It’s painful fact that the Indian map somehow lends itself to an interpretative disorder on the part of those who think they are the mainstream and belong to the mainland. The northeast, which includes about seven states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura – has always fallen out of a collective conscious of what constitutes India, or at least the perception of it. While our news pages are inundated with reports of yet another assault on young people, mostly students and working youths, from the northeastern states, our opinion pages are busy making politically correct sounds of outrage, the effect of which has dulled to an imaginably unnoticeable level.
After the utterly tragic death of Nido Tania earlier this year in a crowded South Delhi market sent a shock wave through the muddy waters of national politics, there have been a series of such incidents in which young men and men from northeastern states have been roughed up, sexually assaulted, discriminated against, physically and verbally abused. The recent attacks on three Manipuri men in Bangalore, brutal beating up of two youths from Nagaland in Gurgaon happen to be only the latest in a string of such heinous crimes that stink of racial and communal bias against some of our own.
Whether they are living in Delhi, or other megacities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, people from the northeast face extreme bias, even in so-called secular spaces like university campuses, coffee shops, cinema halls, restaurants, etc. India is showing an alarming level of intolerance towards migrants, whether national or international, and this collective bigotry is likely backfire sooner than later. Whether it’s religion or region, prejudices must be eliminated with education and interaction to save the multicultural fabric of our nation.