This article provides an insight into the stereotypes that exist about Delhi and about the north-east and suggests how college helps in erasing them, along with an emphasis on how it changes a NE student’s life.
Like many of us who dream of studying in DU and spend our lives researching about the various colleges, their societies, etc., there exist a few among us who carry with themselves a different approach towards Delhi. Among those few are some students who belong to the hills and the beautiful environs surrounding them – the north eastern part of the country.
It starts with beaming lights of dreams, glittering thoughts, and an inexplicable excitement for a brand new life: the life of going to college, in the capital of the country. But with this ‘new life’ comes new changes and new responsibilities. Unlike the hills of Arunachal or Meghalaya, the students find themselves standing amidst the tall offices and towers of different companies.
There is no denying the fact that people have pre-conceived notions about Delhi, about how it is the most unsafe city for girls in India, about how people are nothing but dishonest here and about how it is uncultured and filled with rich brats who know nothing but to take advantage of honest people. These notions are true to an extent, no doubt. But are they powerful enough to dominate over the much thought about dreams of studying in a Delhi University college?
The answer somehow is inclined more towards the negative. Perhaps, it is quite natural too – the stereotypes and conception. Being the capital of the nation, Delhi screams for attention itself. Spotlights and attention (unwanted, at times) is a daily dosage of this city and its people. Therefore, it is more prone to baseless allegations and accusations and undesirable judgements than other states. For example, according to an India Today report, Bihar is the most unsafe state for women, not Delhi, as most believe. Some of the girls I came across with from the North Eastern part of the country during admission time shared their experiences. They said that they were getting better colleges in South Campus but their parents refused to take admission there because they were far and apparently close to where the Nirbhaya rape took place.
A person from Delhi visiting Nagaland is termed as ‘coming from India’. They are called names and made fun of. A feeling of insecurity always remains since anyone who does not typically belong to the seven states is an outsider. (One cannot buy land in Meghalaya, for example)
Sadly, the existence of such stereotypes is mutual. For a lot of people who do not belong to the north east, the seven states (with an added brother now) is a land of ‘adivasis’. And lot of times people use slangs to label students who belong from there.The pre-conceived notions are hence, reciprocated. So, it is not a one way thing. It appears quite absurd at first. But coming to think of it, acceptance hasn’t really been our thing from the start.
The college culture opens new windows to students from both the regions. In fact, not just both the regions, but from all over the geography.
A second year student from Assam studying in a North Campus college says, “The cosmopolitan nature of the city and its diversity taught me the art of acceptance, which I believe, was lacking in me to a great extent, given that I came from a very uniform place.”Another student from Manipur says that Delhi has been a blessing for her since she was naïve about so many things but this city and the college life of DU taught her social skills and how to be independent.
It is true, however, that the problems students from the north-east face are not negligible. Food, for example, is a major concern. But look at the new restaurants opening in Hudson Lane. A few years back there were none to offer Naga cuisine, now we have ‘Bamboo Hut’. Moreover, be it a north Indian or a north easterner, no one can refuse a plate of Chacha ke chhole bhature at Kamla Nagar!
The coming together of students from all over the country under one roof stands as a proof that India, indeed, is a diverse country. The fact that a student from north India sits in the same class as a student from east India or south India is a great mark of social integration. The amount of exposure that a student from a Delhi University college receives is unmatchable. And it all happens when we meet and interact with people coming from different social and cultural backgrounds.
Feature Image Credits: Careers360