Friday, August 15, 2008

vande mataram

Sixty one years after India became an independent country, an Indian finally wins an individual gold at the summer Olympics. While excitable news anchors try to get an unflappable Abhinav Bindra to show some excitement, and state governments and corporate groups announce cash awards for him, Bindra's achievement has inspired our nation's people, both in terms of creative expression and enthusiasm for the particular sport in question.

While the Kashmir valley and Jammu continue to burn, and the liberal news media bemoans this assault on the very idea of a secular India, something happening in far-off Assam attracts no attention. A group of people have taken exception to an agitation against the presence of Bangladeshi nationals in Assam. The former can count on the support of none other than CM Tarun Gogoi. Gogoi of course belongs to the Congress, which has over the years turned a blind eye to the increasing number of Bangladeshis sneaking into Assam in return for their votes (to be fair, even the AGP didn't do much about it after coming to power on the strength of that issue). According to Gogoi, there are just a "handful" of Bangladeshis in Assam; clearly, the people who called this bandh are secular-minded Assamese like our CM Gogoi himself, and certainly not people from a neighbouring country. So while the Congress shows its secular/patriotic credentials in internationally-sensitive J&K, who gives a damn if Assam is slowly taken over by the Bangladeshis? Going back to J&K: the people of Ladakh are a peaceable and patriotic lot, which is why no one gives a damn about them, too. It's always been about the Kashmir valley, and now Jammu. Which just goes to show that in India, nobody will listen to you unless you create a tamasha.

Bhagyajeet Bhuyan did a review of my book in The Pioneer on 06/07/08. Called "Margin and the Centre", the review is helped by the fact that Bhuyan has been through the whole DU-north Delhi/professional life-south Delhi thing. He says it is a "commendable effort by the writer to bridge the gap between the North-East and the rest of the country. The fact that the writer himself is from the North-East adds credibility to the narrative." The review, like older webpages on The Pioneer's website, is unfortunately missing online.

Here's my two cents on the north-east in Delhi (link unavailable now) in the current "chinky" issue of Time Out Delhi.


noni said...

tag u to my blog

great to hear abt ur book..looking forward to read it

Anonymous said...

Hi Ankush,

Great to know about your book. I was going thru the wiki article on Shillong, as we are thinking of making a trip to that place in our next visit to Assam. That's how I got to know about your book. I don't know if you remeber me, we had common friends when I was studing in Delhi. I will surely get a copy of your book.
Wish you a bright future.

Anonymous said...

Ankush,there is a new(North East Writings) canon which I have been following with the fumes of lao(haaj) and letters. Maxim Gorky was not wrong when he wrote that flies are critics when the horses plough.Walter Pater is or was of the opinion that there is a critic before the author writes.
Well my premise is to bring out a literary journal soon. The name is LitlaNE.

Ankush Saikia said...

Hi anonymous, wishing you all the best for your literary journal.