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Anangsha Alammyan

What It Feels to Live In A Country Scarred By Internal Racism

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Anangsha Alammyan
Anangsha Alammyan
Image from Unsplash

Aside from being a tactical disadvantage, several other issues aside from having sunset at different times of the day at different parts of the same country, namely:

  • Fewer daylight hours leading to more electricity usage.
  • Traveling from the northeast to other parts of the country and vice versa can require a resetting of the biological clocks, leading to a few days of a jetlag-like effect.

In fact, there were talks of instating a separate time for the northeastern part of India. In 2018, the CSIR-National Physical Laboratory and the National Measurement Institute of India proposed the implementation of two time zones for the country, namely IST-I (UTC +5:30) and IST-II (UTC +6:30).

But experts predict that having a separate time zone for this region could lead to problems as well, such as:

  • The possibility of human error in changing time when crossing the time zone by railway and aviation employees may result in accidents.
  • Offices and banks that need to be constantly interconnected would find it difficult to operate in the same sphere.

These are all minor issues and can be easily solved. After all, separate time zones within a country are not unheard of. The United States has six time zones and Russia has as many as eleven.

The biggest problem is, in a country like India where the people from the northeast are already discriminated against and called “Chinese”, having a separate time zone may enhance the sense of alienation of people belonging to the region.

Assam and the rest of the northeastern states are regularly under-represented in national media, with the people treated like strangers in their own country. There have been several instances of violence against the people of this region in different parts of India because they looked different or couldn’t speak the local language properly.

In such a landscape, I fear a separate time zone might make the situation even worse.

I’ve had friends treat me differently when I went to live with them, often using the phrase “In your homeland” to emphasize how the language, culture, and traditions are different from what they are used to.

If the time zones are different as well, people who aren’t familiar with life in this region might take it as an excuse to further treat the locals like strangers.

It might be even worse because, as a country, India has always had one time zone throughout its breadth. And since it is a tropical country, we don’t have daylight savings as well (the practice of advancing clocks typically by one hour during warmer months so that darkness falls at a later clock time).

In essence, the concept of time has pretty much always been static in my country. In such a situation, if a separate time zone is introduced in a region that’s already been discriminated against so much, it might cause a chasm too vast to ever bridge.

Sure, there might be several benefits to coming back from the office at 6 PM and still being able to go for a walk when it’s not pitch dark. But that might not be a sufficient price to pay for the barrage of internal racism that might follow.