North East


During the lockdown, Delhi University students have been asked to vacate the Northeastern Students House for Women in Dhaka Complex, North Campus, and out of many that have left, 13 are left stranded in the hostel, with nowhere go.

Amid COVID-19 lockdown, Provost Rita Singh had asked students residing in the North Eastern Students House for Women in Dhaka Complex to vacate the hostel. Many students have left, however 13 are stranded in the hostel with no way to reach their homes in remote areas. The authorities stated the expiry of mess contract as the reason.

Christina Ering, President of Student Welfare Association stated, “This is mental harassment of students. In the past, she passed derogatory comments on Northeastern girls. Most of them are from the Northeast and finding a place to stay in Delhi is difficult for them otherwise. The hostel is the safest place for girls.” She also added that other hostels within the university such as Rajiv Gandhi Hostel and International Hostel for Women are functional.

Kholneikim Cindy Haokip, a resident of the hostel stated,“The last email from the Provost was on 8th May, where she said that the mess would function only till 31st May. She asked us to leave and arrange alternative accommodation. Whoever leaves must pack their valuables and move the rest of their belongings to another room and submit the key which is just unacceptable.”

The Provost responded by denying the allegations and stated that the students were not forced to vacate immediately. Mess workers had refused to come to work, and the authorities had asked the students to prepare themselves in case inter-state transport became functional.

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh took to Twitter and stated that the issue regarding Northeastern students’ eviction has been sorted out and they need not vacate hostels as he has spoken to the Vice-Chancellor. In addition to this, the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) issued a notice on receiving a complaint against the Provost of the hostel.

The 13 stranded students were allegedly subjected to racial discrimination, insensitivity and harassment by the Provost who has threatened to close down the mess as well. The commission has asked the varsity to keep into the account the needs of the students and has asked to provide all facilities. DCW chief Swati Maliwal stated that the commission has issued a notice to the university keeping in mind the seriousness of this situation. A report will be prepared by 15th May on the actions taken regarding the complaint along with measures taken to ensure that the students are comfortable in the hostel.

Feature Image Credits: Prag News

Suhani Malhotra

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The SRCC Administration cancels North East Cell’s panel discussion on the grounds of misinformation and violence mere hours before the event.

On 23 January 2020, the North-East cell of Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) was going to conduct a panel discussion on “Why the North-East is Protesting,” where the cell wanted to create awareness about the ongoing protests in the North-East against Citizenship (Amendment) Act. However, after concerns of violence, the administration canceled the event a mere few hours before.

The speakers invited were academic scholars and journalists, among which two were faculties of the University itself. Apparently, the administration convened an emergency meeting and without any prior information to the organisers of the Program and the Heads of the Cell, called off the Program.

The statement released by the North-East Cell says, “The event scheduled to take place today, organised by the North-East cell SRCC stands cancelled by the administration.  In an emergency meeting held mere hours before the event, the Administration and Dr.  Simrit Kaur, the Principal, informed us that the event is cancelled due to unavoidable circumstances. We were told that they received information about the possibility of violence on campus, if the event was to take place. We were also told that there was no balance in our panel and all our speakers had the ‘same bent of mind’.”


“They also suggested this event be conducted at a later time and said it was unwise to have the event in this climate. We insisted that this was not a politically motivated event and that it was conducted because there exists a complete lack of awareness about the North-East protests in the College. This discussion was the need of the hour which garnered immense support and we were expecting a large crowd of students all over the campus.” adds the statement.

In the letter by the Students’ Union to the Principal of the College, the Union cites ‘violence and misleading information’ as the main reason for the cancellation of the event.

The Letter sent by the Students’ Union said, “The North-East society of SRCC is conducting a seminar on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act today (23.1.2020) in room no:2. This seminar is based on a one-sided ideology on the CAA act which may indulge violence and misleading information among the students. Furthermore, the Government has already circulated to educational institutions regarding spreading awareness about the facts and right information about CAA. Being a responsible institution, SRCC must not accept this seminar which is against the norms of social welfare. So, the (The Students Union) considering the interest of the majority, request you to cancel the permission to host the seminar. If this request of ours is subject to cancellation, we request you to grant permission to our seminar which will include the same kind of one-sided ideologies. Taking into consideration the benefits and well-being of everyone involved, we request you to take a favourable decision.”

However, as alleged by the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in their statement, two days before the scheduled event, under the influence of threat of violence from Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Students’ Union and the Administration pressurised the organisers to call off the event.

As told by a student to The Wire, the students attending the event also received calls from the Students’ Union to discourage the students from attending the protest.

The North-East Cell expressed their disappointment in the message circulated by the Students’ Union and said it was disrespectful towards the speakers.

“Our speakers have years of experience and research to back any statement they make, and the Union didn’t have an issue blatantly attacking their credibility. We would also like to point out that the speakers were informed by the Administration that the event is cancelled due to a technical issue,” adds the statement.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Satviki Sanjay

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The National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam has been released, bringing about landmark changes in the citizenship picture in the state. Some Assamese students at the University of Delhi (DU) tell their tales.

About four years after the exercise first began, the NRC list was finally completed and released on 31 August. Monitored by the Supreme Court, the NRC was a massive headcount exercise that sought to differentiate legitimate Indian citizens from “illegal” or “undocumented” immigrants who migrated from other countries – especially Bangladesh – into the state of Assam.

Out of the nearly 3.3 crore people who had applied for inclusion in the NRC, around 19 lakhs have been excluded from the final list. Contrary to speculation, the people who have been excluded would not be considered foreigners or deported; they have a 120-day window to appeal to the quasi-judicial Foreigners Tribunal to have their claims considered. If unsatisfied with the decision of these tribunals, those excluded also have the option of appealing to the higher courts.

A student of DU, who hails from Assam, said, on conditions of anonymity, that the whole NRC exercise had been undertaken to reap “political benefits”. He highlighted how the NRC was received in Assam: “We saw it in a mixed-light; it was good in the sense that the demography of Assam had changed because of illegal immigration, but we also had doubts…When the Assam Accord was signed in 1985, the deadline [for determining Indian citizenship] was set at 1971. So, there was a 14-year gap between the deadline and the signing of the Accord. If the NRC was implemented during that time, then maybe things would have been different; now, nearly 35 years have passed since 198/. If an illegal immigrant did actually come [to India] in 1972, after the cut-off date of 1971, then they would have had children and grandchildren by now. So, there would be two generations of people who would have been born in India, but now would get disenfranchised as Indian citizens, so it would create a humanitarian problem.”

The student also said that the Bangladeshi Government would never accept the illegal immigrants back to their country as they had always been “unaccepting of the fact that illegal immigration has taken place from their land.” The whole exercising had the potential of deepening the divides in the state, he said.

Even though our source claimed that he and his family had all the requisite documents for proving their citizenship as they were all born and brought up in Assam – while their forefathers had come to the state around the time of partition – he said that they still had to face troubles. “Our citizenship status was declared as descendants of foreigners when there is nothing of that sort because we have all the requisite documents from 1954-55. “My grandfathers migrated long back, did their job here, resided here, they had their names on the voter list,” he told us. A serious hindrance was lack of access to information: “Nobody was able to answer our questions as to why our status was like that. Just because we didn’t have access to high ranking officials. So, you don’t have any access to information, no checks and balance mechanism about why your status was like that,” we were told.

Even government officials involved in the exercise admit to the practical hardships. Another Assamese student, a family member of whom is an official involved in the process, recalled a conversation when the latter told her about the practical difficulties being faced by the people: poor and illiterate people suffered the most, while the recent floods had also made matters worse.

The first student continues his story: “Even though the idea of NRC is good, throwing people out is not a pragmatic option. Just telling someone that even though you and your father were born and brought up in India, you are not an Indian citizen because your grandfather or great-grandfather was an illegal immigrant is not something which, in a democratic country like India, we are accustomed to or would want to do.” Neither was throwing people out a pragmatic option, nor was keeping them in “concentration camps” right for a democratic country to do, he said. “It would not be any different from China keeping Uighur Muslims in camps.”

So what could be done? “Maybe designate them as D-voters [Doubtful Voters] and not give them some residential, property or voting rights that normal Indian citizens get,” our source said. But, as would seem evident, he was quick to point out problems with this too. “This cannot help change the demography of Assam because if people can’t be thrown out then whoever resides today at this point of time will always be there. So it doesn’t address the main concern of the Assamese people about their demography being changed. The ultimate purpose of this exercise goes in vain, according to me.”

The NRC was not the only recent citizenship-related controversy that rocked the north-eastern states. The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016, or CAB, was a piece of legislation which also created a widespread row in the North-Eastern states – and it was not limited to just Assam. The Bill aimed to provide citizenship to people belonging to minority faiths in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Paris, Buddhists, and Jains – who were forced to flee their home countries owing to religious persecution. It also reduced the time period of continuous stay in India needed to become an Indian citizen by the process of naturalisation from a period of 11 to six years. The Bill saw massive protests in the north-eastern states. Some of the ruling BJP’s own allies from that part of the country broke away from their political alliances. The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha but lapsed in the Rajya Sabha.

Our source tells us that Assam was divided in their support for the CAB. The Brahmaputra Valley, with a predominantly Assamese population, opposed the Bill, while people in the Barak Valley – largely Bengalis – supported it. Manas Pratim Sharma, a student of Hindu College, also pointed out this dichotomy in an article he wrote for the North-East magazine of the college. The first student continues by saying that he has had to explain to a lot of people his reasons for supporting the CAB. “The CAB does not say that new people would be brought in from Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. into India. It talks about whoever has come on or before 31st December 2014; it talks about those who are already here and they will be provided Indian citizenship by process of naturalisation over a period of six years. I don’t think the people residing in north-east or any part of India can be kicked out or be held in concentration camps. Then the CAB makes sense as it addresses people from religious minorities in neighbouring countries who have fled because of political and religious persecution,” he said.

However, taking cognisance of the huge protests that erupted over the CAB, the student also said, “If there is a huge uproar in the NE, then I’d actually be okay – I’d want it, in fact – if people who have migrated on or before 2014 and have not yet settled down in the north-eastern states be shifted to some other parts of the country and be rehabilitated there. This would not be the first time this would happen; it has happened in 1947, 1971, 1984 and other times also. I think there is scope for the government [to do this] so that the north-eastern states don’t have to bear the brunt of migration that the Indian state faces and that it’s evenly distributed, because that is also a primary concern of the north-eastern people…One part of the country should not disproportionately take the burden [of immigration]. If that condition is met with, I’m fine with the CAB in light of the NRC.”

A noted disappointment over the disproportionate share of migrant intake as experienced by the north-eastern states was also seen in Mr Sharma’s article, where he says the following in light of the CAB: “There is a perception that the passage of the CAB will open the floodgates for a fresh wave of influx of Bangladeshi Hindus to India, and Northeast will have to bear the brunt of the next wave of influx again.”

The students we spoke to were secure. Their names were there in the final list, even though some had not appeared in the earlier drafts, despite the names of their families being mentioned. As things stand, 19 lakh people have been excluded. As many media reports showed, there were numerous discrepancies in the earlier drafts: not everyone from the same family was included; relatives of government officials and servicemen were excluded and so on. It is likely that most of the excluded people would appeal to the Foreigners’ Tribunals. Illegal immigration is a real problem for any country; even more so in states of the north-east with a sensitive indigenous cultural demography. It can be hoped that the State would carry out the subsequent phases of the exercise with precision while keeping humanitarian concerns in mind.


Feature Image credits – India Today

Prateek Pankaj
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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

Akshada Shrotryia
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North East is a big contributor to India’s diversity as it comprises of several ethnic groups and hosts a vast culture. However, the harsh reality is that student’s coming from the region still face a lot of discrimination. Here is a look at how the North East Festival (NEF) is helping in bridging the gaps and spreading awareness.

North East India is considered to be one of the most distinct and spectacular regions of our country. Spread over an approximate expanse of 2,65,000 sq kms, North East represents a true collage of colours of ethnic groups with their diverse language and culture all bound together by a triad of unison.

The North East Festival is an attempt to create awareness about North East India and to promote tourism. The purpose of the festival is to reduce the regional gaps and to celebrate the essence of the region. This year, North East Festival was organized at IGNCA Ground, Janpath, New Delhi from 3rd-5th November 2017. The event is considered to be the biggest festival about the Northeastern region in the national capital. It is aimed to highlight the positive aspects of the region which is so full of talent, resources, and represents a varied culture. The culture of every state is represented through an extensive display of textiles, handlooms, food stalls, handicraft, etc.

The University of Delhi has a vast representation of students belonging to this special region of India. Every year student political parties include “activities to increase the welfare of North East students” in their election manifestos, many colleges under Delhi University have North-East Cells, but is the harsh discrimination against these students ever truly acknowledged?

Recognition and acknowledgment are two phenomena that can curb social exclusion, which is sadly, still a very prominent problem concerning the North Eastern students of Delhi University. The North Eastern students to this day continue to face the bitter sting of stereotypes, ethnic slurs, and harassment. What is important to recognise now is that instead of quietly accepting the humiliation and nastiness heaped on them, active steps like organising the North East Festival need to be taken to spread awareness and information about this beautiful region that has much to offer in abundance.


Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

Bhavya Banerjee

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Walking through the lanes of the photography exhibition about ‘Cultures of Sikkim’, the Department of Sociology of Maitreyi College released it’s fifth issue of its bi-annual newsletter ‘Sociologue – Aao Baat Karein’.

The attempt behind this is to create a sociological dialogue on the issues raised through the newsletter. It specifically focused at not so known- artforms, music, cinema, literature and sports of North East. The Chief Speaker for the day was Dr. Nitoo Das acclaimed Poet and Faculty at Department of English, Indraprastha College, DU. Her poems have appeared in national and international publications at various times.

The event witnessed cultural programme bringing to limelight, the traditional dances of North East States and showcase of antique ornaments from the lap of seven sisters. There were various students from different colleges of Delhi University to witness the event. The Chief Speaker, emphasised on the diverse tribes that constitutes North East and the challenges to counter the dominant narrative of the region by bringing it to mainstream.

As music is the food for thought, the event came to an end, with the tunes of A&R band.


Feature Image Credits: Anahita Sharma


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Tripura, under a CPI(M) chief minister, Shri Manik Sarkar worked in cooperation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2015, to completely repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. This Article focuses on how two extreme binaries came together to resolve such a huge issue in the state, especially when this intellectual war between the Left and the Right is in continuum.

The North East has often been under reported in the news, throughout the mainland. The racism exerted by the media to reluctantly cover states with a majoritarian ethnic minority population, has enabled the mainland to disassociate itself from the issues of the North East. To integrate the North East into national policies, the NDA Government has specifically focused on implementing a development agenda at all levels of government. From integration drives by student unions much like DUSU to university level programmes like Gyanodaya have facilitated a discussion between the students.

Tripura, one of the gems of the North East has a State Government under the leadership of a left front chief minister, namely, Manik Sarkar. However through cooperation with the Home Minister at the centre, under the leadership of the Prime Minister backed by a BJP led NDA Government, AFSPA was repealed in May 2015. AFSPA, by law, can only be repealed if the Governor agrees to it. And in the case of Tripura, Manik Sarkar closely worked with the intelligence agencies to ensure that militancy was less, and provided a consolidated report to the Governor, who after consulting with the Prime Minister, repealed the controversial act from the state (from one police station to another, gradually).

After repealing the act, Prime Minister Modi, reportedly asked for a report on how Tripura repealed AFSPA from the Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, who obliged. It is important to state that even political adversaries, who have extremely contrary views came together to relieve the people of Tripura from such a harsh law. 

Let us now take a closer look at AFSPA –

AFSPA has been one of the most controversial policies adopted by the central governments (across party lines) throughout the history of Independent India. With insurgencies fostered by remorse amongst the ethnic minorities, backward classes and people demanding a monopoly for a particular religion, the archaic act of parliament has often led to the protection of the Indian mainland at the cost of rampant human rights violations carried out by a number of army and paramilitary personnel. Although the number of jawans responsible for such acts is minuscule as compared to the full force deployed, the fact remains that the data for the number of prosecutions against the armed forces have also been shocking.

Jammu and Kashmir has been a hotbed, much like Manipur where women have come out in the open to oppose the law, claiming they had been raped and their husbands had been shot dead despite being innocent.
An RTI query made to the Ministry of Defence, Government of India had revealed that only one army man has been prosecuted in Jammu and Kashmir during a tenure of 22 years, against the 44 cases that were received for sanction of prosecution from 1990 to 2011. This meant sanction was not granted in almost 98 per cent of recommended cases (97.73 per cent). In all the cases of rights abuses the controversial AFSPA was invoked to shield the accused. 

This is a major tradeoff that needs to be dealt with. The security agencies need to work in a coalition with the government to ensure that the militancy reduces in these sectors, and only then can such a law be repealed.

If the centre and the states could come together, and gradually repeal the act from one district to another, in states like Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, and Assam, then we could soon see tremendous reduction in ‘seditious’ activities in these states. It is clearly important for the media to cover these issues extensively. It is also the responsibility of the Left and the Right to come together and work for the betterment of the society through constructive policies and not destructive ones.

Image Credits: www.nelive.in

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Ishaan Sengupta

Conceived and organised by the North East Cell of Hindu College, NEtym is an annual North-East festival where the culture of North-East India is shared with people from the entire country. Started with the endeavour to create a platform where geographical, cultural and linguistic barriers would dissolve into one great rhapsody, Netym certainly has come a long way since 2012.

This year the fest kicked off with an inauguration ceremony graced by the Chief Guest General J.J.Singh. The General, through his encouraging words to those present, stressed upon national integration and also talked about the warm reception he’d always received from locals while visiting the North-Eastern states and that that we should strive to reciprocate the affection.

The North-East magazine of Hindu College, “The Voices 2014”, was unveiled by the dignitaries, followed by a prize distribution ceremony where the football tournament’s winners, Yo Mama from St. Stephen’s College, and the runners-up, Lamdil Team, were given recognition for their performance on the field. An online photography contest which was organized to keep social media websites abuzz with talk of the fest was a success. Entries from all over the country were received and the best ones were given category-wise awards.

What was seen next was a gala event showcasing the beautiful and rich culture of North East India. Dance performances from various states kept the tradition alive while events like beat boxing by Underground Music League and other music performances ranging from acoustic to rap, by equally enthusiastic students, embodied modernity. The fashion show was one event which encompassed tradition and modernity both and was a fitting final flourish to the indoor events for the day.

The students who attended Netym 2014 saw some energetic band performances in the evening. Three bands, Minutes of Decay, BK&INA and Guru Rewben played pieces that had the audience swinging to their beats.

The fest received a heartening response from students of various backgrounds and cultures. The undercurrent of the whole fest was national integration and the organisers, along with the authorities of Hindu College were elated to see everyone taking an active interest in the fest. It was great to see that somewhere during the day, people from various states appreciated those from cultures different from their own.

I remember the time when I was drawing the map of India in class. I was little then, and as a good boy would I attentively listened to the teacher to learn how to draw my country. “Check the map”, I remember her say, “and don’t forget to draw the international borders in dark, bold outlines.” So I drew the boldest outline for the international borders. “Now draw the 25 states of India and colour them differently”, the teacher added. Now, my counting was limited to just the number of fingers in each of my tiny hands and toes in each of my tiny foot.

So drawing the 25 states (as the 28 had not formed yet) was really troublesome. I never understood why I had to draw more borders than I already had, in great bold outlines. Naturally I approached the teacher with my perfectly valid complaint. I was told that I would understand it when I grew older and understood the working of the human mind…

We humans are the most intellectual being on earth and we take great pride in that knowledge. Our intellect has helped us claw our way from cold, hard caves to plush, furnished hotel rooms, from cattle drawn carts to the sweet melody of a roaring V-8. But there is one talent, from our endless repertoire, that is my topic of interest: our capability to see and recognize patterns.Have you never looked at the floating clouds and giggled as you noticed a peculiar shape in them, maybe that of a cricket bat, a face of a famous person, a face of a not-so-famous person, an aeroplane or a loved one perhaps? Recognizing patterns is not just another one of our talents mind you, but an almost vehement compulsion. Look at your wallet, most people like to keep their money in a fashioned order – 10 rupee notes followed by 20 rupee notes which are in turn followed by 50 rupee notes, and so on and so forth.

This compulsion of forming patterns is not limited to the inanimate alone. We tend to classify people as well, so consequently we have the Indians, the Americans, The Chinese, Marathis, Punjabis, Bengalis etc. In your everyday greeting with any stranger, your first instinct is to ask him their name (out of courtesy) and then their place of origin (out of curiosity). Once you have known the latter it becomes easier for you to compartmentalize him into a specific category that already exists in your head. Now you know which ‘category’ of ‘people’ he comes from, your initial tension subsides and your conversation becomes more fluid. You are safe in the knowledge of what to expect.

Our brains are always, actively, trying to make out patterns. You hate noise because you can find in it no rhythm to tap your foot to. You hate the crowded metro because your mind just cannot find any pattern of behavior. In fact, if our brains are to be subjected to a long stretch of unpredictable patterns we are under the threat of losing our sanity. The ingenious Chinese water torture makes use of the very same fact. The victim is strapped down to a chair or a table while water is trickled, drop by drop, in their forehead. Does not sound like a torture does it? Remember the time you had a leaky roof during the monsoon, or a time when the bathroom tap was loose? Remember the annoying sound it made when drops of water fell to the floor, waking you at just that moment when you had started to doze off? Maddening wasn’t it? So you can only imagine the agony the victims had undergone as drops of water hit their forehead, erratically, before their minds collapsed into insanity as it exhaustively tried to find some sort of pattern.

Similarly, most people are irritated when their nosy friends borrow something and not keep it back in its original place. People are more likely to hang out with others from the same ‘group’ and usually avoid people who are not part of the ‘group’. Because in a ‘group’ the pattern is defined to almost the smallest of detail like – favorite hang outs, food and most importantly faces of people you know. Nobody likes a fly in their chicken soup, do they?

So the question is… was Nido Taniam the fly?  A ‘something’ that did not fit the urban pattern of Delhi? An anomaly so detestable that he was beaten to death?  Was he not part of the same pattern that I had outlined in great dark, bold outlines as a child? Now when I think about it, I am still that kid holding a map drawn in crayons…


By Saumia Takru and Swetha Ramakrishnan

Delhi may label itself secular but the tag more often than not hides the truth. Constant referral of ‘chinese’, ‘chinky’ and ‘chink’ 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 “There 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 “outsidersâ€? they must conduct themselves “properlyâ€? if only to avoid the constant scrutiny. “ 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, “Our country is diverse and we all need to learn tolerance and some sensitivity.� We can safely say we agree.