For Assam, 2014 was a turbulent year – a year with a multitude of social and political adversaries which not many would like to remember.
But in the end, it was humanity that held sway over everything else, ringing in fresh hope for the New Year.
As armed groups based on foreign shores triggered one of the most vicious massacres in the State, humanity consoled the wounds and the age–old tradition of brotherhood continued to stand as a silver lining in the strife–torn areas.
As the year came to an end, tens and thousands from all sections of the society thronged the relief camps at Sonitpur and BTAD to help their brothers struck with agony and despair. Cloths, food materials, candles and blankets and other items flooded the camps.
Representatives from organizations like AASU and ABSU were seen spreading the message of love and unity in those areas which had turned into killing fields a few days back.
As various agencies and organizations opened relief material collection centres in Guwahati, even small children were seen doting their much–treasured toys and other parapherlia for their peers hit by the carge.
“I have never seen such overwhelming response from the people. I have persolly see hundreds of people visiting the camps – individually and in groups – to offer aid to the inmates. They are helping in whatever way they can. It really great to see the humanity,” said Hemanta Saikia, a local of Biswath Chariali, the worst affect area in the recent carge that left 80 people dead.
The rush of people offering commodities has been so much that Kokrajhar deputy commissioner has been forced to issue certain guidelines to streamline the exercise.
The response from the people reminds one of a famous saying by Martin Luthar King – “Only in the darkness you see the stars.”
On the last day of the year, there were signs of normalcy returning in the violence–hit areas, with people returning to their homes from the relief camps. The Assam State Disaster Magement Authority said the number of relief camps have gone down today. One camp was closed down at Chirang, as 450 people left for their homes. Similarly, over 1700 people in two camps of Sonitpur have left for their villages. Also, 21,000 people vacated the relief camps in Kokrajhar.
The magnimity of the people at the time of distress certainly triumphed at the end of a year of despondency which was marked by political rumblings and deteriorating law and order.
The political instability in the year was marked by the Chief Minister losing control over his men, leading to sacking of two ministers and resigtion of two other others. The Chief Minister since has been running a ministry with four vacant berths, which, according to many, has hit governce and development alike.
While the 2012 ethnic violence was still fresh in the minds of the people, the rayanguri massacres in May reignited the fears and mistrust. The Assam–galand border dispute reared its ugly head again as ga miscreants targeted Assamese villagers, magnifying the sense of insecurity further.
But, in words of Pablo Neruda, “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.” With the dawning of a New Year tomorrow, it’s time for new hope, new dreams and a new start. And these wings of hope will carry us, soaring high above the driving winds of life. (BY OUR STAFF REPORTER)