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Doing Time With Nehru

Voices of Deoli

Blog

No Apology Made — a mis-translation!

Posted on June 4, 2015 at 6:49 PM Comments comments (0)
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 (0)

Dr Payal Banerjee's Talk at Stanford yesterday

Posted on May 21, 2015 at 8:34 PM Comments comments (2)
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 (2)
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.  http://indiadeoli.wix.com/1962internment  

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. http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/855313.Kwai_yun_Li

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.

Voices of Deoli

Posted on May 20, 2015 at 12:22 AM Comments comments (0)
There's a lecture tomorrow at Stanford U. at noon about the India-China Border War of 1962; how the Chinese Indians lving in Indiai were affected, including internment. I believe it may the first of its kind here in the U.S. 

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