“Do you also have this thing?
Have a soft corner for the city?
Delhi holds that pride of place,
It’s full of memories of my education years.
Not for anything, it is the country’s capital,
Blessed with avenues wide, leafy lanes, and buildings neo-classical.
Lutyens Delhi with its awe-inspiring architecture,
Spirals the city into a different league altogether.
The city is not just modern but has historic roots too,
Full of riches, many raiders down the centuries it drew.
Ravaged again and again with countless invaders,
The city didn’t buckle but in fact, enriched its splendours.
City’s winters are a treat for the uninitiated,
Foggy mornings burrowed in the ‘raja have even the most sceptical captivated.
Afternoons spent basking in the pale sunlight with a glass full of tea,
Rounding the evening off with chaat and kulfi is a must, trust me!
Friendships forged over the years remain a lifelong strength…..
College and the later years is a cache disc of reminiscences,
Delhi beckons you to remember its beauty in all its luminescence.
Years spent in Delhi forever will be cherished,
These nostalgic moments of a life well spent I do relish.
Largehearted people abound here in plenty,
The young steer the old towards their silver years, O so gently.
“Heart over the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the the head” is the mantra of this city,
Not for nothing, the country choruses “Dilwale ki Dilli” ditty.”
Delhi: the city of love, the city of colours, and the city of rush. Every time you see you’re surrounding with non-stop rushing, no time to talk, sit and walk. The capital city of India. The city of Mughal garden, the city of best street foods, the city of fashion, the city of top world-class universities. The best thing about Delhi, if you know where to be, the city will never allow leaving no matter how much you try to. There’s no going back once you’re inside this ‘Dilwale ki Sahar Dilli.’ Every year Delhi welcomed the lakhs of students outside its territory to feel the warmth, see the colours, and for more experience to be cherished in a lifetime. To give the light of education, to give the variety of life and experience. The northeast, the part of India that remains distant from the mainland. People may not know how many states are there and how many languages, festivals, how many different races, classes, gender are there. From here every time thousands of students took their path to the capital city to learn, experience and give and share their dreams and Delhi greet the students from the northeast. Admission processed, flat and Pg got filled, restaurants, colleges, streets are filled with new batches. In between this everything glamour, light, and excitement the NE students are trying to adjust themselves to Delhi’s different expectations from the rest.
The life of Northeastern students in Delhi. Well, these things may lead directly to the point where everyone will be yes, the life of northeastern students in Delhi is not very safe. They’re suffering. Petty much, Yes. Let me tell you why, If we go through our beloved Northeastern part of the country. We will see how much different we look from the other part of India. In a society that glorifies big eyes, it is inherent for people with smaller eyes it’s kind of difficult for the Northeast Indian. The northeast region does have lots of languages, Hindi is not the mother tongue. So somewhere some students face difficulty adjusting to the environment. One of the students from the University of Delhi, Radhika Boruah ( Assam) has pointed out some points, that are commonly faced by the students of NE.
- Racist when people used to say “tum NE India ki lagti nahi”
- Called people with mongoloid features “momo” openly in front of me and told me that I shouldn’t take offence because I am not a “momo”
- Was told that “alag dikhte hai to sab belonged hi na” (“if they look different than people in mainland India, then they will be called out, obviously”)
- “Reservation leke aa jaate hai humare seats hadapne ke liye” (“They have reservations of ST hills and ST plains and they come for General people’s college
and job seats).
I will point out another major stab of racism against the students of NE in Delhi when covid19 breaks down. The coronavirus pandemic and the panic it has caused have had another effect. Students of Delhi University who are from the northeastern states faced racism amid the pandemic. The good news was that the fellow students from other states, even from Delhi stand by the NE students, fought against racism, didn’t let them suffer without raising the voice. Yet there’s this thing, Delhi has a soft corner. Everything there is not a struggle, you will feel safe, there will be people to stand together and fight for your rights. its a high time the rest of the country should learn their geography and general knowledge clearly before going to give a remark and question or bully a person belong to another state. It’s the part of India, indeed the beautiful part of India. Well despite there many wrongs, dark and injustice against the students of the northeast, yet Delhi has been so kind to the students of NE.
There are some things about the city everything makes better. I have contacted many of my classmates and friends from NE who were and are part of Delhi university, they have shared some of their opinions and experiences. “I was very apprehensive during my first visit to Delhi, a new and foreign city to me. But because of my affinity for culture, irrespective of any religion, ethnicity, etc, it hardly took a month to adjust to Delhi, a city with so much rich culture starting from Malai Tandoori of Jama Masjid to the wholesale market at Paharganj. This psychic happiness helped me to subdue the outward racial discriminations, which also I got from the city.” – Diptanu Debbarma from Ramjas college (University of Delhi), Tripura.
Indian Agricultural Research Institute ( IARI) pennedrch scholar Sushmita Rajkhowa from Assam penned her thoughts, “Delhi-the name says it all. The city has its charm with all the modern chaos as well as the old heritage streets. At first I Delhi sure if I could ad I realized the speed of Delhi. But once I reached it, I realized it’s just in our heads. I found a really good bunch of people who cares for me as a person. Yes, I have never found any racial comments. Instead, I was welcomed wholeheartedly even in my locality of people. From malls to small local markets (Sarojini Nagahigh-end and Janpath restaurants forget), from high-end super fancy restaurants to roadside golgappa and best Delish food at a reasonable price, you get it all. I have learned to be independent, to be responsible, have fun, and most importantly to love myself at the same about me. People do not have time to gossip about unnecessary topics, rather than just work what you like, love ur family and have fun with your friends. I have been very lucky to have such a good bunch of people around. Not to forget, metros are the best. I will always be then life the opportunity to spend a part of my life in the capital city.”
“My time in Delhi as a student from North East India was quite pleasant. The people I met, the friends I made were all from various backgrounds and regions. It made for some interesting conversations for sure. College campuses in Delhi are diverse which makes it possible for people to seek identities they want and live accordingly. There were always people asking very basic, biased, and stereotypical questions but I took those as random moments and whenever possible I made them understand what might have been wrong in their approach to the North East region.”- Kakali Kalita, a graduated Assamese student from the University of Delhi, Ramjas.
“Definitely life in Delhi was so much fun and at the time it’s a struggle to flourish to improve things. Staying alone in Delhi is a challenge, however, it makes me understand to deal with oneself. Furthermore, confronting strangers calling momos chinkies is another level of life lesson. Experience in Delhi is a never-ending story.” – Nikhilraj Hawaibam (Manipur), a Ramjas college graduate.
Sibani Sonowal (Assam) from SRCC, Delhi university added,’ As every other student, I was super excited to start my journey in Delhi. I was welcomed with so much love in college and my pg. But how can I forget that there were still people out there who would judge you for being a “northeastern”! Ignoring these things, Delhi had a lot to offer. The innumerable food joints, shopping hubs, etc. Delhi gave me both sweet and bitter memories.” An Assamese student from DRC (Delhi University) said, “Delhi is a place worth living. It doesn’t matter where you are from, Delhi will accommodate you with welcome arms. The places, stalls, rental rooms, and all other basic necessity requirements are quite cheap compared to other metropolitan cities. A place where you will get everything on the doorstep.”
A graduate student from Ramjas college, University of Delhi Prangan Lahkar wrote, “Living in Delhi was like a roller coaster ride. The first couple of months seemed like a mistake, lost in the sea of people, travelling all alone in the metro and just surviving, but things changed slowly and then it turned out to be one of the best days of my life.” After six years of living in Delhi, the pollution, the crowd, the dust, and the noise seem unbearable but underneath all these lies the beauty of Delhi, its people, the food, and the streets. Amidst the morning crowd at Vishwa Vidyalaya, the delicious food at Jama Masjid and the walks at CP, and every lit street of Khan market I was mesmerized by the sheer beauty of this ever-changing city. The best thing I liked about Delhi was, at every twist and turn, one can find an old tomb or a temple or an old church and there is so much to explore.”
As a student at the University of Delhi with my origin from the northeastern part of India, I have seen many things at once. My experience and points of view are no different from the other NE students in Delhi. To be honest, I was lucky enough last four years of Delhi I haven’t face server racism or bullying, but a point to be added, questions like where are you from? If you’re from the northeast why don’t know look like one? In the northeast, you guys eat everything? Like insects
and stuff? Which are somewhere offensive, no matter the sender or the person who asked the question out of curiosity! It still affects our perspective. If I ignore the previous reasons there’s a lot of reasons to stay in Delhi and fall in love with the city over and over. This city got so much to give. One of the main parts of being there as a NE student, you won’t be missing out on any festival, any function from your home state. A student initiative The northeast student union exists. They help you out to get through and make sure to find you a home away from home. Most importantly if you’re getting into the university of Delhi, you’re going to live the best education years of your life. This is going to be happening and cheerful moments of your life. Apart from education, I have got to know the life experiences, the practical knowledge, I have learned different culture, got to know about some amazing professor apart from my department one. Get into the protest, joined the conference, raised my voice against injustice, so much confidence I got from this place. Furthermore, I have met some beautiful people in my life, which makes me realize there’s still the human is alive, people still care about you, stand by you, and help you in the time of need despite it doesn’t matter how busy are they in their life and work. I am thankful and so much grateful for the University and living alone from home gives me. I will cherish these moments for life long.
Well, outside the University, the warden of Pg, Uncle Aunty (Makan Malik, owner of flat) they’ve always been very kind to me. Everything from Sarojini market, Connaught place, Khan market brings and gives so many memories to celebrate and carry with you for a lifetime. Keep your heart open and mind sharp once you’re in Delhi, this city going to shower everything on you, you need to be careful what to choose and take with you.