By Shubhani Syal
There are thousands of videos and tweets that we see pop up on our Facebook and Twitter feeds everyday but there are very few worth noting. By now, all of us have said, heard or read about how North Eastern states are neglected in India.
But we fail to realise how deep rooted this is. This video of 12-year-old Aaira Goswami made me realise how oblivious we really are to this neglect.
The video points out, how in our History textbooks we read about such vast history of the country but North Eastern history is nowhere to be seen.
“I know a lot about the Mauryans, the Mughals and the Guptas. I have even written exams on these emperors. I know very little about Lachit Borphukon and the Ahoms who ruled Assam for 600 years defeating the Mughals 17 times soundly in battle.”
We have always neglected the North-East and even as I write this I feel a little hypocritical. Because like the rest of the country, I know next to nothing about the area. What do you really know about the seven states? Do you know their culture? Their food? Their people? Can you even name all seven?
Maybe you have heard about how all north-easterners eat dog meat or about how all of them are tribals. You must have seen that group of aunties judging north-eastern girls for their dressing sense or boys harassing them because of the stereotype that all north eastern girls are loose.
This letter shows how we are told, subconsciously, from a school level, that they’re different. They’re not a part of our history. Our culture. They’re outsiders, with their different clothing, different food, different physical features. And that’s all we see.
We see difference, where we should see diversity.
We see separation where we should see unity. India, as a country, is built on the foundation of unity in diversity, accepting all religions, cultures, and people. But instead, we isolate one of our own.
It is very obvious that if most Indians do not know anything about them, we cannot treat them properly. This lack of information, starting right from our school syllabuses, makes the North East vulnerable to neglect, stereotyping and discrimination.
Sometimes, they have even had to show their passports to prove their nationality.
I have personally seen how the words “chinki”, “Chinese” and “Nepali” have been used to describe them.
When we cannot give them a place in our history books, how can we give expect them to feel in place in our society? It might seem like a small thing but we need to make these small changes first. After all, “boond boond se sagar banta hai” (drop by drop make up the ocean)
Here’s to hoping that if nothing, maybe a viral video can make us take a step in the right direction. Let’s start somewhere. Shri Narendra Modi, are you listening? To watch the video, check out below:
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