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Language shall define Assamese nationality: Dr Bora


KALIABOR, Feb 3 � Newly elected president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Dhrubajyoti Bora today said language would be the foundation of the Assamese nationality in the coming days, and that all those who had been using Assamese as first, second and third language, would collectively define the composite Assamese identity.

�The Assamese identity will be determined neither by religion nor by ethnicity � nor even by the language of a particular group of people or by a group from a particular place. It will be language-centric but a broader entity in the sense that its constituents will include equally those whose mother tongue is not Assamese but who have been using Assamese as second and third language,� Dr Bora said.

Dwelling on the role of the migrants from erstwhile East Bengal who accepted Assamese as their language in almost every sphere of their activities, Dr Bora said that the language got a major boost from it, and that such instances were rare in the world.

�Branding these people as Bangladeshis will only hamper the growth of Assamese language and literature. It will also affect others who have embraced the Assamese language as their own. Assamese national life has not been free from communal and narrow thinking, with divisive forces from outside, too, trying to complicate things. We need to stave off such sinister attempts by forces inimical to the Assamese identity,� he added.

Dr Bora said it would be wrong to assume that the Assamese people (whose mother tongue is Assamese) alone owned the Assamese language.

�The Assamese language is a common property of those whose mother tongue is Assamese, and those for whom it is a second or third language. The share and dignity of this ownership is equal. Assamese has been the common language of the ethnic tribes, migrants from East Bengal, tea tribes, Bengalis, Nepalis, and Hindi-speaking communities. Any parochial attempt to narrow down the definition of Assamese would be entirely misplaced and harm the cause of nation-building,� he said.

Dr Bora also appealed to the people, especially the new generation comprising students and youths, teachers and those who had parted ways with the Sahitya Sabha for whatever reason, to join hands and strengthen the Sabha as an apex body of Assamese social life.

�The Sabha has room for all. Participation of all will strengthen the Sabha. Those who have severed ties with the Sabha should also come back and enrich it,� he said.

Earlier, Dr Bora was led in a colourful procession to Mouchanda Pathar, the venue of the 73rd biennial session of the Sabha, with thousands greeting him with folded hands and a thunderous applause.

The ceremonial procession began from the Konwaritol unit of the Sabha in Gandhi Pathar around 11.45 am and passed through several thoroughfares with people from different walks of life, young and old alike, waving their hands from either side of the road.

Cultural troupes showcasing the rich and diverse cultures and traditions of different tribes and communities of Assam also escorted the new Sabha president.

The customised vehicle on which Dr Bora made his way to the main venue of the session around 2 pm in the company of the president of the reception committee Keshav Mahanta, also reflected the unadulterated ethos of Assamese ethnicity.

The new president was accorded the ceremonial welcome to the prestigious chair by outgoing president Imran Shah and other office-bearers of the Sabha, besides a host of litterateurs.

Immediately after Dr Bora took over the reins from outgoing president Shah in the customary fashion, litterateur from Arunachal Pradesh Yeshe Dorje Thongsi inaugurated the open session. Former presidents of the Sahitya Sabha Rong Bong Terang and Mahim Bora were also present at the open session.

Noted litteratuer from Odisa A Mohanty was the chief guest of the open session.

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