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Dubbing northeasterners as 'chinkies' only adds to alienation
On a day when the Guwahati High Court pronounced a verdict of imprisonment to about ten young men for the molestation of a young lady walking out of a restaurant in the middle of this year, another young lady from northeast India was publicly insulted with lewd sexual gestures in the hitherto 'safe' city of Bangalore. But unfortunately, the event did not draw much flak in the national and mainstream media.

ACCORDING TO CNN-IBN, when a lady complained to a policeman he brushed her aside and even manhandled her. Even though the police are looking for these men who made these sexual gestures, the lady has also filed an FIR against the erring policeman.

I listened to the interview of  the lady on CNN-IBN and it is a shameful thing that such an episode has taken place in a city of the breed and education that Bangalore possesses.

This episode once again underlines and confirms what the people of northeast India feel about the supposed mainstream, and the treatment, not only indifference but abject contempt that is sometimes meted out to them, and all is not a figment of their imagination. This brings to the light that generally speaking Indian society is sexist and suffers from this aberration. Especially in families with orthodox backgrounds this is more pointed and a male female relationship cannot be seen as something based on the value of friendship, rather it is sex centred.

This happens frequently in cities like Delhi and the crime rates against women are alarmingly increasing in cities such as Kolkata and Mumbai. But what flummoxes me to the point of anger is: why are the people of northeast India again and again made victims of such atrocities? Why is the impression of being 'available' given to people in the cities? This is perhaps based on total hearsay and is baseless. The fact is that the people of the region are inherently friendly and any sign of friendship is mistaken for something else, which only goes to prove the salacious nature of such people.

One hears often of the people of northeast India being dubbed as 'chinkies' and this kind of expression can be pejorative and could hurt feelings. Further it leads to more isolation and alienation from the so called mainstream, a term which I think has been grossly misused or abused. It further creates dichotomies of divide and makes false barriers in the country and creates wedges.

In one way the press and the media being circumspect on this episode is good because it can lead to animosity, especially against the backdrop of the evacuation of people from the northeast recently after the Assam trouble. Efforts by the public to bring them back have been lauded but this will be undone if episodes like this continue to happen. This is something we must see that is not repeated. On one hand we are talking about mainstreaming the northeast people and on the other hand we are sowing the seeds of alienation by such shameful and grisly happenings which are sexist in nature.

The fact is that young men and women of northeast India go to the cities for livelihood and education. They are at once insecure because of an initial cultural shock, something which they gradually adapt to, but happenings like this only confirm their scepticism of mainland India. This is most unfortunate and sad.

I use these columns to not only register my protest but appeal for a more collective wisdom from the public, asking them to protest vocally against such incidents.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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