Dogs To The North-east: No, Please!

Chabungbam Amuba Singh *

Stray Dogs in India

An MLA of an elite state of mainstream India moving a bill to despatch stray dogs to the peripheral North-East, the mongoloid-fringe of the nation! Amazing and amusing! However, I have a piece of 'education' for Mr Mofar (the MLA) and his likes:

The people of the North-East do not

  1. burn their daughter-in-laws for dowry demands;
  2. kill their daughters/sisters for loving/marrying boys of other communities;
  3. throw widows into the funeral pyres of the husbands;
  4. commit human sacrifice to improve the libido and fertility;
  5. rob, rape and kill tourists.
  6. marry off their little kids.
If you really think that the North-East people relish dog meat, you can also try eating dog meat to cure your society of the above ills.

To tell you the truth: To the overwhelming majority of the population in the North East (at least more than 90 per cent), dog meat is a taboo. And for the rest too, it forms no part of their regular staple diet.

Not convinced? Here are some figures:- As per Census-2011, the total population of North-East India is 45,587,982. Of this only 16.3 per cent, i.e. 7,418,234 belongs to the four tribal dominant states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram. The rest 83.7 percent belongs to Assam, Manipur and Tripura (and Sikkim which has a population of 607,688 only).

The total tribal population in the entire North-East is about 12.4 million, which is just about 27 per cent of the total population of the region. Of these, about 43 per cent are plain people who share the same moderately warm lowland climate and hence the same food culture as the non- tribals in the plain. I think these figures are enough to convince you that only a tiny miniscule of the people in the North-East might relish dog meat if at all.

The Assamese, Manipuris and Tripuris boast of their more than two thousand years old civilisation.

Here's, however, a suggestion: If you are genuinely concerned about your stray-dog problem, I suggest that you send them to the Wa people of northeast Burma bordering the Yunnan province of China to the east of the Salween river. There are about seven hundred thousand Was in Burma and another three thousand in the neighbouring China, west of the Mekong river. Dog meat is their greatest delicacy (Thant Myint-u, "The River of Lost Footsteps", p 324). These people are better known through their leader Khun Sa, the "Opium King" of the Golden Triangle and warlord who once headed the powerful rebel Mong Tai Army. Before his death in October 2007, the notorious Khun Sa carried a reward of 2 million US dollars announced by the US Drug Enforcement Authority.

Nearer home, Mr Mamingthang Gangte ( 3 July 2012), while articulating a fitting response to Mr Mofar, has seriously erred when he said, "Most of the people (in the N-E) consider dog meat a special delicacy". Such type of misinformation is damaging to the North East panorama.

Turning inwards, isn't it time to ponder how the North-East has not succeeded in projecting its true panorama? Go to a mainstream University campus and ask - Who is Gopinath Bordoloi/Bhupen Hazarika/Bir Tikendrajit/Kunjarani Devi/Mary Kom/T Muivah/Khaplang, and also ask about Manipuri Ras Lila/Bihu dance/NSCN(IM)/NSCN(K), etc. Can you suggest some more items to be show-cased? I am amazed at my own ignorance of the North-East!

Who is talking of inclusive policy and growth in the North-East? The tribal face of the region is much more visible and is in much more intense limelight than the demographically dominant non-tribals so much so that mainstream India sees this Mongoloid fringe as a tribal fringe.

Thanks to the post-independence social progress seen in the North-East, the tribal non-tribal divide in the region is now nothing more than a hair line crack. On the other hand, in the rest of the country, particularly in the cow belt of north and central India, the tribal non-tribal divide is still of gapping width, even though the Dalit non-Dalit divide has virtually disappeared except in politics and political manoeuvres like 'quota' and 'reservation'.

Unfortunately, to many people in mainstream India, the vanishing of the tribal non-tribal divide is seen as emergence of a dominant tribal panorama of the North East. In plain words, they see a tribal in everyone of the North East people.

Whoever are these people, they need proper education to come to terms with the reality of the North-East. They should appreciate the social ascendency of the so-called tribals in the North-East. Meanwhile, people like Mr. Mofar can look for other suitable places than North-East India to despatch their stray dogs to.

* Chabungbam Amuba Singh (Former VC, Manipur University) is a frequent contributor to .
The writer can be contacted at camuba(dot)singh(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was webcasted at on 08 July 2012.

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