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Why NRC in Assam worries a Hindu whose mother tongue is Bengali

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The article below is more of a written outpouring of emotions based on my personal opinions rather than an academic or unbiased analysis and should be treated as such.

Thousands of miles away here in England the debate regarding NRC in Assam has reached. As all of us, Indian students gather around the television in our residence to watch the news from our country, I somehow feel less Indian. I see all of my other friends jubilant that nearly 40 lakh people are being considered illegal intruders, the question that creeps into my mind is that is there no distinction between an intruder and someone whose culture is indigenous to the culture of India?

I see my friends debating on how soon the foreigners should be deported, whether or not they should be deported is not the question they seem concerned about. The question that I ask myself is are they not aware that 40 percent of the people whom they are calling foreigners are Hindus. The answer they give is that it doesn’t matter if you are not an Indian you are not an Indian. Even if in the whole world it doesn’t matter whether you are Hindu or not, in India it always has and in India, it always should.

Condition of Hindus in Bangladesh.

But no, on the TV I see senior BJP ministers of the Assam government proudly stating that even Hindus are facing the problem, that they are not distinguishing between a Hindu and a Muslim from Bangladesh, as if it were something to be proud of. My ancestors during the partition were able to catch the boat and cross the river to enter into India because we were suddenly told Bharat is being divided and Sylhet is not Bharat anymore. We caught the boat and crossing the breadth of the country settled on the banks of Ganges and Yamuna in Prayagraj. Many people couldn’t catch that boat, they couldn’t accept that Sylhet is not a part of Bharat anymore.

But when every year, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s temple is attacked, when monks of Ramakrishna mission are beheaded, they have not option but to leave Sylhet on a journey towards India. A land where they think they will be accepted and treated as Indians not refugees, but alas they are not even treated as refugees but as intruders who have entered to change the demographics of the country. I watch at a panelist who is debating in the news channel as an RSS ideologue, the journalist asks him, “Bangladesh Se Aaye Hinduo or Anya Bangladeshiyo Mein Kya Koi Antar Nahi Hai?” I wait for his answer with hope. He answers that this is not about religion, it’s about protecting the indigenous people of Assam from foreigners.

I have nothing against the Assamese people and I look at them just as Indian people but when they address the Hindus with whom I share my blood as foreigners I can’t resist the urge to find out more about them. Only in India is it possible that people who have entered the country from Malaya few centuries ago, who still don’t identify themselves as complete Hindus, would have the liberty to call Hindus who speak Bengali, whose ancestors chanted the Purusha Sukta on the banks of Saraswati, whose ancestors after the drying up of Saraswati, followed the downward stream of Maa Ganga and settled there, whose descendants still chant the 10.8.125 Sukta from Rigveda, only in India is it possible that they will be addressed as foreigners. How I wish it was Bharat my ancestors settled in, instead of India.

Expecting something from the political parties in India is worthless, they seemed more concerned about losing their vote bank which they have cultivated for a long time and hence continued with their minority appeasement. But my expectation from the people who bow down to the Saffron Flag was that they will make a distinction between Hindus from Bangladesh who face persecution and other Bangladeshis. But everyone seems happy that the intruders have been identified that no one is concerned that Hindus are being clubbed with them.

If my ancestors were 25 years late and crossed the boat after 1971, would they be also considered intruders, whether my ancestry is Indian or not is that something my lords in Supreme Court will decide, who these days seem very eager to decide everything related to our culture.

It’s 1’0 clock here and on my screen is the famous English prime time journalist. I listen to him scream in a high pitched voice that how he is a proud Assamese and how Assam will not be a dumping ground for alien Bangladeshis irrespective of whether they are Hindus or belong to some other faith. To people like him, my reply is Hindus who were born in Bangladesh are not alien. Whether they were born in this side of the line or that side of the line is immaterial because that line was drawn by brits. Just because they were born on the wrong side of the line they will not be treated as “alien intruders”. Their identity is that of a Hindu and Bharat is their homeland, this right is not given to them because it was written on a parchment of paper a few decades ago by a human being. This right is unalienable because Bharat as the homeland of every Hindu is the god given right of every Hindu. I would urge every Hindu to not adopt the same yardstick for Hindus from Bangladesh and Bangladeshi intruders. They are not the same and never will be, hence should be treated differently.

One of Indira Gandhi’s old interviews is in circulation today in which she expressly states that she doesn’t make a distinction between Hindus from Bangladesh and other Bangladeshis. One can only hope that PM Modi disagrees with her.

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