Saturday, February 4, 2023
HomeIndiaNortheastern students groups plan 'Twitter storm' to push for chapter on region...

Northeastern students groups plan ‘Twitter storm’ to push for chapter on region in NCERT books

Students groups say campaign is aimed at tackling issue of racism against Northeasterners as well as creating awareness about the region and their contribution to India.

Text Size:

New Delhi: “If we try and educate people, only then, perhaps, racism against the Northeasterners will stop.” It was with this thought that Mayur Kaushik, president of the North East Student Union (NESU) in Vadodara, and its advisor Debonil Baruah decided to have what they call a ‘Twitter storm’ from 6-8 pm on 4 June.

Their aim is to storm the microblogging site with an appeal for a mandatory chapter on the Northeast in NCERT textbooks. They also created two hashtags — #AchapterforNE and #NortheastMatters — with the hope of catching the Centre’s attention.

“We were surprised with the support we received from people across the eight Northeastern states. Over 30 student groups from the region have come together in less than a week. We will all be tweeting our appeal simultaneously Friday (4 June) with the two hashtags,” Kaushik told ThePrint.

Racism against people from the Northeast, especially those with mongoloid features, has become a common occurrence. However, what has triggered the ‘Twitter storm’ campaign is the recent racist slur by Punjab-based YouTuber, Paras Singh, against Arunachal Pradesh Congress MLA Ninong Ering.

Singh, who runs the YouTube channel ‘Paras Official’, had called Ering a “non-Indian”.

“I contacted Kaushik right after Singh’s comment. It’s time we put an end to casual racism against Northeasterners. Mongoloid features don’t mean one is Chinese. Rest of the country should know the role our freedom fighters played in the Indian Independence struggle. Our campaign is not a demand nor a protest. It’s a request,” Baruah told ThePrint.

Ering, who had lived in Delhi for nine years, said he often faced comments such as ‘Naga’, ‘Gorkhey’ or ‘Chini’.

“So many soldiers from the region have fought for the country. We have players like Mary Kom and Hima Das who have made India proud. I support this students’ campaign because people from the mainland should understand that Northeast is a part and parcel of India,” the MLA told ThePrint.

Like Ering, Kaushik also felt that people from the rest of the country should know the region’s history. “We have read about the Maratha kings, but why isn’t Maharashtra reading about our kings?” he said.

Also read: Congress leader calling BJP ‘wild poachers’ of Northeast no political jibe, it’s pure racism

‘There shouldn’t be another Nido Taniam incident’

Within days of the idea being floated last week, the ‘Twitter storm’ concept started going viral. Student outfits such as the Nagaland University Students’ Union, Lumami, NUSU (L); the All India Arunachal Students’ Union’s Federation; the Rajiv Gandhi University Students Union; the Naga Students’ Union, Delhi; the North East Students Society, Delhi University; All Assam Law Students Association and the Mizoram University Student’s Council, among others, came out in support.

Ceemona Taku, a PhD scholar at the Rajiv Gandhi University in Arunachal Pradesh, told ThePrint, “Many of us had faced racial slurs at some point or the other. There shouldn’t be another Nido Taniam incident. When I was in Delhi last year, some people called my sister and I ‘coronavirus’ and ‘chinky’. We had to tell them that we were from Arunachal.”

Taniam, a student from Arunachal Pradesh, was beaten to death in an alleged racial attack in Delhi in 2014.

On 24 May, a virtual meeting was convened among various students and representatives to chart out a plan and a date for their campaign.

“Twitter plays a crucial role today and will draw the government’s attention to our appeal. With a pandemic raging, this is the best and effective course of action. We have also contacted YouTubers from the Northeast to promote the Twitter storm,” Hipito Achumi, president of NUSU (L), told ThePrint.

David Lalrinchhana, president of the Mizoram University Student’s Council, added that many celebrities from the region have also come out in support of their campaign.

(Edited by Manasa Mohan)

Also read: The itch of mainland Indians to ‘civilise’ northeast hasn’t gone. Dog meat ban another example


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular