The recent racist remarks made by a YouTuber named Paras Singh about Arunachal Pradesh sparked a Twitter campaign requesting that the Northeastern states of India's "history, ethnicity, culture, lifestyle, personalities, natural resources, and patriotism" be included in the NCERT syllabus.
Ashmita Bharadwaj, vice-president of the Northeast Student Union (NESU) Vadodarasaid, "Educating the masses is the only viable solution to such kind of racism"
What was in the video?
Ninong Ering, a former Union Minister and current Arunachal Pradesh MLA was the target of the most recent racial epithet. Paras Singh, a YouTube user, called the Congress MLA a "non-Indian" in a video. He also ostensibly asserted that the "state (Arunachal Pradesh) is a part of China." Singh was arrested by the police after his words sparked controversy in the Northeast.
The trigger behind the video
Although Singh's rage was directed at the MLA for requesting a ban on a PUBG clone, he quickly shifted gears and launched a racial rant against the lawmaker and the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
The YouTuber was furious with Ering because, on May 22, he sent a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him "not to allow Chinese deception #BattlegroundsMobileIndia" because "it is a big threat to the security of India & privacy of our citizens and a way to circumvent & disregard our laws "The new game is basically a relaunch of PUBG mobile, under a new name and new graphics," the MLA wrote in his letter.
Northeast Twitter Storm
More than 30 colleges and student organizations from the northeast had banded together to organize a "Twitter storm." They asked the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to include northeast history and culture in its school textbooks in order to increase cultural awareness.
On Friday evening, students, academics, and others from Northeast India took to Twitter to demand that NCERT textbooks include a chapter on the region's geography, culture, ethnicity, and people's lifestyles.
As many joined the "Twitter Storm," #AchapterforNEIndia and #NortheastMatters were overwhelmed with comments. They singled out Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah as targets to include a mandatory chapter in textbooks.
Samujjal Bhattacharyya, who is an advisor to North East Students' Organisation, wrote: "Ignorant mainlanders seem to be unaware of our existence as an inextricable part of India. Sensitize students by adding #AChapterForNE, to begin with; for #NortheastMatters. The land of rich heritage, exotic flora/fauna & impeccable culture, NE is more than a resource frontier alone."
Racism against Northeast
The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) commissioned research on racial prejudice and hate crimes against persons from the northeast states, which discovered that "northeast India seamlessly fits [an] Indian's imagination of a Chinese person."
According to the study, 78 percent of the persons interviewed in the region stated that their physical appearance was the most important reason for discrimination towards them.
People from the region "faced an increased number of acts of hate and prejudices against them." This was during the COVID-19 epidemic last year.
Violence against and stigmatization of persons from the northeast is not a corona phenomenon. It has remained dormant in the country for a long time. It now appears in a particularly obnoxious form every now and again.
However, reports of such instances have decreased in recent years. This is due to the administration and civil society working hard to educate citizens. For better assimilation and sensitization, the Delhi Police is even hiring persons from the seven sister states into its ranks.
Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) director, Suhas Chakma, said that people from these states were slandered with terms like "corona," "Chinese," and "chinki". They were spat on and were forced quarantined while showing no symptoms. They've been turned away from residential buildings, evicted from their homes. Northeast Indians have been asked to leave restaurants (before the lockdown) because their presence was bothering others.