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 Sister States

Alt text to go here "Assam and Sister States" refers to the easternmost region of India consisting of the contiguous states Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.
Northeast India is ethnically distinct from the other states of India. Linguistically the region is distinguished by a preponderance of Tibeto-Burman languages. Strong ethnic cultures that had escaped Sanskritization effects permeate the region. That the eight states form a special category is officially recognized.
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 Arunachal Pradesh

Alt text to go hereArunachal Pradesh attained its statehood on 20th February 1987. It is situated in the North-Eastern part of India with 83743 sq. kms area and has a long international border with Bhutan to the west (160 km), China to the north and north-east (1,080 km) and Myanmar to the east (440 km).
It stretches from snow-capped mountains in the north to the plains of Brahmaputra valley in the south. Arunachal is the largest state area-wise in the north-east region, even larger than Assam which is the most populous.
It is situated between latitude 26° 30' N and 29° 30 ' N and longitude 91° 30' E and 97° 30' E. Itanagar is the capital of Arunachal Pradesh and located at an altitude of 530 meters above MSL.
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 Assam

Alt text to go here Assam is located in the northeastern part of the country and has an area of 30,285 square miles (78,438 square kilometres). It is bounded to the north by the kingdom of Bhutan and the state of Arunachal Pradesh; to the east by the states of Nagaland and Manipur; to the south by the states of Mizoram and Tripura; and to the west by the state of Meghalaya, Bangladesh, and the state of West Bengal
Assam has a single-chamber legislative assembly with 126 members. The state sends 21 members to the Indian national parliament: 7 to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and 14 to the Lok Sabha (Lower House).
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 Manipur

Alt text to go hereManipur literally meaning "A jeweled land" nestle deep within a lush green corner of North East India. It seems much like an exquisite work of art executed by superb hands of Nature and is indeed a state of exquisite natural beauty and splendors, the beauty of which once inspired Mrs. St. Clair Grimwood described it as " A Pretty Place more beautiful than many show places of the world" Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru paid a fitting tribute by describing it as "Jewel of India".
Surrounded by blue hills with an oval shaped valley at the centre, rich in art and tradition and surcharged with nature's pristine glory.
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 Meghalaya

Alt text to go here Meghalaya has precise historic, geographic and strategic significance for India. Meghalaya "the home of clouds", became a full-fledged State on January 21, 1972. It is surrounded on the north by Goalpara, Kamrup, Nagoan and Karbi Anglong districts of Assam State, and on the east by the Districts of Cachar and North Cachar Hills, also of the State of Assam.
On the south and west is Bangladesh. Meghalaya is predominantly domesticated by the Khasis, the Jaintias and the Garos. These tribal communities are the descendents of very ancient people having distinct traits and ethnic origins. There are different legends, beliefs and findings about the Khasis, Jaintias and Garos.
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 Mizoram

Alt text to go hereMizoram is a mountainous region which became the 23rd State of the Indian Union in February, 1987. It was one of the districts of Assam till 1973 when it became a Union Territory. Sandwitched between Myanmar in the east and south and Bangladesh in the west, Mizoram occupies an area of great stategic importace in the north-eastern corner of India. It has a total of 722 Km. boundary with Myanmar and Bangladesh.
Mizoram has the most variegated hilly terrain in the eastern part of India. The hills are steep and are seperated by rivers which flow whether to the north or south creating deep gorges between the hill ranges. The average height of the hill is about 1000 metres.
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 Nagaland

Alt text to go hereThe State of Nagaland was formally inaugurated on December 1st, 1963, as the 16th State of the Indian Union. It is bounded by Assam in the West, Myanmar (Burma) on the east, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam on the North and Manipur in the South. The State consists of seven Administrative Districts, inhabited by 16 major tribes along with other sub-tribes. Each tribe is distinct in character from the other in terms of customs, language and dress.
It is a land of folklore passed down the generations through word of mouth. Here, music is an integral part of life; folk songs eugolising ancestors,
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 Sikkim

Alt text to go hereThe modern history of Sikkim begins from 1642 A.D. with the coronation of Phuntsog Namgyal as the first Chogyal or king of Sikkim in a tranquil pine covered hill in Yuksom Norbugang in West Sikkim.
The Namgyals were scions of the Mi-nyak House in Kham in Eastern Tibet. It is said that there were three brothers, chiefs of Kham Mi-nyak. A letter dropped from heaven directed the middle brother to go south towards Sikkim where his descendents were fated to rule. Khye Bumsa also earned himself the hand of the daughter of the Sakya hierarch and settled in Chumbi Valley, which remained, for a long time, the epicenter of the later kingdom of Sikkim.
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 Tripura

Alt text to go hereTripura is one of the seven states in the north eastern part of India located between 22 degree and 56 minutes and 24 degree and 32 minutes north latitude and between 90 degree and 09 minutes and 92 degree and 20 minutes east latitude. It is bounded on the north, west, south and south-east by Bangladesh whereas in the east it has a common boundary with Assam and Mizoram. There is a common belief that the name of the State has originated from "Tripura Sundari" - the presiding deity of the land which is famous as one of the 51 pethos of Hindu Pilgrims. It is fact that in days of yore the boundaries of Tripura was extended up to the Bay of Bengal when its rulers held sway from Garo hills to Arakan.
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        Mike Fincke
PRELUDE
American Astronaut Col. Michael Edward Fincke who is an Assamese son-in-law by his marriage to Renita Saikia from Assam. Mike fell in love with Assam ever since he visited Assam for the first time. During his six months stay in the ISS, F.A.S.S. requested and received permission from NASA and Mike to organize four Space Talks in educational institutions in the North East. The idea was to inspire the students of the North East, connecting them with the greatest scientific project on earth. Contacting the ISS through telephone is like contacting an alien space ship. The audio connection is available only for ten minutes at a time. Moreover it had to be channeled through Amateur Radio Stations in Japan and other countries. Our biggest fear was if the regular telephone connections in some remote areas would really work at the vital moments. However, everything went right. We thank NASA, Mike, the schools and everybody involved for making these events a great success.
We call these contacts with the ISS „Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind‟, a term used in UFO-logy, because of the unique orbit of 200 miles, apparently the same orbit used by the alien astronauts who supposedly visited the earth back in remote pre-historic days.
SPACE TALK ONE
On November 7, 2008, 1st Space talk was successfully conducted in Dibrugarh University. Around 700 people gathered outside under the open sky in the university premises. At around 12:15 pm, the students received a call from NASA for a preprogrammed discussion and practice. Then exactly at 12:45 pm IST they established the connection with the ISS and talked with Michael Fincke for 10 minutes. Students asked questions and the event was concluded with a Bihu song.
We thank all and specially Prof. K. K. Deka, VC, Mrs. Bobby Sharma, Pankaj Borthakur, Jitu Chetia etc for their hard work and for making the event a great success.
SPACE TALK TWO
For the first time ever, students of St Anthony's College sang a popular Khasi song Ksing Lynti as a token of love and appreciation for astronaut and commander of ISS Expedition 18 Mike Fincke who had a 10-minute live interaction with them.
Mike began by greeting the audience with Khublei Shibun (thank you in Khasi). He said he was deeply touched by the song and that he would eventually record the song and play
SPACE TALK THREE
On January 7, 2009, Mike Fincke, enthused the school children of Axam Jatiya Vidyalaya by talking to them from the ISS. This is for the first time in the country that school students talked to someone from Space.
In the conversation that lasted for ten minutes, 14 students took part and Rector of the school Ranjit Narayan Deka initiated the conversation with a brief introduction of the school and himself. Mike answered the questions of the Jatiya Vidyalaya students with warmth. He also answered a question in Assamese. Our thanks go to all that who worked behind the scene for its success. Special thanks go to Bidyananda Barkakoty and Dr. S.I. Ahmed.
SPACE TALK FOUR
On February 9, 2009: Space Talk successfully completed in Manipur. This was hosted by the Central Agricultural University in collaboration with Manipur University in Imphal. This was unique in the sense that not only were the students selected from both these universities in Manipur but they were also selected to represent all the Seven Sister States in the North East. A total of 16 students participated in the talk.
Nearly 400 students, teachers and guardians were present at the university at Eroisemba, on the outskirts of Imphal city. 14 students from the university spoke to Mike over the telephone.
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