Barun Kalita
Barun Kalita Co-founder at Thousandfeeds. Interested in technology, culture, politics, sports, history etc.

Are Assamese people anti-National?

Are Assamese people anti-National?

Assam is protesting against immigration(Citizenship Amendment Act) when they themselves live across different states of India. Is it hypocrisy or have we failed to understand their emotion?

Ever since the Union Cabinet passed the draft of Citizenship Amendment Bill smoke of anger started brewing in Assam. Smoke turned into flare as the bill was tabled in parliament and in no time flare became fire with the passage of the bill in both the houses of the parliament.

People came onto the street protesting, with some holding playcards while a few preferred sticks. Today every Assamese have embraced the ‘gamosa’ with pride and love for its motherland. Chants of ‘Joi Aai Asom’ (Hail Mother Assam) is reverberating along the valleys of the mighty Brahmaputra who is angry as well as deeply hurt. The lush green tea gardens looks pale whereas the Oil fields have became muddy in rage and sorrow.

Assamese felt what Dr. Bhupen Hazarika wrote ‘Sukatura Aai sukuloi saba kenekoi’ (how will one look into the dried down eyes of one’s mother) in the song “Akou Judi Jabo Lage Saraighat o loi” for it had cried far too long.

However, why is that the rest of India or media cannot connect with Assamese emotion? They have valid question when they asks Why Assamese people are so selfish so as to not let others live in their land while they are happily spread across India or Why is Assam Accord so important or Why shouldn’t we call Assam anti-National? Perhaps there are hundred more questions which fellow Indians are asking!

Being an Assamese with no malice in the heart, we should be able to answer them in plain and simple words so as to not let politics and vocabulary confuse or veil their sense of understanding for it is our duty to make them understand when they have somewhat failed to connect with Assamese emotions.

The thing which most fellow Indians have not realized which has led to such questions is lack of understanding about migration and voting rights.

  • Migration vs Immigration:- Immigration is strictly used to describe the movement of people across countries(legal or illegal). Assamese migrates to other part of India as Indians whereas a foreigner (Bangladeshi here) immigrates to India(Assam here) illegally. Assamese are not against fellow Indians migrating to Assam irrespective of their caste, creed, religion etc.
  • Voting Rights and Political Rights in a state of India:- When someone has a voting right in a state that person can shape or determine the policy affecting the social, cultural, economical as well as political aspects of that place directly. Generally, an Assamese will cast his vote in Assam during election and not at the place where he/she is temporarily working.

Illegal immigration of Bangladeshis in Assam is not in same scale (huge difference) as that of Pakistanis or Afghanis in North-Western part of India. For many years Assam has suffered due to illegal immigration and its plight got worse over the years because of the sheer negligence of both Central and State Government. For further details one may look into build up of Assam Agitation which resulted in signing of Assam Accord in the year 1985. The fear of losing one’s culture and language is what is keeping Assam in edge.

Assamese people aversion towards Citizenship Amendment Act is also compounded by historical facts which is not known to fellow Indians. In 1826, when British colonised Assam they made it a part of Bengal Presidency and subsequently Bengali was imposed on Assamese people in between 1836-1873 which is also refered as the Dark Ages of Assamese Language.

Assamese is both a language and ethnic identity for people living in Assam. Today Assamese are sceptical of the idea of giving citizenship to huge number of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh because it will not only lead to cultural and language degradation but might also lead to division and violent clashes between Assamese and Bengali speaking people living in Assam.

Assamese will fight with same vigour for the rights and aspirations of fellow Indians at the time of their adversity and expects the same from its brothers and sisters today when its identity and culture is at stake.

Jai Hind! Joi Aai Asom!

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