KEBANG and GAMBO :Adi Village Council System


The Adi tribes of Arunachal Pradesh largely found in the erstwhile Siang district had developed a well organized republican system of administration. The KEBANG or the village council formed the basis of their political organization. The Adi folk songs and folklores often bear the reference to Kalu Kebo(the council of people), Kabo-Yabo (the public) and qumin-soyin(the village spirits) etc., which proves that the village council or kebang exitsted in the Adi society from the very early times.

Every Adi village is run by a council called kebang and all adult villagers are its members. All of them can participate in its deliberations which are guided by the elders of the council and are known as Kebang-Abus. The leadership of the Kebang is not hereditary but is acquired by an elder by virtue of his merits in different fields. The kebang was and is a democratic body and all the villagers are to take part in its meetings. Though there is no restriction on women taking part in Kebang, generally they did not participate in its deliberations due to one reason or another. The kebang, therefore, was generally an all male affair.

The meetins of the village council (Dolung kebang) are generally held at dere or moshup, the Adi name for public administration. During the British period, due to various reasons such as the possible fear of British intervention in their territory and curtailment of their right in the plains, two other categories of Kebangs came into being namely the Bango-Kebang or a council of many villages and the Bogum-Bokang kebang or a council of the whole Adi tribes. Due to the presence of the Britishers and their influence three more officials began to be associated with the kebang. They were the Gam, the political Jamadar and kotoki. The Gam or the Gaonburah were appointed by the Government under regulation 1 of 1945 by virtue of their influence, experience and acceptability to the villagers. Normally each clan had a Gam who could be easily spotted by the red coat that was their official dress.

   In the Keabang the proceedings are generally initiated and controlled by the experienced members called the Abus. The proceedings of the Kebang sometimes continue for days together till all participants are exhausted and arrive at an agreeable decision, failing which the kebang is adjourned for the next session. Every speaker in the Kebang begins his speech with an introduction called Abe, which narrates the ancient history and glory of the Adi tribe, and exhorts the village elders for important judgment. Cases of both civil and criminal nature are put up before the Kebang by the contending parties backed by their fellow clansmen and supporters. The Abus guide the speakers and interpret the laws, sometimes giving examples as to how a case of similar nature was decided earlier. It is noteworthy that the aim of Kebang is to make all parties agree to a compromise and not to enforce any judgment. Once a decision is taken in a Kebang its implementation is automatic. In the criminal cases, the common punishment is usually the imposition of fines and compensation to the aggrieved party.

The village councils are empowered to decide the cases falling within the jurisdiction of their respective villages. The cases which involve two or more villages, the Bongo Kebang is called and those cases or an event which can affects the entire community, the Bogum Bokang Kebang is convened. The Kebang operates on the principle of unquestionable loyaelity to the village community and customary laws. Many a times the supernatural guidance is sought through oaths and ordeals, which comprise of physical and psychological tests. The findings of the supernatural courts were considered to be final and binding though this practice is not generally encouraged now a days.


The Adis who live in Mechukha area had a different system of administration which centered around GAMBO. A GAMBO means a head or a leader or an influential person of a particular clan or village. Earlier these GAMBOS were selected by the village people to act as their leaders. This selection of the GAMBO was, generally speaking, hereditary and normally the eldest son succeeded his father. In some cases, the GAMBOS attempted to become the DERA or the chief of their village.

The Gambos decided the issue and disputes related to property, murder, thief etc.. in the village but were not arbitrary. They were guided by the customary laws and traditions. In the issues relating to relations with the outsiders, tribals or otherwise, the support of the chiefs of other village also sought. The Gambos did not have either the authority or the power to collect taxes from the villagers. The Gambos gradually lost their influence after 1954 when the Assam Frontier regulation of 1945 was enforced in NEFA.

BirdEye View of Suspension Bridge, Pangin, Pasighat #Arunachal Pradesh#

BirdEye View of Suspension Bridge, Pangin, Pasighat #Arunachal Pradesh#.

Pasighat to Bodak and Pangin-Proposed DAM site by jaypee group

dam proposed dam site by jaypee group
dam proposed dam site by jaypee group-Pasighat, Bodak and Pangin
proposed dam site by jaypee group
the proposed dam site by jaypee group-East Siang

da proposed dam site by jaypee groupda proposed dam site by jaypee group


Village Houses Of Arunachal Pradesh

Village House




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THE Assassination of Captain Noel Williamson and Medical Officer Dr Gregorson (31st March 1911) and Abor Expedition and its Consequences

THE Assassination of Captain Noel Williamson and Medical Officer  Dr Gregorson (31st March 1911)

and Abor Expedition and its Consequences

A political agent of the British Raj. Captain Noel Williamson and his doctor companion were carrying the message of the death of King Edward VII to the tribal chiefs. After some ten minutes you will come to Captain Noel Williamson’s grave just up above the houses. It still has its original stone inscription and a more recent brass plaque “On this spot was murdered Noel Williamson, Assistant Political Officer Sadiya, 31st March 1911”.

Captain Noel Williamson's grave
Captain Noel Williamson’s grave in Komsing village Pasighat

“Noel Williamson was the Assistant Political officer of Sardia (sic) who toured the Siang Valley in 1909 up to Kebang. He had a friendly approach and gained the confidence of the people. Greatly encouraged by this gesture of goodwill, he decided to visit Komsing from where an invitation was extended to him. A plan was made, and even though the Government at first was reluctant, they subsequently approved the limited tour (beyond the inner line) up to Komsing on the left bank of the Siang river.

Accompanied by Dr Gregorson (sic), Medical Officer of European and Native Staff of tea gardens in Upper Assam, a company of 47 porters and armed escort, Williamson left Pasighat on 20 March 1911. At ferry point of Komlighat a friendly courier of one of the headmen of Kebang village Takut tried to dissuade him, as there was a conspiracy to stall the move. But Williamson brushed him aside and crossed the river and arrived at Sissan village. At Sissan a number of porters fell sick forcing Dr Gregorson to stay back while Williamson marched ahead to Komsing.

 On 29th March accompanied by an interpreter, three sick porters left for Rotung en route to Pasighat. The interpreter was carrying three official envelopes for delivery to post at Pasighat. He flourished these envelopes to the curious villagers in a show of great importance. The envelopes were bordered with black stripes as a mark of mourning for the death of King Edward VII of the British Empire. But the foolish interpreter boastfully explained that white indicates two sahibs, the black borderline countless sepoys and the red seal was of great anger. He further told the frightened villagers that his move to Pasighat was to deliver the letters to call the army to level the hills by bombardment. Greatly alarmed, the leaders decided to stop the delivery of the letters. Fast runners moved to Kebang, the leading village and relayed the ominous message. Next morning when the interpreter and his companions moved out in great self-assurance they were waylaid and brutally murdered. The people then mobilised for an offensive attack. Stockades were built up, needle-sharp panjies laid on the route of march, stone chutes with immense piles of boulders concealed on the path, strung arrows held in tension of string to fly at all directions, patrols moved out to watch towers, an elaborate signal system operated, food packets cached for emergency.

On 31st March, a patrol of sturdy youths secretly crossed the river to the other bank and descended on Sissan to surprise the small party. Dr Gregorson, along with the escort and porters fell to the attack. Only three could escape death by jumping into the river. At Komsing village Williamson was received with traditional hospitality. Assured of friendship and peace, all were in a relaxed mood. The second patrol from Kebang already took up position. It was midday when Williamson went for a bath in the enclosure when all of a sudden a heavy sword blow fell on him and he died soon after. Simultaneously followers and others including the sentries were taken completely unaware and fell to the attack.

It was a tragedy of the worst magnitude. The escaped sepoys managed to reach Pasighat to convey the news of the disaster; an immediate alarm was raised. Soon after a massive operation was planned under the command of Major General H Bower, the Officer Commanding of Assam Brigade. The Brigade comprised the crack units of Gurkhas, sappers and miners, medical team, cartographers, naturalists and scores of army officers. The extensive preparation for the punitive expedition continued till mid October. Troops were brought from far away Kolkata by river steamers and ferried across to Koboghat by dozens of country crafts. The party then moved up river and took punitive action. An ambush was planned by the people from Kebang village and their few allies (villages north of Kebang refused to become involved) but this was spotted and instead, the villagers themselves were caught in the crossfire from two machine guns and massacred.”


Abor Expedition and its Consequences


Noel Williamson along with Dr. Gregorson went across the ‘inner line’ in the Abor hills in March 1911 and with the exception of six coolies, who managed to escape, Kebang Abors murdered the members of the expedition at village Komsing. The Government of India took it as an affront to the imperial prestige. An impressive expedition under Major General Bower was sent to teach a lesson to the offending Abors. Three survey missions were also sent along with the pacification expedition to map out the entire region up to the Himalayan water shade. The survey missions were to explore and survey the country and recommend a suitable frontier line between India and Tibet. The Deputy Commissioner of Lakhimpur, A H W Bentick, in his ‘Political Report on the Expedition’, furnished the proposals as to the future of this frontier tract on April 23, 1912. Accordingly, the North East Frontier Tract was divided in to three sections: the central and eastern sections to control the Ponpong Nagas, Singphos, Mijus, Chulikata and Babejia Mishmis and the various tribes of Abors as far as the Siang –Subansiri divide, and the western section (which came to be known as the Balipara Frontier Tract) to deal with the tribes from this divide westwards to Bhutan. The two eastern sections were placed in the charge of one Political Officer with head quarters at Sadiya, which came to be known as ‘Sadiya Frontier Tract’.

Under this dispensation, two Assistant Political Officers, one, for Abor subdivision at Pasighat and another, at Wallong for the Lohit Valley subdivision, were proposed. The Government of India Act, 1919 vested with the Governor of Assam with the administration of the three Frontier tracts and declared them as “Backward Tracts”. Similarly, the Government of India Act, 1935 termed these tracts as the “ Excluded Areas” in 1936, by which it was meant that the State Assembly of Assam was not empowered to frame rules for these ‘Excluded Frontier Tracts’ and the Governor of the State was to govern them directly. Between 1943 to 1948, these frontier tracts were re-organized in to five Agencies: Sela, Subansiri, Abor, Mishmi, and Tirap.


Sino-Indian Border Dispute and Arunachal Pradesh

Sino-Indian Border Dispute and Arunachal Pradesh

The Tibet Expedition, 1903-’04 represents one of the landmarks of British’s ‘Forward policy’ to the Himalaya region. However, the gains made by the expedition were squandered at the altar of British imperial interests. The Chinese,who were found totally ineffective during the expedition, were permitted to pay the indemnity on behalf of the Tibetans and the British empire made a hasty retreat from its imperial designs in the Eastern Himalayan region. Charles A Bell, Political Officer, Gangtok, and the overseer of the British interests in Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet, realized in 1909 that the British did not have an effective treaty right over the foreign relations of the communities in the Eastern Himalayan region.

 Before he finalized the Anglo-Bhutanese Treaty, 1910, he wrote to the Secretary to the State, Government of India, in respect of each of the tribes’ on the following points:

 “(i) How far does the territory of the tribe stretch towards Tibet from the Indian frontiers?

(ii) How far is the country cultivable, e.g. how far would it be able to support troops, if and when, the lands were fully cultivated? It may be, as in Bhutan, that there were large areas of the government land at present uncultivated.

(iii) To what extent the tribal territory would act as a barrier to invaders, e.g. its physical difficulties, breadth (of the land) to be crossed and the supplies (when the lands are cultivated as fully as possible) obtainable?

(iv) Whether the tribes in any way have recognized the suzerainty of Tibet or China? The claims of these countries are often so shadowy that it would be well to clear up the point as far as possible.

(v) (Is there a) possibility of inducing the tribes to agree to the treaty? I understand that the use of bazaar in the plains give us a good hold over the tribes.We may have some other pressures to bear.”

 China invaded Tibet in 1910 and this time, unlike in 1904, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan theocrat, took refuse in India. Worried of the Chinese advance and ambitions in the Himalayas, the British thought about its vulnerable hold on the eastern Himalayan ranges. The British hurried in to holding the Shimla Conference in 1913-1914, in which the Tibetan and Chinese representatives were joined by Henry McMahon, the Chief British Negotiator, with Charles A Bell and Fredric M Bailey, the then Political Officer and his successor respectively. The Conference could arrive at initialling an agreed boundary on the Eastern Himalayan region between the three delegates, but it was not finally signed by the three delegations. Though they had no reason for that at that time, but the Chinese government repudiated the claimed and agreed boundary in course of time.

 The British had their reasons to be convinced that the agreed boundary running across the Himalayan water-divide, (which came to be known as the McMahon line) was the long existing natural northern boundary in the region. Bell, who had been keeping a close watch on the going on in the region, proposed another step to bring the Assam Hills under more effective administrative control from the British. He suggested to the government the creation of a “North Eastern Frontier Agency” on the pattern of the North West Frontier Agency (NWFA). The Agency, headed by an Agent, would be head quartered at Tawang, on the western most district of Arunachal on the shortest route between Lhasa, the Tibetan capital and Calcutta, the British imperial seat of power in India. It was to include the British ‘political’ works connected with Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet and Assam Hills. The First World War 1914-1918, its aftermath, the world-wide economic depression, the Second World War and the British withdrawal from India were some of the reasons, which came in the way of affecting the McMahon Line as the northern boundary of Arunachal Pradesh. Thus, the British were not in a position to implement the decisions of the Simla Conference or give serious consideration to Bell’s suggestions on time.

 The two distinct world-views represented by the Indian Union and the People’s Republic of China led to a “silent” conflict between the two neighbours from 1950’s. This exploded into an open armed clash between the two regimes in 1962. Since then, the two governments have been holding a series of talks to sort out the boundary dispute. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the Indian regions which China claims is disputed territory. India has been careful to evolve special dispensation suited to the largely tribal population of the state. Keeping in view of the national policy to integrate the small ethic groups with the larger nationalities., Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister of and the self-confessed “missionary” of his gospel on the policy to the tribes, Verrier Elwin, evolved a set of five principles as the “tribal Panchsheel” as the magna carta of the tribal administration in India (Elwin 1964). Not only that, they also created in the 1950s a new inspired and committed bureaucracy known as the Indian Frontier Administrative Service IFAS), which extended the limits of administration slowly and presently was disbanded in the aftermath of the Indian army debacle.

 Singphos and Khamtis, migrated from Shan State of Burma towards the end of 18th century and were known as war like- peoples. Today they are enterprising and extremely progressive business group and progressive farmers and traders, who are in touch with the plains of the Assam. Siang district is the home of the Adi group considered to be one of the most progressive in the State. They are divided into two: Gallong section (Ramos, Bokar and Pailibos) and Padam- Minyong section consisting besides Padam and Minyong, Passis, Pangis, Boris, Ashings, Tangams and Shimongs. Though these communities are known for their strong democratic spirit, they also had the tradition of slavery, which still reflects at societal levels. “An important feature of many Adi villages is the dormitory, the club of the boys and men, which organizes the youth of the tribe and used for deliberations of the Kebang or tribal council” (Elwin 1964). Again, this was the region, where Noel Williamson, the British Assistant Political Officer and members of the expedition were murdered in 1911.

 Subansiri is the home of the Nyishis as well as the most agricultural enterprising and environmentally sensitive of the State’s communities, the Apatanis. In the year 1890 the first European visitor to the Apatani plateau found: “in a remote, well-watered valley lived a society of highly organized, industrious people, who had developed an extensive system of irrigated fields and, though ignorant of plough, succeeded with their hoes in raising two annual crops for themselves and their neighbours. But they had no contacts with the outside world; the Daflas prevented them going down to trade in the plains; and so they lived, fairly prosperous. Fairly happy, in complete isolation” (Elwin 1964). The Nyishis and Hill Miris are other communities of the district. A near revolution has occurred of late, when a site was selected to establish a modern township, Itanagar, for the state capital in the thinly populated foothills of Subansiri. The Nyshis rose to the occasion took full advantage of the opportunity and are on their way to being one of the most powerful communities of the state.

 Monpa and Sherdukpens are the residents of Kameng district in west. They keep large herds of cattle; graze them on the various elevations as per the season; have an economy around bovine rearing. They follow the Geylugpa (yellow hat) sect of Mahayan Buddhism. Tawang, the seat of one of the most important monasteries in the Himalayas, is located here and is about 350 years old. It is one of the living centres of Buddhist  in the world, where hundreds of monks and nuns are trained. This is the land of one of the most progressive communities of the state, who are famous farmers, trader’s as well an as good animal husband. This was also the region through which the Tibetan Dharamaguru, the Dalai Lama, descended to India in 1959 leaving behind his official abode in Lhasa in Tibet. Since then, this has also been the Himalayan battle ground between the Indian and the Chinese army in their border skirmishes.

 Arunachal Pradesh is also saddled with another problem: integration of two sets of foreign refugees; the Chakmas and Tibetans, both settled in Lohit district. About 20, 000 Chakma refugees from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and some refugees from Tibet were settled in the district way back in 1960’s. They were allotted some land to support them through cultivation. This step was taken in the period in Arunachal history, in which it was not only shocking defeat of the Indian army in NEFA, but its identity as a distinct political unit was yet to be carved; its own administration was to be established; and some political education was to be imparted to its leaders for a democratic system to function. After nearly four decades, Chakmas’ population has risen to above 60, 0000, who demand their citizenship, which is opposed by a sizeable public opinion of the State on the ground that this numerically large ethnic group will affect the fragile ethnic among the indigenous communities in the State.


India’s Strategic Geography Culture and India-China Geography

India’s Strategic Geography Culture and India-China Geography

While geography is the study of the physical environment, its centrality is to discover in what ways and to what extent this environment affected history. Geographical analysis can offer more towards the understanding of international politics than just an appreciation of the facts of location.8 Borders define nationhood and sovereignty. India never had borders till Independence. Essentially, its boundaries over the centuries can best be termed as ‘frontiers’ i.e. a demarcation between territories with independent sovereignties. A frontier constitutes “an area of separation” between two regions of “more or less homogeneous, and usually denser, population.” It is of such frontiers that Lord Curzon spoke when, in his classic essay bearing that name, he described them as “the razor’s edge” on which hang the modern issues of war and peace and of life or death to nations. Warfare has always occurred for the defenses of frontiers.

In the making of frontiers, international law has a significant role to play. The recognition of the existence, sanctity and permanence of frontiers is one of the foundations on which the law of nations has been built. Frontiers once negotiated and demarcated cannot be altered unilaterally. They are inviolate and unalterable save through negotiation, for any use of force majeure in such cases would be a denial of international law itself. Vital as the element of power politics is, human geography plays an equally important part. What makes for frontiers, and frontier problems, are such factors as race, population, language, geography and access to the sea. Religion also plays an important role in varying degrees, e.g. the birth of Pakistan (1947) and Israel (1948). Also, self determination has been a powerful weapon in creating new frontiers by disrupting ancient ones.

There is a further distinction between a boundary and a frontier. Geographical and historical boundaries, shown as lines on a map, represent the edges of frontiers. Aboundary does not merely demarcate geographical regions or divide human societies but represents the optimum limits of growth of a particular society. In an address to the Royal Society of Arts in 1935, Sir Henry McMahon maintained that a frontier meant a wide tract of border land which, because of its ruggedness or other difficulties, served as a buffer between two states. Aboundary, on the other hand, was a clearly defined line expressed either as a verbal distinction (delimited) or as a series of physical marks on the ground (demarcated); the former thus roughly signified a region, while the latter was a positive and precise statement of the limits of sovereignty.

The Great Wall of China connoted the domain that it was thought proper to include in the tien h’sia, marking it from the outer darkness of the barbarians. So too did the Roman Empire’s frontiers along the Danube, which separated it from the uncivilised tribes beyond its pale. Much the same holds true of the northern mountain ranges in Indian history. The issue here was not only one of keeping the barbarians out, but also of setting limits to the imperial rule.

The long and sprawling land frontier between India and China is now the subject of a bitterly raging conflict between the two countries. The Himalayas were always considered as a natural barrier ‘forbidding’ or ‘preventing’ passage. Amountain system – and the extent to which it is a barrier is inversely proportional to the ease with which it can be crossed – tends to mark a separation between economic and strategic regions. While mountains were a barrier to older societies, they do not pose insurmountable problems to an industrialised society that is equipped with airplanes or the frightening armoury of thermo-nuclear weapons; here it is not nature that has changed, but man.

Today, the sea, the desert, the mountain and the river no longer guarantee natural security as they once did. Even artificial contrivances as a neutral territory, state or zone, or a buffer state, e.g. Afghanistan and Tibet during the British period, do not inspire in the guarantors, much less among those so guaranteed, any measure of confidence. Frontiers today have evolved from being mere geographical barriers into human bulwarks against political ideologies and systems of government, each of them claiming ultimate perfection and allowing at best a modicum of peaceful, if highly competitive, coexistence.

The frontier, in both geo-political, as well as the human geography contexts, has played a significant role in India’s long and sprawling and frontier to the northeast which, for most of its length, is co-terminous with Tibet. For further understanding of its intricacies, it is imperative to analyse its historical geography under its obvious sub-divisions of northwest and northeast segments. From the very inception of its recorded history and the fight of Chandragupta Maurya against the Greeks, India’s northwest frontier has been a subject of considerable concern to her rulers. It was to protect the Khyber and other passes from the northwest against these onslaughts from ‘barbaric hordes’ that every powerful Indian Empire evolved a ‘frontier’ policy. Thus, the policy of Chandragupta Maurya against the post-Alexander Greeks, of Anangpal vis-à-vis the Ghaznavids, of Balban against the Mongols, or of Akbar or Aurangzeb when faced with threats from Central Asia was essentially the same.  Ranjit Singh’s acumen in the handling of the frontier in the post-Nadir Shah /Ahmad Shah Abdali period, earned him a well-merited tribute from his British successors. The latter, whose span has been the most recent in Indian history, deserves close examination, if only to understand the present situation in that region.

For India, the Himalayas comprised a frontier of both ingress and egress. With Tibet in the north, the intercourse was largely one of religious doctrines and their practice, the mountain barrier being far too formidable to mount any large-scale invasion. But on the western side, the Khyber did provide a route for any hostile power to challenge the northern Indian polity, unless the latter was in a position to defend itself. As to the southern frontier, the peninsular barrier did not constitute any major obstacle; though both Ashoka (273-237 BC) and the Mughals (1565-1820) did hold sway over lands south of the Vindhyas.

It is difficult to sum up the British epoch in a nutshell, but it may suffice to suggest that during the colonial period, the theory and practice of the frontier, as also the foreign and defence policy of a united India, rested on the evolution of a buffer state. Both Afghanistan and Tibet fulfilled this role.

 When a state is enclosed by three other states, its territory is focal. He who first gets control of it will gain the support of All-Under-Heaven. This Sun Tzu’s dictum speaks directly of one of the most important geographic factors—location—and why some countries or regions have long histories of recurring warfare. There are many other aspects of geography that bear directly on the power that a nation develops and the strategies it employs in seeking to secure its national interests.

India-China Geography

India came to Independence within a particular and accepted territorial framework, the source of its legitimacy being within the framework of international law in the territorialist conception, whereby it is entitled to the boundaries established by the colonial power, i.e. Britain. Today, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the effective border between India and the People’s Republic of China. It lies along the Indian states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Tibet had been one of the most important buffer states with a 3,520-km border with India. India felt safe behind the buffer until the Chinese occupied Tibet in the early 1950s. The Sino-Indian border dispute is a legacy of the British Raj, though the problem of demarcation/delineation of the India-China border actually started shortly after Independence. The Chinese military invasion into India in 1962 shattered the myth of India’s impregnable Himalayas.

Geographically, the India-Tibet border can be divided into three sectors; the eastern sector consisting of the erstwhile Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA) and the present Arunachal Pradesh, the central sector comprising Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and the western or the Ladakh sector from Demchok to the Karakoram Pass. The dispute between India and China lies mainly over sovereignty over two separated pieces of territory. One is Aksai Chin, located either in the Indian province of Kashmir or the Chinese province of Xinjiang in the west. It is demarcated by what is known as the “Johnson Line”. It is a virtually uninhabited high-altitude wasteland crossed by the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. In Ladakh, the LAC is actually ambiguous because of several “claim lines” and due to the paucity of easily recognisable terrain features on the Aksai Chin plateau.

The other disputed area lies to the east over the territory referred to as Arunachal Pradesh by India and South Tibet by China. It is demarcated by what is known as the “McMahon Line” established in a 3 July 1914 agreement by Sir Arthur Henry McMahon, the British plenipotentiary, to a conference of Indian, British, and Chinese representatives at Simla, which was initialled by British, Tibetan, and Chinese representatives.24 It is a sparsely inhabited area with numerous local tribes. The eastern sector was neglected by the British Raj and independent India, and remains a geographical problem that has not been appropriately resolved. The line agreed to by Britain and Tibet generally follows the crest of the eastern Himalayas from Bhutan to Burma. It serves as a legal boundary, although the Chinese have never formally accepted it. China continues to claim roughly the entire area of Arunachal Pradesh south of the McMahon Line.

In the Kameng sector of Arunachal Pradesh, the McMahon line runs along the crest of the Greater Himalayas from the eastern boundary till it reaches the Thagla ridge in the west. The actual demarcation was not easy as the watershed principle does not hold good in this sector, leading to different interpretations by India and China, both claiming Thagla, the highest ridge in this area. The Thagla-Bumla-Tulungla routes converge on Tawang, but it is also possible to bypass this township and proceed directly to Sela. This route lies along the foothills of Chaku-Eagle’s Nest—Tenga Valley-Bomdila-Dirang-Udalgiri-Kalaktang-Mandala ranges from 14,000 to 17,000 ft. The most significant of these tracks is from Tawang-Mago-Poshingla-Changla-Thembang-Bomdila, also known as Bailey’s Trail, which played a vital role in the1962 border war with China.

China and India have yet to address the fundamental and very large land boundary disputes. Moreover, their bilateral relations are complicated by the issues of Tibet and Kashmir. China has actually made an overreach in Tibet against the dictates of geography. The Beijing-Lhasa rail link is 4,064 km. Moscow is 4,358 km from Delhi. Geographically and culturally, Tibet and China are poles apart.

Some aspects of the India-China boundary do need emphasis. To start with, it is by no means easy to translate an undemarcated traditional boundary into map lines. The Chinese have persisted with their rhetoric of mutually acceptable borders and charged New Delhi with being a little too rigid, legalistic, and even unwilling to negotiate. The British had tried hard not only to identify traditional or customary boundaries, but also helped evolve strategic boundaries. In the event, McMahon’s thick line drawn on a small scale map is hard to transpose on the ground and stick to natural features or such dicta as the highest crest in very high mountains.




A game of ping-pong has been playing between India and China since the first half of 20th century, in which the state of Arunachal is being used as a ball. The British, being a judge to this game, made a mess by crushing the ball and rushed out of this game in haste, leaving behind two ambivalent countries to play with deformed ball. The so-called border talks are being held at the expense of Arunachal. The debate on border issue seems incredibly long and the outcome is not on the horizon. And if today the Arunachal is being treated as a whore, the British and Tibetan must share a part of blame. The Tibetan, who had some sway over certain part, didn’t took care of the maiden, the British broke its virginity and passed it to India, and then the India kept the state like a mistress and now China wants to have it. Let’s take a look at the historical records to unravel if Arunachal really were a territory of China or an integral part of India. The starting place of border dispute extends back into the 19th Century, when both China and British India asserted claims to remote mountain areas between China and India. But the people of Arunachal unknown to the doom, existed as a sovereign state. In the second half of the nineteenth century, the tide of development was lapping into the foot-hills. So the British drew a line along the foot of the hills which was to be called the “Inner Line” and the “Outer Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873. The Inner Line was an administrative line, in the Assam tribal areas, to keep hunters and traders out of the Assam tribal areas; no taxes were collected beyond the Inner Line. The Outer Line was the international boundary of British India. However, little publicity was given to the demarcation of the Outer Line. On March 30, 1911, Noel Williamson, Assistant Political Officer of Sadiya, and a tea estate doctor were attacked and killed by Adi tribesmen in Komsing. Williamson was formally warned not to cross the Inner Line without expressed permission. Williamson’s death provided for the revision of the tribal policy for which Williamson himself had argued for years. A British expedition, headed by Major General Hamilton Bower, was mounted in late 1911; the mission continued until 1913. The alleged purpose of the expedition was punitive; indeed, the Adis were punished for slaying Williamson. However, the ultimate objective of the expedition was to define a new border and to inform the Chinese of the new limits of British sovereignty. While the British were exploring Assam, the 1911 Chinese Revolution erupted. By 1912, Chinese influence in Tibet had fallen drastically. As Chinese power in Tibet waned, Chinese pressure on the Assam border ceased to exist. The British now endeavored to secure the Assam Himalayas from any future Chinese intervention.


 The fall of Chinese power in Tibet led to negotiations between British Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan delegates to the Simla Conference of 1913-14. The British had decided to make Tibet a genuine buffer state. The British chief delegate, Sir Henry McMahon, introduced the idea of a second buffer into the long Sino-Tibetan debates over the boundary between Chinese control and the Tibetan buffer. The Chinese government immediately repudiated the agreement. The Chinese rejection was a blow to McMahon’s buffer scheme. However, McMahon had meanwhile negotiated another buffer and zone of defense for the Himalayas. He had made a separate agreement with the chief Tibetan delegate; this agreement defined the frontier line along the crest of the Assam Himalayas, based on the 1911-13 Abor Expedition. The line was marked on a large-scale (eight miles to the inch) map; however, this map and the details of the McMahon-Tibetan agreement were not communicated to the Chinese. The task of making good the McMahon Line was given to J.P.Mills, the government’s adviser on tribal affairs, who was to say that: “the tribes to be incorporated (in India) belong naturally more to Tibet than to India. In race and in language they are mongoloid. They all speak Tibeto-Burmese languages which have nothing in common with the Assamesse of the Aryans of the plains. It follows therefore that what one might call the cultural and social pull is towards Tibet …. The McMahon Line therefore suffers from the disability that though it may look well on the map … it is in fact not the natural boundary, whereas the frontier along the plains is the natural one.” The Indian government also recognized that the population along the north-east frontier was ethnically and culturally closer to Tibet than to India, but due to the strategic and geopolitical considerations that had formed Britain’s approach to the north-east border applied with equal force for the new (Indian) government. One of the last acts of the Chinese nationalist ambassador in New Delhi was to remind the Indian government in February 1947 that china did not recognize the McMahon Line, and held the simla convention invalid.

 In the early1950s, a strong Assam Rifles patrol moving up the Subansiri River was warmly welcomed by one of the tribes, feasted and given shelter – and then massacred almost to a man. Under Nehru’s order, no punitive action had been taken. In 1952, G.S. Bajpai, then the governor of Bombay urges that India should take the initiative in raising the question of McMahon Line with the Chinese government, only to be told by K.M.Panikkar that the Prime Minister (Nehru) had decided that it was not in India’s interest to raise the question of the McMahon Line. By 1958, the Indians had completed the work left unfinished by the British and made good the McMahon Line. In December 26th 1959, the china implied that the Indian maps are ‘cutting deep into Chinese territory’ in the western sector, while of the eastern sector it is said that ‘the whole boundary line is pushed northward, including an area of about 90,000 sq km which originally belonged to China. In 1986, differences raise again over the McMahon line in the Sumdorung Chu area of Arunachal. After Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to china in 1988, a Joint Working Group (JWG) forum was formed to find a real solution to boundary problems and thence, the delegates from both side debated on this issue from time to time. Ironically, the JWG forum has focused more on peace along the border than on a real solution to the boundary problem. And so far umpteen JWG meeting was conducted without making much headway, and so far not even a single representative of Arunachal was invited to participate in the border talk.

The natives of Arunachal not only resisted Indian occupation when Indian officials moved into inner line, but were equally intimidated by Chinese troops when they entered in Arunachal during 1962 war. The peoples of this region never had a direct contact with China nor with India which makes the state more or less a sovereign state. But from the day Arunachal Pradesh was lifted up into the category of ‘Indian states’ from Union Territory in 1986, she has worked diligently with Indian constitution. And in these 60 years, from the Independence Day till today, the development of infrastructure is not worth mentioning which leads to grave doubt that India’s incapability to develop physical infrastructure in Arunachal lays in the reason that India cannot hold on to Arunachal for a long time. On the contrary, the Chinese has developed Tibet beyond recognition, even laid a rail tracks up to Lhasa which is situated 3,600 meters above sea level, and which, I anticipate, will bind Tibet more close to the mainland. Apart from development of infrastructure issue; if we analyze the statement made by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to Chandigarh last year and in a recent parliament session- 1. “Some adjustments will take place here and there on Arunachal Pradesh and J&K at the conclusion of the ongoing talks with China and Pakistan respectively.” 2. “India and china are exploring the framework of a final package settlement covering all sectors of the India-China boundary (May 10, 2007 Arunachal Times),” it corroborate the doubts enormously. On the other hand, China left no stone unturned to remind the people of Arunachal that they are Chinese citizen. For instance, lately, Chinese embassy refused to grant visa to an IAS officer, Ganesh Koyu who hails from Arunachal, because he comes from a disputed area and which didn’t come as a shock to me as this kind of denial had happened in late 1990’s to then the chief minister, Gegong Apang, when he sought a visa to visit China but was told by Chinese embassy that he doesn’t need a visa to visit his own country.

However, most of the people of Arunachal are of the opinion that the Arunachal would do better under Indian constitution. But the question still refused to subdue is: does the Indian Government and Indians are ready to assimilate the state within its republic. The ‘flip-flop’ attitude of federal government and their vague opinion on Arunachal not only perplex us but also steer us into dark alley. Besides, We (Arunachal along with Mizoram and Nagaland) were accused of being a parasite state by substantial section of the populations that claims that we survives on the flesh of Indians who allegedly labours night and day at IT industry et al to make Indian economy bullish. And we have been blamed for the lack of infrastructure in their state, for the potholes, etc. as well because their money has been pumped into these three states. Perhaps, they may be right in pointing out this. And if this view is defended by Indian government and Indians, then the privilege to call Arunachal an integral part of India is wholly invalid. And the Arunachal should have been given back their earlier status of sovereign state. Furthermore, the Indians are not happy with reservation (reservation in job and educational institution for scheduled tribe and caste), and we (the youth who have been to metropolis and influenced by it) are not happy about being ‘scheduled’ tribe (ST) for so long and to be called ST makes us a part of highly caste ridden and feudal society of Aryans.

At long last, considering the dealings of the centre with our state, it does indicate that the federal government of India, who is directly responsible for corrupting our state government by fattening the wallets of our politician and their enforcement arm, will never be able to oversee our state efficiently. The failure of Indian government to administer competently must not suggest that the whole of Arunachal is for bargain. And the Arunachal and its people shouldn’t be used as pawn in order to strengthen the bilateral ties between India and China. The talk show of two giant goliaths must go on and, but, let the Arunachal be a buffer state – free from Indian and Chinese influence.



This Article taken from written by Roto Chobin



NOTE: forgive me if I am wrong or if there is any kind of spelling mistakes, please.
 HELLO! Folks:  today I am going to write a little brief on ADI history and facts that u may or may not be familiar;
             Long time back people of Adis where called as ABHOR; especially during the colonial period, and also during the reign of the AHOM EMPIRES, the term deliberately denotes barbarous or which is also kind of uncontrolled.
   ADIS where very well good warriors during its history all the time, specially the minyong, milang and padam where known to be very furious.
 Many pictures of  ADI/ABHOR; was taken  by the British  almost during  1912-1940s. But I would like to inform you that  NEFA(now Arunachal Pradesh) had its colonial  touch even before 1900s, Colonial expedition  began almost back  in 18th century too but since there is not must evidence left from those period the history can’t be traceable.  You during those time photographs were not much developed and well processed, British man Simpson took many photographs of east India tribes(NEFA), those were all back in the days of 1820s and was not well developed and not clear, so  the colonial British India had its better photography after 1990s, as Christopher pintey and john falconer  Two British man had shown  with the new technology of photography , the expedition to the hill tribes and photography of NEFA ethnics  and also classifying them and gather the information of  the subcontinent   started. And that’s the time when British came increasingly towards NEFA, although even they had to face many obstacles.
          But to tell you, I have already foretold that the expedition to the hill tribes began  long back in 1800s so i hope now you got it.

Here I will be discussing only about  ABHORS/ADIS,  even though britishers were engaged even with some other tribes.  It was in 1900s  the British was on the move of the expedition towards ADI/ABHOR region, I wont say whole the story but for your knowledge I will give in brief. I am going to the year 1905, Noel Williamson  a  British servant was posted in Sadiya as an   Assistant  political offcer , he had many guides during the expedition, if somewhere Tibetans somewhere ABHOR itself which serve as his guides and potters to the deep jungles  and mountain tracks,  there was many incident breaking out those days like British annihilate the tribal area and its people, case of Apatani incident broke out too before 1905 , well it was in the year 1905 when Political officer  Sir. Noel Williamson had gathered many valuable information from the local people, that in the  1850s there was a furious was between the ADI and British who was led  under  sergeant  Major Carter.  Now it was 1911 that officer Noel Williamson was returning from his travel from upper siang and reached Kebang village very safely and that was the 1st ever successful attempt made by the British to enter into that village since Carter’s time back in 1850s.

  So what happen is that, political officer Williamson was heading to meet the leaders of kebang village, he also knew that ADIs where looking at him very furiously, because he was aware of the war held in past years. He tried to ask permission to enter farther region of ADI/ABHORS, but couldn’t persuade them to give him permission. Very interesting happen this time is that while Williamson was in kebang , the leaders (Minyong people)from Rima village described Williamson as a “war minister”  and told the ADIS that war minister has arrived and was speaking at Kebang, He was tall had round cap made of deer skin, he had attendants too !! so tall like him, had long fur coat of Tibetan texture. He (Williamson) had a moustache; held a spear in his left hand gesticulating  from his right hand”


Noel Williamson was told to move back , the area was too dangerous for him to enter farther. It was n 1911 when noel Williamson was not even near Kebang, and his rations where seemed missing  so he directly accused the ADI  porters who where his guides too, the ADIS already wanted to kill him direct on the spot itself but didn’t. Very big misunderstanding evolved out due to Williamson in that situation, as he sent the MIRI’S (adi-padams) carriers to go back and bring more rations he also gave them letters e to give it to the post office on the way. T he carrier however reportedly showed the official red and black envelopes  to ADIS  and “boasted” that there was an order to punish the villagers of kebang and rotung,rima. The ADI porters who ran away from Williamsons order narrated orally “that Williamson had slapped them and accused” .  By that time 5 ADI attacked Williamson, and it was during this year 1911, political officer Noel Williamson and his partner Dr. Gregoerson was killed.

* ANGLO-ADI WAR-1   :1850s( seargeant  major carter’s period)

*ANGLO-ADI  WAR-2  : 1911 (after murder of noel wiliamson-dr.Gresgoerson)


 A force of nearly 1000 soldiers, military police was sent to find the murderers of Noel Williamson and his attendants. This was a massive response from the British to ABHORS and it can  be remembered as a brutal war between the colonial and ADI people in  history. According to me this war was more deliberate in compare to Anglo-adi war in 1850s under Major Carter.

Abhors/ADIs in a camp -riga village- seeing the british officer major Bower and his troops approaching

On 18th December  the britishers camped at yambung village not very far from kebang village. On that day ADIS headmen from komsing and riu village came to the camp with a friendly manner and told the Britishers major Bower that the incident was of innocence act, this was termed by the britishers as the courage of ADI people to come and approach the British. This story was published by a British journalist at Calcutta , and  was also told that major genera Bower  believed the story narrated by  the ADI headman. But as I told before the Britishers had to catch the culprits, so there was an incident  that the British army burned down the kebang village, knowing the attack the ADIS  came down from rima-ruksin to repel the attack but they couldn’t  succeed.




ADIS WHO KILLED NOEL WILLIAMSON AND DR. GREGOERSON- picture showing the murderers captured and chained by the british. Matmur Jamoh accused with the other porters who where involved in killing dr.gregoerson.

Adi HISTORY BY john pebi tato

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