By Saumia Takru and Swetha Ramakrishnan
Delhi may label itself secular but the tag more often than not hides the truth. Constant referral of â€˜chineseâ€™, â€˜chinkyâ€™ and â€˜chinkâ€™ to define a person embodies this deception. Rinchen, a Kendra Vidyalaya pass out and DU aspirant, was often plagued with questions like “how’s the weather in your country?” A hurt Rinchen would then wonder if he too was not Indian and thus rationalized the creation of cliques that have come to define North Easterners.
Some believe that their being culturally different leads them to dress in a particular way, which is attacked, as inappropriate. However Meghna Dasgupta, a Delhi University student, feels that â€œThere is no substance behind the image of an ‘easy’ North Eastern girl. I think all people who dress in ‘tiny clothes’ have to live with that perception.â€?
Recently a disturbing incident has come to our notice concerning what potentially could be an act of racial discrimination. A woman from Nagaland, who wishes to remain anonymous, had allegedly been denied entry into a well-known nightclub in Gk 1. When this decision was questioned, the management informed them that her profile was “not good”, based purely on face value. In fact, on pursuing the argument, she was then asked about her nationality only to be further humiliated by her German and South-Indian friend being allowed an entry. Her friends then demanded an apology, which they were then refused on the grounds that it was the club policy that was being followed. The woman in question has now sent a legal notice to the nightclub, only demanding an apology from the owner. She was, apparently, made to feel “degraded” and like a “second-class citizen”. She says, “I’ve only heard of the word “profiling” with reference to terrorists, I’ve never been more humiliated.” While other people are of the opinion that being â€œoutsidersâ€? they must conduct themselves â€œproperlyâ€? if only to avoid the constant scrutiny. â€œ We need to make sure we give nobody any reason to blame us or point fingers and we need to look towards breaking stereotypes.â€? Says Ms.Elvina, faculty member KNC, that discrimination otherwise, is uncalled for, especially if it is on the basis of physical features and origin.
Change, primarily, needs to be brought about in the education system while the clubbing together of all the 8 northeastern states destroys their independent cultural identity. Generalizations are often alienating and a change in perspective is the only way to combat them. In the words of a student, Sana Khan, â€œOur country is diverse and we all need to learn tolerance and some sensitivity.â€? We can safely say we agree.