Post Mortem

The nation whose unity soldered with innocent blood

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/27/2018 12:28:10 PM IST

 The latest gory incident in Assam’s Tinsukia district where five family members of the Bengali Hindu community was killed by a suspected insurgent once again re-enact the tragic narrative of Assam’s history (also of Northeast India) of communal conflict and violence that is inter linked with identity politics that shape the politics of the state since its inception.

Identity politics in Assam gained its ground since the creation of Assam province in 1905, as a result of the partition of Bengal by British-India administration, and since then its history is more of a communally toxified history than that of a social, political and economic history. Identity politics in the scale of dividing among ethnic, tribal and religious groups and all form of sectarianism have taken place in the land which tragically transformed this land of most abundant resource in the country to the poorest people’s land. Ultimately, in all these communal conflagration, Assam has been paying the price as the land has been converted into development blocked and playground for India’s communal electoral politics, and making of its own and for itself, not for social and economic development of the state.

Assam, in the last seven decades, has seen a lot of ethnic based conflicts between indigenous Assamese and Bengali, Assamese and Boros, Boros and Bengali Muslims, Karbi and Assamese and many more. Every time, any communal conflict appears to be for a cause for any particular group but at the end of the day, the dynamics of this communalism disproved it. Whatever hypothesis temporarily constructed, only the common innocent people’s lives are paid as a price, and in the process political parties consolidate their vote banks. Innocent people who are ignorant of these changing dynamics never know who is profiting from all these vices happening.

The genesis of this continuing communal and identity conflicts in the region lies in two major political events that took place at the time of India’s independence which has created a permanent social and political problem that would disturb the region forever. The first (not necessarily in order) is the colonial’s divisive politics that has resulted in the tragic partition of Bengal along religious line, that had completely destroy the socio-political landscape of Bengal and created the perception of “other/s” (foreigners) from within the same community. People of the same community, speaking same language, sharing same culture and co-existing peacefully for many centuries suddenly found themselves divided, on communal and religious ground, between Hindu and Muslim and India and Pakistan (subsequently Bangladesh), and placed them in different newly politically created nations leading to one of the worst form of communal violence and displacement in world’s history that cost millions of lives. 

Second is the converting of a region which is multi-national, multi-racial and multi-religious society into a single state called Assam, which make way for the emergence of ethnic consciousness and a chauvinistic nationalism among different ethnic groups in the state. Amidst the prevalence of complex diversities, this identity/s assertion and the quest for dominance created numerous ethnic conflict and violence not only in Assam but elsewhere in the Northeast region. 

The contentious Citizenship Bill along with National Register of Citizens (NRC) marked the resurgence of the partition ghost that would haunt every citizens of the country irrespective of his/her religion, caste, tribes etc... This divisive and communal politics in its latest form, in the name of securing the country’s territory and preventing influx of illegal immigrants, is bound to create, as had been the case before, suspicion, hatred and fear among the ethnic groups of the region. This politics over the issue of illegal immigrants has created in the region the concept of “outsider” from within the same making everyone foreign to each other as this very idea of “foreigner” is of post-independence political phenomena in the region. The region that was subjected to different political administration, from Bengal presidency to East Bengal-Assam Province with Shillong as its capital and finally to Assam after partition of India, during British colonial rule yet it is the same group of people that remain there. This superficial construct of different political boundary forces the people of the region to inhabit in their own land under different rule at different period of history. Worst of all, with the subsequent resulting conflicts over the issue, those innocent people, who has nothing to do with all those of politics, were made to pay with their lives. The issue of Illegal Bangladeshi Hindu/Muslim Migrants, to this day, continue to be a political cloud that blurs the people of Assam.

Citizenship Bill and NRC also have the potential of dividing the state of Assam on communal and regional line whose implication could be at the national scale. The fear of being populated and dominated by the outsiders would compel the indigenous Assamese to take a radical stance of getting rid of those outsiders at any cost. On the other hand, the people belonging to Barak Valley (Lower Assam), still under the partition trauma, since it was made to be part of Assam always feels subjected to second-grade citizen’s treatment at the hand of the mainstream Assamese. This emerging state of affairs in Assam is nothing less than a great divide in the making. And this divide is providing an opportunity for the RSS to make a permanent support base in the state. With the people of Barak Valley put under scanner through NRC, this can force them to shift their loyalty to the saffron forces towards ensuring not only their citizenship, but also to place themselves in equal footing with rest of the state.

In essence, all these tragedy, division and conflict happening in the region are giving way to New Delhi to make the region a perfect and fertile political playground.

India which is the most diverse nation of the world, secularism, in its truest character, and tolerance towards ‘other’ should define her success as a nation. Unfortunately, India as a nation and her unity is not nurtured in a fair, judicious and ethical way. But it has been existing and will continue to exist at the cost of lives of masses of innocent people. Under the complex Indian politics, innocent masses, who are unaware of the nature of politics, keep on giving their blood that will be used in keeping Indian ‘unity’ intact. In other words, India’s unity, tragically, has to always come at the expense of the innocent bloods.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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