I could not but agree with the views expressed by Yengkhom Jilangamba in the article “Let's stop pretending there's no racism in India” (May 29). It is true that racism exists against the people of the northeast. Till some years ago, dark-skinned south Indians were objects of jeering looks. The practice has become subtler these days, thanks mainly to increased interaction.
With regard to people from the northeast, the solution lies in spreading awareness. A recent survey highlighted the lack of awareness among people from the plains about the geography or cultural diversity of the northeast. Textbooks should include chapters on the region. The media should move beyond elections, blasts and high-profile visits and give a wider coverage to the northeast.
People from the northeast, particularly the youth, are victims of racism especially in metros. They are treated as outsiders in their own country. Racism exists in implicit and explicit forms. Discrimination, prejudice, and an unwelcome attitude often greet them.
But we can think of a genuine solution only after we acknowledge the existence of the problem.
It is not only people from the northeast who are subject to racism. People from south India too have been victims for years. In the north, anyone from the south of Vindhyas is a “Madrasi” and subject to snide remarks. Movies, television shows and commercials ridicule and lampoon people from the south.
As a child, I lived in Shillong and Guwahati for a couple of years. I think problems arise because people in metros are so caught up with their own lives and are unaware of any place other than their own States they feel someone looking different is not an Indian. Children are not even aware of the different regions in the country. Can we have a Bharat Darshan for children — a week-long student exchange programme perhaps?