What good is a mother who ignores the pain and cries of her children? What good is a mother who knowingly turns a blind eye towards the sufferings and discrimination experienced by those who seek comfort and shelter underneath her wings? Can she be called a mother? Is it safe to assume that she does not accept them as her own? Would it be wrong for her children to disown her and and say, “She is not my mother, for she has no love for us!”?
Now, answer me this, would it be wrong for the North-East Indian citizens to claim that their motherland has no love for them? Or that they would be better off without their “so-called” country? When incident after incident of hate crimes and racial discrimination has lined the history of this nation, we continue to live in fear that we may be the next victims. What with our looks and choices of dressing clearly distinguishing us from the rest of our “brothers” and “sisters”! But didn't we learn in school that India is a land with “vast cultural diversities”? Why is it that so many of our fellow Indians still look at us or treat us as if we were not one of them?
Why is it that even after almost seven decades of being an independent nation, our countrymen have failed to make us feel welcome and at home in our own country? Isn't it the duty of a mother to protect each of her fledglings even if it's from their own siblings? If so, why isn't our motherland rushing to defend Nido Tania? Or Loitam Richard? Or any of the “alleged” victims of racial and hate crimes for the matter? Why isn't she seething with rage that one of her children has suffered once again at the hands of her other children? So many questions, such few answers.
Only a handful of the people I have met in my life look at us North-Easterners as their fellow Indians, only with different religious and social backgrounds. Other than that, many Indians will call us “Chinese” or “chinky”. Some of my friends will tell me to “just ignore it” or “keep quiet”. They have a point. I understand that racism in India is a never-ending cycle, but I cannot rest my soul without an attempt (no matter how minute or meaningless) to make a difference. I cannot forgive myself knowing that I could have at least tried to raise awareness amongst our fellow Indians.
How long do we have to “keep quiet” before another one of us gets raped? How many times do we have to “just ignore it” before another one of our brothers or sisters gets beaten to death? We can't just stay idle and quietly watch as our fellow North-Easterners face atrocious discrimination by people who are supposedly our own countrymen. We have to start somewhere. If not, when does this end?
And to my fellow Indians, I tell you this – You may want to ignore cases like these because they “don't concern you” or because you feel you can't put an end to it. But what if I told you that even just a small recognition or acknowledgement from YOU could make all the difference in the world? What if I told you that just by acknowledging that cases like these happen every now and then or voicing your support for the victims, you could be laying the bricks for a brighter tomorrow? It hurts to see that there are people who would fatally harm someone just because he or she looks different but what hurts even more is that people like YOU choose to keep quiet when all you have to do is acknowledge it.