Stranger in Own Land – Part I

All in this world is proud of his/her mother (land), the same is with You and Me. We praise the socio-cultural, religious and ethnic homogeneity of this great Union. However, the beauty of this mega unison is blotched sometimes with nescience among us.
Tales of discrimination and feeling of alienation in their own country is common to the people from the Northeastern states of the country. From personal experience to hearsay almost all the people of this region, who came out of their home states in search of better job, livelihood, education etc has one, two, or even more appalling stories to tell.
On an account, a provisional storekeeper in Shimoga district of Karnataka once asked me directly, “Are you from Nepal or Tibet?” “No uncle, I am from Manipur” I answered. Anticipating his eagerness, probably confusion about my nationality, I promptly added that Manipur is a state of India situated at the Northeastern part of this country. Yet, my rejoinder did not serve his quench and quizzed me that whether we (Manipur) want to be with India or accede to China? What would you do at such moment, to argue him or clarify his doubt?
There are some possible responses to that sort of questions—1) (with a smile) sorry uncle, I don’t know Kannada 2) asking the reasons, why the Indian state of Manipur should go to China 3) taking his opinion on the topic that questions the sovereignty of the country, or 4) simply a big NO. But the most likely response from a person, who is tired of proving his/her identity of being Indian and replying to such senseless questions is “I don’t know” as it is the safest way to avoid such questions in future.
In a conduct of defying the broad “Unity in Diversity” motto, some people simply presume the people from the Northeastern states as foreigners, who come from Nepal, China, Tibet, Japan or some other familiar East Asian land of blunt nose, epicanthic fold, pigmented skin, strait black hair. It is a grave injustice to the history of the nation and the people of the Northeastern states, who are proud of themselves to be sons and daughters of this great land.
Dishearten by the questions on nationality some strange notions hover on my mind that why can’t they mentally accept us (people of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura including Sikkim) as their fellow and rightful citizen of this land…..?


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