Who is an Assamese? Panel report raises more questions than answers

Assamese, Panel report
AASU supporters during a ‘Gana Saityagrah’ against Citizenship Amendment Act, in Guwahati. (PTI file photo)

Last December, 37-year-old Junali Bora walked in and out of many anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests that had engulfed Assam and the rest of the Northeast. One such morning, she arrived at Guwahati's Latasil playground and found herself amid a sea of protesters listening raptly to an almost clean-shaven man, dressed in a black shirt, scruffy trousers, his head covered in a red phulam gamosa (the traditional white cloth with floral motifs) and eyes hidden behind a pair of dark shades.

It was none other than her favourite icon and singer Zubeen Garg. Not just for Junali, the 47-year-old singer-actor-filmmaker for long has been the heartthrob of the entire state. With the anti-CAA protests becoming louder in Assam, Garg became the face of the movement. By now, every protest was echoing with his song -- Politics Nokoriba Bondhu (Don't play petty politics, my friend). The song, along with many old and new Assamese songs, became an anthem of sorts during the heady days of December.

A little later in January, Garg said that he would not shave until the CAA was scrapped and was seen growing a beard.

More than six months later, the gamusa is gone from Garg's head. So is the beard. An ill-shaped moustache is the only remnant of Garg's ‘leftover’ revolution. The actor just five days back was seen sitting next to a state minister as he was named the brand ambassador of the state agriculture sector.

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