Assam is stuck in time warp over identity and it’s not going to get over soon

From the champion of the Assamese cause and regional aspiration, the AGP today is an insignificant partner in the Assam government led by ultra-nationalist BJP. The picture shows a mass of student protesters taking out a march during the Assam movement in January 1985 | Photo - Wikimedia

When thousands of youths thronged the streets in Assam earlier this year carrying bamboo torches, chanting ah oi aah, ulai aah (come out, come out all), there was a sense of deja vu for septuagenarian Ramen Mahanta.

The youth were opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Assam on January 23 for failing to safeguard the Assamese identity.

Mahanta, a retired professor now settled in Tezpur, remembered that he had himself taken part in several such protests decades ago.

“We waved black flags on a February day in 1983 at the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as her helicopter touched down at the playground of Netaji Vidyapeeth at Maligaon (in Guwahati),” he recalls.

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