The dissonance between people from the Northeast and mainland India is nothing new or recent.
It has, in subtle context, stacked up and created a huge wall over the years which now feels foreign to try and bridge it.
Many reasons have contributed to the cause. It might have been the pre-existing prejudice, racial and cultural difference, lack of representatives, or all in all just ignorance on both sides.
One cannot deny the fact that with the advent of COVID-19 pandemic, racism and use of slurs against people of Northeast have risen.
So, much for the land of diversity! As if pandemic wasn’t a huge problem enough, people were getting spit on their faces, ragged, mob lynched, denied access to amenities common to all.
In focus, today is the YouTuber Paras Singh, who goes by the name ‘Paras Official’ on YouTube.
He had in one of his videos termed senior Congress MLA Ninong Ering “a non-Indian” and “Arunachal Pradesh, a part of China”.
He had made the comments while reacting to a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Ering, wherein he had appealed for a ban on the relaunch of PUBG Mobile India’s new avatar Battlegrounds Mobile India.
Ering, also a former Lok Sabha member, had reasoned that the game was aimed at deceiving the government and citizens and should be banned in the country.
Singh, while commenting on the development in his video, was heard saying that Ering does not look like an Indian and Arunachal was a part of China.
Investigation in the case after the arrest of Paras Singh, who was arrested from Ludhiana in Punjab, revealed that the controversial video was made by him to gain widespread attention and views so that his monetary income could be maximised.
According to police, the YouTuber was enraged after reading the letter sent by MLA Ering, seeking a ban on PUBG, as banning the online game would have meant a loss in income for him.
The outrageous comments made by the YouTuber came to focus, may be because it concerned an influential person.
Had it been a layman, would strict actions be taken against the YouTuber? Maybe in rarest of rare cases.
That is the harsh reality that we live in.
Paras Singh has now been granted bail. People most often feel sorry only when they get caught in an act of mischief, to prevent themselves from any sort of damage or harm.
The fact that he thought that it was okay to disapprove an entire state for clout speaks so much. When people in one’s own country tries to demoralise its own people with regards to their identity, it does so much more harm than expected.
The wide gap between the mainlanders and people from the northeast will only grow and keep us apart.
What can one do to bridge this? Start with breaking the stigmatised prejudice, including more people from northeast in positions of power, where they can make decision what is best for them, including Northeast in the curriculum offered by NCERT and CBSE.
As a country, it’s time for a collective decision and do better.