IIM-A student fraternity got the unique opportunity – thanks to Public Policy SIG – of hearing about Assam’s three decade old political turmoil from a person with immense experience in Assam Polity. Dr Haren Das, chairman of Assam Industrial Development Corporation and Ex-member, Assam Legislative Assembly engaged the students on a discussion about the various political problems that Assam has faced in the recent past ranging from Bodo crisis to the Bangladeshi illegal immigrants. He gave the students a brief history about these issues starting from the Bodoland demand of the 1980s to the recent riots in August. Then the floor was open to the discussion and student poured in their questions that are unanswered and largely unattended by Indian mainstream media.
Being in the midst of all the political efforts that the Assam government has been taking to make Assam more inclusive, he was able to give the students an idea of the long term efforts that are being taken. While he was confident that in the long term efforts like industrialization and increasing literacy can help win the trust of tribes, he said that there are no short term quick-fixes available for this problem. On the illegal immigration problem, he remained optimistic that the ongoing creation of National Population Registry will help the government to tackle the problem. He rounded off his talk by urging IIM-A fraternity to be in the forefront of change. He urged students to show the wider community that North East people are no different from the mainland Indians. He went on to point out that North East people are none other than ethnic groups from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who migrated four hundred years back.
The talk was well received among students. “It was good to hear from someone from Assam itself. There was so less coverage from mainstream media that lot of these issues was difficult to comprehend for outsiders,” quipped Francis Xavier, a PGP-2 student.
An abridged version of the session is available in Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sbAGNQLnwg&feature=g-user-u