New Delhi, Aug 26 : 'The Thumb Print Conversation’ organised by the web magazine The Thumb Print in New Delhi on Sunday elicited a wide response from a cross section of society, including journalists and academics.
The punch to the evening was provided by the stimulating conversation that stirred up many ideas and threads to the intriguing topic ‘Where is Northeast India, in India?’
The Thumb Print brought together some seasoned journalists as well as young minds to deliberate on the topic. The evening was moderated by Sanjoy Hazarika, journalist, author and director of Centre for North East Studies, Jamia Milia Islamia, who began with the idea of the ‘other’. Hazarika went on to say that this idea of the ‘other’ exists within the North-East as well, the result of distrust among the various ethnic groups.
Jyoti Malhotra, writer and journalist, toyed with the idea whether it was possible to have many more political identities in the North-East for the people to find their aspirations. Later in the discussion, it was felt that this may not smoothen the frictions since the North-East houses more than 220 ethnic groups.
Sanjoy Hazarika’s light-hearted take on considering New Delhi itself as the North-East, found some positive echoes. Elucidating on this, on a lighter note, he said when Punjabi grocers in a particular area in the North campus managed to pick the Meitei language or the many youths from the region managed to find employment as guards from the last ten years, and publishing houses like Zubaan began translating some good women writers, the scenario has changed.
Senjam Rajsekhar of Vedanta Group felt there was a discernible change in New Delhi in the past decade, with people from the North-East having done exceedingly well in their chosen professions in the national capital.
Achan Mungelang, formerly with Euro Burma Office, now independent researcher from Ukhrul, a Naga minority in Manipur, where their concerns are not entertained, also believed that New Delhi gives the opportunity to raise a voice at least.
Binalakshmi Nepram, a social activist credited with mapping of conflicts in the NorthEast owing to narcotics and small arms, felt there still exists apathy and indifference to the predicaments faced by the North-East people in Delhi.
Citing the reactions in the capital and the police’s indifference to the mysterious death of young Reingamphy, she said it is a long way ahead but one positive outcome was the coming together of almost 300 people of the North-East to protest against this insensitivity.
Joydeep Gupta of The Third Pole felt people of the region should also take into consideration the judicious use of the vast natural resources for sustainable growth; that they should negotiate with the Centre for optimising the returns. He also brought in an interesting thought of the ‘Nation State’ idea losing its hold with the complex issues faced in the present world and not aiding in any way to take us forward.
The founder member and president of South Asia Women in Media, Pamela Philipose felt it was essential to acknowledge the idea of multi-identity and then to begin a process of negotiation. In this, she said, the media should involve itself in knowledge creation which could further serve as a channel for facilitating connects between the people.
Media analyst Sevanti Ninan urged The Thumb Print to see if it can share its stories with similar other portals, so that it has a wider reach and it does not remain a niche website.
Teresa Rehman, managing editor of The Thumb Print magazine said that what started as a necessity to find space for the voluminous expression of the region, which was not possible in the mainstream media, had completed a year now, “hoping to be a scaffold to leave an imprint.”