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Caught In Time Warp

A proud father sent his only daughter in Delhi to make her IAS/IPS, but she returned back as drug addict, promising boy landed into police case for drunken brawl, late night parties with loud music landed six youngsters into police case, revealing dressed up parties lass was molested and thrown out from moving vehicle badly bruised after being outraged. Land lord threw out four youngsters for lasvious behaviour of living together, some residential colony refused to give rent to youngsters from North east. Gullile leader was cheated by unscrupulous housing society a tune of Rs. Four lakhs. Hundreds of students were on road, when their high sounding school was sealed. List goes on...

This forms part of a booklet or security tips, as he calls it, from a police officer of the north east region. It is meant for the hundreds of students from the north east who have come to Delhi to study. It adds: students should be more "mainstream like" in the way they dress up and in what they eat. They should not wear skimpy clothes or cook some of the foods considered stinky such as fermented bamboo shoot and fermented soya beans. [Fermented fish is of course eaten by Kashmiris, some south Indians too, so I am not sure if this one is mentioned.] Obviously, this has caused much ire among the NE student community.

I know where the IPS officer's concerns are coming from. There is a common assumption among people here that people of the north east are a wayward lot. That they do drugs, drink, party, the women automatically available, and so on and so forth. The north east group is caught in this cauldron: the kind of situation where a woman who is raped is blamed because she is wearing a miniskirt. The mind of the rapist is not questioned, it's almost his birthright to rape because the woman is dressed provocatively. It's the raped versus the rapist theory at play.

My north-eastern sensibility is hurt everytime people start generalising. There is no point comparing people of different cultures. The fact remains: we find the same druggies, same party goers, same skimpily dressed people among mainstream Indians too. Yet in their case the finger pointing is not there. Years back, when I came to Delhi, I happened to stay with a mainstream Indian whose wayward lifetsyle shook the hell out of me. Not only her, the friends were also of the same type. Not that I objected to their lifestyle, but I chose to move out because I didn't fit in that atmosphere. In all my years as an adolescent and student in the north east, I didn't come across people who wanted to experience bizzare things in life for the heck of it. And here was I living with a group of mainstream Indians whose lifestyles were bohemian to the T.

It's the minds and perception of people here that have to change. My sister's friend who lives with her brother were once asked by the neigbours why they chuck beer bottles on the road. The truth is, neither does she nor her brother drink, but because they are north-easterners the neighbours chose to blame them. What do you do about such mentality?

Incest and female infanticide is rampant in north India. But these social moral policemen will not question these minds. All they want to do is focus their warped minds on north easterners. And then they complain that the assimilation of northeasterns to mainstream India is marginal. It's bizzarre dictating people on something as personal as food and dress habits. It's time mainstream Indians were educated about north east India and then asked to do an overhaul of their own mental illnesses... electric shocks to begin with.


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