X: Dude! Did you know about the Manipur blockade?!
Me: Of course! It has been going on for 67 odd days now.
X: Yea? I just found out about it! And to think I prided myself on being up-to-date on world affairs!
Me: Yea, the media has just caught on.
X: Damn man… and here I was more worried about the Gaza blockade!
How does one react, when people are more aware of what is happening in other countries, than they are of what is happening in their own?
How does one react, when people ask if one’s state is a district of West Bengal?
How does one react, when people do not know whether the place where one comes from is a part of India or not?
How does one react, when the history teacher says the reason there is no mention of Assamese or other North Eastern states’ history in the syllabus, is because they are “not important”?
It’s not just the ordinary people who seem to have forgotten that there are indeed some states east of Kolkata. The administration too.
For the last many decades, while the rest of the country has progressed on to the new economy, NE states still languish in the old economy. While the rest of the country argues over 3G, NE states still await broadband (which is of course, only 256 kbps). While the rest of the country goes gaga over the latest Hrithik / Shah Rukh movie, Manipur goes gaga over the latest Korean movie, because Bollywood movies are “banned” there. While the students from the rest of the country fight to get into one of the best Medical schools across the length and breadth of the country, those from the 7 NE states fight to get into the 6 medical colleges available to them.
Why is the rest of the nation so apathetic to the NE? Is it simply because of the cultural differences? Shouldn’t the differences be highlighted, and celebrated, the way we do with J&K, Rajasthan, or any of the other states? Why is the North East consistently given a step-motherly treatment from the centre?
Is national integration even on the agenda for the central government? Should India even be one country? Does it even make sense?
Or should we wait till midnight to find out?