Made in Yunnan

An essay by Subhir Bhaumik, originally a lecture paper, motivated me to repost this poem from August 2011. The political observer had lectured on Indo-Myanmar Relations and Northeast India: Peace, Security and Development on the occasion of MOSAIC Festival in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in January 2016. One of the paragraphs read as:

By the end of the 1990s, the rebels of the Northeast had turned to the Yunnan mafia. In an attempt to turn the state-run ordinance factories into profit centres, Chinese state-run Norinco started selling huge quantities of weapons to even mafia groups based in Yunnan—groups such as the Blackhouse. By 1999–2000, these mafia groups had become the prime source of weapons for the Northeast Indian rebel groups like the ULFA. A top leader of ULFA, now surrendered, told this writer that the weapons from Yunnan are at least 50% cheaper than those in Thailand.

You can find the four-part series of the lecture note on E-pao (

I bought a gun
from Yunnan
when I went there to check
what it takes to cross the border
from my town; and they said I will die
of several Chinese ailments
Burmese diseases
if I continue living so close, but
it didn’t matter for I was so happy
to be there, to be going
and I was happy
I bought a gun.

When I returned home,
there was not a single soul
in my lifeless town;
so I shot at the stones,
and I shot at the stars
and I was saddened by the fact
I didn’t get other things to shoot at,
when I returned home.

Made in Yunnan
this gun is, and I’m tired
searching for a soul —
not to shoot at — but
my exaggerated social mindedness;
nevermind it, I’m sick of this loneliness
and am going away; and if you ever find
my dead body lying here, please place an
epitaph on my graveyard —
Made in Yunnan.



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