I have won the third prize in the recently held Nano Essay Competition, "Flash Truths- Taking India's Pulse" organised by DownloadingMyMind in association with the Society for Public Studies.
"Indian Life- Identity Found"
I am twelve years of being told I'm born Naga, and the other twelve of struggle towards identity. I am Indian!
I am Indian juxtaposed between the parallels of joy and grief; a rainbow of emotions that flood my thoughts as I think of my Motherland. I am a victim to race, but also my own perpetrator when I prolong my existing grief. My people sing songs of courage passed down from three generations of Naga folklore. I am brave, I am Indian!
I am the proud daughter of the lands that stretch from Kashmir to Kerala, and Gujarat to Nagaland. My Mother holds close to her bosom a family; children of ethnicity spread across a million kilometres of a thousand cities. I am brown but also yellow, my brother speaks a different language, so does my sister. I have a thousand languages from a thousand kin. I am the spice that tickles the thronged marketplace in Kerala, but also the herbs that my grandmother grows in her garden in Kohima. I am Indian!
Yet, seventy four years of 'Independence' and my mind screams 'Captive'. Imprisoned by the screams of my sisters running naked, I grieve. The multiplying rich in my country paralleled by the multiplying poor awakens my sleeping shame. A land ruled by historic conservative ideals with a ban on all social evils; a rise on child marriages and sex discrimination which according to the History book has long been abolished. I cry. I am Indian!
I hold my identity in between a cave and a river. An identity not only of my own, but an identity of my country. When I emerge from my hiding and find my reflection in the rivers that flows from Brahmaputra and beyond. I assure myself, I am India, and India me.