Look East 'Through' The North East
As a region that has gone through difficult times for many decades, the youth of the north eastern Indian region has not been able to get enough opportunities for education, employment, and development which has ultimately resulted to frustration among the youth of India. There are a high number of cases in youth engagement in violent drug abuse and different other kinds of negative forms of expressing the frustration. That this is on a rise is no solace to the situation.
India's Look East policy decides to look towards it Eastern neighbors and increase ties of economic and social development with them, completely ignoring the existence of North East India, which is just being used as a means to reach the neighbors. Many critics of the Look East policy have suggested it to be renamed as ‘Look East through India's North East' policy. As always the interest of North East has been overlooked to satiate the foreign policy of India with its Eastern counterparts.
A lot of students from the North eastern region of India, travel across the country in search of job opportunities and education and are faced with discrimination. It is very unwelcoming of a country to treat its citizen with such demeanor. A lot of cases of students being killed due to discrimination has been registered in the past and still continue to pronounce its demonizing tyranny on the students and people from the NorthEast. It is not only about the cases registered successfully which were brought to light or about the deaths that had the fortune of scoring itself a national attention; it is about the social behavior of a certain section of the society towards a certain section of the society. Being helpless victims of extreme stereotyping, the students or the populous are often secluded and form segregation from the common populous. This attitude is not only dangerous and sad, but the cause of effect of it must not be underestimated.
Often people from these regions of the North east have to travel to study in central or state universities to experience and explore better opportunities in their field or areas of interest. Northeast has one IIT and one IIM for the seven states combined. It has a branch of TISS, but not all courses are covered or available for the particular branch of TISS in Guwahati. There are many courses which have no coverage of specializations available in the University. There is also not much exchange of students from other parts of the country to Universities in the North East which clearly indicates the apprehension of people from mainland towards studying in North Eastern universities. If people from mainstream do not want to travel to North east India to study, is it fair from the mainstream populous to want the Northeastern populous study in those Universities? One very common and persistent reason behind these killings and racial discrimination against the North Eastern students is because they have taken up quota seats/general seats that should have been otherwise ‘reserved' for people from that particular state. Given a University of the same grading, caliber and environment in the North East India, providing the same standards, facilities and platform as the Universities in the mainland, eliminating issues of bandhs, terrorist insurgencies, road blocks is going to not only ensure participation of students from other part of the country to the North East India but a healthy and balanced exchange of the student populous throughout the country.
India needs to start to look towards the North East before looking through the North East and treating it as a means or corridor to fulfill its developmental goals.
Article by - Priyanjana Roy