A site to behold the seven sisters - Page on Facebook endeavours to showcase the best of the region
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- Published 9.04.10
Calcutta, April 8: It’s the whole of the Northeast at the click of a mouse.
Be it information, discussion, photographs, music or current issues, North-East India, a site on the popular social networking site, Facebook, has fused anything and everything you can think of about the region, into a complete forum.
The administrators say, “We started this page in July, 2009 to showcase the not very famous but attractive places, talented people and rich culture of different tribes and communities. We have got wonderful support from people and friends from Facebook and other portals. When the country, specially the Northeast, is suffering from insurgency and poor political outlook, we hope to present a different picture to the world.”
Not only is the site a mine of information on tourist hotspots, it also fans nostalgia among the people of the region settled elsewhere. Uma Richmond spent her teenage years in Shillong. Currently based in Indianapolis, Indiana in the US, she finds the page a great help in keeping abreast of affairs in the region, especially “the descriptions of festivals and locations” in the region that she still considers her home.
The site has registered a phenomenal rise in the number of members and provides the latest updates on current events as well.
Martha Misquitta, a Goan from Mumbai settled in Bloomington in the US, says, “The Northeast has been close to my heart since 1982. I was a teacher in Imphal for two years and thereafter, in Assam. When I first discovered the North-East page through a common Mizo friend I got goosebumps.”
“The site keeps you informed on what is new in the region and is also a way to find friends. I am looking for a friend named Jacintha Thankul from the Thankul tribe from Manipur, and Barbara Sangma, a Garo, from Tura. I am hoping that someday they too join the page and I am able to connect with them,” Martha says.
The fans, though, are not limited to the people of the region.
They also comprise ardent fans from other states and even countries, who consider the region a traveller’s paradise and a cultural haven.
Rajeev Agarwal, a businessman from Calcutta, says, “Having been born in Manipur and spent some years there, I have been lucky to experience some of the flavours of this region. The page reminds me of the same.”
The site is also a boon for tourists looking for destinations which have been largely unexplored.
Browsers can read up all they want on Phawngpui peak in Mizoram or Khecheoplari lake in Sikkim through the featured links and articles.
Dhiren Dukhu, a writer from Delhi, says, “The page is a preview of the beautiful land which waits to be explored. Not only does one get the ground realities of the places one wants to visit but also gain access to specific information. One can connect with prospective co-travellers or hosts. The tourism industry and local residents can benefit a lot with such free-flow of information.”
Those missing the lush hills of Mizoram and Nagaland or evenings on the Brahmaputra can gaze at the rich collection of photographs. It is also a forum for aspiring photographers.
The discussion board is widely used to seek aid and travel tips.
For some, it has helped dispel fears and myths about the region.
Balaji Srinivasan writes on the discussion board, “It is one of the few really illuminating groups about a region that’s completely ignored by our mainstream.”
Balaji says all he had to do before planning a trip to the Northeast was to start a discussion and there was an immediate stream of people eager to help.
One can also tune in to a collection of traditional and modern folk songs on offer.
It is also a place to pay tribute to pioneers who have gone unsung in history, shedding light on on the life and times of persons like Aideu Handique, the once illiterate village girl who became the first woman to act in the first Assamese film, Joymoti, in 1933.
Nikita Bankoti, Facebook enthusiast, echoes many fans when she says, “I am not from the Northeast and have never been there. But there is something about the region. I love the culture...The place believes in equality. The women’s movement is so strong….They are free to express themselves. I hate it when people from Delhi discriminate against them.”