A few months ago, there was this small incident here in Mumbai where a uniformed Policeman racially abused me and some of my Mizo friends with words such as “Kanchha” and “Kathmandu”. I wrote a blog post about it, which was picked up by First Post and I got immense support from people everywhere. All I did was merely invite the policeman for a cup of tea where I could educate him about people from India’s North Eastern states and clear his misconceptions about us. Instead, the DCP of Zone II Mr. Nisar Tamboli invited me over for a cup of tea!
We sorted everything amicably.
But that was not the end of it! A few days later, Mr. Sadanand Date, one of Mumbai’s 26/11 heroes and the Jt Commissioner of Police, Law & Order, invited our Mizo community members for tea at his office!
We discussed about how we could create more awareness about the North East among our Mumbai police force. One of the suggestions Mr. Sadanand made was whether various representatives of the North Eastern states could participate at flag hoisting ceremonies held at Police Stations on 15th August. We agreed that was a good idea.
And then months passed by.
I was busy in my own world, working on my Start-Up FITH Media and also chasing my passport and Visa all over India. Frankly speaking, I assumed all that was forgotten.
And then a week ago, Maruata, one of our Mizo community leaders, received a mail from Mr. Sadanand Date inviting him and other North Eastern community leaders to take part in the flag hoisting ceremony held at three main Police Stations here in Mumbai – Malabar Hills, BKC and Chembur!
He immediately started getting in touch with other North Eastern communities, and in the end, managed to make an arrangement (in spite of the fact that he’s been running a fever till today!). The Nagaland, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh Association would take part in Chembur Police Station, Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam and Manipur Association would take part in BKC Police Station, and Mizoram, Assam and Manipur representatives would take part in Malabar Hills Police Station. He wasn’t able to find any proper representatives from Sikkim though.
Just to be clear, just because we’re all from the North East doesn’t mean we all know each other. Other North Eastern community members are as much of a stranger to us as other people from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Haryana etc are. That’s how diversified we are. Hence Maruata did a very impressive job of managing to reach out to such people.
And so today, 15th August 2013, our Independence Day, my alarm woke me up at 6:30 AM, something that I haven’t done in a really really long time.
Left home by 7:30, took the Bandra Worli Sea Link, and man, it was deserted!
We reached Malabar Police Station around 8:20 AM, just in time for the flag hoisting ceremony.
DCP Nisar Tamboli unfurled the flag and then we sang our National Anthem.
After the ceremony, we were all ushered to the DCP’s office, where other high ranking police officers joined us and we all had a long conversation about the different North Eastern States over coffee and snacks. I was really impressed with the two Assamese representatives Mr. Pradip Sarma and Mr. Susanta Dhar who knew so much about our North Eastern history, they did a very good job of informing the officers about our culture and heritage.
After around an hour of a very fruitful interaction, we all parted ways. All the police officers saw us off till the gate of the Police Station. We took a few photos there as well.
I hope it went well in the other two Police Stations (BKC and Chembur) as well, and I am looking forward to reading about the report from there.
I took a cab home back to Bandra after that, and then immediately went back to sleep, the shameless me, lolz. Last but not the least, I was wearing this waistcoat which was a fusion of our Mizo culture… just to press the point that such Mizo designs too deserve to be a part of India’s greatest function since we too are a part of India. Hope you like it.
Cheers (on a dry day) :P