The fringe citizens

Borderland travails is an informative and well-written opinion piece by Ramachandra Guha about the Northeast and the problems its people face. Excerpts:

No state in the Northeast has been altogether free of insurgency. All have witnessed armed struggles, of varying degrees of intensity, seeking independence from India. Viewed comparatively, the Indian experience is of a piece with the other new nations of Asia.

China has had much trouble with its borderlands, with Tibetan Buddhists and Uighur Muslims who resent the political and cultural domination of the Han. The Burmese army has been occupied for decades in trying to suppress rebellions in the Karen and Shan uplands. The Pakistani army has effectively ceded control of Waziristan to tribal marauders.

…But unlike the France or Britain of the past, and unlike the China and Burma of the present, India is a democracy. It cannot therefore simply suppress voices of dissent and protest. It must seek to engage with them.

…When they travel to places like Delhi and Bangalore, the residents of the northeastern states find that they are met with indifference and incomprehension. Punjabis and Kannadigas alike joke heartlessly about their allegedly un-Indian looks, about their unfamiliar dress and diet, and more.

I wish I could post the full piece here but my hands are metaphorically tied, so do me a favour and read the article at the India Together website.


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