In theory, in practice & the left


More than half of you won’t proceed ahead if I start off with the line “the left is too idealistic to perform”.  There was something going through my mind when my philosophy Professor explained “change”. He said “perfection is that when one actualizes all its possible potentials, unless one achieves that it will always be subjected to purposeful change and hence nothing is perfect in the world of the visible because everything is subjected to change”. That’s when after years and years of questioning I understood why the huge pool of intellectuals in the left believes it to be perfect.

“Because in the left nothing is subjected to change”

Through this article I don’t wish to blabber all that is already seen today by people, I hope 34 years were enough. And the context here is not that of Bengal. This article is out of genuine sentiments where apart from the left being too practical to perform I also had serious doubts about the logical consistency of their theory and the data they supply to instate people’s belief in what they say. Be it 1985 or 2012 the left has kept a single stand:”Illegal immigration to India and particularly in the State of Assam from Bangladesh is negligible and most of them are genuine citizens coming before 1971 but yet unmixed with the Assamese population”. Now this is a big statement to prove and the left tries to bully everyone smartly. Create asymmetry of information and throw some data on the face of the people and then even if their hearts and minds don’t accept their mouths will be shut. This brings me to the point of clash between the mainstream & the left in Assam.

Alarming rate of Muslim growth: Illegal immigration vs. high fertility

The indigenous populace of Assam had always tried to push back the “Bongals” coming from East Bengal until Pandit Nehru threatened the Assamese premier Bimala Prasad Chaliha to cut all central help if he continued his strict policy of pushing back immigrants coming after 1950(The year when Nehru himself signed the Nehru-Liaquat pact finalizing 1950 as the cutoff year). Things went by and the language movement further aggravated the anti-“bongali” sentiments in the minds of the people. They could clearly see thousands in number who were very different from the Assamese Hindus or the Assamese Mussalmans coming and settling in lower Assam along river beds and slowly but steadily clearing forest lands, occupying cultivable land and forming mammoth ghettos. Then came the worst years of the anti-immigrant movement from 1979-1985, the logic was simple; the change in the demographic pattern in the entire Brahmaputra valley clearly proved the growth of the Muslim population to be unnatural unless a huge amount of immigrants were still crossing the border. Let us understand that whatever be the result of the Assam Agitation (The formation of the Asom Gana Parishad and its two terms as governments), the movement was a very genuine appeal to the central govt. to look at the issue of infiltration and to put it at the centre stage of national politics.  But the left was very opposed to the movement itself. It had a fundamental problem with the cause of the movement. It believed that migration is negligible and even if there are any than the cause is economic migration which being leftist they had to support. They simply overlooked the fears to the indigenous culture, livelihood etc which haunts Assam today in a massive way. But today after 27 years of the accord they have an explanation or “theory” as they say it which can fool many who have little idea about this problem of influx. It goes like this; given the huge influx before 1971(luckily after agitation was over they had to justify 1971 instead of 1950 which they smartly picked although I would label that as a shifting stance) and the high fertility among Muslims the high growth rate of Muslims is a natural thing. The following is a bit of analysis on how asymmetric their analysis is and how inconsistent their claims are with reality:

Left: The Muslim growth rate of Assam is quite comparable to the growth rate of the indigenous in certain districts like Karbi Anglong, Kokrajhar, Dhemaji etc and hence natural

Reality: The growth rate of the districts compared had a very low density which incentivized movement of Assamese people from within Assam to occupy jobs, acquire business and more. Since their previous density was low the shifting of a few people from rest of Assam spiked the “percentage” of growth. Given the density of Dhubri (highest in Assam) to Karbi Anglong (lowest in Assam) is close to 6:1 therefore for the same percentage growth the ratio of number of people growing will be approx 6:1. To compare the percentage growth of the densest district with the sparsely populated district is firstly unexpected of the intellectuals and secondly is like comparing the growth percentage of Indian economy with that of the US economy and then stating that India’s GDP growth is more than US because its percentage is higher.

Left: The high fertility rate is the reason of growth among the Muslims

Reality: A simple comparison with the bordering districts of Bangladesh will tell us why this is not true. The districts on the Bangladesh side of the border had a population growth rate of almost 1/3rd of the districts on the Indian side.  Fertility certainly cannot change within 10 kilometre or by shifting from the Ganga to the Brahmaputra valley

Left: That the districts which are suspected to house maximum infiltrators have comparable growth rate of Muslims with certain other districts which rules out the possibility of there being any unnatural growth

Reality: When in comparison the start point must be the same. Districts of Assam where the percentage of Muslims was traditionally low (Jorhat (4.8%),Dhemaji (1.8%) if compared with that of Dhubri (74.8%)or Barpeta (59.4%) will always give shocking results. If 10 people are introduced to a group of 10 and a group of 100 the former increases by 100% and the later by just 10%. So if Muslims in Jorhat or Dhemaji increased by 15% then for the same to be achieved by Dhubri or Barpeta the number of Muslims must grow by 20-25 times in number.  If a certain number of immigrants themselves shifted from Nagaon to Jorhat then it would without doubt spike its percentage of Muslim growth. To compare it with Dhubri is highly unfortunate and this definitely cannot conclude with certainty that the Muslim growth was natural.

 In “Fooled by Randomness”, Taleb writes how people are fooled by probability without thinking of expectation. A similar approach to confuse between numbers and percentages definitely helped the left’s agenda  


In Dhemaji for example in 1971 Muslims were .6% of the population, in 2001 it stood at 1.8% which means that 1.2 % growth meant that the Muslims percentage had grown by 300%, in Barpeta it grew from 48.6% to 59.4%. Which meant that the 10.8% growth accounted for just 22% growth in the percentage of Muslims, will it be smart to say that population growth of Muslims in Barpeta is not abnormal because it grew quite less than Dhemaji. Certainly you can decipher.


    It was very clear since the beginning that the left had an issue with the rise of regionalism in Assam and the rest of northeast. It was gaining heavily in the rest of east India and supporting the immigrants in the name of economic migrants seemed to be a good trick to strengthen its foothold in Assam just like it had done in Tripura and West Bengal but it neglected certain aspects which clearly didn’t well go with the middle class Assamese.

I certainly am not writing in support of Mamata Didi here, she is a different game all together and thankfully Assam didn’t produce a leader like her. BJP is right of centre, Congress is tilted towards being left of centre and Mamata Banerjee is left of left. But the aim of this was to explain that Leftists are not ideologist whose theories are true but difficult to implement in practice, many a times their theory in itself is flawed. The theory cannot answer the following at all:

  1. What happened so drastically in 1971 that immigrants who were coming in large numbers till then suddenly stopped coming?
  2. If they really were simple economic migrants the left couldn’t explain what stopped them from assimilating with Assamese society and instead move towards religious fundamentalism?
  3. If high fertility was the reason for high growth in Assam why then did certain bordering districts on the Bangladesh side have a negative growth rate?

The idea of migration and its acceptance from the economic point of view certainly isn’t what I am rejecting here. What I am rejecting instead is the way the left has tried to paint this idea from end to end in Assam without caring for its sustainability and existence. It has clearly tried to neglect immigration into Assam. That immigration is happening into Assam if not from anything else can be clearly accepted after reports from defence ministry and central intelligence which claims that thousands of people cross the open border each day and that the indigenous of Assam faces a cultural, social and political threat from the immigrants is today out in the open for everyone to see. In such a case no one can accept their presence in Assam, forget about work permit and citizenship etc. Assam certainly cannot treat them as simple immigrants after it had witnessed in history a narrow escape from being merged with East Pakistan. It is an open secret as to how Sadullah in the name of “grow more crops” flooded Assam with Muslims so that he could later claim for Assam to be merged with Pakistan. This influx has been unabated. That the motive is any different now is highly doubtful.

In such a situation will you call a theory that negates the fact of massive immigration, pushes for work permit for whatever section of immigrants have come in the name of economic migrants a correct but difficult to implement theory. Or will you simply reason it to be a false theory. A theory that is so much into theory that reality isn’t portrayed through it at all, the call is yours; do make the call. But for me in such cases, it is one thing to prove things in theory, one thing to do it in practical and just stubborn to be left.  There is another set of stubborn people in Assam who stands on the central line and keeps throwing ideas towards the left and disagrees when we call those ideas leftist or unrealistic. They don’t want to be tagged as leftist; they want to be tagged as intellectuals. No?


10 thoughts on “In theory, in practice & the left

  1. lifeisbetter

    Apt Analysis. I personally do not segment opinion by the dynamics left, right and centre. I segment them as right, wrong and biased. It is right to say that religious polarization is eating away the very ethos of Assam. It is right to say that after Nellie massacre, the Muslim villages in Nellie have graduated from hay to shining TIN roof. It is right to say that the outskirts of Kaziranga is infested with Bangladeshis.

    It is right to say that the political leadership of Assam today is weak. AGP is weak as well as poor.

    It is right to assume that it is you and me and our likes who have to go back to the grass-roots to build up awareness and activism for a sovereign Assam and the Assamese way of life.

    1. Arindam Baruah Post author

      Very correct Durlov Da, it is for the once who have seen Assam from outside to return home and plug the loopholes and finish the struggle that our fellow sisters & brothers have been fighting for since ages.

  2. pulakeshupadhyaya

    Nice that you exposed the neo-communists and their love for immigrants. By citing comfortable figures they have tended to fool the people. Truth cannot be hidden by the worst of lies, however statistical. Now, these idiots have stooped low by reporting abuse.

  3. Rituparno Goswami.

    1. The very first sentence indicates your bourgeois mentality. People may proceed (?) if u start with the line, “how good the political parties are except left parties!”
    2. “Everything is subjected to change.” It is one of the five basic laws of dialectical materialism introduce by Karl Marx. Ask your philosophy Professor about it. But for a period of time or for our planet, we can consider some laws of nature as absolute like ‘law of conservation of energy’ in physics. This law may not be true if we consider the whole universe. So, according to Marx, “change is the only absolute truth in the universe.”
    3. “In the left, nothing is subjected to change.” It is only a bleat without any base or proofs. Every ideal left party, on the way to socialism, must have to change the approach regarding different situations. However, what type of change are you talking about? To kill Muslims like BJP, to make crores of scam like congress or to bring capitalist economic policies like neo-liberal, free market policies or to bring all sectors under privatisation. Can you spell a single word about left parties’ corruption? I can give you thousands of unanimous examples of corruption of other political parties like Congress, BJP, and AGP etc. Do you want the leftist to participate in the corruption like others so that a “change” (?) can happen?
    From 18th century we are living in an oppressed imperial and capitalist society. However, “capitalism” is better than “feudalism” existed between 1000-1800. Also “feudalism” is better than “slavery system” existed before “feudalism”. So, always a progressive change has been occurring in our society. Now, our future is only “socialism”, where there will be no oppression or inequality like today’s society. Leftist are always fighting for this by overcoming so many struggles. So it is only the capitalist or supporters of capitalism, have to change their minds for development of our society.
    4. Regarding”Assam agitation” or the problems due to”Assam agitation”, I won’t say any word. Only emotional fools think that it was a great movement. Better you read some books like “তেজৰ আখৰে লিখা” by D. Hiren Gohain. The communalism, identity politics, terrorism etc are the result of “Assam agitation”, which are presently being the most dangerous problems in Assam.
    5. You are blaming lefts, but what is your view about ultra-regionalist? What is your view about regionalist killing lefts in the time of “Assam agitation”? What is your view about terming Prafulla Mahanta, Bharat Narah as world class leaders by the Assamese people? What is your view about terming lefts as Bangladeshi as they didn’t support Assam agitation? What is your view about refusing the appeal of communist parties of considering the year 1971 as the base year by the AASU? However, leaders of AASU signed the Assam accord considering the year 1971 as the base year. If they would listen to the lefts earlier then Assam agitation wouldn’t happen. Some people now even called me as Bangladeshi in this group D2S as I said that there is no need for an another Assam agitation.
    6. I can’t say about what left parties think about the present scenario. Only speakers of the respective parties can say that.

    But my personal view is that, now there is no obstacle like IMDT for deporting the Bangladeshis. So, inform the police if you see any Bangladeshis living anywhere, but don’t bawl by saying that Bangladeshis are occupying our forests, if you don’t have guts to inform the police then just shut your mouth well. But, the identification of the Bangladeshis’ has become a very complicated process now-a-days because the age of son or daughter of the peoples coming in 1971 or 72 might be around 25 now. So it is very complicated process. So, I think a serious lawful discussion will be helpful rather than useless rallies of AASU. We cannot deport Bangladeshis without any discussion with Bangladesh govt. and some international laws must be followed in the process. Only the leftist people are arising these aspects regarding this matter while AASU have no worry about these, some AASU members even want to kill all Bangladeshis. The only aim of AASU is to create an emotional situation which will be very dangerous. The present situation of Assam is not pleasant at all. So, now we want slogans like “ধ্বংস নালাগে সৃষ্টি লাগে” rather than “আছে হেংদাং লোৱা নাই ল’লে হেংদাং ৰক্ষা নাই”।

    1. Arindam Baruah Post author

      Rituparno, Thank you for the bit of analysis you have done on my article. In reply I would love to give you a recap of how you have analyzed this piece of writing,

      my article was into 3 pieces, lead up followed by analysis and then some constructive opinion. You have dealt with words and wisdom to the first and last but you have left the analysis untouched, which means you haven’t established any fundamental clash with any argument which I have used to show that the presence of illegal immigrants cannot be negated (just like Tarun Gogoi goes out once in a while to say there are no Bangladeshis in Assam)

      Being a leftist the very first line catches your nerve and then you profess a lot of statements, ideas coming from the book of Mark. That wasn’t the bone of contention. I wasn’t directing anything towards Marx and his ideas but towards the performance of the left from whatever we have seem till date. Change that I talk of here are the agenda’s that the left have been able to pick choose to transform society in the context of India. The question was has the left pushed things forward or are they pulling it backwards ? So I request you not to feel agitated thinking that its a comment towards the ideologists based on whose ideas you people expect a free ride but a reality check that i had posted.

      The you play a trick that is not wise to be done by men, and that is to “put words into others mouth”. At no point in the article did I ever comment on the any other party and its nature of change. So by highlighting some negatives from each party although you might drive the attention away of a few people it will certainly not influence those who have seen the wrath of the leftist cadres in states which were ruled by the left. Lets not get into mud slinging please. Because by comparing negatives to negative we are comparing the foolishness of a donkey to the laziness of a sloth. That basically proves nothing. If we talk of change we have to picture the development that has taken place and compare the value addition that the positives of each one has done to the Indian economy, society and lifestyle.

      Thirdly you have sent some pointed question to me; I love pointed and specific questions, but sadly it has nothing to do with the context of the article. If you read the post carefully then I have written that “Let us understand that whatever be the result of the Assam Agitation (The formation of the Asom Gana Parishad and its two terms as governments),the movement was a very genuine appeal to the central govt. to look at the issue of infiltration and to put it at the centre stage of national politics” which slows in broad daylight that I am not commenting on the agitation or its leaders or its result but on its trademarks which was were viz-a-viz the first such mass appeal to the central govt and secondly a movement that brought it up to the center stage of National politics. Both these facts have been proved to be true in due course of time with the center accepting it as an issue of national importance (3 successive home ministers (1 BJP & 2 Congress) accepting it on the floor of the parliament). By commenting on PK Mahanta and Bharat Narah although you might be able to tactfully revisit that corner of the Assamese mindset which feels like being cheated but you cannot clinch away any logic from the article.

      Finally, but more importantly you made a comment that I must report to police if I know of some immigrant otherwise shut up. Well if I am even slightly capitalist in my approach I will wish to talk of a term called “efficiency”. Me going door to door and spotting immigrants and then reporting followed by a case etc will take centuries before everyone is evicted. It rather is much more efficient to have a record (NRC) of the citizens, then shift the onus to state machinery (police, second line of defense forces) to cross check and spot them legally under the ambit of law and then deport them, isn’t it. So if I go out and suggest these measures will you ask me to shut up. If you do so then you will fall in that line of people who believes in destructive policies rather than constructive. And I am not writing all of this to make jokes on you or to derive sadistic pleasures. I really respect your opinion but I wish that you visualize things from this angle as well.

      Many also confuse me to fall in that line of people who will say “kill all Muslims” or “kill all Bangladeshis” but sorry to take the excitement away from you, I am not one of such kind. I know that with positive intent from govt (One that Assam has failed to create from any party whatsoever) the immigrants can be deported without taking law into our hands. I shall post another article tomorrow which cites what these steps are. I hope that will make your thoughts more clear.

      Take Care & Thank you.

    2. pulakeshupadhyaya

      Dear Rituparno,

      This is a response to your above comment.

      I think as part of the post-agitation generation we have some responsibilities towards the society.

      1. I do not believe things are so simple that one can tag someone as bourgeois, and then the rest of his/her arguments do not stand. It is not a logical assertion on your part, but a deviation from the argument by using the familiar tags that our Leftist friends seek to create. I think, you should rather tackle the argument, not the one who is arguing.

      2. Marxism can be debated later, I think we would rather come to the core philosophy of the article-illegal immigration and the Leftist point of view.

      3. As far as parties are concerned, I do not know how the third richest political party in India after the Congress and the BJP, the CPM can claim to be a party of the proletariat. I respect the difference of opinion in terms of ideology, but I also believe that the CPM itself is not living up to its ideology. So, let us separate CPM and Communism from the debate. Still, even this point can be reserved for a later debate, as our main concern is illegal immigration.

      4. Assam Agitation, like all agitations was hardly flawless. Yet, that does not mean one can undermine the credibility of a mass movement so easily by calling it names and giving it certain tags. I think that would account for an over-simplistic analysis of the Assam Agitation. People in Assam know the truth about illegal immigration, and they need not be fed incomplete statistics to deny what they have observed in front of their very eyes. One of the dreams of the people, even the ones from the remotest of villages is to see an Assam free from illegal infiltrators, in accordance with the law of the land and the Constitution.

      5. Certain leaders/commentators from the Left also supported illegal immigration from Bangladesh, citing economic reasons. I have a direct question for you, “Do you believe in accommodating illegal immigrants who have entered Assam after December’1971?” If not, why don’t you come up and support the basic demand at first? Indeed, I am grateful to you for suggesting that this matter needs to be taken up with the Bangladeshi govt. Obviously, that is a very pragmatic idea.

      6.Having said that, one cannot accuse the AASU as they agreed on 1971 as a benchmark for detection of illegal immigrants. The new generation has every right to be upset about the illegal occupants of our homeland. The grievances against PK Mahanta or Narah are not because they led the agitation, but because they as part of successive govts in Dispur failed to check illegal immigration. The Left was also a part of the Mahanta Govt, in 1996, yet it also acted indifferently.

      People want to relive the dreams of an infiltrator free Assam. So, I would also ask you to at least support the premise that no citizen of any other country will be allowed to illegally settle in Assam. I think you have no problems with that.

      This, I believe, can only be done by updating the NRC, and having the same law for detection of foreigners in Assam as in the rest of India. The operations have to be carried out on a war-footing. The bribery by officials in the border, as well as the racket of supplying false ration-cards and documents should be stopped immediately, and culprits be tried for treason.

      I also hope that while condemning political parties like Congress, BJP and AGP, our Leftists friends might have missed AIUDF’s name by mistake. Or do they consider it to be a party of the proletariat?

      I am against violence of any form, but am in favour of a strict legal process that will detect, defranchise and with active consultation with Govt of Bangladesh, deport the foreign immigrant. This is an overwhelming public opinion, which cannot be shouted down by the slurs of being bourgeois or capitalist. That is why looking at Assam Agitation from one simplistic angle is not okay. Leftists do not have a monopoly over agitations, do they?

      1. Rituparno Goswami.

        Dear Pulakesh,

        1. I don’t care whether you believe. Typical middle class people who are too interested in money and correct social behavior and indifferent about oppressed poor people can be termed as bourgeois. However, “bourgeois” is not a simple word to understand in only one line. Don’t try to deceive people, I did not say that Arindam Baruah is illogical as he has some bourgeois values.

        2. I write some lines about Marx because it was required there.

        3. I don’t agree with you. I think CPM can definitely claim to be a party of the proletariat. I’v no time and interest to debate on this very fact with you. Ask party members, they will clear your doubts.

        4. Do you understand Assamese language? Rply me then I will comment.

        5. Surely they are economic migrants. Have a look at the Arindam Baruah’s question, If they really were simple economic migrants the left couldn’t explain what stopped them from assimilating with Assamese society and instead move towards religious fundamentalism?

        I think it is a “false alarm”. RSS, Bajrangee’s are spreading this type of news. LK Advani has said that Bangladeshi fundamentalist groups are involved in the Bodoland riot. Does he have any proofs? Later we came to know that even Bodo MLA was involved there. My intention is not to say that there are no “anarchist” or “fundamentalist” of “Muslims”. I think anarchist or fundamentalists are criminals only, their religion is not a matter of concern for me. But situation of Assam will be like hell if we start condemning Minor Muslims of Assam as fundamentalists without any proofs. Don’t do that, it will create another bloody reprisal.

        Last but not the least, who can criticize lefts? It becomes an “intellectual fashion” among the highly educated “bourgeois” now-a-day. Leftist are leftists only, neither can divert them from their goal, i.e. socialism because they don’t have any weaknesses like money, wealth, God etc.

  4. Quark

    Excellent article, I can’t agree more. I believe those who have any sorts of idea about the problems our land, people are facing won’t disagree with you significantly. The strongest part of the article is that its being presented in a scientific way (with data and statistics) rather than being emotional or sentimental (which we often do become on such sensitive issues). To make it more scientific may be you could also cite the source from where you have taken the data!

    1. Arindam Baruah Post author

      The facts are based on the Census report of the Govt. of India. Another article which is much shorter than this and speaks of a definite solution to this issue will come up soon. Keep following !!

  5. Pingback: Illegal Immigration : Denial Inc And Their Lies : Centre Right India

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