Does the Northeast seem really far from us?
Keeping aside the feeling of irritation caused by mobile network company ads which claim coverage in inaccessible areas too, there are some pockets of our nations (a large chunk of our nation to be honest), which won’t come into the fold of our mainland just because they have a network coverage!
It is not just the roads, railways, airports or means of communication that glues a nation. Welding and forming of a nation comes from the hearts of the citizens. Keeping this in mind are we confident enough to look at India’s northeastern states and call them really close to us?They are close to us like any other states of India1. Indians to core -
The Northeast is only geographically difficult to access. The people who live there are Indians to their core and are as much near and dear to us as people from other parts of India.2. Technical advancements -
Since time immemorial it has been difficult to reach the region. But thanks to technology a lot of progress has been made in relatively short period of time.3. Special Economic programs -
Northeastern states and people living there are not only close to others of the mainland, but are actually given a special place amongst Indians. Owing to their neglect till now, special economic development programs are launched for them.4. More promotion -
The states are being promoted for tourism and are made more and more accessible day by day to promote them amongst the rest of the India.5. Special considerations -
The people hailing from those states are sometimes given special consideration in government jobs. All of these measures are for making them feel secure and a part of India. They are being given opportunities which were not given earlier because of inaccessibility of the region.6. 90% central funding -
There is a separate ministry in the Union Government to handle the development of the Northeastern States. All the grants to these states have a ratio of a whopping 90% Centre funding and just 10% State funding!They are aloof from India1. Problems in moving to other states -
Everyone is aware of the horrors people from northeastern states face when they move to other states for jobs, studies, etc. Newspapers provide ample proof to substantiate this statement.2. Appearance -
They are considered different from the rest of India mainly due to their predominant mongoloid appearance. These lead to comments and snide remarks.3. Cultural difference -
Culturally they were far away from India and they had their own culture and practices. When India got independence, their culture was given recognition. But their culture was rarely brought or promoted into our mainstream society. This is hardly a way to bring a region closer to mainland India.4. Socio-Economic status -
The most glaring proof of aloofness is the economic condition of the region. Apart from few cities and towns, the entire region has not undergone much development.5. Poor rail connectivity -
The railways which are the backbone of India have not spread to each and every capital of the Northeastern States! Only few capitals have rail connectivity. So much for mainstreaming the northeast!6. Stereotyping -
They are also termed ‘Chinese’ or ‘Nepali’ due to their appearance. This stereotyping, takes them far away. This slowly affects the feeling of being an Indian in them.
It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that there is in fact a gap between the mainland population and the northeastern population of India. The geographical barriers may have made their integration difficult, but with the Indian progress and development, this should never be a hindrance. It is of the utmost priority to make the people in that part of India feel secure and close. The only thing one must see in them is that they are like the rest of us and are Indians.