Mumbai: Non-cricket sports in India generally have to witness a lot of apathy from various corners. That is enhanced manifold, when it comes to athletes from the North-east.
A recent comment by Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra stirred up further controversy towards the North-east, after she referred to the Himalayan state of Sikkim as a place that is rife with “insurgency and troubling situations”.
Chopra, who is the brand ambassador of one of the seven North-eastern states, Assam, said while speaking about her upcoming film, Pahuna, which has a story based in Sikkim, “Sikkim is a small state in the North-east of India which never had a film industry or anyone who made a film from the region. This is the first film ever that’s come out of that region because it’s very troubled with insurgency and troubling situations.”
However, state icon, former Indian football team captain and current politician Bhaichung Bhutia criticised Priyanka Chopra for her comments, saying that his state has been one of the most stable regions in India for decades.
“Sikkim is one of the most politically stable states in the country since 1975, and there has not been a single insurgency since then,” Bhaichung said to Sportskeeda. “I don’t know where Priyanka obtained this data, but it has nothing to do with our state.
The former East Bengal and Mohun Bagan star even went on to suggest that Priyanka Chopra may have mixed Sikkim with one of the other states from the region.
“She probably mixed it up with another North Eastern state, but her words have deeply affected the people of our state,” he continued. “One of the primary reason that people from across the country tend to stereotype North East is that of their lack of awareness from the region.”
Bhaichung went on to state that the people of Sikkim are proud of their culture, and see themselves as an integral part of the country.
“Honestly when I became the captain of the Indian football team it was one of the proudest moments for the state. They celebrated my Captaincy as I was captaining India, not because they wanted Sikkim as a separate state,” said Bhaichung. “People here are proud Indians, and there is no other country they would want to be a part of.”