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Northeast needs special attention from rest of India, if so why?


“We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize rights of others.” – Will Rogers

India is an enormously diversified nation in terms of the lifestyles of its citizens. The different states have varied customs and religious beliefs followed, different languages spoken, festivals celebrated and so on. Our constitution provides equal rights to all the people of India irrespective of their caste, class, race, sex or place of birth. However it is utterly disheartening to mention that the governments have failed to enforce and sustain even-handedness throughout the country. On one hand we feel proud to experience development in diverse spheres in some parts of the country but are let down to witness sheer absence of it in few others.

Northeast India comprises of states collectively called the ‘seven sisters’ and one brother state. These include Assam, Arunanchal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. All these states have their own attractions and distinctiveness. It is a land of undulating hills and plains with lavish green colour full of exotic flora and fauna. Arunanchal Pradesh known as the land of rising sun witnesses its first sunrise in the country. Famous for its tea gardens, Assam is world’s largest producer of tea. It is also home to the world heritage site- Kaziranga national park. Tripura is the most literate of the north eastern states with 94.7% literacy rate. Sikkim, the only brother state, has the world’s third largest mountain in the world- Kanchenjunga. Manipur seems like an exquisite work of art executed by the superb hands of nature and is indeed a state of lovely natural beauty and splendors. Nagaland is famous for its Mon district which is the most ethnic destination of Nagaland. Such is the beauty of northeastern India- imbibed with nature’s vivid bounty and extremely virginal and unaltered.

Though these states seem to have such plethora of resources and excellent opportunities, nevertheless they have gone unheeded in the wake of several frivolity .Northeastern India is one of the most challenging regions to govern because of the separatist movements amongst tribal people of the region. For instance- the Naga insurgence which started in 1950s, known as the mother of insurgences, is one of the oldest unresolved armed conflicts. Also there are at least 1990 to 2000 low intensity conflicts going on in the region. Unfortunately, data and information are not sufficiently analysed between region and centre thus resulting in alienation and mismanagement. This affects the territorial and political sovereignty of India and the life of the residents in inexplicable terms. The infrastructure is lacking eminently cutting it from the rest of the country. Also the people of northeastern states are not hailed by other parts of India. They are prejudiced and abandoned by most population. There is rampant unemployment and poverty prevailing in the region which has been seldom looked at by opaque govt. structures.

I vehemently feel the need to pay heed and special focus towards this part of country. The way the potential of these states is overlooked is certainly abominable and moreover pernicious. The region shares more than 90% of the borders with other countries thus can be a key region for investment. It is a place unexploited, almost virginal, and full of resources which the locals might not or cannot use. Also it has great potential for enormous hydroelectric projects because of its geographical locations and apt ample resources. It can also be a hub of several industries like extractive industries, tourism industry and pharmaceuticals as well. Setting ample industries would not only help the economy to prosper but also narrow down the differences and stereotypes that emanate discrimination.

Several measures that can be taken to vanquish the problems and bring parity are-

  • Tap the human power with service sector as it can create a lot of local employment and bring the youth off the streets.
  • Repeal the armed forces special power act as it has only been a symbol of oppression, an object of hate, discrimination and highhandedness.
  • Put relationship with Bangladesh and Myanmar on high priority which can benefit both northeast and India’s neighbors.
  • Railway connectivity is undoubtedly an integral measure to proliferate the developmental process.
  • Farm activities and agriculture should be given due importance.
  • Adequate measures must be adopted to tame the floods as it creates havoc every time in the region and yet is not concerned about.
  • It can also be developed as an education and IT hub.
  • Tourism industry is assuredly a very promising component of promotion of development due to extraordinary and incalculable captivations of the northeast.
  • Transportation has to be ameliorated in order to amplify all other developments.

Thus the above will palpably aid and aggrandize the needful development. The equality ubiquitously craved for should be handed out. Josepha Lollio says- “We need to reach that happy state of our development when differences and diversity are not seen as sources of division and distrust, but of strength and inspiration.”

- Swadha Tripathi