India is a unique example of diversity, in creed, race, and languages. At the same time there is no shortage of racism even today. Where people from the Northeast are concerned, this process of “othering” is as old as their migration to the major cities looking for work and an opportunity to improve their lives. The discrimination comprises sexual harassment, violence and even deadly attacks. Delhi should be home to every Indian but sometime these people feel like illegal aliens in their own home.

As the national capital Delhi attracts the most young people. For people from the Northeast, especially women, running the daily gauntlet of abuse and lewd remarks can be exhausting and frightening. They are easy to spot as they look so different and therefore easy targets.

The journey of my photo essay began three years ago when I started speaking to these people wherever I found them. Gradually, friendships developed and I started photographing their daily lives at home, social interactions and religious ceremonies. I chose Munirka, Humayunpur, Gandhi Vihar, Indra Vihar, and Old Gupta Chowk as my field of work since these are the areas where they mostly reside. This documentation is also an attempt to clear any doubts I might harbour about these people.


Far from home 0

Cutting hair is my hobby, I do it for my friends and brothers.
Does this make me any less than you? 
Ngaranso Hungyo, 28, from Nagaland.

 

Far from home 1

“Yes, that’s us. Its long time we should start to accept.”

Rev Dr. Mathanmi Zimik,  pastor, Tangkhul Church, Delhi.

 

Far from home 2

I am here in Delhi for more than a decade, you tell me what's my identity here. 
Shanti, 30, from Manipur.

Far from home 3

“I am fine.” You don’t look fine. Then stop looking”

Licha Rinya, 22,  from Arunachal Pradesh.

Far from home 4

“But like I said, my face is no stamp of my character.”

Vandana Borkataky, 28, and Sumi Lyndoh, 27 from Meghalaya.

Far from home 5

The stakes are high, so are the conditions.

Every Northeasterner in Delhi.

Far from home 6

As it is Delhi is not safe for women and our girls are considered easy prey.

Bruce K Thangkhal, Northeast Support Centre & Helpline, Delhi

Far from home 7

“This city isn’t home, the people make sure it doesn’t feel like it.”

Aishanya Sharma, 24, from Assam.

Far from home 8

“They laugh at us and call us names, little do they know we are all the same.”

(L) Addon, 31 and Grace, 27 from Sikkim and West Bengal respectively.

Far from home 9

“It is not racial slurs thrown at me that bothers me, but the racial discrimination in educational institutes.”

Rinsophy Chomroy, 26, from Manipur

Far from home 10

“Four years and the streets still feel like a stage. Eyes, everywhere.”

Julian Ningshen, 21, from Nagaland.

Far from home 11

“Yes, I’m different, does it mean I'm not ‘Indian’?”

Sam Yengkhom, 30, from Manipur.

Far from home 12

“We are tribals, proud of our identity. Why should we hide it if others are racist?”

Sorinthan Haorei, president, Tangkhul Katamnao Long, Delhi