Posts Tagged ‘remote’

Mon- The Homeland of Konyak Nagas

Konyaks are the largest tribe of Nagas. The tribes of Nagas faught among themselves and Konyaks had a tradition of head hunting. Till this day, the Angh or rulers of villages have a collection of human skulls, of their opponents, which are now being buried by the government. After adopting Christianity, the tribal wars have ceased, but the houses of Anghs still display skulls of various animals hunted by them, and there are also thousands of beaks of Hornbills, now an endangered species. The Nagas have hunted down all the animals that were found in the nearby dense forests, and the forests of Nagaland are now totally devoid of any wildlife. Skulls of Bisons, elephants, deer abound in the houses of angh, and i clicked a lot of photos when I visited the house of Chui village Angh the next day.

The day was spent talking to my sister and jiju, playing badminton at the club, I was offered wine at dinner, but refused. Could not have it in the company of my family, not yet. 🙂

On reaching Mon, I was at peace. Was not feeling as if I was on a trip. The climate was very healthy. There are no vehicles. It is a small place in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills.

Day 2- We went to Longwa- The Indian Army Post at Burma Border, This was the first time I had been to a border post. We walked up to the border, and had breakfast near the fence. The Burmese had no post anywhere near. The peculiarity about this area is that Nagas are allowed to go into Burma for about 20 kms on both sides, as they have family ties. The demarcation of border was done arbitarily by Nehru and the Burmese premier, by a helicopter survey, and the angh of villages hold their clout over villages extending in both the countries. Nagaland was not a part of the british India, but as the country became independant, this area had to be the part of some nation, and was divided between India and Burma. So, the demand for the Greater Nagalim includes Nagaland, and parts of Arunachal, Manipur, and Burma.

Going to the border of India was a nice feeling, and I saw the hills of Myanmar, from where, the plains of Irrawady would start. This side was the watershed of Brahmaputra. We returned back and captured many photos on the way.

Day 3- We went to see the house of a prominent Angh, at Chui village. Before entering his house, I leaned by a tree and posed for a photo. Standing there, I felt something was biting inside my pants, and looked down to see an army of ants climbing on me. They were red ants and on seeing them, my sister immediately asked me to go to a room and remove my clothes. I rushed and removed the ants from my trousers, by the time, few ants had biutten me, but I was saved from what could be worse.

We went to the angh’s house. He had around 18 children, from his many wives. He was an old man, in his 60s. He wore a traditional hat, with hornbill feathers. There was a huge collection of Naga ornaments and things made of bones. I picked up a bison horn and blew it hard, it made a loud sound and few people came from outside. It seemed that it was meant to summon people. I kept the horn back and realised my stupidity, but was also happy about doing this here. We were much different that the people here, who were living their own lives. The reason that North East is alienated to india has genuine reason. We are geographically, culturally different. But India does have a lot of scope for this diversity, India needs to put serious and sincere efforts to make these people feel cared, as there is a lot of scope of feeling left out from the mainlanders and the mainland.

Day 4- This was my time to leave for the next stop- Guwahati again. Meanwhile, I helped my little nephew catch butterflies, which were the size of my palm here, in all different coulurs and shapes, run behind chickens with him, rest, play and copy photographs on CDs. I also met people from ‘Doctors without Borders’ who were planning to upgrade the district hospital here. Also, here, every house has locally made guns, but the tribals are very simple, and I never felt threatened. Everyone carries guns, rifles, as it is just a tradition. The local pineapple here has a different taste. There are local fruits also, but the staple food is pork. People relish dog meat, which the nagas are famous for eating. There are no dogs roaming on streets, all of them have met their fate.

In the morning of my fourth day, all of us went to Sibsagar in Assam, and after spending the day there, and visiting the ancient Shiva temple there, I boarded my train to Guwahati.

The Island of North Sentinel- The Last Land Legacy of the Lost- A Living Legend

Located in the Andaman Sea, on a 4 hr boat ride from Port Blair, is the Island of North Sentinel, and on the map, it actually appears as if it is acting as a sentinel post, strategically placed in the Andaman archipelago. North Sentinel island is the part of the Andamans that has suffered the most extensive geological changes after the 2004 Tsunami. In human terms, this tiny, 72 square kilometer island is among the strangest inhabited lands not only in the Andamans but on this planet. It is inhabited by an Andamanese tribe, the Sentineli, also called Sentinelese. What they call themselves is not known. This tiny tribe has been steadfast for centuries in refusing any contact with the outside world. The refusal continues to this day and has survived several Indian attempts to establish “friendship” as well as the earthquake and tsunami of December 2004

It was initially thought that the Sentineli would at the very least suffer food shortages from the loss of their shallow-water fishing grounds. With the coastline changed beyond recognition around most of the island, the wildlife would have been destroyed, it was (reasonably) thought.

Amazingly, the tribe (and the wildlife on which it lives) seems to have coped and adapted to the new conditions with a wholly unexpected flexibility. What little is known about the present situation on the island indicates that the Sentineli and the island’s wildlife seem to have coped and to continue to cope admirably.

The Sentineli are the quintessential Andamanese: to this day they live their primitive but comfortable and unhurried lives in complete isolation on a small island, they are hostile to all outsiders and they do not wish to change this state of affairs. Violence is the traditional way to ensure the undisturbed enjoyment of their way of life. In the 21st century, they will kill strangers outright and they hide from landing parties that look too strong to fight. If the landing parties offer coconuts and other goods, they will condescend to accept these, but as soon as the feel they have received enough, an obscene gesture makes clear that the outsiders are no longer tolerated and had better leave in a hurry.

The Sentinelese

Indian exploratory parties under orders to establish “friendly relations” with the islanders have made brief landings on the islands every few years since 1967. Their usual reception, however, was unfriendly. All that the visitors could do was to place gifts of coconuts, plastic buckets, iron tools and other marvels of modern civilization on the beach before they had to scramble back into their dinghy, sometimes under a shower of seriously hostile arrows. Blood was drawn at least once, in March 1974, when an arrow met its mark in the left thigh of the visiting team’s cameraman. On seeing that he had scored a hit, the marksman on the beach laughed happily before stalking away to sit proudly in the shade of a tree. He clearly considered that he had done his duty.

For the past century all sorts of people, ranging from anthropologists to policemen, politicians, administrators, naval officers have tried to land on the island and make friendly contact. But they have faced nothing but arrows. These islands are the last place where stone-age people still live, but one day, they too will come under the ambit of our interference, thus ending the last living connection that exists between us and our cave- dwelling ancestors. The Sentinelese have avoided this contact for ages, how long they hold-on depends on the efforts being taken to establish a contact with them. These 60 people need nothing that we can give, and should be left alone, nature will take their care, as it has done all these years.

Remotest Places in India

The Island of North Sentinel

Changthang is the home of Nomadic Shepherds- The Changthangis

Here comes my list- All these places are geographically isolated, but have a culture of their own, as it is through people that places are defined, not without them.
1) After all the thought process, this is clearly the winner- The island of North Sentinel– remote- In the Andaman group of Islands. it is away from the civilisation, having the only remaining true wild tribe- the sentinelese, which has little contact with us- the so called normal humans. Any attempts to go there are faced with arrows of these aggressive tribals.

2) Changthang Plateau- Laddakh– Home to the nomadic shepherds- The Changthangis. beyond the laddakh that has attracted the new generation of tourists.
3) Great Nicobar- The largest island of Nicobar, sparcely populated, permit needed to go there, just a few miles from Banda Aech- Indonesia, but untouched.
4)Dong – Arunachal Pradesh– The easternmost point in India, high up in the mountains. Remote, unreachable, serene. Home to 250 people, undisturbed by the outside world.

First Sun-rise point in INDIA-Dong

So, all that talk about Uttaranchal or Thar desert or anything else needs a rethink.
If anyone among the readers has been to any of these places, a salute to them. Do share the experience.