Thursday, October 23, 2008

Udalguri conflicts.

Another home trip. Another experience. Again that reminds me of my rootlessness, how far I am from what had been my home when I had grown up. The mango tree is no longer there. It used to send ripe, mellow and sweet vollies at the tin roof with every passing storm. What a racket it used to be!! The mini - jungle in front of my home has now been chopped off. I see four buildings in that plot of land which had devoured at least five cricket balls!! Every six used to be a challenge, as it was very hard to look for the ball among the dense shrubs and thickets.
The jungle that I saw in Assam this time was that of communalism, ethnic cleansing and mindless violence among people who do not even know what globalization means. People I know, people who have lived in Assam for hundreds of years were killed. Their bodies lay rotting in the wild. They lay there for two days and two nights. The houses were burnt. The people now lie huddled in relief camps, doing nothing. What blankness burns in their eyes. You won't even be able to get one hundred miles near that blankness. Angry youths pass by mosques, and in their drunken state, shout, threaten, "BURN 'EM All". Durga statues have their heads chopped off. In one clean stroke. Communities shrink in fear after every incident. majorities and minorities get blurred. The fisherwoman speaks with troubled eyes,"mur loratu ghuri aha nai de. Buji naplung ki korah jai" (My son has not yet returned. Don't know what to do.) In another village, somebody else laments the loss of their years savings. The vegetables needed to be taken to markets are rotting, "Aamra khaibo kemon kore? Bengungula to sob posche jasche." (How will we eat? All the brinjals are rotting). There is fear in the eyes of everybody as they vainly try to realize what is going on, why is this that their religions, the language that they speak have turned against them. They have no answers. They are no journalists. They are no academicians either. They cannot comment on television. They do not write poetry. They do not write blogs.
It is so easy now to sit before this computer and theorize about what had happened. Yes, I will do that as well, later. Some other people are already doing that. I am posting the link. If anybody is interested to know what had happened, it will be a good starting point. However, one big defect of the article is that it kept on stressing on the deaths of muslims. Nothing was mentioned about loss of the other side. This is bad reporting. Nonetheless, here it is.
http://www.twocircles.net/2008oct13/dance_death_and_violence_udalguri.html
Another link:
http://www.twocircles.net/2008oct04/16_killed_assam_clashes_10_000_displaced.html
Please do not say, oh, they are "bangladeshis", they are "tribals", why should we worry? Think away, outside your narrow boundaries of success, fame and name, for a moment. It is not much to ask, really, for the fifty four people who are dead and the tens of thousands of people who have been displaced. They were, are, humans too.

4 comments:

Ctrl-Alt-Del said...

Provocative piece. I just wish the people who died knew why they died and the ones that killed knew whose battle they are fighting as footsoldiers and stormtroopers.The day these unfortunate souls that dont blog and do not know the use of the internet find an answer to these questions,the state of Assam has to answer a few tough questions whose answers might not be very comfortable to all. But till then, such episodes will recur.We address the symptom, not the disease.

rajib said...

its pleasure to read whats happening in Assam in your blog. But, i am more interested to know how it explodes into what it is now.What triggers such large scale violence? Is it between just Bodos and migrant muslims or between Hindu and Muslims. Anyway,Carry on your good work.

Uddipana Goswami said...

my sentiments exactly - who kills who and why? and who suffers? not we who sit and analyze and theorize their sufferings from behind computer screens. nor those who watch the circus from their political platforms either.

however, i do have a problem with your clubbing all the suffering muslims in assam as 'bangladeshis'. they are not all bangladeshis, many of them migrated to assam from east bengal, when bangladesh - and even east pakistan - did not exist. the biggest stigma these people are facing today is the 'bangladeshi' tag and that because the govt responsible for controlling illegal migration has not been able to do so. at least we who claim to empathize with them should stop branding them all indiscriminately as bangladeshis, and know the not-so-subtle difference between an illegal migrant and a legitimate citizen who has contributed much more than many other migrant/settler communities to assam.

rajarshi said...

But I suppose this is exactly what I wanted to say, that I would have a problem with people terming the victims being killed and displaced as "those bangladeshis" ot "those bodos". It has consistently been the othering of these communities that have led to increased alienation, dissatisfaction and eventually rebellion. The form this rebellion has taken is a debatable issue, but then that is a completely different take on the present situation of Assam.