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Himanta takes Asam Sahitya Sabha head-on over Miyan poetry

GUWAHATI: Senior Assam Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has taken the Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS) head-on over its “pseudo regionalism” and its silence over the reported Miyan poetry proposal.

Interacting with a gathering at a city hotel last evening, the North East Democratic Alliance convenor said: “The clash of civilization that I often refer to is a political jargon. When I speak about clash of two civilizations, I give vent to my anguish over the pseudo regionalism of a section of intellectuals and organisations. I want to take my sense of anguish to the next generation so that the Assamese culture can be safeguarded.”

“My anguish is not against anyone, but my very own people. A section of pseudo regionalists have come to fore over some time. Their regionalist conscience does not surface when someone encroach Bordowa Xatra land, when rhinos are poached in Kaziranga National Park, when Srimanta Sankradeva Kalakshetra is vandalised, when someone tries to distort Assamese poetry in another language.

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“Even the Asam Sahitya Sabha (the apex literary organisation of the state) has not come up with a resolution or a press conference against Miyan poetry which is an attempt to distort Assamese literature. Neither has any intellectual spoken about it in any newspaper. And, they can’t. Because the Sahitya Sabha and the intellectuals are scared that they might be branded as BJP supporters or supporters of the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act),” Sarma said.

The senior BJP leader made the remark in presence of his mother Mrinalini Devi, a vice president of ASS, and former ASS president Paramananda Rajbongshi.

“When I first said these things in 2006, people were critical of me. But, in 2020, I can see a whole generation who subscribe to my thinking,” he said.

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He also said that he has the guts to call a spade a spade. “In today’s context, I am the only one who insisted in front of the chief minister that a compilation of photographs from Dainik Asom cannot be the archive of Assam Agitation. If we have to prepare an archive of the historic movement, we should refer to the archive of the state government, the files of political and home departments,” Sarma said.

The minister went on to allege that All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Badruddin Ajmal has been utilising funds from fundamentalist organisations in social service in Assam.

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“It has been alleged that Ajmal is using fundamentalist funds. I don’t know whether it’s true or false. It looks true because the Centre has directed an investigation into it. But, have you seen any intellectual write a column on it in any newspaper? They would say he is doing a good job by opening a school where students are securing good marks, clearing civil service examinations etc. But, do you want a breed of IAS officers raised with Islamic fundamentalist funds till an investigation is completed?” he said.

Ajmal is a leading perfume baron and is stated to be doing social services utilising funds earmarked under the corporate social responsibility head of his company Ajmal Group.

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