The Axom Nagarik Samaj’s (Citizen Community of Assam) recent pamphlet, “NRC and Why is it Important?,” seems to have gone with the tried and tested narrative template of Assamese nationalist discourse. A forum of prominent intellectuals including writer and former police officer Harekrishna Deka, journalists Ajit Bhuyan and Prasanta Rajguru, and academic Dr. Akhil Ranjan Dutta among others, Axom Nagarik Samaj claims to represent the legitimate demands of the “indigenous communities” of Assam for protection against the “heavy influx” of illegal migrants from Bangladesh that “threatens their political, economic and social space.” The document hardly stands out for its literary ingenuity, even less so for its political vision. They present a narrative that has been the staple of Assamese nationalist discourse, available for consumption at least since the late-1970s and extremely popular during the Assam Movement. Unfortunately, for the authors, they are not living in 1982. In reproducing this discourse today, they also reinforce the blind-spots that have afflicted this fantasy of a harmonious, multi-ethnic pastoral Assam, rudely intruded upon by colonialism and outsiders.
Tag: Civil Society
There has a spurt of non-governmental organizations in the country. According to one estimate, India has more than 30 lakh NGO’s which is more than the number of schools in the whole country. These bodies are now performing the activities that the Government abdicated. But this is not a healthy scenario because at the end of the day they are not the mandated agencies and it encourages further outsourcing of development initiatives to private interest. This serves to weaken democracy because by virtue of being private initiatives the NGO’s are in principle not accountable to the public.