By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, June 12: The much-awaited historic congregation of war-dispersed people of Assam was held at Silpgram at Panjabari in the city today under the aegis of the Association of Historically Dispersed People of Assam (ASHDIPA) and Gauhati University.
The Axam Xahitya Xabha (AXX), Srimanta Sankardev Sangha and Borduwa Than also extended their support to the congregation. The function was attended, among others, by AXX president Dr. Dhrubajyoti Bora and GU VC Mridul Hazarika.
Dr. Bora said: “All are silent on the issue of people of Assam who were dispersed in fierce wars. The job done by ASHDIPA in this area is commendable. The biggest business in the world is the selling of slaves from one country to another. At one time Rome alone needed three lakh slaves. This business was in the past and is thriving now in the form of human trafficking. The government has to take measures to stop this practice.”
The war-disperse Assamese, three each from Myanmar and Bangladesh, also shared their feelings with the gathering. The three who came from Bangladesh are – Bijay Asom, Timathi Asom and Ashok Asom – and those who came from Myanmar are Vidyapati (Mar Mar Aye), Madhurya Gopal (More Htun) and Priya (Yee Yee Aung).
Talking to the gathering, Madhurya Gopal said in Hindi: “They are highly pleased to be here. They want to visit Assam again. We’ll try to bring more war-dispersed Assamese to Assam.”
Madhurya Gopal also shared the problems he had to face for the visa of Priya with the audience. Identity cards in Myanmar are based on age. However, in her ID Priya’s has been given as ten years, while she is above 18 years. “The visa officials squarely rejected her application for visa. However, my expertise in astrology has doe it all. I had to get the favour of the officials by forecasting their future through the reading of their palms,” Madhurya Gopal said.
Priya, who cannot speak hindi, had to speak in Burmese. However, Madhurya Gopal played the role of interpreter. She said: “I’m very happy to be here. I’ve visited the State Museum. I’m elated to know the way of life in Assam. I’m trying to learn the Assamese language.”
Vidyapati said in Burmese: “I had an wish to come to Assam with my elder sister Padmamala. I’m happy to be here. Our neighbours were also eager to come. However, they couldn’t as they don’t have passports and visas. I assured them of bringing them here later. I want to come to Assam again.”
Ashok Asom of Bangladesh, who is the president of Asomiya Unyan Parishad in Bangladesh, said in Bengali: “We need to thank Dr. Satyakam Phukan, Tapan Kumar Sarma and Binoy Sarma for setting communications with us.”
Timathi Asom said in Assamese: “He is very happy to be in Assam. I’m here to know as to how culture is being practised in Assam. I know Assamese a little. I’ve around 400 friends in Assam. There are around 1,500 Assamese at Asom Basti in Bangladesh. I thank you for giving us the opportunity to set communication with the Assamese here.”
A nostalgic Bijay Asom bowed down to the land of Asom. He said: “I’m pleased to have seen the frankness of the people of Assam. I wish this frankness to live longer.”
Tapan Kumar Sarma of ASHDIPA said that after the first Burmese attack on Assam, Assam had to hand over Hem Aideo and hundreds of other people as workers along with her as war booty to the invading Burmese, besides people taken by the invading Army as war-prisoners. “Most of such people were slaves in the neighbouring country. The Kutchins, who had also come to Assam along with the Burmese, also took many people of Assam as slaves. Many people of Assam had also been sent to Burma in the successive Burmese attacks,” he said. “There are many Assamese people living at Mandalay, Bhamo, Mogong, Mitki, etc., places in Myanmar now. There had been communication with these Assamese-Burmese from 1933-1942. However, thereafter the communication spped. Eighty-year has elapsed during which there has been no communication with these people from Assam,” he added.