Sometimes we assume more about places or people than to know them. It is quite natural of us to have misconceptions about certain communities that we have hardly knew or got to know. However, there is nothing wrong in cross-checking our ideology with some facts and figures.
People who suffer the most in India, owing to this aspect of human nature, hail from the North-East states. Even after consisting one among most literate state of the country, people from the North-East are considered to be under-developed. Their peculiar faces, lifestyles and culture have made many people believe that the North-East India is a different world altogether.
The list of misconceptions about North-East India and the people living over there is endless as the knowledge about them for other Indians is negligible. Here, you can read 8 major misconceptions that commonly prevail in the minds of almost every other person who doesn’t belong from North-East India.
Misconception: Momos Were Originated In North-East India.
Fact: Many people believe that the mouthwatering Momos originated in the North-East. The fact is, the North-East people have only adapted the dish and have no hand in its origin. Momos have a Tibetian origin. It is believed that the Newar Merchants (people who travelled between Tibet and Kathmandu, Nepal) of Nepal brought up the recipe.
Misconception: All North Indians Are Dog/Beef Eaters.
Fact: None of the 8 North-Eastern states features in the top 5 non-vegetarian (percentage-wise) states of India. The above statement is a fact good enough to tell you that not ‘all’ North-Eastern people eat beef. The culture of eating dog meat is prevalent among the tribals and has no relevance with the urban population. Mostly the Nagas, the Mizos tribe of Manipur, Paite and Hmar tribes of Manipur, Rongmei tribes especially from Churachandpur/Lamka area, eat dogs. Assamese, Sikkimese and most of the Arunachalis do not eat dogs (barring a few tribes).
Misconception: There Are 7 States In North-East India.
Fact: For a majority of Indians, North-East India consists only of the seven sister states whose names are also not very well known. However, the fact is that the North-East India consists of 8 states; Sikkim and the other seven sister states viz. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Manipur. Sikkim became an Indian state officially in 1975. 15 years later, in 1990, it was declared to be a part of North-East India.
Misconception: North-Easterns Are More Western And Less Indian.
Fact: During the British rule, the North-East India served as a religious centre for the Britishers. Their evangelical churches were enough to leave an impact on the tribals of North-East India who were hardly accustomed to any proper culture.Yes, the North-Eastern people mostly don a western attire but no, they are not at all western. The major religion practised in the 8 states combined is still Hinduism. They might follow the western lifestyle but their culture still represents one of the many beautiful colours of India.
Misconception: Travelling To North-Eastern States Requires A Visa.
Fact: An Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required for travelling to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram and yes ‘an ILP is not a Visa’! Also, you need a valid Indian ID proof while travelling to Sikkim. This is needed to ensure that illegal Bangladeshi immigration remains under control. The ultimate fact to counter the above misconception is, a Visa is not needed for travelling to a North-East state.
Misconception: North-Eastern People Live On Trees.
Fact: There are hardly anyone left in the whole of North-East India who lives on a tree. Yes, they use trees for building up their beautiful houses but they don’t live on trees. Normal cement houses are also a common feature in the North-East. The houses of North-East India are called ‘Assam-type’ houses and are actually very beautiful.
Misconception: North-East Indians Do Not Speak Hindi.
Fact: Tribals, rurals and urbans, almost everyone in North-East can understand and speak Hindi very well. Quite obviously their accent will be a tad different but their knowledge of Hindi is as good as any other Indian. Hindi is a compulsory subject in schools of Assam and other North-East states. Communicating with the North-Eastern people in Hindi is never a big deal.
Misconception: North-Eastern People Are Nepalese/Chinese (or ‘Chinki’, the term often used to describe them).
Fact: ‘Chinki’ is a term used to draw reference to the small twinkling Mongoloid eyes of North-East Indians. No, they don’t have any link with the neighbouring countries. Their small eyes are just a gift of their geographical characteristics. The people residing in the other half of North-East India, the people who live in the UP/Bihar border, have absolutely normal looks.