Sunday, November 27, 2022

A Lesson Every Indian Should Learn

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 04, 2021 2:10 am

Popular television anchor Rahul Kanwal’s inadvertent “Don’t worry, you are in Nagaland, electricity goes off even in India” remark during India Today’s recent primetime show sparked an outrage, forcing him to apologise for the faux pas. He said it was a “slip of tongue” and he meant to say “Delhi”. Though there is no need to read too much into it and the matter should end there, the words that came out of the slipped tongue had more than a tint of truth to them. It is a fact that there will be more Indians who don’t have a reasonable knowledge about the eight states in the Northeast than those who know. Kanwal’s remark came just days after Punjab-based YouTuber Paras Singh was arrested over racial slur against a senior legislator from Arunachal Pradesh, another north-eastern state. The Arunachal police had reportedly given lessons about history, culture and geography of the state to the YouTuber during his custody. But why should only Singh acquire these valuable lessons which every Indian deserves to get? People from the Northeast who stay outside the region for various reasons will know how little fellow Indians know about their states. You will come across many intellectuals from outside the Northeast who have vast knowledge about the region. They stand by the people of the region during bad times, join them in protest rallies and fight for justice whenever any atrocities take place. But their invaluable help is often dwarfed by the ignorance of the vast majority who have little knowledge about this part of the country and end up hurting the sentiments of the people. It hurts when you are dubbed as a foreigner in your own country. And atrocities against the people of the Northeast in various Indian cities are often offshoot of lack of knowledge about the region and its inhabitants.

In an attempt to address this pressing issue, which is the main cause of atrocities on the people from the Northeast, several student organisations, universities from the region and individuals from across the country are planning to storm the microblogging site Twitter today with hash tags #AchapterforNE and #NortheastMatters, to appeal the central authority for inclusion of a mandatory chapter on Northeast India in the NCERT textbooks. This demand, which came in the wake of rising cases of discrimination against people from the Northeast, is a legitimate one. The centre government should seriously consider it because India can’t take all its citizens to the region to give geography lessons. Inclusion of a chapter or two on the Northeast in textbooks can help curb stereotyping, racial discrimination and atrocities against the people from the region. It is also important because of the sensitivity involved owing to borders the region shares with other countries.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 04, 2021 2:10:43 am