By– Priyanuj Gohain
The writing on the wall, as read by most section of media and most people now is that, by agreeing to give up the demand of sovereignty of Assam, the struggle and existence of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has ended. The terror that it imparted, the relevance of the issue and the little hope that people had with ULFA ended. The fact that a section of the ULFA pro-talk leadership openly advocated to indulge in syndicates of coal for a living, just as the infamous SULFA men had done, has hurt a lot of the people as well.
There is no denying the fact that ULFA is almost a lost game now and has little chance of reviving the golden days or full public support which it enjoyed during the eighties and early nineties. Innumerable violence where the common man had to suffer, un-kept promises and many of the ULFA-to-SULFA men who took the path of revolutionary to mafia has created deep disgust and resentment to the people of Assam. In spite of this, one cannot deny that the issue and importance of ULFA has lost points, but not the issue of uprising and rebellion against the Indian State Machine.
The ever continuous dominance that was imparted by the Indian Rulers and the step motherly attitude of the center to the North Eastern region has led to almost hundred different rebel groups across the region, small and big. Thankfully to the delight of the Indian State and to its relief, these rebel groups are not united and often fight with each other. For example, both NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) have troubled the Indian Army to the extreme in the hills and jungles of Nagaland, but they fight each other as much as they fight the Indian Army! One can imagine what would have happened if all rebel groups of North East had been united to fight the Indian Army the state, things would have been simply worse.
However, we cannot still ignore the possibility of a future rebellion that is united against the dominance of Indian rule and step motherly treatment to this region, rebellion that can take shape just like the Maoist Rebellion has taken shape,-united across different states. Maoists are now reported to be controlling almost half of the Indian Lands. To add to the woes of the Government, the Maoist rebellion has been accredited as a Armed Struggle by the United Nations, unlike outfits like ULFA which the Indian Government had succeeded in branding as terrorist group. The reason why the Maoist have been able to rise and succeed in mobilizing more and more public support is because its roots are based on class struggle and strives to fight for the poor and the needy, unlike organizations like ULFA who fought in the name of regional chauvinism and boundary clad demands.
If one has to get down to the grass roots, one of the main reasons why there are so many armed rebellions taking shape in India is because of two main reasons:
The Triple H phenomenon of Indian Rulers: Hindi, Hindu and Hindustan
The chauvinism associated with Hindi by the Indian rulers, since majority of them has always been from the Hindi speaking region of India, is a known thing. It is because of the strive to impose Hindi that many non-speaking states of India have been troubled again and again in the past. Many intellectuals and scholars even debate that Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) was given away as another nation not just because it was a Muslim majority area, but because the language spoken was Bengali. If Bangladesh was a part of India, it would have been definitely Bengali and not Hindi that would have been the most spoken language in the country and there would have been no way for the dominance of Hindi and its imposition.
The way Assam faced the darkest period of President Rule itself shows the aggression of Hindi and Hindutva. Though fighting against its own citizens, the first Army operation against ULFA was called Operation Bajrang, a Hindu term as if it was Hinduism at war. The chauvinism from the Army men faced by the rural Assamese for their inability to understand Hindi is unforgettable and in spite of various complaints the issue was given a blind eye by authorities ever. Be it be Nehru who brought in the draconian Armed Forced (Special Power) Act of 1956 to violate all human rights of the region or an Indira Gandhi who violated human rights against the Sikhs, Assamese and the Tamils, the target was mainly against the non – Hindi belt. The phenomenon still continues till date, the only difference being nowadays the head of state is a Muslim, Sikh or a Dalit, while the power chords still gets controlled by the same lobby.
The rich capitalistic who rules India gets richer and the poor get poorer
In India, currently more than 40% of the population lives below the global poverty line, more than 70% lives on an earning of less than 20 rupee per day. Recent statistics proving that 0.012% of total population of India possesses investible wealth worth one third of India’s Gross National Income (which means the remaining 99.88% population possess two-third of the GNI), there is already a parallel economy in the country. This parallel economy has led to parallel governance in the country, ruled and manipulated by the Capitalist class of India and supported by the Government of India. At one side the poor keeps getting poorer, another end the rich get richer with corruption, fraudulence and help of the rulers of the nations. For example, can the poor pardon the Indian rulers for its ignorance to recover the hidden 65,785,630,000,000 (approximate) Indian Rupees in Swiss Bank, majority of which are obviously black money?
The Maoist rebellion of India has assumed the potential to threat and wipe out the entire Indian State Machine of Indian just because of the second reason listed above. With North east, the situation is even worse for it enjoys Indian rulers’ dominance with both the reasons above. ULFA may cease to be a force from Assam and Indian rulers can enjoy claiming and believing that they have solved the issue. But until the above two issues are taken care of, unless the rural (and not ones who can Like a Facebook India page) people feels the warmth and see their age long issues of betrayal and injustice being addressed, there are bound to be more rebellions from this region. If it was ULFA for the last thirty years, the probability of Maoist in Assam for the next thirty years cannot be ignored.
People who feel ULFA problem is now closed should understand that it is only the name ULFA and some specific people that Indian Government has dominated with money and power. The pain and the reasons why ULFA was formed still exists as ever before. If ULFA is closed down but problems are not, it will mark only the beginning of bigger rebellions in future, just like NSCN only started after NNC was closed down (and Indian Government claimed that the Naga Rebellion was over!) with the Shillong Accord.