Arunachal Pradesh: Various student associations in Northeast India and organizations of students from the area spread across the nation are organizing a Twitter rage on Friday demanding the inclusion of chapters about their region in National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks.
Proposed as a campaign to cease racism towards people from the area and increase awareness about the northeast, the movement has the support of civil society groups and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Congress student-wing National Students Union of India (NSUI). The movement is a response to a recent video shared on Youtube by Paras Singh, a youth from Punjab, in which he made racist comments against Congress MLA from Arunachal Pradesh, Ninong Ering.
In his video, Paras, who has approximately 500,000 subscribers, had mentioned that Ering, an ex-Lok Sabha MP, doesn’t seem like an Indian and even his name sounds foreign. He also said people from Arunachal Pradesh don’t resemble like Indians and that the state was a part of China.“The outrageous remarks made many of us think about launching a campaign seeking chapters on the northeast in NCERT books so that people from the rest of India know about us, our history, culture, etc. Students organizations later joined in,” said Hengam Riba, an office-bearer of North East Students Society Delhi University (NESSDU).
After the incident, the Arunachal Pradesh government filed FIR against him, and Paras was detained in Punjab. He was later taken to the northeastern state and is at present in judicial supervision. The MP Bezbaruah committee created after the murder of Nido Tania, a 19-year old from Arunachal Pradesh in Delhi in 2014, had suggested the inclusion of the history and culture of the northeast in NCERT books.“Inclusion of our culture and history must be done in the curriculum. (I) had introduced a bill on the same issue in 2017 in Lok Sabha,” Ering tweeted earlier this week. The Bill proposed by the ex-MP concerning teaching about northeast culture in educational organizations was not brought up.
The Twitter rage planned between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm on Friday with the hashtags #NortheastMatters and #AchapterforNE intends to tag chief ministers of all states in the area as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, union education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, etc. to assure it arrives maximum extent.“Racism is evil and needs to be uprooted and the most pre-eminent approach to achieve this is through education,” said Nagaland University Students Union (NUSU) in a petition circulated on Thursday asking all to join in the Twitter storm on Friday.
Many famous characters of the area including popular Assamese singer cum actor Zubeen Garg and several news portals of the region are backing the Twitter storm. In a press release declared on Thursday, ABVP reemphasized its call for insertion of different features of the region in NCERT and university curriculum “so that people understand the northeastern states better”.“This is a very genuine cause and is long overdue. The NSUI, Nagaland will extend all potential assistance for the victory of the campaign,” said a statement by Nagaland unit of NSUI on Friday.