By- Priyanuj Gohain
About three weeks earlier, Pro-Talk ULFA Commander Mrinal Hazarika had made a statement in a press conference which has the potential to be a historical turnaround for the Assamese business community. He had declared that that all businesses where a few non Assamese were running monopoly and stashing away millions of money to outside of Assam would be now taken up by the ULFA over ground members and would transfer the business and economy to the unemployed and needy people of Assam. In spite of all section of the Assamese media thundering against him, he had made it clear, – the pro-talk ULFA would indulge in all different syndicates run in the state such as coal, fish, beetle nut, etc which are currently run by shadow mafia rule of non-Assamese business rules, media house owners with the help of the shadow mafia SULFA.
Chairman of the ULFA Arabinda Rajkhowa, coming under pressure of the media to justify Mrinal Hazarika’s actions, had to declare that Mrinal Hazarika and his group’s business methodology was flawed. However the chairman of ULFA did not actually speak anything that suggests ULFA not going to indulge in syndicate business, nor did he denied any such thing directly. In fact both chairman of ULFA, Arabinda Rajkhowa and C-in-C Paresh Baruah later sent out separate press releases on the same day, both voicing for the need to bring all business and economy back to the Assamese, from the hands of non Assamese businessmen and the mafia.
There is no denying the fact that in current Assam, if the economy and small or large businesses can be brought back to the hands of the indigenous, the people would welcome it whole heartedly even if it involves guns and goons. Assam and its indigenous people have been exploited to the core and no democratic government in the state or center has actually done anything to bring development to the state business and economy. On the contrary, various political leaders and parties have time and again invited corporates and capitalists from outside to rape off the wealth and exploit the rich resources of Assam. If this can be turn around by using the power of the gun by the ULFA men, the common people would not really mind it as they have already been suffering to the core under the vandalism of politics and mafia rule in different business communities in the state. The Assamese media would continue to shout immensely against this though, as their own non Assamese and mafia lords would be troubled by this step by ULFA men. However this is not the context why we are writing this piece down.
One of the major reasons why the economy of Assam has not seen a significant rise is the state’s absolute void in the IT space. The bad thing is – none of the democratic governments of Assam has ever done anything to develop Assam into an IT destination since there is no vote bank that the government would be able to create for its own by creating a developed IT industry. Worse, – the freelance IT entrepreneurs and small scale IT industries of Assam that tries its best to rise in spite of unfavorable conditions does not get any support or a single scheme. Worst of all, the companies, corporates, etc of Assam who indulge in IT business outsource their IT work to companies operating and from other states. Almost all media houses of Assam and news agencies have subscribed to the services of non-Assamese IT companies from other states.
The IT work of Assam has its own dirty syndicate where the small scale budding IT entrepreneur can never compete against the monopoly of the service providers from outside Assam, not because of better quality of service or higher skills by those companies but due to the inability by our small entrepreneur to please the political lords with high commission or prevent the non-Assamese owners to give business to their near and dear ones outside Assam. As a result IT entrepreneurship has never been able to develop or sustain in the state.
For Assam to develop into a IT spree, it is important to have our own IT entrepreneurship to grow and develop rather than bringing in the established players like Infosys or a TCS to open a delivery center in the state. However the governments not doing anything more than ministers having dinner and meeting the Tatas and Ambanis in five star hotels, the IT syndicate in Assam has only grown bigger and stronger to destroy all indigenous talents and aspirations.
Our question to leaders like Arabinda Rajkhowa and Mrinal Hazarika would be if they can take on the challenge to bring an end to the IT lobby ruled by people who would never let indigenous to prosper and develop. Of course we understand that the lateral talks with the Indian Government to bring a solution to the decade old problems of Assam comes first, however for overall growth and economic boost IT can play a major role. Assam is already way behind and late in entering the IT arena, we cannot wait years and decades for the IT industry to take shape. Mrinal Hazarika and other leaders would probably jump into the syndicates of Paan, fish, coal or beetle nuts and throw out the mafia rule (Hope they do not become the mafia rulers themselves though).
We are not expecting a Mrinal Hazarika to indulge in the corporate project management of IT or to know software languages. All we are daring him and his other comrades to take on the IT syndicate and stop the monopoly of outsiders, bring the much needed hope to our IT entrepreneurs to compete in a fair environment. Let’s see if Arabinda Rajkhowa’s claim to resort all business back to the Assamese actually yields results or goes off as a down to the drain claim.