Northeast students, academics create ‘Twitter storm’, demand chapter on region in NCERT books


Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Twitter was on Friday evening bombarded by students, academics and others from the Northeast demanding the inclusion of a chapter on the region – its geography, culture, ethnicity and lifestyle of people in NCERT textbooks.

The demand followed repeated remarks of racial slur against north-easterners by a section of the mainlanders. They believe such behaviour can be checked by including a chapter on the Northeast in NCERT.

#AchapterforNEIndia and #NortheastMatters were flooded with comments as people joined the “Twitter Storm”. They tagged the powers-that-be, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Samujjal Bhattacharyya, who is an advisor to North East Students’ Organisation, wrote: “Ignorant mainlanders seem to be unaware of our existence as an inextricable part of India. Sensitise students by adding #AChapterForNE to begin with; for #NortheastMatters. The land of rich heritage, exotic flora/fauna & impeccable culture, NE is more than a resource frontier alone.”

The latest remarks of racial slur were directed against former Union Minister and sitting Arunachal Pradesh MLA, Ninong Ering. In a video posted on YouTube, one Paras Singh had described the Congress MLA a “non-Indian”. He ostensibly also claimed the “state (Arunachal) is a part of China”. After the comments had triggered an outrage in the Northeast, Singh was arrested by the police.

Ering tweeted on Friday: “Today, I am joining Twitter Storm not only as a representative but as a common citizen of North East India. The world needs to know about us and learn about our history, geography, culture and other aspects.”

One Kabyashree Kalita from Assam wrote: “Mughals couldn’t invade ASSAM 17 times. NORTHEAST is the ONLY PART OF INDIA that the Mughals failed to conquer during their reign for over two centuries. Don’t you think #ASSAM#AHOMS#NE deserves a chapter in NCERT?”

Another user, Chophika Sumi from Nagaland, said, “We are only asserting our rights as Indians. Please hear us out.”

“Our geography, ethnicity, culture and way of life need a place in NCERT textbooks,” tweeted Amar Sangno, a senior journalist from Arunachal.
Sahin, another user, tweeted: “Seven sisters, one brother, one soul. We stand up together, as a whole. They call us different but we sing the same National Anthem and salute the same National Flag. We may be aside but we aren’t apart, we are from NORTHEAST INDIA.”

Asmita Bharadwaj, who is the vice president of Northeast Students’ Union of Vadodara, Gujarat, said the incident involving Ering, along with years of discrimination against the people from the Northeast, were the reasons behind the Twitter Storm campaign.

Assam’s Mayur Jyoti Kaushik, behind the #AchapterforNEIndia, attributed such behaviour to the lack of knowledge and education about the Northeast among people residing in the mainland.

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