Most of them have been returning Assamese as their mother tongue in the census and are proud to be Asomiya.
Guwahati: A recent public statement by more than 200 academics, research scholars, journalists, writers and film-makers criticising the Assam police for filing first information reports against 10 people, most of them Bengali Muslim poets has created ripples in Assam.
In response, more than 129 academicians, students and activists from Assam have issued a joint public statement, where in, they have condemned the FIR against Miyan poets and raised serious objection to observation of the public statement of July 21. Asserting that the conscious sections of the Assamese society have strongly protested against such evil tactics of using FIR to suppress the voices of poets, the joint public statement issued by Assam’s intellectuals and civil society leaders here on Saturday said, “We wish to draw the attention of the civil society to the fact that the much circulated Karwan-e-Mohabbat YouTube video of Dr Hafiz Ahmed and other ‘Miyah poets’ carried a sub-title “Miyah poetry is a reclaiming of one’s Muslim identity”. Therefore, Miyah poetry has also to be understood in the context of identity politics.”
Referring to the public statement of July 21 on Miyan poetry, the statement of conscious citizens of Assam further said it reveals contradictions and inconsistencies. “In the first paragraph of the statement, Dr Hafiz Ahmed has been referred to as ‘senior Miyah poet’. We would like to point out that Dr Ahmed’s PhD thesis was on the contribution of Bengal-origin Assamese Muslims towards Assamese literature. Reference to Assamese Muslim as ‘Miyah’ poet is unfortunate.”
The public statement has also interchangeably used the terms ‘Bengali-origin Muslims of Assam’ (2nd para) and ‘Bengal-origin Muslims of Assam’ (3rd para) (emphasis added).
“It surprises us that the esteemed signatories of the public statement have overlooked the obvious differences between the phrases ‘Bengali-origin Muslims of Assam’ and ‘Bengal-origin Muslims of Assam’. Interestingly, in this discourse, the term ‘Assamese’ has been conveniently erased from all references made to the said poets and their poetry, whereas the majority of the population referred to by the term ‘Miyah’ by these signatories has been calling themselves Asomiya,” the statement stated.
Most of them have been returning Assamese as their mother tongue in the census and are proud to be Asomiya. Despite some serious violent incidents taking place because of the chauvinist politics of a section that occasionally sway the Assamese masses, there has been communal harmony between the mainstream Assamese and the Bengal-origin residents of the char areas.
The statement regretted that the signatories have in fact themselves driven a wedge between the communities by inserting the term Bengali.
“The politics of creating divisions amongst various sections of the people of Assam under the pretext of protesting against the atrocities on the immigrant Muslim population settled in Assam becomes obvious from the fact that both the poetry and the discourse sought to be constructed around it, ignores the very fact that the democratic sections of Assam have actually been making serious efforts to eradicate the unacceptable practice of using ‘miyah’ as a derogatory term by some sections of the people of Assam though others have been using it as a respectable form of address.”
“We draw the attention of the signatories of the ‘public statement’ to the fact that a large number of conscious citizens of Assam, irrespective of religion, language or community, have been continuously protesting against any kind of discrimination that might have arisen in the process of upgrading the NRC,” the statement said, while stating that the signatories of the public statement also appeal to all sections of the Assamese people to maintain peace and harmony at this very crucial juncture and desist from any such actions, which will give a handle to those forces that might wish to see the Assamese people divided on communal lines.