The people of Northeast have for long been at the receiving end of blatant racism in mainland India, courtesy, their mongoloid facial features, an accent which is rather not familiar to the large population of India and obviously the ignorance and rotten mindset of some racist people. For all this while, students of Northeast were referred to as ‘chink*s’, ‘Nepali’ and now they are despicably being referred to as ‘Coronavirus’.
There have been multiple reports which have brought to fore rampant instances of distasteful racism against the people of Northeast ever since the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic broke out in Wuhan, China. As a result, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Kiren Rijiju had tweeted, “Some incidents of racial remarks against North-East people have emerged in some parts of India in the wake of #Coronavirus due to cultural ignorance, prejudice mindset & lack of understanding.” He added that the matter had also been discussed in the Ministry of Home Affairs’ North East Division and that a “strict advisory” had been issued to all States.
Some incidents of racial remarks against North-East people have emerged in some parts of India in the wake of #Coronavirus due to cultural ignorance, prejudice minset & lack of understanding. Matter discussed with NE Division, MHA. Strict advisory is being issued to the States.
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) March 18, 2020
Two students from Darjeeling, studying at Kolkata’s Presidency College were mocked and called ‘Coronavirus’. A woman from the Northeast in Pune was almost treated like an untouchable for her facial features resembling a ‘Chinese’, due to which an ignorant lady is seen throwing a royal tantrum and covering her face at the sight of the victim.
As a result of the racism being faced by a group of students in a village in Punjab, they published a heartfelt video on Facebook, on a page called Dimapur 24/7. The clip starts with a girl saying, “Abhi jo chal raha hai yeh coronavirus, humare upar bahut effect ho raha hai kyunki pehle toh humein Nepali, Ch***i, Chinese yeh sab bolta tha, abhi toh coronavirus ho gaya hai.” They also said that the comments were deeply hurtful, discouraging and were further taking a toll on their studies. The said video went viral on social media. It has garnered over 452,000 views on Facebook alone.
Stop calling us corona, chinki, Chinese….North East students of Punjab.#Govt_Of_India#say #No #to #Racism#Students #Northeast#India#Report #Coordinator #Dimapur24_7
However, when it comes to racism against the people of the Northeast, nobody does it like the people of Delhi. In the most recent incident, a Manipuri girl from Delhi’s Vijay Nagar area was spat on by a middle-aged man and shouted at “Corona” before the man fled on his white scooty.
— Akhu Chingangbam (@Akhucha) March 22, 2020
The students from Northeast studying in Delhi University and other colleges have meanwhile accepted daily racism and xenophobic slurs as a part and parcel of life. The amount of hate towards Northeasterners is difficult to narrate in one article alone. However, what can indeed be mentioned is the sheer ignorance and blatant xenophobia of geographical and cultural illiterates across India, who are not aware of the presence of the Northeast as a part of this country. Leave alone being aware of the culture and people of Northeast, many in India, specifically Delhi, have not even bothered to have a glance at the eastern portion of India’s map, as a result of which they indulge in name-calling on a daily basis with a sense of heroism and self-pride.
Here’s the thing. Northeast is as Indian as any other state can ever be. As a matter of fact, if recent developments are anything to go by, the people of Northeast have in fact proven to be more law-abiding and socially responsible citizens. Only yesterday, when the nation observed Janta Curfew, Northeast led by example. Many regions in Northeast have worn a deserted look for close to three days now, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The images from Shillong from Saturday, for instance, can be a guiding light for how the nation ought to look like in the foreseeable future. PM Modi’s call to thank our healthcare workers was resoundingly observed throughout the region, irrespective of one’s religion, community, ideology or even the fact whether they liked the Prime Minister or not.
Shillong today. I never thought I'd say this, but people across the country need to learn from us this time. THIS IS AMAZING! pic.twitter.com/0GfiXK4Tqz
— Sanbeer Singh ਸਨਬੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ (@SSanbeer) March 21, 2020
I wasn't expecting this. SHILLONG CITY YOU HAVE MY HEART 💓
— Shubhangi Tiwari (@shubh19822) March 22, 2020
It is an injustice, and in fact a criminality of the highest order to look down upon the people of Northeast and pass racist slurs against them. It is a statement on the people who do so, and only exhibits their absolute ignorance and hate toward India’s pluralism.