Saturday, May 07, 2005

The 7 Sisters

Pop Quiz : Name ALL the seven states of North Eastern India that border China, Tibet, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Burma.(.Oops Sorry.The last one should have said Myanmar) .

To set the context I just finished watching Charlie Tango. The protoganist's (Bobby Deol) first assignment was in Manipur and he is supposed to repel the Bodos (BTW they call themselves in a National Democratic Front of Bodoland). The film didnt cover Assam's ULFA, Tripura Tiger Force,or some other organization in Nagaland because the movie had to cover a lot of ground in terms of Naxalites, Maoists,Kargil, etc., It was much like a cinematic subset of Naipaul's India: A Million Mutinies Now

There was another movie in 1998 that was concerns this region known as Seven Sisters of India. (Maniratnam's Dil Se). My heart cries out when I think of the folks living here. In my opinion, they seem to be living in a limbo.First off, they dont look like like most other regions, their geographical extremities are unrelatable to the mainland folks, the interconnecting faith of this region is a minority, they are not a vote bank and finally none of their languages has any kind of commendable influence.(I suspect this is because of their Non-Sanskrit roots)

Given these factors, majority of the country never made them feel to be a part of India.(Gladly, I am told that this situation is changing). It almost seems like India stops at Siliguri and the rest like a No Man's Land.Some of the folks who had exchange students at their colleges (IITs, RECs and Central Universities) might know a li'l better about their habits (like they prefer meat in their Samosas than Vegetables).The point is that there is no use crying about insurgency in these regions, when the administration and people at large never made them feel like a part of the nation.Yes.These factions like ULFA, ATTF, NDFB, etc are just feeding on the dream of a independent homeland of the residents. Integrate them with the homeland and then let BSF do their job. I am sure this would be a much happier and productive solution.

ps: The Seven Sister States are Assam,Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura.


Geetanjali said...

Freaking Shit - I just saw Tango Charlie!

Strong and valid points in this post Paddy - it's so sad isn't it, that we've been so embroiled in the Kashmir issue for so long, that we've neglected what could easily have been the second Kashmir of our country...a cousin on mine was posted in Bhutan for a while (he's in the army) and I learnt alot abt the habits of the N.Eastern through him during that time...

Primalsoup said...

:) I know what you mean. Having spent some years in Gangtok and Siliguri, my family has experienced the, "So, you are from India?" question.
At one level, little has been done to make them feel part of mainstream, at another level they are not terribly interested either.
And Tango Charlie, hmmm... trust movies to make light and come up with easy solutions to the most compl;ex of crisises!
And they say, cinema imitates life! Bah! :)

Paddy said...

[Gee] What a coincidence. I wonder if you can elaborate a bit more on their habits that make them seem different from the rest of the mainland

[Bonnie] Wow.You seem to be all over India. Thats envious to me. Whenever I visit India, I make sure that I usually visit some place or the other but I think the best way of savoring the character of a region/city is to live there.

Its a different issue that they are not terribly interested because they were always that way.The onus is on us because we consider the land they live upon and themselves as a part of our nation.

I never counted on movies for the contents, just some pointers.