ASSAM-The Labyrinth of Chauvinism

ASSAM The Labyrinth of Chauvinism Hiren Gohain RIGHT from the early 1970s I have been calling for greater attention to the problem of Assamese chauvinism among the leftists. In a series of articles published in English and Assamese I called it the most powerful weapon of reaction against the left in Assam. Since 1975 I have also pleaded for a greater accommodation to the genuine national anxieties and aspirations of the Assamese. Such views have been treated as the unwanted if amusing pronouncements of a maverick leftist not bright enough to see the true light. The predominance of vulgar economic analysts among the leftists has made leftist leaders dismiss the chauvinist danger as an occasional and marginal hazard. It has also earned them opprobrium among the Assamese common people, as well as the praise of Bengali chauvinists who like nothing better than operating in the dark. This is borne out by the tendency of the more active leftist parties to concentrate on immigrant areas because of the starkness of the poverty and the clarity of the class-divisions there. But in the absence of firm bases in the Assamese areas, the gains in the immigrant areas have turned out to have been less important than they appeared at first.

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