Guwahati: The recently published census data on the linguistic population presents a gloomy picture for Assamese speaking people in Brahmaputra valley. The population of Assamese speaking people in seven districts of the Brahmaputra Valley has substantially decreased while that of Bengali speakers increased over the last decade in these districts.
Among the districts of Assam where the Assamese-speaking population has dwindled, Barpeta presents the most surprising picture, where it is almost twice of Assamese speaking people. As per the census data, the number Assamese speaking people in Barpeta district is 6,12,248 while the number of Bengali speaking population in the district is 10,45,698.
In Darrang district, as per the latest census record, Assamese speaking people number is 4,57,696 and Bengali speaking population is 4,50,233.
Expressing concerns over the census data, linguistic scholars have called it a conspiracy of the government wings to create trouble in society at a time when the immigrant population have wholeheartedly embrace Assamese as their mother tongue and assimilated to the Assamese mainstream.
Both Barpeta and Darrang district has a sizable population of immigrant settlers, including indigenous Bengali-speaking Muslims from East Bengal — who settled in Assam during pre-Partition days — and Bengali-speaking Muslims who migrated from erstwhile East Pakistan. Most of them mentioned Assamese as their mother tongue during successive censuses.
But in other districts of Brahmaputra valley where there is a sizeable population of immigrant settlers, the growth of Bengali speaking population is far below that of both Barpeta and Darrang district.