When the whole nation is decked up in tricolor, saffron, white and green, Assam is terribly silent. It observes bandh, year after year. The saddest part of it is that even small children are deprived of enjoying the I-Day celebrations. They are learning a complete wrong lesson about India’s independence. Here’s an eye-opening report by Sarika, exclusively in Different Truths.
Yesterday, I was talking with my 6-year-old niece over the phone about how her school will celebrate the 71st Independence Day. She told with her cute voice like always 15th August is bandh, so they will celebrate it on 14th, a day in advance.
My state, Assam, has everything warmth, love but one thing is missing for past few decades. I recollect some memories of myself as a kid growing up in Digboi Assam. During the 90’s we used to celebrate the Independence Day with huge enthusiasm, it was not that bad. Probably in the late 1990’s or in our early 20’s Independence Day and Republic Days were just school holidays. It is known that ULFA declares bandh on these days and everyone would stay in and watch the TV or sleep or sometimes play cricket in the nearby houses. Kids probably never realised what they are missing in an independent country.
Most of the young and adults tune in to watch the live telecast of I-Day celebrations in Delhi. Sadly two to three generations have never celebrated the Independence Day in Assam, and perhaps also never realised its importance.
In the year 2004, on the Independence Day, a few group of school kids in lower Assam, in a place called Dhemaji, dared to hoist the National Flag. They lost their lives for this small act of defiance and patriotism. They were brutally killed. ULFA bombard the area to stop the hoisting of the national flag. In this dastardly attack, more than 30 people were dead. How sad in an independent nation you are not even allowed to hoist your national flag.
On this day, every year roads and streets are surrounded by army, CRPF, and police. The security forces keep patrolling in and around Assam. It means no one can go out as everyone is scared of senseless deaths.
When the whole nation is decked up in tricolour, saffron, white and green, Assam is terribly silent. It observes bandh, year after year. The saddest part of it is that even small children are deprived of enjoying the I-Day celebrations. They are learning a complete wrong lesson about India’s independence.
Though the nation is celebrating its 71st independent day, has anything changed over years? May be few changes that we might count on our fingers, but the fear of terrorism still exist everywhere in India. So far as the Independence Day celebrations are concerned, there are some changes in the past few years, especially in Guwahati and very few places but it is strictly guarded by the army personnel.
This is not how freedom of the country can be celebrated. Can people breathe freely without any fear? Can kids utter Vande Mataram without any restrictions? Where there will be no blasts or senseless killings, everywhere joy, love and festivity should be around us, we should enjoy it fearlessly.
Time changed. Governments changed. We hope future of this state will also change for good. There should not be any more blood bath in the name of Independence Day. The new generation should grow up by knowing that it is a day to celebrate not to fear. It should be celebrated like Diwali, Durga Puja, and Bihu. In Assam, 15th August and 26th January should not be celebrated with barbaric cruelty, bloodshed, and fear.
Happy Independence Day!
©Sarika Sarkar Das
Photos from the Internet.
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