Saturday, September 10, 2005

Not some "mainstream" part of India

Remember the Gateway of India attack in August in which one woman was killed and another injured? The women were from the north-east, and the media said they were from Manipur without really doing a fact-check. Uma had a thought provoking post following that incident titled Many Indias, in which she said:

    So what questions does this raise about the way news is reported, on Independence Day weekend? Many things. For one: did the papers care to check whether the women were 'Manipuris' at all, or in fact Nagas from Ukhrul in Manipur (I recall that one paper actually referred to it as "Ukhril" and not Ukhrul); or did it matter just enough for them to highlight the fact that they are not from some "mainstream" part of India?
Unfortunately, most of our mainstream media as well as our mainstream columnists are rather sloppy when it comes to the north-east. Check out this rediff column by T.C.A. Srinivasa-Raghavan.
    ... since [the communists] had become the zamindars of West Bengal on a permanent settlement that would have shamed Lord Curzon, and also ended up having a go in Kerala and Manipur from time to time ...
Manipur can be Manipur or Nagaland or Tripura. It depends on the context!

13 Comments:

At 10:27 PM, Blogger uma said...

*sigh*

 
At 12:40 AM, Blogger Sinfully Pinstripe said...

Couldn't agree more. And it is very unfortunate.

 
At 12:45 AM, Blogger uma said...

must have been an interesting class, hmmm.

 
At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Anand said...

Thanks, Uma & SP, for the comments.

 
At 7:38 AM, Anonymous tiffin said...

Indians always keep cribbing about the second-citizen treatment given to indians in US. How different is it from these very mainstream indians treating those from northeast? I wonder which is worse, in the latter case even the nationality is same!!

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger Sunil said...

I think i will echo what tiffin said..........what's worse, most people remain so woefully ignorant of the northeast....(or any part of India they don't live in, for that matter), it's sad.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

Anand, what do you think are the factors behind this? Probably there aren't as many seats in the northeast to make it profitable for politicians to cater to their requirements? Or that there aren't the kind of regional parties in south that strongly lobby for their cultures? Or simply the lack of educational institutions?

As you would have noted, many people these days from there have hindi names.

Finally what do you think of as possible economic changes that can help integrate these parts - say restaurants based on northeastern cuisine, tourism, business investments there etc. ( hindi and bollywood pop culture has recently entered into those areas big time; sadly there hasn't been much flow in the reverse direction ). I do think Kerala's literary circle, movie industry, tourism etc. have a big role in others not being as ignorant about Kerala as the northeast.

Thanks a lot.

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anand said...

Thanks all for the comments.

Froginthewell -- You have raised interesting points. I do not have any answers. In Srinivasa Raghavan's case I doubt if it was ignorance. Distance from Delhi and the political clout of the state are crucial too. Even Kerala has suffered because of this. Just look at the railway budget every year and you'll see the gross neglect of the state.

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger froginthewell said...

In Srinivasa Raghavan's case I doubt if it was ignorance.

I too wouldn't claim it was ignorance. But if people weren't ignorant about north east the media wouldn't be able to afford to be so shoddy.

As for political clout etc. - they might have quite an impact but again more active business and investment from/to/with other states would have helped Kerala ( which currently is a consumer state - providing extra railway facilities to Kerala doesn't help the nation's GDP ). Which is probably why though Gujarat doesn't have any better political clout it doesn't get a very bad deal. And there are quite a few who do say that Kerala is very investor-unfriendly.

What I am hoping is that giving people incentives to invest in the Northeast etc. might help alleviate this problem to some extent, if not root it out wholly.

 
At 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anand said...

Froginthewell -- Thanks. You're quite right.

 
At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Shanta Laishram said...

The fact is that the girls are from Manipur State and hence they are Manipuris. They are nagas living in Manipur. In Manipur, there are 29 different tribes along with Meiteis and Meitei Muslims. Its a different fact that some Nagas(read NSCN insurgent group) want to have a separate administrative area for Nagas and some organisaions who support them would like to call them Nagas and not Manipuri. The media was right in telling that the girls were Manipuri. Its a different matter and a fact that general mainland media has less knowledge of North-East. Anand, let "X" be your caste or clan whatever. Will you agree to say that you are an X living in Kerala and not a Keralite?

 
At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Shanta Laishram said...

It was really an unfortunate inclident and I guess it wouldn't have happened if the gals were not from Manipur or Northe East!

 
At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anand said...

Hey Shanta, nice to see you here. Yeah my point was just about the general lack of knowledge in our mainstream media (& elsewhere) about the north-east. The Rediff column that I pointed out is just one instance. Thanks for your inputs.

 

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