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Indigenous people must control State�s economy: Dr Saikia

By STAFF Reporter
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GUWAHATI, July 20 - There is no conflict between our identities as Indians and also as Assamese and both are not contradictory.

At the same time, all the constituent states of the Indian Union must grow strong and reach their full potential if India as a country is to become strong, said eminent litterateur and former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Nagen Saikia.

Delivering the Krishna Kanta Handiqui Memorial Lecture organised by the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University here today, Dr Saikia also said that the local people of Assam must take control of the State�s economy and make all efforts to develop economically. He was speaking on the topic �Mur Sapunor Asom�.

He said that the tendency among youths of Assam still remains one of seeking only government service. Trade and commerce has still not entered the psyche of the younger generations in our State. He said that this lacuna must be addressed if we are to have control over our State�s economy.

Referring to the period of the Independence Movement and also the initial decades of the post-Independence period, Dr Saikia said during those times there was no conflict between our identities as Indians as well as Assamese and added that this is how we should go ahead in the coming days.

Stating that migration is a historical reality in almost all parts of the world, he said successive waves of migration have helped to create the Assamese society.

�Many of the people who came during the pre-Independence era from the then eastern part of Bengal became assimilated in our society and culture,� he said.

Dr Saikia, however, warned against the pitfalls of continuing illegal immigration from across the border and said that if it is allowed to continue, it can have serious repercussions in case a �separate political identity� is created and allowed to foster.

He also came out against the idea of welcoming Hindus from Bangladesh and said it is no different from the practice of earlier decades when certain political forces encouraged immigration of Muslims from the neighbouring country into Assam.

�Give us the breathing space to live as Assamese. Give us the breathing space to live as Indians,� he said.

Dr Saikia said that a �positive pluralistic outlook� is needed to ensure the unity and survival of the Assamese society as well as that of India.

�We are a secular nation and we have to preserve secularism. We have to discard communal thinking,� he said.

Highlighting the rich diversity of the Assamese society, he said that a �unified base� has to be created if the identity of the people of Assam is to be sustained and preserved.

Dr Saikia lamented the fact that Assam�s history and the State�s contribution to India�s freedom movement still remain largely unknown to the people of India.

�Since the time of Independence, the people of Assam were always forced to resort to agitations even for fulfilling basic demands like construction of bridges over the Brahmaputra, setting up of refineries and expansion of the railway network. A sense of alienation crept up among the people here. The fact is that all states have certain rights and so our country will become more united if all the states and regions get their rights and the respect they deserve,� he said.

He said that languages across the world have evolved with passage of time and become enriched by assimilating words from others.

�Assamese language will have to survive if Assamese society is to live on. We must also adopt words from other languages which are necessary and useful, while at the same time discarding those which are not necessary,� said Dr Saikia.

He said there is a need to imbibe the love for the mother tongue and respect for one�s culture among the younger generation, even though we must also learn languages like English and Hindi to the best of our abilities.

�Mother tongue is like mother�s milk. Without the mother tongue, there can be no social or moral progress,� said Dr Saikia.

He added, �We are Indians, but we must also learn to be Assamese. Without our Assamese identity, we cannot have an Indian identity.�

He also expressed displeasure with the fact that a lot of areas of Assam have been encroached upon by the neighbouring states.

�Nagalim (sic) lays claim to land belonging to Assam. Over 80,000 hectares of Assam�s land have been encroached upon over the years,� said Dr Saikia.

He also rued the fact that many flood-affected people have not received proper relief from the government and added that such things have the tendency to increase the sense of alienation.

�The Brahmaputra must no doubt be harnessed. But that should not come about at the cost of flooding Assam� We need energy, but not by sacrificing the lives of the people. Please build dams, but ensure that they are constructed in a scientific manner so that Assam and its citizens are not hurt,� said Dr Saikia.

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Indigenous people must control State�s economy: Dr Saikia

GUWAHATI, July 20 - There is no conflict between our identities as Indians and also as Assamese and both are not contradictory.

At the same time, all the constituent states of the Indian Union must grow strong and reach their full potential if India as a country is to become strong, said eminent litterateur and former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Nagen Saikia.

Delivering the Krishna Kanta Handiqui Memorial Lecture organised by the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University here today, Dr Saikia also said that the local people of Assam must take control of the State�s economy and make all efforts to develop economically. He was speaking on the topic �Mur Sapunor Asom�.

He said that the tendency among youths of Assam still remains one of seeking only government service. Trade and commerce has still not entered the psyche of the younger generations in our State. He said that this lacuna must be addressed if we are to have control over our State�s economy.

Referring to the period of the Independence Movement and also the initial decades of the post-Independence period, Dr Saikia said during those times there was no conflict between our identities as Indians as well as Assamese and added that this is how we should go ahead in the coming days.

Stating that migration is a historical reality in almost all parts of the world, he said successive waves of migration have helped to create the Assamese society.

�Many of the people who came during the pre-Independence era from the then eastern part of Bengal became assimilated in our society and culture,� he said.

Dr Saikia, however, warned against the pitfalls of continuing illegal immigration from across the border and said that if it is allowed to continue, it can have serious repercussions in case a �separate political identity� is created and allowed to foster.

He also came out against the idea of welcoming Hindus from Bangladesh and said it is no different from the practice of earlier decades when certain political forces encouraged immigration of Muslims from the neighbouring country into Assam.

�Give us the breathing space to live as Assamese. Give us the breathing space to live as Indians,� he said.

Dr Saikia said that a �positive pluralistic outlook� is needed to ensure the unity and survival of the Assamese society as well as that of India.

�We are a secular nation and we have to preserve secularism. We have to discard communal thinking,� he said.

Highlighting the rich diversity of the Assamese society, he said that a �unified base� has to be created if the identity of the people of Assam is to be sustained and preserved.

Dr Saikia lamented the fact that Assam�s history and the State�s contribution to India�s freedom movement still remain largely unknown to the people of India.

�Since the time of Independence, the people of Assam were always forced to resort to agitations even for fulfilling basic demands like construction of bridges over the Brahmaputra, setting up of refineries and expansion of the railway network. A sense of alienation crept up among the people here. The fact is that all states have certain rights and so our country will become more united if all the states and regions get their rights and the respect they deserve,� he said.

He said that languages across the world have evolved with passage of time and become enriched by assimilating words from others.

�Assamese language will have to survive if Assamese society is to live on. We must also adopt words from other languages which are necessary and useful, while at the same time discarding those which are not necessary,� said Dr Saikia.

He said there is a need to imbibe the love for the mother tongue and respect for one�s culture among the younger generation, even though we must also learn languages like English and Hindi to the best of our abilities.

�Mother tongue is like mother�s milk. Without the mother tongue, there can be no social or moral progress,� said Dr Saikia.

He added, �We are Indians, but we must also learn to be Assamese. Without our Assamese identity, we cannot have an Indian identity.�

He also expressed displeasure with the fact that a lot of areas of Assam have been encroached upon by the neighbouring states.

�Nagalim (sic) lays claim to land belonging to Assam. Over 80,000 hectares of Assam�s land have been encroached upon over the years,� said Dr Saikia.

He also rued the fact that many flood-affected people have not received proper relief from the government and added that such things have the tendency to increase the sense of alienation.

�The Brahmaputra must no doubt be harnessed. But that should not come about at the cost of flooding Assam� We need energy, but not by sacrificing the lives of the people. Please build dams, but ensure that they are constructed in a scientific manner so that Assam and its citizens are not hurt,� said Dr Saikia.