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Doing Time With Nehru

Voices of Deoli


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Returning To Our Country Of Birth

Posted on September 30, 2015 at 8:41 AM Comments comments (91)
The day has finally arrived! After the concept was born two and a half years ago, of returning to India on Gandhi's birthday to give public awareness of what happened to the Chinese Indians, and after a year of working to make it happen, four of us, are making this historic trip leaving today!

We are calling ourselves "The Deoliwallahs" — survivors of the Deoli Internment Camp, Rajasthan, India, 1962-1967.

We will be giving talks at several venues soon after we arrive New Delhi and we will do our best to keep you all updated.

Once again, we want to thank all of you who helped our "Voices of Deoli" campaign on Indiegogo. We raised enough money to get a second documentary film launched.

We always appreciate your comments.  Thanks.

Voices of Deoli

Posted on September 7, 2015 at 1:57 PM Comments comments (3)
We're at 44% of our fund-raising goal at Indiegogo. We have 7 days to go!  I hope you can help us get to at least 50% of our goal by September 14!

Our group of Deoliwallahs leave for India at the end of the month to give a series of talks in Delhi and Kolkata, to share our stories and make public awareness of what happened to us in the aftermath of the 1962 Border War between India and China. We invite you to go on our journey, if not physically, at least in spirit.

An Indiegogo campaign called "Voices of Deoli" launched

Posted on August 14, 2015 at 3:07 PM Comments comments (1)
We had hoped to launch our fund-raising campaign on July 1 but got delayed and missed the deadline. We finally launched it on July 31 which on the BLUE MOON!! Yes, really! an auspicious day. I'm happy to announce that we are at 28% of our goal and have 32 days left to go. We hope all of you who read this will join us and help us reach our goal. :-)

A small group of the "Deoliwallahs" — the survivors of the Deoli Internment Camp of India, will arrive India on October 2, Gandhi's birthday, another auspicious day, returning together to the country of our birth for the first time!

launching Indiegogo campaign

Posted on July 29, 2015 at 2:08 AM Comments comments (5)
Two days from now we will be launching a funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise money to complete a documentary film on interviews with the survivors of the Deoli Internment Camp in Rajasthan, India. The money will also be used for the symposiums we will holding in Delhi and Kolkata this coming October. The goal of the symposiums is to create more public awareness of the internment of Chinese Indians in 1962-67 and what became of a once thriving Chinese community in Kolkata which had been there since the mid-1800's.

We will send you the link as soon as it's launched.

Injustice and harassment still continues after 53 years after the 1962 Border War

Posted on June 18, 2015 at 8:34 PM Comments comments (158)
A few days ago, I was made aware of a situation currently in India, which I was totally ignorant of. Since I left the country with my family half a century ago, I was so eager to start a new life that I hadn’t paid much attention to those ethnic Chinese who remained in India and had made India their home. I assumed everything had changed for the better after the ’62 war was long over. Apparently, I was wrong. Those Chinese born before 1950 that hold Chinese passports, are still being denied Indian citizenship. They have to renew their resident permit every year and pay around 10,000 rupees each time. When they want to travel outside the jurisdiction of Kolkata, they are required to obtain special travel permits.

There is something grievously wrong here. India prides herself of being the biggest Democracy in the world. Where is the justification of this? How can the central government allow this injustice to continue for 65+ years? I repeat. These residents have been denied citizenship for 65+ years!! These residents are a small minority and are getting smaller by the year. They have, by and large, been too scared to speak up for themselves. This is a violation of their human rights and needs to be rectified.

No Apology Made — a mis-translation!

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 6:49 PM Comments comments (3)
It has been brought to my attention in the past few days by people who actually attended Rita Chowdhury's book launch on May 12 in Delhi, that there was NO apology made by the Home Minister. 

The article written in the May 15 issue of the Times of India got it wrong! What the Home Minister actually said was: "I feel sorry for those Chinese Indian people, who were separated from their families and were tortured, harassed, looted and who became homeless. They had already been assimilated to the Indian society when they had to face that unfortunate state of affairs." 

Either the reporter got it wrong, or a few of the Chinese Indians who were present at the launch got so excited to see the Home Minster attending a book launch where the book was about Assamese Chinese and their lives after the Border War of '62. They probably thought they heard, what they have been waiting to hear, for decades. In their minds it became an apology.

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Assamese woman wants to meet her Chinese parents

Posted on May 22, 2015 at 12:56 PM Comments comments (3)

Dr Payal Banerjee's Talk at Stanford yesterday

Posted on May 21, 2015 at 8:34 PM Comments comments (5)
It was an amazing day! The night before, Joy Ma emailed me a link which was forwarded to her by a friend, about Dr Payal Banerjee from Smith College, MA, speaking at Stanford. The topic was: The Chinese in Post-1962 India: Internment, Nationalism, and the Embodied Imprints of State Action. It was the first time that anyone outside the Internee/Chinese Indian community was going to talk about the internment. We both, decided to attend. I took Noel, Nikki and Alice Tam with me. 
We arrived early and had the fortune to have a conversation with Dr Banerjee. As we chatted, she realized who I was and with wide eyes  asked me "Are you Yin Marsh?" To my surprise I replied, "Yes. and this is my husband, Noel, my friend, Alice Tam, and my daughter, Nikki." She said "I remember Nikki. You wrote the foreword!" 

She told us she had planned to use many excerpts from my book and didn't realize I was going to be there. At the same time, I had no idea that someone would be using my book as reference. She asked my permission, and of course, I gave it. We were all blown away. Then, instinctively, she and I both ran towards each other and hugged one another. We all shed tears.  It was serendipity!

Dr Payal was a very warm, insightful and sympathetic speaker and though her research is on globalization, labor, and migration, this topic of Chinese Indians and their fate after the '62 War has become her passion. She also made reference to Kwai Li's Oral History of Deoli Internees, and Ming Tung Hsieh's book "The Lost Tribe."

Thank you, Joy, for sending us the link and Payal for bringing up the subject of Chinese Indian internment in a university setting for the first time. We were all thrilled to meet you!

Voices of Deoli

Posted on May 21, 2015 at 12:58 PM Comments comments (4)
Some of you recently have asked if I have a blog so that they could get updates of any news in connection with Chinese Indians. So, I decided to do reinstate my blog. Many of you have read my book, “Doing Time with Nehru,” and others have heard me talk about ethnic Chinese living on the border being interned as a result of the India-China Border War of 1962. The war lasted one month but the camp was kept opened for five years. 

While it has been easier to bury those memories and stay silent, after fifty years some of us feel that we are finally able talk about it. Two main reasons that ignited the need to tell our story. First, we have come to the realization that practically no one we have talked to knows that ethnic Chinese were interned. Second, it is the realization that we are the last generation of survivors of the internment camp and we feel that it is our duty to tell our stories so that our descendants, as well as the general public, know what happened. 

Writing my memoir has been very cathartic for me. The process was long, almost four years, because I had to dig deep and retrieve memories I had long ago put away. It has opened up emotions I didn’t know I had buried. When I was done, I became free of the burden I had carried for fifty years, and now I no longer fear of talking about my experiences from a lifetime ago.  I was determined to get my book done on the fiftieth anniversary of the war. 

When it was published, it, all at once, put me in touch with other Chinese Indians as well a ex-internees, and numerous people interested in this subject. Where I once avoided anything to do with my past life in India, I now feel comfortable sharing my experiences. It also feels good to finally be able to talk to others who have had similar bad memories that were locked away. While getting in touch with other Chinese Indians, I was made aware of a web site called AIDCI which was created to give public awareness and also a place for internees to tell their stories.  

In meeting other Chinese Indians I found that many were not interned but also affected traumatically. A few people from both groups have published their own stories. These are in the form of novels and short stories, memoirs, interviews, and articles.

May 12, 2015  — A big story for the Chinese Indians 

A well-known Assamese writer, Rita Chowdhury, launched her books “A Divided Soul” and “Makum” on May 12, 2015 in Delhi. The books are based on the lives and suffering of Assamese Chinese in the aftermath of the ’62 Border War. It’s a heart-wrenching story and she is working on an English translation. Ms Chowdhury has been a real advocate of the Assamese Chinese ever since she heard about their stories more than a decade ago. She invited India’s Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, to the event. He took this opportunity to make an apology of the mistakes made by the Nehru government which inflicted pain and suffering on Chinese Indians for five decades. This was the very first time a government official has said sorry in a public forum and it’s a big step towards a formal apology.

Payal Banerjee gives talk at Standford U. May 20 at noon

Posted on May 20, 2015 at 12:42 AM Comments comments (1)
Payal Banerjee will be giving a talk on 
the Chinese in Post-1962 India: Internment, Nationalism, and the Embodied Imprints of State Action.