Girls in their traditional dress taking part in International Jatinga Festival in Jatinga, Dima Haso district of Assam (representative image)

Students, academics, celebrities and others from the northeast raised their voice on Twitter demanding the inclusion of a chapter on the region – its geography, culture, ethnicity and lifestyle of people in NCERT textbooks.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

The massive social media campaign – ‘Twitter Storm’ was initiated by the Northeast Students’ Union (NESU) of Vadodara, Gujarat, after YouTuber Paras Singh’s racial comments on Arunachal MLA Ninong Ering.

More than 30 universities and students organisations joined this online movement. They believe such behaviour can be checked by including a chapter on the Northeast in NCERT.

“We believe that this kind of racism can be solved only through education,” said Debonil Baruah, advisor of NESU, Vadodara, one of the organisers of the Twitter storm. “The Paras Singh case was what set it off, but such instances of racism.”

The participants at the virtual gathering tweeted with the hashtags #AChapterForNE and #NortheastMatters with an appeal that the region’s “history, ethnicity, lifestyle, personalities, natural resources and patriotism” make up a mandatory chapter in NCERT textbooks.

“As a proud citizen of India, I want our textbooks to include all its colours and glory. So I request concerned authorities to include a chapter about NE in @ncert syllabus. #AchapterforNE #NortheastMatters @EduMinOfIndia,” tweeted Hima Das.

After the NESU Vadodara reached out to universities across the eight northeastern states, more than 30 major universities such as Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, Nagaland University, Mizoram University, NIT- Agartala, Rajiv Gandhi University Arunachal Pradesh as well students unions in Delhi and Manipur among others, have come on board to participate.

“We think the Twitter storm will help bring the issue to the notice of politicians and lawmakers,” said Tarh Naki, a 24-year-old student from Arunachal Pradesh. “When I studied in Gujarat, people were clueless about where Arunachal was. They would directly ask me which country I belonged to — ‘Are you from China?’ Sometimes I felt like putting a banner on my head saying I am from Arunachal Pradesh and it is in India,” she said.

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