Assam crisis


As I write this, I am not fine actually. I don’t know if you are aware of the situation in Assam ever since the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed in the Indian Parliament. Nothing seems to be like a normal vacation back home this time.

Right from the internet services shutdown to the peaceful gatherings; we have braved everything with courage and faith in the Indian Judiciary that justice will be delivered.

We have problems right from getting in touch and connecting with our family and friends as even a normal call wouldn’t just happen.

Sadness is a small word to capture the struggles we are going through every single day for our basic communication, essential necessities and the protection of our very own identity.

Although there is no curfew now and there have been comparatively peaceful protests, yet there is a wind of melancholy around as students in hostels of Universities have been under lockdown. Education in its truest sense is about the liberation of the mind and intellect but when our very institutions capture the intellect, where does one knock the door in search of reason and light?

As things try to return back to normal, waves of horror from the recent past are still fresh as the wounds bleed and heal simultaneously.

Everyone here had to struggle to get food and basic necessities during the curfew and the outstation students have not been able to go home because of safety issues. The Armed forces could be seen on the roads, visibly creating a vibe of horror in the minds of people once again. Our wounds had just started to heal when they got cut again in a matter of decades. The trauma is difficult to go through once again.

People are afraid to stay outside their homes until late as they fear that anything can happen at any time. Everything seems so unpredictable, it’s so heart-breaking.

Those days of internet shutdown didn’t feel like the democratic India that we had always been studying about, or been living in for so long. It was terrifying to the extent of disbelief that we had to go through the terrors normally experienced in anarchy. We felt like prisoners at the mercy of the government, hands tied and mouth forcefully shut; with no voice or medium to let our voice be heard.

My friends from the Cotton University in Guwahati were the first ones to start the series of protests initially against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati. They have seen it all. Right from the gunfires to curfew to the lack of food and other necessities in hostels.

My friend Panna Priyam Das sums it up. “I had read about wars, riots and civil disobedience, but all of these were a distant past and a very unlikely future until this brutal present hit me and the people of my state right in the face. I guess from romanticizing war scenarios to actually trying to fall asleep to the constant sound of sirens and gunfire and nationalistic slogans, we all got the lesson for our lackadaisical attitudes towards Politics. Fascism blossomed in our ignorance, so much so, that we have become captives in our old land and have to compromise our own integrity.”

All the artists of Assam are coming together on a common platform and starting their own kind of peaceful protests by singing patriotic songs on stages in huge fields and expressing their concern about their cultural identity being endangered and being lost, amongst them is the famous Assamese singer Zubeen Garg.

Solidarity amongst all the linguistic and religious groups can be seen despite their cultural differences as almost people from all fields came out on the roads and took out rallies in large numbers.

There is no stopping to this revolution here in the North East, but what is sad is the fact mainland media has continuously side-lined the North-East and the issues that concern us.

As I write this, I do not want my identity to remain anonymous. Rather, I want to assert my identity in all its might and glory. We are proud Assamese, proud Indians. I have faith in my nation. I have faith in my culture and my rights.

This is the time when I need to assert my identity and my culture more than ever as this is a time of crisis for my identity and culture.

Understand and talk about our cause, our problem and our plight. As Indians, it is the childhood phrase of ‘Unity in Diversity’, crossed across our hearts that defines us at this very moment.

Stand for Us. Stand for India.


 Featured Image Credits- Hindustan Times

Pallabi Dutta

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Note- This is a guest feature, authored by a student from Delhi University .