Shame of the Highest Order . . .
On a day when the Guwahati High Court pronounced a verdict of imprisonment to about ten young men, for a molestation, of a young lady walking out of a restaurant in the middle of this year, on that very day another young lady from North East India, was publicly insulted with lewd sexual gestures in the hitherto 'safe' city of Bangalore. The event did not draw much flak in the national and mainstream media, but it was reported by CNN-IBN. According to the report when the lady complained to a policeman he brushed her aside and even manhandled her. The lady has filed an FIR against the policeman and the men who made these sexual gestures have been booked and police are on the hunt for them. I have listened to the interview given by 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 that these episodes confirm what the people of North East India feel about the supposed mainstream and the treatmet of 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 North East 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 North East India being dubbed as 'chinkies' and this kind of expression can be pejorative and wound 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 North East 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 the one hand we are talking about mainstreaming the North East 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 North East India go to the cities for livelihood and education. They are at once insecure because of an initial culure 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 and conscience to the public, asking them to protest vocally against such incidents.
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Ananya S Guha
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||Having been born and brought up in the North East of India, like the author of this piece, I can empathize with the people of the region.|
As I see it, the problems of this sort can be solved to an extent if we could develop the N.E. region intellectually, culturally, and socially and make it attractive for the rest of India, the tables could be turned. BUT instead of getting back at the the so called people of the "mainstream" we can show them that love and understanding can go a long way to maintaining peace and harmony and underscore the "brotherhood of man."
I think it is time that the people of the North East united against these atrocities and pave the way for a better and unified India.