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Updated: May 12, 2012 18:35 IST

Why are we singled out, ask students from North East

Syeda Farida
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University campuses across the city have a sizeable number of students from North East and an equally impressive number of employees from the region. File photo: Nagara Gopal
University campuses across the city have a sizeable number of students from North East and an equally impressive number of employees from the region. File photo: Nagara Gopal

It is not the physical abuse but the verbal humiliation that is rife, say many about the discrimination they face

“Why are we singled out? Is it because we look different?” asks Sonam, a student from Nagaland, much like her counterparts from the other North-Eastern States. Women are on the receiving end, agrees Bipin, a student from Manipur at the University of Hyderabad, and a participant of the event organised at UoH as part of a nation-wide campaign for ‘Justice for Richard Loitam'.

“We believed he was killed. There are cases of racial discrimination. I went through harassment in Delhi University. Colleges are relatively safe in Hyderabad but you cannot say the same about other cities like Bangalore and Delhi,” he says.

Campuses in the various universities across the city have a sizeable number of students from the North-East and an equally impressive number of employees from the region who have been working with IT, ITeS, MNC firms and Central Government offices here.

There are about 500 members registered with each of the various region-based communities that support families hailing from Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. The associations often meet on weekends.

“New students coming into the city get enrolled with us. We keep a track of their welfare. We also brief them on local culture,” says a member of the Hyderabad Mizo Association. Similarly, the Hyderabad Manipuri Society (HYMS) brings together students in the city under its cover.

Workplaces do offer conducive atmosphere here, which is one of the main reasons why most stay back despite issues they face in public places. But finding accommodation tops the list of worries in the twin cities.

“People refuse to give us apartments on rent. You have food restrictions as well. There is a misconception that people from the North-East are into drug and alcohol abuse, which is not true,” says a student from Dimapur. An electrical engineer from Assam working in the city agrees, “I was travelling in a bus when the lady conductor started talking derogatorily. And then she and the driver went on to talk ill about my State which was unacceptable.”

It is not the physical abuse but the verbal humiliation that is rife, says Vivian Lepcha from Darjeeling, associated with the F&B industry in the city. “People come up to us and ask us if we can speak English or whether we hail from Japan, Burma or China.” He, however, notices fewer issues of discrimination now when compared to more than a decade ago when he came to the city. “Name calling used to be rampant then,” he recollects.

“Change in the perception about North-East won't happen overnight. One has to bring about awareness about the region. My classmates did not even know the name of the seven North-Eastern States, leave alone their capitals,” says Sonam.

The need of the hour then is to bridge the divide. “Including history of these States in the text books will go a long way to bring about awareness about the place, people and culture. The choir group from Shillong and Indian Idol winner from Tawang have shown that people there have talent too. Please don't treat them as second-class citizens in other States,” says Bipin.

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1. A well written article. I have stayed for a considerable time in Manipur so i will just talk about it. Manipur itself has lot many problem, rampant corruption, more than 30 insurgent groups operating in the state relation between people living in the state is not in good shape and many more things. So i would request the educated people who are studying and working outside to work more for their state. 2. About people knowing about your state or not. I am a kumaouni(how many people do exactly know what does that mean not many), when people asked me in Manipur where are you from, i replied Uttarakhand. The answer generally would be, Where is it in Uttar Prades. So what should i have done go to the media and say ohhhh people dont know about my state and am being discriminated or rather tell them where i am from. Do every citizen of India know about every region every caste in a big country like India i guess NO. 3.I always praise Manipur for its excellent sports their rich culture

from:  Rakesh Shah
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 20:11 IST

I believe that people hailing from NE India are treated unfairly and
sometimes to a point where it becomes overly obnoxious and excessive. We
need to understand that they too contribute to composite culture of
India and I agree with the author that including their culture,
traditions in the history books will go about a long way in bridging the
gap. Its good that Hindu is highlighting their cause for equal
treatment.

from:  vivek
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 14:02 IST

It is really disheartening to hear that our brothers and sisters in
the North East face any kind of discrimination whether subtle or overt
in the rest of the country. This kind of ignorance and narrow
mindedness is unacceptable. We should cherish the diversity we possess
in our country and celebrate the unique cultural accomplishments of
people from every region. That's exactly what makes our country so
exciting and fascinating. As far as any physical differences go, do we
really just want clones of ourselves walking around everywhere? How
terribly deprived we would be. Get into their shoes and you look
different too. They are just as beautiful and intelligent as any other
person in the country and they deserve the same respect. This is their
country too and they deserve the right to shape its future as well.

There are racist countries in the world and I feel sorry for them. For
their ignorance. Let us not fall down to that level.

from:  Varun Sharma
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 12:30 IST

Hi Binoabraham, I am from NE and just wanna say thanks for that comments
of yours. Also, big thanks to the Editor, Syeda Farida, Nagara Gopal,
Bipin and all of you, who work for what truth is. And there's one truth
which I'd like to share here and that is- "Fear of the Lord is the
beginning of the knowledge."

from:  Yan
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 10:34 IST

This is a serious concern I feel we indians have. We CLEARY have
double standards, the same indians and media talk about racism if few
students are said something about the color of skin in Australia or
Britain, they believe they should be treated fairly around the world,
but they have right to treat people the way they like. I think we need
to look at ourselves and its our responsibility to stand up to
something wrong against someone in our country. We have developed a
thick skin and we laugh when others joke about someone below us and
are taking it hardly from someone above us (in status or fairer
color). How about being equals and not part of the group thinking.. I
think we are like pigs living in crap and not minding it, not cleaning
it, instead laughing at others who are trying to clean it. We don't
understand the importance of standing up for someone weak, as it has
crippled us all and now we can't stand up for ourselves and we realize
this when something wrong happens with us..

from:  Sam
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 09:23 IST

I will expect the institutions should assume the responsibility and put in place an smooth integration process. There should be counseling programs in such institutions to educate the students, specifically to remove ignorance and unsupported perceptions and also to expose all of them to the richness in the variety.

from:  vijay
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 08:56 IST

It is not the same always, while I was a student of MCC, I have witnessed a lot of incidents where the Chennai Mizos beat uup Tamilians. The article seems to paint Mizos as innocent. I suggest the writer to interview the south Indians working in Mizoram to know how much they are harassed by the Mizos. And, every south Indian who has interacted with the North East people would agree that the Mizos are different. I personally have good friends from Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. But yet to meet a Mizo who can be counted as a friend.

from:  Franco
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 08:20 IST

It is wrong to say that the North Easterners are discriminated .
Their physical features, which are different from the rest of the
Indians, makes them stand out in a crowd. Also, for many years,
the north east was not easily accessible to rest of the Indians
and hence not many visited that part of the country. As a result,
the rest of India knows little of the North east. Let the rules be
simplified for any Indian to freely go to North East , set up house
and business, and see the result. The North easterners are also to
be blamed partly since for long, they had kept aloof from the rest
of India except perhaps, Delhi.With more students coming to study
in other parts of India , things will certainly improve.A few
unfortunate incidents should not lead to a wrong opinion that rest
of India discriminates the North East. One should only see the NE
trade fairs that are held in different parts of India to know how
the rest of India looks at the North East.

from:  P.Tauro
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 07:55 IST

This bigoted, horrible behavoir is not limited to "south indians". You can go to delhi,
& witness same attitudes towards citizens from NE India.

South indians go to delhi, and get mocked for "dark skin" and accent; Biharis go to
Mumbai to face racism; Delhiwalas have to wait to go to western to get their turn to
be branded "black".
Get real people - treat everyone with respect.

from:  Veera
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 05:37 IST

This proves that we Indians are absolute hypocrites. We raise a hue and cry when faced with racism in Australia, Hyderabadis and AP people are targeted, yes targeted in the US yet we don't seem to learn to treat with dignity and respect our own country men. Shameless hypocrisy.

from:  Swaminathan
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 04:59 IST

dear friend......you are 100% is under wrong concept....had you have been to any place you change your version.....any one other than locals at manipur are called as mayange(means outsider) you can not move in manipur/nagaland/mizoram where i have worked for three years....coming to bangalore death it is nothing to do with racizam...it is purely quarrel between two NE students....all indians including NE people are very happy at bangalore..the way they live /move around ..they are living much better than manipur/mizoram/nagaland.....any doubt..please ask mr sangliana..retired DG, & former MP.....please do not point a finger to bangalore culture...

from:  satyanarayanarao
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 01:22 IST

@Binoabraham It's not just South India, I spent most of my life in Bombay and even there people from NE are mocked at. I have not seen NE girls being looked any different than other girls. I mean I think girls are generally oogled at as if they are any less humans.

I agree, I hope people start to value human dignity and start respecting people irrespective of where they are from or how they look.
Hopefully the government puts something concrete in place.

from:  Joji Joy
Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 01:01 IST

The discrimination, racism and ill treatment meted out to the citizens of India from NE is a cause for shame. This and the other incidents in the news such as the cartoon row indicate that as a nation India is becoming fragmented and intolerant as it ages. The future of such a nation is dim. For all the talk about the nation's progress and achievements, an average Indian citizen is not progressing to be a good global citizen. I am saddened.

from:  Kalyan
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 19:17 IST

I remember this incident when a couple of my close friends from the
NE,an American national but of Indian origin (or let's say he had the
"mainland" features), and I (another Indian, but with "mainland"
features) went to visit Mahabalipuram in TamilNadu.The person at the
ticket counter let me and the American-Indian into the tourist site
charging us the "Indian" price, and tried to charge the "Foreigner"
price for my friends from the NE, until I had to intervene, but before
which my friends from the NE gave him a mouthful, and in Tamil at
that. The shameless person at the counter did not even have the
courtesy to apologise. I can only say to my friends from the NE that
I, like many others, can imagine how it is for you and sympathise with
you guys entirely. But I hope, with increasing mobility of people, we
will have more opportunities to discover the diversity and the beauty
of our country, and when terms like "Chinki" or "Madrasi" or "Bhaiyya"
are used,we can all laugh together.

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 19:01 IST

We Indians should follow the following

India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country. I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders, respect, and treat everyone with courtesy.
To my country and my people, I pledge my devotion.
In their well being and prosperity alone, lies my happiness.

It should not be a mere pledge, we should practice it.

from:  Jabadurai J
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 19:00 IST

This is really really shameful situation. People from NE Indian states are treated as 2nd class citizens in their own country. No wonder insurgency is so rife in North East.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 18:55 IST

we in India are the most racist people/country in the world!just
because some Nigerians are involved in cyber crime and drugs, we
have of late profiled all Africans in India dealing in drugs.even
before the Cyber crime/fraud n drugs wave, we have been always
treating the few African people in India, mostly students in a
patently racist manner.many clubs/pubs/disco joints in many indian
cities have been racist most of the time unless the african person
has an id card of a multinational company or has come with
influential local people or whites!
same thing with added abuse has been happening with the Nepali,
Bhutanese, Sikkim, Tibetan and all North eastern state's people of
India.in Hyderabad, most of these girls are are even scared of
taking a bus or local train.they are forced to spend money they can
not afford on auto or cab.even some auto drivers misbehave.just
because they look small.but as they are tough, some protect
themselves but it is so bad.

from:  papolu prasad
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 17:45 IST

I really feel ashamed about the South Indian people. I’m from Kerala
and have worked in many places in South India. I’m not a great writer
or anything. But I really feel bad the way NE people are treated in our
place. And the way the guys from our place look at the NE girls with
vulture eyes…. Its horrible. Why don’t we treat them equally. Atleast
leave them alone instead of harassing them. I know one person from NE
and I’ve felt jealous of their culture. Such nice and friendly ppl.
I’ve felt to be among them. Give respect and take respect. That’s all
I’ve got to say. Just go to their place and see the way u r treated.
U’ll feel ashamed of yourself. And I want to say one more thing. Don’t
look everyone with the same eyes. Hope my NE friends will be treated
well in future..

from:  Binoabraham
Posted on: May 12, 2012 at 14:48 IST
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