Before I choose to explain the reason for such weird and controversial title, I have just one question. How many of you readers can actually name all the states along with their capitals in the North East? Try it. You’ll understand what I am talking about.
The reason for this blog post is because of the utter disgust due to the ignorance of people about the place. I am from Agartala, Tripura. (Wonder where?) It is the last tip of the North-eastern stretch surrounded by Bangladesh on 3 sides.
It has been 5 years now I am staying outside of my hometown. And believe me, in the entire 5 years the only thing I hated the most was when I was asked, “Hey, Shamik where are you from”?
The reason is because I am tired of the blank look I get on the faces when I tell them about my place.
Some say, “Oh! It must be in Assam.”
Some drag it to Burma. And some thinks it to be a different country.
My question is “Why?” Why would my fellow Indians be so negligent about this part?
Please for God’s sake, Tripura is not in Assam and Mizoram is not Manipur.
It’s like, “oh! Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is the same thing!” or may be, “Haryana is the capital of Punjab!”
Does it make sense?
I have grown up reading murders and useless killings everyday in the newspaper. When the entire country was busy with Pakistan and Osama Bin Laden, people in North East were killed, their houses were burnt down. We talk about insurgency. I bet, the government doesn’t have the count of the population expansion because of the easy access from Bangladesh. I have seen India-Bangladesh border in Tripura where there are pillars for about 1 km but no barb wires. How do you expect some 3-4 BSF jawans to guard the entire area properly?
People might know about PoK(Pak occupied Kashmir). But do you know about the part of Arunachal Pradesh illegally captured by China since the 1962 war? In a recent display in China, Arunachal Pradesh was included in the Chinese map and was named “South Tibet”. People living in the border get all their daily requirements from China but are called Indians. Think of their confusion!
When I talk about terrorism, Kashmir comes in our mind. Quite natural. It is because that is where media is more interested about. But for Assam, the problem is from 1970. ULFA did it all. Now bomb blasts and killings are like viral fever there. Every one or the other day someone is the victim. But still rest of the India has no clue.
NLFT was the terrorist group that led to many innocent killings in Tripura, including the health minister of Tripura Bimal Sinha. Though these days they are not much efficient, but still there was a time when the entire state fought a mini-war, a war for survival.
I cannot blame the citizens completely. The government and the media are equally involved. When big cities kept getting promoters to build KFCs, Mc Donalds and beautiful malls, Agartala got its first railway station in 2008,61 years after Independence(though meter gauge).
Well, I am not asking the rest of the country to feel pity for us. I am just asking them to stop turning their back towards us.
India is a land of diversity. Very true. And in north east you can find them so beautifully proved. Tripura has 19 different tribes, each having different custom and different language. Yet we stay together.
Then why is that North East not known to the country. Each state has its own beauty, own dish, own culture different from the rest of the country. Yet the tourism department of the North-eastern states doesn’t earn much. It’s because, though tourists know about its beauty, they do not find it friendly enough for a vacation. But that is completely a myth. People are friendly in Northeast and happy to help. But can friendship be one sided?
I am not requesting the people to love us. I want people to know us; because once you know us you will love us automatically!
Finally to help all the readers who struggled in the first question, here is the answer:
- Arunachal Pradesh – Itanagar
- Assam – Dispur
- Manipur – Imphal
- Meghalaya – Shillong
- Mizoram – Aizawl
- Nagaland – Kohima
- Sikkim – Gangtok
- Tripura – Agartala
Obama and America’s future can be learnt later. Let us KNOW about our OWN country first. Let our culture flow. Let us be friends. Northeast isn’t different. Northeast is INDIA!