By- Priyankan Goswami
The writing on the wall is crystal clear. Akhil Gogoi, despite his flaws in charismatic leadership and dramatic endurance has become the main opposition to the Government of Assam. He is now a voice of rebellion, cherished and looked up to by all. Both the young and the old generations, frustrated with decades of injustice and failure of previous leaders whom they trusted so much, are ready to come out to the streets at a call of Akhil Gogoi. As termed by ULFA Supremo Paresh Baruah, Akhil Gogoi is already a Martin Luther King of Assam for many. And this is where the danger lies in, for Akhil Gogoi.
People of Assam throughout the decades have witnessed how their boldest leaders who took on the Government have been destroyed. All big names that fought against the system democratically, undemocratically or with a pen has been destroyed by power and money or killed.
A decade and a half earlier, it was late Parag Kumar Das who had rose to become a fierce and uncompromising leader, standing against all injustice and for independence of the poor and the suppressed. His intellect, radical and alternate political thoughts had made him the most respected and loved for the people and most feared for the Government, both state and central. It was with his efforts that human rights organization Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MAAS) and democratic rights association Ganatantrik Adhikar Sangram Samiti (GASS) rose to make the world notice of the human rights violation and lack of democracy in Assam. His pen wrote more ferociously and truthfully than all guns of the Indian State forces combined. The result, – he was subjected to repeated torture, getting arrested under the National Security Act (NSA) and thereafter under the draconian Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA). Finally he was killed and we all know why. The voice and the opposition were stopped and a generation about to erupt like a volcano against the Indian state became dormant once again.
It is not just late Parag Kumar Das that was destroyed by the Government for revolting against the Government. Stalwart Late Nibaran Borah had to pay the price for democratic protest by getting beaten by the police at his old age. Journalist Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, who too faced similar circumstances as Parag Kumar Das, was slowly destroyed in such a way that he had to struggle for his daily bread and butter. Assam and the Assamese of course, in typical fashion contributed by doing nothing more than land drawing room lectures, something similar to Facebook debates nowadays.
Akhil Gogoi, whatever or however flaws he might possess, makes a perfect opposition under current circumstances in the democratically crippled state of Assam. Political or non-political, Assam needs someone to stand strongly against the state machine whenever required and Akhil Gogoi is doing just what the doctor ordered for Assam. However he has to take care that he does not get destroyed by conspiracy, bowed down by power or money or worst of all, get killed for uncompromising attitude. Life threat to Akhil Gogoi would not be a surprise at all to anyone and the fate of justice would be not more than what happened to Late Parag Kumar Das. When Parag Kumar Das was killed, entire Assam wept and cried only to forget everything about his contribution and way shown in due time. Justice is still denied to his family or to the people of Assam. We do not want Akhil Gogoi to become the next Parag Kumar Das, at least with the end result.
But a possibility cannot be ruled out. One of the main reason why Parag Kumar Das had become the most dreaded as well as hated enemy of the state machine was because he was backed by ULFA C-in-C Paresh Baruah whenever he took a stand. The same can be observed with Akhil Gogoi already, with Paresh Baruah backing him and supporting him openly through press releases in each and every action or protest that Akhil has indulged since 2006. Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma had once already claimed that Akhil Gogoi wanted to create new ULFA throughout the state! It would not be surprising if Akhil Gogoi too faces the dirty conspirators of politics of our country and faces a tragic end.
On the other hand, we do not want Akhil Gogoi to become Prafulla Mahanta either. Prafulla Mahanta had enjoyed the same, in fact more respect and trust during his rise during the Assam agitation. During the Assam agitation, when Prafulla Mahanta had fell ill during his short prison life, entire Assam was seen holding prayers (Naam Kirton) for his wellbeing! But Mahanta, almost destroyed with Money and Power, is now considered Assam’s biggest traitor by most people. And this happened because of absolute lack of criticism on Prafulla Mahanta during his days of rise. Mahanta’s steps in his early days had created the huge gap between the mainstream Assamese and all ethnic tribes, religions and communities of Assam. Lack of criticism and more importantly people’s unwillingness to accept such criticism positively had resulted in Prafulla Mahanta as well as AGP’s complete destruction in the end. If Akhil Gogoi and his supporters do not want to become a Prafulla Mahanta, criticism has to be accepted positively, analyzed heartily and corrective and improvement actions implemented. Unfortunately a lot of the young generation who indulges in petty Facebook debates (replacing the adda of the tini ali) thinks otherwise and simply are not ready to take criticism. This is the most dangerous of all.
DISCLAIMER– Times of Assam will continue to criticize and caution Akhil Gogoi or anyone, whenever the need is felt for the cause and betterment of Assam and the society. For this, Times of Assam or the writer is ready to face any consequence, threat of blind followers and mockery of stupid pseudo-intellectuals. For us, Assam and its betterment comes first and only following the popular path comes last.