Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 7 : 2 February 2007
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.




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Amazing Andamans and North-East India
A Panoramic View of States, Societies and Culture -
Pages from the Diary of an English Language Teacher
Vijay K. Sunwani, Ph.D.


Dance in North-east

Having lived and worked actively for nearly quarter century in Eastern India it is time now to raise a paean to the states particularly of North East India, which has been my playfield, in academic, educational and at times even administrative or as purely historical concerns. Never did I commit the mistake of mixing pleasure with work, taking the family with me on official tours. Mix the two and you enjoy neither. As Robert Frost says, good fences make good neighbours. In the same sense, good boundaries between work and pleasure, between academics and pleasure, make for a heady combination. Bruce Springstein sang soulfully of Romancing the Stone after having been Born in the USA, and so I thought I could do the same, raising a toast to the states of the north east, comprising Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

An aside is for the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


India’s Northeast, a region of mystic splendour and rich cultural heritage, spreads over a vast area. It is characterized by varied habitat, heavy rainfall, extremely rich bio diversity, mountains and hills, high seismic activity and a drainage pattern marked by lateral valleys in the north and transverse valleys in the south, dissected by major rivers.

Travel to any of these states is some experience. You are lucky if the plane is on time, if it takes off, and you land at your destination without a hitch and on the scheduled time, or if your plane lands on a destination not what you planned for. North East India is a land of Blue Mountains, green valleys and red rivers. Nestled in the eastern Himalayas, this region is abundant in nature’s beauty, wild life, flora and fauna and colourful people.

Birds in North-east

Located in the Northeastern most corner of India, this region has 4, 500 km long international border with five foreign countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, China, and Nepal. That makes a generous 29 % border-states with the neighbouring countries. The international borders already are spaces of cooperation, though the confrontation part catches the media’s attention once too often. The whole north eastern region is connected with the rest of the country by a tenuous 22 kilometre land corridor through Siliguri in the state of West Bengal - a link that is often referred to as the ‘Chicken’s Neck’.

Comprising only 8 per cent of the country’s geographical area, Northeast is home to nearly 40 lakh people, 3.80 per cent of the country’s population. It accounts for a density of 149 persons per sq km., much less than the national population density of 324. Assam is the most highly populated state in the North East and Sikkim the least. Mizoram has the highest literacy rate of 88.49 in the entire North East and Arunachal Pradesh the least with a literacy rate of 54.74. Incidentally, Mizoram is the second most literate state in the country, after Kerala.

Mizoram also ranks highest among the Northeastern States in the human resource development index. Sikkim has the highest incidence of poverty in the region.

There are differences among these states with respect to their resource endowments, levels of industrialization, as well as infrastructure facilities. The economy of all these states is comparatively underdeveloped and primarily agrarian with not too strong industrial sectors and inflated service sectors. The industrial sector has mainly developed around tea, oil, timber in Assam and mining saw mills and plywood factories in other parts of the region.

Assamese Film Star with Big Fish

The government is giving special assistance with the boom in recent technology to upgrade and expand infrastructure. As Tony Howard has said, “If India was the Jewel in the Crown of the British Empire; the remote North east of that country is its hidden jewel.” It needs to take on the need to tackle terrorism, militancy, and insurgency as a matter of national priority. Territorial integrity of existing states is to be maintained.


Culture in Second and Foreign Language Teaching | Desire Kannada? Desire English? Want Both! | Nature and Definitions of Business Communication | Rules to Make a Simple (Positive) Sentence into Tag Question in English and Telugu | Amazing Andamans and North-East India - A Panoramic View of States, Societies and Culture - Pages from the Diary of an English Language Teacher |Amazing Survival, Great Growth - Diaspora Literature in Indian Tongues: Sri Lakshmi's Record of Singapore Tamil Literature | Information and Communication Technology Tools in Language Learning | HOME PAGE OF FEBRUARY 2007 ISSUE | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Vijay Kumar Sunwani, Ph.D.
Regional Institute of Education (NCERT)
Bhubaneswar 751022
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