Silchar, Nov 12: Citizens’ Right Preservation Committee, Assam, expressed its deep resentment at the statement made by Shiladitya Deb, MLA of Hojai, suggesting that Bengali Hindus of this state should declare their identity and mother tongue as Assamese during the enumeration of next census. Such statement on a very sensitive issue by an elected representative is against the sanctity and dignity of a community. Bidhayak Das Purkayastha, general secretary, CRPC, said it is wild to think that a person could change his mother tongue.
The reality is that, as he pointed out, census figures of this state even from the pre independent time has been affected by social, demographic and political developments. By asking the Bengali Hindus to declare their mother tongue as Assamese is not a solution to the problem. Suppression of one’s mother tongue will only lead to adverse outcome, creating social tension in society. The suggestion of Shiladitya Deb is fraught with severe consequences, Purkayastha stated. This will only create an atmosphere of mistrust and deal a blow to the harmonious relations between Assamese and Hindu Bengalis which is not desirable, he opined.
Purkayastha said the census reports of the 1951 is a telling account of how the demographic structure was upset for reasons quite inexplicable. Elaborating, he added to say, Bengali Muslims returned their mother tongue as Assamese and subsequently reverted back to their own mother tongue Bengali. This is a part of demographic history of Assam. The number game of population politics is an old one in Assam which has so far failed to come out with any positive solution of the burning issue. Without identifying the root cause of the problem, it will be like a wild goose chase to find a solution.
Bidhayak Das Purkayastha at the same time hit out at Rajen Gohain, MP, for holding Bengali Hindus responsible for their present plight and dubbed the 1961 language movement as a blunder. Calling his statement as most unfortute and uncalled for, he said this only result in creating cleavage between the people of both the valleys. He reminded the language movement of 1961 was a historic necessity to protect the identity and language of the Bengali speaking people of Barak Valley. In this democratic movement, 11 persons became martyrs.
He suggested Rajen Gohain to go through the memorandum of the Union Home Ministry of September 19, 1956 and the relevant provisions of the Constitution of India vide Article 29 and 30 which allowed every linguistic group to have education in their own mother tongue. He also mentioned the Bengali Hindus of Brahmaputra Valley are an integral part of Assamese language, culture and tradition. It is really unfortute that when the present state government led by Sarbanda Sonowal is leaving no stone unturned to remove any sort of misunderstanding between the two valleys, MP like Gohain should come out with an irresponsible statement.
Purkayastha further said India being a multi lingual and multi religious country, people of one state freely move and live in other states and have the liberty to speak and learn in their own language. There is no question of imposition of one language on the other or vice-versa. According to him, unification and universal brotherhood cannot be achieved through rrow regiolism but through tiolism. Assimilation can be achieved by showing due respect to the language, culture and tradition of each community. This alone will lead to greater cohesion and understanding. Bidhayak Das Purkayastha called upon the people of both the valleys to rise above all meanness and rrow considerations and work for bridging the gulf, if any, between the two valleys in the larger interest of the state.