LITERACY AND EDUCATIONAL CONDITIONS OF CHAKMAS IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH, INDIA by Premanand Chakma, Arunachal Pradesh, India
A society’s development is measured with the rate of literacy and educational aspects. Education is the tool that can predict the future of a society. It is the backbone for all round developments. If a society is in backwardness, means, that society is backward in education. The lifestyles of people change as per their educational level is uplifted. Human resources become more fruitful when people get quality education that can boost the literacy, economy, morality, wisdom, etc. Persons who can read and write has more constructive knowledge and skills to produce more productive goods and services to the society or nation that increases economical, social, political and spiritual gains.
In this 21st century, the world is so advanced that people are moving to space within few minutes and there are immeasurable scientific technologies have been invented by humans, even impossible works could be possible with artificial intelligence and skills achieved through modern education. Almost every person is educated in many countries but still some parts of the world are less privilege to get education. May be due to discrimination or deprivation of basic rights, some communities are backward in terms of education and other essential things.
In this article, today we are going to know the literacy condition of Chakmas living in Arunachal Pradesh. Arunachal Pradesh is known as the land of the rising sun in India. It is a beautiful state with eastern Himalaya ranges with land of down-lid mountains. There are 26 major tribes and hundred of sub-tribes living in Arunachal Pradesh. As tribal people, Arunachalees have less aware of education compare to others. Hence, Arunachal Pradesh is the second least literacy rate in India as per 2011 National Census.
The Chakma and Hajong tribes who migrated from Bangladesh were given settlement in Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA-North-East Frontier Agency) during 1964-69. The status of education of Chakmas and Hajongs is the worst in the state due to discrimination or have less advantage of any facility (including education) to them.
Chakmas had been settled in three districts Tirap, Lohit and Subansiri in NEFA (now Arunachal Pradesh). Those three districts split into two or three districts from each. Now in present time, the settlement areas of Chakmas involved in Changlang, Namsai and Papumpare districts respectively. As per the data of National Census of India 2011 available, the literacy rate of the Chakmas is 44.77% only, whereas 65.38% of state literacy rate.
Chakmas are in six administrative circles, they are in Diyun, Miao, Kharsang and Bordumsa circles of Changlang district, Chowkham circle of Namsai district and Balijan circle of Papumpare district in present days. In Diyun Circle, Chakmas are inhabiting in 16 villages namely, Maitripur, Gautampur, Shantipur, Jyotipur, Avoipur, Dumpani, Kamakhyapur, Jyotsnapur, Rajanagar, Dumpather, Udaipur, Modoidweep, Shillong Pahar, Modokka Nalah, Arunyapur and Sukha Nalah. Among them, Rajnagar village has the highest literacy rate with 63.51% followed by Dumpani village 55.45% and the least literacy rate is Modoidweep village with only 29.07% in Diyun administrative circle. The four villages of Diyun circle; Shillong Pahar, Modokka Nalah, Sukha Nalah and Arunyapur were not included in 2011 national census. Hence, their data of literacy rate is not available.
There are Nine Chakma villages in Miao circle; Anandapur, Brajapur, Bodhisatta, Devapuri, Dharmapur, M’pen-I, M’pen-II, Kamalapuri and Punyabhumi. M’pen-I village is the highest literacy rate and Kamalapuri village stands the least literacy rate in Miao circle. Bordumsa circle has three Chakma inhabited villages, they are Bijoypur-I, Bijoypur-II and Bijoypur-III. The average literacy rate of these three villages is 55.37%. Bijoypur-II village literacy is 63.78% followed by Bijoypur-I – 54.96% and Bijoypur-III – 47.38%.
Milanpur, Gulokpur and Ratnapur are Chakma inhabited villages of Kharsang circle. Their literacy rate is unidentified in 2011 Census owing to either these villages were not included in 2011 census or they were mixed up with another villages. There are three villages in Chowkham circle of Namsai district; namely- Chakma Basti-I, Chakma Basti-II and Chakma Basti-III. These villages’ literacy rate is 42.42% in average. There are eight villages in Balijan Circle of Papumpare district also. They are Chakma-I, Chakma-II, Chakma-III, Chakma-V, Chakma VIII, Chakma-IX and Chakma X. Originally, there were 10 settlement villages in Balijan circle but some of them had been abandoned by the Chakmas and they shifted to Diyun area. The literacy rate of these Chakma inhabited villages in Balijan circle is 45.24% in average. As per 2011 census, Miao circle of Changlang district has the least literacy rate with 38.31% and Bordumsa Circle of Changlang district has the highest with 55.37% at average level.
In view of the above, Chakma people in Arunachal Pradesh have less education in comparison of the entire population in the state. There are inadequate teachers in government schools of Chakma settlement areas. The infrastructure of the government educational institutions are not good either. During 1980s and 1990s, education was the worst to the Chakmas. During the agitation against the Chakmas, several schools were closed that time. On one hand, there were no availability of schools nearby. Students had to walk on 10-12 kms to reach the school. On the other hand, Chakmas were not fully aware of the value of education. The girls were mostly not sent to schools, rather they were kept for household activities. The literacy and educational upliftment in Chakma society started after 1990s.
Privatization brought several Buddhist missionaries in Chakma area where people got more awareness about importance of education. In current days, it is improving rapidly. The quality education in private schools is much advanced than of government schools. Many government schools still have inadequate teaching stuffs. However, the conditions are being improved day by day. As many Chakma students from Arunachal Pradesh reach to higher education, they go to study in different states and cities. Their knowledge and skills are being used in the society. They are more aware of rule and law than before and also about various constructive works which accelerating their literacy as well as living conditions. The education awareness is in full swing now in all people of Arunachal Pradesh including Chakmas. In upcoming decades, education would be highly increased in the state.
As already mentioned above that literacy rate in Arunachal Pradesh is the second least in India. The average literacy rate of the country is 74.04%. Arunachal’s literacy is 65.38% only. The literacy rate of Arunachal Pradesh will be improved if the government’s fund of the state, invest in educational department such as recruitment of more teaching stuffs for government schools and infrastructure should be properly maintained and constructed in all spheres of community irrespective of tribes. When education uplifts, the state would reach in high progressive state. As Arunachal Pradesh is one of the most developing state in North-eastern parts of India, hopefully education might be given the highest priority for development of the people and nation as a whole.
Reference: 2011 District Census books of Changlang, Namsai and Papumpare districts and data available in internet updated by district administration.
Writer: Premanand Chakma, Arunachal Pradesh, India