Independence Day – View from the other side of the coin

August 14, 2008

As the country watched in horror after terrorists exploded bombs in Ahmedabad and Bangalore ahead of Independence Day last month, a small village in far north-eastern Manipur had just finished a symbolic ritual in its efforts to end its grief over a crime purportedly unleashed by state actors.

Friends, families and human rights groups observed the last rites of 24-year-old Thangjam Manorama Devi, four years after she was allegedly raped and killed by personnel of the Assam Rifles paramilitary force. By performing the rites, they broke a pledge not to conduct the ceremony until their demands for punishment of the guilty and the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state were fulfilled.

flag.jpgLike the Manorama Devi episode, excesses by security forces (I won’t add the word “alleged” because I have personally experienced it, being kicked, punched and shoved in the face with the nozzle of an SLR rifle while walking back home one night after attending church service), coupled with a sense of government neglect continues to alienate citizens of less-developed areas like the northeast and Naxal-dominated regions of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

Lack of economic opportunities is also a key factor in the proliferation of militant groups – in Manipur alone, there are reportedly 30-odd militant groups operating – perhaps joining an underground group is just another form of employment?

In other parts of the country, there are many who feel alienated because of their ethnicity, or religion. Muslims face profiling even in cosmopolitan cities (I know of a good friend, a senior journalist at that, who was unable to find accommodation in posh south Delhi. Landlords he approached told him they don’t rent to Muslims). Allegations of innocent people being framed and tortured by police following terror attacks have also been reported by newspapers.

The diabolical bombings in Bangalore and Ahmedabad also appear to have been carried out by home-grown extremists with a grouse against the state, trying to justify their actions with atrocities committed against a particular community.

Some time ago during a media event, I was trying to explain the security situation in the northeast to a senior journalist over dinner, when he suddenly stopped me in mid-sentence. “That’s the difference between people who come from your region and the rest of us,” he said, continuing “When we talk about the army, we just say ‘the army’ or ‘our army’, whereas you, wittingly or unwittingly, call them ‘the Indian army’, as if they were some foreign occupying force.”

I never realized it before, but he was right. And as a journalist trying to maintain an objective perspective, I have since taken care every time I have a discussion on the subject, But there are many others who, wittingly or unwittingly, still use that phrase – perhaps a manifestation of an underlying sentiment.

Sixty years after the country gained independence, many things have changed for the better, and we can afford to be proud of the nation’s achievements, our democracy (chaotic as it may be), and the many great men and women who have brought us to where we are.

But there is always the other side of the coin, and the truth is that there are many who feel they have been deprived, who still don’t feel like celebrating their independence.

When the tri-colour flutters and the nation erupts in celebration on August 15, some places in the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir will probably observe bandhs, with the possibility of bombs exploding, as it has been the case in previous years.

In his address to the nation last year on Independence Day, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said he had a “vision of an India that is undivided despite diversity…. where every citizen feels proud to be an Indian.” Are we there yet?

25 comments

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Touche! I totally agree with you David. Political parties make hay by creating rift, divide and an environment of distrust. Jammu vs Kashmir is the latest example. it’s 1989 revisited. What utter stupidity…

Posted by Samay | Report as abusive

100% true.. David keep on writing..

Independence day is a day where we should count our successes and failures. And writing this blog you served your nation by showing the later.
India so far failed to deliver swift justice and remove inequality. And media failed India by mostly chanting “shining India” without enlightening the darker side.
Prior to the eve of our Independence day I pray that the fault line doesn’t run very deep.

yes, keep writing. We, the Indian people have cut off our land because of our atrocities against our own people.
The map of India at this rate will be reduced to a dot or nothingness, this is a fact in the conceptions and hearts already in the northwest, northeast .. Largest Democracy in the world?! (does the current generation understand what freedom is? )… makes our forefathers freedom fight for democracy a mockery compared to imperial rule.

Posted by Mohandas K Gandhi | Report as abusive

Without human rights we cannot say we are indipendent
Prabhat,patna

While India has achieved spectacular progress in patches, most areas mentioned by you in the article continue to languish behind in development. Islamic terrorism/naxalism cannot be justified as these are not a solution to the problem, but aggravate the problem further. Development has been confined to a few, with most Indians not benefitting from the surge of economic development that our country is presently undergoing. It has resulted in the emergence of a new billionaire class which makes it obvious who benefitted the most from liberalisation. Except for some schemes that the UPA government had introduced to alleviate poverty, which can, at the best, be described as a feeble attempt to alleviate poverty, the present UPA government has done nothing much to make economic growth all inclusive and there is no hope that it will do so. So far, democratic governments have failed to achieve inclusive economic growth and there is no hope that they will do so in the future. Population planning is also essential to achieve economic growth as unbridled population growth increases the mass of poor people.

Posted by Madhav | Report as abusive

David’s articles may touch the heart of the world. But, will it touch the heart of a victim of the atrocities of the “Indian Army” (you said some journalist disliked it) in the Northeast (NE) and J&K? Nevertheless, my personal feeling is that we lack journalistic sense or good journalist in India, especially from the NE. Shall I feel proud that a journalist who himself is the victim of the Indian Army has emerge from the Northeast or do we see that the journalist of mainland India doesn’t even care to jot a line for J&K and NE? When a flyover collapses in Delhi the headlines was full of it and when 20 people die in NE or J&K it became page 13 micro-clips! Are the people from these regions second class citizens of India, is the big question time and again questioned. In India minorities are trampled and false promises a common scene during Independences or Republic days celebration by the politicians. Yes, more than sixty years of Indian Independence, but still common people in Delhi ask, “Where is Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya”? They may be lacking basic geographical knowledge, but did the government ever attempted to teach the children that the people from NE also fought a brave battle during the time of British rule, which contributed the freedom that India’s so called ‘Democracy’ arose? We look forward from other states to look equally the citizens of this nation, if not; we are also ready to face all the future consequences, which we are adapted to and called Indian as Indian. In the latter case, neither India will break nor NE or J&K peaceful. Finally, do we see more and more David’s from these unfortunate states??

Posted by Khwairakpam Tomba | Report as abusive

Somebody picking the pen and writing things which are and should be close to heart and makes us think that in what sense are we true Indians.
For Years on I thought of making my thoughts come out like this …but then the thought is more important and the writer has made it possible for all of us to read and emphatise what is India all about and where are we lacking as Nation.

We have come a considerably long distance to do something meaningful and start living a life which gives us immense pride in ourselves and our collective Nationhood.

Posted by sajjad | Report as abusive

David,
I have few questions for you:

1.Which country in the world do you admire as a role model for India?
2. What is the best way to simulate the local economy in Manipur?
3. What rights are you being institutionally denied in India?

I look forward to your response. Thank you

Jai Hind.
-Rajesh

Posted by Rajesh | Report as abusive

Hi Rajesh, thanks for the thought-provoking questions. On your first query, I don’t think I could name any particular country as a role model, because each one would have its own faults. India can chart its own course towards a more harmonious society……the challenge is for us (individuals, society and the government) to take what we have been given and make the most of it.
I will be the first to admit that as long as there are different communities, tribes, customs, religions and languages, there will always be strife and some form of discord. It’s the nature of man, simple as that. That is why, apart from society, good policies of the government are paramount to maintaining some form of harmony in such a vast and diverse country.
My point of discussion is – how can everyone be made to feel as being a part of the nation? I talked about the economy, but that’s just a part of it. A poor man may still be a patriot while a rich and successful person may harbour secessionist thoughts if he feels like being an outsider.

I am totally inadequate to answer your second question, but as a lay man, what I can observe is that not just for Manipur, but also for the rest of the northeast, infrastructure development would be the first thing required before initiatives like industry building to stimulate the region’s economy is started. There are always lots of talks and reported projects regarding this (building of roads, railways, etc), but the problem, as always, is implementation.

Your third question is a somewhat tricky one, as on paper, we are constitutionally provided with many, if not, most rights (I think). The problem is, again, about implementation. The constitution may provide all the rights that you seek, but on the ground, they may be trampled on like dirt by the powers that be…

David.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I was in northeast for about two years. I met the loveliest of people there, made some good friends, and I am sure the friendship will continue till end. As for army atrocities are concerned, I am sure that’s abundant there because the army personnel are in abundance.
When it comes to lack of amenities, I really didn’t feel any difference. In fact, to be honest, some cities feel like Europe there. May be because of the climate, may be because of the zealousness to keep the city clean, which is sadly missing in most of the other Indian cities. People there have all kinds of facilities and in some cases more than what an average Indian gets. Just visit any northeast states to find out. I am not talking about interior villages, I guess that’s the same everywhere. Compare apples with apples. You go to a village in Bengal and compare that with a village in northeast. The later one will win hands down. Northeast’s education system is also very solid with lots of missionary schools around providing best in the class education methodologies. Guess what, if I am not wrong, people falling under schedule six don’t have to pay income taxes there.
Still, and I repeat, still, people keep on complaining and feel themselves alienated from the masses.

One comment was here regarding a bridge collapse in NE where the author compared the situation with Delhi. My question to him/her, do you really think that if a bridge collapses in Andhra Pradesh, media would give it that much of an importance? Would you, as a reader, be interested in reading that compared with if the bridge was in the NATIONAL CAPITAL? Grow up. Yes, I agree that there are differences between the people. may be because of the different appearances, but it’s everywhere right? And it’s with the uneducated masses who largely have not met with people from other regions. A friend of mine from Delhi was saying the other day, whoever hails from beyond Himachal Pradesh in east is a Bihari and people below Madhya Pradesh are all Madrasis. Shall I punch him on his face because I am a Bengali?

It’s high time that people from NE stop complaining and concentrate on the bountiful resources they have been blessed with God Almighty. Of course, if you can keep your politicians clean. They are one of the most corrupts in the country with a favourite pitch of inciting their electorals with anti-central rhetoric to cover up their failures.

sorry David, your article didn’t impress me much. i was not expecting this from a journalist. It’s like reading an editorial of a regional paper from NE and not something as Reuters.

Posted by Anup Roy | Report as abusive

The main problem with India has been the immaturity or opportunism of its political class. There are no role models for Indian youth today. Even the so called film stars and cricket stars have been involved in scandals.
The political class is worried only about their survival and hence takes decisions that are only correct. They forget that they will survive only if the country survives. It is unfortunate and pathetic that these guys do not take strong decisions and be fair to everyone.

Posted by Ajay Joshi | Report as abusive

I passed out from one of the best Engg institutes in India. I was in my second year of Engg and a batch of freshers had joined our college. We had introduction with our juniors and many of the guys were from North East. I sat with him for 20-30 minutes and just for fun asked him “why are people in north east not satisfied”: His reply goes like this: Government doesn’t provide us with opportunities while people in other states have. Well I asked him where is he from as that point. He replied “from Nagaland”. Ok then I asked is he from some village and he said yes. I asked does his village has water and electricity and he replied yes. I didnt tell him that my parental village doesnt have electricity still and I am from UP. Then I asked him how did he get education in one of the best college – did he have exceptional marks as he had told that he got admission on basis of marks. He told me that he had secured 58% marks. Well it was beyond my wildest imaginations that he felt neglected in a country where government was doing so much for him as anyone from my state had to prepare for an year or so and had to sit for some of the toughest entrance exams to get into the college where he got in with just 58% marks and he thinks India is not doing anything for him. I called 5-10 other guys from his class and just asked them hoe much did they secure in class twelth and they said some where from 90% to 93% and that couldn’t get them into the institute but the entrance exam got them into it. The lad from Nagaland was amazed to know that. I didnt ask him anything else and that person always was one of my favourite juniors.

Well who should have felt more that the govt does anything for them — my junior from Nagaland or me??

My parental village doesnt have light and water?

I had to clear one of the toughest exams to get into where some people can get in just like that?

This is a true story and not a thing is fiction. Dear David its only possible in India that ManMohan Singh(Sikh) a Prime Minister and APJ Abdul Kalam President(a muslim) and Sonia Gandhi, leader of the ruling party( Christian from Itlay ) are there and its a hindu majority country. I am sorry to state the religions of these people as I believe in people and not their religion or any other thing. Well its a unique nation and its a nation of all.

Now tell me Bihar was producing the majority of coal and steel but it is one of the poorest states in nation. I dont hear such sentiments from people from Bihar as I hear from your post. Same is the case of other states. No one from outside came and setup the IT industry in South and it wasnt the handiwork on Indian government. It was the toils of people that brought wealth and development there. So instead of things to happen automatically and harbouring seperatist tendencies try to think in a different perspective. I already gave you a real life example and now tell me who should be more discontended? But I am not as I have belief in the system and a lot of progress has been made in the country in 60 years and a lot more would be made.

Jai Hind

Posted by Abhishek Kumar | Report as abusive

a reputed media house like reuters should exercise constraint or set some standard w r t articles by individuals carrying wrong message.

world says and the fact remails,india is the greatest democracy inspite of diversity in culture and economic disparities with huge huge population.

just by quoting single incident – may be true – it does not draw a true picture of india.

lots of money is spent for these states including kashmir, but the people of these states do not have courage to fight or let authority know the terrorist living in their neighbourhood.

its easy to blame government without owning the civic responsibility.

Posted by rashmi | Report as abusive

Truth always hurts! It’s good to read the comments of David’s article. The gaps are clearly seen and the reasoning of the literate masses of India, revealed. From some of the comments, it is learnt that most of the time people blindly gave comments and acted as if they are the most matured individuals and a patriot, which rather put them in the category of a child or innocently thinking man! I am provoked to give comments, thus as a citizen of India, without any reservation, I hope my comment below is a freedom of my speech.

An answer to a comment (Mr. Roy) regarding bridge collapse. Ans: Nobody wrote about bridge collapse in the NE (because NE has very less bridges except the one over Brahmaputra!). However, I mentioned an example of fly-over collapse in Delhi. Your innocent exaggeration has somehow put me to be an under age voter! I hope you read the article and the comments, thoroughly, now after gulping your saliva, close your eye and ask yourself “am I right?”

Ok, you are right when you say NE is gifted with natural beauties and resources, but unfortunately we never received any anthropogenic gifts from any quarter (except mission schools established by the British earlier and the privates now). Also, it seems you do not want us to complain, but you want Bengal’s agitation to be heard in Delhi, right? We never ask for anything from the center, only thing we ask is “freedom” and “recognition” as a citizen of India, if not given, than “Sovereignty”. Didn’t we have the fundamental rights to ask the government of our shares? What is your business to stop us in this?

Now, gentleman, for every ten citizens of NE, one Indian Army follows. You must have witnesses it there (if you are not lying or an army jawan, which you had not mentioned)? I think the other states don’t have that much. May be NE people are wrong, because we never bedded our women to reproduce exponentially like UP, Bihar, Bengal, AP, MP etc. thus, the population and army ratio increase, right? Yes, our race is also used to cleanliness and tidiness that does not mean that we are very rich!

Now, who made the NE politician corrupt? You will say we voters, but, I will say “gunpoint vote casting” or else “proxy voting”. A lesson taught by the corrupt Indian politicians to the NE politician using ‘forces’. After that the vote won. NE people are once thought to be the most simple and down towards people, but why not today? Did you ever research the root cause? I hope not.

Posted by Khwairakpam Tomba | Report as abusive

Ten fundamental questions people usually asked are:
1. How many IIT’s, IIM’s, Medical, Agricultural, Universities, Colleges, Schools are there in NE?
2. Why so many students come out of NE for further studies?
3. Till today how many states in the NE are connected with trains?
4. How many industries are there in NE?
5. What is the unemployment rate there?
6. What is the per-capita income?
7. How many sports stadiums are there?
8. How many kilometers of roads are multilane or paved?
9. In this 21st century, when did the NE people start using Internet and mobile?
10. How many times the human rights in NE is violated?

My personal experiences during the last two decades in Delhi and many parts of India have made me start asking all these questions? Why? Because I have been denied my citizen rights. In what ways? In many everyday wake of life from nurturing the children to office politics, promotions, acquiring DDA flats, house rents, ration cards, racial discrimination, foods, clothing, casteism, chinky syndrome etc. etc. Where there is no problem? Everywhere it is problems because I am from NE. So, when I am given a voter ID, but denied my rights to get the facilities in the national capital region, what will be my reaction? This is my personal question. Again, when I am facing such a pathetic situation, than how about the students living there?

Most of the time, I found that even the Indian scholars are in blind idea that NE people are all in the reserve categories, thus, get all the facilities and exempted income tax. This clearly shows that how the education system in India had provided a large gap between NE and other states. Truly, we simply are not aware about the NE, is that right? Because Mr. Kumar’s and Roy’s examples clearly shows the ignorance from their parts.

The truth is that, I found NE tribal out-competes their counterparts from other states. It is the reservation system in India that makes a 58% student get a prestigious college. This is prevalent every where in India and I am surprise a scholar is not able to distinguished it. I think your Nagaland junior is very bright in his own category (he must be from Kohima or nearby Dimapur that’s why he got the electricity and water supply), making him got the college while other states ST students lag behind him.

Similarly, I pass out from Manipur University with 78% in B.Sc. Science, but not able to get admission (because in Manipur there was only one University and 35 seats for M Sc in a year for my discipline and the number of student passed out is more than 5000). Thus, my poor father asked me to go out of my Beloved State, in search of higher education, so I landed in Delhi, got admitted easily. I did my higher education and Ph.D. from one of the most premier and renowned CSIR Institution in the world but still I am struggling. However, in Delhi I have many friends from reserved category (UP, Bihar, Haryana, AP, Bengal, Orissa etc.) who had jumped to higher ranks, but I never bother to compete, because the government had given them certain facilities due to lack of various socio-economic reasons. So, I think Mr. Kumar, you should opened up.

Again, I think Panjabi Sikh and Muslims are not as minor as Naga, Mizo, Kuki, Bodo, Meetei, Khasi, Tripuri etc of NE. We cannot easily hide our identity like Sikh or Muslims, because we are of Mongoloid features and of different cultures. Can this be our disadvantage? About Sonia Gandhi’s leadership, everybody knew how she comes up and how she decided not to become PM. Suppose, if she is not the wife of Rajiv Gandhi, will she be able to become like today and if Sonia is not there will Manmohan Singh be the PM? About Dr. Abdul Kalam please read his blogs and hear his lectures and you will know the system. Thus, India is unique for some but also worse nightmare for general NE people.

Please see the literacy rate between NE and Bihar. The more the literacy rates the more fundamental rights sought. So, do you want NE to be like Bihar? Why Assam, the oil rich state in India is in turmoil after more than 60 years of Indian independence? Many NE people in Silicon Valley (especially from Manipur) wanted to establish IT industries in this region, why politic becomes the stumbling blocks in this. Full of natural herbs in NE and pharmaceutical companies wanted to start productions here, why it is not still established? Is it due to extremist or is it due to sheer negligence? We say India is going to be SUPERPOWER, but don’t we have the strength to tackle mosquitoes like NE states? My friend this is politics and it will prevail, till something drastic happen.

David’s incident is not the exception, it also happened to me in the year 2002 in Manipur, which I survived by whisker of the stray bullets fired by the Indian Army, where an innocent girl was killed. After that incident, I thought that my beloved birthplace is not as save as before, seven days of blockade in Manipur follows. Does anyone like to be me in this situation? You will simply swear, “Maar jao sala”. Because I knew you guys will do!

A blind patriotism will never serve India well. You should know your people and give respect to people so that you also get respect from people. Where is peace in India? Can you give me an example? This is really due to Delhi centricness and your greediness (because you want for yourself only but don’t want others to get it)? Please change your attitudes towards NE and live in harmony because you say “Unity in Diversity”.

David’s article is the most thought-provoking article and I hope he will write more in future on such sensitive topics. We need to teach those who are innocent, so that an equality can be achieved. If we don’t act today, tomorrow our children will surely curse us for our folly.

Posted by Khwairakpam Tomba | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. Tomba,

Thanks for pointing out the mistake about bridge collapse. I apologise. Of course I have read the article properly but may be I did not give much importance to the comments section. I was essentially commenting on the article and not to you.

Now if we can set aside this fault and concentrate on the main subject, I would still say a ‘flyover’ collapse in national capital is a very very serious issue (from a newspaper readership and TRP point of view). As I said as a reader you won’t be interested in reading twenty people getting killed due to some unfortunate accident anywhere in India than a flyover collapsing in the national capital. If you ask me about the importance, of course, even a common citizen getting hurt is a very sorry news and the flyover collapse (without hurting anybody) is really just a mere trifle. But media in India, or for that matter in the world, survives on hype, isn’t it? Of course they will play up the flyover collapse in the national capital. My comment was not an exaggeration of course but an overlook. Since your comments were already here and readers have the scope of reading both, any intelligent person can see the mistake and concentrate on the message I tried to convey.

However, from my comments, how do you infer that I don’t want you to complain? That I want Bengal’s agitation to be heard in Delhi? Pray, please let me know where have I said that? It’s all your interpretation right?

You used words like “freedom”, “recognition” and “sovereignty”. You think this is not secessionist? Freedom from what? Sovereignty — Why? Aren’t you part of India? Aren’t you states with elected representatives of your own? How you are different as a citizen from other regions? Can you kindly explain what is ‘freedom’ for you?

You said:
“Didn’t we have the fundamental rights to ask the government of our shares? What is your business to stop us in this?”

Who is stopping you from asking the government your share? But don’t you think you have overdone it? Have you ever tried to ask yourself why on earth army should be there in your backyard? What is the need of an army if everything is fine with the region?

Can you please tell me why industrialists should invest in a region where there is a proven insecurity? Why should I invest in a militancy-prone area? Corporates are not here for charity right? They want profit! This is plain simple business logic and no anti-NE policy.

And no, I am neither lying (what made you think so? Despite your ignorant blabbering I am not doubting that you actually do have a Phd degree), nor I am an army jawan and this space is too limited for mentioning my own personal identity. I am also not compelled to tell you my vocation, as I never asked anybody in an online forum what he does for a living and never imagined that anybody could actually lie in an online forum which has no bearing to his actual life. I am an Indian, who spent two memorable years in the north-east region of his country and that should be enough.

Actually I congratulated your “race” on the habit of tidiness and never linked the habit of being tidy with richness. Request you to go through my comment in this regard. Oh yes, I loved NE a lot and would like to settle down there if I get a chance.

What do you mean when you use sentences like this? “A lesson taught by the corrupt Indian politicians to the NE politician using ‘forces’.” Please explain. Corrupt Indian politicians teaching something to NE politicians? From the very start you are clearly demarking NE from India. Pity, it is quite obvious that you don’t consider yourself to be Indian at all. Going by the kind of language used by you, it is quite obvious you consider yourself a person from NE first and an Indian second (or may be third, fourth – depending upon your priorities). However, I get comfort knowing that all of my friends from NE, Tao, Aao, Khonglah, Khongnir, Umdor, Marak, Singh, Mayangbams, Lam, Sullah, Lyngdoh … they don’t think in your line.

Are you aware the entire shillong actually went to pay tribute to their Kargil war hero Nongrum? How proud they were of their boy who passed away defending his country?

Trust me brother, I am fully sympathetic for you denied the basic rights, but I know several other people from NE who have done exceedingly well for themselves in ‘India’ and thus making themselves heroes in the eyes of the youth of NE. I remember my friend Tao from Arunachal who aspired to become an IPS officer one day so that he can follow the footstep of his hero Sangliana, mumbai police commissioner. Jamir from Nagaland is Maharashtra governor. Naga battalion is one of the most feared and respected battalion of the Indian Army. Nobody dares to challenge the feared head-hunters. Kargil war established them as India’s most feared battalion. Lyngdoh was our chief election commissioner and the best in that. Ask politicians in Bihar and they will vouch for that. India’s football team captain is Bhutia from Sikkim (now part of the seven sisters). The first football team captain representing India in Olympics was a Naga. Half of the best footballers in India are from Manipur. Who is discriminating you bro? Are you sane?

When it comes to army atrocities in Manipur, you should remember army there has the controversial AFSPA protection. This power makes them demi-God. There will be excesses for reasons valid or not. I used to spend my evenings in Arunachal hostel learning guitar from students from Arunachal. They once told me that the army personnel become jubilant to know that they have been posted in Arunachal. It’s one of the loveliest place on earth for an army man. Mizoram gets peace bonus as the most peaceful state in India! When it comes to Manipur, ask yourself why the army excesses are in Manipur? You think army does atrocities only because you are from North-East? I really don’t think so. You never tell what is the scene behind the picture. How many militant groups are there in NE? Why?

I never said that all the people in NE gets tax exemption. Please see I have said people falling under schedule six don’t have to pay income tax. You just generalised everything. That’s of course not my fault.

Dear Mr. Tomba, I am in no mood to fight with you. I know that if somebody is complaining there is a valid reason for that. My only objection is that you should not overdo stuff.

I know life under army gun is not fun, it’s just not normal. But you just cannot say that the Indian government has ignored you altogether. They didn’t. You get the same facilities as other Indians get, if not more. Just see the amount of money DONER ministry gets every year! There might be a discriminatory element among common uneducated people. But as I said in my earlier post. It’s just natural among uneducated and half-educated mass. But you are highly educated! Why are you talking in the same tone? I guess, you have just put yourself in a cocoon and refusing to see things.

So many of my friends have come to mumbai, bangalore, Calcutta and doing so well for themselves. Where is the politics here? I am sure they didn’t face any in their lives because of NE. everybody faces politics in work place and other walks of lives, if you link it to your birthplace, things start getting nastier. My friends are perfectly fine and proud to be Indian!

It’s all into the heads of highly educated ignorant people like you who could have done an amazing job of integrating the nation instead of talking divisive nonsense.

This article is thought provoking to you because it talks your language and expresses your thoughts. And not the thoughts of millions of Indians calling NE their home.

Posted by Anup Roy | Report as abusive

1. I need not quote Mr. Roy’s comments now, for he had answered his own questions. (Please, go back and see your own comments).
2. In India, why we have the tendency that “the more we shout the more we are correct”, Mr. Roy?
3. Why do you want us to go according to your whim, say, “don’t ask for more, because the government have given you this much”?
4. One last question, why we Indian are so annoyed when we are called as ‘Indian’?

Posted by Khwairakpam Tomba | Report as abusive

David, I am proud of you as a fellow Mizo and a fellow North Easterner. Yes, it is a high time to shout out the complex problem of the North East to the mainstream India.

Posted by audreybeetar | Report as abusive

Dear Tomba,

Its easy to cry foul and keep on crying foul. Your going and getting education in Delhi proves a lot of points but you wont understand them. I dont have the type of energy to make you understand. I had written a long comment today but dont understand why moderator didnt publish it. May be I told a lot of truth and the moderator themselves dont want truth to be told.

You must understand that why no one is setting up industry in your state. Who will set up industry in a region where there is an insurgency. Let there be peace and prosperity will follow.

You must be respectful of other people but the type of comments you have made about women of other regions tell a lot. Please learn to respect others.

Crying baby gets the milk but mother India doesnt have too much of resources. Things are moving slowly but things are happening. A lot of progress has been made in 60 years but yet a lot remains to be done.

You will have to be responsible for your own region. Government is of the people, by the people and for the people. So its us “the people” who will have to be responsible for development in our own region. People are doing things in a constructive way. Learn it from them.

Not everyone gets jobs in their own state and people have to move out.

Your doing PHD is good but is not enough to get a job. No one is to be blamed as it is a jungle and only the fittest survive. One of my friend from Tamilnadu today told about a guy who is doing a job in call centre as it pays him more then his phd job. May be your field doesnt have that many opportunities or may be you are not a great candidate to land up with a job. A lot of guys are there who dont get jobs as its a nation of 1 billion people. People create opportunities for themselves. If you have mettle then prove it by sitting in UPSC. As no one asks for your race,caste or religion there. Well dude tell me do you have it in you???

Everyone has a role to play in the development of the nation and you must play your part.

Jai Hind

Posted by Abhishek Kumar | Report as abusive

i really loved that you said that why we indians dont like being called indians. i think i am getting you ………i know dude how it feels when you think that your region is being neglected. i can understand you feeling. i also understand you love for the nation.

but dude try to understand that its our nation and we have to make things happen. have faith and really believe that people dont care whether you look like them or not. today its the private sector that is leading in india and all that people care is can you deliver it.

may be your field doesnt have that many opportunities. try a career change. learn a programming language and get into IT. you will surely find a job easily and believe me every indian is equal. its easy to think negative then to have faith.

Jai Hind

Posted by Abhishek Kumar | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. Tomba,

I hope you understand by now that these arguments are leading us to nowhere. questions can be raised and answers given only to crowd the space with more questions. happy independence day and lets try to help our nation ourselves rather than complaining. may be it’s a theory but a solid one.

enjoy your life and watch olympics. please train some good athletes from NE, the only indian hope for olympics medals.

Posted by Anup Roy | Report as abusive

The NE region has better educational standards and a socio-economic index compared to rest of India but suffers from one basic ingredient for life called self-esteem. I would like to quote Eleanor Roosevelt here: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Education alone cannot bring economic development to NE. It requires huge investments in infrastructure, energy and health from private, public the government organization. The fact that NE was neglected for long does not by any means justify taking up arms? Its not always a good feeling to have a gun pointed at you, be it by the state army or the extremists. No civilized country will feel pride in killing its own people, but when its come to the integrity of the country we shall live and die for that one nation called INDIA. That’s the reason why Naga & Ghorka soldiers laid their lives in the heights of Kargil. Look at Punjab after the end of violence & Khalistan demand. SME’s & large scale industries along with agriculture are booming. Is NE states any less in natural or human resources compared to Punjab? I don’t think so.

We are proud to be Marathi’s, Sikhs, Kashmiris, Tamils, Bengalis, Mizo, Assamese, Nagas and all the clans in between, that’s our strength and our weakness. Let us built on the strengths and turn our weakness to strength. Every state in India has it own problems and in spite of all these we compete with each other and aspire to grow and prosper.

It is true and accepted fact that NE was neglected for a long time. For the past 10 -15 years successive governments have addressed this issue to bring development. Take the example of Kerala which doesn’t have any large scale industries or infrastructure but it has the highest standards of living, comparable to many west European countries. What would have happened to Kerala had they chosen to walk the path of their Bodo and Naga brothers. NE had a choice and till has one which shall lead to great future and prosperous destiny.

Indian government can only devise plans and guidelines for development but it is up to the people and its leaders to walk the path and chart their course under the sun. Times are changing and in order to be counted we have to stand up on our legs. It is easy to blame the government for all the failures, but to walk the path and to reach glory we need character, hard work and importantly good leaders.

We Indians are proud of our democracy and less so about our present leaders. The present education have given us only means to find our own life comforts. All we aspire is a decent education and a good paying job, that’s “Mission accomplished” for many Indians. We complain about corruption in politics, police and state machinery. We bribe to get even what is rightful to us.

We only think for ourselves and our selfish gains, but how many of us aspire to become Leaders and change the course of this corrupt country and its fabled democracy.
When this mindset changes India will be free again.
Let us produce good leaders and attain Glory.

Posted by Srinivasan | Report as abusive

Dear Mr. Tomba

I just wanted to say these after reading your comments. By your logic, “with all the qualifications, I cant find a job in my beloved state” everyone from Kerala should take up arms and fight for their freedom too. Do you know at least one person from every family in kerala working or studying outside of the state and the whole state’s economy depend on non-resident Keralites? There are no industries and there aren’t many private firms(thanks to the commies), should we take up an AK-47 and start asking for a free country so we can be a failed nation like Bangladesh? My friend we should all remember what the great JKF said “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

Posted by Mallu | Report as abusive

Okay, here is an interesting piece for you, which was emailed to me by one of my Punjabi friend:

He said, “Paji Tushi great ho! In Punjab 50% Sikhs are Bihari! UPSC reserved for UP and Bihari. 90% UPSC selection committee, UP and Bihari. Indian Railways employment, reserved for Bihari. Various Ministries in CGO Delhi, reserved for UP and Bihari. All politicians from UP are Indian Prime Minister! Bengali kato, paji, Kerela se leka Jarkhand tak seema bandhi, ‘Father of Bandh’, Maoist ke roop pe, paji. Middle East to hogaee Keralite’s graveyards. Tamil kato, No Hindi-Tamil Bhai Bhai. NE kuddee sundar, Punjab munda handsome, Tie Knotty-Knotty. J&K to bole, “Jai Pakistan”. Maharastra bole “Jai Maharastra”. Paji ithe meh kiya bolu, “Jai Canada”!!!

And I say, “Wake up Northeast”!

Posted by Khwairakpam Tomba | Report as abusive