They love Bollywood Films, speak Hindi, are very much Indians, and yet are called Chinese. We are talking about our friends from the North-East. And its indeed a shame that they have to hear these taunts day-in-and-out when they’re away from home.
North-east Students protest against death of Nido Taniam in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area
Movie ‘Chak De’
In the Bollywood movie ‘Chak De’ (starring SRK), when the two north-eastern girls join the camp, they’re greeted by the warden who says that ‘Aap to hamare mehmaan Hai’ (meaning – you’re our guests) to which the girls reply by saying ‘apne hi desh me mehmaan banke rehna kise achha lagega’ (meaning – who would like it if they’re treated as guests in their very own country).
19-year old ‘Nido Taniam’ (from Arunachal Pradesh) was killed recently by a mob in Delhi recently after he reacted angrily to a racist taunt by one of the guys.
And that’s indeed the sad reality; almost every person from the North-East has experienced this alienation when working or travelling in other parts of the country.
Wherever they go, people call them ‘chinese’ (or ‘chinkis’) or tell them ‘show us kung fu’ or pass some or other racist remark. This is despite the fact that they speak hindi, love watching hindi movies, sing the Indian national anthem, go to school and every morning take the pledge that ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters’.
No doubt most of the North-Easterners feel hurt as well as angry; and we’re sure even Nido Taniam would have felt extremely hurt when such comments were hurled at him.
In one of his interviews, Bollywood baddie ‘Danny Denzongpa’ revealed that during the 1962 war with China, several Indian soldiers from his village near Sikkim were killed. Almost every day, several dead bodies would be brought to their village, and that was one of the reasons his mother didn’t allow Danny to join the army!
That is when Danny decided to go to Pune to join ‘Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)’. However, once there, in the initial few months, Danny had to confine himself within the campus, because whenever he would go outside, people on the streets would throw pebbles at him and say ‘Cheena’ ‘Cheena’.
What an irony! So many N-E soldiers were killed in the 1962 war with China, and the people from that region had to bear the brunt of other Indians venting out their anger.
I guess its high-time that we Indians don’t just try to look modern from the outside, but should also try our best to be modern in our outlook!
Do people in India’s northeast feel alienated?