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