90% #IndigenousPeople in Assam do not possess myadi patta

POST TRUTH | MAY 1, 2017

In postcolonial Assam, 90% #IndigenousPeople do not possess myadi patta. Indigenous people in Assam will face huge problem in coming days. Shockingly 90% of native people in Assam do not possess myadi patta of their land.

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Former Chief Election Commissioner Hari Shankar Brahma who is  head of the six-member committee formed to ensure protection of land rights of the indigenous people in Assam

After repeated applications, indigenous people of Assam do not get myadi patta for their possession, whereas outsiders get them within the night, Hari Sankar Brahma, former Chief Election Commissioner of India and head of the six-member committee formed to ensure protection of land rights of the indigenous people in Assam said on Saturday.

The state government formed the committee on February 6, 2017, under the chairmanship of former Brahma, chief election commissioner, to recommend measures for protection of land rights of the indigenous people and to review the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 and other land laws. They visited 11 district of the state and met several organisations and took the statements of various indigenous people on their visit.

“Unfortunately, around 63 bighas of land in 33 district of the state are in illegal possession. Also seven to eight lakh families of the state do not possess any land.” Brahma said in an exclusive interview with journalists.

Recalling a rare incident he also informed that according to an ADC of Nagaon, approximately 70% of land in Nagaon are in the possession of the outsiders.

He also said that 1,300 villages of the state have not witnessed any land census after British rule. (Pratidin Time) 

Most tribal leaders think that formation of tribal autonomous councils is their license to safety and security whereas the ground situation is even more terrifying.

Bodo Peace Talk: Where it is Heading? 

POST TRUTH | EDITORIAL| 27 APRIL 2017

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A Bodo delegation meeting the Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh, in New Delhi on April 26, 2017. The Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officers of Ministry of Home Affairs and Government of Assam are also seen. PIB

THE TRIPARTITE TALK between Union government, Assam government and Bodo leadership on Bodoland issue was held in New Delhi yesterday. The meeting, first tripartite talk after BJP came to power in the Centre, was chaired by Union Minister, Rajnath Singh and attended by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and State Minister, Chandan Mohan Patowary, besides Union Home Secretary Rajeev Mehrishi, State Chief Secretary VK Piersenia among others. The Bodo lelegation was led by All Bodo Students’ Union, National Democratic Front of Boroland (P) and two former members of Parliament. The government agreed to have agreed to take the matter forward but simultaneously lecturing on all round and inclusive development in the region. By emphasising on development, the Central government is actually attempting to give a hint that a separate state is not their priority. This ballistic shift in the political discourse has its genesis in the political leadership of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) who are begging for more financial lollipops as a result of which this genuine issue is treated like a non-political issue which can be resolved at an official level of talk. It is pertinent to remind the government that this five decades of struggle is not a mere negotiation for more schemes and projects, but a demand for fair share of Constitutional and democratic rights in order to govern the region and make their own political choices for the interest of all communities – present and future generations. Is the Union government reading what is being written on the walls of Bodoland- Divide Assam Fifty-Fifty?

गाहायनि रादाबखौव फरायब्ला बुजिना मोनोदि मिरु आरो आसाम सोरकारा ब’रनि जेंनाखोव गोसो गोथारै अरायनि थाखाय सुस्रांंनो गोसो गैया। मिरु सोरकारा बयबो हारि समान जोवगाथायनि सायावसो बारा नोजोर होदों बुंनो हायो। “The talks which lasted for around 40 minutes discussed in details the long pending issues raised by ABSU for a lasting solution. …Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the Government of India is committed to equal development of all communities following the Prime Minister’s mantra of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas. “We want equal development of all communities, including the Bodos. Our Government will take all out measures to ensure overall development of the Bodos living in Assam,” Singh said.   …Expressing satisfaction over the progress made in the talks, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that the State Government is working for a united and powerful Assam with an aim to ensure inclusive development for one and all. “Our Government is working relentlessly for a united and prosperous Assam ensuring development of all communities. The Bodos are one of the most vibrant and significant communities of Assam and we are fully committed to their development” Sonowal said. (The Assam Tribune, 27 April 2017)

..ABSU president Pramod Bodo said that they have a long pending demand for a separate Bodoland to safeguard the art and culture and land rights of the Bodos. Talking to newsmen, ABSU president, Pramod Bodo said that Government of India has taken no initiative to protect the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Bodos (The Assam Tribune, 27 April 2017).

नाथाय ब’रनि गुबै दिमाण्डआ जाबाय राजखानथिनि मोनथाय। बे सावरायनायाव बर’फ्रा राव आरो हारिमु रैखाथिनि खोथा बुंबायथाब्ला बरनि जेंनाया माब्लाबो जोबनाय नंआ। राजखनथिनि बेलाखोव नोजोर होनानै बिबुंथि लाखिनाया मोजां। मोनसे माहारिनि राव आरो हारिमुखोव रैखाथि होनो एबा जोवगा होनो आलादा हादोरनि जेबो गोनांंथि गैया। बिखोवथ बर’नि राव-हारिमु जोवगाथायनि थाखाय बिफान दाब्लानो सुफुंनो हायो। नाथाय दुखुनि बाथा् जोंनि मिदियाव होनाय बिबुंथिफ्रा बे बेलायावसो बांसिन। मैया मिरु सोरकारजौं सावरायनानि उनावबो जों बे बाथा्खोव खोनानो मोनदों। सोरकारा बिफोरबादि खोथा खोनाबायथालब्ला रंजा लायगोनसो। बर’फ्रा गुबुन जेंंना गैला नामा? बर’ रावखौवथ’ संबिजितयाव सोखाबाय। इमल्पिमेत्नबो जागासिनो लासै लासै। बर थुनला आफादा नोजोर होनांगोव बेनि सायाव। हारिमु एबा राव रैखाथि होनो हादोर बिनायनि गाहाय जाहोन जानो हाया। अल्बा मा मा एजेनदा लानानै सावरायनाया मोजां? बेनि अनगायै खोवसेनि बेनदोंजो आवगाय लांआब्ला जों बयबो उदास्रिनि गाधोनाव अरायसम थानांगोन। 

In a region where sociopolitical situation is entering into a more complex situation than ever, it is crucial to focus on some concrete agenda for negotiation. These should include – rights of the indigenous people within the framework of Constitutional and Democratic Rights, land alienation, immigration, right to governance and freedom of political choices, economic backwardness, discrimination, human rights violation, conflict and displacement, among others issues. We can’t constant talk about Bodo cultural, language and identity or history. It important we limit out discourse to “constitutional and democratic rights”. Moreover, Boros shouldn’t be impatient while seeking a long-term and sustainable solution to the problem. Peace is possible when solution becomes acceptable to all parties involved in the process. Both BAC and BTC accords were hurriedly signed without much debate and deliberation. Not a single provision is inserted in the past accords for Bodos living in three Bodo concentrated districts – Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji. The tangible results of these fragile peace accords have partly hyphenated the political imagination of the community in the past. It is desirable the leadership and the stakeholders of the region must avoid choosing a pain relief this time. 

Cow Protection Forces Special Power Act

How should one react to news item such as: “Centre wants UID for all cows with details of horn, tail, breed, age” (Indian Express, April 25, 2017, http://indianexpress.com/article/india/centre-wants-uid-for-all-cows-with-details-of-horn-tail-breed-age-4626717/. One will probably laugh looking at this crazy development taking place in the India. However the question is “has India gone to far on the protext of protecting religious symbolism?”

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After reading this news, what struck my mind is – India will soon have a new law which will be called – Cow Protection Special Forces Power Act (CPSFPA). India will be the first nation in the world to introduce this sort of law. Such laws already be passed exist in different states. This law will be similar to India’s most controversial law – Armed Forces Special Forces Power Act (AFSPA) which empower security forces to kill innocent civilians in areas of conflict like Northeast and Kashmir.

The forces created under this Act will be empowered to grab the bulls by their horns and fight ferociously. Those who die in bull fighting will be given the highest Cow Gallantry awards every year. Promotion of the cadres will be entirely based on the number of bulls they can tamed every month. Their duty will be 24X7.

All cadres will be served with a specially produced soft drink called #Cowrine every morning. Of course it is not meant for toddlers. As marketed, this soft drink is known to be more powerful than Austrian energy drink Red Bull. Seriously, even milk is unmatched to it – in quality and nutrition. But surprisingly Indian porn celebraties are having illegal access to Cowrine blackmarket. A sex booster, an industry says.

To honour the bravery and services of the CPSFPA forces, a special prize will be constituted for smart cowboys who use modern technologies such as #CowAndMe CowTrackGPS, CowNetworking, CowInsta, CowLiveStreaming, CowTweet, CowChat etc while grazing. Video games like #DigiCow, BullGraze, SuperOxen etc will be used for skill enhancement and leisure activities.

However, an untested Android Apps developed under Make In India Initiative such as #CowGuru and DesiBull is preferable as they are designed with Sanskrit language. If any of the cadres wishes to have an extra pleasure, he is free to ride only the ferocious bulls for one hour daily.

Efforts have been activated to accelerate the mass production of new generation cow boys across the nation. To support this unique initiative an online fund contribution portal #CowPay has been designed by 2020Cows Pvt.Ltd company, a new enterprise established under PPP mode.

By 2020 India will have the highest number of cow boys – no country will dare to challenge us anymore. Even Mongolia and Bangladesh widely known for having largest primitive cowboys will not have a change to raise their middle fingers towards Hindustan. Jai Hind.

Disclaimer: No cows were asked any sophisticated question while writing this news piece, but they were strictly forbidden from revealing their religious faith.

 

 

 

My Blood Has No Colour

By Monjib MochahariThe Password | 25 April 2017

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SHARP AT 11 A.M. ON 23 APRIL, a large number of people gathered outside Rupnath Brahma Civil Hopsital in Kokrajhar town to donate blood. Some youth were underage so they had to returned home without donating. We haven’t see such blood donation camps in such a huge number in the recent past. A massive voluntary blood donation is underway in four districts of Bodoland Territorial Council area. As planned, over 10000 units of blood will be donated by people for pregnant women, children and cancer patients and those in dire needs of blood across India. Members of Voluntary Blood Donars’ Association, Jharkhand, and The Action Northeast Trust (The ANT) are assisting the Bodo groups in this noble mission. The technical support is be provided by Bongaigaon Civil Hospital.

“It is a drop of humanity that I want to share with people irrespective of the community they belong,” says Mainao Basumatary, an elder Bodo woman who donated blood without her husband’s knowledge.  

What is rather surprising is that this initiative of Bodo leadership is being questioned by some irresponsible media houses, journalists and citizens. Brazenly they have shown their expertise on branding human bloods with derogatory terms such as: #HinduTez (Hindu Blood), #MuslimTez (Muslim Blood), #ChristianBlood and #BodoTez (Bodo Blood). One media writes “এতিয়াৰে পৰা ব্লাড বেংকত পাব বড়োৰ তেজ (From now onwards you will get Bodo blood in blood bank). Whose blood do you want – Hindu, Muslim or Christian?”

“This criticism is uncalled for. This is our gift to humanity. We are spreading love. Our blood is for all. We are propagating UN Brahma’s principle – Live and Let Live through this act of kindness to people in need,” says Michael Daimary in Baksa district.

“In search of cheap media publicity, I think media have shown their antagonism towards Bodo community. It is not first time that they are doing it. It has become a terrible trend in some media houses,” argues Gwmbwr Mochahary in Udalguri town. 

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Digital news published by News Next One on 23 April 2017

The author has cross all ethical boundaries and social norms. “One inference we may draw is that these self glorified media persons have a perpetual antagonism towards the community and each and every work people do in the region. What moral right do they have to criticize people sitting in the AC rooms?” questioned Ranju Hajwary who donated blood yesterday.

Clearly this can’t be called a journalistic reporting but a racial profiling intended communalise the issue. There are no appropriate words to describe these unprofessional media practices. It’s a reflection of health of contemporary Assamese journalism.

दावहारुनि सिनायथि

मनजिब मुछाहारि (लिरगिरि)

*****************

गोजों सिनायथि दंमोन बै समाव

नोंनिल मुंं दंमोन बयनिबो खुगायाव

हारि आरो समाज फोसाबनायनि।

गनायजादोंमोन नों बर’माहारिजों

सा खोला, सानजा सोनाब, जेरावबो

माहारिखौव रैखाथि होनायनि,

सुथुरखौव दबथायनायनि थाखाय।

नाथाय सुथुनि नारसिनायाव,

जानगार लांंबाय नों अरायनिथाखाय।

हायासै रावबो नोंखोव बरायनो

जाफुंसार नेरसोनि आरननाइजों।

नोंनि अबथिरा जिउ गोमलांनाया

माहारिनि सफुंख’हायै ख’हामोन।

मोदैनि दैमुआ सुफुंखहारै 

दुखुनि नेरसोनमोन बैसमाव।

मोनबिलि समाव मुसुका खामफा सेराव

आलारि बाथि सावयै सावयै

गसायनाव बोरबिदोंमोन बयबो खोवसेयै

आफादनि, गामिनि सुबुंफा्।

नाथाय दिनै गैलिया बेनि जेबो नेरसोन।

हागा्-बंगा्जों बेंखनजाबाय 

नोंनि मुसुका खामफाया

सिनायरोंलिया नोंनि समाज सिबिनायखोव।

जोबलांबाय आलारि बाथिनि 

थबथिंसे मोदोमफु् थाववा,

फैलिया रावबो दिनै नोंखौव गोसोखांनो,

मान बावनो, बिबार लानानै सिबिनो,

नोंनि गोथार गोसोखां सानाव।

दाव आमानि अनगा गैलिया नोंनि सेराव,

जाबाय दिनै बिनो नोंनि नेरसोन

अरायनि थाखाय।

​IAY न’नि थिखादारफोर

मनजिब मुछाहारि

IAY न’नि थिखादारफोर

बेरेफुंजानि समाव
लैहोर-लैहोर हनै
होववाफोर, हिनजावफोर
दावगालांदों हांगो-दोंगो
बासजों, ताकसिजों, रेलगारिजों
बर’ रायजोनि राजथावनियाव।
मिनि हारा हारा बयबो, थिखादारफोरा
जिखलाबसे फाइल लायै लायै
दंओ जेराव बिदानि, बिबाजैनि,
बिगुमैनि, बिमायनि, गावनि,
परियालनि, बिहारिनि मुं फारि फारि।
सम गैया रावहाबो रायलायनो
आमबारु-जामबारुनि,
गोरिब गुनदा्नि मुंथिसननो,
अनसायनो हावरियाफोरखौव।
रां बारायदोंनो आईएवाय न’नि
बेखोवनो लाना जादों गुलाय-गुजाय,
गामिजों गामि, नखरजों नखर,
थिखादारजों थिखादार नेवसिलायनाय।
ओंखारबाइ साबै् साबबा दालाल
गंसे गामिआवनो, रां सोबखनो।
सोरबाबा मोनबाय नखर गंसेआवनो
गंनै गंथाम, गंबै् गंबा मोनदों
खेबसे नंआ, खननै नंआ,
लुनायखौवनो लुगासिनो गले गले।
सोरनियाबा अखाहादैजों
बायलांदों सानसे सानैआवनो,
खायसेनिया बुखे्ब जदों
फोरलां-फोरथां, बारजों।
रंजादों बेखोवनो लानानै
गामि गामि थिखादारफा्
जोव सेरेब लोंयै लौंयै
बरनि हालामाव,
हनै सान हर।

एमसिएलए नि फिसाजो

मनजिब मुछाहारि

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कखा्छार सोहोरनि
बाजै होतेल सेराव
गानफब-जोमफब,
महरा नोंनि समायना
मिनिहां मिनिहां,
थांहां-फैहां,
उसाव-बादाव
सोरखोव नेना दंनों
बेलासि बैसागु बोथोराव ।
रादाय होदोंनामा सोरबा,
जुलिनि खोथा,
सोरबा जोहोलाववा,
अरायनि थाखाय?
नाथाय, बबे हानजानि
जाखो जांगिलाया?
अबरनि ना सिमां रायजोनि?
ना गुबुंले रासखानथि हानजानिफा्य
उदांसि् नागिरनानै दंओ नों
उराव-फाराव?

Once A National Level Archer, This Athlete Is Now Battling For Her Life In Assam

By Monjib Mochahari, #First published in YouthKiAwaaz | April 5, 2017

It’s a shame how Gohela Boro, a national level archer, who has made Assam proud by winning 72 medals in various national, state and district level archery competitions, is now fighting for her life without any assistance from the government. Till recently, Gohela Boro was a popular household name in Assam for her remarkable achievements.

However, her fate took a different turn when she was diagnosed with a disease whose treatment is proving too expensive her family to afford. After bringing glory to the state several times, Gohela is now battling for life with little or no hope.

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Gohela with her medals

Gohela has been suffering since November 2016. She had been advised to consult doctors in the departments of rheumatology and clinical immunology, either in AIIMS, Delhi, or the Apollo Hospital in Chennai. However, neither she nor her family could afford the required treatment, due to their poor financial conditions.

“It is very shameful that even when there are hundreds of government hospitals across the state, this talented sportsperson, who brought glory to Assam, has to suffer inhuman conditions because no one comes to her rescue. Gohela stands as a symbol of our pride, our talent and our dignity. The government must come forward to help before her health deteriorates further,” her friends from the village state.

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Gohela with her mother at RNB Civil Hospital, Kokrajhar, Assam

Gohela hails from the New Amguri village in Kokrajhar, a district which has been in the news in recent times for producing many sports personalities. She started her career in archery at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) in Kokrajhar in 2008. In the nine years of her sporting career, she has won 72 medals at various national, state and district level archery competitions.

Her most recent achievement was at the National Games of Kerala, India, in 2015. She had won 13 gold, eight silver and eight bronze medals at the national level, 11 gold and nine bronze medals at the state level, 10 gold and two bronze medals in the district level, among others. She had also won four gold medals – three in  individual events and one in a team event – at the 60th National School Games held in Guwahati in 2015. She was even selected to represent India in international events. However, she could not participate due to her illness.

Video link: Gohela Boro – National level archer suffering from severe illness

This is not the first time that talented sports personalities are facing cruel realities in Assam. Five-time national gold medal winner, Lilabati Daimary, who hails from Assam’s Baksa district, was forced to work recently as a daily labourer due to poverty. Similarly, with no financial help coming her way, Buli Basumatary had been forced to become a street vendor to support her family. She had been the national champion at both the junior and senior levels, till injuries forced her to stay away from the sport.

“It is unfortunate that many of our talented sportsperson have to navigate between poverty and sporting careers. In most cases, they have to give up their passion for sports. The Sports Ministry and authorities must provide better financial incentives to promote sporting talents in the country. Sports personalities deserve better services and incentives to excel in sports and the physical arts. The government can’t remain blind to these shocking incidents,” says a football coach in Guwahati.

Why Politics In Bodoland Needs Women At The Forefront

By Monjib Mochahari (First published in #YouthKiAwaaz, 9 March 2017)

https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2017/03/bodo-women-and-politics-in-bodoland-assam-5/

The demand for a 33% reservation for women in urban and local bodies in Nagaland has once again fuelled the debate on women’s rights to hold positions in decision-making bodies. Although the issue is not specific to Nagaland’s politics, it must be acknowledged that India’s male and ‘family-controlled exclusive political clubs’ have failed to accommodate the political aspirations of women over the years. After all, isn’t it ironical that despite having a population of over two million spread across India’s northeastern states, the Bodo community has produced only two women lawmakers in the 21st century?

In a free nation like ours, women are yet to be liberated. “It’s not just enough to worship women as goddesses. Women must be allowed to share equal political responsibilities”, says a tribal woman activist who works in a non-governmental organization in Assam’s Udalguri district.

Like other states in India, electoral politics in Assam is also strictly dominated by the patriarchy. Therefore, women here have to confront this reality while making their political choices. A  majority of the women are assigned or ‘relegated’ to positions which are not associated with political activities. They are now a ‘silent majority’. At the same time, they are also expected to be the custodians of their ethnicities and identities.

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In the Bodo community, which is recognized as the largest tribal group in northeast India, no woman – apart from Pramila Rani Brahma, the present forest minister in Assam’s first BJP government, and Kamali Basumatary, a member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who is currently associated with Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) – has negotiated for a better political deal till date.

It is argued that women are not allowed to enter the political arena, even though a large number of women participated during the agitation for a separate homeland in the late 1990s. Pramila Rani Brahma happens to be the first Bodo woman lawmaker, followed by Kamali Basumtary. The Bodo People’s Action Committee (BPAC), the nodal political outfit during this period, has also made no such effort of note. Bodo women are now practically invisible when it comes to occupying positions in party politics which is currently controlled by the BPF (formed in 2005).

Martina Daimari, a school teacher in Udalgiri who had also participated in an agitation led by All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) in 1987, says: “Isn’t it ironical that a community despite having over close to two million populations spread across the northeastern states has produced only two women lawmakers in the twenty-first century? We don’t know when will see the new faces of women leadership in our community. It’s a serious point for reflection for the entire community.”

Such narratives abound the  landscape. In the present 46-member Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), formed in 2003, there is not a single Bodo woman councillor. In the past three council elections (the latest one was held in April 2015) not a single woman was elected. Interestingly, there are only eight women candidates in the present Legislative Assembly in Assam – six less than the figure in the previous installment.

In the Assembly polls held in Assam in 2016, a transition was witnessed in Bodo politics. After a gap of several years, two prominent women activists braved the odds to take up the banner of political struggle. Human rights activist Dr Anjali Prabha Daimari, who is also the president of the All Bodo Women Justice Forum, contested as an independent candidate from the Udalguri Assembly constituency against Rihon Daimary, who is now a cabinet minister in present Assamese government. Another activist, Pratibha Brahma, fielded by United People’s Party, a newly formed local political party sponsored by ABSU, contested from the Kokrajhar East assembly constituency. However, neither of them could strike the ballot boxes.

“We were happy about their decision to embrace a new political life. We have been waiting for capable women to enter into politics to give proper directions to our community and thousands of young Bodo girls who do not see any role model today”, says Bibari Daimary, who works in a private junior college in Baksa district. “Whichever party and ideology they represent represented, it was crucial to give them a little political space to script a new political innings in Bodoland”, adds Philista Mochahari, who lost her only son due to fratricides in 2002.

The Bodo community has been engaged in series of statehood agitations since the late 1960s. The movement got its momentum in the later half of the 1980s, after ABSU became its vanguard and engineered the “Divide Assam: Fifty-Fifty” demand for the complete bifurcation Assam into two states.

It is evident that this uprising provided a crucial platform for the involvement of women in their statehood struggle. In fact, a large number of women participated in the agitations between 1987 and 1993. Women have been an integral part of the movement for autonomy, throughout.

Influential ABSU leader Upendra Nath Brahma, who is recognized as the Father of the Bodos, visualized that the political struggle under his command would not make much headway without the mass support, especially of women who constituted nearly half of the Bodo population.

Against the backdrop of this reality and other pressing socio-economic concerns, the All Assam Tribal Women Welfare Federation (ATWWF) was formed in May 1986. It was renamed as the All Bodo Women Welfare Federation (ABWWF) in 1993. Its primary goal was to look after the interests of women in social spheres such as civil rights, livelihood, and the overall development of all tribal communities such as the Bodo, Rabha, Mishing, Tiwa, Lalung, Garo and others. However, after the name of the organization was changed to ABWWF, active support from the women of the other tribal communities also disappeared.

Initially, the federation was intended to unite all tribal women groups under a common platform and ideology to fight for ensuring human dignity, rights and justice in socio-economic, political, educational and cultural spheres. It also aimed at the emancipation of these women from the ills of social practices. This organisation also enabled them to render positive services for the promotion, welfare and preservation of indigenous self-identity. Moreover, the organisation found it crucial to fight the barbarism, atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by the state forces against the Bodo agitators.

Later, a small section of women joined the Bodo Volunteer Force, but their activities were restricted to carrying messages and the dissemination of secret information to male counterparts and providing basic nursing to injured cadres. However, their wholehearted support to men did not garner attention. Their sacrifices are yet to be written in the chronicles of the Bodo movement.

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Cry for justice: Bodo women take to the street to demand for a separate homeland – Bodoland.

In the early phases of the agitation, thousands of people, especially the women and children, were trapped in clashes between the law-enforcing agencies and the revolutionary group. Women often became easy victims. Many young girls and women lost their dignity due to sexual molestation.

It may argued that this group of females was formed as a result of this situation. They eventually became a formidable force to counter the brutal state forces, who posed a serious challenge to their male counterparts in the battlefields. They have supposedly even acted as a wall between the repressive state forces and the agitators who were the prime target of the security forces. They organized masses, participated in protest rallies, staged dharnas (sit-in protests) and campaigned against harmful social practices such as alcoholism and polygamy.

Undoubtedly, the most successful achievement of this group was their fight against the Assam police in the Guwahati High Court over the notorious Bhumka gangrape. Eleven Bodo women from Bhumka village in Kokrajhar district were molested in 1988. They also died at the hands of the state paramilitary forces. Gaide Basumatary and Helena Basumatary of Zumduar village in Kokrajhar district were shot dead by the security forces during a peace rally in May 1988. Gaide’s 3-month old baby, Rombha, also succumbed a couple of weeks after her mother’s demise. Helena was a student in the ninth standard when she was killed.

There have been numerous cases of women being victimised either by state forces or by people outside the state. A series of ethnic confrontations in 1996, 1998, 2008, 2012 and 2014 across this region has also caused massive humanitarian crises and displacements.

Against the backdrop of these tumultuous situations, especially with the state repeatedly abdicating its responsibilities, women remain highly vulnerable. In the past ten years, several women have been sexually abused and have not received any justice. Many of these women are widows because their husbands have been killed for unknown reasons.

One may argue that women’s role in the Bodo political movement has been declining since the premature death of Upendra Nath Brahma in May 1990. In his vision, women were essential if political autonomy was to be achieved. Since the first Bodo accord in February 1993, ABWWF’s voice in the community, particularly in politics, has diminished to the extent of being inaudible and non-existent. Post the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) accord, women were expected to relinquish their involvement in public and political activities.

Only a few ‘high-profile’ women like Pramila Rani Brahma have successfully resisted this assumption and held public offices. The majority of women have silently complied and ceased all forms of political activism and leadership.

Soon after the peace accord, the ABWWF’s leadership crumbled beyond imagination. Currently, its status is equivalent to that of a self-help group. Its proximity to the ruling party has further heightened the loss of its significance as a neutral women’s organization.

If the organisation is to revive, it must first regain its neutrality. However, able and educated women must not shy away from shouldering responsibilities for the community.

In 1996, after the Bodo Liberation Tiger Force (BLTF) was formed, only a small fraction of women found reasons to join political outfits. Both ABSU and BLTF were ineffective in reengaging women in their agitation in the later years. It is unknown whether the National Democratic Front of Boroland, an armed revolutionary group formed in 1986 which is currently engaged in peace talks with the Indian government, made any effort to mobilize woman troops.

Two fundamental reasons have been proposed to explain this phenomenon:

Firstly, there was an emergence of women leaders in the region who had no political ideology and no commitment towards the people.

Secondly, women organisations have lacked the support of their parent organisations since 1993.

Many organisations that were formed in the later periods didn’t care to promote women leadership. Nor did they make any effort to accommodate the social and political concerns of the women. They couldn’t foresee that the participation of women was crucial in the battle for autonomy and negotiation for geopolitical space.

It is equally important to note that women’s participation in decision-making bodies and in administration remains highly unsatisfactory, even after the creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) in 2003. Even though the council created a small political space for women’s participation in grassroots politics, it is yet to be seen.

The Bodo leadership created a formidable ‘woman force’ in the late 1980s, even when there was high illiteracy among the women folk. How can the Bodos reclaim this lost strength and transform it for the socio-economic and political emancipation of women of the community in the 21st century?

As it stands, it’s a long walk before Bodo women can create their own political space to participate in the democratic processes and fight for justice. Right now, this is a million dollar issue in the contemporary political discourses and deliberations in the region.

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