Guwahati, September 22, 2018:
Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma feels that the perception in mainland India that people from the Northeast are “different” could be removed through the sharing of ideas.
Speaking at a discussion on the topic “Mainstreaming Northeast challenges” at the first InsideNE Youth Conclave in Guwahati on Saturday, Jishnu Dev Varma said mainstreaming of the Northeast does not mean the assimilation of cultures.
“Even in the Northeast, the people-to-people contact is very less. We must be able to share our ideas and contribute. The perception will change when we share our ideas. Perceptions are formed by distances – psychological and emotional – but not necessarily geographical distances. India is not homogenous. It is a multi-mosaic of cultures. The identity of the indigenous is well-defined by cultural activities,” Dev Varma pointed out.
Talking about the challenges in the Northeast, Congress MP from Arunachal Ninong Ering identified drug abuse and unemployment as the two biggest challenges. He said the jobless youth could easily go astray.
On the Centre’s much-hyped Act East Policy, he said, “You have to jump. But first, we need the roads”.
He also spoke about racial discrimination of the people from the Northeast in mainland India particularly in the metros saying “despite being Indians, we cannot integrate. Probably, this is due to our cultures”.
Former Assam Congress Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said all states in the Northeast had suffered due to secessionist movement.
“Earlier, there was a notion that we need peace for development. When Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister, we said development must come first for peace to prevail. So, that was a paradigm shift. Today, peace prevails across the Northeast. What we need is incentives from the Central government for a certain period of time for things to look up. The incentives are needed as the market in the Northeast is very small,” he said.
He also said that the perception about the Northeast was fast changing in the country. “What made this possible is that thousands of our youth are fanned across the country for studies and jobs,” he said.
Earlier, speaking on the topic “Northeast in mainstream media”, senior journalist Samdragupta Kashyap said: “The media strategy has to be evolved within our people. Also, for most editors in Delhi, India ends in West Bengal. The Northeast is not on the radar. So, if you don’t come to Northeast, how will you know and understand the region?” he asked.
Mrinal Talukdar, a Guwahati-based senior journalist, also highlighted how the mainstream media remains aloof to the happenings in the Northeast. In this regard, he underscored the recent devastating floods and landslides in Nagaland which, he said, were worse than the floods in Kerala.
However, Jarpum Gamlin, a senior journalist from Arunachal, felt that the term “mainstream media” is a misnomer. He said it was not true that the national media does not cover the Northeast. “It is for the reporters on the ground to do the job. The editors will pick up the stories,” he said.
Kartikeya, political editor of Wion, said the media contents are decided by demands. Broadcasting operations is a business. TRP is not a bad thing, for one needs revenues to survive, he said.
“Nobody operates in vacuum. It is a two-way traffic. Contents are based on viewers’ requirements,” he added.
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