Arunachal boasts of cancer medicine Mishmi Teeta
North-East India, based around the Himalayan landscape is historically, culturally and environmentally, distinct from the rest of India. Each of the eight states of Northeast--Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim has unique age-old culture and traditions and lifestyles that offer vast scope for tourism, researchers and wonders.
Arunachal Pradesh is one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots and known as 'Paradise of the Botanists' for which Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Group had planned to set up the world's largest botanical garden in Seijosa sub-division of East Kameng district. This was welcomed by the local people, I wrote on March 17, 2017.
The state spreads in 83,743 square kms swears by a wonder herb Mishmi Teeta or Coptis Teeta, that can't be found anywhere else on earth. The bitter plant, locals claim, can cure almost anything. But when her mother Gutitun was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, Basamlu Krisikro went beyond the herb " that derives its name from her ethnic group Mishmi.
She had begun giving her mother a daily cup of organic green tea sourced from a niche estate near Roing town in Lower Dibang Valley district. But it wasn't always convenient for her to travel miles to get the chemical-free beverage. So Basamlu, 39, decided to grow tea in the backyard of her house at Wakro, writes journalist Rahul Karmakar, I flashed it globally through Asia News International on 07.05.13.
Globally, 1 out of 6 people dies due to cancer every year. The International Agency for Research on Cancer released an updated GLOBOCAN 2020 (global cancer data) on 14.12,20 with new estimates on the global cancer burden, indicating that it has risen to 19.3 million cases and 10 million cancer deaths in 2020.
However, Arunachal Pradesh had registered the 2nd highest stomach cancer cases in the world after China while this state also has the highest number of liver cancer patients in India. This has been attributed to high consumption of smoked meat and fermented food, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) experts, who advise lifestyle change as a panacea to check the disease.
Assam, spread in 78,438 km2, linked by 22-km Siliguri Corridor or Chicken's Neck with the rest of India is the gateway of Northeast. The state boasts of tea, Assam silk, oil drilling begun in Asia first, famous for one-horned Indian rhinoceros, water buffalo, pygmy hog, tigers and Asian elephants while feral horses are found in Dibru-Sikhowa National Park.
Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park are World Heritage Sites while Brahmaputra River, the live give of the region, whose tributaries and oxbow lakes provide the region with a hydro-geomorphic environment.
Manipur, spread in 22,327 square kilometers is primarily an agrarian economy with significant hydroelectric power generation potential. Manipur, home to many sports where Manipuri dance originated and credited with introducing Polo to Europeans. There is a daily flight from the capital Imphal.
Manipur has been at the crossroads of Asian economic and cultural exchange for more than 2,500 years. It has long connected the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia to Southeast Asia, China, (or East Asia), Siberia (Russia), Micronesia and Polynesia, enabling migration of people, cultures and religions.
Meitai around 53% of the state population is a major ethnic group followed by various Naga tribes (24%) and Kuki-Zo tribes (16%). Manipur Kingdom joined with India with King Maharaj Budhachandra signed an Instrument of Accession on 11.08.47.
This merger was disputed later by groups who claimed it without consensus and under duress that led to insurgency and violence among ethnic groups and over 1000 people were killed in violence during 2009 to 2018 despite following Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sanamahism, Buddhism & Judaism religions.
Meghalaya, spread in 22,430 km2 known as "Abode of Clouds", which was named by Brithshers as "Scotland of the East". The state with 70% of its area under forest cover is the wettest region of India with southern Khasi Hills recording an average of 12,000 mm of rain a year.
Unlike many Indian states, Meghalaya has historically followed a matrilineal system (in pic) where the lineage and inheritance are traced through women; the youngest daughter inherits all wealth and she also takes care of her parents. Meghalaya has predominantly an agrarian economy with a significant commercial forestry industry but geologically rich in minerals with NHs crisscrossing that has made it a major logistical centre for trade with Bangladesh.
In July 2018, International Commission on Stratigraphy divided the Holocene epoch into three with the late Holocene being called the Meghalayan stage/age since a speleothem in Mawmluh cave indicating a dramatic worldwide climate event around 2250 BCE had been chosen as the boundary stratotype.
Mizoram: Immigrants from Southeast Asia during the 16th century settled down in this state, spread in 21,087 km2 which deprives its name of native inhabitants' name "Mizo" and "Ram" means "land". The state with about 91% forest cover and a majority (87%) Christian population is a highly literate agrarian economy.
"As a gateway to South East Asia, Mizoram stands to gain immensely from union government's Act East policy. It can emerge as a key transit point for trade with Myanmar and Bangladesh," Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on 16.12.17. This was vouched by a working paper of Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI), Tokyo.
Moreover, India had built a deep water port in Myanmar's Sittwe on the Bay of Bengal with $500-million funded by a long-term interest-free loan which was strategically important and commissioned in 2016. Sittwe is the capital of Rakhine State in south-western Myanmar and located at the mouth of Kaladan River, which flows into Mizoram.
The shipments on arrival at Sittwe will be transferred to smaller freight carriers to sail upstream into Mizoram.
Agriculture is the most important activity that contributes to over 70% of the state's economy besides forestry, tourism, real estate & cottage industriesThe link was conceived by the Manmohan Singh government and work began in 2010, but India has sought transit access through Bangladesh to ship goods to the landlocked Northeast significantly at a lower cost. Though the service has been in limbo for obvious reasons, Myanmar Times on 07.10.20 reported: India and Myanmar agree to open Sittwe port in 2021.
Nagaland spread in 16,579 square kilometers one of the smallest states of India and home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Its economic development was hampered by inter-ethnic conflict since the 1950s. Nagas migrated from either the northern Mongolian region, Southeast Asia or southwest China but settled in the state before the arrival of Ahoms in 1228 CE.
With the arrival of the East India Company in the early 19th century followed by the British Raj, Britain had expanded its domain over the whole of South Asia, including the Naga Hills. Europeans Captains Jenkins and Pemberton were first to enter the hills in 1832. But, after prolonged conflicts between Naga tribes and British troops but since Christian missionaries from the United States and Europe, stationed in India, since the mid-19th century reached into Nagaland and neighboring states, converting Nagaland's
Naga tribes from animism to Christianity that brought a vast change.
Capital Kohima saw the Japanese Army with the help of the Indian National Army led by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose invading through Burma and attempting to take India during World War II. The battle was fought from 04.04 to 22.06.1944 from Kohima with coordinated action from Imphal & Manipur. World War II Cemetery and War Museum are glittering proof of nearly 4,000 British Empire troops & 3,000 Japanese including Naga people who had lost their lives.
However, the demand for a sovereign Naga state, "Nagalim" consist of all Naga inhabited areas of Northeast and Northwest Myanmar led to the formation of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) which operated from its base in Myanmar until 2012.
NSCN included two major factions NSCN (K) led by S S Khaplang and NSCN (I-M) led by Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingleng Muivah. After NSCN (K) attacked an army convoy in Manipur on 06.11.15, MoHA labeled it as a terrorist organization & a major insurgent group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Agriculture is the most important activity that contributes to over 70% of the state's economy besides forestry, tourism, real estate & cottage industries.
Tripura spread in 10,491 km2, once ruled for several centuries by Manikya Dynasty as the Tripuri Kingdom & a princely state under the British Empire joined India in 1949.
Tripura one of the most literate states (87.75%) in India but mainstream Indian cultural elements coexist with traditional practices of ethnic groups, like dances, locally crafted musical instruments, clothes and worship of regional deities. Archaeological sculptures of Unakoti, Pilak & Devtamura give historical evidence of artistic fusion between organized and tribal religions.
Moreover, Kolkata to Tripura via Chattogram multi-modal route could be a game-changer as these Indo-Bangladesh maritime ties would cut travel time to the Northeast.
Tripura had received its first consignment of cargo from Kolkata via the Chattogram (Chittagong) port of Bangladesh to mark the revival of a historic route that had been in disuse for over a century, Parul Chandra had reported on 25.07.20.
A Bangladesh-registered cargo ship MV Shejyoti commenced its journey from Kolkata docks on Friday (17.07.20) morning and expected to reach Chattogram Port in Bangladesh by 21.07.20. The cargo " steel bars and pulses " will then be transported over about 200-km to Tripura's capital Agartala.
"This will reduce the distance, time and cost of logistics for transporting goods and is a win-win situation for both the economies," remarked an Indian diplomat.
Apart from reducing transportation time and costs, the transit through Bangladesh on this new multi-modal route will also ease pressure on the chicken's neck corridor' in northern Bengal.
Sikkim, close to Siliguri Corridor, is the least populous state Indian state and notable for its biodiversity. It is host to Kanchenjunga (In pic), the highest peak in India & 3rd highest on earth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which covers almost 35% of the state. Once the Kingdom of Sikkim founded by the Namgyal Dynasty in the 17th century and ruled by Buddhist priest-kings known as Chogyal. It became a princely state of British India in 1890.
After Indian independence, Sikkim continued its protectorate status with Union of India after 1947. It enjoyed the highest literacy rate and per capita income among Himalayan states. In 1973, anti-royalist riots took place in front of Chogyal's palace. In 1975, after the Indian Army took over Capital Gangtok, a referendum was held that led to the deposition of the monarchy and Sikkim joined India.
Modern Sikkim is a multiethnic and multilingual state with Hinduism, Vajjrayana & Buddhism as prominent religions.
Sikkim accounts for the largest cardamom production in India and the world's 2nd largest producer of spice after Guatemala. Sikkim became fully organic in 2016 to be the first Indian state to achieve this distinction.
It is also among India's most environmentally conscious states to ban plastic water bottles in any government functions and meetings & polystyrene products throughout the state.