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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Chp 281. Welcoming 2010 with vision 2020


To come up with a famous quotation, you got to be famous first
But to have a great dream, you do not need to be anybody great. It is your prerogative to dream passionately about anything that makes you tick.

From Martin Luther King Jr. to a 5 year old wishing her folks would stop shouting at each other, we all have our dreams about a better future. Some are short-termed while others require years. Some are tangible while others are about satisfaction. Some may be altruistic while others are quite self-centric. Then there are those unrealistic dreams too, but nevertheless, we keep dreaming.

With the dawn of a new tomorrow this year, instead of making any New Year resolutions (which we never seem to keep anyway), I’d like to dream instead. A dream that can definitely come true in the next 10 years, if we all put in a little effort.

Sure, it feels great dreaming about riches and glory, or maybe about becoming a big rockstar and living in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars. But the ultimate dream for me is to see that by 2020, people from the North East are not only recognized as Indians, but treated as one.

Mind you, I’m not talking about racism here. That’s a different topic, although they may cross path here and there. But this dream is more about identity. Racism is ugly of course, and a bit more complex to decipher, but there is a thin line between being a bigot and being ignorant.

I dream that in the next 10 years people of so called “mongoloid” race who are citizens of India, are no longer jeered at as Chinese, Nepalis, or any other foreign nationalities. I dream that people at least know the names of the North Eastern states, even if they’ve never been there or met anybody from those places.

I work at an Ad agency here in Mumbai. One day we met a client from a reputed firm. She’s a very senior manager and I asked her if the mailers we’re going to design for them would go to all their employees in India. When she said yes, I told her my friends in Mizoram were working for the same company (their Aizawl branch) and asked whether they too would receive my mailers. She asked me nonchalantly if Mizoram was a part of India or not, quickly followed by the instruction that it would go only to their employees in India, and not “overseas”.

Imagine, a senior manager (probably from a reputed B-School) working at one of India’s top Banks… Likewise, we have faced similar questions from various people every day. Where is Mizoram? Is it a part of China? What currency do we use? etc etc.

Baichung Bhutia did us a big favor by promoting the North East to the rest of India. Now there are more and more football players from the North East playing in the I-League, India’s top-flight football league. The recent Finals between East Bengal and Lajong FC saw a large number of North Eastern players on both sides.

Similarly, if I walk into any Rock/Metal concert in India where local artists are performing, people everywhere recognizes me as somebody from India’s North East. I get questions like “Are you from Nagaland or Mizoram or Manipur?” immediately. No questions about China, Japan etc. That’s why I love such crowd and places.

But unfortunately, all that is restricted only to the few hardcore football and (rock) music enthusiasts here in India. The rest of India still do not know about us, even though we’ve been a part of the Indian Union since independence. A few sectors like the hospitality industry and BPOs too have their fair share of North Eastern employees now, but again, that has a very limited exposure.

Kolkata is another place I love, in spite of the heat, humidity, pollution and traffic. And the reason being - that place is the only place in India where people do not stare at us and make us feel uncomfortable, because they’re so used to our kind of faces. My dream is to see that by 2020, that happens to the rest of India too. We definitely do not want to be treated as aliens in our own country.

People often counter-argue that the fault does not lie with other people, because after all, “we do look like Chinese”. Sure that contention may sound reasonable to many “educated” individuals. Well, we should also remember that many Indians too look like Sri Lankans, Pakistanis, Afghanis, Israelis, half the Arab world, Malaysians and so on. Nobody calls them by those nationalities.

By 2020, I want to see people from the North East becoming Bollywood or Tollywood superstars! I want to see them play the main roles in big budget films, and I want to see them play the role of Indians, and not any Nepali or Chinese or Japanese role.

10 years ago, when Mizo sportspersons (yours truly included) used to appear on the newspapers for scoring that goal or shooting that many baskets, none of the papers used to get our names right. But now things have changed and I want such change to continue. By 2020, I want the rest of India to know our names properly (and without raising an eyebrow when we introduce ourselves).

By 2020, I want everybody to know about our existence. The fault lies with the government and educational system. Our school history and geography books hardly mention anything about us or our culture. Hence, young Indians everywhere are brought up with the notion that the North East is worth 10 marks on their exam paper.

I want to see our young children all over this great nation, grow up in school learning as much as they can about the North East, and how people from such places “look different” from the rest of India. That is my dream. A new India where children are armed with the powerful knowledge of the North East. After all, these children are our future and only hope. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned this years ago. We can’t we?

10 years. Just 10 years. That small innocent child studying in class 3 somewhere in Mumbai or Chennai or Lakhimpur would have completed her school education in 10 years. By 2020 she would go to college, devoid of any ignorance about the North East. How wonderful that would be, when she welcomes her new North Eastern college classmates and makes them feel right at home!

With recognition, we can have better development, infrastructure and investment in the North East. In 10 years, all this bigotry and hate and ignorance can be eradicated, and that is when my dream will finally come true. An Indian utopia. Vision 2020.

49 comments:

Jerusha said...

Great vision! Not to go into details, congrats again - and to repeat myself - all of this is just plain absolute awesomeness! So proud of you (even the fact that I've seen you with makeup and in ladies underwear can't do anything) :P

illusionaire said...

Thank you thank you my dear :) and oh puleeeze stop mentioning about that ladies underwear moment. Still gives me nightmares, you know :D

VaiVa said...

I hope vision 2020 be accomplished.... I have a dream that North East became a part of India (sic), the people are no longer alienated, Indians no longer asked their nationality and all Indians live happily ever after!

Zairemthiama Pachuau said...

Pu Kim, thanks for sharing this great vision. And thanks for the assurance I have from 'above' that it can and will happen in a decade.
Happy New Year!!

ruolngulworld said...

Bravo! You should get this published in all the mainline newspapers/magazines.

illusionaire said...

@ VaiVa: Damn, I should have mentioned about how many people from the NE are in the armed forces too! I just remembered now only after seeing your comment. With so many North Easterners in the Indian Air Force, Navy and Army, I really cannot understand why we are still not accepted as Indians.

@ Zairemthiama: Thanks Pu Zairem. I too know it can definitely happen in 10 years.

@ ruolngul: :-) Well... You may not see it at mainline newspapers, but you may see it at mainline news television :D I can't say much right now, but plz hang on :D I will write about it by today or tomorrow *wink*

aduhi said...

Bee-yoo-tiful. That's a wonderful vision. If that was possible it would make life so much easier for the younger generation who are yet to leave home and go out to different parts of the world.

Mimihrahsel said...

nice one bro! I like!

illusionaire said...

@ Aduhi: That's my wish. We have to make the path easy for them.

@ Mimi: heh... ka call pawh chhang duh lo... hmmmfffff....

blackestred said...

Having studied in institutions with, unluckily, some of the least north east population, and now working in one, I've dreamt this dream for long. To change the way others look at us, we first need to change the way we look at others. Easier said than done. If non-NEs are still alienated in our states, we will still feel alienated in theirs.

chawnghilh said...

A determining factor of the Hindustani's follies and their ignorance!

We overcame them already which they themselves do not realize! Still we have uphill journeys in various ways!

Irene said...

I have no words to say...

These are fact...yes i do agree you should have mention arm forces, air force etc.

Well written and wish it should be published in all India National Newspaper.

illusionaire said...

@ blackestred: Yup, that is something I've written about before too. Most Indians complain about the racism they've faced from foreigners in a foreign land, without realizing what they are doing to the minorities in their own land. Likewise, people from the NE should look at the way they regard people from Mainland India in the NE, if they want to be accepted as Indians.

@ chawnghilh: The journey uphill is not so steep as it once was. And very soon, this uphill path will forever be behind us and we'll have nothing but downhill in front of us... ahhhh Heaven it will be then.

@ Irene: Thanx. Support much appreciated :-)

Alejendro said...

"I dream that in the next 10 years people of so called “mongoloid” race who are citizens of India, are no longer jeered at as Chinese, Nepalis, or any other foreign nationalities. I dream that people at least know the names of the North Eastern states, even if they’ve never been there or met anybody from those places."

Hehhe I share your dream.. :-D

dr_feelgood said...

This isn't merely a 'dream', its a Vision. The Bible says' Where there is no vision, the people perish'. So, dream on!!

Anonymous said...

Mongolied people not only resides in North East of India,entire himalayan range-from Ladakh & Himachal to ArunachalPradesh is inhabitated by our race,we should not bother about the ignorance of the heartland Indians,afterall India is called a sub-continent, and we are very much a part of its diaspora.

Varte said...

Vision tha a ni e, hlawhtling ngei se ka ti, khawilo kala Indian i ni maw? min tih ai mahin Khawnge Mizoram chu an ti hi ka la la na mah zawk a..?

vaphualization said...

I'm sure Martin Luther King would have loved this post!!

illusionaire said...

@ Alej: :-) Thank you.

@ dr_feelgood: We'll do that, and we'll also try our best to make this dream come true.

@ Anonymous: I agree. Even in the South we have a lot of people who have mongoloid character. Sometimes it is easy to no bother about their ignorance... live and let live types... but sometimes it hurts when we consider ourselves to be so Indian, and yet others don't accept it. How different are the separatist groups in the NE then? Its all the same.

@ Varte: Dik chiah. City te chu ni se ka la hrethiam. Mahse STATE ve ngei hi chu an han hriatloh hian a na ngawih ngawih duh a ni.

@ Vaphualization: lolz. Now that is a vast exaggeration! Don't demean one of my greatest idols. But thanx for stopping by. :)

OpaHmar said...

As the Aerosmith's song goes, lets "dream on"
And to continue from my blog, I respect people who knows even a little deal about my state (and rest of NE), who are genuinely interested is India as a whole

Anonymous said...

Dear Kima,
Great vision brother! As an indian born and brought up in the north eastern part of our beautiful country i would say the vision shared by you is awesome and very thought provoking. just like you have mentioned about that the people from Nagaland, Mizoram and other north eastern people are referred as chinese or nepalies and are being treated as somewhat alien to india. I would say in some part of north east as well other indian people are also being treated as alien only. They are being called by different names like Dkhar in Meghalaya and so on. People like us who are not indigenous to the north east are not welcomed there, we are being treated as second class citizens. As we used to live in the cantonment area in shillong , I think that saved us from the hardship that an ordinary Indian goes through in north east everyday. I think when more and more north eastern and rest of the Indian people will think like you than this gap between us will certainly vanish.
Whenever north east or north eastern people are there in the news making headlines, just like you , when I saw you on CNN IBN, I felt proud just like any other northeasterner . Lajong FC in the final, our great athletes from Manipur, our vice chief of air force, CEC Mr. James lyngdoh ,Erstwhile DGP of Tamilnadu police(a mizo himself) so on and so forth. After spending so many years in northeast , I feel more of a northeasterner and all this events really make me proud. Needless to say that 95% of my very gud friends are from north east only and are still in touch with me after so many years.
If we really want to bridge this gap between the two india that we have now is by strengthening our educational system. Just like us who were educated in military schools wherein children’s from different part of India were styuding together sharing their festivals , events etc. All this helped our young mind to mould in such a way that we respect , acknowledge and understand the sensitivities of others. We need to understand that we are first an Indian than malyalee, Bengali, bihari ,Marathi,Gujrati, mizo, Naga etc. The problem is with everybody. All of us are so concerned about our petty things that we ignore the larger issue, See what this Raj thackrey is doing there in Maharashtra!. If we really want to achieve your vision 2020 than all of us have to work together and have to bridge this Gaps!!.............that we have created ourselves.
Few lines in mizo , that I can recall(taught by one of my very gud friend Mr.Laldingliana-My classmate).Correct me if I am wrong brother.
• Khongoye koldon
• Rokelro O Kapu
Total absence of humor renders life impossible !!!

Best Regards

illusionaire said...

@ OpaHmar: Ah, a new respect criteria on your list! Nice. I'm sure there are many many peeps out there who will qualify in this category.

@ Anonymous: Your Mizo's a bit rusty, but nice attempt on those sentences :) And you've spelled the name of your Mizo friend correctly. :) Its only those who have genuine Mizo friends that can spell out their full names without any mistake.

Regarding your comment, I agree to what you said. And I really don't want to bring in "racism" into this topic because, as mentioned in the post, it is a much more bigger and complicated topic. Here, I just want to talk only about identity and it is only fair that either side accept each other as Indians.

We certainly need more and more people from the NE hold positions where others can easily identify them. The Governor of Maharashtra SC Jamir is from Nagaland, and it will be difficult for Maharashtrians not to know that he's from Nagaland, unless they are really really ignorant. And those are the positions I'd like to see more and more people from the NE hold here.

Steve the Dork said...

Great piece bro! I am from Manipur and has been in Delhi region for 5 years now. The daily ordeal I have to go through is so immense and large that my mind very often go numb. I do not know the hysteria surrounding us. I sometimes get paranoid and sense instutational support. Most of the times I feel that someone is always watching me - my phone, my email, my friends and contacts... Or, are they the one who are paranoid?!
"Jeering at us as if we are Chinese or Japanese" is a bit ignorant concept of yours. why should a nationality jeer at someone if he comes from a different nation. I can be from Manipur or China or Japan, but jeering at you just because you belong to a foreign country is not justifiable.

yes, I strongly believe that the current education system in india should change dramatically. those institutions should start trusting the citizens of india. only then piece building measures will fructify.

Sylvia said...

A wonderful article Kima!!!! I saw your dream in the TV on 7th Jan'2010. Checked the site to read more and I really liked what you expressed. You wrote the mind and feelings of the North-Easterns. Wish you God's Blessing to help you enable enlighten the Non North-Easterns who are still very backward in their outlook and knowledge inspite of having high degrees..

Regards..Sylvia

Pixie said...

A vision which should turn to be a reality!

Happy New Year Kima! {{{hugs}}}

mesjay said...

A good dream--may it come true! And big congrats for the TV thing, so proud of you. You're the right person to represent the region. Happy new year!

a so called "non-tribals" said...

Do you people "so called mongolites" treat people of other races with respect in the north-east......I dont think so........ I have lived through years of discrimination because i'm not one of the so called "mongols". I am referred to as a non-tribal here.
There is downright rascism in the north-east when it comes treating people from other parts of India.
......what goes around simply comes around....

illusionaire said...

@ Steve: Thanx for commenting, Steve. I completely understand the hysteria you're talking about. Sometimes it makes us more self-conscious about ourselves but hopefully all that will change soon.

@ Sylvia: Thank you :-) And regarding the non-NE people, I have met a lot of people who know a lot about us. I really enjoy being in their company, and I want as many people from India to have this same mentality so that others from NE can have this same feeling I get when I'm around them.

@ Pixie: Hugz to you too, dear Pix. I really hope you watched my show on TV :D Wanted to tell ya about it, but then... me don't have your number and me didn't wanna come and announce it on your blog. Thanx for the wishes too.

@ Mesjay: Thanx Pi Malsawm. Well, honestly speaking, I know I'm definitely not the one to represent the NE on their show. I hardly qualify to be. But if no one is doing it, I guess its better to be the one than no one at all.

@ a so called "non-tribals": Dude, seriously, I hope you read this post properly (or at least watched the show on CNN IBN). This is about identity and acceptance, and not about racism or racial abuses. Please do read my other posts about racism if you want to discuss about this. But for this particular post, its purely about identification and education. I am against any form of racism be it here or there, and the tone in your comment reveals a lot about the kind of person you are. Racism begets racism and one can either fight it or glorify it. Thanks for the comment.

By the way, not everyone from the North East are "tribals", and being of mongoloid race does not make us "Mongols". Something you should have known if you had indeed spent a lot of time in the North East. Peace to you brother.

Babulal said...

Well said and done once again illusionaire. Voices need to be heard and they sure are being heard of late. kudos towards your Indian blogger spot on Tehelka too. Thanks to your encouragement and enthusiasm, a lot more people are venting out their voices and opinion. I remain, "a fan".

Vikram said...

Certainly, more North Easterners in public life will help you achieve this goal. But you are spot on in your emphasis on education for the next generation as the crucial factor. I always felt that we went through states and their capitals very mechanically in our curriculum, there is a great opportunity to do better and learn more.

Congrats on the CNN IBN piece.

Mansingh Nepram said...

Bad Sunday morning turn Good:)...read more than 15 blogs written by many intellectuals......but the 16th one(urs) was the best in making sense!!....Keep up the good work...Nice dream!! Will cherish and protect it....

illusionaire said...

@ Babulal: Thanx for the comment :) Its solely because of my visitors that I can write more opinionated articles. Sometimes, a voice stops speaking when no one hears it for years.

@ Vikram: Thanks bro :-) Good to see you here again after quite some time. Education should indeed be kept at the highest priority because if we want to change anything, we need to change it at the grass root level.

@ Mansingh: With the help of others, we can all do what we can and give our best to speak out for the North East. Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad I could make your day :-)

Umashankar Das said...

dude,
I cant coment on the business tycoons and film star part of the vision..

If you really become regional then Bollywood is a Punjabi Industry, even the khans have Punjabi origin..

States like Orissa dont have a business leader worldwide..

But, I completely empathise with you..

apple88 said...

Can anybody tell me exactly what went wrong and causing this problem? Although I have been visiting this blog for a while, I stil don't know the specific reasons causing the ignorance and/or humiliation of north easterners in india. Does India's textbooks teach national geography in primary or middle school? Does India's TV reporting news happened in northeast? (Considering the size and population of northeast, there should be a lot of news coming out frequently, right?)If so, why this kind problems still happen, even in well-educated people? In China, the Uyghurs ethnic group look more close to Caucasians than east asians. But, nobody dare to publically discriminate against them or any other ethnic groups, otherwise, he will be disciplined by school, empyler or even government. I am an majority HAN chinese,and grew up in a community with 30% ethic HUI minority. We never dare to openly say "pig tail"(they are muslims and hate this word) to them, because we will be disciplined, and because the other HAN chinese friends will think you are too much. (Actually, in China, ethnic minorities are always positively discriminated by government so much so that my friends from Xinjiang told me that HAN chinese are second class citizens there.)Interestingly to see that, in spite of this, china seems has bigger ethnic seperation movements (Uyghurs and Tibetans) than India. That is something we want to figure out and learn from India.

illusionaire said...

@ Umashankar: As someone once said, we have to dream big in order to achieve big. Moreover the crux of this article was to be identified as Indians, but it sure would be wonderful to see the other visions come true too :)

@ Apple: Ah my Chinese friend, welcome back to my blog. Missed you for quite some time.

Regarding your comment, well, like I have said before, things here are quite different from there. And I will have to sadly say no regarding the exposure NE India has at mainland India. Thats the reason I wrote this article.

You have indeed brought up an interesting observation. I guess all I can say is, India too has its fair share of ethnic separation movements. The NE is a troubled area because there are many groups there fighting for separation. At the same time, there are a lot of people from there who remain loyal to India. So I guess we need to see why this is happening... why is the majority of ethnic minority in India prefer to remain a part of India while it is not so in China. Maybe the answer to this will give us the answer to the bigger question at hand.

Anonymous said...

Pu Kim, this awesome piece of work reminds me of the Martin Luther's speech 'I have a dream' from 1963. I can visualise your visions with you, and I am sure there are many who are walking the same path with you, but we must remember that it takes two to tango, and I believe that we can achieve these visions together if we all work constructively together.
I hope to meet you this time when I come back in few weeks and will be around for a long period in Mizoram and few places in India.
Best, Pi Kimi

Anonymous said...

hey,i think this is a good vision.....but can i ask u something?...it has to do with my dream...do u care about the mizo culture,like the place Mizoram...the Indians(Vais) can take over it,because i heard that the chief minister is allowing the "Vais" to settle in Mizoram...n years from now,Mizo culture would blend to the Vai culture and would be diminshed.....but dont get me wrong,i do respect and has no hate towards the Vais,as long as they stay on the other part of their land...please reply..i wanna hear it from u..
Christina-class 10 zirlai..

Umashankar Das said...

Just reflecting on the previous comment , this shows that a substantial number of people from the North-East dont consider Indians as their own brethren.


@Kima, You are proposing improved education for awareness on the North-East.

but, it is a tragic that a Mizo lady of class Xth thinks that Mizoram is different from India.

I personally know many examples where North-east people refuse to mix with people from the so-called mainland.

We also have a few people from the North-east in our office. They never attend our parties or outings inspite of repeated requests.

Hell, they dont even like to date with mainland people. This attitude needs to change.

Annoymous said...

u dont get it do u?

Annoymous said...

oh sorry,when i say "as long as they stay on the other part of their land"....i didnt mean to say that they can never come to Mizoram....Christina

illusionaire said...

Thanx for the comments, Pi Kimi, Christina and Umashankar. I'll get back to your comments by the end of today. Have been tied up the past few days and today.

Polka said...

The day we have a hero from the northeast in a lovemaking scene with a punjabi heroine for a Yashraj production movie , I will know the idea of India has been realized! Till then keep the fire burning.

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Hi , what a great post ! Am a NE-er myself but in the best spirit of this post ,i believe that's pretty much irrelevant ! We're still only 60 odd years old as a country, its only gonna get better and better. Keep it up dude , shall be following this post from here on. cheers

Anonymous said...

@Umashankar Das....fyi mizoram IS diferent from other other parts of India, such as North and South. By different i meant culturally and not meaning that its not a part of India, as you might have thought. And about the NorthEastern people who do not seem to mix with you guys is probably because you r not cool enough, and not because ur from " mainland India" like you call it. I myself have very good "mainland Indian" friends, but i dont go like ' hey, he or she is from mainland India, i think i should be friends with him/her' i dont think racistly.
Just imagine all those British people(or any other culture apart from Indian)comes and settle in India, without any visa, how would you feel?.YEs i understand that Mizoram is a state, not a country, but the fact that it has its own distinct culture cannot be denied.And there are not that many mizos, and if this is happening( mainland people settling in Mizoram) then this culture, would soon be extinct. T_T
- Christina

Anonymous said...

ok im sorry these comments of mine are so irrevelent to this post. But i just needed someone to hear me out- Christina

illusionaire said...

@ Polka: hehehe... very likely :)

@ Bhaskar: Thanx for the comment dude. And yes, looking forward to it getting better and better. Cheers.

@ Christina: Hey, its ok, thanx for commenting. You are free to speak your mind out over here. We all hear you :)

Anonymous said...

@Christina,
Thanks for the 'cool' response . Incidentally, We all have friends from NE.

The fact is that, the whole argument can be turned on it's head by saying that perhaps, NE guys are not cool enough for us North Indians. I dont agree with this. But, Give it a thought. Making statements like this does not help reconciliation.

Cheers,
Incidentally, GF is from Nagaland.

- Umashankar

Geneza Pharmaceuticals said...

I would get crazy without dreaming perhaps

Jeremiah said...

It won't work in reality, that's exactly what I consider.
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