M
Moi Khilonjio

Correction in Part 2. The Historian's name is Yasmin Saikia. Notice the Muslim name and Ahom title Saikia. She is a Gauria -- Bengali Muslim descent.

M
Moi Khilonjio

Part 4: I could go on but let me summarize. I do not expect to change your opinion if you are close minded or have an political or ethnic agenda. Hopefully this will be useful to the readers that are open minded, and willing to listen to the Assamese perspective. (A) Assam Accord has a 1971 cutoff. Talking about immigration in the 13th century is a mute point. (B) The whatabout Ahom argument makes no sense. Ahoms are a mixed ethnic group from the 2nd generation onward. This was accelerated further in the 16th century during Siu-Hu-Myung time when other indigenous group became Ahoms. (C) In traditional Ahom paik system commoners of Ahom and non-Ahom population (Gauria, Koch, Sonowal, Sutiya, Bamun, Bhuyan, Kalita, Mising, Naga, ...) were in the administration. Contrast that to traditional caste system. All (with usual qualifiers) Assamese -- Ahoms and non-Ahoms -- participated in Xoraighat, and take equal pride in Lachit's bravery. (D) The Bu-Ran-Ji credits Ahom victory to better weapons or strategy, never to racial superiority. This is simply not done. (D) Ahoms were called Assam in the past. Listing Ahoms and Assamese as separate makes no sense. All Ahoms are Assamese but not all Assamese are Ahoms. (E) Yes, we do have a clear notion of our Assamese identity just like a Bengali, Punjabi, or Gujarati has a clear notion of being a Bengali, Punjabi or Gujarati. (F) Clause 5 comes before clause 6. Remember that.

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Moi Khilonjio

Part 3: A narrative is created where Assamese in general and Ahoms in particular are cast as bigots. BTW Ahoms were called Assam in 16th century (Shankar Dev), and it makes no sense to list Ahom and Assamese as separate. All Ahoms are Assamese not all Assamese are Ahoms. An important part of Ahom society is the Paik system where both Ahom and non-Ahoms commoners (non-royal) can rise to the rank of a Phukan. Someone in Bhupen Hazarika's family must have been brave to be promoted to an Hazarika (leader of 1000 paiks) though in the Hindu caste system he is considered untouchable (Dom: fisherman community). Ismail Siddiqui (a Gauria: Bengali Muslim descendant) is more commonly known as Bagh Hazarika who fought alongside Lachit Borphukan (Assamese national hero) against foreigners in the 16th century. It is wrong to paint an entire ethnic group as bigoted and violent. Reaching into the past and cherry picking events does no one any good. The Ahom-Sutiya war began when the Ahom king Siu-Tu-Pha was killed in 14th century during a friendly negotiation hosted by the more powerful Sutiya king at that time.

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Moi Khilonjio

Part 2: Ahom are brought in to say whatabout the Ahoms who came in the 13th century from outside Assam. Not true but irrelevant as the cutoff is 1971 not 1200 AD. Ahoms (formerly called Assam) have a tradition of keeping historical records called Bu-Ran-Ji. It is natural they will write about themselves and their experience. We cannot rewrite history, and force the Bu-Ran-Ji to reflect events from the Dimasa perspective in the 16th century if the Dimasa people did not leave historical record from the 16th century. According to the Bu-Ran-Ji, Siu-Ka-Pha was accompanied by a small group of some 9000 soldiers who did not bring their families. So, starting from second generation it was a mixed population. Indigenous groups such as Barahi joined to form a new ethnic group. This process did not end with Siu-Ka-Pha. Historian Yasmin writes based on historical records that the Ahom/Assam ethnic label was a fluid one with other groups joining in. This is one reason why Ahoms grew in numbers so quickly. These are known: Sutiya, Miri/Mising, Naga groups are present in Ahom sub-clans. The author is assuming bloodlines dictates Ahom or greater Assamese identity. In short, Ahoms didn't just walk over from elsewhere. Some cultural aspects such as Bu-Ran-Ji, the Paik system originated elsewhere but the Ahom ethnic group is an indigenous creation. The bloodlines are mixed, and Ahoms know this from their Bu-Ran-Ji. The Assamese are talking about ethnicity not bloodlines.

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Moi Khilonjio

Part 1: 1500 words are too less to correct some the factual issues in this piece. First, lets avoid whataboutism. The opposition to CAA in Assam is because it violates Assam Accord (AA), especially clause 5 with a cutoff date of March 24, 1971. Nowhere in the AA it differentiates based on religion or national origin (Bangladesh vs Myanmar, etc.) of foreigners. The cutoff date is a compromise but Assamese have accepted it by and large. Indian Govt has signed it so they should honor this treaty. The whataboutism comes when discussing clause 6 which does not specify who is an "Assamese". There is a committee who is pondering over it. The British brought over many groups to Assam after 1826 that is a fact. Clause 5 is more important. Clause 6 was a concession to Assam for taking in foreigners in 1985 when in the rest of India the cutoff was 1951. It is here the author and certain groups get fixated on the Ahoms. Even if Ahoms came from outside (not the way author claims), it is before the cutoff of 1971 of AA. To get some perspective, there are about 2 million Ahoms in Assam with a total population of about 35 million. For perspective, if the 30 percent Bengali speakers, some 2 million Hindi speakers, 4 million Chah Mazdoor (Bangania means workers from Tea garden: bagan) are discounted then Ahoms are only 10 percent of the pre-British rule population. That leaves 90 percent of the non-Ahom pre-British population that are against CAA. So, why focus on Ahoms? I continue in Part 2.

K
karabi sen

It is time that historians come out with their voices decrying the myth of a " ‘pure’ homogeneous cultural identity" and base the claims to citizenship on this non-existent phenomenon, leading to exclusion and suffering. The writer deserves to be congratulated for drawing attention to the intellectual and existential falsehood inherent in this conception of nativity and the injustice of using this untruth to tear the ties of people to lands and neighborhoods. More publication of such research is necessary on a sustained basis to rescue us from ignorance and the perils it can propel us to.