Mizoram, a state which stands tall in many aspects; being 91.58% literate (2011 Census), having the least population density in India and with 87% of the people being Christians, boasts of an Anti-corruption Bureau that has put some big-wigs under the hammer! A prize-winning essay by a student of Class IX of Marian High School in Mizoram, P.C. Malswamkimi elucidates how important it is for young people to grow in a corrupt-free environment. The student reiterates that to be corrupt and practice Christianity are two poles apart, which shows how it is the children who actually wish to break the shackles of corruption! Malswamkimi also mentions how the power department has been lax in lighting up the homes and the student thinks that this too is another form of corruption!
During the elections in 2013, while organising a rally for the visit of Congress Vice-President, Rahul Gandhi to Mizoram, Bhupen Bora, Secretary of AICC and the Observer for Mizoram and Tripura was in for a pleasant surprise, he says. “We were carrying funds to be spent for the event. When we approached the Chief Minister of Mizoram, we were almost at the verge of a verbal spat. He simply couldn’t comply to an amount to be spent unnecessarily for the rally when the same work could be done at a much nominal rate!” Bhupen Bora was all praise for the Church, which has the power to intervene in matters of politics and the Young Mizo Association (YMA), both of which keep a very stern eye on any monetary transaction which might be unaccountable. ‘During the rally, we were allowed to put up only seven flexes and one banner by the Church and YMA. We were told that if the figures were later found to be incorrect, that is, before the rally, they will not be allowed to start the meeting. We got a banner made which was 20ft long and they objected immediately. They opined that allowing such opulence will send out a negative message to the people! We were amazed to see the kind of strictness the whole state of Mizoram maintained against corruption, led by the Church and YMA!’
Taking Mizoram as a case study, can the youth of Assam form something like a Young Assamese, since we, the Axomiya, believe that the youth can bring a change for the state of Assam, which is going through the pangs of socio-cultural distress, which itself is a form of corruption? It is here that the youth can emerge as a saviour!
However, having said this and taking pointers from the past, the people of Assam did place the confidence of the state on young people, with the Axom Gana Parishad coming to power. Even though their political immaturity was apparent, they managed to garner the confidence of the public. In no time at all, they understood the pulse of the people and started playing on their emotions, unbeknownst to the genteel and gullible Axomiya of their unholy agenda to satiate their greed. In a very short time, the people were appalled that the state coffers were empty. And all the while, the influence of the extreme right was barely visible as they continued their unholy nexus in being the ‘marg darshak’ for these young agitationists turned politicians, till they very recently came out in the open to speak about their involvement!
It is still a mystery to this day as to who were the ‘marg darshaks’ leading to the genocide of the 5000 innocent Indians (presumed foreigners), in Nellie and other places. The horror of the early morning conundrum perpetrated by their tribal brethren residing around the villages, which these people from erstwhile East Bengal made their homes and migrated to much before independence from Rupohi of Nowgong district, is still vivid in the minds of those who lost their families. Who was behind this plan? Who planted the seed of suspicion in the minds of the innocent tribal people who had been living in peace for so long with the Muslim villagers of Nellie? Who got these tribal men inebriated the previous night at a tea garden near the village? Who provided them with arms and ammunitions? Who was that national political leader who created his base in Guwahati in the home of a political activist prior to the Nellie massacre? Can we base our assumptions on the handiwork of the extreme right? So many questions yet unanswered for all these years!
With the wrong kind of information percolating to all parts of the society, it is time the young people counter these agencies by knowing the historical facts of pre and post independence, before coming to prejudiced conclusions! It is a responsible choice they would make if they eye the media too with a pinch of salt!
Assam has its own marg-darshaks! This is the land of Sankar-Ajan, who both led the people to believe in righteousness. How can we fail these visionaries who dreamt of an Axom where every person, irrespective of caste or creed, community or religion come together and be known as an Axomiya? We cannot afford to detract from the ethos of Lachit Barphukan and his most trusted aides, Bagh Hazarika, Kalua and Bhokua and Ramzan Khan Hiloidhori Barua of the Battle of Mohgarh fame. And what about our cultural icon, Bhupen Hazarika, who was the most prudent Marg Darshak of all times for the Assamese people? He showed us the way of living in harmony with every community who has made Assam their home, through his creativity; his song Mahabahu Brahmaputra….mahamilonor tirtha, ami Axomiya, nohou dukhia!
We are the Assamese, the new Assamese, we are good Indians!
TINAT ATIFA MASOOD
Social and political activist, writer at large