ULFA leader writes, readers respond

BY A correspondent| IN Media Practice | 05/01/2010
it is intriguing that readers have reacted to a top-rung militant leader?s write-up and were bold enough to express their views without any fear. Excerpts from letters Assamese readers wrote in response to Paresh Barua?s series in Amar Asom.

There has been an overwhelming response from the readers to the self-styled commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah?s write-up ?Where is the multi-hued Assamese society heading?, reported in the Hoot. The reactions filled up an entire page of the Assamese daily ?Amaar Asom?. The reactions are varied -- some criticizing him, some agreeing with him and some giving him ideas on how to take forward the ?armed struggle? for a sovereign Assam. But the overwhelming feeling was that of the realization of the futility of the ?struggle?.


But it is intriguing that readers have reacted to a top-rung militant leader?s write-up and were bold enough to express their views without any fear. This marks a change from an era of terror and apprehension the common people had about arguing about the rebel outfit and its ideals. These are some excerpts from the letters of the readers.


1. A reader called Sarat Chandra Neog of Dibrugarh has written a piece titled ?Paresh Baruah?s thoughts are baseless?. He has not given his address but his mobile number.


Paresh Baruah has only reinforced our belief that?s ULFA?s struggle is based on a deceptive idea. The success or failure of a movement depends on whether the basic ideals of the movement are true or false. Sometimes, movements based on false ideals become a reality and sometimes such movements based on true ideals become a failure. If the struggle for independence is not based on the issues of economic disparity, capitalist exploitation and class struggle, then even in an ?Independent Assam?, people will be forced to again fight for their other rights.


There is an impoverishment in Baruah?s thoughts. He wrote that the Bodos, Kacharis and the Dimasas mindset to break up from Assam will not in any way help in building their ethnic identity. But similar thoughts are being echoed by leaders of ?colonial India? like Sonia Gandhi or Manmohan Singh who have been saying the same things with minor changes here and there. 


If there is no concerted stir against the capitalist forces then there is no point in having a agitations for a separate state or country. Today, worldwide, the exploitation against the working class is increasing day by day has led to an increase in the economic disparity. How will Paresh Baruah sitting in the prime minister?s chair in an ?Independent Assam? deal with such a complex situation. It is not an attempt to ridicule Paresh Baruah by using the word Prime Minister, but is being used only for a logical understanding of the issue.


Baruah?s opposition to the struggle for separate states is meaningless as the very basis of ULFA?s struggle lies in separation. Baruah is leading a movement based on false calculations. There is still time to have open discussions and delineate his ideals. Otherwise even if the struggle is successful, it will die an untimely death.


2. Keshab Chandra Barua, Pub Sarania, Guwahati


Paresh Baruah has spoken the bitter and incisive truth which should make every Assamese sit up and think. There was a time when noted singer Bhupen Hazarika sang the evergreen song ?Ami Akhomiya Nohou Dukhiya (We are Assamese. We will never be poor) and many other writers have written on similar lines. But gradually during AGPs rule, the Assamese society witnessed a bad work culture, lack of knowledge of history and the acceptance of the bandh culture.


ULFA?s mindless violence have infuriated the common people and everyone right from the educated unemployed without any future, a starving farmer were frustrated with the age-old British land regulations are seeking peace. Baruah should study the present conditions in Assam. Majority of the Assamese do not believe that they make Assam independent through violence. Social, cultural and political agitation can lead to freedom of minds of the people. Only then can society change.


3. Sujata Gohain Baruah, Sivasagar


?A few questions for Paresh Baruah? is the title of her piece. She asks some incisive questions to Baruah and makes a poignant appeal to him.


It?s a good sign that due to changed circumstances, Paresh Baruah has freely expressed his views in front of the masses. His views on the Indian government?s politics of negligence is acceptable.


But is this path of a violent struggle is going to be the ideal or only path for an independent Assam? He has repeatedly stained his hands with the blood of his Assamese brothers but he has not been able to shake even a hair of the Indian army.


It is not probable that China will wage a war against India for Baruah or for the Assamese people. There is a practical reason for this. In today?s age, everything depends on economic development. In China?s economic development too, India plays a crucial role to play because they have a huge market in India. It won?t be surprising that at the instructions of the Indian government, China can even hand him over to India.


And in a ?Sovereign Assam?, what would be the role of the fundamentalist organizations who have been supporting the outfit with arms and wealth all these years? In Assam too, for a lot of the wealth, Baruah have created a rapport with a lot of corrupt politicians and businessmen.


Baruah has become a millionaire with such ill-gotten wealth. But this wealth belongs to the people of Assam. By buying weapons with the hard-earned money of the Assamese people, he has only caused more stain to his anguished motherland.


Every Assamese want to live with their head held high for that self-reliance is important. And in order to compete with the developed countries of the world, there is a need to develop science, technology and agriculture. Even little things like software for the Assamese language is yet to be developed. Baruah had to resort to the Roman script to send an email to express his views on the degradation of the Assamese language.


Baruah may be able to buy nuclear weapons with money but not human resources. He will have to build them. He doesn't have the acumen to fight the Indian army. He will have to evolve a policy based on the opinion of the Assamese people and have to bargain with the Indian government. The educated unemployed have participated in his struggle and many had joined him not for any ideals but for quick money. He will have to build a skilled manpower with these youth. Merely harping about his demands will not help him attain sovereignity.


Its important to do some self-appraisal. There is always an alternate viewpoint. There is no point in being adamant about one?s views. The Assamese people do not want Baruah too to land up in the jail. The government is trying all means to catch him. But he is an Assamese leader with some leadership qualities. The Assamese want him to negotiate with the government while he is free. He cannot cannot claim anything once he is in chains.


The people of Assam do not doubt his love for his motherland inspite of the fact that he has stayed away from his motherland for many years. But he has failed in leading the outfit. In fact, all armed struggles all over the world today have failed. Some of his views are acceptable like history being excluded from the school curriculum etc.


The border disputes have a politics behind it, but in order to raise mass consciousness there is a need for an able leader. If Baruah indeed emerges as an acceptable leader for everyone that the dream of golden Assam will be partially fulfilled. ?We urge you to do meaningful work to build a greater Assamese society. Come back to your motherland and give a direction to the revolution. This is the need of the hour,? she exhorts him.


4. Atul Chandra Gayan, Dwarka Nagar, Guwahati


Many youth of Assam have left their state for education and employment in the colonial India, some never to return. Why should Baruah then object to people from other communities coming to Assam?


Many outsiders came to Assam and got the opportunity to maintain their own language and culture. Though there are some exceptions. Even the Assamese Muslims should not be dragged into this. They are a part of the Assamese society and there is no history of communal violence in Assam.


5. Shankar Das


His write-up reveals his desperation and a valiant attempt to secure his future. His rebuking the Assamese as agents of Indian colonial rule is a tactful conspiracy to belittle the Assamese by making them stand in the dock. He wrote this essay as a political move when he saw that he cannot take on the Indian army directly.


ULFA?s top leadership is in the crossroads. They are busy trying to save their skin. His support for the migrants from Bangladesh is alarming. In his sovereign Assam, Assamese will become third class citizens. In char areas, 90 percent study in Assamese medium schools but do they have regular classes?


The Bangladeshis have overcome us with their surplus population and there is a rise in Muslim fundamentalist organizations. The two-child norm has reduced us to a minority while they have 5-6 wives and many children. Marwari, Bihari and  Punjabi have started schools in their own languages, but has Baruah assessed the rise in the number of Madrassas?


He is trying to mislead the Assamese society by making such statements. A revolutionary like Paresh Baruah is taking refuge in a foreign country and leading a luxurious life. Is he not responsible for the unemployment problem in Assam? Can an economically backward state like Nagaland be an ideal for a revolution? He feels for the Bangladeshis here as Bangladesh is a safe haven for him. ?He should come back to his motherland, send his kids to Assamese-medium schools. Only then the Assamese forgive him,? writes Das.

Subscribe To The Newsletter
The new term for self censorship is voluntary censorship, as proposed by companies like Netflix and Hotstar. ET reports that streaming video service Amazon Prime is opposing a move by its peers to adopt a voluntary censorship code in anticipation of the Indian government coming up with its own rules. Amazon is resisting because it fears that it may alienate paying subscribers.                   

Clearly, the run to the 2019 elections is on. A journalist received a call from someone saying they were from Aajtak channel and were conducting a survey, asking whom she was going to vote for in 2019. On being told that her vote was secret, the caller assumed she wasn't going to vote for 'Modiji'. The caller, a woman, also didn't identify herself. A month or two earlier the same journalist received a call, this time from a man, asking if she was going to vote for the BSP.                 

View More