My Seven Years Experience In Mainland India

Boboi Pukhrambam *

Manipur on India Map
Manipur on India Map :: Pix - Wikipedia

There is a Moorish saying, "He who does not travel does not know the value of men".

Bangalore, the IT City as we know had showed me many things in Seven years of stay. And in those Seven years, I had travelled a lot in mainland India from North to South and East of mainland India, although I didn't travel to the West. With a vision to excel in Life, I was compelled to travel to Bangalore in search of Utopia. Friends were the companion and Enthusiasm was the factor that led me towards the journey.

It was my second journey outside North-East, a long journey indeed, in order to pursue my graduation; the first being a few days travel to Nabadweep Dham and Howrah due to religious factor.

I had come across many movements in Bangalore during my stay, a movement against the sharing of Cauvery water between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the rise of the Telugus for the state of Tilangana, the rally conducted by the Manipuris of Bangalore for the repealment of AFSPA. Speaking about that rally of AFSPA, it was suppose to be a long rally with a valid permission, but we were denied at the last moment just 5 minutes before the rally could start and we were allowed to go only a stretch as short as from Police Bazar point to DC Office of Shillong (that would perhaps be 200 mtrs. at the most; sorry, little weak in measuring distances).

I saw the so called secularism policy of INDIA during those days. The cold war between the North-Indians and the South-Indians, the hatred in South for the Hindi speaking people (esp. in Tamil Nadu), the hatred between the Kannadigas and the Urdu-speaking Muslims of Karnataka. I was told that the Tamilians wanted to make their Tamil language as the National Language of India. On being denied and Hindi being made as the National Language, the hatred between Hindi speaking and Non-Hindi speaking people started. The question that often arouse in my mind those days was,

"If the people of mainland India themselves do not have love and affection for each other who are look-alike, how can we the people of North-East expect the same from them when we are much different from them in ethnicity?"

I was undergoing BBM (3 years course) in one of the bogus college under Bangalore University, although I couldn't complete it for I was made to run from Post to Pillar for six years to get my Results and Marksheets for all the three years which I didn't get till date. And that frustration made me devoid of studies and took my interest away. Well, that's a past and I no longer worry for I came back to my hometown and took admission at the age of 30 in a regular college and completed my graduation recently. Unfortunately, we had fallen prey into the hands of a tout and that's how we fell into that bogus college.

I still remember a BBM tour of our College when we visited many places such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Kunoor, Mangalore, Udupi, and various other places. We reached Tamil Nadu at 4 a.m. in some Holy Temple spot. The rudeness with which the Tea-Stall person replied to few of my friends, just because they asked him in Hindi to give Tea MY GOODNESS. It was the first time I saw in reality, their hatred for Hindi speaking people. With weird face and fearful eyes, he replied, "NO HINDI, ONLY TAMIL". Although in my case, he replied in a calm manner with a nodding head, because sensing the situation, I asked him in Tamil to give tea, which I had learned little bit beforehand. Comparatively, Mysore is better than Bangalore for studies and living expenses, although you may not find the Lavish lifestyle of Bangalore in Mysore. But for the people of North-East, it's more or less the same thing whether you are in Mysore or Bangalore. Unless you don't have an Aryan look and unless your skins are Black, you face trouble everywhere. A trader in Bangalore once said to me during casual talk,
"North-East mein North naam to hai naa, uss hisaab se aap log bhi North-Indians he hua naa".

Boss, we are not North-Indians but North-Easterns. And that's the reason why within the ambit of hatred for North-Indians by the South-Indians, we the people of North-East are also included just because they believe we are also one among North-Indians. Perhaps we should change the name of our region to East-Indians completely, if we go to South. :)

Karnataka has the highest settlements of Tibetan Refugees (as per Record), one being the Bylakuppe in Mysore district. Apart from this, there are six other Tibetan Refugee settlements in Karnataka, thereby, making it the highest in India. As such the South Indians give the Tibetans a different narrow look and the people of NER having the look-alike facial and similar ethnicity with the Tibetans, we the people of NER also become a pray of racial discrimination along with the Tibetans.

BHAI, in that case should we also call you people of Mainland as Africans, just because you possess look-alike skin with Africans. Well, if I would have said so, it would have given rise to ethnic argument.

'North-East', to the people of mainland symbolises nothing but BORDER, irrespective of the fact that there are seven states (eight now) with varied Flaura and Fauna, beautiful culture and people. When we mention any state of our origin, be it Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, etc. to the people of Mainland, be it a Layman or a well educated person, the first reply is, "OH! BORDER".

I wish to ask them in that case if Tamil Nadu can't be called BORDER, if RAJASTHAN can't be called BORDER, if Uttar Pradesh and BIHAR can't be called BORDER. And Why not? Tamil Nadu is at the extreme end of South India, Rajasthan is bordering Pakistan, UP and Bihar is bordering Nepal. Well, it's the mentality of each individual and the way of seeing and judging others that matters.

ALDOUS HUXLEY once said,
"To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries."

We may not at all forget the exodus of the entire North-Easterns from the entire mainland which was in retaliation to a single community conflict between the Bodo and illegal Bangaladeshis (which apparently happens to be from the Muslim community). But why to target the entire eight North-Eastern states in retaliation to a single BODO community? Indeed, a person in Bangalore once said right,
"Humare liye Manipur kya, Assam kya, aur Tibetan kya. Sab to ek jaise he dikhte hai".

And who says, North-East lack in Capital and the people are financially unsound, and depend on the Centre's funding and quotas and reservations every now and then.

North-Easterns are seen to be one of prime revenue factors for the people of mainland. Colleges in Bangalore prefer students of North-East for we don't bargain much while giving donations to the College. Another factor is that much of the career aspirants of North-East do not appear for the CET or the CAT/MAT and get through to take admissions at a lower fees without giving donation; unlike our counterparts of mainland India who would lose 2-3 years of their career to clear off the CET exam to get admission in reputed colleges of Bangalore without any donation.

Lucky for those North-Easterns who didn't face much of racial discrimination in mainland India. But for people like me and few of my friends, both Day and Night were same to us. At night the DOGS barked at us, during the day our own countrymen of Mainland barked at us. Is this the Freedom which we achieved 70 years back, whereby we can't even walk freely during the day in our so called country? Is this the Freedom which we achieved where we are like strangers in our own Land? In that case, I despise this FREEDOM.

* Boboi Pukhrambam ( a resident of Shillong) wrote this article for
The writer can be contacted at dhakshanayashwanth(at)yahoo(dot)com
This article was webcasted on December 10, 2013.

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