| Kishore Giri protests in Guwahati on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Aug. 5: A section of Assam’s society today deemed self-introspection and mutual respect as the foundations for peace and harmony in the state.
In an event, Culture Bring Harmony, organised by All Assam Cultural Association here, actors, singers and members of civil society were unanimous in their verdict that mutual respect could make a lot of difference in this harmony-starved state.
“What we need today is respect for each other. Being a Bodo woman, I feel it,” Bodo Women’s Justice Forum president Anjali Daimari said. Calling for a change in people’s mindset, she said, “Every time I am interviewed by a local news channel here, I am asked whether I consider myself an Assamese. Is that a question that needs asking? Why is it not thrown at someone like a Saikia or a Bora?” she asked.
“Then again, Bihu is always chosen to represent Assam in the national and international fora. Why not a dance of the Bodos, Rabhas, Tiwas or the Misings? We should look at these issues seriously,” Daimari said.
Agreeing with Anjali, musician Diganta Bharati said, “Only an event (to discuss things) cannot bring harmony unless we learn to respect each other.”
Among the others who were present were artistes Biju Phukan, Indra Bania, J.P. Das and Hitesh Barua.
While Barua stressed that only the unification and spread of culture and literature could bring harmony to the state, Phukan said when the country became independent, the first priority of the state education department should have been to teach the languages of different communities to students of all communities. “This would have helped bring communities closer. The Centre can exploit us because it is aware of the lack of harmony among us,” he said.
Singer Kishore Giri also organised a solo event today. He marched through the streets here, singing songs on harmony.
On the other hand, in a statement mailed to the media today, the Paresh Barua-led Ulfa (Independent) expressed opinions similar to the ones voiced in the event.
The statement said people should have more faith in literature and not on politicians. “Politicians cannot solve problems. They can only manage a few indigenous leaders and ensure temporary relief. Our intellectuals will have to take a practical initiative. During our interaction with people, we have come to know that they have more confidence on Homen Borgohain, Rongbong Terang and Imran Shah — who were Asam Sahitya Sabha presidents. We appeal to them to unite all intellectuals, irrespective of caste, creed and religion, to bring about a fruitful solution (to the problems ravaging Assam),” the statement said.
The outfit said the current tense situation suggested that the intellectuals had failed to unite different communities in the state.