Kolkata, Jan 27: Writers and intellectuals from the northeast have said that the region is full of ethnic and linguistic diversity and urged the rest of the country to stop “stereotyping” the people living there as peripheral.
Noting that the northeastern states have a strong cultural harmony but are marred by political conflicts, they claimed that the region can become “a great force” if the political ideologies match.
“The people of northeast are evolving while people from the rest of the country have a fixed image about us as a whole. Such stereotyping is often disturbing. People just lump us together and term all of us as the ‘northeasterns’,” Anjulika Samom, an independent journalist from Manipur said during a session at the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet 2019 (TSKLM) here.
Explaining the centre-periphery concept about the states, Dolly Kikon, a social anthropologist from Nagaland, said the region is conceived as peripheral due to policies made by the Central government and said such concepts should be questioned.
“The centre-periphery thing has its origin in the securitisation of the region and also the kind of policy that are made in Delhi. It has been built using a very colonial framework of remoteness. I think we need to question that,” she said.
Echoing her, Samom claimed that for the people living in those states, their habitat is the centre of their universe, while the other parts of the nation become peripheral.
Anungla Longumer, a writer-musician from Nagaland, explained how her state that has 14 different tribes, has massive ethnic diversities but comes together with a “common cultural ethos”.
“On the ground we are very tolerant about our diversity. We identify and relate with each other. There are a lot of political conflicts in the region due to the ethnical diversity but at the ground level people are bound by a strong cultural ethos. The region can become a considerable force if it can come together in terms of common political ideologies,” she added.