Tag Archives: politics

2014 General Elections – Dibrugarh


Till 2004 Dibrugarh was one of the 4 constituencies in the entire country that never ever fell to a non Congress party. Then came the firebrand AASU leader Sarbanada Sonowal contesting on an AGP ticket who brought an end to the endless Congress victory. In 2004 Kamakhya Prasad Tasa from BJP came second with congress stalwart Paban Singh Ghatowar finishing third. Back in 2009 when AGP and BJP combined, Sarbananda finished behind Paban Singh Ghatowar in the ultimate race. Two different equation, different results. This time around the equation is even more tweaked; Sarbanada Sonowal is now the State BJP president and will most likely contest from Dibrugarh on a BJP ticket and has Kamakhya Prasad Tasa as a close aide helping him form a base around the tea tribe community which till now had been Paban Singh Ghatowar’s pocket votes.

Slides
The story of Dibrugarh in win-loss for the last 3 elections has been such:

Name of Constituency 2006 Assembly elections 2009 General Elections 2011 Assembly Elections

Moran

INC

INC

INC

Dibrugarh

BJP

AGP-BJP

BJP

Lahowal

INC

INC

INC

Duliajan

BJP

INC

INC

Tingkhong

AGP

INC

INC

Naharkatia

INC

AGP-BJP

INC

Tinisukia

INC

INC

INC

Digboi

INC

INC

INC

Margherita

INC

INC

INC

Although Congress won 8 of the 9 constituency seats in 2011 assembly elections yet 2014 will be a close contest. 3 years have passed on. Anti incumbency will run on the forefront in the Dibrugarh constituency being the home constituency of the BJP state supremo. Prashanta Phukan, the current MLA of Dibrugarh has been highly successful in motivating the urban population of Dibrugarh district against the rising issues faced during the years of Congress rule namely inflation, corruption, mis governance and the list goes on. In addition the BJP has to its advantage in the coming elections the Narendra Modi card which is expected to play well among the Hindi speaking population of Tinisukia and its adjoining areas. In Assam, Dibrugarh would be the constituency in second position when it comes to a count of urban voters. As the nation senses a strong wave among the middle class urban voters in favor of Narendra Modi, the effect might actually change the voting patterns in Dibrugarh, Duliajan, Tinisukia & Digboi areas. The tea garden belt and the Nepali speakers still remain as a reason of deep concern for the BJP and its star candidate Sarbanada Sonowal.

What Congress has as a major strong point is the presence of an extreme loyal voter base in the pockets of Dibrugarh. Even during the worst days of the Assam Agitation 5 of the 9 assembly constituencies that comes under Dibrugarh LS constituency fell to the INC. The loyal base comprises of the tea garden belt, the Nepali-Hindi speaking population. The Assamese population of the area mostly comprising of the Ahoms, Moran, Mataks and caste Hindus have surprisingly rallied behind the Congress for long. The INC ideology or call it freedom struggle nostalgia runs deep even among the mainstream population in these parts of Assam. BJP will have to target the section of first time voters among the Assamese mainstream, that is where its kill will lie. The INC has always enjoyed this position at Kaliabor, Jorhat and Dibrugarh. Moreover with a central cabinet minister position being given to Paban Singh Ghatowar, he has been able to implement a couple of schemes and projects in the areas. Not the best an MP can do, but still something for the people to see. From a stalwart student leader representing the tea tribes till national politics Paban Singh Ghatowar has been a heart throb of his people. Chances that BJP with a development agenda will be able to slash a few thousand votes from here are still difficult to imagine. Kamakhya Prasad Tasa does have a good rapport among the tea tribes, but will those votes turn back in favor of Sarbanada Sonowal is uncertain. They have to work very hard for this.
Cadre strength is one of the important variables when it comes to the question of winnability of a given candidate. With a long lying AASU career track behind and being seen as a person able to scrap the IMDT act, Mr Sonowal is still well respected and looked up to in the regionalist circles even after he joined the national party. It will be a test for him to motivate the entire cadre base of anti-congress voters in favor of BJP which till date hasn’t been so easy for BJP in Assam. The INC can boast of an extremely strong cadre base in Upper Assam. Yuva Congress, Mahila Congress, NSUI etc will romp in with all their strength in 2014, might even resort to anything under the sun. To beat such kind of a force, all that people considers Sarbanada Sonowal’s ability, his oratory, hard work, motivating capacity will come to test.

A recent positive development for the BJP is the inroad it has made into the Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council. Obviously Sarbananda Sonowal himself being a Sonowal Kachari has helped them in the process and provided this continues till 2014, a certain number of votes from the plains tribes will shift from Congress to BJP. The other question that seems to be instrumental in the coming election is the question of ST status to Maran, Matak & Adivasis. The congress has not come out clearly on this where as time and again the BJP has voiced for the protection of the indigenous. This but is a far stretch, if a clear one line message comes from the BJP as an election promise in favor of the ST status then it will definitely change fortunes for Sarbananda Sonowal.

The AIUDF & AGP is far behind in the race for Dibrugarh. Although AGP won in 2004 it was more a victory of Sarbananda Sonowal. So the race for Dibrugarh is a clear BJP vs Congress battle. The margin in 2009 elections was 35,143 votes. In a general election that can be considered a small margin. Will Sarbanada Sonowal and BJP be able to bring down that difference in their favor remains a question? AGP cutting down on BJP votes is surprisingly not so much of an issue of concern as when it comes to Dibrugarh it is difficult to think of anyone other than Sarbananda whom AGP could have had projected strongly. Also the wave is such that in 2014 anti Congress votes are getting routed to BJP. The recent performance in GMC elections, Sonowal Kachari Autonomous Council elections of the BJP makes me believe that they are serious about Assam. Although I predict a neck to neck fight I will put my money on Sarbananda Sonowal over Paban Singh Ghatowar.

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Can ULFA suggest us on Bihu?


bihu

It is painful to pick up the pen to write on the beloved Bihu and its current trends when the festive moods have not yet settled. As an Assamese it is always a proud affair to introduce Bihu among others as one of the few festivals that cut across religious and community lines to bring together the people of the blue hills and red rivers. It is a lifeline of the culture and traditions of the people of Assam. Late Radha Gobinda Baruah brought this institution from the fields and courtyards of the villages to the stages of Guwahati at Latasil. Since then till today Bihu programs have only been growing and today almost every locality celebrates or in other words organizes a Bihu function. While that seems like a good thing, recently such events and the artists performing in them have had to face criticism from various sections of the society. The principal allegation being that such events were diverging from the central idea and purpose of Bihu. Since the past few years stages have invited various artists from outside Assam as well to perform for the crowd. Mostly singers who were winners of reality shows came and performed popular Hindi numbers. Resentment from various sections of the society was visible. While some chose to voice against it overtly, covertly it was there in the minds of many and discussed in smaller circles. Various experts of the Bihu dance have also voiced against the growing commercialization and lack of interest towards the traditional and local art forms. A recent statement by the ULFA that notified Bihu committees to refrain from allowing performance of Hindi songs has caught the attention of many. Naturally words of agreement or of disproval have also started pouring in. This article has been written to view this proposition made by the banned outfit in singularity from all angles. Justifying anything about this particular move is not tantamount to giving a clean chit to them.

“A diktat is a statute, harsh penalty or settlement imposed upon a defeated party by the victor, or a dogmatic decree.” Before any discussion begins it can be very well realized that ULFA’s statement was far from this. It was one in its series of the perennial statements made to the people of Assam. Also important is to note that similar feelings have been spoken of by sections of the society previously to ULFA as well. Then why did this particular statement create such uproar? Was it a new way in which ULFA delivered its statement? Certainly not. It has always warned of consequences if their statements are not followed. Many a time their verdict has been overthrown by the people unless it is a call of Assam Bandh when it is overwhelmingly accepted. Indian citizens believe in the Indian democracy, it is ULFA who defies the Indian setup. As responsible citizen we must allow opinion to flow in even if it is by a banned outfit because at the end of the day their action does impact our consequences. Furthermore it is necessary that we keep rhetoric out of the picture and verify the basic premise and content of such a statement. Because rhetoric must have caused more harm to the state of Assam than any other in India. If we get provoked just because of the fact that ULFA made that statement and because of the fashion in which they did so, then we will hardly be able to distinguish ourselves from an irrational individual with preconceived notions.

So while narrating and analysing the incident two things are very important. Firstly these issues are always spiced up by agencies that can derive profit from it. Secondly it is important that we treat this statement as one in general instead of linking it time and again to ULFA as that makes the context lot more emotional. So after having said that there are few questions to which we must try and answer. Has Bihu been rooted deep into mainstream Assamese society that it faces no trouble in future? Are traditional rituals like Bihu dols performing Bihu at each courtyard still predominant in society? Lastly but very importantly are all folk performers economically sound and secured? If answer to any of the above is no then we must realize that although Bihu as a festival might still be having the same or greater love in our hearts, but on the ground times are changing. Unlike traditional celebrations Bihu stages are not an arena where everyone can be a spectator and a performer at the same time. The stage is set there for a bunch of performers to enthral a huge group of audience. So logically the stage cleared the space for more star performers or crowd pullers. So much so that today the first question that is raised by people regarding any Bihu function is, “who is the main artist?” Hence forth the focus and energy of most organizing committees have diverted towards collecting more funds to be able to afford such performers. Demand and supply takes its natural curve and hence forth the star performers cannot be blamed for it. It is the people and their judgements that are responsible for this. So given that these performers are heartthrob of the people who almost idolize them, they have a greater responsibility back to society, both in terms of their conduct and in order to maintain the legacy of our culture. Hindi might be one of the most popular languages of India and with the entry of bollywood into Assam few songs have gained mass popularity. The likes of Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar are still respected across the length and breadth of the nation including Assam. Music has no language, that’s true. But every musical concert or performance sticks to a genre or a set agenda unless it is a bollywood award ceremony. A rock concert can accommodate rock music in English, Spanish, and Hindi etc but certainly it won’t accommodate folk or metal.  Similarly is Bihu any other musical extravaganza or does it have significance? If we think it does have significance then is it not important to portray it in the correct light? Henceforth, out of the 52 weeks of the year leaving 1 week for our beloved Bihu should not be a difficult task. The reason we make this claim is because although some believe that Hindi songs are not an aggression to our culture, this capacity to visualize our culture comes only after a great deal of exposure. Most of the ears which are an audience to these Hindi numbers are but sadly unable to judge this perfectly.  Solely banning Hindi songs would not solve most issues faced by Bihu, may be it won’t solve any. But it is important that we look back at our age old tradition and try to rectify the steps that will help sustain it. ULFA raised an issue in this regard which must be logically dealt with rather than bringing it down in a jingoistic fashion by calling them murderers and extortionists. As free citizens we must be confident that our freedom to express has more power than their gun.  ULFA must be given the option to comment or suggest and we must consider that in our discourse rather than confirming it as a diktat.

558521_455785574496676_398625767_nIt can be agreed that when ULFA made this statement it was not one of the affirmatives. And people support affirmative thoughts rather than value judgements. Singularly taking a dig on Hindi songs and that too in a generalized negative form is what caused this trouble. But at the same time let us not refrain from looking at ourselves and realizing the double standards that we have set in our society. Many sections have repeatedly spoken against indecent behaviour of artists and on the issue of threat to Bihu due to entry of the Hindi songs. Just because ULFA made the statement made it much more lucrative for some to defy it for their benefit and for other to jump into that cult. Where do the same guts to defy their statement die out when a call for bandh is given? When dozens of people died in Rabha Hasong, when hundreds were drowned in Dhubri the front pages of the national media had other issues to be more interested in. But Zubeen Garg made the national news. Is this propaganda, or is this neutral journalism? I leave this to be answered by you. But the act of reacting so vigorously to the ULFA statement rather than simply allowing it to pass by is highly immature both for the artist and his fan followers.

On a finishing note I am running out of any Bihu naam in my mind to replicate this situation, so instead I pick the famous lines of Late Bhupen Hazarika whom we so dearly miss every Bihu, “Raij aji bhaworiya, dekhei naat ghor, kune ki bhau loba, aha xomoy je takor”

Sarbananda Sonowal & BJP: Expectations & Possibilities


IMG_0883

On 15th of November when Ex MP Sarbananda Sonowal took charge of State BJP in Assam it sent a wave of hope, confusion, dilemma and expectation in the minds of every thinking citizen of Assam. Queries that have erupted might range from “will this be the beginning of a solution to the problem of infiltration?” to “is this the end of Asom Gana Parishad?”, most certainly the appointment of Mr Sonowal to the coveted post would mean that the choice of BJP as a political option would open for many who believe in the dynamic, young and motivated leader that is Sarbananda Sonowal. Concern still remain as to how will the BJP that has forever been seen as nationalist right winged Hindutva party amalgamate the regionalist expectations of the people of Assam. Furthermore it would be important to see if friction occurs between the traditional vote banks of BJP i.e the Bengali and Hindi Speaking Hindu populace because of the addition of a staunch indigenous flavor to the state unit of the party. Following his appointment these would be the questions to which Mr Sonowal have to find answers in order to push forward the agenda of BJP and in future hope for gaining mileage for the national party in the state of Assam.

Sarbananda Sonowal during Assam assembly election campaigning in 2006 as an AGP MP; Brindaban Goswami, then AGP President seen with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu (TDP) and Jaya Prada during campaigning for the regional party .

Given the circumstances BJP has a plethora of issues to pick choose from and add to its national recognition of being a “party that performs” and carve out a unique space for itself in the political map of the region. But if we traverse the geography of Assam from one end to the other then we will find clashing interests and divided opinions, basically challenges for a party to build up a comprehensive strategy. What are these expectations and where does the BJP stand amidst such issues and how can it possibly gain is what we wish to analyze.

The tea tribes and the hill tribes both have been a traditional vote bank of the Congress party. With BJP making inroads into Assam it was visible that a fraction of the tea tribe votes had shifted in favor of BJP majorly because of the upsurge of leaders like Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Rameshwar Teli in the BJP from within the tea tribe community. But the election of 2011 halted the trend and it will be a test for the BJP to make its presence stronger in times to come. It is worth noting that BJP has a strong presence among this very community spread across the states of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.  All the three states where BJP enjoys the current term as government has seen a lot of development projects being undertaken in the field of education, health, alternate livelihood generation by organizations close to the BJP such as the Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Ekal Vidyalaya etc since many years and is now continuing under the  respective current governments. This has helped the BJP in gaining popularity among the various tribes of the region. Considering the lack of development among the tea tribes as well as the hill tribes of Assam the Bharatiya Janata Party must necessarily follow the trend it set in the states of MP, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh by spreading education and social development to the areas inhabited by these people in order to alter the traditional voting pattern and try to gain some advantage. To bring this in effect Sarbananda Sonowal must fast pace the philanthropic work and then convincingly motivate a huge pool of cadres from among these communities who can convince their people to come out of prejudiced and blind notions of political parties and to vote based on possibilities and growth opportunities.

In 2008 and in 2012 the BJP has been very vocal and crystal clear with regard to their stand on the ethnic violence that had erupted in BTC. Although the pro-indigenous stand taken by the BJP has not directly made an impact on the Bodo people but one cannot deny the possibility of the BJP gaining from the recent friction visible between the Congress and the Bodo People’s Front. Given that BJP was the party in power at centre that initiated the formation of Bodoland Territorial Council in 2003 and got mass Bodo support in certain Bodo majority constituencies like Mangaldoi during 2004 LS elections there is a possibility of an understanding that remains. The challenge for the new BJP state president would be to get close to the Bodo leadership and build its greater political policy in sync with the Bodo people’s aspirations of protecting their land and identity and at the same time try to reduce the Bodo-Assamese divide which will provide big mileage to Mr Sonowal in the form of enhancing his image as a leader of caliber and secondly to repulse the Congress from gaining due to such divides. By virtue of being a tribal leader belonging to the Sonowal-Kachari clan many see him as an ultimate choice for the tribal population of the valley. Bringing his speaking skills and legal battling capacity Mr Sonowal must rightly address the prime issues faced by the plains tribal’s i.e. of big dams, flood & erosion and protection of indigenous cultural identity. By doing this he will stand out as one unique leader who will be able to walk ahead with the support of both the mainstream Assamese and the tribal population thereby bridging the gap that exists between the communities and therefore gaining strongly in these otherwise Congress strongholds.

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The mainstream Assamese has for long been deprived of an alternative to the Congress. Massive anti incumbency has not been able to uproot the Congress primarily because of the lack of faith the people of Assam has in the AGP and its leaders. With the rise of BJP in state politics of Assam the popular press will paint it with the Hindutva image and will try its best to highlight its clash with the regional ambitions of the middle class Assamese. The might of Sarbananda Sonowal as a leader shall get tested here where he will have to appease both the Assamese speakers and the non-Assamese population with clear distinction of the what regionalism stands for and how it doesn’t affect the concept of an Indian Nation. To achieve this he will have to very carefully tailor a model of sustainable development in consultations with BJP leaders from across the state belonging to various communities which ensures that the indigenous rights are protected and at the same time able to satisfy the aspirations of growth and development of the mainland Hindi and Bengali speakers. Leaders like Prodyut Bora, Siddhartha Bhattacharya who are seen as white collar progressive leaders should be the principle ones aiding Mr Sonowal in this process of conceptualization and execution. Given that the Congress government in the state has been able to bring certain visible symptoms of development, it will be a daunting task for the BJP led by Sonowal to convince people of the uniqueness an effectiveness of its model in comparison to the Congress model of development. Mr Sonowal can also take inspiration from his counterparts of other states like Goa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar etc where vibrant growth stories have been able to bind all imaginations together under one fold.

In short to stand as an alternative to the Congress and ahead of the AGP will be the principle mantra for Sarbananda Sonowal and his party. He will have the distinct advantage of having a clean image, credibility of being a performing politician, strength to be vocal about the interests of Assam. To add to this no party in Assam have come out directly against the AIUDF or Badruddin Ajmal in the past elections. It is worthwhile to note that a sizeable percentage of the population of Assam has major grievances with the way AIUDF is running the show in Assam. BJP might gain from Sarbananda Sonowal openly criticizing the AIUDF thereby appeasing that section of the population that wants to see it and was unhappy with the growing closeness between the AGP and the AIUDF. Coming from the All Assam Students Union Mr Sonowal definitely holds a respectful position among the cadres of regionalism and is still seen as a youth leader of dynamic quality. Whether he will be able to motivate a sizeable number of these youths to stand by him will determine most of his future as a political leader.

Whether victory or defeat, improvement or degradation, growth or reduction happens to BJP is a little uncertain for challenges are tall and opposition is steep but that the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam will not remain the same with Mr Sonowal coming to become the face of the party in Assam is certain. His organization skills, oratory, fearlessness and foresightedness will all add up to what we now only know as the destiny of BJP in Assam. As he had repeatedly confirmed many times that Atal Bihari Vajpayee remains his political idol he will have to closely follow one statement from the Ex PM of India which he delivered in his famous speech defending his 13 day Govt. in the Lok Sabha: “Satta ke lobh mein ake maine aajtak kuch nahi kiya” (I haven’t done anything till date for the greed of forming a government). For everyone who hopes of a bright future for Assam will only pray that Sarbananda Sonowal brings together all the issues of Assam under one umbrella and balances them in equal proportion and adds to it glimpses of possible solution to receive support from all section of society and then let his actions speak bigger than his words.

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?