The State of the Northeast
Why don't we care about our Northeast?
But the ‘Occupy Marina’ drive is not just about jallikattu. The Pongal event is only the manifestation of anger and resentment that has been brewing for some time now. It has become a flashpoint because it is yet another issue on which they feel the political class has failed them. Just a few months back, it was the Cauvery issue where Tamil Nadu buckled in front of an aggressive and hostile upper riparian Karnataka.
There. Now, back to Nagaland.
“So a deep sense of frustration has been building up in Nagaland – the contestation over women’s legal rights, asserted through the Supreme Court, gave space for this anxiety to overflow in an extremely negative way. I wonder if the thinking must have gone something like this: “We don’t know anything about this agreement which is 18 months old, we don’t trust this lot of politicians and now they’re thrusting this Indian constitutional provision down our throats without discussion”
Compare both the excerpts. Look closely. Both sound similar. What is NOT similar is the coverage both these issues got. One might have even invaded your social media feeds. The other? You know better.
My objective here was to understand just how this came to pass; many other, and better qualified commentators, have weighed in with their opinions, while the news outlets have also reported on the developments. What’s missing however, is visibility.
In Arunachal Pradesh, a former Chief Minister committed suicide at the age of 47, and no one knows why.
In Assam, a Central bill (still in the process of being examined by a Joint Committee) proposes to welcome illegal immigrants from Bangladesh on the basis of their religion; basically, you can’t become an Indian citizen after crossing the border if you’re a Muslim, all other religions are fine.
In Manipur, the state has been facing an economic blockade (highways blocked, shortage of essential goods & high prices of the ones available) since…guess. A week? A month? Nope. More than 100 days now, and counting.
In Tripura, a tribal representative political party called a 48-hour bandh to protest the Centre’s Citizenship Bill (the one above). 50 people were injured in the protests, some days prior to the bandh.
In Meghalaya, the number of drug users has increased by 33 times over the last 10 years. Children as young as 12 are on drugs.
In Mizoram, prohibition was lifted after 18 years, in 2015. Gujarat, Nagaland, Kerala, Bihar all have liquor bans, with prospects of it being a poll promise in every other state. So why is this state swimming against the tide?
In Sikkim, the country’s second biggest hydel power project has been commissioned. It is just one of around 27 projects to be constructed in the state. The government promises development. The natives argue there are no roads or healthcare facilities. Their protests have led to the scrapping of 4 of these 27 projects.
I had to google for the states I didn’t remember. That’s how bad it is. Forget remembering a headline; the entire states slip out of memory.
Let’s change that, shall we?