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Delhi's northeast community takes creative route to raise awareness

With drawings, pop songs and photographs, people from the northeast are displaying their creative side to sensitise the people of Delhi about their region and raise their voice against racial discrimination as they depart from the conventional sit-ins and protests.



New Delhi: With drawings, pop songs and photographs, people from the northeast are displaying their creative side to sensitise the people of Delhi about their region and raise their voice against racial discrimination as they depart from the conventional sit-ins and protests.

"It is mostly political and social caricatures that I make. The social cartoons deallargely on the subjects of discrimination against the people of the northeast. Such pun intended cartoons do provoke thoughts and help create a sense of awareness," Partha Jyoti Borah, 32-year-old artist from Assam, told IANS.

Cartoons drawn by Borah are for display at the North East festival being held in the sprawling grounds of Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) from Nov 7-11.

The artist who has been drawing for over 20 years, also makes cartoons of political leaders, singers and musicians from the region.

"People do not know much about our region so with cartoons of our union ministers and other famous personalities at least people can come and get little knowledge about us," Borah added.

The artist also draws on environmental issues.

Musical bands from all eight states of the region are doing their bit too.

"We speak different languages, so music can be treated and used as a universal language, which will certainly bring us all together and promote feeling of oneness," Wor Shon, of the all-girl band Minutes of Decay from Imphal, Manipur told IANS.

Members of the band, started by three sisters in 2011, said through their songs they are trying to make people know about them and their region.

"In our songs we talk about our background, the roots to where we come from. It is a small way, but it can go in a long way to create awareness about northeastern people and their culture and tradition," added Shon.

But members of the famous pop band Testeo Sisters felt that the veil of ignorance is lifting.

"The people from the northeast also have prejudices just like other people have about us. All of us are guilty of ignorance. But situation has improved since we started in 2001.

"North Indians now at least acknowledge the northeastern region and their culture," Mercy, a member of the band from Nagaland told IANS.

The band started by four sisters - Mercy, Kuvelu, Alune and Azi Tetseo in 2001 - has performed globally. The sisters wear traditional clothes while performing.

Lauding the social media for creating awareness about the region, Mercy said both sides have to make the effort to bridge the gap so that the integration of two cultures can happen smoothly.

"We should leave the sense of negativity...the situation has improved and it could be much better. Every incident should not be given a racial colour. The media also needs to be careful and act responsibly," Mercy said.

Though they sing in the Choki dialect - the language spoken by the Chakheshang tribe in Nagaland - their songs highlight their culture and tradition.

With music to sing to and cartoons to laugh at, there are also about 150 photographs that showcase the simple lives of the northeastern people.

Collected from 100 photographers from and outside the northeast and curated by Vikramjit Kakati, the photographs give people a sneak peak into their lives.

From Zee News

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