Who failed the Assamese?
More often than not, we blame others for the distress and deprivation writ large in the state. However, to put the records straight, it must be admitted that we have failed ourselves and no one else! The greatest tragedy is that we have not become Assamese yet. The question does arise: how many more centuries would be required for us to become Assamese? On the contrary, we feel proud to say that Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla was an Assamese through and through. We too wish that Bengalis, Biharis, and others who have lived in Assam for centuries should identify themselves as Assamese. But still, a section of mainstream Assamese identify them as being of different origins. It means our assimilation is not yet complete! When we fail to become Assamese fully, how can we love Assam and sacrifice for the overall growth and prosperity of Assam?
Now, let us talk about our language and culture, which are our identities. Since Independence, the state has been ruled by the Assamese people only. Despite this fact, our Assamese language could not occupy a pride of place in our educational curriculums, institutions, offices, and APSC examinations, to name a few. Rather, it is being decimated progressively. The relentless struggle of the Assamese people since 1960 has not borne fruit yet. The question does arise: if Assamese can’t thrive in Assam, where would we do so? Our outright failure is that we did not learn from Bengalis, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Gujarati, etc. on this score. Lack of courage, conviction, and vision in our leaders made Assam and Assamese suffer badly in all respects. Undoubtedly, it is the failure of our leadership. We know for sure that “a wise man learns from others' mistakes; fools keep on making mistakes." Keeping the above lines in perspective, it is pertinent to state that, at our own peril, we can only afford to forget the episode of the year 1836, wherein the Assamese language was replaced by Bengali. In addition to the above, the following are the events that took place under our nose while we remained silent: Assamese hoardings were blackened out in Silchar and Cachar on many occasions in the past, and it is also alleged that Assamese language is being removed from school curricula and various official documents progressively in Bodoland.
It’s time to wake up or perish!
Stringent penalties in Assam Public Examination Bill
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the Assam Public Examination Bill (Measures for Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment), 2024, which proposes severe penalties, including up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Rs 10 crore, in case of cheating and question paper leaks in public examinations for recruitment.
While the intention to curb malpractices in public examinations and maintain the integrity of the recruitment process is commendable, the severity of the proposed penalties raises questions about proportionality and the potential impact on individuals, especially students.
Penalties such as imprisonment for up to 10 years and hefty fines might deter individuals from engaging in unfair means, but they also run the risk of disproportionately punishing those who might be inadvertently involved or coerced into such activities. The magnitude of the proposed fines, in particular, seems excessively punitive and could have long-lasting consequences for the lives of the individuals involved.
Moreover, the bill's provisions for debarment from public examinations for two years may have unintended consequences for the educational and professional future of individuals convicted of offences under the Act. A more nuanced approach, such as counselling, education on ethical behaviour, or community service, might be considered to address the root causes of malpractices and help individuals reintegrate into society positively. Additionally, the bill's emphasis on the recovery of "wrongful gains" through the attachment and sale of assets raises questions about the practicality and fairness of such measures, especially in cases where individuals might not have accumulated substantial assets.
While the government's commitment to ensuring the sanctity of examinations is laudable, it is crucial to strike a balance between deterrence and rehabilitation. The focus should be on preventive measures, improving examination processes, and addressing the root causes of malpractices rather than relying solely on punitive measures.
I urge the authorities to consider a more balanced and holistic approach that addresses the complexities of the issue while safeguarding the interests and future prospects of the individuals involved.
India's growing step
India's economic prowess continues to soar as it surges ahead in the global rankings. In a remarkable feat, India has secured the fourth position in the world for stock market capitalization, with a staggering valuation exceeding US$ 4.35 trillion. This milestone, achieved within a span of just two months since surpassing France and Britain, underscores India's remarkable trajectory in the economic landscape. With only America, China, and Japan ahead, India's ascent reflects a resurgence of its global standing, signalling a promising era of growth and opportunity on the international stage.
Free and solar-powered electricity
It is encouraging news for the nation's residents as the Central Government intends to provide 300 units of free power per month to one crore dwellings, as announced recently by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the interim Budget 2024. Moreover, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojna intends to equip one crore families with rooftop solar electricity, as it is the most affordable energy source available globally. The goal of this programme is to use solar rooftop installations to supply low- and middle-income people with electricity. Electricity is a crucial part of human existence, since most of our work at present revolves around the electronic gadgets that are part of our day-to-day lives, and with the government promising to provide free electricity with the help of solar power, it will not only be economically beneficial for the people of the country but also a much more sustainable choice for the environment.
Science and technology continue to revolutionize human life, offering unprecedented miracles and advancements unimaginable just decades ago. A recent breakthrough by Elon Musk's Neura Link, implanting a wireless computer chip in the human brain, marks a significant stride forward. This innovation promises to be a boon for individuals with disabilities like paralysis, epilepsy, and Parkinson's, enabling them to control devices and communicate solely through their thoughts. By decoding brain signals, this technology offers newfound independence and possibilities, showcasing the immense potential of technology when wielded for positive ends.
Mohd Ashraf Siddiqui
Paltan Bazar, Guwahati