The legislators in Arunachal Pradesh must not forget that they also live behind the bars of conformity and responsibility. Furthermore, prior to invoking/revoking a law or even before legislating, they shouldn’t forget to examine whether the executive or legislative action they contemplate is consistent with (or contrary) to the Constitution of India – the ‘living text of the nation’.
It is, however, a matter of wondrous regret that many legislators of Arunachal Pradesh forget a couple of these fine points – as a result of which they often err by very high margins. Forcing a 50,000-strong Buddhist community to live behind the bars of injustice and discrimination is one such error. It is, in the words of Bapu, a ‘Himalayan miscalculation‘!
Children show the man, as the morning shows the day. It all started in 1987 – the year Arunachal Pradesh was conferred statehood. In my opinion, right from the very outset, many legislators here have erred by a high margin, when they adopted a policy to segregate a certain community which the state had otherwise ‘inherited’ from its birth.
Forsaking all constitutional wisdom, the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution of India, as well as the moral ethics of their own ancestors, they decided to shun the Buddhist Chakma migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan. These were subjects that Arunachal Pradesh had inherited from the Union of India. These people had also been settled in the territory of the erstwhile North-East Frontier Agency, during Nehru’s time. More importantly, these were people who antedated the birth of the Arunachal Pradesh state itself.
Until 1972, NEFA was constitutionally a part of Assam. The last time Assam was severed was also in 1972, when the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh was formed. Therefore, the ‘good’ Assamese people are the immediate neighbours of the people belonging to the tribal communities in Arunachal Pradesh.
However, in my eyes, many Assamese people sleep peacefully at night, even when there is injustice in the ‘neighborhood’. I am then reminded of a motivational line I once heard: “When there is injustice in your neighborhood and you are able to sleep peacefully at night, just wait for your turn.” So, at times, I am awed at how these Assamese people sleep, despite all the injustice in their immediate vicinity. Somebody was probably right when they said that ignorance is bliss!
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi often urges his fellow citizens across all political platforms to accept an evolved view. But, in the end, it seems that there have hardly been any takers of the PM’s admonishments in Itanagar, as the legislators are seemingly performing in the same way as before – adamant, unreceptive and super-glued to outdated views.
And now, another year is almost upon us. Looking back, the year 2017 has been no less ordinary. Together, legislators and parliamentarians have skillfully increased the margin of performance more than ever before. Incidentally, doing so has never been so easy, because Kiren Rijiju – who, according to me, is the best politician Arunachal Pradesh has ever produced, and is currently serving as the Minister of State for Home Affairs under the Modi ministry – lends his full weight to the state’s affairs – in hand and seal.
I was seven when I wriggled through the bars of injustice and discrimination in the autumn of 1990. I’m on the wrong side of 30 now, and am raising two great kids. You should probably know where I am raising them. Well, I am raising them in the house of the ‘good’ Assamese people – far from the houses of their old grandparents and joyous cousins. This is a price I pay every day for the sake of freedom, equality, and justice for my two kids. But, I have no regrets about it!