It feels nice when we say that the Constitution believes in equality. But it feels insulting and oppressive to the same extent, when the political policies grant an unequal bill named NRC, just to oppress the Bengali community of Assam. The barrier of language has been there between the Assamese and the Bengali community from decades and never did the Bengali community ignite this hatred over the Assamese rather the latter community ignited hatred over the former. From the “Bhasha Andolan” (Language Revolution), where they forcefully wanted to throw out the Bengali language from the educational institutions and replace Assamese with it to spread their own language to an extreme extent.
Similarly here in the case of NRC, the politics of division is visible with more than 70% Bengalis in Refugee camps and D – Voter list, and with each suicide a Bengali commits for being discriminated. People say that many didn’t understand the fact that NRC is good for the mass since it is showing exit of illegal immigrants, but to be very clear it is just a way of creating discrimination against the Bengali community as a whole in the name of illegal immigrants. The people who lived in this nation for years suddenly are being introduced to the term “illegal immigrants” through NRC, which didn’t happen in any other state. Even the most marginalised States denied to introduce NRC because it is a pure discriminatory policy on the basis of religion and language. In Assam, it takes both religion and language. Religion and language of the Bengali community only. When the final draft of the NRC was introduced, it had more than 80% names of Assamese community as legal citizens while it compiled only 40% Bengali as legal citizens. A clear attack over a single community by the ruling party and other political parties.
Let us see how:
● The NRC introduced a tension among the Bengali Muslims to divide the overall Bengali community into a binary fight: Bengali Hindu vs. Bengali Muslims. It took place in a more strong manner because it came in the period of the rule of BJP having the Hindutva mindset thus making the division even more concrete. The irony lies in the fact that most of the people who found their names in the NRC list didn’t even bother to fight against the Bill, thus igniting the division. So very clearly, the ruling government took it as an important bill just because they wanted division between Hindu and Muslim Bengalis.
● On the other hand, those who opposed and are still opposing the introduction of Bengalis in the NRC from the Assamese community clearly believe in the total eradication of the Bengalis. Due to this only, the non political, extremist (ULFA) and political organisations stand against the Bill either by a rally or by extremist means (bomb blast in the Bengali region of Brahmaputra Valley). Everyday a breaking news comes in the newspaper where we see a new suicide of a Bengali due to the igniting hatred by the Assamese. So, on one side BJP divides Hindu and Muslim Bengalis to weaken us while the opposition protest against the ruling government to stamp “illegal immigrants” on every Bengali.
● Long time back, when we heard from our parents that bombs and bullets were fired over the Bengalis by the Assamese it felt like a thrill, but now the reality is a threat. The scenario is not very different from Kashmir or Bastar or Manipur or Nagaland. The Kashmiris fight for an independent Kashmir, Manipur and Nagaland fights for eliminating the AFSPA while Bastar fights against both the bourgeoisie government and AFSPA. Today Bengalis of Assam fight to take back the rights they deserve. We do not want another Bomb blast over a Bengali region. We do not want another suicide over hatred of language. We have lived in this country as Bengalis of Assam for decades (though we never wanted to) and if it is not anything for you, then you are introducing anarchy. If you want to introduce it by hook or crook, then as Bengalis, we won’t let your anarchy defeat us. Freedom is our fundamental right and if you play politics with it, then we know how to take back our rights.
● The bomb blasts, suicides taking place in the Brahmaputra Valley won’t stay static. It would move to Barak Valley and it won’t be a surprise for it’s the anarchy of the Assamese which says so. Stone pelting over famous singer Shaan yesterday, for singing a single line of Bengali song with the pelter saying, “It’s not Bengal! It’s Assam and so you can’t sing Bengali song”, clearly provides us with a clear picture of the hatred that the Assamese community carries inside it. Yes, liberals can say “everyone is not involved in the hatred”! To them I just want to ask, if they are so much concerned about the divisive politics and the introduction of anarchy then why aren’t they protesting against the discrimination over language?
● It’s not at all surprising that the ruling government fears protests because we have seen that it has issued a notice to UGC to instruct the teachers that they shouldn’t be involved in any kind of protest against the government. Similarly, before this it has introduced a notice having “Government teachers and employees should not involve in any kind of protest against the government”! An Undeclared Emergency! Dissent and protest banning has increased to the zenith in the past four years and after the introduction of NRC, the curbing of protests presents a picture that how evil and discriminatory the politics of the ruling and opposing government is towards the Bengali community.
We try to believe that a defensive policy may slow down the violence against the Bengalis but to be very fair, peace doesn’t come by surrendering to the dictators. It comes when we bleed to get equality and freedom we deserve, that the dictators don’t want to give us.
Kabir Deb is a published writer and poet. Born in Haflong and completed his Masters on Life Sciences from Assam University. His work has been published from different national and international magazine like Different Truths, Counter Currents, Reviews, Cafe Dissensus, Spillwords magazine and his works rely on political activism.