Tibetan Nomad/ Arunachal Pradesh Thesis Conclusion

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Thesis Table of Contents:

Part I- Introduction

Part II- History of Arunachal Pradesh Tribals

Part III- History of Tibetan Nomads

Part IV- Early Development of Arunachal    Pradesh Tribals

Part V- Recent Developments in Arunachal Pradesh

Part VI- Early Development of Tibetan Nomads

Part VII- Recent Developments in Tibet

Part VIII- Conclusion

Part IX- Bibliography


Tibetan Nomad/ Arunachal Pradesh Thesis Conclusion

Comparison of Development Strategies and Conclusion:

As is shown in the above two examples, the differences in nomad/ tribal development strategies by the Chinese and Tibetan governments differ greatly and have worked towards very different results. Whereas India seemed to have learned that strong arm tactics are futile in assimilating tribal populations, the Chinese government still holds strong to a policy of force, coercion, and economic and cultural manipulation, as they continue to push the nomads of Tibet into the culturally assimilated mold of the Han villager. But as Parag Khanna states, “Large empires are maintained through a combination of force and law, and China has not wavered in its strategy across Tibet . . . In even the remotest corners of Tibet, small army bases house platoons of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), with soldiers menacingly practicing martial arts twice daily in public squares . . .”1

In lieu of the many aforementioned groundwork similarities that for the basis of this comparison between the tribal/ nomad development strategies of the newly formed Indian and Chinese governments (that they came to power at the same time, dealt with similar populations, and sought similar ends), I feel that it also necessary to briefly highlight some of the situational differences.
Written and researched by Wade Shepard of
Senior Thesis, Friends World Program, Long Island University
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Thesis Contents: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

First of all, there is a drastic difference in land area between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet as well as a giant gulf in population. Whereas the area of Arunachal Pradesh is 83,473 square kilometers, the entire region of Tibet weighs in at 1.22 million square kilometers in the TAR alone. Secondly, the populations of the two regions differ greatly, as Arunachal Pradesh has just over a million people2 while the entire cultural region of Tibet encompasses roughly 4.6 million.3 The administration and resources necessary to control and develop an area is directly proportional to its size and population. In regards to this fact, China had a much larger task in Tibet than the Indian government did in Arunachal Pradesh, and this may have had a degree of impact upon the militaristic strategies that the Chinese employed.

As is evidenced by the above reports, the international political contexts that surrounded Tibet were much different than those which shaped the course of the Indian government's laid back approach towards developing their tribal populations. In point, Tibet was quickly becoming a hotly desired object, as England, Russia, Nepal, and India were all lusting after its massive land area and natural resources. This, in turn, probably impacted the Chinese governments drive to completely claim control of the territory. Whereas Arunachal Pradesh is a relatively small area that was only contested by China after their 1950-1959 conquest of Tibet. There was simply not as much political pressure surrounding the Indian government in regards to the Arunachal Pradesh tribals, and, apart from the Sino-Indian war which took place for a few months in 1962.4 I believe that this lack of international political pressure was one of the fundamental reasons why Arunachal Pradesh was allow to develop far less abruptly than Tibet proper.

When comparing the current well-being of the nomads of Tibet with the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh it would be incredibly helpful to have a system of objective, numerically measured and mutually comparable facts to go off of, but, unfortunately for the social sciences, these types human issues are difficult to quantify. Both regions show a drastic rise in economic production. The Arunachal Pradesh GDP has year after year subsequent to their develop policies were enacted. The following chart shows this increase in millions of Rupees:5

Year Gross State Domestic Product
1980 1,070
1985 2,690
1990 5,080
1995 11,840
2000 17,830

The nomads of Tibet have likewise had their yearly incomes increased by the development policies, which is a fact that the PRC does not hesitate to propagate. But it is difficult to tell how much of a real impact this has had, as 53% of the population of Tibet are not employees of any sort and live off of animal husbandry or other non-regulated occupations.
6 It is also difficult to really gauge accurate GDP data for Tibetans, as a large portion of the population of Tibet are Han Chinese settlers who typically hold a higher economic niche than the Tibetans and hence skew the data. But for all the uncertainties surrounding the economic status of Tibetans, the Chinese Government and press is quick to convince the world that Tibet is far better off economically under their rule, stating in various publications that the average per capita GDP of Tibet is now over a thousand dollars a year.7

It can be observed that the public as well as many scientific papers are perceiving this “income” in the sense of effective average (cash) earnings of rural Tibetan pastoralists, or nomads. This is a coarse misjudgement caused by being unaware of how these data were calculated. These are statistical data of the PR of China delivering – as it is done all over the world – the measures of national income and output (GNP/GNI) totaling the value of goods and services produced in an economy.”8 As can be seen, it is difficult to assess the well being of communities who traditionally do not relay solely upon monetary instruments in their economies. The Tibet researcher and ethnologist, Andreas Gruschke, states:9

As Tibetan nomads mainly follow the patterns of a subsistence economy, their goods and services are mostly not considered in macroeconomic calculations. This is due to the circumstance that most of the goods and services the nomads produce are consumed by them without ever having reached the market (where they could be recorded, although in rural areas of Tibet not necessarily); and if they sell goods, notification of their value is also missed since it is done informally. Thus, the economic productivity of Tibetan pastoralists is generally not expressed in statistics.

Given these particularities, it is difficult to access well-being in Tibet or Arunachal Pradesh on purely monetary lines. To gauge the success/ mishap ration of the development policies of China and India requires a different approach that is more qualitative in nature.

To come into the meat of this study is to offer a point by point analysis of the benefits and the drawbacks, the successes and failures of the very different development policies that the Chinese and Indian governments exercised over the nomadic/ minority/ tribal populations of this study. To do this requires the utilization of subjective and qualitative analytical methods, as there is no formal objective way of doing so.

As far as development is concerned, both Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet has progressed by leaps and bounds. Both regions now, to varying degrees, have a modern infrastructure that includes paved roads, electricity, medical services, schools, colleges, and basic facilities. Many of the residents of both areas have access to aspects of the developed world that they previously did not have before outside intervention. To a modest extent, both the Arunachal Pradesh tribals and the Tibetans are becoming more and more settled, making more money, and are living lives that are more tied in with the functions of industrial societies (I must note here that Tibet is very large and a huge portion of the population still does not have much access to these apparent fruits of development). In these senses the development of both regions have shown success.

Though the base necessities of life are not the only things that a culture needs to to well. The Indian government showered upon the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh the comfort of not having to compete on a national scale and allowed them to develop naturally with the imposition of the Inner Line Policy. “. . . It is precisely the special protection afforded to the tribesmen by the Inner Line Policy which has enabled the Apa Tanis to achieve within one generation an advancement surpassing any achieved by those Indian tribals whose ancestral homeland has been infiltrated by members of the so-called progressive communities.”10 Whereas China chose to dominate the Tibetans economically as well as culturally. As Daniel Miller states, "Government development programs have generally taken a top-down approach and, despite many of their good intentions, have often been hampered because Tibetan farmers and nomads were not involved in both the design and implementation of activities. Many of the government's efforts have also been not as effective because of faulty assumptions that have been made about poverty and Tibetans' traditional agricultural and livestock production practices."11

Final Conclusion: To successfully compare the development patterns of the Arunachal Pradesh tribals with that of the Tibetan Nomads would require a standardized well-being index that does not take monetary instruments into account. Without such a tool, it is very difficult to determine academically what side of the MacMannon line is better off. Money cannot be uses as a way to analyze the development of tribal/ nomadic or otherwise indigenous populations, as I believe that a regulated subjective analysis is necessary. Money is not
really a true indicator of well-being in any society, beyond stating that a certain community either has or does not have enough money to survive. As communities develop any influx of wealth there comes an equivalent increase in costs. To state that the nomads of Tibet are better off because they possess money would be a difficult to prove statement. But, likewise, I feel that it is difficult to really prove that they are worse off under Chinese authority for lack of a real measuring stick. I feel that a method of subjective analysis and first-person onservation is needed to further this study.

To complete this paper with a well supported subjective analysis is simply to compare the information that is coming out of the two regions in question. Tibet is still deep in the pit of inter-cultural conflict more than fifty years after the Chinese began their intervention, while Arunachal Pradesh is quietly pacified, economically blossoming, and thriving with the deep senses of traditional culture that met and adapted to the demands of modernization. The Chinese are still trying to maintain control of the Tibetans, still pushing their philosophy, economic restructuring programs, and methods of cultural sabotage, while the Indian government's job seems to have been just about completed in Arunachal Pradesh. In all, Tibet is still a loud region of the world, while scarcely a whimper is heard from the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh. Both regions have obtained comparable leaps of development in infrastructure, education, and economics, but I feel as if I must conclude that, without the support of more first-hand research, the supportive methods of the Indian government allowed for a more balanced, less violent, culturally relative, and, overall, more successful development of the tribals of Arunachal Pradesh. The strategies and tactics used by the Indian state to develop this region can be used as a model for other governmental powers who are at similar odds with nomadic, tribal, or indigenous peoples.

Thesis Contents: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


1Parag Khanna. The Second World (New York: Random House, 2008). 80.

2Wikipedia. “Arunachal Pradesh.” (accessed December 8, 2008).

3Yan Hao. “Tibetan Population in China: Myths and Facts Re-examined,” (pdf accessed December 8, 2008).

4Wikipedia. “Sino-Indian War,” (accessed December 8, 2008).

7People's Daily Online. “Per Capita GDP of Tibet Exceeds 10,000 Yuan,” (Accessed December 8, 2008).

8Andreas Gruschke. “Average Per Capita Annual Income of Tibetan Pastoralists – Data and Misconceptions,” (Accessed December 7, 2008).
9Andreas Gruschke. “Average Per Capita Annual Income of Tibetan Pastoralists – Data and Misconceptions,” (Accessed December 7, 2008).

10 Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf. Tribes of India: The Struggle for Survival (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1985). 297.


Tibetan Nomad/ Arunachal Pradesh Thesis Conclusion
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