Aarya actor Priyasha Bhardwaj: I have grown up feeling alienated

Updated: Jul 25, 2020, 07:24 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Aarya actor Priyasha Bhardwaj on the apathy of the mainstream audience towards people from Assam.

Priyasha Bhardwaj
Priyasha Bhardwaj

A day before India announced a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Aarya actor Priyasha Bhardwaj flew back to hometown Guwahati. The actor, who was lauded for her act in the Disney + Hotstar series, has previously appeared in Amazon Prime Video's Made in Heaven, Zee5's Kaafir and is awaiting the release of Mirzapur 2.

As Assam reels under the debilitating floods, the actor rues that the mainstream media has not highlighted the worsening situation in her home state. Calling out the apathy, Bhardwaj says, "We have grown up feeling that we don't belong to mainland India. There's a step-motherly treatment meted out to this part of the country. Even when I moved to Delhi, people would often ask, 'Why do you have an accent?' I have grown up feeling alienated. Now, [the alienation] has been normalised. Every year we suffer these floods."

Priyasha Bhardwaj with Sushmita Sen in Aarya
Priyasha Bhardwaj with Sushmita Sen in Aarya

The actor admits that the issue is complex and the solution to it has to be meticulously chalked out, beginning with a dialogue between state government and centre to ensue. "Assam and the North East zones have rich natural resources and we've tampered with it beyond its natural limit. About one third of the Netherlands lie below sea level due to which they often suffer floods. They created dams to control the situation. It would cost a good sum of money to correct the condition [in Assam]. Well-intentioned people in power have to command responsibility. The lack of interest is worrisome because it almost amounts to saying that we've made our peace with some people dying every year."

The floods have affected 90 per cent of the Kaziranga National Park, resulting in the death of several animals. "The National highway is being built across the park. Kaziranga is an ecosystem on its own, but if there's a highway across it with cars constantly pacing up and down, it is bound to create a sense of fear in animals. We humans are greedy but they are suffering for our misdeeds," says Bhardwaj.

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