Thursday, January 21, 2010
Lands Beyond Hindustan: Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya
"The perceived notions of mainland Indians towards the North East in their paranoia and false fear couldnt be further away from the truth. There lay the most beautiful people, lands and cuisine."
After my journey across the three states of Nagaland, Manipur and Meghalaya, I often started retelling of my experiences there by these two lines: One disspelling the fear surrounding these states and the second propelling its true character.
Well, now I like to take a different line which I am pretty happy about. These lands are surrounded by such mysticism that disallows the regular Indian traveller from ravaging them and make it equivalent to most places in Himachal and Uttarakhand.
I am glad that you need an Inner land permit in your own country, for if we would walk in there we would leave everything in a bad taste. Glad that most of our sensitivities differ, glad we gasp at the meats they eat, glad we freak at the amounts of alcohol they drink, glad that we find them overtly outgoing, glad that we find them tribal in their ways, glad that we find them unpatriotic, glad that we gloat at their sexual independence, glad about their forays into chemicals and hallucinogens, for if we were similar, where would start to learn to appreciate them and their ways and where would the exoticism lie in a planet being driven to uniformity by the powers-that-be. And in our attempts to rectify, educate and assimilate them, we would ruin the one pure, humble people that are left in this falsifying and deceiving rainbow nation of ours that we love to call "Hindustan".
This is the first in a series of pictures that I will publish here in retelling the most beautiful people I have experienced in my journeys across India. The pictures are from this far-out village on the Burmese border in Chandel district, Manipur. Populated by the displaced Kuki Nagas, the village lies beyond numerous security check-posts, inhospitable terrain and the threat of insurgency hanging in the air. Once there, you could see a people living on the fringes and not being included in mainstream India through their education, infrastructure and the biscuits in its shops. But this is where the argument of India being a nation ended and diversity's beauty and importance came fore...
Shot on Nikon D60, Nikkor 18-55 lens