India was under British rule for more than two centuries. But Arunachal Pradesh, then known as the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), was almost untouched, especially in terms of administration. However, long after 1947, the year India got freedom from British rule, the government of India discovered that the hitherto unknown region was a rich land with varied flora, fauna and colourful tribes.
The government also discovered some important historical ruins, like Bhismaknagar, Malinithan, Itafort and places of Hindu pilgrimage like the famous Parashuram Kund. The Indian government at long last came to know that these unknown hill dwellers were the Adis, Galos, Apatanis, Nyishis, Tagins, Mishmis, Khamptis, Singphos, Monpas, Sherdukpens, Akas, Mijis, Noctes, Wanchos, Tangsas, etc.
Just as the origins of these tribesmen and their existence in the unknown jungles for many centuries are shrouded in mystery, the political history of the region is also not less interesting. It was a long and arduous journey from being an unadministered region to being a full-fledged state called Arunachal Pradesh – the land of the rising sun.
Before the advent of modern democratic institutions, it was the village councils with different nomenclatures that administered the people. These village councils had great influence over the villagers. Later, the political assistants (PA) and political interpreters (PI) appointed from among the villagers played a pivotal role in assisting the administration. The gaon burahs (GB) also later acted as a link between the administration and the villagers. There was no police then. It may be mentioned here that for a very long time the present Arunachal Pradesh was a part of undivided Assam.
Later, in the year 1914, the region was eventually given formal recognition as a separate administrative unit by the foreign and political departments of British India by the notification of 1914. The region came to be known as the Northeast Frontier Tracts. In due course, the Northeast Frontier Tracts became the NEFA. The Northeast Areas (Reorganization) Act 1971 provided a new name and a new political status to the NEFA. It was renamed as Arunachal Pradesh, and subsequently in 1972 it (Arunachal Pradesh) became a union territory of the republic of India. Arunachal Pradesh finally attained statehood on 20 February, 1987.
So, without an iota of doubt, the state of Arunachal Pradesh has traversed a long and yet eventful journey, replete with struggles, trials and tribulations. Today, the state is all poised to forge ahead and create a niche for itself to find a place of pride in the country. The state is synonymous with verdant hills, lofty mountains, roaring waterfalls, cascading brooks, snow-fed and rain-fed rivers and scenic beauty in its pristine glory. It is a treasure trove of rich and varied fauna and flora, including medicinal plants. The state is also known for its rich biodiversity. If the rich natural resources are tapped or harnessed properly, Arunachal Pradesh can potentially become the richest and the most developed state of the country.
An exhilarating and satisfying narration of an ordinary citizen of the state on what development is all about sounds like music to the ears: “It’s late in the evening and I ready myself to retire to bed after a tiring and hectic day of work. My small but cozy apartment is situated in a nondescript colony of Naharlagun city. As I prepare to switch off the lights, the long whistling sound of the train from the nearby Naharlagun railway station, which sounds like sweet and soothing music to my ears, makes me sit up and ponder how time flies and how the winds of change and development can indeed change our lives for the better.
“I still don’t believe my ears and I ask myself quietly, if it is surreal or a reality. There was a time in the early 80s when only a few vehicles used to ply on the road in between Itanagar and Naharlagun. Today, vehicles flow like a meandering river on the same stretch of road, indicating the buying power of the people and the economic prosperity of the state. Those days the commuters were mostly dependent on the few state transport buses. So the biggest worry for them was missing the last bus from Itanagar to Naharlagun and vice versa. If they missed the last bus, they had to stay back either at Itanagar or Naharlagun. The next day, I get up early in the morning and look from my verandah towards the Potin-Hoj Trans-Arunachal Highway across the Dikrong river and marvel at the hundreds of vehicles of all sizes and shapes running at breakneck speed on the silky smooth highway. I then realized, indeed the winds of development and change is blowing across my state. I feel proud.”
Needless to say that the pace of development in all spheres has accelerated in the state under the leadership of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, thanks to his meticulous planning, well-thought-out policies and programmes and diligent execution of these plans. He has brought about a refreshing change in governance wherein corruption has no place and transparency is the watchword. Today, Arunachal Pradesh enjoys the distinction of being the torchbearer in many sectors and has received a number of awards from the GoI.
Pema Khandu has also introduced many truly innovative and watershed policies ever since he took over the reins of the chief minister which can potentially propel the state to take a giant leap forward.
Today, Arunachal Pradesh is on the threshold of becoming a model state under the dynamic leadership of Pema Khandu. The state government has prepared a roadmap of development and is pursuing the set goals diligently with futuristic perspective to bring about inclusive development. Some of the major and truly watershed schemes initiated by the state government under Pema Khandu are: Sarkar Aapke Dwar, Staff Selection Board, Arunachal Pradesh Sports State Policy, CM Sashakt Kisan Yojana, Arunachal Agri Start-up Scheme, Dulari Kanya Yojana, Chief Minister Arogya Arunachal Yojana, Mukhyamantri Rogi Kalyan Kosh, CM Samast Shiksha Yojana, CM Adhunik Shiksha Yojana, CM Vidya Scheme, Girl Hygiene Scheme, CM Indigenous Textile Promotion Scheme, CM Hastshilp Yojana, CM Yuva Kaushal Yojana, CM Adarsh Gram Yojana, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Swalamban Yojana.
The ‘Arunachal Rising’ campaign has been carried out throughout the state with a great degree of seriousness and the information & public relations department has been working overtime and making extra efforts to ensure that the last man in the queue is adequately informed about the schemes under the state government and the government of India.
It is pertinent to add here that unless the benefits of the government schemes percolate down to the poorest of the poor in the rural areas, we have achieved nothing, absolutely nothing. The DIPROs in the districts and the PROs in the headquarters have been working in tandem with the district administrations and the line departments to make the ‘Arunachal Rising’ campaign a huge success in terms of reaching out to the people and making them part and parcel of the development processes of the state.
Indeed Arunachal is rising under the leadership of Pema Khandu, who is leading from the front like an able commander. Today, the sky is the limit for the state. (The writer is Deputy Director, PR & Printing, IPR Department)