Migrants are Citizens

Immigrant refers to a person who enters another country for settlement and employment while emigrant refers to a person who leaves his/her country and moves to another country for settlement and employment. Conversely, a person who moves from one place to another within his/ her country for settlement and employment is called migrant. We have seen many persons moving from one place to another within India for settlement and employment since the British rule. They are neither immigrants nor emigrants but migrants. 

When the British ruled India for almost 300 years, East Bengal was an integral region of the British India and the people living therein were citizens of India ruled by the British Government. Assam came under the British administration with the Yandaboo Treaty signed between the British Government and Burmese Ruler in 1826. When the British started ruling Assam, it saw vast fertile lands lying as marsh, pasture arid lands in both sides (banks) of the River Brahmaputra. The British realised that despite these fertile lands, Assam was lagging far behind in agro-economy in comparison to other states in India. To develop agro-economy in Assam, these lands should be necessarily cultivated for production of crops. Hence the British stated bringing efficient people from East Bengal batch by batch in 1880 for cultivating these lands and producing crops like paddy, jute, pulse and spice so as to tide over food crisis in Assam. These people were settled down on the banks of the River Brahmaputra. In fact, these people are simple, gullible and hard-working, contributing to the growth of agro-economy in Assam considerably since their arrival.

Legally, if a person migrates from one place to another within country does not lose his/ her citizenship. So the  people who had migrated from East Bengal of undivided India to Assam before partition are bonafide citizens of India. It  would be highly wrong to call them immigrants or foreigners. These people and their children deserve indigenous status and other rights and privileges as other citizens in Assam/ India. Most of them get their names included in the NRC of Assam 2019. Nevertheless some Hindutva organisations are opposing granting indigenous status to them and consider them foreigners to be detected and deported from Assam/India.

Muhammad Abdus Samad

Dhupdhara, Assam

Spewing Venom

This refers to the news in media, “Sachin, former players, politicians back Shami after online abuse”.

Winning and losing are part of the game. Nonetheless, players have been blamed, abused, and  protested against on the streets, even their effigies burnt, by fans who just could not digest the fact that their god-like icons have let them down. Sadly, what is new in “New India” is singling out players based on their caste and religion.

A few months ago, casteist slurs were thrown at Dalit hockey player Vandana Katariya and her family for India’s loss to Argentina, and now cricketer Mohammad Shami is at the receiving end of hateful comments for the loss to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup match. His present teammates, the BCCI and the leaders espousing “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, \Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas” must condemn this culture of spewing communal and casteist venom.

L.R. Murmu


Call for Bandhutva

“We need Bandhutva (brotherhood), not Hindutva.” This slogan posted recently on social media by Sunil Bajilakeri, a former BJP supporter, went viral, Deccan Herald reported on October 24.

Bajilakeri is part of a small but vocal group of disaffected members of the Bajrang Dal and other right-wing Hindu organisations in Karnataka. Bajilakeri’s stance against the BJP is grounded in practical reasons. “For Hindutva activists who get involved in these criminal cases, the reality hits home after they turn 30 and responsibilities pile up at home. Then they find there is nobody around to help them,” he says. So, let’s popularise this slogan of Bandhutva.

Ashraf Mohsin

Gulbarga, Karnataka

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