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If you Believe these 10 Things about North-East Indians, You are a Racist!

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A woman from north-eastern India, Pixabay
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New Delhi, May 5, 2017:  Many people hailing from Northeast are being asked weird questions like, “Do you guys eat Dog Meat”, “Are you from China?”, etc. The amalgamation of stereotypes and racism is consequent in making the ‘Indian’ citizens hailing from the Northeastern part of India alienated.

10 girls from Northeast India recall racial slurs or supposedly ‘jokes’ that they encountered in ‘mainland’ India. The ordeal with racism is paltry amount of shame is associated with it. If you are at the receiving end of a racist attack, you are told by people around you to laugh it off because, ‘joke hai yaar‘.
These racial remarks and slurs are masqueraded as ‘curiosity’ or ‘jokes’. In an article published by Huffington Post, we get to know the plight of North-east Girls in India and what they deal with for who they are-

1. Trisha Bhuyan, 27, Assam: Once I was interning with a reputed newspaper around 5 years back. The other intern and I were having a generic conversation, when I told her that I did my schooling in Assam. She said, “Assam?…er…there are schools there? Isn’t it all jhopar pattis?”

Tribals of North-east India (representational Image): Twitter
2. Priyanjana Roy Das, 25, Assam: When a I was in Bangalore, a very perplexed friend asked if Guwahati was in Kerala, upon hearing that I am from that. But leave that, once I have been asked if a passport is required to go to the Northeast. Till this day, I hope that she was actually talking about a permit and not a passport.

3. Precious Kamei, 30, Manipur: I am a Naga, from Manipur so I have been subjected to a lot of ignorant remarks. I still get asked, “Have you ever tried human meat?” I mean why, just because I am a Naga? “Ise gussa mat dila, sab kuch khati hain…insaan ko bhi khati hain” (don’t make her angry, she eats everything…even humans) — this was supposed to be a joke. Our ancestors might have been head hunters, but mixing this up with cannibalism is just plain ignorant and stereotypical. I grew up knowing that I am an Indian. It was only after coming to Delhi that I was made aware that I am a Northeastern.

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4. Abhilasha M*, 28, Meghalaya: I am an Assamese who have been brought up in Shillong. Although my Hindi has always been a butt of jokes, it is my looks that catches everyone’s attention. “But you don’t look Northeastern,” I have been told over and over again, even a couple of days ago.

5. Richivandana Gogoi, 27, Assam: I was at my gym a couple of days ago, when the instructor decided to talk to me. “Aap kahaan se ho? Northeast? West Bengal? Kyunki aapke face se pata nahin chal raha,” he stated. (Where are you from? Northeast? West Bengal? Because I can’t make out from your face) I answered I am from Assam. He then spoke that I don’t look like I am from Northeast because apparently Northeastern people are supposed to be fair and I am dusky. He also spoke that the Northeast is a very perilous place, which is why he has never went there.

North-east women performing a folk dance (Representational Image): Twitter

6. Annie L, 33, Nagaland: This was last year in Bengaluru. I was mansplained that Northeast was inherently wild, until someone civilised came and turned it better. What does that even mean?

7. Richa Barman, 39, Assam: This was during my college days, so it has been a while. I was asked if I was a member of the extremist outfit, ULFA or if any of my relatives were.

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8. R. Konyak*, 30, Nagaland: Once a college friend asked me if my house in Nagaland is made of bamboos. I was patient and replied that we don’t live in tree houses. She took a couple of minutes to take this new bit of information in and spoke, “But I thought you all live in bamboo houses.”

9. E. Kharraswai*, 33, Meghalaya: I don’t think people from the “mainland” can distinguish between a Manipuri or a Naga or a Mizo. They believe that all the tribes are all Nagas. So, naturally, there have been a number of times I have heard ignorant stuff but there is this incident that I thought was the epitome of all things ignorant. A junior from college and I shared a rickshaw to college, when she asked me where I was from. I said Meghalaya. She replied, “Oh, that is in which state?”

10. N. Tzudir, 20, Nagaland: When I moved to Delhi for my undergraduate programme, in my first week at my hostel a girl said, “Oh you are from Nagaland? I thought you are from India”. When I gave her a piece of my mind, she clarified, “I meant from Delhi, Punjab, MP, you know.”

– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar. Twitter: @SabbyDarkhorse

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Girls In Kenya Use Vapor Technology To Quench Their Thirsts

Community members, having seen the devices in use at the school, hope to acquire some of their own if they can find the funding.

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Kenya, girls
Turkana people carry water near Lodwar, in Turkana County, Kenya. VOA

In this arid part of northern Kenya, water can be hard to find, particularly in the dry season.

But a center run by the Samburu Girls Foundation – which rescues girls facing early marriage and female genital mutilation – has a new high-tech source of it.

Since June, the center, which has rescued more than 1,200 girls, has used panels that catch water vapor in the air and condense it to supply their drinking water.

“We used to have difficulties in accessing water and during a drought we could either go to the river to fetch water or ask our neighbors to give us water,” said Jecinta Lerle, a pupil and vice president of students at the center’s school.

water, girls
The Skysource/Skywater Alliance co-founders David Hertz, right, and his wife Laura Doss-Hertz demonstrate how the Skywater 300 turns air into water, in Los Angeles. VOA

But now, officials at the school say, the girls no longer have to travel for water – including into communities they have left, which could put them at risk.

“The girls can now have more time to study since there is enough fresh water to go round and there is no need to walk long distances to search for water,” said Lotan Salapei, the foundation’s head of partnerships.

Girls formerly trekked up to five kilometers a day in search of clean water during particularly dry periods, sometimes bringing them into contact with members of their former community, Salapei said.

The center, given 40 of the water vapor-condensing panels by the company that builds them, now creates about 400 liters of clean water each day, enough to provide all the drinking water the center needs.

Girls in Kenya
A girl at the Samburu Girls Foundation center in Loosuk, Kenya, drinks from a fountain that draws its water from solar-powered panels that condense water vapor from the air. VOA

The “hydropanels,” produced by U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water, pull water vapor from the air and condense it into a reservoir.

Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water’s founder and chief executive officer, said the company’s project with the Samburu Girls Foundation was an example of its efforts to make sure the technology “is accessible to people across the socioeconomic spectrum.”

The panels provided to the Samburu Girls Foundation cost about $1,500 each, foundation officials said.

Zero Mass Water has so far sold or donated the panels in 16 countries, including South Africa.

Hydropanels, girls
The “hydropanels,” produced by U.S.-based technology company Zero Mass Water.

Saving trees

George Sirro, a solar engineer with Solatrend Ltd., a Nairobi-based solar equipment company, said such devices can be a huge help not only to people but in slowing deforestation that is driving climate change and worsening drought in Kenya.

Often people with inadequate water cut trees to boil the water they do find to make it safe, he said, driving deforestation.

Also Read: California Couple Develops Way That Allows To Make Water From Air

Philip Lerno a senior chief in Loosuk, where the girls’ foundation is located, said he hopes to see the panels more widely used in the surrounding community, which usually experiences long dry periods each year.

He said community members, having seen the devices in use at the school, hope to acquire some of their own if they can find the funding. (VOA)