Friday, May 21, 2010

The Place I Call Home...

When someone asks me where I belong to, I always say Assam in an instinctive response. Hailing from Kerala, I have spent almost 17 years in the picturesque state. The name triggers fear on most people’s faces; ironically, it is the same place that I call home, a place that has showered me with love and warmth; bestowed upon me cherubs whom I call friends. The topography, the language, the cuisine, the populace: I am head over heels in love with the place.

Embracing an outsider and making her feel as a part of the community, the hospitality bowled me over. Being a part of the culture since a tender age, I was awestruck to discover what a rich heritage the state has been blessed with. But when people shudder with fear at the prospect of visiting Assam, I am hit hard by the reality that bites.

Lush greenery, the full flowing Brahmaputra, the straight-out-of-a-wallpaper looking landscape, the ridges, the hills, flowers that bring about a riot of colours, the one-horned rhinos. All these are the pride of Assam. Sadly though, something gruesome has overshadowed the rush of nostalgic emotions that these marvels of nature invoke.

Despite well over a decade of independence, Assam bleeds. Every wound festers, with nothing to heal it. One bruise after another is inflicted upon the terror-torn state. Bomb blasts that have ripped apart Axom time and again have become a part and parcel of lives of the people in the gateway to the North East. Be it regional and language based riots, extortion or terrorist attacks, the beautiful state is now held tight within the deadly clutches of extremism.

Making matters worse is the fact that it is an earthquake prone zone. Floods, disrupting normal life have become a common phenomenon. These are some of the hiccups that Assam faces on its path to development. Nothing much can be done about the external attacks and natural calamities. But what about the cancer breeds within Axom? It is malignant and is continuing to spread its diabolic roots.

Time for the true Axomiya to raise their voice and make it heard. Time for some concrete action to be taken, to show these intruding elements that we are not the ones who will take things lying down. With the rich diverse culture, abundance of natural resources, and a beautiful landscape that holds potential to attract swarms of tourists, Guwahati is one of the most rapidly developing cities in the country. If anything destructive proves to be a hitch, it should be dealt with in a stringent manner.

Assam, now looks like the sun held in the captivity of an eclipse. Hope to have a free Axom sparkling like a gem, developing and utilizing its resources to the fullest.