A general understanding of diversity of the Northeast region is focused on multitude of ethnic and linguistic spectrum. This calls for closer look at whether diversity in exteriority is a fact of reality. What is significant is the way we see these diversities as opposed to conflicting interests. However, diversity of the region, more than the ethnic and linguistic plurality, is marked by contesting interface of people and their collective claims. Those are the real challenges the region is faced with. The issue is about how constituent agents of this diversity look at their relationships. Diversity of the region has to be understood in the light of these complexities and not merely on the given nature of things.
The pressing issue is: what makes us see those communities as opposed to one another in their relationships? To address those issues, it is important to study what actually shapes the understanding of complex and diverse layers of group actions and relationships. This diversity is yet to be settled. To be precise, the challenge is more about shaping up the diversity into coherence, Understanding the Northeast has become an ethical challenge – and not to reduce the region as a stark object of study.
A closer look reveals that the region has now become a replica of the Indian sub-continent, perhaps a miniature India. The number of ethnic communities and languages numbering over two hundred shows fluidity in capturing the region as a given whole. Positively, it is a good site to experiment with democratic politics for there is neither an absolute majority community nor a major language to serve as lingua franca. The region in the true sense is unsettled; it is fairly fluid to take an enduring shape. To contextualize this point, identity politics could serve as a good example. Most of the nationality claims by the ethnic communities are extremely fragile. It is not merely because the idea of nation that these claimants aspire is a modern concept, but also that there is a lively exercise of ethnic groups re-identifying themselves in the light of several new categories and relationships. Since national aspiration is a modern ethos, the ethnic groups are constantly struggling to adapt and own the spirit of nationalism of their own community, and even at times expand it – all these in the backdrop of a traditional and/or tribal worldviews and ways of life.