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Are you from India or China..? The Travails of Northeastern in the National Capital

Report- Ritwik Dutta

Northeast has been a volatile region in the country apart from being geographically and socially excluded from the mainstream regions of the country.

Assam has been one of the states in the region which are considered the gateway to socio-economic development.

Despite a lot of changes at the policy level, there is a lot of scope for development which is forsaken due to social political and cultural exclusion.

As a part of a survey conducted by the Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research along with Jamia Milia Islamia commissioned by the National Commission for Women in the year 2012, 23% of the residents mentioned facing discrimination from the landlord while 42% said they faced verbal abuse.

The data also shows 26% of people face harassment. The findings of the data were mainly to understand the challenges faced by women of the northeast in metropolitan cities.

One of the recent alleged incidents took place in Blue Tokai Cafe located near Deer Park on 13th June 2022. A PhD scholar named Ngurang Reena, a doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said that two of the restaurant’s visitors were looking at her while exchanging laughs. When she finally confronted them, they became verbally abusive and started using racially degrading terms.

According to Reena who also has written about such incidents before says, people from ethnic minorities have to face such discrimination on daily basis.

“I am a student in the 4th semester at one of the colleges of Delhi University and I hail from Karbi Anglong. Most often racial slurs are thrown on the pretext of fun and teasing but they are not.”

Ethnicity and our culture often go unnoticed by the people of mainstream and most of them still believe Momo is the umbrella symbol of the northeast.

A mammoth population of the country speaks Hindi which is also one of the reasons why people from other place finds it difficult to connect to our culture. Though, that should never be enough of an answer for the decade-long discrimination of people coming from a particular region.

Northeast is a culturally rich region where there is a huge diversity of language, community and ethnicity within the 7 sisters and Sikkim. Out of 10 people, 3 people on average don’t know the names of the states of the region. Discrimination is a multi-layered component consisting of several elements some of which are the contribution of structural and systemic failure.

One of the other residents of Delhi from Manipur, living in the Lajpat Nagar area and working in the BPO sector says, “I am often questioned about my language. Questioning is still understandable but displaying a blatant ignorance, one of the shopkeepers in the area once asked, are you from India or China? I speak a different language and my mother tongue is not Hindi

Who needs to be questioned here?

The failure of the authorities at administrative and legislative levels to implement an inclusive system leads to dissatisfaction and alienation of the groups, races and cultures of the people from the region

The lack of knowledge of Northeast in our course structure, which doesn’t dwell upon the importance of diversity and its beauty or the system that has failed us marginally for the last many decades.

Northeast has been marginalised from the mainstream idea of India historically, socially, and culturally. Cultural differences have also been due to the failure of the system to bring down the existing gaps between the mainstream and the mainland. The knowledge and inclusive education structure can be one of the few beginnings that can be used to acknowledge, understand, incorporate and embrace the differences and bring more acceptance towards the region.

The Mooknayak
The Mooknayakhttps://www.themooknayak.co.in
The Mooknayak is dedicated to Marginalised and unprivileged people of India. It works on the principle of Dr. Ambedkar and Constitution.

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