Friday, May 15, 2015

SCARS & Balm ...



A  wrong  Acknowledged ...




KOLKATA , FRIDAY , May 15 , 2015 , page 2


Rajnath balm on Chinese pain after 5 decades



Ming-Tung Hsieh has stoically borne the scars of internment for over half a century .

But on Wednesday , he broke down and wept unabashedly . Union Home minister Rajnath

Singh's apology to Indian Chinese for the torture, harassment and wrongs done by the

Indian government during the Sino-Indian War in 1962 had a cathartic effect on not just

Hsieh but scores of Chinese who still recoil with fear when they look back at those dark

years.


On the eve of Narendra Modi's trip to China, Singh said: "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."


Speaking to TOI on Thursday , Ming-Ting, the author of   'A Lost Tribe' -part memoir,

part history of Indian Chinese and their tryst with the concentration camp in Deoli,

Rajasthan -said Singh's acknowledgement was a crucial step towards restoring the

confidence of Indian Chinese that had been dented by the inhuman treatment during the

war.


"The police arrived one day , packed our family into vans and took us to Alipore jail. A

few days later, we were put on a train and bundled to a concentration camp. Though my

parents pleaded for us, there was no forgiveness. Thousands of small traders were

caught in the border dispute and arrested because of their ethnicity .Some were taken to

the border and pushed across to China even though most had never been to the country .

Such ethnic cleansing-like measures instilled fear in the community . That fear outlived

a generation and triggered an exodus," he said.



Ming-Tung, who was born at Tiretti Bazaar in 1943, now lives mostly in Canada where his

children migrated once they grew up. Some went to Taiwan, US, UK and Australia. “In 50

years, a population goes up by twothree times. Ours has halved from 10,000 to 5,000,“

said his cousin YingHsing Hsieh, owner of Big Boss restaurant at Tangra.


Ying-Hsing was 12 when the war broke out. His family was put under house arrest. “I was

lucky as I could even go to the local school. But classrooms were empty . Some did not

have teachers. In others, many students were missing,“ the restaurateur said.The Pei May

school has no students today .


Not just Kolkata Chinese, who are living here for two centuries, were tortured, those

from Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Meghalaya were also picked up and sent to the camp. Liao

Han Shen, who was also sent to Deoli camp when he was 12, recalled how people instigated

the pro-Taiwan Chinese to fight with pro-China ones. “We spent four years in the camp

barracks. It still haunts us,“ said Liao-Han who runs the Golden City restaurant.


Paul Chung of the Indian-Chinese Association is glad that the government has finally

acknowledged a wrong but says it is only the first step to setting things right. "We were

born in India and are Indians. The government must exonerate all Indian Chinese who were

branded a spy in 1962," said Paul.

Subhro Niyogi



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