Footballer Dangmei Grace, who hails from Manipur, admitted that she has seen racism from close quarters. The 24-year-old centre-forward said that to get bullied because of one’s look is painful. The AIFF Emerging Player of 2019 admitted of facing the racism in a chat with The News Mill.

During a telephonic conversation, Grace said that unfortunately it continues to happen every now and then.

“Yes, very unfortunate that it (racism) continues to happen. Even I have faced such bullies. Whenever going out for shopping or taking a walk in the street, very often a section of people would taunt at us. Sometimes I would reply on their face that we are not from any other country but India. Hindi mei jawab deti hu ki humlog Manipur se hain (I reply in Hindi that we are from Manipur). It’s pretty hurtful to get bullied as Chinki, Chinese or Nepali…we are Indians and we belong to Manipur. This is painful. This should not happen,” Grace said.

Grace, who made her India debut in 2013, said that she faced racist remarks in places like Kolkata, some places in Odisha and also in Madhya Pradesh.

A fan of firebrand US woman footballer Megan Rapinoe, Grace felt that racism shouldn’t exist in a civilised society.

“I think the people whoever thinks that we are from other countries, they need to think twice that we have the same language and same national anthem. So, instead of putting racism against the Northeast people, I think they should realise we all are same. This will be better for everyone,” she added.

Grace, who is at her hometown at Bishnupur in Manipur due to the nationwide lockdown, termed it lack of awareness.

“Proper education and media – both traditional and social media…through all means, we can bring a change in the right direction,” said reckoned.

People from the Northeast have always been at the receiving end of racism in most of the parts of the country. Even in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak, students from Northeast states had to face discrimination because of their look in New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad among other cities.

In the last few months, several cases of racism were reported from Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Bangalore where students or people in general from the Northeast states were either bullied or barred from entering to shopping complexes.

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About Abdul Gani


Abdul Gani is a Guwahati-based journalist