TODAY -

Attacks on people hailing from NE in Mainland India - a personal observation

Ninglun Hanghal *

Protest in Delhi against killing of Nido Taniam (a youth from Arunachal Pradesh :: 01 February 2014
Protest in Delhi against killing of Nido Taniam in February 2014 :: Pix - Debanish Achom



I was in Manipur during mid October and as expected, I was bombarded with questions on the reasons for "frequent attacks against NE in Mainland India, especially Delhi". To make matters worse a series of incidents were reported during this week. The Bangalore incident where a student was attacked for not speaking Kannada, boys were beaten up severely in Gurgaon- NCR, a woman died allegedly after being raped.

On a lighter note, the NE population is increasing (over 2 lakhs in Delhi alone, an estimate by centre for NE studies and research, JMI in Jan, 2014 ) and thus many "happenings" that are potential news items and market for the national media as well.

On the flip side, it calls for serious pondering on why incidents keep pouring in.

The issue is multifaceted and multilayer. It is complicated and complex. And there is no direct answer either. There are many reasons and factors that led to the frequent incidents of violence and assault on the people hailing from North East region in metro cities across mainland India.

There are also varied opinions, re-actions and response. While mainland are ignorant of the geography, history and socio-culture of NE, that fortunately goes in favour of them, such as brushing the issue aside as ignorance, their immediate re-action and easy way out is to defend themselves, and thus blame the NE for inviting problems ( example behaviour, dress, drinking ) Within the North east population, opinion / observations varies between the folks back home and the populations in mainland cities. In the cities with easy communications and mobilization, "activism" is cool, besides the politically correctness in fighting injustices. Back home the opinion is that youths in the city are "lost souls" and that "behaviour and characters" are one key reason for attacks, especially in case of women.

It is also true that most victims were from Manipur, and that too from the hill districts. Unfortunately, issues are therefore reduced to a "tribal characteristics" of naivety and ignorance of the culture of the "civilised" urban city. Though of late, the issues were diplomatically handled both by state agencies as well as activist. In-fact, as much as Manipur is comparatively high in education, Manipuris were more politically aware, thus politically right noises were mostly led by people from this state. Moreover, Manipuri migrant population is also comparatively in ratio, higher than most of the other NE states. Obviously therefore more reported cases.

Migration to cities is rapidly increasing (thanks to globalisation). For instance, each community XYZ from Manipur has a Delhi based student organization, Church fellowship and welfare associations. Indeed there is not a single family house hold that doesn't have a family member in Delhi / Bangalore/ Chennai. It is true that this mass migration (and of course an universal phenomenon) is due to availability of employment in cities. On the other hand, it may be mentioned that jobs are not so easily available (economic meltdown etc). Most of the jobs are casual and informal. Thus, vulnerability for many, especially for women.

Another factor is the peer pressure. A somewhat sort of competition, that makes it fashionable for the new generation to experience a "city life". Every household and neighbourhoods in Manipur (and NE at large) the conversations, gossips, today, centred around metro cities and city life styles.

In the city, youths experience a sense of independence and freedom, whereas the day ends at 5 pm and no life beyond local neighbourhoods in NE. Moreover, the city gives them a lifestyle (in contrast to the tradition and customs) and entertainment which otherwise were seen only on the Tv screens and cinemas. Unfortunately, here comes the conflict. Additionally being different in looks, culturally and practice too, their sense of freedom and imitation of a "western lifestyles" became their vulnerability. For mainland India these were seen as an "easy prey" and for the NE it is their fundamental right to wear, eat and do, what they want/like. Though the "Delhi Lifestyles" is never a way of life in/of North East India, for mainland Indians this appears as NE culture, life and behaviour.

It may be mentioned that Indian society are deeply divided along caste and class lines. Majority of the areas in Delhi and NCR for example, inhabited by the NE populations are areas of overgrown urban slums. A young "mongoloid" English speaking woman walking freely along the Gallis and streets of Delhi draws (undesired) attractions in the highly conservative, deeply patriarchal Indian society that kills an infant before birth just for being a female. In a society where untouchability is a norm, a way of life, the north eastern population in such neighbourhood dwelling is a "cultural shock" for the mainlanders.

North east people love socialising. This socialisation comes along with entertainment music, food and drinks. NE people carry these social dos along with them wherever they are and with the increase in populations; many NE people are no longer lonely in the cities. Reportedly, the social behaviours are loud and at times many acted like they own those dark alleys and windowless buildings in the cities. The anonymity in the city Like Delhi, whose population comprise of mostly migrants, is a privilege, as well as vulnerability. No one knows who lives next door. No neighbourhood elders will come forward to calm down fighting or accidents; house owners are not bothered about the tenants as long as they get the payments.

The city is cruel. There is no sensitivity or emotions. Survival of the fittest would be the right phrase here. On the roads, at work place, every day is a constant struggle for survival. And the weak becomes the victim. This "aggression, brutality" of the cities and vulnerability of the NE is also an indirect fall out of the rapid modernity and transition from a traditional way of life to a new "life styles" that both mainland and NE are grappling with.

Politicising the issue, political correctness gives some solace for the North East population. Pressuring the State and its agency is one way of solidarity and dignified way of approach. The political situation back home too did have an influence in the re-actions by the NE population in the cities. An easily provocative and re-active NE populations the reactions and response are political and sentimental. Furthermore, Philantrophism - an unique social characteristics of the NE, became handy in solidarity and magnification of political noise in such incidents. Therefore, the media loves it. Thus, one also get to hears reports of incidents more often than necessary ( such as the Front Page news headline in Times of India dated March 24, 2014 the news says Two Manipuri caught stealing Bikes in Delhi) .

True, NE people are different from mainland India. No arguments here. But what are these "differences" and how this "differences" are handled, use (and misused? ) both by the mainlanders and the NE populations is a question to introspect. It may be added that in the midst of this, there are elements, again both within mainland and NE that conveniently take opportunity to create tension between regions, culture, and people.

This is not to delegitimize or belittle protest or fight for justice. The observation does not in any way tries to stop or de-motivate initiatives and attempts in various ways, forms and actions to bridge the gap or bring people of NE and mainland closer.


* Ninglun Hanghal wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is with The Sangai Express and can be contacted at hanghal(dot)ninglun(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on November 04, 2014.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Yoga Day: Celebrating Your Health
  • Chak-hao - black gold of Manipur
  • In response to the culture of shaming
  • 3rd Documentor Imphal
  • 4th International Day of Yoga by AR
  • Appeals for Resolution of MU Crisis
  • Recommendation to control Flood damages
  • International Yoga Day at Loktak PS
  • After Flood : Introspection about the future
  • MUSU & JAC : Hot issues before the Govt
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #2
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Letter to President on Crisis at MU
  • Precision medicine & life sciences
  • Black topping-can ground leveling be behind
  • Condemns security force intrusion in MU
  • Developer wanted at LMP, Konjeng Leikai
  • AR gears up for International Yoga Day
  • NPF rejoinder to NDPP : 20 June
  • Rejoinder by Dr. Shurhozelie : 20 June
  • For a little bit more
  • Deadline of 5 days time set : MU crisis
  • Garlic Festival @Ukhrul #4 :: Gallery
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #3 : Gallery
  • Inungshi, Gaichanglungliu :: eMing
  • Taking 'Hau' Music to Rest of World
  • Kakching bags cleanest city in NE Award
  • JRF (Junior Research Fellow) at IBSD
  • Oxfam India launches emergency response
  • VC, MU - Resign immediately :: MUTA
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Translation of ancient Manipur texts begin
  • Pre Yoga Capsule organized
  • NDPP Rejoinder on 19 June
  • NPF Youth Wing Rejoinder on 19 June
  • Favouring digital govt : still a Virtual dream
  • June 18 Anniv : Consult all stakeholders
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS