Thoughts for My State
My beloved State of Assam faces at the moment a deep predicament. It is all a mix of confusion, disarray, lack of direction and motivation, routine politics of vote banks, all-pervading corruption, and of course violence of all forms.
It will be recalled how the AGP came to power in 1985 after the signing of the Assam Accord following a six-year-long agitation against illegal Bangladeshis. The AGP had promised to the people of the State that it would implement all the clauses of the Assam Accord and secure the existence of the indigenous people of the State from the threats that they were facing from illegal Bangladeshis. That grand promise was never kept.
The AGP had also made another grand promise – that it would provide a transparent and accountable governance completely free from the vice of corruption. But the AGP leaders were soon too busy in amassing huge wealth quite disproportionate to their known sources of income. Corruption soon assumed a new form. The people of the State soon faced a great betrayal. Meanwhile, the ULFA had already grown into a monster, killing whoever it thought was against its movement of bloodshed. Violence became the order of the day while the ruling AGP was a mute spectator. Soon, towards the end of 1990, Operation Bajrang was launched with the Indian Army leading the counter-insurgency operation. It was a success to a certain extent. But the ULFA movement could not be eliminated in totality.
Then the Congress came in. It was the same old story. Then it was the turn of the AGP again in 1996, with the same man, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, leading the government. But it was the same old story yet again. And then it was the turn of the Congress again, this time under Tarun Gogoi, in 2001.
What happened under Gogoi’s leadership for 15 long years is very recent memory, and the people of the State have not forgiven his government for its rampant indulgence in corruption and lack of administration. Fed up with his government, the people, in 2016, decided to vote overwhelmingly in support of a new BJP leadership under Sarbananda Sonowal.
However, the old story seems to be yet again repeating. Looking at the nature of his governance and administration, it is clear to a large extent by now that his government is also no different despite the BJP’s glorification of itself as a party with a difference.
Illegal immigration has now assumed a new dimension, thanks to the determination of the Centre, led by the BJP, to convert its Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 into a law so that illegal Bangladeshi Hindus could become legitimate Indian citizens and so that these people could be the saffron party’s new vote bank in Assam. Sarbananda Sonowal, on the other hand, has chosen to remain silent due to his political compulsion.
However, he is the same person who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court to get the IM(DT) Act scrapped. We cannot believe this now.
Therefore, in a nutshell, the people of Assam are entangled, and they have no choice because all choices seem to have been spent. And add to all this the routine violence every other day, including violence of the worst form fuelled by mere rumour as was evident in the recent barbaric lynching of two Guwahati youths in Karbi Anglong district.
So where are we headed for? We do not know.
The media report about the existence of fake PhDs in Assam’s colleges has come as a big jolt to the youth of the State who have new educational aspirations these days. The youth nowadays want to get entry into not just good colleges but also such colleges where they will be taught in the right manner by competent faculty members. With the news that even college teachers are faking their doctorate degrees just in order to be promoted and thus enjoy better pay scales, the youth are naturally frustrated.
What is a PhD after all? It is a degree earned after doing some serious and original research in the subject concerned so that the person concerned has better grasp over some specialized topic and may also motivate his/her students towards research work apart from teaching them well. If there are fake PhDs in our colleges, it is a certainty that education at the higher level is set for a doomsday. We cannot allow this to happen because education, especially higher quality education, is a vital need of the Assamese society in general.
I request the government of Sarbananda Sonowal to institute a proper inquiry into the matter in hand and bring to book all those who have lied about their so-called PhDs. Our future generation cannot be allowed to be taught by such teachers. I hope the education department will take a serious note of the matter and do the needful.