Seeing Assam situation growing to worse from bad while the rest of India and the government watch as mute spectators the only thing that comes to mind is to think as to why they are not treated as Indians but as outsiders. Why does this section of our fellow Indians feel isolated and ignored?
Recent events such as the Assam riots and the panic exodus of northeastern people from many cities proves that the government has failed in listening to them. The region has multiple serious issues, but they fail to get mainstream attention. Situations keep aggravating, and we often don't discuss them until it is too late. This situation could have been controlled only if they would have been listened to in the beginning.
But apart from blaming the government about its inefficiency and inadequacy in addressing issues of these neglected states, we as the citizens also need to show empathy and compassion towards the northeast residents. If you all think we already are doing this from your end, think again. How many times have you seen someone from one of these northeastern states and called them “chinki” or “Chinese”, just because they look different.
Preaching doesn't work with us, Indians, because we rarely accept our faults. India might be one country with good people at heart. However, I feel sorry to say that we are probably the most internally racist nation on earth (and still we blame Australians for being racists…ha!). We all stand up for the national anthem, no doubt. We cheer for our Indian cricket team. We stand united (or at least show the world that we are united) after every terrorist attack. We also stand against our neighbor countries. But after “the war” or the “cricket world cup” ends, we always try to find a reason to hate one another. And we always find “things” to discriminate against. So we all have a self-made list of people whom we discriminate against, like: someone who is from other region or state, someone who speaks another language or someone who looks different from us (as in the case of north-east Indians)…and so on (this list can continue till the end of the blog).
Seems it has become the tendency of an average Indian mind to look for differences rather than similarities. We are actually efficient in finding differences among ourselves. And racist comments or jokes are as common as the “common man” himself. It is saddening and disheartening to see that sometimes people are proud to crack such comments without being aware of the fact that knowingly or unknowingly they are hurting the feelings of someone.
It is high time we need to rethink on these issues. We need to honestly answer some of the following questions. Is this the nation we want? Is this the place we want our children to grow? Where people call themselves north Indian or south Indian instead of Indian? Where people are classified based on their states rather than country? Where people are distinguished based on their color or looks?
As far as the crisis of northeastern states is concerned, we as the youth of the nation have only two options. One we can come together without thinking about the superficial differences between us and work together so that we can put pressure on our government so that it starts working on atleast some of the crucial problems these states are facing. Two we can continue to fight internally. The choice, definitely, is ours.
The rest of India i.e. us, need to think on how our racist thinking is hurting not only the northeast people, but is hampering the overall growth of the nation. Not only should we open our minds towards the north east fellow Indians, we also should discourage any other kind of racism happening around us and should have the courage to stand and speak against it.
We all should remember that it is not only for the north eastern people, it is for the people of India and I, as an Indian stand against any racist act against any Indian (no matter how small it is) and hope that “our people” in the northeastern part of “our country” find “their country” standing for them at this time of crisis.