Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Thank you for the A2A.
I would like to add Kerala along with Tamil Nadu, because in such concerns, we are almost at par. Although I am not entirely sure if there is any factual basis to the question, if it were true, I think I just might have a bunch of theories…
If you observe carefully, the north east regions and southern-most India are very different when it comes to culture, as compared to the rest of India. Though we are only a handful of states, a common rule of thumb cannot to be applied to us and our affairs of state, along with the other states of the Gangetic plains and their neighbors. The way we govern our states are based on principles quite different from the majority of the other states. Politics isn’t just about manifestos and campaigns and votes. It involves a lot of sentiments and emotions and pride. People in the north cannot stomach this. And neither can we when we see the other side of politics being played out elsewhere. Politics is not a business for us.
We have always had our own set of problems and those were almost always completely different from the rest of India. While in north India, people were having issues because of border disputes, in south India, we were hardly even bothered about it. The land borders are so far away to even be of any significance. But we were hit by natural calamities like the ̶2̶0̶0̶6̶ 2004 Tsunami (oh! Curse its name!) and the people in north India were sympathetic, but they didn’t know what it really felt like. The southern sea coast is so far away to even be of any significance to them. On a similar note, I do not know, for the life of me, what problems the people of the north east would be facing in real life, except what gets published in the newspapers. And if I am to compare it what is being reported in the national news about Kerala and Tamil Nadu’s issues, then I’m sure I’m missing much.
Owing to our problems largely being exclusive to our states, we have always been self-sufficient in sorting out our own problems. There was always a feeling that nobody would understand our problems like we ourselves do. Even if you flip the pages of history, it would be seen that the southern states seldom approach the Center for any kind of aid – political, financial, military, etc. It is only in dire situations that the Center has stepped forward and lent a helping hand.
It takes a lot…and I mean a LOT to get featured on national media. Somehow, almost all national news channels give the southern and north-eastern states a miss when it comes to reporting. It took something as enormous as the Jallikkattu protests and the entire J.Jayalalithaa death related issues for any news from Tamil Nadu to be shown on national television. How often do we hear of regular news from the north-east? And from Kerala? They have time only to report rapes and abductions in Kerala. Basically just negative stuff.
When the Jallikkattu protests were going on in full swing, I was reading the comments below one of the news articles and I was quite appalled to see a person (claiming to be from Ujjain) comment, “I don’t understand why so much coverage has to be given to these retarded Madrasis. They are just doing their usual barbaric stuff. Such news isn’t even worthy of getting a mention on national news. Please improve your content” To this comment, a person from Tamil Nadu had replied “In case you are not aware, Tamil Nadu is still a part of the Indian union and its affairs are just as relevant as are those of Madhya Pradesh”
Dear Media, thank you very much! -_-
The Alaska Analogy
This is something I devised myself. Although the original version has a direct reference only to Kerala, for the sake of this answer, I’ll apply it to Tamil Nadu and the north east as well.
Kerala, TN and the NE are to India what Alaska is to the United States of America. Both are integral parts of their parent nations. Both are too far away from the main power centers. Both are known to the rest of the country as exotic locations and favorite honeymoon haunts (Munnar in Kerala, Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, Darjeeling and Shillong in the north east regions). And it ends with that. The rest of the country knows nothing about their language or culture or traditions or the finer aspects of the local political scene. And they are not bothered either. If you turn on any American news channel, you’ll be familiar with names like Florida and California and Chicago and Washington. How familiar are you with names like Juneau or Anchorage? Not quite, eh? Those are some of the most prominent cities in Alaska. And there are humans living there. Not polar bears.
It’s much the same in India with respect to Kerala, TN and the north east, and the rest of India. We all hear names like Amethi and Rae Bareili and Baroda and Ujjain. But how many people would know places like Panruti or Vadakkanchery or Kolasib? Only those from the respective states. Such is the sad state of affairs.
So, reasons may be many. But the truth remains that the attitude of the Center has never affected us before and never probably will. We will continue to mind our own business as we always have done. And we haven’t fared so badly, have we? 🙂