If someone calls me a chinky, I smile!!

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By Dr Vijita Ningombam

I have actually just read one article from this page and I didn`t try reading the rest only because it makes me depressed. Rest in peace, Nido Tania and I do feel bad for those parents who have lost their precious child.

I feel bad for not just this day but also for all those who died in an accident or a disease every day.

I am not for racism and I am not being ignorant.

I am a girl from the Northeast too, a girl from the land we call paradise of India – a girl who just wanted to give you her opinion and share her experience in the wake of the current problem. And I`m sorry if this might hurt anyone.

I have long straight hair, fair skin, 5.3 feet short, I don`t know Hindi well, I have an oriental look and I`m from Manipur. And yes I call myself a “chinky”.

I have always been away from home since I was 8 yrs old, I have lived in Tamil Nadu for seven years, I have lived in Orissa for six years, I lived in Manipur for the first seven years of my life and now I live in Delhi and it`s been almost two years here. I have seen the west of India too and so I call myself a True Indian!!

Today I`m writing this article only because I feel interwoven in this web of confusion. I sometimes ask myself what is the actual problem? I ask myself, if I being from the northeast have never come across any disrespect only because I am from the Northeast. Why would anyone else feel differently?

Then I finally got the answer. The difference is in perception!! I`m proud to be from that part of the land who loves music, who dresses differently, who hardly gets a sentence in Hindi right, who treats guest well…wait let me just stop for a second here. Are we saying that the rest of the other parts of India don`t love music? Don`t dress differently? Speaks Hindi very well? Don`t treat guest well?

Until and unless you don`t consider yourself Indians no one can help you to be an Indian. We for god’s sake are a secular country. It is essentially majority-ism that makes you feel out of place in any place. Do you think I being a Manipuri feel at home in Assam? Or Meghalaya? Of course not!! It`s about adjustment, it`s about being proud of what you are, it is about not overly worrying about what people think about you.

If someone calls me a chinky, I smile at them. Because I know they noticed me because I look different.

If someone asked me if I am from the Northeast, I don`t feel offended but I ask them if they have ever been that side of India and I invite them to my home land and tell them how beautiful it is. I talk to them about the fresh air we breathe, the culture we follow.

If someone calls me a chinky, I smile at them. That’s because I know they are curious of the way I live, they are curious about the things I eat, about the way I talk, about the way I think.

If someone calls me a chinky, I smile at them. That’s because I know they would love to be my friend, they would love to know me and they would love to travel and see our land.

If someone calls me a chinky, I smile at them. That’s because I know they are confused about where exactly I`m from. From China or Japan (I wouldn`t mention any other place since most them don`t know about Vietnam , Laos, Korea, or Mongolia).

It`s about your perception and about opening up to other cultures. If you stick only to your Northeast group even when you are in Delhi or for that matter any other place, how do you expect anyone to be open to your culture.

They are curious because they have never seen our land like how we have seen theirs. This is often because they are scared to travel to the Northeast, having been fed mostly on stories of killings and bombs and insurgents, and similar stories of gruesome deaths, not indeed unlike Nido’s. Paradoxical as it may sound, even in tragedy, at least Nido is fortunate to become the campaign point of a perceived bane of our society.

My fellow Northeasterners, let us then not always consider ourselves victims and instead strive to be the ones with arms open to the ideas of ushering in changes for the better in our shared lives and destinies. This, like charity, can only begin at home. Let us make the best out of Northeast India and live in a happy world!!

Let me proclaim before the world once again that I am proud to be chinky, and proud to be who I am. And, let me again remind anyone who cares to know, I certainly won`t ever hide my identity.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Northeasterner of course should be proud of themselves. There is an average IQ gap of about 15 to 20 points between an Oriental and a Desi. Go to China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and take a look. Now look at India. I rest my case.

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