Amid anti-CAA storm, Assam remains calm: Artists at forefront of protests preach peace and patience

  • The emotional rendition of his old popular Assamese number by Zubeen Garg brought tears to the eyes of many protesters

  • What sets Assam apart from the rest of the country is its peaceful form of protest

  • The Assamese have combined peace, patience and art to set an example

Mrityu Jodi xilpo hoi…mrityu kidore xulobh (if death is an art how death is so common?)

Zubeen Garg’s emotional rendition of his old popular Assamese number brought tears to the eyes of many gathered to protest the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act at Assam Engineering Institute’s playground in Chandmari, Guwahati on Thursday. The crowd spontaneously joined Garg's emotional tribute to five people who died during the protests in the state.

 Amid anti-CAA storm, Assam remains calm: Artists at forefront of protests preach peace and patience

Zubeen Garg is among the artists at the forefront of the anti-CAA protests in Assam.

Among those killed, four were from Guwahati, including two minors Sam Stafford and Dipanjal Das. Garg’s poignant homage while singing jiwon diyar khyomotanu kar? Jiwon luwar khyomota opar (who has the power to give life? Power of taking life is limitless) touched an emotional chord with those at the ground and also those watching him on live telecast. Garg, who is at the forefront of protests opposing the Act, has urged people to maintain calm and protest in a democratic manner. As many Assamese vow to fight against the CAA through non-violent and democratic satyagrah, artists are reaffirming their stand against the Act through music.

Known for his hit Bollywood numbers like ya ali and  subah subah, Garg earlier attacked Assam government with another hit: politics nokoriba bondhu (don’t do politics my friend). His composition echoed the voice of Assamese enraged by false promises of removing illegal immigrants. Garg's montri Mla sab papad he matro, dekhiboloi khadyo, asolote xobdo (all netas are like papad, it looks like food but in reality only sound) ditty became an instant hit.

After the mobile internet services were restored on Friday, Garg yet again requested youths to maintain calm. "My fans and friends, don’t get carried away with the coming of internet after so long. One slight mistake might encourage them to shut it down again. So please maintain the calm and fight against them strategically. One loose moment and we are gone," Garg posted on Facebook.

Apart from Barak Valley, every part of Assam is witnessing massive protests.

Assamese Shilpi Samaj (artists forum) is staging non-violent protests at different locations. Recently, Tinsukia, Jorhat and Golaghat and other parts of upper Assam witnessed massive gatherings. In a few places, satirical plays were put on to show how the Act can adversely affect the people of Assam. Artists have rejected the government's announcement of financial aid of Rs 50,000 to 2,000 performers and 55,000 posts being opened up and termed it 'cheap tactics of enticement'.

Students and other participating in rallies are humming the timeless compositions of Bhupen Hazarika such as akou Jodi jabo lage saraighatoloi (if once again we need to go to battle of Saraighat), aah aah ulai aah xojag jonota (come forward o’ enlightened people), ami axomiya nohou dukhia buli xantona lobhile nohobo (we must not relax thinking we Assamese are not poor) and are spreading unity among Assemese.

What sets Assam apart from the rest of the country is its peaceful form of protest. The Assamese have combined peace, patience and art to set an example for those who believe in the true meaning of nation building.

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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2019 22:06:22 IST