My Arunachal

Arunachal Pradesh is popularly known as the land of rising sun.


Arunachal Pradesh (Hindi: अरुणाचल प्रदेश Aruṇācal Pradeś) is one of the seven northeastern states of India. Arunachal Pradesh borders the state of Assam to the south and Nagaland to the south east. Myanmar lies to the east of the state, Bhutan to the west, while the Line of Actual Control separates it from the People's Republic of China to the north. Itanagar is the capital of the state.

Arunachal Pradesh means "land of the dawn-lit mountains" or "land of the rising sun" . "pradesh" means "state" or "region") in reference to its position as the easternmost state of India. Arunachal Pradesh is claimed by the People's Republic of China as an integral part of its territory.

Most of the people living in Arunachal Pradesh are either of Tibetan or Thai-Burmese origin. Another 15% of the population are immigrants, including 30,000 Bangladeshi and Chakma expatriates, and immigrants from other parts of India, notably Assam and Nagaland.



The first ancestors of the tribal groups migrated from Tibet during the pre-historic period, they were joined by Tai-Burmese counterparts later. Except for the northwestern parts of the state, little is known about the history of Arunachal Pradesh, although the Apatani tribe had legendary knowledge of the history. Recorded history was only available in the Ahom chronicles during the 16th century. The tribal Monpa and Sherdukpen do keep historical records of the existence of local chiefdoms in the northwest as well. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, came under the control of the Ahom and the Assamese until the annexation of India by the British in 1858.

Recent excavations of ruins of Hindu temples such as the 14th        Malinithan at the foot of the Siang hills in West Siang shed new light on the ancient history of Arunachal Pradesh. Paintings of the Hindu gods and altars remained untouched for many years. They attracted many local pilgrims. Another notable heritage site, Bhismaknagar, suggested that the Idu Mishmi had a local civilisation. The third heritage site, the 400-year-old Tawang monastery in the Tawang district also provides historical evidence of the Buddhist tribal peoples.

In 1913-14, the British administrator, Sir Henry McMahon, drew up the 550-mile McMahon Line as the border between British India and Tibet during the Simla Conference, as Britain sought to advance its line of control and establish buffer zones around its colony in South Asia. The Tibetan and British representatives at the conference agreed to the line, which ceded Tawang and other Tibetan areas to British India; however the Chinese representative refused to accept the line owing to domestic pressures. The Chinese position since then has been that since China was sovereign over Tibet, the line was invalid without Chinese agreement. Furthermore, by refusing to sign the Simla documents, the Chinese Government had escaped according any recognition to the validity of the McMahon Line.

For the first two decades after the Simla Conference, the Survey of India did not show the McMahon Line as the border between British India and Tibet either; only in 1937 did they publish a map showing it as the official boundary; in 1938 the Survey of India published a map showing Tawang as a part of Tibet. In 1944, Britain established administrations in the area, from Dirang Dzong in the west to Walong in the east. Tibet, however, altered its position on the McMahon Line in late 1947 when the Tibetan government wrote a note presented to the newly independent Indian Ministry of External Affairs laying claims to Tibetan districts south of the McMahon Line. The situation developed further as India became independent and the People's Republic of China was established in the late 1940s: with the PRC poised to take over Tibet, India unilaterally declared the McMahon Line to be the boundary in November 1950, and forced the Tibetan administration out of the Tawang area in 1951, despite the PRC's protests. The NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) was created in 1954.

The issue was quiet during the next decade or so of cordial Sino-Indian relations, but erupted again during the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The cause of the escalation into war is still disputed by both Chinese and Indian sources.

During the war in 1962 the PRC captured most of the NEFA. However, China soon declared victory and voluntarily withdrew back to the McMahon Line and returned Indian prisoners of war in 1963. The Chinese retreat, some believed was tactical. In the event the war spread to a full scale war, the Indian Airforce and the Navy could have dealt a severe blow to the Chinese oil supply routes in the sea. China wouldn't have survived a battle for more than three months in that case. The battle equations between China and India still hover around this point till today. The 1962 war has resulted in the termination of barter trade with Tibet, although in 2007 the state government has shown signs to resume barter trade with Tibet.

Of late, Arunachal Pradesh faces threat from terrorist groups, notably the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN), who were believed to have base camps in the districts of Changlang and Tirap. There were occasional reports of these terrorist groups harassing the local people.

Both the PRC and India have defined a Line of Actual Control, and it is widely believed that this dispute is not likely to result in actual hostilities. Arunachal Pradesh was administered as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) until 1972, when it became the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh. During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, the PRC captured most of the NEFA, but the Chinese soon declared victory and voluntarily withdrew back to the McMahon Line for further negotiations. The NEFA was given full statehood by India in November 1986 after taking into consideration the security situation in the east and Sino-Indian tensions.

Recent developments

As of November, 2006, the Chinese Ambassador to India, Sun Yuxi has publicly stated in India: "In our position, the whole of the state of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory. And Tawang is only one of the places in it. We are claiming all of that. That is our position." India's External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has countered that statement by saying that "Arunachal is an integral part of India." India and China are currently engaged in talks to resolve the boundary question. Last year, both countries signed the "Political Parameters and Guiding Principles" document to peacefully resolve this issue.


Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its mountainous landscape.
Arunachal Pradesh is famous for its mountainous landscape.

Much of Arunachal Pradesh is covered by the Himalayas, albeit parts of Lohit, Changlang and Tirap are covered by the Patkai. Kangto (7090m), Nyegi Kangsang (7050m), the main Gorichen peak (6488m) and the Eastern Gorichen peak (6222m) are some of the highest peaks in this part of the Himalayas.


The climate of Arunachal Pradesh varies with elevation. Areas with very high elevation in the Upper Himalayas near the Tibetan border enjoy an alpine or Tundra climate. Below the Upper Himalayas come the Middle Himalayas, where people experience a temperate climate. Fruits like apples, oranges, etc are grown. Areas at the sub-Himalayan and sea-level elevation experience a humid sub-tropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

The state receives heavy rainfall of 80 to 160 inches (2,000 to 4,000 mm) annually, most of it falling between May and September. The mountain slopes and hills are covered with alpine, temperate, and subtropical forests of dwarf rhododendron, oak, pine, maple, fir, and juniper; sal (Shorea) and teak are the main economic species.


Arunachal Pradesh is divided into Sixteen districts, each administered by a district collector, who sees to the needs of the local people. Especially along the Tibetan border, the Indian army has considerable presence due to the concern about Chinese intentions. Special permits called Inner Line Permits (ILP) are required to enter Arunachal Pradesh through any of it checkgates on its border with Assam.

Districts of Arunachal Pradesh:


65% of the Arunachalis belong to 20 major-collective tribes and 82 tribes, who had a heritage of a diverse and rich culture, language and beliefs. Most of them are either of Tibetan or of Tai-Burmese origin. Another 35% of the population are immigrants, including 30,000 Bangladeshi, Bodo Hajong and Chakma expartriates, and immigrants from other parts of India, notably Assam and Nagaland. The most notable tribes include the Adi, Nishi, Monpa and Apatani.

The literacy of the State rose to 54.74% from 41.59% in 1991. As of today, the number of literates is 487,796. Recent statistics shows that 36% of Arunachal's population are Animist, who follow Animistic religions such as Donyi-Polo and Rangfrah. 37% are Hindus. Tribes who follow Hinduism include the Nocte and Miri. Another 13% are practicing Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhism predominates in the districts of Tawang, West Kameng and isolated regions adjacent to Tibet, and Theravada Buddhism is practiced by tribal groups living near the Burmese border.

Christians, mostly Baptist, present since 1961, claim to be 13% of the population. There are some non Baptist groups active since 1990. Christianity is widely practiced by several Naga tribes in Changlang and Tirap adjacent to Nagaland, although many Nagas in these areas remain followers of traditional beliefs. Though not common, a few tribal groups combine the Christian and traditional belief systems together. The presence of large groups of Chakma and Bodo Hajong refugees had spurred up mixed reactions among the local people. Although some Chakmas were granted voting rights in 2004, they were refused citizenship status by the Chief Minister.


Macro-economic trend

This is a chart of trend of gross state domestic product of Arunachal Pradesh at market prices estimated by Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with figures in millions of Indian Rupees.

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 1,070
1985 2,690
1990 5,080
1995 11,840
2000 17,830

Arunachal Pradesh's gross state domestic product for 2004 is estimated at $706 million in current prices. Agriculture is the primary driver of the economy. Jhum, the local word for shifting cultivation, which was widely practised among the tribal groups has come to be less practiced. Arunachal Pradesh has close to 61,000 square kilometers of forests, and the forest-products are the next most significant sector of the economy. Among the crops grown here are rice, maize, millet, wheat, pulses, sugarcane, ginger and oilseeds. Arunachal is also ideal for horticulture and fruit orchards. Its major industries are sawmills, plywood (these two trades however have been stopped by law), rice mills, fruit preservation units and handloom handicrafts.


The state's airports are located at Itanagar, Daparjio, Ziro, Along, Tezu and Pasighat. However, owing to the rough terrain, these airports are mostly small and cannot handle many flights, they were actually used for transportation of food, when these parts were not connected by the roads. Arunachal Pradesh has two highways; the 336km National Highway 52, completed in 1998, connects Jonai with Dirak. There is another highway which connects Tezpur in Assam with Tawang.  Now in 2007, every village is connected by road. It's due to fund that central government has provided. every small town has got its own bus station and daily bus services are available. All places are connected to Assam, so increasing the trading capacity. A National Highway is being constructed on the famous Stillwell Road, which connects Ledo in Assam to Jairampur in Arunachal.


Arunachal Pradesh attracts tourists from many parts of the world. Tourist attractions include the Namdapha tiger project in changlang district, sela lake near to bomdila, the bamboo bridges hanging over the river. Historical attractions include malinithan in lekhabali and rukhmininagar near roing, place where rukhmini, lord krishna's wife, used to live. Parshuram kund in lohit district, is believed to the lake where pashuram washed away all his sins. Rafting and trekking are also available. A visitor's permit from the tourism department is required.

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