"India is not just infested with casteism but racism too."
Ankita Konwar, the wife of Indian actor Milind Soman, has spoken out about the harassment and racism that Northeast Indians face.
Her comments come amid Indian weightlifter Saikhom Mirabai Chanu claiming a silver medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
According to Ankita Konwar, Northeast Indians are not recognised as part of India unless they win medals for the country.
Otherwise, they are referred to as “chinky” or “corona”.
Konwar expressed her anger in a tweet posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, shortly after Mirabai Chanu stood on the Olympic podium.
If you’re from Northeast India, you can become an Indian ONLY when you win a medal for the country.
Otherwise we are known as “chinky” “Chinese” “Nepali” or a new addition “corona”.
India is not just infested with casteism but racism too.
Speaking from my experience. #Hypocrites
— Ankita Konwar (@5Earthy) July 27, 2021
In her tweet, Konwar said:
“If you’re from Northeast India, you can become an Indian ONLY when you win a medal for the country.
“Otherwise we are known as ‘chinky’, ‘Chinese’, ‘Nepali’ or a new addition ‘corona’.
“India is not just infested with casteism but racism too.
“Speaking from my experience. #Hypocrites.”
Ankita Konwar’s tweet triggered mixed responses.
Some users agreed with her, with one praising Konwar for speaking out against the racism towards Northeast Indians.
I agree with you Ankita.. Tell it loud and clear. In mainland india I try to eat like them, dress like them and speak like them but what is the use of all these sacrifices ,till today I didn't witness anybody asking me which part of northeast India I belong to.????
— Nyanyir Rajesh Pinggam (@NPinggam) July 30, 2021
“I agree with you Ankita…tell it loud and clear.
“In mainland India, I try to eat like them, dress like them and speak like them but what is the use of all these sacrifices, till today I didn’t witness anybody asking me which part of northeast India I belong to.”
Yes in general, you are right. But there are lot of us here who think everyone from Nagaland to Mumbai & from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is a proud Indian irrespective of their religion, caste & colour.
— Saket (@Saket98598785) July 27, 2021
Another user said: “Yes in general, you are right.
“But there are a lot of us here who think everyone from Nagaland to Mumbai and from Kashmir to Kanyakumari is a proud Indian irrespective of their religion, caste and colour. Cheers.”
Ankita Konwar replied to this saying: “And that’s how we become a country!”
However, some called her out for her “bitterness and jealousy” over Mirabai Chanu’s success.
One user said: “Check @mirabai_chanu posts, she writes India/Indian everywhere not as North or South Indian.
“She’s the real hero, the real Indian and India is proud of her irrespective of her geographical location.
“That’s what real positivity is!”
“Meanwhile Ankita is busy blocking everyone on Insta who’s not agreeing with her.
“Bitterness and jealousy takes people down, doesn’t matter how much you’ve achieved.”
Some people simply told Konwar that, as an influential figure, she should be inspiring the nation rather than encouraging divisions.
One user said: “Ankita, I am born and brought up in Assam.
“Please do not make negative statements like above as currently the NE is getting focus and reconnected to mainland after so many years.
“So many people follow you, a positive message will definitely leave a nice impact.”
Another user wrote:
“Being a celebrity is a responsibility.
“I am sure, great people like Sir APJ Kalam and Ms Mary Kom has suffered in their own way in their fields/cities and yet their sentences inspire us!
“So can you please inspire us Ms Ankita rather than starting a blame game?”
However, Ankita Konwar still stands by her beliefs and says they are based on real-life experiences.
Speaking to Hindustan Times about what inspired her to speak out, she said:
“I know people who call out individuals from Northeast as ‘chinky’; I’ve corrected them many times.”
“Now, I see them coming out and say ‘we’re so proud of you’.
“When you see a post like that, you’re like ‘oh wow, now you think that we’re a part of India’, but when I’m there with you, then you don’t think so.
“It’s only about when somebody is winning a medal that you can be a part of the country, so what about the rest of us then.”