New Delhi, Dec 6 (PTI) The Northeast is endowed with rich cultural heritage and biodiversity but not much is known about it to people living outside the region, Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Devraj Anbu said Thursday and asserted that the rest of India can learn a lot from these states.Also Read - Humanity Restored! Honest Auto Driver Returns Bag Containing Gold Jewellery & Rs 75,000 Cash

A group of 26 students and seven teachers from the seven states, who are visiting Delhi as part of a national integration tour, interacted with Lt Gen Anbu at the South Block. Also Read - Mathura Girl Raped in Moving Car on Way Back From Agra; 1 Arrested, Another Absconding

“All the Northeasters states, from Arunachal Pradesh to Mizoram and Assam to Meghalaya, are blessed with scenic beauty, and each state has its own rich culture, but not much is known to people about it. And the rest of India learn a lot from these states,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here. Also Read - Highlights India vs New Zealand 3rd T20I Match : IND Win By 73 Runs, NZ Whitewashed 3-0

The contiguous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are popularly referred to as the ‘Seven Sisters’ and along with Sikkim comprise the Northeast India.

“I have been to all the states in Northeast and each state has so much of diversity to offer. Particularly, Sikkim, where I found that it was so well-managed, including the discipline in traffic and civic sense exhibited by people in driving and parking vehicles. Besides, the region has lessons in ecological preservation too, which other parts of India can learn from,” he said.

Anbu emphasised that in north India, people celebrate Holi for a day or two, but in Manipur people from the Meitei tribe play Holi for five days. The colourful festival is known as ‘Yaoshang’.

“How many know about Manipuri Holi. They use natural colours and everyday wear starched white clothes and sing and dance. Isn’t it something, we all should know about?” he said.

The Vice Chief of Army also said the the Northeast has a very rich culinary and linguistic and art and cultural heritage. Bihu dance of Assam and Manipuri dance are some of the well-known art forms.

Earlier, during the interaction, he said the purpose of the tour was to bring the society in these states closer to other parts of India and vice versa.

“You must project your states, and tell it to others and also make friends with people from other states. You have already visited Delhi and met the president at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and will visit Agra too. So, when you go back from here, tell people in your home state about the places visited and your experiences,” he told the students.

Ruby Choudhury, 17, a student from Assam Rifles Public School in Jorhat, said she felt very happy to visit Delhi for the first time and was thrilled to meet President Ram Nath Kovind.

“I was born in Manipur but moved to Assam as child along with my parents. I love Assam and feel proud that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and star athlete Hima Das are from my state. But I wish more people knew more about my state or other Northeastern states. Even in films and news we don’t see much of the Northeast really,” she told PTI.

Judith, 16, a class 11 student from Aizawl, Mizoram said she was also pleased to visit Delhi.

Choudhury and Judith, however, rued that many look at Northeastern people as if they were some “odd people”.

“They term them as ‘chinky people’ we feel very bad about that attitude,” she said.

“Even in Delhi, some of them asked if we were Koreans or Chinese. We need to bring change in behaviour, ” said a teacher, accompanying them on the condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had interacted with a group of girl students from Jammu and Kashmir here and exhorted them to work hard and compete for Army’s ‘Super 30’ coaching programme and build their career through good education.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.