Saturday, July 19, 2008

at the edge of precipice

d other evening i was enetertaining a guest...a niece of my neighbour......d girl's my age..n i'd thought initially dt it'll be fun spending sometime together....since we shared the same major in our grads--english language and literature....especially sinc i hurt my knee i hv been feeling somewhat lonely --having to sit or lie on my bed..since d doc advisd me things were not meant to be so...or so it seemed me..when she said that she addressed her bordeuta (father's elder brother) as dada and his wife--mind you...she didnt know what her bordeuta's wife ws to be addressd as--coz she addressed her (bordeuta's wife is borma) as bou!!!can you imagine it??of course she was unapologetic........and reasoned that since she had been far away from her relatives for almost 10 years--le'mme add, the far away place is North Cachar--in some garden where her father was the she forgot how to address her relatives..........i felt pity for the poor gal..seriously was miffed at her parents--coz distance is not a measure of miles or kilometres or even light years....distance is a state of mind...i might stay with my husband under the same roof but if we don't share any rapport--then its the same as living at two corners of the globe.....we forget our roots very easily..we indians are wont to--but probably we asomiyas are susceptible to the charms of other cultures--we are swayed by the slightest gust of wind....and we break down like a palace of the middle order of our Indian cricket team.But whatever it might be--ds pretty guest of mine reminded me of how fast we are sliding towards our own end--for if things go this way,we are bound to be at the very edge of the precipice of death of the socio-cultural life of a vibrant community--the Asomiya community

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Sir, Suspected ULFA militant have blown up another oil pipeline in Sibsagar district , causing losses worth probably crores of rupees. It is really intriguing as to what the ULFA intends to achieve by such dastardly , and more importantly , foolhardy acts. The ULFA was formed with the objective of gaining independence of Asom. With their genuine grievances against the Central Government , probably, those talented youths were justified in taking up fire-arms at that point of time. But the misdeeds of these youths have raised infinite queries in our minds regarding their sincerity in espousing the professed goals . With this organization's overt and covert support to the illegal migrants and simultaneous attempts at various times to drive out the migrants from other states of India , the original goals, are probably vague memories in the minds of ULFA leaders. With the irreparable losses these miscreants are incurring on Asom, I wonder as to how deplorable the condition of our dear state will be by the time when - or rather , if -we somehow manage to attain independence. For by then we shall be an impoverished lot--robbed of our sources of revenue that are being destroyed mindlessly as the recent blasts in oil pipelines show . It is time to ponder as to whether the dreams and visions the ULFA is pursuing are really dreams and not mirages.-- Yours etc.

Stuti Goswami , [6th December, 2006
Cotton College, 'The Assam Tribune']


There is no doubt that the much-hyped peace process in Asom is floundering . Yet we wonder as to what the ULFA intends to do , or rather achieve , or should we say prove , by killing innocent citizens . this is a question only a terrorist organization as the ULFA can answer.
Mr. Paresh Baruah & Co. say they want to attain independence from India . But judging by the actions of the outfit the attitude of its spokespersons --who are not few in number and who roam about the world in the guise of respectable Indian citizens ---all this high talk seems to be sadly dubious.
Having befriended some of deadliest forces in the world in the present time , we feel that probably what the ULFA means by 'independence' from India is servitude - annexation of Asom by Bangladesh . How one could be so foolhardy is difficult to fathom, for lesser mortals like us.
But , Mr. Baruah, why do you not think of all those Asomiyas residing in Asom---your own brothers and sisters who are bearing the brunt of such fatal acts as you have chosen to indulge in ?Have you ever thought about the kith and kin of other members of your outfit ?
We understand you cannot bring yourself to sympathize with the whole Asomiya population affected by the menace of terrorism ! But think at least of your mother ,and the near and dear ones here. When you order your comrades to shed blood on this land, does not it occur to you even at once that the men and women killed are also fathers and mothers --of humble sons and daughters ? That the children killed are sons and daughters of humble souls ?
Yes , these words that we are forced to pen , may not reach you at all-- unless of course your spokespersons point them out to you. And local dailies as The Sentinel are not circulated outside the nation where you reside ! Yet there is a hope called internet which you have access to.
So with the hope that your conscience might awaken one fine day , we continue passing our lives amid fear mingled with the hope and coloured with the vision that one day you , who had led a band of talented youths into the world of violence , would yourself lead those very youths back to the mainstream , there by ushering peace in this strife torn land of ours. May God bless us all!

Stuti Goswami, [11th November 2006
Cotton College 'The Sentinel']


The recent decision of the central government to suspend Army operations against the ULFA in Asom is a welcome decision . This was long overdue ; but then , it is better late than never. This announcement actually comes as a whiff of fresh air into a region wearied out by excesses of bloodshed and other vices as corruption . Once again , this region ,as the Prime Minister said in his Indepen-dence Day speech, is beginning to weave new dreams of a better and brighter tomorrow with the prospects of an end to the 27 years old insurgency saga of Asom.
But then , dreams are only dreams. There is always a big gap between a dream and realizing the same . We say so because no one can guarantee as to how far this decision (of calling of the army operation) will be effective in actually bringing an end to insurgency in Asom.
It is now an open secret that the ULFA head honchos lead lavish lifestyles under assumed names , and following this they have become mere puppets in the hands of certain anti -Indian forces backed both by Bangladesh and of course, the Pakistani ISI.
Having gone does far into the trap of these anti -Indian forces, how realistic is our that the ULFA would finally succeeded in pulling itself out of this rut ? Do not Mr. Paresh Baruah & Co stand the peril harm to themselves by incurring the wrath of the violent forces that actually relish in such anti -Indian activities(as carried on by groups like ULFA too!), and that want no good whatsoever to happen to our dear country ? This is a million -dollar question ----one that only time will tell.
As of now , we can do nothing but wait , watch and , of course, hope for the best---- after all, it is hope that has carried us all along these two-and-a-half decades of turbulence and bloodshed in our state.
Mr. paresh Baruah , are you listening ? Or is your conscience dead already ? It is time you answered.

Stuti Goswami, [25th August 2006
Cotton College 'The Sentinel']

Asomiyas: Time to ponder……!

With the congress back in power, it must be party time in those camps
that intend to contribute their share towards making Assam apart of
Bangladesh. However , Mr. Tarun Gogai seems to have taken a bold stand
in regards to the AUDF. With the passage of time , will his stand dilute?
One can not so easily forget the Congress stand on the IM(DT) Act which
enabled countless Bangladeshis to settle in Asom .Our secular politicians
have always utilized Bangladeshis as vote banks, thereby endangering the
future of our own land. The pace at which the infiltrators are filling up
our towns and cities , one wonders what would be the fate of Asom in the
next few years. Or , can we remain Asomiyas when we exercise our
franchise in the next Assembly election ? It is time to ponder…!

Stuti Goswami. [21st May 2006
Cotton College The Sentinel]

The Value of Friendship

The gruesome murder of Purnam Hazarika has sent shock waves throughout the state, especially in Jorhat, since Jorhat was the home town of Purnam. The worst part of the whole incident is that Purnam was brutally killed by his very own friends. Seeing all this, one cannot help saying that moral values are on the brink of extinction today. Friendship, trust, love—all these words carry no meaning for the modern youths of our society I am sure that after learning about this gruesome act, there could be many a student who would find it difficult to believe or confide in his closest friends. Today I am distancing myself from my best friend, because, who knows, that very friend might try to harm me in future. So it is better if I keep myself at a safe distance from my friend. Otherwise I would have to pay heavily the price for it. But why am I thinking so? Why should these thoughts come to my mind? The answer is simple. Today’s world is so full of hatred, violence, greed, etc., that one cannot but ponder over these thoughts. And Purnam’s murder bears ample testimony to all this.
Moreover, we hope and pray that these dark days would be over, and thus would begin new era filled with peace. We also take this opportunity to offer our condolences to the bereaved family of Purnam. May his soul rest in peace.

Stuti Goswami
Don Bosco High School [ Pub.8/5/2001 , 'The Sentinel']
Baghchung, Jorhat, Asom

Thursday, June 19, 2008

One minute of darkness…

Scars inflicted on the mind take longer to heal than the ones that afflict the body. Peaceful co-existence amongst the diverse ethnic communities that dot the social landscape of the region has long been a hallmark of life in this northeastern corner of Incredible India…Yet of late; the region has been a witness to a spurt in violence owing largely to ethnic unrest. Although reasons for this are many, yet it cannot be denied that a fierce desire for a separate and distinct identity is what is driving the different communities to all the ‘struggles’. While several communities are demanding autonomy either in the form of separate statehood or else autonomous councils, many others are clamoring for special category recognition. With increasing political influence coupled with decreasing tolerance levels of people, the protests and counter-protests (protesting the earlier protests: apparently by opposing groups) are not only getting more frequent, but also aggressive, which does not augur well for any civilized society. At times things even take violent turn. The Beltola incident towards the fag end of 2007 is an instance in point. Although things have long since come back to normalcy, the simmering tension between the tea tribes and the non-tea tribes’ people in places like the tea gardens in Upper Assam is there for all to feel. The after-effect of this unfortunate incident was heightened by interference of some politicians from some neighbouring states whose unwanted meddling with the state’s internal affairs only made things worse. The said incident has sadly left an indelible scar on the minds of the people; a scar that will definitely take quite some time to heal. However, not all is lost (yet) in this land of the Red River. Tolerance and a maturity of approach in understanding the grievances of its underprivileged multitudes is the need of the hour. For let it not be forgotten that economic backwardness is the probably the prime cause that causes communities to nurture grievances that flare up in the form of demand for separate identity—at times even leading to an armed struggle. Instances of clashes between the insurgent groups of different communities are not infrequent in this region…
Yet, scars do heal… And they will do so even in the most adverse of situations... What we are going through today is just one minute of darkness.
let us not forget, that
“One minute of darkness will not make us blind…” (Pablo Neruda)

Stuti Goswami
[published as a letters to the editor in Assam Tribune]

Power Equations

How often have we paused to think about the kind of persons we need to bow down to? Whether we like it or not, the prominent ones are always the politicians, high-ranking officials, celebrities, the rich and the famous…for they are the ones who wield ‘power’. The rich and ‘powerful’ relative [powerful because he is rich] is the one likely to draw greatest chunk/number of visitors to the home…whether people do so out of respect or otherwise becomes inconsequential. The other day my uncle was ruing the fact that the same people who, in his heydays as a top ranking government official used to throng his office/home, laden with smiles hardly ever came to meet him, now that he was a retired personnel. Often people’s leaders undergo transformation once they enter the corridors of power…Or to generalize through a mathematical analogy, people alter once they reach the other side of the power equation.
Power equation thus rules the complex web of human relationships. Arundhati Roy, in The God of Small Things, illustrates powerfully how the complex power equations rule societal structure. Patriarchy, casteism, the Church (that represents religion), the police (which represents, in this novel the state) and politics (in the novel, again it is presented as Marxism) are all agents of repression—powerful agents that seek to contain the 'powerless’—often forging alliances for their personal aggrandizement… patriarchy is a show of power of gender upon gender while the casteist equation has caste as constituent element. This however is just one facet of the bigger picture…Eons ago, in his Oedipus Rex, Homer had presented the triumvirate of Oedipus(the son),Jocasta(Oedipus’ mother whom he unknowingly married later) and Laius(Oedipus’ father)-- which, much later formed the basis for Sigmund Freud’s concept of Oedipus Complex; in the demand for attention of the mother between the husband and the son, the power equation is precariously poised…
In the animal world, whether in the predator-prey equation (inter-specific) or in the competition among members of the same species for the basic requirements like food and mating partners(inter-specific)—the power equation throws up many a possibility of interpretation.
This power equation is however never is reversible and constantly changing. This is influenced by various factors. While man’s superior technological advances enable him to harness nature in the direction of his self-interests, a moment comes when Nature asserts her supremacy in turn—and this is through natural calamities. The power equation reverts in the opposite direction in such circumstances. In the human world, at least in the Indian context, politics is a beautiful example of this shifting nature of power equations…pre-poll/post-poll/poll-time alliances and loyalties are as unstable as a volatile chemical reaction. In the global political firmament as well, each move (intra-national or inter-national) is a reflection of clever understanding of this power equation—where politics becomes the source of power and power the bone of contention of politics.
In a way, thus, the power equation is at the core of existence in this existential world.

Stuti Goswami

Malcontents Galore

We complain and grumble for what we have not--we grumble about our problems but hardly do anything to ameliorate those,...indeed we are a land of malcontents. A topper in his respective school comes and falters in college, and is constantly unhappy. Love blooms and withers…brewing unhappiness. The system fails…and we grumble at the government. We speak of equality, but will not let our children mingle with our housekeeper’s child. We know what is happening in the lives of others, but have hardly a moment to spend with our own family—especially (about) the elderly. We, the so-called Gen-Y know the minutest details regarding the personal lives of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie but have hardly heard of Anandaram Baruah and Chandraprasad Saikia. We are constantly grumbling, at the lack of this that and the other, but how many of us have utilized all that is on offer? Standing on the holy sands of Rameswaram the young Avul Pakir had dreamt of flying: to any skeptic it would then have seemed a child's flight of fancy. However, the young boy not merely flew up in the sky—but soared higher to give the country a leading edge in its missile technology and went on to become the First citizen of the world's greatest democracy. Instances as this are to be found everywhere around us, but we how often have we taken inspiration from all these? For we are "so messed up with our lives" and "so burdened with our problems " that we "have no time for all this inspirational talk”, and so our lives are “doomed into despair"--making us the malcontents that we are. However, this realistic appraisal of our lives confronts us on surprisingly very few occasions. life offers so many diversions today that we can safely tuck our desperation/discontent somewhere behind the many corners of our minds—while immersing ourselves in the ‘joys of life’—the ‘dross and tinsel’ of modern life. All the while as we are dissatisfied within. Spirituality, yoga, meditation and music are some of the avenues through which we can rest our wearied nerves—yet, even these come in neat packages of commercialization: in this age of globalisation (unfortunately) we end up in servitude to prevailing trends and the demands of the market. Exceptions are hard to come by; the existing ones are labeled ‘different’in a sense that is anything but positive. Thus, we can only say that a whole set of socio-economic-cultural-psychological factors are at work forming an intricate web that makes us run in a vicious circle which both begins and ends in dissatisfaction/a weariness making us a society of malcontents galore…to come out of this rut—all we need to is to break the shackles of conformity to norms and dare to think and act a tad differently…For (the saying goes)—“winners do not do different things, they do things differently”. Let’s turn around the connotation of “being different”—once we are freed from our narrowed paradigms, we will begin to see things clearly and stop grumbling but start acting proactively….

stuti goswami
From the Editor’s desk…..
It is with profound hope, immense pleasure as also with much
expectations that we are bringing forth the third edition of 'VOICES’, a unique literary magazine of the student, and by the students of the Department of English, Cotton College.

The times are bleak, no doubt. Yet, to say that there is no silver lining beyond the dark clouds that overcast the sky would be an exaggeration to say the least. The enthusiastic response that we received while bringing out this magazine in the form of many contributions: poems, stories, write-ups et al prove beyond doubt the fact that there is no dearth of talent and brilliance in this part of the world. The need of the hour is to provide such platforms wherein such talents can flourish; and at the same time can hone their skills before taking the plunge into the turbulence of the world that lies beyond the confines of the college campus .It is our sincere endeavour to make VOICES such a one, so that these talents can blossom into pretty flowers, adorning the beautiful garden of life. Also we believe that by bringing together these sparks of hope that glimmer occasionally out of all-encompassing pall of darkness we can set afire that ‘iskra’—the grand bonfire that will devour in its flames all the vices that make the present times morose: all the while shedding light for us to take a few steps at least towards that ultimate goal of a better and brighter tomorrow which, is but a speck in the horizon.
Diverse topics have been incorporated into this magazine which reflect the major concerns of the generation it represents. By making it trilingual we wish to assert our commitment to our roots—our tradition—our language.
All said and done, I feel we have every reason to hope, nay, believe that out of the cacophony of modern existence will emanate voices that will blend to create a symphony in heralding a new dawn—a morrow hued with all the colours of the rainbow.
Our VOICES is all about this and much more. Testimonial to the dreams, hopes and aspirations and toil of a bunch of college chums—for whom under the blessed guidance of a wonderful faculty and able seniors---this has been an enriching and enlightening experience —an experience of a lifetime

Stuti Goswami.

[this was d editorial for the third edition of VOICES d annual mag of Dept. of English, Cotton College. ]

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

meandering thoughts!

would you know my name , asked clapton--if i saw u in heaven???
But heaven has no place for tears. Heaven--paradise--swarg--god's country...and what not.
But where does that holy land reside. Isn't it in us?
Like the billions and zillions of sunspots that together make up sun's incessant beam of light, so also the trillions and zillions of li'l specks of souls within each tiny particle of life--that makes up the over-soul. The Universal set comprising all the small and big sets--including the null . The Universe--in its cosmic-metaphysic manifestation--is like a Venn diagram . You can simply denote it--draw it-figure things out. But cannot grasp it with your both hands. Yet--with the innumerable tentacles of your mind, you can reach out to the farthest corner of the Universe and bring it within your control. You can "squeeze the universe into a li'l ball and...even play with it"
Then, if that be universe, what is Heaven?the uppermost orb in man's universe--the universe that scientists call brain.the universe the mystic will call mind....the twenty-thousand lotus petals over ones head--that ultimate point when one has awakened ones kundalini...........and what not.
Reader--These are reflections of a meandering association of thoughts...a stream of consciousness...mixed distillation of a flux!!
confused are you??or confused m i?well once again its all up to you --the Ball is in your court.
For reader--in writing these penultimate words of this spontaneous outpourings of a meandering mind.... the author is DEAD already!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

flooded land

rain is heaven pouring its love onto Mother Earth. But when one looks around today to see all the mud, slush, hardly feels so. The garbage at the sides of the road--the stinking colourful decorations on urban(e) development is a grim reminder of how far we still have to trudge till we can call ourselves 'civilised'. In fact, looking back to the past, we realize that our ancestors were far more 'civilised' , rustic though they might have been. What benefit is there of 'civilisation' in the present sense if we do not even have the basic common sense to not burn plastic, to cut down on use of polythene bags, to not throw garbage on the roads, to not spit on whitewashed walls--whether it be somebody's personal property or the governement's?The State Secretariat--how beautiful it looks from outside, isn't?Go inside--thats the real picture--betel stains have already found pride of place in probably the most important building in the state. As one top notch police official once remarked, one feels like dragging all those stain-makers to the main road and give them a public bashing. But unfortunately...if all such stain-makers of the city are to be bashed, where will we get bashers from??we'll hardly have people enough to bash them up, even if in groups? Do i sound bitter?unfortunately our people and their civic sense--or rather their lack of it --leavs one wd hardly any alternative. Even this does not suffice. Our people are beyond correction. Probably they'll mend their ways only when the mud and slush enters their bedrooms or else they themselves fall into those. But how many of our people can afford that luxury??nestled in the safe confines of their apartments/houses...moving in their cars/bikes leaves them with li'l chances of such enjoyments.So our society--we as a society will continue moving on hopelessly-till, if Providence wills--something happpens to jerk us out of our complacency. Till then we'll all continue being civilised. Each year it'll rain--we'll fret and talk--over cups of steaming tea and samosas...go to sleep. Next morning if rain abates--fine,the previous evening was a nightmare. If not--fine, we'll grumble at the sarkar and at our neighbours...cancel all our days programmes(the unfortunate among us will have to go however--the curses wl only increase) watch TV see a movie and chill out over a natural holiday!!
Eons ago, Vasudev had stealthily taken the newborn Lord Krishna trudging across flooded river from the prison room to Gokul. But then--think wat would Vasudev done had he lived in todays times??how wud he have crossed flooded rivers with baby Krishna over his head?The dirt, grime and slush probably have instigated Lord Krishna to incarnate himself on earth directly onto Gokul for fear of encountering the stink and stench--and of course the germs--of a flooded land.