Do I really belong to India? Why can’t I be an Indian when my birth place is in India? Do Manipur belong to India? Why my looks can’t be an Indian? I have a place in a country which is unknown. Sometimes I am called a Nepali, in some place I am known to them as a Korean, Japanese, and a Burmese etc. I am confused whether I am an Indian sometimes. The explanation became funny jokes for them. When I tell them that I am an Indian they reply that no you are not, you are a Nepali. What can I do? I was interrogated by a police officer in front of the police station just because of my looks. There were more than 130 of us protesting for the illegal work going on in Dulampur panchayat, Chakai Block, Jamui district, Bihar. It was at around 9:30 pm on 15 February 2017. The officer at Chakai Police station, took my photo, took my I. D for Xerox and interrogated me for more than 30 minutes. My claim and explanation do not reach his ears because he does not understand English. When my friend intervenes the police officer just forcefully tells him not to speak anything. He is a friend of mine and a classmate. We were sent together to this very place for our research. thus, he has all the rights to speak. The police inspector repeatedly said that it was purely because off my looks that he is interrogating me. What right does he have to do that? Why not the others why not all my seniors and my mate who are doing their research here in Chakai? There are other four AUD students like me and a batch mate. What right does he have to threaten to us and the villagers? Humiliating in front of all the people and just in front of the law protecting station is quite surprising.
I am very much disturbed by this incident. Prior to that people around me considered me a Nepali. This was quite frequent but I just ignored it as they are uneducated. Now this incident seems quite hard for me. I wonder if people of my own (North East) will want themselves to be called an Indian. I have a big question mark because now I don’t feel like even defending my identity. Hundreds of incidents have happened concerning racial discrimination, but nothing has ever bothered the people from the upper level and the lower level and thus the result. I can even imagine the picture of what will happen to the people who are in their comfort zone once they step out. Wish it just end with me but the fact is that it will go on and no one can change this. Constitution promised us the right, freedom and liberty. Where are all those? Does it really exist? A country filled with Nationalism but for me I now assume it as a country filled with racial discrimination. Whoever cares for this silly problems, when there are lots of greater problems too be looked after in this country… people like us now just have to feel okay with this as this become a part of everyday life…. if we claim our voice are suppressed. I now doubt that this problem will ever be taken care. Sad indeed very say to know the reality. A country of my own, the people once I think that it’s my own. It just turns out to be a wall which can’t be torn down. A citizen of this very country, but now we are turned into people from other foreign country. Wish to be a free citizen who enjoyed all the rights and freedom just become my wish from inside. There are lots more to come… unfortunate that I am one of them.
Acceptance and inclusion that we learn in the universities, in reality have no meaning. It’s just a text and a theory mean for reading. Manipur someday will be known to every citizen of this country but what about my looks? Will my looks be accepted? An incredible India, a diverse India seems hilarious for me now. Above all acceptance and inclusion is a far cry for a people like me. How much we strive, we are not going to get the answer or maybe it will take a century to solve this problem or maybe not at all till the end. Over a long period of time the people have lodge may grievances cases but hardly the action for resolving is seen, maybe in some hot cases it burn for a while but after some point of time it just vanished in the thin air. To have hope on the system as well as the country is essential but if this is the case how do we and the people of this great country expect us to have hope? We have endured much and I should say that we have endured it long enough, how long do we have to endure this kind of racial discrimination? I am very sure that my case will just vanish away in the air. Who cares at all about all these problems, the people living in this country have their own stomach to strive for.