Seven sisters

Seven sisters

Daily Life, Contemporary Issues, Documentary
{"id":9879,"grant_id":9,"user_id":18665,"grant_submission_status_id":4,"grant_result_type_id":null,"cover_block_id":109823,"story_id":13190,"place_id":null,"title":"Seven sisters","excerpt":"<p>The projects speaks about the young generation of Indians - the inhabitants of the seven Northeastern states - who caught up between the traditional life, significantly different from the mainland, the strong modern influences, and under the political pressure, seek for their own identity. <\/p>","excerpt_raw":"The projects speaks about the young generation of Indians - the inhabitants of the seven Northeastern states - who caught up between the traditional life, significantly different from the mainland, the strong modern influences, and under the political pressure, seek for their own identity. \n","body":"<p>During my 7 years in India I had been strongly interested in the North East region of India - the \u201cseven sisters\u201d states. To me, the isolated region is an arena of West vs East value conflict, it's were the negotiation between modernism and mysticism takes place every day. \r<\/p><p>Starting at the time when they were established, they have been kept in a shaky equilibrium. Poor economic conditions have triggered civil conflicts. Corruption and political destabilization have led to insurgencies in many areas. What is more, geographic isolation and a lack of information about and awareness of the region in the rest of India have resulted in mostly images of violence, terrorism and instability.\r<\/p><p>Having many friends in Delhi who are from the Northeast, and I have always wondered what growing up in such an environment would be like. How do you sustain a balance between the forces pulling you into different directions? My friends want to decide about themselves. But their parents\u2019 generation is still conservative. There is a tension between modern way of life and the mystical or the religous. There are other additional restrictions, some basic (money), some a lot more challenging (stereotypes or racism). The rest of India looks down on Northeastern youngsters and discriminates against them because of their \u2018eastern\u2019 looks. \r<\/p><p>The division of the region from the rest of the country has not resulted from political reasons alone. People from the Northeast differ from those in the rest of India culturally, linguistically, genealogically, even historically. They have a different sense of their identity. A strong European missionary presence in the 19th century not only resulted in a huge concentration of Christians today, it also helped preserve an appreciation for foreign influences. There are many aspects to this like the exposure to Western literature and culture. Consequently, there is a strong identification with a foreign style of life which sometimes results in a rejection of mainland Indian values. In addition, the Northeast in parts remains free of the cast system, and there are even some matrilineal traditions. So the differences between people from the Northeast and the rest of India are complex, and they exist on many levels.\r<\/p><p>Starting in the 1980s there have been many insurgencies in the region. The government in Delhi sent in the military and introduced draconic anti-terrorist laws trampling basic human rights and seeing every youngster as a potential rebel. Frequent curfews resulted in young people being kept indoors, where they dreamt of being free to do what they want -- not unlike what young people in Eastern Europe experienced under communism. \r<\/p><p>Knowing all of this had me wonder. How do you create a sense of identity against such a background? How do you fight the stereotypes and labels pinned on you? While portraying young people caught up in this existence with my camera, I noticed universal conflicts that I know from own, culturally very different background: Individual lives are set against political expedience. And a desire for change is in conflict with the powerful shackles of tradition. It's a struggle I am very familiar with, so I know how it is subtle and painful at the same time.<\/p>","body_raw":"During my 7 years in India I had been strongly interested in the North East region of India - the \u201cseven sisters\u201d states. To me, the isolated region is an arena of West vs East value conflict, it's were the negotiation between modernism and mysticism takes place every day. \r\n\r\nStarting at the time when they were established, they have been kept in a shaky equilibrium. Poor economic conditions have triggered civil conflicts. Corruption and political destabilization have led to insurgencies in many areas. What is more, geographic isolation and a lack of information about and awareness of the region in the rest of India have resulted in mostly images of violence, terrorism and instability.\r\n\r\nHaving many friends in Delhi who are from the Northeast, and I have always wondered what growing up in such an environment would be like. How do you sustain a balance between the forces pulling you into different directions? My friends want to decide about themselves. But their parents\u2019 generation is still conservative. There is a tension between modern way of life and the mystical or the religous. There are other additional restrictions, some basic (money), some a lot more challenging (stereotypes or racism). The rest of India looks down on Northeastern youngsters and discriminates against them because of their \u2018eastern\u2019 looks. \r\n\r\nThe division of the region from the rest of the country has not resulted from political reasons alone. People from the Northeast differ from those in the rest of India culturally, linguistically, genealogically, even historically. They have a different sense of their identity. A strong European missionary presence in the 19th century not only resulted in a huge concentration of Christians today, it also helped preserve an appreciation for foreign influences. There are many aspects to this like the exposure to Western literature and culture. Consequently, there is a strong identification with a foreign style of life which sometimes results in a rejection of mainland Indian values. In addition, the Northeast in parts remains free of the cast system, and there are even some matrilineal traditions. So the differences between people from the Northeast and the rest of India are complex, and they exist on many levels.\r\n\r\nStarting in the 1980s there have been many insurgencies in the region. The government in Delhi sent in the military and introduced draconic anti-terrorist laws trampling basic human rights and seeing every youngster as a potential rebel. Frequent curfews resulted in young people being kept indoors, where they dreamt of being free to do what they want -- not unlike what young people in Eastern Europe experienced under communism. \r\n\r\nKnowing all of this had me wonder. How do you create a sense of identity against such a background? How do you fight the stereotypes and labels pinned on you? While portraying young people caught up in this existence with my camera, I noticed universal conflicts that I know from own, culturally very different background: Individual lives are set against political expedience. And a desire for change is in conflict with the powerful shackles of tradition. It's a struggle I am very familiar with, so I know how it is subtle and painful at the same time.","is_shortlisted":1,"is_strong":0,"is_ongoing":1,"is_unpublished":0,"sent_first_email_reminder":0,"started_at":"2013-01-01 00:00:00","ended_at":null,"created_at":"2018-09-26 09:33:02","updated_at":"2018-10-25 15:11:48","place":null,"publications":[{"id":6067,"name":"Ojodepez","url":"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/OjodepezMagazine\/","issue_no":null,"place_id":145546,"published_at":"2015-10-01 00:10:00","object_id":9879,"object_type":"PMH\\GrantSubmission","created_at":"2018-09-26 09:33:02","updated_at":"2018-09-26 09:33:02","place":{"id":145546,"city":null,"region":null,"country":"Spain","country_code":"ES","continent":"Europe","lat":"40.463667","lon":"-3.74922","verified":0,"created_at":"2015-11-13 13:57:17","updated_at":"2016-02-04 16:08:41","name":"Spain"}}],"categories":[{"id":3,"name":"Daily Life","slug":"daily-life","created_at":"2015-11-30 18:49:31","updated_at":"2015-11-30 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