The Nyinu Massacre released
ITANAGAR, Nov 5: Underscoring the importance of documenting the lesser known historical facts of various indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday assured the government’s support to research scholars in such endeavours.
The chief minister observed that many unknown and unwritten historical facts are being lost due to modernization, and called upon the youths, especially research scholars of Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU), to take up research works and document unaccounted historical facts which have been orally passed down through generations.
He said the state government is ready to fund such endeavours through the government agencies concerned and the research wing of RGU.
Speaking at a function held here to release a book titled The Nyinu Massacre, Pema lauded the author, RGU alumnus Nepha Wangsa, for taking the pains to go into the historical facts of the unaccounted oral history of the massacre that took place in a remote Wancho village in Longding district in 1875.
“We have so many tribes residing in the state. I am sure there would be many unaccounted past events with historical significance which are not known to the world due to lack of any research and proper documentation,” Pema observed, and admitted that he had never heard of the Nyinu massacre till he got to know about the book release.
Taking advantage of the presence of RGU professors at the event, the chief minister urged them to seriously take up research and documentation of the history of the state and encourage young scholars by mentoring and guiding them. He said the state government is ready to support the university in such fruitful activities.
Pema also lauded the AAPSU for supporting Wangsa, who holds the post of deputy spokesperson in the union, in his research and publication of the book.
Advisor to CM Tai Tagak, who personally encouraged Wangsa and was a guiding force behind the book since its beginning, complimented Wangsa for bringing out the book on an important chapter of the state’s history.
He requested the state government to encourage young scholars in this field, and expressed hope that the released book would see its second edition with more details and historical facts.
Wangsa, a native of Longding, said he had heard the story of the massacre during his childhood and since then had wanted to research and document it. His research, which spanned more than five years, took him to places like Sivasagar and Kolkata in search of documented proofs.
In 1875, a British expedition team led by Captain Badgley and Lieutenant Holcombe reached Nyinu village in present Longding district. The Wanchos resisted their advance and attacked the team, killing about 80 persons, including Lt Holcombe. In retaliation, the British sent its troops with advanced artillery and burnt down many villages like Nyinu, Nyisa, Longkai, Kaimoi, Kamhua and Niaunu of the Wanchos.
The only lead for Wangsa in his research was a photo of four Wancho prisoners taken in a Calcutta jail, who were arrested for killing Lt Holcombe in 1875. According to Wangsa, the four were arrested by the British and first taken to a jail in Sivasagar, from where they were moved to Calcutta. However, their whereabouts from there is not known.
Wangsa requested the state government to facilitate deeper research by coordinating with the authorities in Assam and West Bengal to access their historical archives.
The book release function was also attended by Art & Culture Secretary YW Ringu, chief of Nyinu village Longwang Wangham, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang and general secretary Tobom Dai, and faculty members of RGU. (CMO)