“I have never seen anything like this in my life”

A dispatch from Guwahati before the internet shutdown, from Ankur Tamuliphukan , a History Research Scholar 

I have never seen anything like this in my life. I have seen the nineties and it was something deeply enchanting at that time when thousands from different parts of Assam came from urban areas to protest and participate in rallies, but what is happening right now is big.

I don’t think this movement, this moment is against any community, people of Assam are not being xenophobic and are not against any particular immigrant, community or outsider. But it is a movement where Axomiya people are deeply humiliated by what BJP Government and the Hindutva forces of India are doing against us.

We have a serious historical question/position for the past 100 years or so against the centrality, the hegemonic Indian state, the cow belt, the Imperialistic Indian State and so we have some regional aspirations and that is what we are trying to reclaim. We are trying to protect our right to self-determination, we are also trying to protect the spirit of the Indian union – that the Indian state is a federal state, Constitution says it is a federal state. Despite the limitations of federalism in India, nonetheless it is a federal structure and we have our Constitution based on that federalism and by imposing CAB on this nation, the BJP Govt, the Hindutva forces and the right wing of India, the hegemonic Indian State is actually trying to violate the federalism of India.

This is the reason lakhs of people, thousands and thousands came out on streets in almost every part of the Brahmaputra valley, from rural as well as urban areas.
Just a while back, I was in Janata Bhawan, in Dispur where people are trying their best to seize the Secretariat, the capital area and these are people whom I have never seen in any political rallies or activities earlier. They are general Assamese boys and girls from urban parts, the rock generation who listens to Western music or maybe convent educated. These young people are coming out in large numbers, doing their best to protect that federalism.

By around 7 pm, we hear, they are going to ban the internet all across Brahmaputra valley so there will be a total blackout and I just want to tell my fellow citizens in other parts of India that if you really want to defeat the right-wing, the extremists, the communal Hindutva force, then let us come together and do this. We have a new kind of message, a slogan coming out of this movement- a simple one- let us try to bring changes in the Constitution, in a way that would be radical restructuring of the Indian Constitution, proper federalisation of the Indian State and proper transfer of power to the marginalized communities. Indian state is a majoritarian state, Indian parliament is a majoritarian parliament, it does not listen to smaller communities or the minorities. So let us put it around- make it a structure where smaller nationalities, smaller communities and the minorities can have their right to self-determination where they can enjoy their rights and decide for themselves, the majoritarian, the mainland, the cow belt won’t be able to infringe those rights.

We are going to be disconnected from the world very soon, through this message, I convey a hope that democratic Indians will come out in large numbers and start a radical political mobilisation.

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