Assam Against Hindutva: A Report of the Cultural Protest Held in Guwahati
August 22, 2017
In the run up to Independence Day, on the 12th of August, defying inclement weather and continuous spells of shower, over a thousand prominent intellectuals and citizens gathered at Digilipukhuri in Guwahati to send a strong message to Assam government that right thinking and democratic sections of Assam will not tolerate divisive politics and Hindutva fascist agenda of the present government. Led by eminent public thinker Dr. Hiren Gohain among others, a protest march was taken out which culminated into a cultural congregation at Lakhidhar Bora Khetra. Right the beginning all present at Lakhidhar Bora Khetra observed two minutes of silence to remember all those who have been lynched across India in past three years.
Apart from Dr. Hiren Gohain, the congregation was addressed by senior journalists Ajit Bhuyan, Haidar Hussain, Prasanta Rajguru, and eminent cultural critic Dilip Hazarika.
Dr. Hiren Gohain while addressing the gathering highlighted that, “All the right-thinking citizens and patriotic people should come forward to play their part in retaining the secular foundation of our society. At a time when some forces are hell bent on trying to teach certain brand of patriotism by wielding the stick, people will have to come out to protest and raise their voices”.
Dr. Gohain further added, “The poison of communalism is being spread across our universities, research institutions and our education system. Citizens are being dictated what to eat and what to wear, which should be unthinkable in any democracy.”
Artists, singers and cultural activists from across Assam participated and performed in the congregation. Renowned octogenarian singer Sudakshina Sarma infused extraordinary spirit into the protest when her voice echoed in the protest site while she sang Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s Nami Aha Xundorore Xena Shipli Dal.
Prominent citizens like Nirupama Borgohain, Anima Guha, Anuradha Dutta, Santana Bordoloi, Udayaditya Bharali, Sitanath Lakhar, Jyoti Prasad Saikia, Harekrishna Deka, Apuba Patangia Kalita, Hafiz Rashid Chaudhary among others also participated in the protest.
On behalf of the organisers, senior journalist and activist Manjit Mahanta proposed a resolution that a warning letter be written to Chief Minister of Assam, Prime Minister of India and President of India that people of Assam will not tolerate divisive politics and fascist agendas in the guise of a particular brand of Indian nationalism. The resolution was passed unanimously.
Below are few images and the text of the statement that was issued during the protest:
For The Country and Its People
A Cultural Congregation and Protest , 12th August, Lakhidhar Bora Khetra
What is happening in our country? Where is it heading? In appearance everything seems alright, but things are not as they seem. As if the country is drifting away under the influence of an invisible force.What have we seen in recent times? On the one hand there are serious problems of extreme unemployment, price rise, agrarian crisis, and an unprecedented situation faced by the people working in the unorganised sector and on the other, passions are inflamed on the food habit, apparel and religious practices of different communities. Even their livelihood is being threatened. Unfortunately there is a concerted move to divert people’s attention from the more fundamental issues such as the economic development of the country, the problem of unemployment for crores of youths and above all the question of good governance! Was it such things that the ruling dispensation promised before coming to power? What happened to those lofty promises now? It seems they are no longer interested in them. Their major concerns now are upholding certain religious practices of the majority community like cow protection and etc. The Hindu fanatical mobs are raising these issues all over the country with the tacit support of the party in power. Already many Muslims have been lynched by these unruly youths at several places in the country for allegedly eating beef and transporting cattle illegally. The Dalits, Christians and people belonging to other minority communities have also been harassed and tortured. A worrying thing is these developments may propel India to an anarchic state by creating a fertile ground for the growth of radical forces in a section of Muslim community. Decent and well meaning people in our country are disturbed by these tendencies which also tarnished the image of India abroad.
We unequivocally condemn all such things and it is our demand that the government ensures that nobody takes law into their hands under any circumstances. We also note with concern that in such an environment the judiciary appears to be faltering in making up their minds on some vital issues. The condemnation of such developments by the leaders of the government is not enough. It must find out the guilty and punish them and take effective measures so that such atrocities are not repeated. All the concerned authorities must strictly adhere to the rule of law and implement it actively. Here we would like to assert that nobody or no institution and organisation can be above the constitution of India, the framing of which was the culmination of the freedom movement and which embodies the aspirations of all sections of the people. The constitution of India in its preamble made a resolve to secure all citizens, “Justice, social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief and faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all, fraternity assuring the dignity of individual and the unity of the nation.”We also urge the government that instead of working for the interests of the big businesses and corporates, it should implement the welfare measures for the common people as mentioned in the directive principals of the constitution of India.
The situation of Assam is still worse. People continue to suffer from the havoc of floods. Assam is India in miniature. The demographic composition of Assam is such that any religious conflict may plunge the state into chaos. Besides economic underdevelopment, Assam is facing an existential crisis because of the presence of a large number of foreign nationals in the state.The religious prejudice on the part of the state and the central governments has stood in the way of resolving the issue on a secular democratic basis. We demand that this issue is settled in a proper constitutional manner.Under the circumstances, the forces creating religious tension in the society must be firmly contained. Therefore, in this time of crisis, we appeal to all patriotic and right thinking citizens in the country that they should play their part in upholding democracy, rule of law, secularism and social peace.
English translation by Samudra Sangha Gogoi (Delhi Action Committee for Assam)
Image courtesy: atikromi.wordpress.com
First published by: atikromi.wordpress.com
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