Apparent saffronisation imprint on tribal Arunachal amid political upheaval

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Arunachal Pradesh, January 9, 2017: With the recent merger of Pema Khandu-led People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA) into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the saffron party has grabbed the power in Arunachal Pradesh for the second time without winning elections. In 2003, BJP was briefly in power after Congress MLAs merged into BJP.

Even though a backdoor entry, the BJP has managed to come to power by manoeuvring out Congress as the grand old party bitterly failed to hold its flock together.

Party president, Tapir Gao recently claimed that by removing Congress from the power in Arunachal, they are marching towards the aim of Congress free India. BJP does deserve credit for playing a patient game and finally succeeded to form government in Arunachal. Now that they have succeeded in their dream of forming the government, huge responsibilities lie on their shoulders. Especially, people will look upto BJP stalwarts, like Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and party president Tapir Gao.

For the last two years, development has taken a backseat due to political instability. At the same time, it is also a big issue for debate whether it is ethical for a democratically elected candidate with people’s mandate in favour of a particular political party to switch over parties at the drop of a hat. It is up to the Arunachal electorates to judge whether the regional political parties are merging with the national parties just to satisfy their power lust or is it really going to bring any noticeable change.

There is growing unrest among people especially, the Arunachalee youths are unhappy with the activities of politicians. Rate of unemployment is constantly rising. Large chunk of youths depend on petty contract work for survival but over the last two years, due to fund crunch it has been badly affected. Now with friendly government in the state, people will be hoping that funds from the Central government will not be a cause of concern.

The people of Arunachal will be carefully watching every step taken by the BJP government with interest. RSS, the mentor of BJP, plays a crucial role in the functioning of its government. RSS has always divided people’s opinion. While its supporters claim that it is a nationalistic organization, its critics allege it to be a communal organization working for Hindu Rashtra (country). But there is no denying that RSS is very powerful and sets the agenda for BJP government. It is here that tribal Arunachalee politicians representing BJP will have to play a crucial role.

There is every possibility that BJP’s associates like RSS, VHP, Bajrang Dal etc. would try to impose their agenda in Arunachal. RSS considers Arunachal as crucial state and has been building up the grassroot support for years. They see a great opportunity to counter growth of Christianity in North-East India via Arunachal. They have failed to do so in other tribal dominated states like Nagaland and Mizoram. There is nothing wrong in them trying to spread their influence but it should not be done at the cost of dividing Arunachalee people on religious and ethnic line.

Religion has never been an issue in Arunachal and people give more importance to clan and tribe identity than religion. In fact, Arunachal must be the only place on this earth where in the same family an elder brother can be a Christian, younger a Hindu and some members Donyi Polo believer. We have been brought up to respect every religion. During Durga Puja and Diwali, we see more number of participants as tribal people. It is the only place where a Beef restaurant is located just opposite to a Hindu temple and where Muslim men sell chicken sitting nearby a tribal woman selling pork.

It is not that everything is rosy here. We have this huge dislike for non-tribal people over certain issues but we have managed to live harmoniously with them. Among tribals also there is some mistrust and we do not lose an opportunity to back bite. But despite all the differences, we have learned to live together. There are certain values and ideas like ‘live and let others live happily’, which have been passed down to us from our elders. Even the most difficult and communally sensitive Pradeep Thakur issue could not dent the tribal brotherhood.

The politicians should strive hard to preserve these values and do not let outsiders disrupt our peaceful atmosphere. People of Arunachal will be hoping that the young Chief Minister Pema Khandu will strongly safeguard Arunachal from outside threat. Onus also lies on powerful leaders like Kiren Rijiju and Tapir Gao to ensure that divisive forces are not allowed to play major role in Arunachal.

The moment, the BJP government came to power, a retired IAS officer from mainland India who has served in Arunachal called me and said, “I really hope your politicians will stand up against those associates of BJP which are known for spreading hatred. Here in mainland India we know that they play the communal card for electoral gain. If they were serious enough, Ram Mandir should have been built in Ayodhya long time ago. Arunachalee tribal people are very emotive and any attempt to divide people on religious and ethnic lines will have huge psychological effect.”

A person from mainland India has given us first warning and now it is up to our respected politicians to heed the warning and the concerned citizens of the state to remind our political representatives about troubles in the offing.

– arunachal times

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