TODAY -

E-Pao! EI - Road to Yunan Part I

Road to Yunan - Part I
Yumnam Rupachandra Singh *



Standing on a hotel rooftop commenting for local ISTV news with the Provincial Chinese border town of Swelli (Rulli) barely few hundred feet in the background one could only feel disappointed at the prospect of not being allowed to step onto the soil of Yunan, thought by many here as holding the secret or at least a link of where "we (Meiteis) came from."

But there was also feeling of accomplishment among the 27 members of the tour team for having reached Muse, the Myanmar border town, the access to which was till now never been officially allowed to any foreigner.

Our guide Sen Wan, told us we were the first foreign tourist group to be allowed into the border town which is predominantly inhabited by Shans and Chinese. Prior to 1992, different ethnic groups in this north eastern State of Shan bordering Laos and China have been waging war against the Rangoon (Yangon) administration for separate nations. The economically poorer region also has been haven for drug lords and poppy cultivation was rampant. It was region of much violence.

But after 1992 when the Rangoon military rulers struck a peace deal with the insurgent groups and locals have been given alternative crops to poppy, peace has return in the region, our guide told us. Miles and miles of orange orchards along the highway was testimony to the changes. But foreigners were still not allowed beyond Lashio, a highway township half way to Muse from Mandalay. "You are the first group to be allowed this far in," emphasized our guide.

That we were allowed into Muse was rare became apparent right from Moreh and Tamu, where people familiar with Myanmar politics raised their eyebrows when told we were headed Muse and possibly to Yunan.

Yunan was our target and till Mandaly, which many groups from Manipur including a trade delegates have made it to, we slept in comfort believing our torturous journey would be well rewarded. But once we reached the border, Chinese immigration authorities, when told the team was from India refused anything to do with us.

"They must be thinking we are from mainland India. If only they see our faces they would allow us," some members commented, distraught at the though of returning without visiting Yunan.

The next best thing the team did, which cut down to a day’s stay in Muse instead of two initially planned, was to approach the huge Chinese immigration gate and take back a snapshot with Chinese armed force, PLA, guards in the background.

Muse is a trading town much like our own Moreh- only more refined and neat. It is a days drive from Mandaly. The highway, built and maintain by two private companies which collect tolls from every vehicle that pass on it, are heavy with traffic of multi-wheeled Japanese and Korean trucks ferrying goods. One could see the Chinese importing high end electronic items of well known brands manufactured by different south east Asian countries through the highway to Mandalay. On the other hand cheap electronic goods and garments manufactured in China were coming in reverse traffic into Myanmar heading for markets that includes our own Paona Bazaar. These products find its way into Bangladesh and India on the west and Thailand on the east of Myanmar.

A round trip in Muse Township revealed a surprise - an all women market much like our own Nupi Market. Though the market had little similarity in terms of structures mostly women operated it. There was lot of items on display, which were familiar to us. Dr. Dhanabir, exited at the discovery picked up some "nung sang" and Thoiba, another team member, let loose on a clicking spree.

But a little bit of advise for those who would like to go marketing to Muse, the price on this side of the border is not cheap and is comparable to Nampha-long. You may go in for items that do not surface in Namphalong though. Across the border in Chinese province of Yunan, the price, we are told is cheap, but only when you buy in bulk.

Traders from Namphalong, we were told, buy in bulk from China and ferry them to through another shorter route in upper Myanmar, which as tourist, were out of bounds for us. A shirt I picked up in Muse market cost same in Namphalong. Standard consumer electronic items like mobiles and computer peripherals were more costly than Indian market.

On the way to Mandalay after an overnight stay at Muse it was turn of the likes of Mutua Bahadur to get excited. The Shans, like the Meiteis have a form of ancestor worship and along the long route to Mandalay Shan dominated areas had temples much like our own "Umang Lai" complete with woods surrounding it. We stopped by one and closely observed the temple. Horses and tiger figure prominently in their worship. Is it the horses referred to our own mythologies - wondered Dr. Dhanabir of Manipur University.

A brief stop at Hsipaw, a site of power for former Shan power, now reduced much like our own royalty, we met the nephew of former ruler of Shan nation - Sao Oo Kya. His is a story of past glory. At 3 dollar a person he takes you around his dilapidated royal palace built by his western educated Uncle who exiled to USA and died there having taken a western wife. The palace itself had strong western influence complete with tennis ground and swimming pool - no longer used though. He himself spoke very good English being educated in Darjeeling.

With himself as the only legacy left to uphold the family line, Sao Oo Kya proudly narrates the history of the Shans, which, according to him, the Meiteis and Assamese were a part off. The Shans, he narrated, migrated from Mongolia and having skirted the Chinese Great Wall came to Yunan (Yunam in Shan) in southern part of China. From here they dispersed in three direction - west, south and east.

The eastern Shans went on to become the present day Laos and Vietnamese while the southern Shans became the Thais (Siam) and Cambodians. In the west it is the Assam and Manipur. Shans, he said were very adaptive and adapted to where ever they had migrated. Indian influence on you have you wearing "dhotis", he said. Though much of what he said was Shan centric and subject to authentication, it gave food for though for the team and we came back satisfied at having seen one more aspect of our eastern flank. Interest in the Shan dynasty is also not limited only to us. There were signs of foreign tourist making his palace a destination in their tour plans.

Read Part I | Part II | Part II |


* The writer is currently serving as a Correspondent of The Statesman and contributes regularly to Sangai Express. This article was webcasted on 13th April 2005

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #14 :: Book
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • 174th Anniv Maharaj Narasingh #1 : Gallery
  • Ensuring Fair Voting in Hills of Manipur
  • Dr Irengbam Mohendra's latest book :: Rvw
  • NDA has the advantage in both
  • Lok Sabha polls in Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • L Rup's Robot 'Kangleinganbi' in Manipuri
  • Art- means of connecting hearts in Manipur
  • Is it Living Alive or Living Death ? :: Poem
  • Rabies - A preventable zoonotic disease
  • April 19, 2024: The blackest day of all
  • Ugly turns on voting day
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • The chasm between TB & HIV continues
  • Parliament and its Members
  • Kimchi for health and glowing skin
  • LS election with a difference
  • To vote, or not to vote ?
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamjao, Kakching
  • The Power of Poppy - 27 :: Poem
  • Mother Language based education essential
  • Modi's warriors wear regional hats
  • Nest Asia promoting Northeastern Cuisine
  • Now look beyond LS poll
  • The rot in the system
  • Scientists of Manipur : Laitonjam Warjeet
  • Community seed bank @Umathel : Gallery
  • 10 candidates cracked Civil Services Exam
  • Milk of Paradise: History of Opium : Rvw
  • How plastics find their way into our bodies
  • Condemning attack on Trucks along NH-37
  • Cong looking to buck the trend
  • Saving Manipur
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #2
  • Election Duty :: Travellog
  • 1st Nagas' Meet in Punjab
  • How to select right MP to represent Manipur
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Tejpur
  • Bats are Keystone species for the Planet
  • The '15 days' conundrum
  • Free but not so fair
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #30: Download
  • Before You Vote : My Rumbling Thoughts
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Kakching
  • Meiraba wins All India Sr tournament
  • Finding light in dark through my daughter
  • Navigating life's unreasonable expectations
  • Test of people's character
  • BJP's election manifesto
  • Athoubasingi Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Black rice & Glycemic Index
  • What Nadda should speak at Dimapur rally
  • Open Letter to CM Office Manipur
  • Meghalaya unveils Strawberry festival
  • Benefits of maths newspapers for students
  • Id-ul-Fitr @Hatta #1 : Gallery
  • Are you a good person ?
  • Physics Academy of NE : Executive Body
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Moirang
  • Cherrapunji Eastern Craft Gin launched
  • Cong on cautious path
  • Botox for Hair
  • Posers voters should raise now
  • The lull before the storm
  • 80th Anniv- Battle of Kanglatongbi @UK
  • Vir Chakra Ngangom Joydutta's bust unveiled
  • Hun - Thadou Cultural Festival : Gallery
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Singjamei
  • Election Eclipses: Ballad of Battle & Loss
  • Our voices are equal at the ballot box
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • Urgent Call for Solidarity in Manipur
  • Meitei Nongsha #2 :: An Artwork
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Waikhong
  • About NPF-BJP-NPP alliance & why ?
  • World Veterinary Day, 2024
  • The heavy stake behind the LS polls
  • The politics of lying & deception
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Hun-Thadou Cultural Fest @ Delhi: Report
  • Appeal to Parties & Candidates
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Wangoo
  • Establishment of community seed bank
  • Awareness Programme on new Criminal Laws
  • Make a right choice at the Lok Sabha election
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba: 1 occasion, 2 narratives #1
  • RIST talk-58 : Support systems of elderly
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • Vote, do not boycott !
  • Lok Sabha election: A new dawn in politics ?
  • IIT-Guwahati Half Marathon report
  • Taking ST demand to the election ring
  • Lesson to be learnt from across border
  • Mirabai: Poised for Paris Olympics
  • Legal position for protection of environment
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Keisamthong
  • Heterocyclic compound & biochemical science
  • Inner, torn between two lovers
  • Certification Music Therapy Workshop
  • NOTA as a choice
  • Caesar's wife must be above suspicion
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #29: Download
  • World Health Day 2024
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Pangantabi
  • The Power of Poppy - 26 :: Poem
  • Fulbright Fellowship Outreach at Arunachal
  • Id-ul Fitr da namaz nattana..
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #13 :: Book
  • Lok Sabha election is coming, be prepared
  • 6th Hun-Thadou Cultural Festival
  • Let There Be Free & Fair Election
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Lamlong
  • Science magazines are important for student
  • Interesting choice of candidates
  • The power of We, the voters
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur #1
  • The Case for Amendment of Article 371-C
  • Meitei Nongsha #1 :: Artwork
  • Link between forest & conflict in Manipur
  • Final Call for Application MFA - Phase-2
  • ST for Meiteis call before elections
  • Passing the buck
  • Beating of the Retreat #1 : Gallery
  • Life of our Lives in Ethnic Strife Era! :: Poem
  • IIT-Guwahati annual Half Marathon
  • Follow up: European Parliament on Manipur
  • Yoga & Kegel exercise: Pelvic floor workout
  • Opting for the NOTA button
  • Yearning of the displaced people
  • Kenedy Khuman (Singer) : Gallery
  • 5th NE Women's Peace Congregation
  • World Autism Awareness Day 2024
  • Election fever grips Manipur despite unrest
  • Looking for a decent election hustings
  • Clock ticking towards voting day
  • An exemplary directive
  • Children Camp @JNMDA Imphal #1 : Gallery
  • Memo to Election Commission of India
  • Easter & Holi echo in Nilgiris
  • Holiday Camp for children at JNMDA, Imphal
  • Zero waste is our moral responsibility
  • Elections & loyalty vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • Show of strength without unity
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #2 : Gallery
  • Panthoi Chanu : 1st to play in Australia
  • Intensive labs in film preservation
  • Building bridges with books
  • Need of the hour: Political maturity
  • Accepting defeat before the election
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #28: Download
  • April Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Natural packaging from bamboo : Gallery
  • The Power of Poppy - 25 :: Poem
  • Everyone has their own Bharat Ratna
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #12 :: Book
  • Demand- Manipuri as classical language
  • The Drummer from Odisha
  • Beauty benefits of lemon
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur's original Ponies : Gallery
  • Yaoshang & Dance of Democracy loom
  • Symposium on Jagadguru Shankaracharya
  • Choosing ITI as a campus after X
  • Yaoshang Pichakari #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang @Nabadwip Dham : Gallery
  • How oral health affects your pregnancy
  • Two faces of Holi
  • Prawaas 4.0, Multimodal Transport Show
  • A decade of development of higher education
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba #1 : Gallery
  • Our Eternal Kangleipak :: Poem
  • Micro-livestock for livelihoods: For NE States
  • The fun of Holi used to be monotonous
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • About the "Meitei" community from Manipur
  • Unveiling the medicinal benefits of honey
  • The incalculable value of wildlife
  • Promises of true love
  • Trends, Alliances, & Challenges in Elections
  • Meitei Goddess Ngaleima : An Artwork
  • Water is the most precious gift of God
  • Bharat needs a strong 'India'
  • Transformation of railway stations
  • Not quite the final countdown
  • Missing of 'The Saffron' from electoral colour
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #27: Download
  • 3rd North East Games: Manipur champion
  • The Power of Poppy - 24 :: Poem
  • EBTC & JCRE signed MoU
  • Early Detection Program at Toubul
  • How Holi affects our mood & mental health
  • Lamta Thangja @ Imphal : Gallery
  • Manipur cinema legacy shines at ARCUREA
  • The pulse of politics amidst conflict
  • Forest is most important vital organ of Earth
  • Tips to play safe Holi
  • Politics of naming candidates
  • Disappearing of spring from season cycle
  • Meira Paibis of Manipur
  • Demand for ST status by Meiteis
  • Project Personal Opening @Assam University
  • World Poetry Day at Manipur University
  • Green skills for sustainable world
  • Supportive interventions during exam time
  • Interesting run up to LS polls
  • Onus definitely on PM to restore peace
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #11 :: Book
  • Water, water everywhere ...
  • 21st March - A special day for Forest
  • RI imprisonment to Rapists at Silchar
  • Arrests threaten fragile ceasefire
  • The Valor Within :: Poem
  • Monitoring the rehab centres
  • True colour of politicians
  • North East Film Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Linthoingambi- 'Jury Honourable Mention'
  • Meitei Goddess Phouoibi : An Artwork #3
  • Formation of Wesean Student Federation
  • 20th March- International Day of Happiness
  • A call to first time voter youths
  • Playing the card close to its chest
  • Targeting FOCS and ITLF
  • Students @ Class X Exam : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba @ Kangla : Gallery
  • Special scholarship scheme for girls
  • Imphal Book Fair 2023 #3 : Gallery
  • Protest for scrapping SoO #2 :Gallery
  • Maharaj Narasingh Statue @Kangla :Gallery
  • Shopping List for Shivaratri : Gallery
  • N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #1 : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #1: Gallery
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #3 : Gallery
  • Naorem Roshibina- Wushu Medallist : Gallery
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD