Ever since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru, differentiation continues to be among the gravest and most consistent problems facing India's Northeast. It is a disaster that this region of the nation - a land of enchanting beauty, a rich ethnic legacy, and the variety that India so loves - hasn't been able to win compassion among some people. Instead, the people of Northeast India have mostly been seen as separatists. Even today, the perception stays that the area is somehow antithetical to Indian democracy, a perception that has frequently been exploited for political purposes.
While insurgency action remains, times have changed, and the changes need to be understood by both the Indian government and the people. There was a noticeable shift in the way the people of Northeast India see their relationships with the rest of the nation. Speak to the new era in Northeast India today and you might learn of discontent with poor infrastructure and building unemployment, but it is hard to discover talk of separatism, at least among the general people.
Today, the people of Northeast India realize that their aspirations may be accommodated inside the Indian constitution, as summarized by the case of Mizoram. This happened only when the insurgents understood that the Indian constitution was elastic enough to adapt them. The insurgents who remain in Northeast India are these who're deprived of education and employment. Writing in South Asia Politics last year, Subhash Kashyap appropriately observed: If we really want to develop better social communication between the people inhabiting the North East and people in the rest of India and create a climate of real pan Indian fraternity, the New Delhi colonial mindset of regarding the North East area as being theirs should change.
India touted two decade old Look East Policy has failed to contemplate the country's own east. While authorities have issued grand calls to increase the tribal economics, promote local crafts on the worldwide marketplace, develop cross border trade, and open new trade paths like the one at Moreh in Manipur, more remains to be done. New Delhi needs to quit making policy on the foundation of preconceived notions, and alternatively make Northeast India an active participant in the decision-making process.
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