[From Liberation, December 1979.]
Our Party shares your concern and supports your struggle for preserving the identity of the Assamese nation, its language and culture. We support you in your struggle against mass unemployment among the Assamese youth and against other problems faced by the Assamese people.
It is quite true that a section of Bengali intellectuals suffer from a false sense of superiority and look down upon the Assamese people as backward and uncultured. This is a legacy of the past and a thing created by the British rulers.
The British followed the policy of drawing intellectuals of some particular nationalities closer by placing them in important executive posts and by other measures at the expense of other nationalities. Such policies they pursued at different places of India. This way, on the one hand, they won over considerable sections of some nationalities to their side, and on the other, created the impression among other nationalities that not they (the British rulers) but the favoured nationalities who were their enemies. This is how they created divisions among the people and ruled our country for so many years. It is only in the course of common struggle against the British rulers that the Indian people of different nationalities built up their unity.
So there is a history of Assamese-Bengali rift and there is also the history of their united struggle against the common enemy.
After 1947, the ruling classes have tried in thousands of ways to break up the fighting unity of the people and, as the enemy is now more disguised, it is easier for them to do so. When we got ‘freedom’ the motherland was cut into two pieces and after 32 years of ‘independence’ we face the endless rifts among different sections of people. In Assam, all the political parties have so far thrived on the Assamese-Bengali rift. In other parts of India, they thrive either on Hindu-Muslim divide or on caste issues.
Would any problem of the Assamese people be solved by driving out the Bengalis and Nepalis from Assam? No. It will only break the peoples’ unity, make them waste their energy fighting each other, and only imperialists and domestic reactionaries will derive benefit out of it. It will create more problems for the Assamese people than it will solve.
The migrations of large numbers of people from Bangladesh and Nepal or from one state of India to another have their own historical and social reasons, as there are reasons behind the migration of millions of Indians abroad to different countries of the world. In Assam itself, there are lakhs of Adivasi workers in tea gardens who came from Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. You cannot drive them away.
People do not leave their country or native place unless they are faced with the question of survival. It is in search of living that they are forced to move. You cannot neglect history, you cannot negate the social reasons. There are many things happening in this world regardless of whether you like them or not. The theorists of local nationalism in its ultra form are ignorant persons who do not understand anything about history or the laws of society, or else they are bogus. Whatever may be their intentions, knowingly or unknowingly, they are hampering the cause of the Assamese people, shielding the real enemy and covering up the real programme of action from the Assamese people.
Our Party makes high evaluation of the industrious Assamese people, their charming language and rich and varied culture, which all have their own particularities. We strongly oppose any sort of chauvinism which looks down upon the Assamese people and we stand for developing the Assamese culture in the new democratic direction. Our party keeps strong faith with the Assamese students and youth, who are simple, intelligent and brave. We honestly hope that they will seriously ponder over the problems, go deep and learn to distinguish between enemies and friends, and avoid being driven into the trap of the ruling classes.
A section of Assamese students and youth have already taken to the road of genuine progress and the rest will eventually follow them. The present events are very painful, but let us hope these will be a step forward in the education of a nation whose youth has suffered long from discontent and wants to raise its head.
Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)
November 25, 1979