GUWAHATI, Jan 21 - Gross apathy shown by the people towards the memory of one of the greatest political leaders and builders of modern Assam, Bishnuram Medhi, was severely criticised at a public meeting held at the Bishnu Nirmala Bhawan here today on the occasion of the 35th death anniversary of the second Chief Minister of Assam.
The meeting, organised under the auspices of the Bishnu Nirmala Trust, was presided over by former Union Minister and Congress leader Renuka Devi Barkataki.
Addressing the function as the appointed speaker, senior journalist DN Chakravartty described Bishnuram Medhi as the �Iron Man� of modern Assam and analysed the similarities of his life and contributions with those of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
�Just like Sardar Patel, who could have easily become the first Prime Minister of India, Medhi could also have � had he desired � become the first Congress Premier of Assam because of his position as the president of the Assam Pradesh Congress at that time,� he said.
Chakravartty added how Medhi fought relentlessly against mass infiltration from East Bengal and East Pakistan and how he ventured to take defensive measures for protection of the rights of the Assamese people even at the cost of incurring the displeasure of the higher political authority in New Delhi.
�It was because of his legal talent and administrative wisdom that over 15 important legislative Acts, including the Zamindari Abolition Act, Opium Prohibition Act, Gauhati University Act, Panchayat Act, Basic Education Act, Adhiar Act and Cattle Protection Act were passed in the Assam Assembly, facilitating the protection of the rights of the Assamese people and advancement of their cause,� he said.
Medhi also laid stress on preparing the Assamese students to compete successfully in the IAS exam for which he organised coaching classes in the university, Chakravartty said.
Chakravartty also mentioned the �unbelievable magnanimity and charity of Medhi� who, after donating his entire land and property and income sources, preferred to stay in his own house by paying rent, as he had donated the house to the trust.
Advocate Sailen Medhi, while stating the purpose of the function, dwelt at length on the sufferings faced by Medhi for the cause of freedom and his untiring efforts to bring about socio-economic advancement of the State.
He said that Medhi, who was a straightforward and honest man, was betrayed by a group of political wire-pullers and opportunists, depriving Assam the full-length service of a competent Chief Minister for a full term.
Dhiren Baruah, Chairman of the GMDA, described how political rivals frustrated Medhi in executing many of the schemes which were aimed at ushering in development of the society.
Senior advocate Satyendra Prasad Deka said that it was only at the instance of Medhi that the first National Register of Citizens (NRC) was initiated in Assam in 1951.
Senior advocate Dilip Hazarika dwelt at length on the qualities of straightforwardness, kindness and indomitable patriotism of Medhi.
Suggestions were made for a formal official declaration of naming the Lamb Road after Bishnuram Medhi, and naming the BRM Law College as Bishnu Ram Medhi instead of its abbreviated form in order to make the common people aware of the departed leader.