GUWAHATI, July 15 - Years of neglect meted out to the tea tribes have triggered an identity crisis among the community and made their colonies fertile grounds for extremist elements like the Maoists to penetrate, noted author Juri Borah Borgohain said today.
She was speaking at the formal release of her eighth novel Angkosh here.
In her latest novel, set in the tea belt of upper Assam, Borgohain tries to portray the pathetic plight of the tea community ever since they were brought to the State by the British and how this exploitation has sown the seeds of extremism within the community.
�There are two distinct sections in upper Assam. One is the Assamese society and the other is the tea community. Both have different languages, cultures, behaviour patterns, thinking, etc. We the Assamese have always considered ourselves superior and never made them feel they are one among us. We have created a divide,� Borgohain, who has spent one and half decades of her life in the tea belt of Chabua, said.
She said slowly but surely the tea community is getting more and more aggressive even in case of small issues.
�An educated middle class is slowly emerging within the tea community and this section is telling the fraternity how they have been exploited. Sadly, no one is showing the tea community the way out. As a result, they are now taking up arms. May be, they (tea workers) do not believe in the ideals of the extremist groups which are trying to influence them. They only know that the groups are here to salvage them,� Borgohain added.
She claimed that the influence of extremist groups from outside in the State�s tea belts have been growing for the last ten years or so.
Borgohain said in her book that she wanted to create awareness about this social problem which has been overlooked for years.
Describing the novel a �courageous attempt� by Borgohain, critic Arindam Borkotoky said it is a very successful socio-political novel.