LEDO, Aug 22 � Though much has been spoken about the Chinese in Assam mainly based on Makum who were deported to China during the Indo-China War in 1962, there has been very little discussion on the people of Chinese origin who are still residing here at their birthplace. There is no one to pay heed to the feeble cries of the Chinese families scattered in this land struggling hard to survive amidst oddities, but still holding abreast the memory of their radiant past.
KC Chow, one of the descendents of Chinese immigrants in Assam when it was under British rule, worked for the alliance during World War II. He showed courage against Japanese aggression on this land. This was revealed by Sunu Chow, son of KC Chow who lives at Ledo, near Ledo Railway Station in Tinsukia district to this correspondent during a visit to his residence. He further informed that his forefathers came from a place from Sichuan in China.
He also said that during the Indo-China War in 1962, there was no harassment to the Chinese people residing in this territory. Born on April 16, 1956 Sunu Chow was kept in a special jail, Nagaon with his family and other Chinese people for a few years during the wartime. At that time, their property was looked after by an Assamese family which was returned to them as they came back to their original place after the war was over.
�No pressure and harassment was inflicted upon us to leave the country. The others left for China for good out of their own choice�, he said. But his father KC Chow remained at his birthplace, here with his family.
KC Chow, who later became a wealthy contractor, settled in Sipe village under Makum mouza of the then Lakhimpur district. The revenue receipt with Sunu Chow dated 10th November, 1931 revealed the fact that they had a huge plot of land at Sipe village. But due to the large-scale erosion of river Burhi Dihing the vast area went into the bosom of the river leaving the family almost landless.
Now the family of Sunu Chow lives in a small dilapidated hut near Ledo railway station which can be reached by passing through a passage between two shops which is so narrow that it can be entered by only one person at a time. A carpenter, working for daily wages, Sunu said that they have not received even the ration card from the Government till date. His is the only bread winner of the family comprising four members � his wife, one of his sisters and his youngest daughter. His other two daughters had already got married. Amidst utter poverty and hardship a ray of hope has got generated as Mouchumi Chow, the youngest daughter of Sunu Chow has completed post graduate degree in mass communication.
He also showed a renunciation certificate issued by Government of China in 1977 where it was clearly stated that his father KC Chow had renounced the Chinese nationality. A seal made of ivory bearing the name of KC Chow has been preserved by the family with great care. Sunu Chow also showed an identity proof belonging to KC Chow issued in China when he was going to visit his forefathers�country in his youth.
The sisters of KC Chow and their family who stay in Hong Kong visit the family of Sunu Chow at Ledo every now and then. Sunu too hopes to visit his forefathers� country, but due to financial crisis, his dream he believes will never come true.
This is only one account of the lonely Chinese family at Ledo living aloof from his kinsmen but still loving the world around them where they have been pulling on their lives amidst difficulties. There are other Chinese families scattered in the State, living in a situation of utter hopelessness. Will the silent sighs of these people be able to move the Government to take steps for their upliftment some day?