Do People in the Northeast Feel Alienated From the Rest of India?
Question: Why do people in Northeast India feel alienated from the rest of India?
Sadhguru: We must understand a little bit about the context and history. After Independence, when decisions and plans were being made for the Northeast, Jawaharlal Nehru was advised not to touch the pristine nature and tribal cultures of the region.
Initially, it was a conscious decision not to touch the Northeast because the people were living well in their own ecosystems. There was no need to bring cars, trains and airplanes and make them like the rest of the world. They were doing great by themselves. Today, the only country which has made a conscious decision like this and successfully implemented it is probably Bhutan.
The original intention was not to disturb the tribal culture and natural surroundings. But after about twenty years, when they saw people were aspiring for something else, they should have changed the plan – but changing plans takes a long time in India. Because of that, development started happening in unplanned ways.
And today, because of connectivity, everyone is seeing big cities like New York and London on the television and Internet without having gone there. Everyone has succumbed to the Western ways of life and they think we also have to become like that. The government has decided to put railways, airways, roadways and everything in the Northeast in the next 15-20 years. Once that happens, the rest of India will be driving all over the Northeast.
This year, I went to Ladakh and Siachen for the International Day of Yoga. It was unbelievable to see thousands of motorcycles everywhere. It is no more the pristine Ladakh that it was. The roads were full of tourists and there were traffic jams on the mountains, which was unheard of a few years ago.
Things are changing, so I don’t think the Northeast will feel alienated in another five years. There will be people all over the place. These are not going to be wildlife enthusiasts or something – just picnickers everywhere. That is going to happen because the people chose development. We can think it is development, but it is also a certain loss to the country.
Editor's Note: Sadhguru looks at the past, present and future of this nation, and explores why this culture matters to every human being on the planet. With images, graphics and Sadhguru’s inspiring words, here’s Bharat as you have never known it!