Indian Overseas Chinese from Assam at Hong Kong with Rita Chowdhury

Thanks to Ranbir for sharing this information with us.

Felicitation of Rita Chowdhury

On 23rd May 2010, Indian Overseas Chinese organisation of Hongkong felicitate Dr. Rita Chowdhury for her recent release of her book MAKAM, that revolves around the untold miserable stories of assam born chinese. She cries out loud through her book for those who were sagged in apocalytical histeria, torn apart in geographical barriers.


  1. sit says:

    Great job – Rita. However, what had been reported in Makam is a tip of the iceberg. During that period, many former Chinese from Calcutta (now Kolkata) suffered the same torture, undue hardships and humiliation without even being noticed; which eventually sent to their graves in the Himalaya mountainous border without their horrific stories unfold. The Chinese neighbours were too afraid to speak out and kept mute not knowing when they would be next targetted. Some Chinese had good friendly Indian neighbours who kept vigilant as security guardians; while other bad Indian neighbours questioned why their Chinese neighbours still remain.

    Consfication of personal property was already a pain; but having physical abuse and torture on top of that was utomost humiliating.

    Some older folks who were forced to trek the hazardous icy cliff to return to China on foot without food, warm clothing and necessities died along the way without completing their journey. Their corpses were not given proper burials in the rugged surroundings and left to decay. Those who made their way to the bordering Chinese cities had their feet swollen with blisters and cold sores. While some could not walk anymore, others had their feet amputated for survival.

    During those times, it was a common scene in the city area even at broad day light to notice plainclothes CID following those Chinese men and women who were suspected of espionage although without any claim, reason or cause. Every night was a nightmare as if doomsday was forthcoming.

    It’s high time that the Indian Government and all Indians acknowledge their wrongdoings and say SORRY to Indian Chinese NOW.

    WAKE UP Inida.

  2. ycl1688 says:


    It is a human tragedy to its highest level, it is high time for Ministry of Home Affairs to come up with apology, yet the link still shows the present day discrimination still continue to the chinese born persons.


  3. jagdish says:

    To: Rita Chowdhury

    The above comments make readers’ hair to stand, blood to boil and bring a tear to the eyes.

    In addition to those encounters logged in your book and atrocities of innocenct Indian civilians of Chinese origin harmed during the 1962 Sino-India war, many of your readers, academics and NGO’s would like to lend a helping hand to bring justice.

    Is there an initiative forthcoming to escalate this to Ministry of Home Affairs for an apology ?

    Surely, world history will honour and remember those for spearheading this effort to fruition when that happened.

  4. stev100 says:

    It is time the Indian Government acknowledge the GROSS INJUSTICE that was done to the thousands of INNOCENT Indians of Chinese decent. Without such an acknowledgement it would be premature to talk of an APOLOGY. Some 48 years have passed and many of the people that suffered through this horrific period of discrimination have also passed, others have left the country to begin new lives elsewhere in the world, only too happy to move on and try to forget this nightmare. From what seems to be a very heartfelt and courageous account of her experience with the community she served, Dr. Rita Chowdhury has uncovered the many years of the ‘hidden’ suffering and injustice perpertrated on this minority, it is time to rally behind her and begin a movement for justice. No healing or reconciliation is possible without a genuine apology. No change is possible without an acknowledgement of wrong done.

  5. dominic says:

    Hi, please if anyone can tell me where can i buy this book? Thanks

  6. Eugene Tam says:

    The Book is only available in the assamese language as of now. The Enlish version wi toll be out soon. I am an Indian chinese from Assam and know Dr. Rita chowdhury well. It is really great to see the response that the book has brought and I hope all Indian chinese unite in this effort.

  7. min says:

    To: Eugene Tam

    I am sure Rita Chowdhury would not just stopped-short at her book in the literary context; but will continue to pursue the atrocities, physical and mental abuse/sufferings of those innocents harmed to steps further up to the Ministry of Home Affairs for review and bring in justice…..now that the flame of justice is lit; let’s keep it burning.

    Rest assured she would not be alone nor could she do it all by herself. There are many people from all walks of life out there who are prepared to join in on her humane effort and worthy cause.

    Please find out from Rita of her next steps….. Thanks.

  8. ycl1688 says:

    Yes, it is time to raise the conscious of a nation. Time to stop future nazi tactics and let the book tells the story that divided families, broken dreams and untold sufferings.

  9. stev100 says:

    Does anyone know where and how to get a copy of Dr. Rita Chowdhury’s book (English translation)? There are many around the world who would like a copy, their families deserve to know what the older (those passed and those still living) generation have been through. This is truly part of history and should NEVER be forgotten.

  10. nisha bordoloi says:

    I would like to know if somebody has already got the rights to translate Makam to English, coz i had been hoping to do so and have already completed three chapters. If anyone has any information regarding this please let me know ASAP. I would be really grateful

  11. stev100 says:

    Nisha, perhaps contacting the publisher might be a start to answering your question.

  12. SanSu says:

    I just finished reading this novel – superb and very touching.
    Few comments:
    1. I hope those who empathize with the sufferings of the ethnic Chinese community in Assam (and India in general) during the Indo-China war, form an organization (movement?)of sort to let everyone in Assam and India know the contributions of this ethnic group to Assam (and India), their sufferings back then, and the need for some sort of reconciliation, repayment, or anything that would help make amends to the horrible things we did to our own people.

    2. I feel very strongly that we did wrong to lots of innocent people (just like it happened in the US to the Japanese during the WWII). Their pain is/was intolerable. It is time that the GOI and GOA apologize to the ethnic Chinese community in India and even consider paying for the loss of property they suffered.

    3. To Nisha and those who want to translate this (and other work by the author), please contact the publisher: Jyoti Prakash, Panbazar, Guwahati-781001. Also note that there are existing interest in the translation of this particular novel, so come up with a better offer and show your work (at least one chapter)!

  13. ycl1688 says:

    Thanks for you feedback on the book.
    yes, the authorities should come up with apology and compensation to the victims, if they are wise enough the people who went through the trauma and are living to my estimate are not a huge number, since you mentioned the US govt, it was lucky did not pay a lot of dough to the japanese since not many were living because of old age.

    Yet the authorities to me is you have to be a astrologer or mind reader to know what they are up to. Meantime after reading the book you have to cringe your teeth and mad as hell or as you mentioned in item 1, organize strikes, bandhs and what not as if that part of India has not suffer enough of violence. If it works than every mean necessary will be done.

  14. jasnea says:

    I’m am a masters student at delhi university with the dept of east asian studies. I’m also working at a Government Think Tank and would love to get an interview with Dr. Chowdhury and publish it at the Ministry commentry. Could anyone helo me to get in touch with her. I’ve put my e-mail. Please do let me know. Thanks.

    1. leon says:

      reetachowdhury at gmail dot com

  15. jasnea says:

    One more question, Has this book been translated into Chinese(m) already?

  16. HImanshu Acharjya says:

    Before reading this book I never knew about this true dark history. really I couldn’t stop my tears while I had finished reading this book. Please Rita translate “MAKAM” to English and Mandarin. plz plz.

  17. ycl1688 says:

    Definitely a human tragedy unfolded through the book. This will make every human being shed tears, teeth cringe and fists clinch.
    As I have gone through in my school day in Kolkata all of a sudden a classmate was sobbing coming to school one morning, later we found out the classmate’s father was being sent to the camp. Because the father was a chinese passport holder considered as a suspected spy. And the authority did not consider he left behind a broken family with a wife and 5 hungry mouths to feed. When a person being put into a confinement state of mind for few years, it is pure injustice and downright inhuman. That was the reality. How the politicians can sleep at night ? That was the sins of the GOI.

  18. Bharatya Cheena says:

    With all said and done —- so when will Prime Minister Manmohan Singh give reply to all victims of atrocities to acknowledge GOI wrongdoings and apologize.

  19. ycl1688 says:

    When the PM will apologize ? only the sun align with the moon and earth, only the astrologer say so, that could take years and decades.

  20. P.K. Dass says:

    My nephew married an Assamese girl of Chinese origin of Makum/Tinsukia area (my nephew is a grandson of freedom fighter late Ramesh Ch. Barua of Dibrugarh)whose father is of Chinese origin and mohther is of Nepali origin. A few years back my nephew and his wife went to Hong Kong to visit some of their kin folks who were deported to China during the India-China war. My nephew’s wife Mimi told me some of the stories about those deported people that they had met in Hong Kong. It was really sad and heart breaking. Especially, when I found out that some of those deportee’s wives were Assamese with last names like Baruas, Buragohins etc., I was really upset. I am still thinking how a so called civilized nation like India, whose father is Mahatma Gandhi, could do such an inhumane things! To me India went down to the level of Hitlar and Idi Amin.

    During the World War II, United State of America put all the people of Japanese origin (they were all American citizens!) in internment camps and kept them there till the war was over, even though lots of those internee’s children had joined the army and fought the Japanese! But the American government realized what they did was unjustified and inhumane and a few years back US Congress appolized to those interned American of Japanese origin. What America did was the right thing to do and I hope India would do the same.

    My nephew’s wife, after she came back from Hong Kong contacted a few writers and journalists in Assam but it seemed to me they all gave her a lip service and nothing else! I thank Dr. Choudhuri for bringing the plights of those Chinese Assmese to the limelight and giving it a human face.

    P.K. Dass
    Tyler, TX

  21. Eugene Tam says:

    @P.K. Dass. Mimi is my cousin and thank you for feelingso strongly for our community. We always heard this stories from our elders, but thanks to Dr. Chowdhury ,this story has been brought to the world. Thanks again Mr. Dass.

  22. ycl1688 says:

    Mr Dass,

    Sorry to hear your close relative and patriot grandson of the Indian Independence has been affected by such an act of the Indian Govt. This kind of senseless act has everybody life, be it your neighbors, close relatives and friends. At the time of wwII US govt did not detain the descendants of Axis power such as Italy and Germany. That would cause even more uproar. Yet they think the minorities are easier to suppress. At least they have the guts to own up.
    As the logic goes when Indira Gandhi was assassinated by sikh bodyguards,the whole sikh community suffered, ever heard his son quoted ‘when the tree falls, the earth shake’ ?

  23. pradyumnajit Bora says:

    I could not stop my tears while reading the book. I have never read such a heart touching book. I salute Dr Rita Choudhuri.

  24. Eugene Tam says:

    @pradyumnajit: You felt it so much from your heart cos the stories are real ,of people who have suffered and gone through all this pain & suffering. I can say this cos my family was a victim of this period too. Thanks pradyumnajit .

  25. ycl1688 says:

    It is time to get the author’s permission to write a movie script, I am sure the end result will let the audience leave without a single dry eye. It has that kind of strong message and effect. It is time to tell the world how the nehru dynasty left a big blunder in its hand.

  26. Pradyumnajit Bora says:

    Thanks Eugene Tam for ur response. I am an assamese from Assam. I had heard about the assamese chinese now living at Upper Assam but was totally dark about the atrocities, physical and mental abuse/sufferings of those innocents harmed during the Indo Chinese war 1962. I m shocked how a civilized nation like India, could do such an inhumane things. I think the Indian government should come up with an apology and compensation to the victims. It is a high time that all assamese chinese should come forward and unite for justice. We,every assamese will rally behind them.

  27. Eugene Tam says:

    @pradyumnajit. Its really touching for you to feel this way. I am an Assamese chinese too. My mom is from Tinsukia and dad from Tezpur. I am now based in Bangalore,but in my heart Assam will always have a very special place as that is my place of birth. When I,living in India can feel for my birth place,just imagine how those people of Assamese chinese origin might be feeling who are settled across the world.I am touched and thankful for your kind gesture. We the Assamese chinese do not harbour any ill feelings,because what ever happened was unfortunate and necessary maybe.But since those times were different,no one was there to check the what was rigt and what was wrong.We as a community only hope such type of situation never ever happen again in the future. I am really thankful to you for your support.Xie Xie Ni

  28. stev100 says:


    I think Dr Rita Chowdury’s book will in time attain wider circulation, hopefully even internationally. I’m not sure if copies are currently available in the US or elsewhere, maybe in HongKong. The idea of a movie based on her book would certainly grab news headlines and bring pressure to bear on the GOI. The problem is that someone would need to take on this challenge….a movie is viable only if the book sells.

  29. Dr binuj dutta says:

    For me makam is the best book i have ever read. I feel sorry for those our assamese chinese people. The book should be translated to all leading languages . Salute for rita choudhury for such an excellent creation.

  30. Dr.N.K.Hazarika says:

    I have never read such a heart touching book in my life. I could not stop my tears while every lines of the book. Really great job, Rita.

    Like in the book, Culd Mailin Ho meet her Assamese husband again.
    Whether her dreams of a last visit to her birthplace has come true ?

  31. Samay Pandit says:

    I am Kashmiri Pandit by origin.

    I really think all the people of india should give up on this I AM KASHMIRI, I AM ASSAMESE etc. Trust me it gets us no where.

    My family was ethnically cleansed from the valley of Kashmir by the Muslims of Kashmir. Today we have wonderful lives in India.

    If you find a way and have the will to make a life, India does open its arms for you. If you sit in your territories crying and stating that LOOOK what they are doing to us, please understand , all the wars are because of races, religion and sure the government uses this for voting, but its not originally their fault now is it ? You think racism and religionism would not be there if the political parties were not existing ?

    I know assamese who live in mumbai , i know kashmiris who live in mumbai and everyone lives wonderful lives. Why cant intergration be important to us. Sure you want to keep your lineage pure, you can do that anywhere in india.

    But if you consistently ask a country to give each state freedom, I am where is the country going then ?

    Most Assamese I know call themselves Indian, I like calling myself Kashmiri INDIAN and not Kashmiri by itself. Its unfair to a country who gave me refuge and my family a chance to lead a good life. If I try to advocate separatism, obviously the country will fail to keep you happy because you within yourself are happy itself.

    Your hatred seeps into the whole system and the aftermath is always bad.

    We should be glad that our country is giving us the freedom to scream and cry in the democracy.

    Imagine Assamese in china. You really think assamese lineage would exist ? NO. Just like the Tibetans, assamese would evaporate and life would be led as per the rules of chinese dictatorship.

    Its not even fair to constantly say that Indian people treat Assamese as alien. Come to any part and even hindus from north will say south people are different and vice versa. We cannot use all this against each other. Its about time we learn to integrate.

  32. ycl1688 says:


    your doctrine of a nation should not be separated sounds great, yet you are trying to mix Tibetans under Chinese dictator ship is downright wrong. It is understood for thousand of years, China has 5 major races living within its boundaries that is Hans, Mongols, Manchu, Muslims and Tibetans.
    Any thought of separatism bounds to involve emotion and bloodshed.

  33. Dhruba says:

    With tear filled eyes I completed the book last night.Dr Rita has done great service to us new gen youth. She let us through the unknown closed door of the 62 war. The collapse of the social fabric, family tie, the innocent victims, humane value… its so heart rendering. While we are so very pained by the aggression, left broken hearted by the humiliating defeat, saddened by the loss of our soldiers, the plight we would have gone through had the aggressor not retreated, but in no way these gives any excuse to crush the human right of those people of Chinese origin in the name of war emergency. Its so very shame full a did for a country like India whose 5000 years history of superior humane value is unparalleled in the world. This is new age State terrorism at its apex. The mindset of super human like Nehru and Shastri is exposed. Ditto to Mao ad party. My heart bleeds to the plight of Meilin and all of them. I am so very ashamed for people like Pulak’s father. And Thakara? Lets be vigil about blood sucking leach like him. They are still around the society.We should not be caught unaware in case any crisis might befall in days to come.
    Also, thanks Dr Rita for giving us a gr8 insight to the history of past 2 century of Assam.Now that we know the chronology of Assam tea, every sip will be more emotionally fulfilling.
    Last but not the least, my love for all those tormented brothers and sister who have sustained irreparable damage in the spin of time.

  34. Arpita Saikia says:

    Iam 12th grade student. I read this wonderful creation of Rita Chowdhry and i was shocked to know some of the hidden and darkest fact of the Indian history. This book revealed all those harsh facts. The plight of the Indian-Chinese people made me cry. I’d like to thank Rita Chowdhry for letting us to know these facts. THANK YOU..

  35. arifuddin says:

    i an Assamese boy…i read more than 500 Indian novel…….. but MAKAM is the best… i still thinking about Mylin and Pulak…..