The Northeast is endowed with rich cultural heritage and biodiversity but not much is known about it to people living outside the region, Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Devraj Anbu said Thursday and asserted that the rest of India can learn a lot from these states.
"All the Northeasters states, from Arunachal Pradesh to Mizoram and Assam to Meghalaya, are blessed with scenic beauty, and each state has its own rich culture, but not much is known to people about it. And the rest of India learn a lot from these states," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
The contiguous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are popularly referred to as the 'Seven Sisters' and along with Sikkim comprise the Northeast India.
"I have been to all the states in Northeast and each state has so much of diversity to offer. Particularly, Sikkim, where I found that it was so well-managed, including the discipline in traffic and civic sense exhibited by people in driving and parking vehicles. Besides, the region has lessons in ecological preservation too, which other parts of India can learn from," he said.
"How many know about Manipuri Holi. They use natural colours and everyday wear starched white clothes and sing and dance. Isn't it something, we all should know about?" he said.
Earlier, during the interaction, he said the purpose of the tour was to bring the society in these states closer to other parts of India and vice versa.
"You must project your states, and tell it to others and also make friends with people from other states. You have already visited Delhi and met the president at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and will visit Agra too. So, when you go back from here, tell people in your home state about the places visited and your experiences," he told the students.
"I was born in Manipur but moved to Assam as child along with my parents. I love Assam and feel proud that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and star athlete Hima Das are from my state. But I wish more people knew more about my state or other Northeastern states. Even in films and news we don't see much of the Northeast really," she told PTI.
Judith, 16, a class 11 student from Aizawl, Mizoram said she was also pleased to visit Delhi.
Choudhury and Judith, however, rued that many look at Northeastern people as if they were some "odd people".
"They term them as 'chinky people' we feel very bad about that attitude," she said.
"Even in Delhi, some of them asked if we were Koreans or Chinese. We need to bring change in behaviour, " said a teacher, accompanying them on the condition of anonymity.
On Wednesday, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had interacted with a group of girl students from Jammu and Kashmir here and exhorted them to work hard and compete for Army's 'Super 30' coaching programme and build their career through good education.
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