We northeasterners are very Indians

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

Story By: Anamika Pradhaan

I am a 21 year old girl from the northeastern hills of Kalimpong, Darjeeling. I finished my high school from my home town and later decided to move to Delhi for better opportunities in terms of education and career. The minute I stepped in, there was an unseen compellation of my identity crisis.

I took admission in a college of Delhi to pursue Mass communication and liked it. However, on frequent occasions I had to go through various teases and taunts due to my facial features. One time, a classmate of mine teased me saying “bahar chowmein ki dukan khol le” (open a noodles shop outside college). I took it with a pinch of salt back then. But now after seeing murder and attacks on people of northeast, I feel it was offensive and derogatory, because that’s how it starts.

Often when I pass by metro or walk on road, people call me names such as “oi chowmein”, “chinki”, “Chinese” and make fun of my Hindi. These terms are very humiliating. Such treatment makes me feel like an outsider, like I don’t belong to India.

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be in public places, because people stare me. I feel as if there is something wrong with my looks or my clothes? But my immediate reaction is to ignore them because they always make fun and I can’t shut all the mouths. Unfortunately, I’m not the only person who goes through such harassments every day. People are insensitive towards north-easterners all the time.

I just want to say to the bullies that we are as much Indians as you. It’s okay if we dress differently, speak one more language or have different tastes in food. Most importantly, we are humans too. We live in a democracy and different parts of India practice their own culture and so do we.

My facial features - small eyes and fair skin that subject me to discrimination are a result of my genes, which I inherit from the Indochinese peninsula. So please don't discriminate against me and other people from north east. I am not from Nepal or China. I am as much an Indian as anyone else living in India is.

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