An appeal from ‘Asom Basti’ in Bangladesh

GUWAHATI: At a time, when people of Assam as well as those from other states of the Northeast are agitating against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, apprehending large scale migration of Bengali-speaking Hindus from Bangladesh, a small group of people on the other side of the border is clamouring to learnt Assamese language and acquire knowledge of Assamese culture.

‘Asom Basti’ at Rangamati, is a small hamlet located about 350 kilometers away from Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. The village is inhabited by people whose forefathers had gone there from Assam before India’s Independence. Their forefathers were settled there by the erstwhile British Rulers  as employees of British Raj.

The present generation of people living in Asom Basti in Bangladesh though aware of their roots in Assam, can neither speak Assamese language nor they have any knowledge of Assamese culture and traditions. However, they yearn tremendously to learn the language and study the rich culture from the Land of Brahmaputra River.

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These group of people has made an appeal to people  and the government of Assam through a visiting senior journalist from Assam, Haider Hussain, for setting up of an Assamese medium school at their Rangamati village and an Assamese cultural centre in Dhaka so that they can study the language and culture of the land of their forefathers.

They may be physically detached from the land of their forefathers, but mentally this group of Assamese origin people has remained Assamese in the core of their heart. This is reflected in the common surname, ‘Asom’ attached to their names.  Obviously, they don’t want to get detached mentally from their Assamese origin.

Their demand for an Assamese medium school and an Assamese cultural centre in Dhaka bears significant at this juncture when the BJP-led government is getting ready to grant citizenship ‘persecuted’ minorities including Hindus from Bangladesh.

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