Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ranoj Pegu's exit: Endism of Mising ethnic politics in Assam?

As the regional television channels, local dailies and social media users are updating their views on noted ethnic Mising Tani leader Ranoj Pegu’s exit in the context of upcoming Dhemaji by-poll, I felt I should write on this transition that would likely to have implications in the Mising nationality’s political life in particular and northeast Assam’s politics in general in the years to come. The
Misings are the second largest recognized Schedule Tribe social group in Assam.

Since the 1980s, Mising people has been demanding political autonomy under the Sixth Schedule even before Ranoj Pegu’s entry into marginalized tribal people’s movement. The Mising Agom Kebang (MAK), the literary body, was formed in 1972. The MAK too had the roots with Adi and Mising tribes students and teachers led alfresco feast while in Cotton College, one of the oldest centres of higher learning, founded in 1901 in northeast India. The apex body, Mising Bane Kebang,  was formed as old as in 1924 in the colonial period. Student organizations such as the Takam Mising Porin Kebang (TMPK) had the history of organization in co-ordination with Adi students since the days of India’s independence in 1947.

Ranoj Pegu is known for Left-oriented political inclination. It is said that Vinod Mishra faction of Communist Party of India-Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) had considerable influence on Karbi and  Mising national organizations struggling for autonomous state and constitutional autonomy in their respective inhabited areas. I called it Leftist-orientation because Mising ethnic movement is independent of Left parties although it has mixed influences of Marxist, Leninist and Maoist political
philosophy.  Pegu, a son of civil servant originally hailing from fringes of Kaziranga National Park of Bokakhat, is said to be educated in Shankardev Seminary at Jorhat and Guwahati Medical College and Hospital. However, Ranoj Pegu is more contemporaneous in north bank of Siang river of Assam where majority of the Mising lives. He mostly shuttles between Gogamukh, head quarter of MAC, of which he is the chief executive member and Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. There were fratricidal clashes in 1990s between the supporters of Indian National Congress party-influenced Mising Autonomous Demand Committee (MADC) and the national bodies such as the TMPK, Mising Mimag Kebang (MMK), Takam Mising Mime Kebang (TMMK) in Mising inhabited areas.  The intense struggle for supremacy and influence among the political organizations created an atmosphere of chaos and anarchy in the less-governed inaccessible Mising territories of those times. The infamous 1995 Bilmukh killings of Mising ethnic nationalists over the grant of boundary-less Mising Autonomous Council (MAC) by security personnel was the consequence of tussle and differences among the ethnic leaderships.

Come 21st century, there was a change in the political course in Mising autonomy movement. During the early Congress-led state government, after regionalist Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) was defeated in 2001, constituted Cabinet sub-committee to study the feasibility of  Sixth Schedule based autonomy but it was met with violent opposition from neighboring indigenous communities in the north bank of Siang/ Brahmaputra river.  The government response was due to the Mising-Rabha-Tiwa alliance popular movements in their respective belts and demonstrations for autonomy in New Delhi and Dispur. Thus, it led to undeclared moratorium of growing intense non-violent political mobilization for autonomy. In 2006, the Mising leadership prior to state assembly poll with other sympathizers in their inhabited areas founded the Sanmilita Ganshakti, Asom, a micro-regional party with Leftist orientation that claimed to fight for marginalized communities in the upstream belt of north bank of Siang in Assam. It vowed to wage ‘’parliamentary struggle’’ instead of armed movement in contrast to the tendency of many ethnic groups in northeast India. However, in contrary to perception from media it would be wrong to called Ganshakti as Mising-only party. It draws supporters and political aspirants from neighboring communities in the Tani belt. A simple analysis of elected representatives of MAC in 2013 poll clears the air.  By then, the political tempo had resulted in strong support-base for pro-Sixth Schedule voice particularly in Jonai, Dhemaji, Majuli and Dhakhuakhana constituencies challenging the ruling Congress party along with parallel anti-autonomy organizations mainly from the indigenous non-tribal Assamese-speaking populace. Bhubon Pegu won the Jonai constituency in 2006 from Ganshakti party. In 2011, he lost to Congress’ candidate Pradan Baruah. Bhubon Pegu, son of a forest officer from Silapathar, has the distinction of being a former general secretary of Cotton College Union Society (CCUS) at prestigious Cotton College. Pegu has huge following in Mising-inhabited areas which was established during his days at TMPK and subsequent struggle for Sixth Schedule based autonomy. Sixth Schedule became a buzzword in Mising society in early 2000s during his leadership for political autonomy where Johan Doley was the president of TMPK.  In 2016, he won again with the distinction of being the only independent candidate elected to Assam assembly when there was Modi-wave in most of constituencies of Assam that promised security for ‘jati, mati and bheti (nation, land and homestead) under the leadership of former All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leader, Sarbananda Sonowal. It may be recalled that the Ganshakti, having Leftist-orientation, did not enter into pre-poll alliance unlike other smaller parties in the 2016 Assam poll.
Ranoj Pegu and Bhubon Pegu seen with Sarbananda Sonowal Photo: Facebook

The Mising political imagination of achieving constitutional autonomy is on the crossroad. The main steering figures of non-violent political struggle for autonomy such as Ranoj Pegu joining of BJP  and Bhubon Pegu’s hinting of joining the saffron outfit marks an era of mainstreaming of Mising ethnic nationalism to pan-Indian nationalist fold after a break of three decades. Three decades can be counted from post-Assam Accord (1985) to BJP’s triumph with the mantra of aligning the “khilonjia’’ (indigenous) in 2016 assembly election. The advent of populist Hindu nationalist fervor since 2014 together with many regional sub-nationalist leaders aligning with BJP in Assam may be attributed to the exit of ethnic leaders. And most significantly, the decades of experiences and experiments of parliamentary politics on Mising ethnic nationalist plank could be the factors behind this development.

Drawing from theories of international relations, the latest political development in Mising political life may be identified as “endism''. Endism is different from declinism. While declinism is conditionally pessimistic that provides warning to the pathway to historical decline of ethnic politics and longing for reverse political state but endism signifies unwavering optimism with the illusion of well-being and escape from history (emphasis added). According to Sameul P. Huntington, endism does not provide corrective action but relaxed complacency. There is a widespread hope, optimism and complacency in the society that Mising ethnic leaders are joining the alliance of powers. Endism, when consequences are met with errors, could be far more “dangerous and subversive.”  The ‘political’ Mising society, bereft of its key personalities and ideologues, may riddle into disarray. It may also lead to 'no exit" at all from the ethnic politics but a shift in the cycle of Mising ethnic nationalism. Nevertheless, the forthcoming by-poll of Dhemaji constituency, whether Ranoj Pegu wins or loses, would be an outlier in the political history of the community.

(Views expressed here are entirely personal. This article doesn't reflect the views of institutions or organizations the author is associated with.)

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Silapathar dok pa:mín sunam: Mo:di sok ommang ké taupénam

             Gíné  March 6, 2017 do Silapathar town dok Jonai bélamlo du:né All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) ophis dém Nikhil Bharat Bangali Udbastu Samannay Samiti (NBUSS)  dé bottan kébang ko igela “procession” la:len douém lumín sula édé poriné ope:lok tani yé démbito odokké gerko okum démsin mopen-moren bito. Udbastu dé Bengali gompiré, édém “refugee” émdo.  Mo:di akolokké agin dungko amo:lo lokké ménpakla gílad langkumane tani ém“Refugee” pé sapla do. Gílad kugom sin kangkan pé turra dula ma:yé, pésola turpa:yé. Aba:yang Bornoi (Siang/Lali?Brahmaputra) ané kekon-kesak pé du:ne Bengali British longé (1826) dok Bangladesh (1971) lendo do:pé  Assam sop ginné. Odok lédupésin gítíla dung motum la:ma do:pé.
March 6, 2017 dok AASU ager okum mopen-moren binam Silapthar do. Source: Youttube

Assam mimak éla tribel opín

Assam mimak (Assam movement) dok lédupé Rajiv Gandhi bí Prime Minister pé ila du:dodo August 15, 1985 dok sukti ko ika.  Assam mimak dém ibomnédé AASU dokké supakke Asom Gono Porishad.  Odo ayir do Asom Gano Songram Porishod emdagai. Amin de Assam Accord / Asom Sukti. Ede sukti dem dekko mé:mi-sigila-sapkum-sappala 24 March, 1971 (yume 12 do:pé) do gí:ané takam taniyém “Indian citizen” émna sapyé émna to:likto. Mimak moné ope:yé Hindu dak Muslim dak appingéméi torík su:ye. Odok lédu dokkédem torik sula ma:ye émna atgab ligdanla ru:sékto. Odok lédudok giné sékomsin torik sula:maye emto. Édé Assam mimak dém Mising, Boro Kachari, Deori, Tiwa, Karbi, Rabha, Dimasa appingéi dité-di:rung kinma pé gítéminla angu modi lok taniyém Asom sokké gílen kupé lagiyé émna imín-gímínka. Tiwa taniyé Morigaon district do Nellie émkodo February, 1983 do 2000 boje ko oinu kumli ope:lok bojepe taniyem moketo. Silapothar do:sin ginga la du:ne Bengali taniyem Arne Sapori do moketo. Sapyém Assam mimak do 1979 dokké 1985 dok sukti ido takam do Assam so sékri pé du:toma. Tiwa tani lok popé amongém pa:lad yékuji émna mé:la odo Tiwa taniyé  iboka émna lédudo lusudungku. Émpigel AASU do bottan leaders kídíde “kinma” émna sappakto, Tiwa tribel kídídém aíké émna saptokuma, bulu tani mokene opeye émnam asin ko imoto. Gohpur do mipak taniyé Boro-Kachari taniyém dolu lokké ménpakla Arunachal dok yumrang ara:lo dugsi la du:pa:to. Indira Gandhi bi gikal kado do mipak kidi dok dugra sula dungko camp ong kididem lengkanka. Lubiko kamala Boro kebange Arunachal dok Chief Minister Gegong Apang me kumtin sula Prime Minister Gandhi bí Boro ngasod démsini kinmoto. Odok lédupé 1987 do Assam sukti do Boro légang okkosin kamang émna kinla Upendranath Brahma bí All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) dokki “Divide Assam 50:50” ilaboi émna mimak tarungém morop kang. AASU igé-gígébonékídídé Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) dem la:len ge:la bulukke migom dola dungai. 2003 do Boro sukti em Bharat sorkar ésin ipatoku abbuk jo:la mimak monékididém, BTAD lenmotoku. Édém bojeko luyar pénam kama emna me:do. Séko opínémsin mé:tin sukanmang nérkur la luyémilo.

Silapathar témpin ansin jégalo bagémpé  kapé édempe ikan?

                 Lékoda Silapothar do odo longédok  édémbulum ka:la gíla gíkun tani lukampé 2 kilometre kopé procession dé iyyapé dokké 10, 000  ko:pé giminé tani dungai. Gimin ne tani kidi de ko:kang kamangi, mine-mijing, yame-mimbir, ne-milbong gidagai . Kanggabla ka:nampe aike agom lok placard  dokké poster appidém attagai. Aiké genam-bomnamém gebomdagai. Mising amo:lo kape edempe idun takam Misingei taddung ? Mising kébang kidi dok bulum Silapothar dok doying em okkomna luyen tani taudung? Mising  képé Aasu dé amik opinlok porin kébang. Bengali détu amik kérung, bulu okolai lokké gidung émnamdé ta:to-ya:yo manggom 50 ditag Mising tani ko iné taumiloi kinyé. Ludaggomsin Silapothar dé ngoluk Mising among lo dung, émdaggom ngolukké émna tokuma:bo. The Telegraph dé attak 25-30 per cent ko Bengali yé dung. 2001 census léngkankampé 22, 307 ko tani dung. Supak 30000 anindupé bong.  Town committee do:tu séko du:dakji kindagai.
      2014 do BJP pa:la central (ki:ni)odokké  state government so 2016 do BJP pa:ma dapébong “Hindu refugee” émsin citizenship biyé émna buluk “manifesto” doi bitak. Émpila 2016 do Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 émnam ko Parliament do tosatak “refugee” kídí dém lomdanla citizen pé idopé. AASU odokké angu-angu Assam sok kébangé édém ilam:ye émna lutíla ajéngém jé:la dung.  Sok “khilonjia”/ “tholuwa”/ “indigenous/ “mo:di sok ommang” taniyé “minority” pagyé agom , tani, migom gomnam (politics) appílok émna.

Agomdém sapyémilo  Silapathar do kapil Mising asop dun? Ngok méngkipé sé do:ying kídí sokkipak: Misingé mé:ra sula du:padak :
                               Gíné 2013 dok Mising Autonmous Council (MAC) election idodo Akajan constituency ( Silapathar desin giadak) Bengali luné éla mipak agom luné ope: (Ahom, Sutiya, Koch, Kolita, Bamun, Rajbongshi appidé, odokké migom dola traibel ammem ka:titné takamdé) takamdé bulu jigyed motomang, édé opín anyyi déi topaksuto MAC election imoma émna. Simen Somkong constituency do:sin du:pakkang édémípé. “Indefinite bandh” Dhemaji do binamko buluk ope: kébangé ika.
             2004 dok “independence day” lo  Dhemaji do bomb bukmola ngoluk Sixth Schedule modak do “law and order” ngasod aba:yang ko angkang abbuk jomapé sékri inam mimakdo. Dhemaji district dém bojéko “militarized”  zone pé imoto. Dhemaji tém séko bayukkan  buk mop lage émna, angu district patomapéyam (Ngolu army camp ru:yi lo saikel dugyém lo:dém gíy bekdungai édé sin iskul lendom. Police ésin émmumpé ngolum yuméko lock-up lo léngkita)
           Jonai do Ali-a:yé Lígang dírbí yumédo 2008 do séko bullan bomb bugmonékidé, édémpé sékkai opinlok dirbi yumélok bugmo kitakne Assam so okolai? Sékom ménggédan? Sékai mipak organization “culprit” kídídém etgabla “justice” pabopé lage émdune? 2016 assembly election do takam adjin opiné BJP manggom Congress do “alliance” ito,  Sanmilata Ganashakti, Assam éla Autonomous State Demand Committee (Karbi Anglong) mégela. 

              Bengali lok “Bongo Sena”dé Karbi dité talédo angupé Bangladesh “Hindu Bengali du:téng: mayeku émna longku lenkang émnabdém kindanlang ngoluk tani kídídé? Sapyémilo Ganshakti dok dunggab ko:dém rago ko:pak monam légang “Hindu” “refugee” kídí dok do:yingém itélíkla igo-siro dung.
                NiBBUSS dé Rashtriya Swayam Sevak  (RSS) dok alagkan kébangko émna lugéngko kadung. Buluk President Subodh Biswas émnamdé Nagpur do du:dak émna lutad bigoné ope:yé ludak. RSS dé BJP lok luyir odokké bélam sutkan biné abu é. “Citizenship” dok “politics” dém odo idung okol mipak agom luné opeye sin bojek kamaji, tribel bojeko dungkodo. Tribel kébang lok érokné kébang dém andan ge:la. NiBBUSS dé Morigaon do:sin édémípin kébang iyé émnamko ludagamalang. Morigaon dé Tiwa lok du:téng mo:diyé okolo mipak opeyéyasin gingane tani abayangkaboji. Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Guwahati, Silchar odobulu édé kébangdém ilatomane sékriru:pé ipé mé:mílo?
           Mising agom lok sign board/ poster ko mo:la “aíké” émnam tani kídídém “ayang” ko léngkandagne ngoluk amo:lo dung émla. Mising tani lokképé annyi opíndéi édílai lokkébong ngolum aíkémpé mé:mang émna léngkan la dung. Annyi déi Mising ké pé“amme” (other) pé ila dung.
        Gopinath Bordoloi 1947 ma:da:pébong “reserved constituency” dokké tribal belt ilen bo:ye émna odo gígéboné tribal leaders kídar dém luka. Odokképak Bordoloi ké ibonam Assam Congress Committee do gímínka:ku. Tribal leaders Bhimbor Deuri, Rupnath Brahma, Rabi Chandra Kachari, Karko Chandra Do:le bulu Bharat sé “independence” ma:da:pé angu modi lok gi:né amme tribal lok among ém dungkulub bomye émnamdém ka:bekdagai. Tribal belt and block lo amo:lo amme (non-tribal) é amongém la:la ma:yé réla ma:yé émnam ko 1938 do:bo lunamki  lédupésin édémípé iyépé émna mé:tinsuto. Po:pé Congress é taniyém ginga líktak mílo, supak lottado sok tani-íngém mo:ríd do:pé karé dém rébidung suppakké migomsé.

Assam Accord do tribal légang okko dun?

Assam sukti dok Clause 10 dé sémpé attak:
“It will be ensured that relevant laws for prevention of encroachment of government lands and
lands in tribal belts and blocks are strictly enforced and unauthorized encroachers evicted as
laid down under such laws.” ( Traibel dungko belts dokké blocks among éla migom amongém lupa-tatpasuma:pé dungkabbomném la:pakyéku runggo atténg saptékdanla)
Sé adnam sém éddíko supakké ayir sok migomé ménggabla gerduji édépék nérkík agomdé. Odo mé:dak Silapathar démpin ngasodém lékoda sido Assam “mo:di sok ommang” (sons of soil) ka:bekma:yé dokké lékopé ager tarungém iyar tílayé.

Réngamké angka:nam (nationalism)

Assam sok mipak réngam manggom Boro réngam lok  ang ka:nam kayir sula Mising taniésin dakropa:yé émna dekkoi mé:né dung. Silapathar dok pa:mínsudak  lédupé  Mising lok porin kébang édémarpésin kínggípé imín-gímínla ang léngkan toma, luyémílo “limited participation”  itak. Sapyémílo mipak ang dém  mikjém gel gímín ma:nam de aidak. Buluk kolok ang dém ka:yir suma:pé Assamese agom éla gomlab (language and literature) la:sa bokunamdémpak ka:yir supénammé, angu kídí takamdém aidak émna luguma, réngam agl£ng ka:mínsunam pé iyé. Mé:po ménganla sékri du:nam dé ajukayé. Réngam ang-kanam  dém kangkanpé irop pé réngam ako murkong-tarung dok dakra su:namdémpak (economically self-reliant) irop po:payé. Amikolok réngam ager gerdung émla murkong langkumsunam (kumlai la:daggom morítlai la:daggom) dírbídém mokab pa:yé..