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Battling alienation, together

Freshers from the Northeast seek support of older DU students who guide them how to tackle Delhi life. Students from the Northeast said they are more comfortable seeking help from their own people and tend to move around together, report Ruchi Bhatia & Jatin Anand.

delhi Updated: Jun 16, 2009 23:07 IST

Back home Ejewanjai Angh had heard unpleasant stories about how students from the Northeast were treated in Delhi. Less than a month after landing in the Capital, she had her own story to tell.

“A kid had the audacity to walk up to me and ask for sex. He seemed like he was only in Class 8 or 9,” said the 18-year-old from Nagaland.

“Does being from the north-east mean that one is characterless?”

Angh is among hundreds of youngsters from the region currently seeking admission to Delhi University. But their struggle here includes a constant barrage of nasty racial comments and incessant eve teasing.

Leishichan Zingkhai (19) from Manipur is just a week old in Delhi and she’s already had her first brush with racism.

A few days ago, a rickshaw ride to the university turned traumatic when two boys on a bike reached out to grab her hand.

“What cheap thrills does one get out of doing this?” she asked.

Support groups formed by senior students from the Northeast at DU are a big help. Their advice at the right time helps freshers steer clear of trouble.

“Most are clueless about ways to get things done and they are usually here for a short duration. We try our best to guide them,” said Shrijeet Boro, an Assam native and president of All Boro Student’s Union, Delhi.

Faced with cultural differences (read: language problem) and the insecurity of being in an alien city, the students too seem more comfortable seeking help from one of their own.

“I feel insecure whenever I go out. I feel better only when I see or interact with my own people,” said Janiso Athary (19) from Manipur.

From filling up forms to finding safe accommodation, there is help at hand for practically everything. The groups usually become like an extended family.

“With the government in our part of the country being irresponsible, students from the northeast usually end up with fake income and caste certificates. We help correct such problems as well,” said a volunteer at the helpdesk set up at North Campus by the Naga Students’ Union, Delhi.