GUWAHATI, July 23 - A proposal for the uplift of the historically dispersed Assamese people, who have been living in Bangladesh and Myanmar for the past about two centuries, has allegedly been gathering dust in the State Secretariat here for the past about two years.
According to city-based physician and social worker Dr Satyakam Phukan, who, along with two others � Tapan Kumar Sarma and Binoy Kumar Sarma of the city, has been trying to establish the link between the State�s people and these detached people, the proposal was submitted to the Commissioner of the State�s Department of Cultural Affairs on November 26, 2013.
It included steps to organise exhibitions and cultural events at three places � in Mandalay city and Bhamo town of Myanmar and Rangamati town of Chittagong Hills Tract of Bangladesh covering all the aspects of Assamese society and culture.
These exhibitions and cultural festivals are also to depict the prevailing cultural atmosphere in the State at the time of the exodus of the forefathers of these people, between 1820 and 1860, said the proposal. It also suggested that the proposed events might be described as �Festival of Assam.�
Further, the proposal said steps should be taken to arrange for the education of the deserving students of these historically dispersed Assamese people from Myanmar and Bangladesh in schools, colleges and universities of Assam � in both the general and technical (medical, engineering etc) streams. Such an arrangement would help the young generations of these people to carry out their social responsibilities in future for addressing their requirement to their respective local governments and in introducing their own culture, the proposal said.
For the purpose, Dr Phukan, Tapan Sarma and Binoy Sarma said in their proposal that they had identified the Tarun Ram Phookun High School in Silchar for the schooling of these Assamese students. And the move to admit these students was welcome by the responsible persons connected with this school.
Most of the Assamese people living in Mandalay, Myanmar, are still adhering to their Hindu religion and they want help for setting up an Assamese Naamghar there. They also want to visit Assam, but are unable to do so due to their economic condition. The Assam Government may turn their dream into a reality, said the trio.
They also informed the Commissioner, Cultural Affairs that the Consul General of India in Mandalay had assured them of all help and cooperation for any work undertaken for the welfare of the historically dispersed Assamese people living in Myanmar.
But, Dr Phukan alleged the then State�s Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Department sent the proposal to the Union Foreign Affairs Ministry without making any attempt at getting a clearance from the Foreign Affairs Ministry for undertaking such ventures in the two neighbouring countries, prior to that.
When this was pointed out to the then Cultural Commissioner, the latter resorted to total silence and inactivity, said Dr Phukan.
Moreover, one journalist-turned-bureaucrat, who was honoured by the Bangladesh Government for his service to the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, virtually heaped insults on the Assamese people living in Bangladesh, when his help was sought for their welfare.
By this time, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has visited Myanmar on several occasions to meet the historically dispersed Manipuri people, who are living there. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has also visited Myanmar to meet the historically dispersed Nagas living in that country, said Dr Phukan.