Last Saturday was different from other Saturdays. I had to watch a very popular animation series called Chota Bhim in POGO channel along with my son. It was his favourite show and he wanted company. So, there I was munching popcorns and watching Chota Bhim with my five-year-old son.
For those who have not been initiated yet - Chota (small) Bhim is a character taken out of context from Indian epic Mahabharata. In the animation series, he resides in Dholakpur, which is complete with a King, his subjects and many other popular characters from animation world. The series is a hotchpotch of various popular animation characters taken out of their context and placed in an imaginary yet contemporary kingdom of Dholakpur. For example, trains do ply in Dholakpur where Bhim becomes superman whenever he eats his special Laddo (a kind of sweet). May be because of this highly imaginary yet contemporary touch, children like it most.
This, however, is not the reason why I am writing this post.
The episode that I was watching had an archery competition in the storyline. While the animation characters including Chota Bhim prepares for taking part in the competition, Kalia - one of the characters always in conflict with Chota Bhim - takes out a bow and arrow. I was shocked when Kalia started to to boast his capabilities saying, "maine yeh Dhanush Assam se laya hun, yeh Bhim ko Assam pahucha dega (I have brought this Bow & Arrow from Assam, this will send Bhim to Assam)".
It will be easy for my readers, who are from Assam, to understand my shock. For others, let me explain. Assam is not particularly famous for bows and arrows like deep jungles of Africa. There are four functional airports (one of them being an international one), almost all nooks and corners of Assam have been connected with railways, there are eight national highways running through Assam, there are two central universities and three state universities in Assam, people live in cities, towns & villages wearing clothes (not barks), there are six telecomm companies offering mobile services in Assam (including Blackberries)and the literacy rate of the state is almost equal to the national average.
The fact that I am writing this post in English and posting it over Internet alone may not be convincing enough to allay fears of bow-welding bark-wearing Cannibal roaming around in Assam. But the information provided above should be.
I have nothing to complain about the idiotic ignorance and absolute lack of interest of people of Indian mainland in Assam and Northeast, its people, its geography, history and culture. I also have nothing to say about the greed of this people when it comes to the 10% central fund specifically kept aside for the Northeast.
But, I do feel hot blood rushing through my veins with hatred capable of turning it into venom when I see these morons corrupting thousands of lakhs of young brains around the country with half-backed nonsense like the one propagated through popular animation films like Chota Bhim. Its a different case not knowing, and an altogether different one telling what you do not know.