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India’s North-East

Last vacations, I visited Arunachal Pradesh. For those who don’t know, it’s an Indian state, one of the seven north-eastern states.

I had been to north-east once more, long ago (1999, I guess). My memories of that trip include picturesque landscapes, a bit about handicrafts and information on places to see. The visit last vacation was more enlightening. This time, there was someone from that place to guide me.

I won’t post pictures of the trip here. Neither is this a travelogue. This is about more serious stuff.

Watch this video on Arunachal Pradesh. It says, referring to the Taj Mahal, Marine Drive, Qutub Minar, Bollywood etc. as ‘this is the India everyone knows of.’ How true! Most of Indians don’t even know the names of all north-eastern states. Those who know capital cities of a few of them boast around, proclaiming their knowledge.

But the fact is, people do live there. They may realize that they are ‘unknown’, they may ‘look’ different, but they know that they are Indians. Unable to distinguish between them, rest of India calls them chinkis. The mere fact that they look different results in discrimination and violence against them.

How many of us are aware that Arunachal Pradesh is called ‘Land of the Rising Sun’? Of course, everyone knows of Kerala as ‘Spice Garden.’ Everyone is aware about the Kashmir issue, even having personal opinions about it, but do they know about the tussle between India and China regarding Tawang (a town bordering Indian and China)?

These people don’t have much of documented history, for they moved to India in not-so-distant past. Yet, they have very developed heritage with them. People talk about the rich and varied culture of India. But they totally miss the varied culture of these north-eastern states. There are innumerable tribes settled here. It may sound exaggerated, but there are more than a hundred tribes in Arunachal Pradesh itself! Each of these with its own customs and celebrations. That makes some culture! Still, they are hidden.

Many people will be surprised to know that the official languages of these states are Hindi and English, instead of some regional language. Doesn’t this establish them a part of India? Yet, the problem of being ‘unknown’ doesn’t seem to end.

It’s true that these people dress differently. Women never wear a sari (they have a tunic kind of home made cloth, which again differs across tribes). I feel this should be admired and respected as a culture.

Like the rest of India, students from these regions move to other parts of India. Let’s hope that with this, the difference that exists dies soon. After all, an Arunachali lad is as pleased as any other Indian when India wins a cricket world cup!

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  1. March 30, 2008 at 3:50 am

    πŸ™‚

  2. March 30, 2008 at 11:01 am

    Mamme every fact is right to the core.Let’s hope the students like moli bhai show the beauty of the unknown india to the whole country..

  3. Naren
    March 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm

    What sparked off this post? Did someone say something about Arunachal Pradesh? And talking about GK, junta who know stuff, also dont know many things. so you can’t generally lambast people for not knowing much about Arunachal. I have been to the NE, and its awesome! And people from the NE are called chinkis cos they look chinkis. but who said chinki is a derogatory term? I personally like chinki girls, they are cute. and I havent so far heard of any discrimination against people who look chinki. Every state has its pros and cons, its secrets, its embarrassments, its culture, its peoples who vary in every thing. And I think it is better that Arunachal still stays under the blanket for some time, or it will become another tourist ridden place, commercialized to an extent that the beauty of its virgin landscapes is lost.

    ps: I stress that I don’t have anything against anyone, except maybe Bal Thackeray who said Biharis are unwanted, and am not going to forgive him for that!

    • deke
      July 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

      Dear Mr naren

      I believe you must be from that COW belt area who after more than 3 centuries of Foreign rule suddenly woke up and started thinking as if the ultimate race. Well Chinky is not derogatory but BIHARI or White man’s burden is.

      Indians are white man burden and thank GOD we are not Indian we are CHINKIES and we belong to the CHINKY nation.

      Instead of poking your nose into something which you don’t know better try saving your fucking sisters who are killed and aborted every sngle day, who are burned, beaten, killed hanged every day who are harrassed for dowry. TRY saving them. rather ogling your eye out watching CHINKY GIRLS.

    • Degen
      April 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      Have u ever thought that by saying that filthy words Chinki…what would be the impact of this on that person fro whom it was addressed esp girls?? and tell me why d hell u don’t like other girls or for that matter a girl from other region?

    • van09
      December 13, 2015 at 5:37 pm

      Chinki is a slang word which is refer to Chinese by English people in UK…

  4. Gumlat
    March 30, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    Nice one,Aniket bhai…i think its the same everywhere…….North-easterners feel discriminated in the rest of the country……in the same way,the people of rest of India living in North east feel discriminated by the locals….

  5. March 31, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Dear Naren,
    You are very right that North-east Indian girls are gorgeous but look beyond them, stuffs you should know or atleast what you shouldn’t know.
    Know that Chinki is a racist slang (though in debate) atleast don’t know that it isn’t, that would be worse.
    You must be lucky enough to have met only considerate Chinkis coz I have seen that word bring terrible emotions you wouldn’t want to encounter. It’s not just the word but how you say it. You are from the south so I can understand your ignorance about the fact.

    Check this
    http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?s=chinky&gwp=13

    You would get special mention about the North-east Indian saying it’s a derogative term.
    Frankly I don’t mind my friends calling me ‘Chinky’ but if it’s a stranger I just might strangle him to death.

    Seriously,
    Moli

    πŸ™‚

  6. Naren
    March 31, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Dear moli,

    I am sure I have not attacked any ethnic groups in my comment. And about that link, am sorry if being called chinki makes you feel very bad, but you do know that some words we use in our everyday life are also derogatory terms? I could give examples, but I think you know what I am talking about. And about the girls, I said they were beautiful, but how did you make the assumption that I wasn’t looking “beyond them”? And if you accusing everyone who says chinki as a racist, then I suggest you stop using the words gult, northie etc. That is regionalistic and is frowned down upon by many. There are some things you can change, and some which you can’t. For example, lets take this. There is a whole bunch or people, and you want to point out someone to your friend. Suppose the one you are pointing out is fat. What would you say? “Hey, I am talking about the fat one!” . It is the same case here. In a group of people, if someone is talking about someone who looks like a chinki, they can’t help but point out the obvious. But of course, if someone is teasing you because you are from the NE, that is a different issue. And yeah, I personally wouldn’t call someone a chink when I am in the NE. Look at the perspective, man.

    Cheers
    Naren

    ps: Mamme, sorry, but your comments section is looking like SMail now. πŸ™‚ .

    • deke
      July 21, 2009 at 1:28 pm

      Naren I believed you must be some big mother fucker I believe you have the guts of passing racist remark and saying you are not insulting anyone. Thats must be the reason why Indians are considered 2nd class citizen worldwide. coz Indians are Indians.

      Thankfully The britishers united YOU but YOU can never be united

  7. March 31, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Gult by the way I don’t use AND if anyone does… it’s a matter of who used it and when…
    Some call me chinki here and I don’t mind. They picture chinki as someone with small eyes and pulpy chubby cheeks. Same is your case, if you use it, it wouldn’t mean anything bad…
    You don’t know with what sense it’s used elsewhere ( in the north specially in Delhi)
    Say I use gult, and it hurts someone, it would all be because of my ignorance. I don’t understand that it hurts someone.
    If a friend calls you madar… would you mind?
    But if someone sitting besides you in a bus does for no reason … that might taunt you.
    And about things you can’t change….
    I know it’s not going to change much but see … you just learnt it means something bad and doesn’t just mean someone ‘Who looks like a chinki’…

    So it is in fact educating good people who wish to be educated.

    (everything has been written with a polite tone, do not imagine it being harsh, one might get it in a worng way)

  8. pankhuri
    April 22, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    hi!

    Stopped by your blog while searching information on Mishmi tribe.your post is amazingly written !i made a visit to arunachal a couple of days back for wildlife assessment work and can therefore relate to what you have said in your blog…am glad that you are awaring people about the diverse culture of arunachal!keep up the good work,Aniket πŸ™‚

  9. panzer
    September 21, 2008 at 5:51 am

    Well my dear fren , now a days its a fancy to talk about North east , ppl feel they are diffrent when they, means the mainstream india ppl use to talk about it. Its good you felt it, abt the discrimination. Anger animocity and restlessness are every where an ppl who go to other parts of india feels it too great…. I hope a suitable solution sprungs up soon very soon…. good blog keep it up!!!!!!

  10. Achal
    January 31, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    You seem to have got it wrong over here or maybe you had a few misconceptions in your mind which were washed away with the visit πŸ˜› …n btw when we talk of india who said we miss them, we dont, n yes there is dispute among india n china over some parts n its there in sikkim as well. We know that and that is some matter beyond our control, cant help it.

    I personally like chinky girls, n whenever some1 say chinky, i presume that girl is going to be cute πŸ˜‰
    n ihad known the answers of all the question, not that i am boosting abt it, but to tell you the situation is not so bad.

  11. kunal
    March 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    hello bloggers
    i dont understand what r these north easterns trying to proove aann?y do they need so much of public attention and sympathy.ofcourse ne is a part of india.as far as racism is concerned every single state in india or world is a racist to the other.i am from bihar (i can see u frawning), the kind of racism and negligence we have been facing is far more than any state, is far far more than north east.the word “BIHARI” is literally used as an abuse in delhi and few other states but we never made an issue out of it instead we r trying to proove ourselves than appealing for public and country’s sympathy.north easterns just face few comments and they get pissed off but we (biharis) were literally killed and slaughtered in north eastern states by our brother north easterns in 2010 and every now and then…what do u say about that?
    north easterns feel discriminated but there r several reasons for that-
    1)most of north eastern guys and gurls have adopted a particular religion just for the sake of money ans easy jobs.
    2)most north east guys n girls live freely in a living relationship and have all kinds of husband -wife relationships without marrying which is not acceptable in indian society.
    3)u go to pvr priya new delhi late night after 12pm i bet u will find many north east gurls wid back guys (africans mostly)…everyone knows that black guys in india r involved in all sort of illegal trade…so y only north eastrn gurls r found with them y not non-north east gurls go around wd black guys?
    4)most north eastern gurls n guys work in malls…y? y cant they study as other people of their age group.
    5)north eastern say that their states have been overlooked and neglected by the govt. of india…there r many states in india which r underdeveloped.my state(bihar) is the most most underdeveloped state of india..everyone knows,some people even call it “cowbelt region” etc etc…even we r facing lot of discriminations at every level, even intrastate discriminations, but we worked hard,the largest number of IITIANS and IAS r from bihar.even students who r below poverty line and whose parents r literally labourers and rickshawpullers r clearing these competitions and making their state and country proud…we r not making issue out of things that have no importance,such as using of slurs like “BIHARI” etc etc…
    6)i have never seen any north eastern girl wearing an indian outfit(salwar suit etc) ever..instead they always wear skin showing western outfits..i know india is a free country and everyone has right to dress up the way they want but sometimes they should also show their indianness..but these north eastern people r mad about following western culture.i dont see any indianness in their habits.
    7)going to late night parties wid boys,drinking wid boys,sharing room wid boys etc etc is not indianness at all
    8)lots of skin show lotzzzzz…
    9)i think everyone knows wat these norh eastern girls do to earn extra bucks not all but most of them…
    all these r not just hearsay or rumours…its truth…everyone knows that even north easterns know that…if they really wanna proove themselves them prove by studying,showing ur talent and plz stop begging and stop gaining sympathy from rest of india…if they call u “chinki” then u also call them “desis” or anything u want but stop begging and if u have talent to proove urselves then prove it.

    • Anmol
      July 1, 2011 at 7:20 pm

      Dear Kunal,

      After reading your pathetically long and pointlessly overenthusiastic comment, I only want to say this:
      You are a indeed fit to be called a BIHARI, in every sense of the term (racial abuse included)!
      Also after the long lecture on β€œIndian” ethics, I must ask which age do you and your type come from! You sound like a 16th century cow-piss drinking veiled mother-in-law that suddenly got teleported into the 21st century. You are totally incapable of polished thoughts, but that’s the way Biharis are made – not your fault. So when you say your lot is the most abused, indeed you are right and you deserve every bit of it

    • van09
      December 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      Kunal whatever u wrote its all hoax…..you said
      we (biharis) were literally killed and slaughtered in north eastern states by our brother north easterns in 2010 and every now and then.
      You haven’t live there ….and how can you write hoax stories about NE….
      The most goons are from Bihar in new Delhi…

  12. Anmol
    July 1, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Dear Kunal,

    After reading your pathetically long and pointlessly overenthusiastic comment, I only want to say this:
    You are a indeed fit to be called a BIHARI, in every sense of the term (racial abuse included)!
    Also after the long lecture on “Indian” ethics, I must ask which age do you and your type come from! You sound like a 16th century cow-piss drinking veiled mother-in-law that suddenly got teleported into the 21st century. You are totally incapable of polished thoughts, but that’s the way Biharis are made – not your fault. So when you say your lot is the most abused, indeed you are right and you deserve every bit of it

  13. hahahah
    November 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    omg This Kunal Dude is so primitive..Did you really go to school Kunal ?? . I can bet my last paisa that you still believe in caste system ,sati system and if you ever find a girl not forced to marry you , you will demand an exorbitant dowry.Good to know people from Bihar are cracking IIts and other exams ,but would you care to modernise your thinking a bit and try not to impose your cultural values on others and learn to respect others.we dont care you hate african people or love veiled women but please refrain yourself from writing on internet,because it is very embarrassing to read your views.

  14. December 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    dZx HaHa lol http://bitly.com/u9GBRY z5O

  15. Harshita
    March 6, 2014 at 9:38 am

    OK so, now it is being exaggerated! This is the reply to Deke. Buddy, I am an Indian and I live in India and I know about the behaviour of people towards other communities. Everyone creates differences among each other be it Punjabis and Tamilians or any other community. Communal discords are very common in India. It is not only North Eastern people who are discriminated or stated as a minority, its with everyone. There had been so much if violence in Delhi against north easterners lately that all of us feel sad how we ourselves are treating our people. It is not that they are the only Ines whoare called names on the basis of how they look I am studying in a school which was started by Kerala’s Jesuits and most of the students and teachers are Keraians and still we call them Mallu. And Naren did not call Biharis are unwanted, rather he was in a defence of them as he said that he was against Bal Thackeray who had this opinion about Biharis. If you will search about him on Wikipedia you’ll know how much he violated the rights of Indians to move freely across the country. And buddy, I know North easteners are treated differently but this difference wouldn’t be filled up by violence, after all you are from a land where non-violence is the prime virtue. I know you guys feel alienated but people like us do exist. Always believe that you are never alone because good people never leave anyone alone be it north easterners or any other community. I hope you take this reply in a positive sense.

  16. Mukhi
    December 29, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Just from friendly advice to my North-Eastern brothers and sisters, from a typical “Indian” looking male. I’m not condoning any attacks against N-E people nor do I feel you should suffer due to the ignorance of racist idiots. But, integration is a two-way street, I feel somewhere the problem lies with you. The Government and social workers can do only so much. If you want to live in mainstream Indian cities among mainstream looking Indians, you will have to integrate better. Right now, most North-Easterners tend to segregate themselves in urban centers, very few mix with mainlanders. Don’t worry too much about racism, it creates barriers and suspicion. Integration means you hang out more with people and take an occasional “chinkie” joke if it’s light-hearted. Stop being so over-sensitive. If people are going to be on their eggshells around you all the time, you’ll never make friends with them. Please grow a thick skin and laugh off those chinkie jokes. It may hurt initially but you’ll get used to it soon.

    Hear my experience. As Indian, I had lived in Central, Eastern and Baltic Europe for more than six years. I had encountered my fair share of racism in White man’s land. In the beginning, it was quite bad. Sometimes, shopkeepers would look at me with suspicion because they thought I couldn’t afford those products. I was often mistaken for terrorists from Afghanistan etc. because of my Asiatic appearance. Women wouldn’t sit next to me in transportation, the metros, trams etc. I was apprehended by cops two times for no reason.

    All those experiences made me hate myself. I used to feel inferior, and depressed all the time. I had no local friends, and used to hang out with other Indian and Pakistani guys who had similar experiences with White people. We used to blame them for racism. But, one day during lunch, I met this incredibly beautiful Czech girl. She asked me, ‘Why are you eating alone?” I said, “That’s because noone wants to talk to me.” She laughed, “That’s because we don’t speak English that fluently.” Then she gave me company. We slowly became good friends, and dated each other later. A realization slowly came upon me that if I had to make friends in a foreign land, I would have to learn their language, customs and values first. I carried a phrasebook from that time onwards. Learning over 200 words enabled me to carry on a basic conversation. Drinking beer and getting some cultural exposure via movies, theatre etc. further brought me closer to the host culture. Now I knew what was missing. Within a month, I had learned the secret of making friends in a foreign country. By three months time, all my circle consisted of European friends only. I felt well-integrated. Random strangers started smiling at me. Girls used to sit right next to me in the metro. It was all very magical.

    If you’re living in mainstream Indian cities, you have to give allowance to people for the fact that not all of them are that well-read about your North-Eastern state. Especially auto-rickshaw drivers and vegetable vendors etc. Many housewives are also barely aware about your region. That is because of limited education. Don’t blame them. It’s nobody’s fault. If needed, always carry a map with you on your smartphone. If someone asks the uncomfortable question, “Where you’re from?” – point your finger at a map. Sometimes, visual aids speak more than words.

    Many people are dickheads, in all countries and cultures. It’s wrong to base your experiences on only this crowd. Try to hang out with only decent people. If someone’s being extra mean, just give them a wide berth as they deserve to live in their own ignorance. Again, it’s nobody’s fault. There’s no point in getting angry.

    Humour is the best way to break ice with anyone. Everyone treats North-Easterners as serious people. Since, people are afraid to offend your feelings, they feel it’s safer to ignore you. It’s your responsibility to show them that you have a thick skin, and that you can take an occasional “chinkie” joke without flipping.

    A lot of Japanese and Koreans visiting India, and even living here for a very long time, have nothing but glowing praise for the country. I’m sure they get called “chinkie” on the street as well. But, usually their good experiences far outweigh the bad. Well, so it isn’t everything to do with your appearance.

    The food habits of North-Eastern Indians is a major source of conflict with mainstream Indians. North-Easterners are heavy into the consumption of beef and pork. Many Hindus are vegetarians. Even the Indians who eat non-vegetarian food, draw the line at chicken and fish. The presence of North-Easterners and their food habits is a culture shock. I know people don’t want to change their food habits, but again it’s up to you to align yourself with mainstream culture. Otherwise, this conflict and tension will never end.

  17. Weena
    January 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    Don’t know who u r but m very glad that you state this blog .am from north east India arunachal and its very true what u said about our culture and how other state treat us .hope every people read this and understand and more about northeast its a beautiful place with a beautiful people ,we know about you all ,do try to know more about us …..its full of surprise ,adventures and fun .visit” seven sister to know us”(north east india?).

  1. April 27, 2008 at 3:44 am

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