Assamese; where is our self respect ?

We come second only to Spartans when we (the Assamese people) as a collective unit announce our glorious past to the world. Our “continued” “struggle” to establish our rights has no parallel in human history. Where we stand today is not a fault of our own, not of our people and our hypocrisy, mediocrity but of the fact that we were pushed to be a part of a nation that always took a step motherly attitude on us.

The flood issue in Assam is perennial. It is similar to how some pockets of India face drought or a crop failure. Assam as a state has a flood control board and also a Brahmaputra Board to look into the issue of perennial flood. Infact there are accounts of flood in Assam even from the 16th century when Musalman invaders were cut off from their supplies due to the severe floods and eventually defeated by the natives. But this game of flood, flood control and flood relief has becomes even more exciting post the 90’s. I agree that several issues pertaining to the NE states were not taken seriously by the centre. But the way the people in the state including the state govt, social organizations and government bodies have taken this forward is an example of the highest order of corruption both materially and morally.

To resolve the issue of drought in certain pockets of India and flood in other pockets of India many has suggested the idea of inter river linkage. The Assamese believe that this will dry up all our rivers. When there is a talk of a dam in our state, we believe that it will flood all of our land. There is one protest for each stand, both separate and mutually exclusive. The middle ground that can come forward as a solution from a comprehensive understanding of all threats is always never rationally argued or even attended. Coming to floods itself; we know it is coming. We will not question our State Govt. of its preparedness. We will not even question where the allocated funds from Centre to State went and regarding its utilization for flood control. But when flood comes few things will definitely come up:

  1. GoI must declare flood a national problem
  2. We need a 500/1000/2000 Crore package from Centre
  3. Media must focus on our floods

We will draw parallels on how other states have got support and we have been left out. Throwing a sense of helpless attitude we basically “cry” out as a community for help.  I still remember the Orissa cyclone and how each of us had donated Rs 20 to the school which eventually donated an amount to the PM Relief fund. Almost every school in Guwahati did that. Every year when floods happen in Assam how many schools does the same ? How different is our behavior in reacting to such floods. We can cry on Facebook, Twitter, on the streets and in front of the camera. But didn’t we know in December 2013 that floods will occur in Assam in 2014. Did our MP’s request Central Government for a package before the Budget? If the issue must be resolved by Centre itself, then has our State Govt ever made a study and based on that submitted a master plan for flood control to centre? Never …

A few days back Central Minister Sarbananda Sonowal convened a meeting under the direction of Cabinet Minister for Highways Mr Nitin Gadkari. None of the ministers, bureaucrats from Assam attended the said meeting. So even when centre is coming to help us, “ego” of our own people is pushing it back. If we show this respect to a minister from our land what stand will he receive at national stage? We will still shamelessly blame Central Minister for bad quality of roads in our state.

It is an open secret that flood control is one of the best ways of making money for all contractors, officials and even a cut from there reaches ministry. These set of people are also well respected in the society due to their financial standing. We cry for flood relief and yet the people who are the culprits behind the non execution of good flood control measures finds good stature in our society.

Forget floods. Promoting Sankerdeva, promoting tourism in Assam, conserving Majuli, saving our one horned Rhino, stopping infiltration, the list goes long. We wish that the centre with its magic wand solves all of it for us. We ignore that not Centre but good irrigation plans by respective State Govt. have resulted in a solution to drought. Obviously they have got support of central schemes. But such schemes exist for every necessity. Question is how well our own people are doing it. We aren’t. For last 13 years we have been happy because Congress could give salaries regularly and AGP couldn’t. Is it even a matrix to compare? A central government is for allocation and the state for execution. We need stronger state govt. who can execute things with an iron hand and with minimum corruption.  We don’t have that. That is our problem; we need to shift our focus there. If we as a race really wish to deserve a good society for us then our people must work and bring the good days. Self respect lies there … Not at the feet of the Central Govt.


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