North-East has always been in news for demand of separate states by many small or big tribes there. Most tribes have their own autonomous councils which control many social welfare departments apart from police, judiciary and other central government departments. Still, there are reports of agitation hovering demands of separate states. It must be mentioned here that, apart from Manipur and Sikkim, all other states were once a district of Assam. One by one, many states were created carving out areas from Assam.
Apart from Bodoland, there have been demands for separate states by Koch, Misings, Karbis and Dimasas in Assam, tribals in Tripura, Garos in Meghalaya and a few Naga tribes in Nagaland. Though all these tribes enjoy autonomy in the form of Sixth Schedule under Indian Constitution. Then where did we go wrong for this agitation in the North East? Well, lack of development and exploitation by forward communities are the two most important reasons for agitation here. The other reasons behind the separatist mindset in the North East are assamese chauvinism in language agitation and illegal immigration. These issues over the period of time have induced fear in tribal about losing their culture and language, and hence almost all tribes have formed their student organizations.
Another reason behind the sense of separatism in the North East is the people of mainland. We often treat people from North East like foreigners and address them as ‘chinkis’. This is very unfortunate. Apart from these reasons, modernization and advent of civilization have also induced separatism in the tribals here. Many tribes were quite independent and self-reliant in their own small geographical confinement. This isolation has decreased and dependency on others have increased after modernization and civilization has reached there. We must win them back. Socially, politically and emotionally, they must feel safe and happy to be a part of India. Their separatist mindset is, unfortunately, a result of our indifference.