the toad was shocked because he had never seen such a big animal in his life. He wanted to introduce himself to the giant elephant. He came near the elephant and croaked. The elephant, however, was very demeaning and didn't pay any attention to him. He was behaving as if he didn't hear anything though he knew that the toad was there under his feet waiting to talk with him. After many times of croaking by the toad, the giant elephant felt to pay a slight attention to know why he was so eager to talk with him. Somehow, the giant elephant made up his mind to talk with the tiny layer toad for a few minutes. The conversation, in fact, remained very impressive between the two. The giant elephant became friend of the tiny layer toad. From that day, they used to greet each other while they meet somewhere on the river side of the forest. One day, unfortunately, the giant elephant came over with full of ego as before and glanced at the toad by looking down upon his physical structure. The toad felt uneasy and was willing to know what the matter was. The elephant answered him, "you are so tiny and small creature compared to me who became a friend of mine". The giant elephant said, "you should be very proud my tiny friend, toad". Afterward, the toad challenged the giant elephant. The competition between two was a race. The giant elephant accepted the challenge eagerly. However, it was a big challenge for the toad. He needed to defeat him at any cost in order to reduce his ego and pride over his huge physical body. After all, the toad couldn't sleep all the night because he knows that the giant elephant can defeat him in a slight strike. In the morning, the tiny toad dressed up and got ready for the competition. On the other hand the giant elephant slept very gently without caring anything. Finally, they both came to the racing ground. They started running. The toad had no way to win in the race. Then, what the toad did was to jump over the elephant head while the giant elephant was running. He sat in his head comfortably and was ready to jump while the giant elephant will stop running. The giant elephant ran very fast and stopped at a certain place. The giant elephant didn't notice that the thin layer toad sat on his head. The toad jumped from his head ahead of the giant elephant. He was shocked discovering that he was not tired and ahead one step than him. Again, the gain elephant ran. In the same manner, the toad jumped over the head of the giant elephant. He did the same as before. Now, this time the giant elephant was very tired and weary too. He stopped somewhere. The toad jumped from his head before him one step ahead more. In this way, the giant elephant lost the race (competition). Moral: Right determination, effort, patient, wisdom, braveness and good will are the keys to success in life. For example, irrespective of the sizes the toad won the race due to strong determination. (Rev. Bodhisopto Chakma, Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy, Pallekele, Kundasale-20168 Kandy (Sri Lanka). He can be reached at: Email:bodhisopto@yahoo.com )

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Poetry As we’ll lose nothing As we’ve nothing By Punya Tannya Once, we were filled with glittered gold, And we were happy and bold, Big man had the glorious crown, His children basked in color in His rule’s own, But that’s gone, And bygone. Then, came the Independence of Bharat in 1947, Our firm hands got bitten by rats and snatched our heaven, Kaptai Hydel Project popped up, Forced mind and body wore hand-cuffs, Uprooted, shattered we were in our own land. Then,….trains stepped “daan daan sol sol….”Grandma told, That brought us to unknown land. “1964-Journey”- Many a times this were retold. Now she is no more And regretfully and most probably, will hear it no more. In different regions, we’re put up; Some given the share; and many more not named yet; Law was won, but still we need to energized ourselves and wake up To the inhuman, biased State’s tactics and let’s put our heart and mind to bet; Standing up strong, looking the logic…..that’s clear; And gives farewell to fear; As we’ll lose nothing. As we’ve nothing.

1. Here Big Man equals to King/Queen under whom the prosperity of the chakma people were at highest prosperity and harmonious level. 2.“daan daan sol sol: sounds of the train that carried the displaced tribals (here the chakmas) 3. Heaven: Once Chakmas prosperous land in which the people of the land were at the happiest level. 4. mind and body wore hand-cuffs: This indicate the very atrocitious, henious, indifferent’s State behavior towards the indigenous tribal people of the CHT (after the Independence of Bharat in 1947).

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Poetry

Bizu Bizu ajer bizu ajer, Pekkon dogoron sig sig sig. Monane har mor bizu lakke, Somassi loge milem chit. Gellei barat bizu lakke Bana endi undi jeyong mui No no somassi lagat peinei Bari huji along sekke mui. Abar jani hi obo Bizu aro 1 mash 10 din Monane hor mor gorot jebar Poroni somasiloi dega obar. Bizu abo bizu jebo patti bojorot Patti bajar bizu hebar haito sambob na Jidu tedong sath mui bizu olo mor poran Poran sari notem mui eyen mui sang . . .!

By Rajib Chakma Bangalore Law College

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The Chakma Students’ Voice, Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013


Poetry

Changma Ami Jaat Bhei Bhoon Changma Ami. Ajaw Sangh Samarey Mili Juli Ami. Jei Ami School lot Bhoi –Kaloom Dowri. Lekha Powri Abong Ami Gyani –Guni. Arow Anibong Naw Phor Changma Jaatta Ami. Maad Kanji Na Habong Ami. Buddho Pancha Niti Palaiy Tebong Ami. Hojjei Hailanggha Na Goribong Ami. Adey Adey Dwora Dhujjie Gowri Sulipirbong Ami. Meeya Dwiyee Rega Banibong Ami. Adamme Adamme Bereybong, ek Samarey Changma Meeye Geet Gebong. Bowro – Buri Rey Seva Pujo Gowribong. Sigoon Pow rey School lot Jebatei Utsha Dibong. Ek Din Ami Arunachal lot,Sona Oakkoloi Nang Ligeebong! By Bhante Mangaljyoti, Buddha Smriti Park, Patna Bihar

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Poetry

CHANGMA SAWBON (1)

CHANGMA SAWBON (2)

Aami Changma, Nodorebong harore, nou ahreibong ridisudom, Ujei jebong somare.

Begeh mili goribong haam, Deshjaadottei, Monobol nou ahreibong, jebong mujunge ujei.

Nou ahreibong Dharma-karma, Nou lugeibong Jaat, Goribong desh-jador kam, jobibong aamar maat. Buddho dharma sangha, lawbong tinen nang, Inshe-pishum rakh-huttri, pelei bekkani, Harore duz nodee, goribong nijor haam. Joda awi ujei jebong, goribong gawm kamani. Sukh-balet piri ebaw, ekjoda awi haam Baji tebong juk-juk duri, pittimi bugot, golleh, Jador nang bajeibong, nou poribong gullot. Bekkune pire pebong, jaat bei-bon mari dileh. Jagi udi bei-bonlok notebong arh gumot Jage-jag mili, lamibong aami field-ot. Lega sigi sikkita awbong, dharmoi awbong dhoni, Jaat bei-bon andarot agon, ahgon ahh dugot Sheel samadhi pragyaloi, awbong aami puri, guni-gyani. Uddar guri tarare aami, bekkune mili. Changma awnei baji tebong, dibong Nodorebong guli-bomb, nodorebong harore, boudho porichoi, Nolamibong pijedi aami, ujebong mujunge. Goribong jador baledi haam, nou awbong porajai. Iddur legi begawttun, parok ongor ebarot, Begaw sidu hojoli rawlaw, lagi tedong somajaw Bharot-Bangla jotaw changma ahgee, hamot. nou awbong sesh, Juddo gori bejattoi, benebong changmar Legar bul awle buji loyoh thik gurinei, sonar desh. puro guri parok awlung patturu-turu dinei. Changma bei-bonun, jara jadon Composed by: jadawttun durot sorei, ~~~ Ven. Dhammalankar Bhikkhu, New Pirei anibong tarare aami, changam biDelhi~~~ jawgor hoda sunei. on dated 30-12-2012. Biyong-duri baadol-duri, goribong aami juddo, Banebong changmar desh, awbong dugottun mukto.

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Poetry

Dawraw-maraw awi begeh, songisamasse ujulei, Esseteh iddur legi, lolung begawttun bidei. ~~~By Ven. Dhammalankar Bhikkhu<https://www.facebook.com/ dhammalankar.bhikkhu? group_id=0>, New Delhi~~~ on dated 31-12-2012

Bugor looh dali dinei, desh pei jeyondoi. Nou doreyoh bei-bonlok, monot sahoj tulo, Pawre sugei tebar sele, dhaandi begeh bugor looh. Lega-pora sigi aami, dawraw-mawraw awi, Desh-or lai juddo gori, bharot sorkarloi. Sugei tebong shanti-e tebong, desh judi pei, Ajhi-rownge din hadebong, bei-bon-or mu sei. Ekdin ebaw sei din, ajhi-rowngor somoibow, Ikkettun duri jugol awi, awbong begeh aami hammo.

CHANGMA SAWBON (3) Hala megh nou utteh guri, gujuribo debha, Gurung-garang bondugo raw, suno jebaw goda.

Iddur legi baledhi hoda, bidei long-or ebar, Hojoli regeim begaw sidhu, gawme dale buji lobar. Pori-puroi buji palleh, bari gawm awbaw, Eh dogeh haam golle, legana sattowk awbaw.

Goli-bomb purei geleh, biyong-baadol doribong, Sahoj tuli ujei geleh, aami jidibong.

Composed By:~~~Ven. Dhammalankar

Jaga nei arh jebar dei, honaw dejot arh, Jaat bei-bon joda awi, juddot laami ebar.

Thank you.

Bugor looh dali dinei, desh baneibong, Awlor gori buji tele, hissu nopebong. Hammo awbar joda awbar, ikke aamar somoi, Dugot puri hoi din tebong, pebong ahh hoi bojor?

With Metta, Dhammalankar Bhikkhu New Delhi. Mob. +91-9910532264.

Bugor looh dalidi, desh pebar seleh, Sigon guro-o nohanon, hissu naw-awle. Hugigune juddo gosson, bharot sorkarloi, 47

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Poetry UDAIPUR OF MY DREAM Udaipur, dear Udaipur of my dream here is where I want to be And here I have always been, At my end, here is where I will sleep. tell me Where are you? You are between Rajangpani and Dehing Simple rivers made of fishers More than that you are in the centre of my spirit. Udaipur, dear Udaipur of my dream now I am away from you, Please don't cry for me dear mother, I will come back soon. Now I am away from home, Though I am far from you But I am always with you Udaipur, dear Udaipur of my dream Many are leaving, leaving for other, But I am still with you where you are, with my family and relatives Is where I will always be? My Udaipur is my America. Udaipur, dear Udaipur of my dream We are living towards you, We are working towards that, A better Udaipur, a great Udaipur! This is Udaipur of my dream, Udaipur, dear Udaipur of my dream Request keeps to all residents To protect it from damage because udaipur is the land of heart and inspiration. This land is your land. This land is my land This land was made for you and me.

By Sujit Bikash Chakma New Delhi 48

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Poetry

Ki hor say tay? O bap-vai jhum jagar jummagon Potte ole ki hoda ki hoi say Hobor pow ni tumi ajole ki hor Ikka gome babisow tumi . Ikku hoda patturu gorle hoi jai Bana mijel-hojal gondutanu dokkai Iyan hi olo jodobode hijeni Roge dorlow nahi gergek gori . O jhum chaj gorje elor manew Hi hor te bekkone ikka shunow Shuni teye hodani sunine holung o:hoda No dow bujangorte manew ! Jhum jagar jhummoye jodobode pottar Ah hi obode say etar Jhum no.goron bile vak nahi tara Buji dow no.rongor ah ! Jhum ah.jhum gorje vak no.bartai Lega poriyegon mabi mabi hoda how Shohor-ah.shohor monor ikkan hoda obattai Pallat mabonne dokke ting ting gorow . O sikkitow maneun bujisaw moskari noi Ikkettun dori hamod lagow Lagede lagede jodobode lagede Gom banne nijo jattor hoda lagede. -0-

By Mithun Chakma

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Digboi Chakma Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union - Leading a motivated vision

By DCSU The Digboi Chakma Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Union (DCSU), formed on 10 June 2010, is a student body of Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh studying in Digboi town in Tinsukia district of Assam. Presently, 110 students are studying in different fields and different classes in various schools across Digboi. Some of the colleges and schools where the Chakma students are studying include - Digboi College, Women College, R.D Junior College, the Little Star, Vivekananda Kendriya Vidyalaya and Rashtriya Vidyalaya. The DCSU is constituted to safeguard and further the interests of its members, to strengthen and promote unity, integrity and understanding and to enhance socio-cultural, DCSU Members educational development of the students. All the members of DCSU hold strong and motivated vision to become responsible citizens to serve the country in general and in particular and every student every year. The contributions our community. received are used by the students when there is The moto of the members is always to strive financial problem during admission, form fill up, hard to build a strong bond through dedi- health problems and in emergency cases which are cated teamwork to develop own potential and unavoidable. make the best use of the available opportunities in social, political and academics so that 3) Union provides financial assistance to students one can face the challenges and step up the which shall have to be refunded in within a given time. Financial assistance is provided to members ladder in life. only after an application is submitted to the PresiThe DCSU undertakes many activities for the dent or General Secretary with an undertaking welfare of its members and for realization of that the money given shall be refunded in a given a progressive society. Some of the activities period of time. are described below:

4) DCSU rewards students who secure high per1) Union itself suggest being one or united for centage in his/her academic final year exam rethe welfare of the students with cordial rela- sults. tionship among each other in which special attentions are given such that respect plays 5) Every year, at the end of academic session, the an important role among seniors and juniors. DCSU organizes a farewell programme for the outgoing students especially to the TDC (three year degree course) students as a respect to them. 2) There is a collection of money from each 50

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6) DCSU also organises cultural activities and encourages its members to participate in various cultural programs held in colleges and schools during college week or school week programme every year. 7) The Union encourages the students to participate in various workshops like arts and crafts, workshop on entry in service etc to hone up their skills. 8) DCSU proposed a career counseling program to be held every year in particular for final year students. It will help the students to know and choose the right options. Discussions for organizing the programe are under process. The current office bearers of the DCSU is as under: •

Mr Dineshwar Chakma (President)

Mr Karunajyoti Chakma (Vice-President)

Mr Karmananda Chakma (General Secretary)

Mr Medankar Chakma (Vice-President)

Mr Lachit Mohan Chakma (Organizer)

Miss Indra Rani Chakma and Mr. Pronay Chakma (Cultural Secretaries)

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Landmark Supreme Court Judgment on the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh National Human Rights Commission vs State Of Arunachal Pradesh & Anr on 9 January, 1996 Equivalent citations: 1996 AIR 1234, 1996 SCC (1) 742 Author: Ahmadi Bench: A A. PETITIONER: Source of this judgment: http:// NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION indiankanoon.org/doc/767216/ Vs. RESPONDENT: STATE OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH & ANR DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/01/1996 BENCH: AHMADI A.M. (CJ) BENCH: AHMADI A.M. (CJ) SEN, S.C. (J) CITATION: 1996 AIR 1234 1996 SCC (1) 742 JT 1996 (1) 163 1996 SCALE (1)155 ACT: HEADNOTE: JUDGMENT: JUDGMENT AHMADI, CJI This public interest petition, being a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, has been filed by the National Human Rights Commission (hereinafter called "NHRC") and seeks to enforce the rights, under Article 21 of the Constitution, of about 65,000 Chakma/Hajong tribals (hereinafter called "Chakmas"). It is alleged that these Chakmas, settled mainly in the State of Arunachal Pradesh, are being persecuted by sections of the citizens of Arunachal Pradesh. The first respondent is the State of Arunachal Pradesh and the second respondent is the State of Arunachal Pradesh and the second respondent is the Union of India. The NHRC has been set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (No.10 of 1994). Section 18 of this Act empowers the NHRC to approach this Court in appropriate cases. The factual matrix of the case may now be referred to. A large number of Chakmas from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) were displaced by the Kaptai Hydel Power Project in 1964. They had taken shelter in Assam and Tripura. Most of them were settled in these States and became Indian citizens in due course of time. Since a large number of refugees had taken shelter in Assam, the State Government had expressed its inability to rehabilitate all of them and requested assistance in this regard from certain other States. Thereafter, in consultation with the erstwhile NEFA administration (North East Frontier Agency - now Arunachal Pradesh), about 4,012 Chakmas were settled in parts of NEFA. They were also allotted some land in consultation with local tribals. The Government of India had also sanctioned rehabilitation assistance @ Rs.4,200/per family. The present population of Chakmas in Arunachal Pradesh is estimated to be around 65,000. The issue of conferring citizenship on the Chakmas was considered by the second respondent from time to time. The Minister of State for Home Affairs has on several occasions expressed the intention of the second respondent in this regard. Groups of Chakmas have represented to the petitioner that they have made representations for the grant of citizenship under Section 5(1)(a) of the Citizenship Act, 1955 (hereinafter called "The Act") before their local Deputy 52

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Commissioners but no decision has been communicated to them. In recent years, relations between citizens of them. In recent years, relations between citizens of Arunachal Pradesh and the Chakmas have deteriorated, and the latter have complained that they are being subjected to repressive measures with a view to forcibly expelling them from the State of Arunachal Pradesh. On September 9,1994, the People's Union for Civil Liberties, Delhi brought this issue to the attention of the NHRC which issued letters to the Chief Secretary, Arunachal Pradesh and the Home Secretary, Government of India making enquiries in this regard. On September 30, 1994, the Chief Secretary, of Arunachal Pradesh faxed a reply stating that the situation was totally under control and adequate police protection had been given to the Chakmas. On October 15, 1994, the Committee for Citizenship Rights of the Chakmas (hereinafter called "The CCRC") filed a representation with the NHRC complaining of the persecution of the Chakmas. The petition contained a press report carried in "The Telegraph dated August 26, 1994 stating that the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (hereinafter called "AAPSU") had issued "quit notices" to all alleged foreigners, including the Chakmas, to leave the State by September 30,1995. The AAPSU had threatened to use force if its demand was not acceded to. The matter was treated as a formal complaint by the NHRC and on October 28, 1994, it issued notices to the first and the second respondents calling for their reports on the issue. On November 22,1994, the Ministry of Home Affairs sent a note to the petitioner reaffirming its intention of granting citizenship to the Chakmas. It also pointed out that Central Reserve Forces had been deployed in response to the threat of the AAPSU and that the State Administration had been directed to ensure the protection of the Chakmas. On December 7,1994, the NHRC directed the first and second respondents to appraise it of the steps taken to protect the Chakmas. This direction was ignored till September,1995 despite the sending of reminders. On September 25,1995, the first respondent filed an interim reply and asked for time of four weeks' duration to file a supplementary report. The first respondent did not, however, comply with its own deadline. On October 12,1995 and again on October 28,1995, the CCRC sent urgent petitions to the NHRC alleging immediate threats to the lives of the Chakmas. On October 29,1995, the NHRC recorded a prima facie conclusion that the officers of the officers of the first respondent were acting in coordination with the AAPSU with a view to expelling the Chakmas from the State of Arunachal Pradesh. The NHRC stated that since the first respondent was delaying the matter, and since it had doubts as to whether its own efforts would be sufficient to sustain the Chakmas in their own habitat, it had decided to approach this Court to seek appropriate reliefs. On November 2, 1995, this Court issued an interim order directing the first respondent to ensure that the Chakmas situated in its territory are not ousted by any coercive action, not in accordance with law. We may now refer to the stance of the Union of India, the second respondent, on the issue. It has been pointed out that, in 1964, pursuant to extensive discussions between the Government of India and the NEFA administration, It was decided to send the Chakmas for the purposes of their resettlement to the territory of the present day Arunachal Pradesh. The Chakmas have been residing in Arunachal Pradesh for more than three decades, having developed close social, religious and economic ties. To uproot them at this stage would be both impracticable and inhuman. Out attention has been drawn to a Joint Statement issued by the Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh at New Delhi in February, 1972, pursuant to which the Union Government had conveyed to all the States concerned, It's decision to confer citizenship on the Chakmas, in accordance with Section 5(1)(a) of the Act. The second respondent further states that the children of the Chakmas, who where born in India prior to the amendment of the Act in 1987, would have legitimate claims to citizenship. According to the Union of India, the first respondent has been expressing reservations on this account. By not forwarding the applications submitted by the Chakmas along with their reports for grant of citizenship as required by Rule 9 of the Citizenship Rules, 1955, the officers of the first respondent are preventing the Union of India from considering the issue of citizenship of the Chakmas. We are further informed that the Union of India

is actively considering the issue of citizenship and has recommended to the first respondent that it take all 53

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necessary steps for providing security to the Chakmas. To this end, Central para-military forces have been made available for deployment in the strife-ridden areas. The Union Government favours a dialogue between the State Government, the Chakmas and all concerned within the State to amicably resolve the issue of granting citizenship to the Chakmas while also redressing the genuine grievances of the citizens of Arunachal Pradesh. The first respondent, in its counter to the petition, has contended before us that the allegations of violation of human rights are incorrect; that it has taken bona fide and sincere steps towards providing the Chakmas with basic amenities and has, to the best of its ability, protected their lives and properties. It is further contended that the issue of citizenship of the Chakmas has been conclusively determined by the decision of this Court in State of Arunachal Pradesh v. Khudiram Chakmas (1994 Supp. (1) SCC 615 - hereinafter called "Khudiram Chakma's case"). It is therefore contended that since the Chakmas are foreigners, they are not entitled to the protection of fundamental rights except Article 21. This being so, the authorities may, at any time, ask the Chakmas to move. They also have the right to ask the Chakmas to quit the state, if they so desire. According to the first respondent, having lost their case in this Court, the Chakmas have "raised a bogey of violation of human rights." The first respondent has filed a counter to the stand taken by the Union of India. The first respondent denies that the Union of India had sent the CRPF Battalions of its own accord; according to it, they were sent pursuant to its letter dated 20.9.1994 asking for assistance. It has also denied that certain Chakmas were killed on account of economic blockades effected by the AAPSU; according to it, these casualties were the result of a malarial epidemic. The first respondent reiterates that the sue queriers Constitutional position of the State debars it from permitting outsiders to be settled within its territory, that it has limited resources and that its economy is mainly dependent on the vagaries of nature; and that it has no financial resources to tend to the needs of the Chakmas having already spent approximately Rs.100 crores on their upkeep. It has also been stated that the Union of India has refused to share its financial responsibility for the upkeep of the Chakmas. Referring to the issue of grant of citizenship it is submitted as follows: "It is submitted that under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Rules made there under a specific procedure is provided for forwarding the application for grant of citizenship. According to that after receiving the application, the DC of the area makes necessary enquiries about the antecedents of the applicant and after getting a satisfactory report forwards the case to the State Government which in turn forwards it to the Central Government. It is submitted that on enquiry if the report is adverse the DC would not forward it further. It is submitted that the applications, if any, made in this regard have already been disposed of after necessary enquiry. There is no application pending before the DC." It may be pointed out that this stand of the first respondent is in direct contravention of the stand adopted by it in the representation dated September 25,1995, submitted by it to the NHRC where it had stated: "The question of grant of citizenship is entirely governed by the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Central Government is the sole authority to grant citizenship. The State Government has no jurisdiction in the matter." It is further submitted by the first respondent that under the Constitution, the State of Arunachal Pradesh enjoys a special status and, bearing in mind its ethnicity, it has been declared that it would be administered under Part X of the Constitution. That is the reason why laws and regulations applicable during the British Regime continue to apply even today. The settlement of Chakmas in large numbers in the State would disturb its ethnic balance and destroy its culture and identity. The special provisions made in the Constitution would be set at naught if the State's tribal population is allowed to be invaded by people from outside. The tribals, therefore, consider Chakmas as a potential threat to their tradition and culture and are therefore, keen that the latter do not entrench themselves in the State. Besides, the financial resources of the State without Central assistance, which is ordinarily not forthcoming, would throw a heavy burden on the State which it would find 54

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find well nigh impossible to bear. In the circumstances, contends the first respondent, it is unfair and unconstitutional to throw the burden of such a large number of Chakmas on the State. We are unable to accept the contention of the first respondent that no threat Exists to the life and liberty of the Chakmas guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution, and that it has taken adequate steps to ensure the protection of the Chakmas. After handling the present matter for more than a year, the NHRC recorded a prima facie finding that the service of quit notices and their admitted enforcement appeared to be supported by the officers of the first respondent. The NHRC further held that the first respondent had, on the one hand, delayed the disposal of the matter by not furnishing the required response and had, on the other hand, sought to enforce the eviction of the Chakmas through its agencies. It is to be noted that, at no time, has the first respondent sought to condemn the activities of the AAPSU. However, the most damning facts against the first respondent are to be found in the counter affidavit of the second respondent. In the assessment of the Union of India, the threat posed by the AAPSU was grave enough to warrant the placing of two additional battalions of CRPF at the disposal of the State Administration. Whether it was done at the behest of the State Government or by the Union on its own is of on consequence; the fact that it had become necessary speaks for itself. The second respondent further notes that after the expiry of the deadline of October 30,1994, the AAPSU and other tribal student organisations continued to agitate and press for the expulsion of all foreigners including the Chakmas. It was reported that the AAPSU had started enforcing of economic blockades on the refugee camps, which adversely affected the supply of rations, medical and essential facilities, etc., to the Chakmas. Of course the State Government has denied the allegation, but the independent inquiry of the NHRC shows otherwise. The fact that the Chakmas were dying on account of the blockade for want of medicines is an established fact. After reports regarding lack of medical facilities and the spread of malaria and dysentery in Chakma settlements were received, the Union Government advised the first respondent to ensure normal supplies of essential commodities to the Chakma settlement. On September 20, 1995 the AAPSU, once again, issued an ultimatum citing December 31, 1995 as the fresh deadline for the ousting of Chakmas. This is yet another threat which the first respondent has not indicated how it proposes to counter. It is, therefore, clear that there exists a clear and present danger to the lives and personal liberty of the Chakmas. In Louis De Raedt v. Union of India [(1991) 3 SCC 554] and Khudiram Chakma's case this court held that foreigners are entitled to the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution. The contention of the first respondent that the ruling of this Court in Khudiram Chakma's case has foreclosed the consideration of the citizenship of Chakmas is misconceived. The facts of that case reveal that the appellant and 56 families migrated to India in 1964 from erstwhile East Pakistan and were lodged in the Government Refugee Camp at Ledo. They were later shifted to another camp at Miao. In 1966, the State Government drew up the Chakma Resettlement Scheme for refugees and the Chakmas were allotted lands in two villages. The appellant, however, strayed out and secured land in another area by private negotiations. The State questioned the legality of the said transaction since under the Regulations then in force, no person other than a native of that District could acquire land in it. Since there were complaints against the appellant and others who had setteled on this land, the State, by order dated February 15, 1984, directed that they shift to the area earmarked for them. This order was challenged on the ground that Chakmas who had settled there were citizens of India and by seeking their forcible eviction, the State was violating their fundamental rights and, in any case, the order was arbitrary and illegal as violative of the principles of natural justice. On the question of citizenship, they invoked section 6-A of the Act which, inter alia, provides that all persons of Indian origin who came before January 1, 1966 to Assam from territories included in Bangladesh immediately before the commencement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1985, and who had been ordinarily resident in Assam since their entry into Assam shall be deemed to be citizens of India as from January 1, 1966. Others who had come to Assam after that date and before March 25, 1971, and had been detected to be foreigners, could register themselves. It will thus be seen that the appellant and others claimed citizenship under this special provision made pursuant to the Assam Accord. The High Court held that the appellant and others did not fall under the said category as they had stayed in Assam for a short period in 1964 and had strayed away therefrom in the area now within the State of Arunachal Pradesh. On appeal, this Court affirmed that view. It is, therefore, clear that in that case, the Court was required to consider the claim of citizenship based on the language of Section 6-A of the Act. Thus, in Khudiram Chakma's case, this Court was seized of a matter where 57 Chakma families were seeking to challenge an order requiring them to vacate land bought by them in direct contravene55

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ntion. of clause 7 of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The issue of citizenship was raised in a narrower context and was limited to Section 6-A(2) of the Act. The Court observed that the Chakmas in that case, who were resident in Arunachal Pradesh, could not avail of the benefit of Section 6A of the Act which is a special provision for the citizenship of persons covered by the Assam Accord. In the present case, the Chakmas are seeking to obtain citizenship under Section 5(1)(a) of the Act, where the considerations are entirely different. That section provides for citizenship by registration. It says that the prescribed authority may, on receipt of an application in that behalf, register a person who is not a citizen of India, as a citizen of India if he/she satisfies the conditions set out therein. This provision is of general application and is not limited to persons belonging to a certain group only as in the case of Section 6-A. Section 5, therefore, can be invoked by persons who are not citizens of India but are seeking citizenship by registration. Such applications would have to be in the form prescribed by part II of the Citizenship Rules, 1956 (hereinafter called "The Rules"). Under Rule 7, such application has to be made to the Collector within whose jurisdiction the applicant is ordinarily resident. Rule 8 describes the authority to register a person as a citizen of India under Section 5(1) of the Act. It says that the authority to register a person as a citizen of India shall be an officer not below the rank of a Deputy Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and also includes such officer as the Central Government may, by a notification in the Official Gazette, appoint and in any other case falling under the Rules, any officer not below the rank of a Joint Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and also includes such other officer as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. Rule 9 next enjoins the Collector to transmit every application received by him under Section 5(1)(a) to the Central Government through the State Government or the Union Territory administration, as the case may be, along with a report on matters set out in clauses (a) to (e) thereof. Rule 10 provides for issuance of a certificate to be granted to persons registered as citizens and Rules 11 and 12 provide for maintenance of registers. These are the relevant rules in regard to registration of persons as citizens of India. From what we have said hereinbefore, there is no doubt that the Chakmas who migrated from East-Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1964, first settled down in the State of Assam and then shifted to areas which now fall within the State of Arunachal Pradesh. They have settled there since the last about two and a half decades and have raised their families in the said State. Their children have married and they too have had children. Thus, a large number of them were born in the State itself. Now it is proposed to uproot them by force. The AAPSU has been giving out threats to forcibly drive them out to the neighboring State which in turn is unwilling to accept them. The residents of the neighboring State have also threatened to kill them if they try to enter their State. They are thus sandwiched between two forces, each pushing in opposite direction which can only hurt them. Faced with the prospect of annihilation the NHRC was moved, which finding it impossible to extend protection to them, moved this Court for certain reliefs. By virtue of their long and prolonged stay in the State the Chakmas who migrated to, and those born in the State, seek citizenship under the Constitution read with Section 5 of the Act. We have already indicated earlier that if a person satisfies the requirements of Section 5 of the Act, he/she can be registered as a citizen of India. The procedure to be followed in processing such requests has been outlined in Part II of the Rules. We have adverted to the relevant rules hereinbefore. According to these rules, the application for registration has to be made in the prescribed form, duly affirmed, to the Collector within whose jurisdiction he resides. After the application is so received, the authority to register a person as a citizen of India is vested in the officer named under Rule 8 of the Rules. Under Rule 9, the Collector is expected to transmit every application under Section 5(1) (a) of the Act to the Central Government. On a conjoint reading of Rules a and 8 and 9 it becomes clear that the Collector has merely to receive the application and forward it to the Central Government. It is only the authority constituted under Rule 8 which is empowered to register a person as a citizen of India. It follows that only that authority can refuse to entertain an application made under Section 5 of the Act. Yet it is an admitted fact that after receipt of the application, the Deputy Collector (DC) makes an enquiry and if the report is adverse, the DC refuses to forward the application; in other words, he rejects the application at the threshold and does not forward it to the Central Government. The grievance of the Central Government is that since the DC does not forward the applications, it is not in a position to take a decision whether or not to register the person as a citizen of India. That is why it is said that the DC or Collector, who receives the application should be directed to forward the same to the Central Government to enable it to decide the request on merits. It is obvious that by refusing to forward the applications of the Chakmas to the Central Government, the DC is failing in his duty and is also preventing the Central Government from performing its duty under the Act and the Rules. 56

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About The Students’ Voice The Chakma Students’ Voice is a newsletter of the Chakma Students of Aruanachal Pradesh. This is the first issue jointly published by Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union (APCSU) and Arunachal Chakma News (ACN). It is probably the first ever newsletter of the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh reporting exclusively on Chakma students’ and other important issues concerning the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chakma Students’ Voice reports the issues and problems of the Chakmas students of Arunachal Pradesh studying within the state and outside. The newsletter also focuses other myriads issues of concern facing the Chakmas of Arunachal Pradesh in particular and of other states in general. The Chakma Students’ Voice will act as a platform for the Chakma students of Arunachal Pradesh to bring out to the fore the problems being faced by them for objective discussions as well as to find solutions. The newsletter will also give the much needed platform to raise the otherwise unheard voices of the Chakmas of Arunachal and also to raise awareness about rights for the betterment of our society. The Chakma Students’ Voice will also help in building links with the Chakmas of other parts of India and the world. The newsletter is available both in print and online editions. Readers can visit http://apcsu.wordpress.com/ for more details.

Acknowledgement There are many individuals including members APCSU & ACN who contributed to the development of this newsletter including our well-wishers on social media such as Facebook for their valued time and feedbacks. Last but not the least, the management team who forms the base of this initiative. We would like to sincerely thank them all for their constant support and assistance directly or indirectly to successfully bring out this newsletter. We also extend our apologies to those for inability to include their articles in this issue due to want of space.

Published by:

Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students’ Union, New Delhi & Arunachal Chakma News, Diyun

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Arunachal Pradesh Chakma Students voice - Vol. I, Issue No. 1, April 2013