From Classroom to Power play: Interrogating on Political Potential of students in Diphu, Karbi Anglong District of Assam

 

Dr. Mousumi Choudhury

Asistant Professor,  Dept. of Political Science, Diphu Govt. College, Diphu Assam

*Corresponding Author Email: mousumipolscience@gmail.com

 

ABSTRACT:

Political ambition and aspirations of students are the popular issues in democratic countries. History is replete with involvement of students in various socio- political movements and their success story have also loomed large. In numerous occasions, the students voice their concerns in socio-economic and political issues and remain vocal against myriad injustices prevalent in the society. In recent time, the decline of values, emergence of materialistic life style, rampant corruption and consumerism etc. have brought about significant changes in politics. And with this, politics has acquired a new language that stands linear opposite to the politics of the earlier era. In fact, Politics as a social service is largely replaced by politics as a power play. More often than not, such transition has ominous impact upon students’ behaviour and their articulation of political views. In Karbi Anglong district of Assam, politics is a cup of tea for many college going students and politicization of the student bodies culminated in horizontal divisions among the student community along party lines. Seemingly, this has galvanised cleavages in academic, political and ethnic life of the students. From the perspective of peace and tranquility, such polarisation sounds unpromising in an ethnically diverse region like Karbi Anglong. Needless to say, this has insidiously slim the real empowerment of the students at large. In this regard, the present paper is an attempt to study the role and aspiration of students in the realm of politics in Karbi Anglong district: A case study of Diphu.

 

KEYWORDS: cleaves, separate homeland, ethics, charismatic leader, underdevelopment,

 

 


1. INTRODUCTION:

The involvement of students in politics is a common play in various countries of the world. In India, it has acquired a new dimension with the propensity of politicization of the student bodies. In fact, student organisations by and large have lost the character of pressure groups and acquired a new political identity. Consequently, the fraternity that existed between various student groups has got a backseat.

 

The ominous interplay of intolerance, rivalry, acrimoniousness between different student groups speaks voluminously about moral decay, craving for power, mudslinging politics etc. These essentially emanates more or less from the political culture of the present time. Given the menacing trends, the real voices of students at large are held capsized and foreground the political identity of a small clique. The present day happenings centering on student politics provoked diverse opinions and sparked debates about the role of students in politics in the academic atmosphere of the educational institutions.

 

Karbi Anglong and the North Cachar Hills are the only Assam Hills Autonomous Councils constituted under the sixth schedule of the Constitution within the state of Assam. The erstwhile Mikir Hills district in the state of Assam having an autonomous status with a District Council came into being on June 23, 1952 with headquarter at Diphu. The Mikir Hills was again rechristened as Karbi Anglong on October 14, 1976. The Autonomous Councils are enjoying t0he privilege of mini state status. The sixth schedule of the constitution of India has been granted “as a nugget for the hills tribal people of Assam” (Engti 2008:3). The district of Karbi Anglong is a plural society wherein there is the presence of ethnic groups like Karbi, Dimasa, Kuki, Khasi, Bodo, Chakma etc and communities like Bengali, Assamese, Nepali, Bilaspuri etc. The Karbi tribe is the numerically dominant tribe in the district and the district is named after them.

 

2. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY:

In Karbi Anglong district of Assam, the students groups play a significant role in socio-political matters. It is also observed that a large number of students have political ambitions and aspirations and they have chosen politics as their career. The emergence of the Karbi student Association is instrumental for demanding autonomy and for addressing issues of public importance. The divisive politics that have rocked the district for reigning political control and achieving petty selfish gains have divided the student groups into various factions. Consequently, a strong student group has been divided time and again to disempower it from effective functioning..  Hence the present paper intends to explore the context and the factors that have actually interplayed in dividing the student group. It also seeks to study the political aspirations of the students in Karbi Anglong district of Assam: A Case Study in Diphu.

 

3. METHODOLOGY:

The use of both primary as well as secondary data has been considered necessary to conduct the study. Primary data was collected through administering a questionnaire among the students (both boys and girls), student leaders, and media persons, intellectuals selected randomly in and around Diphu town. The size of the sample is 30. We also conducted interactive sessions with the students and the student leaders (former and present) to understand different strands in their involvement in politics and also their political aspirations. We used secondary data like relevant books, articles, government records, internet resources, census data etc. that we considered pertinent to conduct the study.

 

4. FORMATION OF THE KARBI STUDENTS ASSOCIATION:

Karbi Students Association was formed on 21st July, 1959 at Dilaji Lower Primary School in Karbi Anglong district. The founder president of the organisation was Pratap Chandra Tokbi and the general secretary was Gandhiram Timung. There were 15 members in the organisation at the time of formation. Pratap Chandra Tokbi was the student of the Government Boys School in Diphu and resided in the school hostel. He along with some students of the hostel and outside constituted the Association (My interview with Pratap Chandra Tokbi on 6 May 2016). Gandhiram Timung occupied the office as the general secretary for two consecutive terms from 1959-1960 and 1960-1961.He held various posts in social organisations and also various committees (Klirdap 2009:10).

 

The motto of the Karbi Student association was “Khei Ingtur Lonang” (Help Rise the Karbis).The main objective of the KSA is to look into the problems of the Karbi Student community in particular and the students community of Karbi Anglong in general (Memorandum submitted to Pranab Mukherjee by the Karbi Student Association on 13 April, 2015). Dipendra Rongpi who held the post of the president of the KSA in 1984-85 was the last president of the undivided KSA. He articulated that the idea behind the formation of the KSA was to protest against the language policy of the Government of Assam. Due to lack of higher education facilities in Karbi Anglong, the Karbi students had to study in Shillong and Guwahati etc. Since the hill state movement got fierce in the hill areas of Assam, the Karbi students thought it prudent to form a student organisation in order to be a part of the hill state movement in protecting their culture and identity (Narrated in an interface by Dipendra Rongpi on 2 September 2016). The symbol of the KSA was five hills and a star. The five hills signify five clans of the Karbis and the star (Klirdap in Karbi language) means morning star. The KSA leaders regularly visited various schools and instructed the girl students to wear Karbi traditional dress who used to wear Mekhala Chadar, the traditional attire of the Assamese. It was perhaps due to cultural revivalism that the KSA leaders reinforced the dress code The British Government encouraged opium cultivation in the hill areas of Assam and it was a flourishing business in Karbi Anglong. A large number of people were addicted to it (My conversation with Dhorom Sing Teron on 16 April 2016). Khorsing Terang, the first Chief executive member of the District Council and later a minister in the Assam legislative Assembly was also an opium license holder (My interview with Ratul Ronhang: Rubul Terang on 12 March 2016). The KSA since their formation took strenuous efforts in chasing out the roadside vendors who used to sell opium (Narrated in an interface by Pratap Chandra Tokbi on 14 April 20 2016). From 1975-80, the KSA remained almost defunct due to lack of strong leadership.

 

 

Ajit Timung who was the general secretary of the KSA from 1980-81 revived the organization along with others. Subsequently, Borsing Rongphar and Chomang Kro also contributed in this regard. Ajit Timung took sincere efforts to keep the documents and records in good track and also arranged land for the KSA office. He narrated that the road from the Manza to the district headquarter Diphu was in a zigzag shape and the KSA leaders wrote to the then President and the Prime minister of India and with their active intervention, road was constructed. In the Karbi Anglong –Meghalaya border, there was an attempt to merge Block I and Block II to Meghalaya, the KSA proffered a memorandum to the Government of India through the Deputy Commissioner in protest against the move (narrated in an interface by Ajit Timung on 3 August 2016).

 

Lunse Timung who held the president in the period narrated in an interface that the Karbis were one of the backward tribes of Assam and it was urgently necessary to uplift them through higher education. The KSA leaders demanded 15% reservation for admission in medical, engineering and other technical institutions. In 1975-76, 5% reservation was given to the tribals (My interview with Lunse Timung on12 September 2016).

 

Dipendra Rongpi narrated in his tenure as the president of the KSA, a survey was conducted around 5 km radius of Diphu town and it was found that most of the lower primary schools were thatched houses except Kakoti Ronghang L.P School in Kakoti Ronghang village. The political leaders used to send their children to Don Bosco High school and were less interested to ameliorate the infrastructure and quality of L.P schools. The KSA leaders proffered memorandums to the Karbi Anglong District Council authority to restructure the L.P schools to withstand rain and storm. In his tenure as the Member of the District Council, all the primary schools were renovated and thatched school houses were transformed into tin shaded schools (My conversation with Dipendra Rongpi on 2 September 2016).

 

There are other student organisations of different ethnic communities in the district: Kuki Students Union (KASU), Rengma Students Union (RSU),All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), Dimasa Students Organisations (DSU) (Rongpi 2007:622).

 

5. ROMAN SCRIPT MOVEMENT AND HILL STATE DEMAND: ROLE OF THE KSA:

In 1964, there was a proposal to adopt the Roman Script for the Karbi language and English to be adopted as the medium of instruction. This evoked an immense controversy. Tanmay Bhattacharjee observed that “A large section of population wanted the continuation of Assamese language since the majority previously received education in the Assamese medium and they favoured the same script for the Karbi language” (Bhattacharjee 1986:90) whereas the others favoured the Roman script. Meanwhile, Karbi Riso Adorbar was set up o 25 January 1964 in Diphu town and the first conference took place in the same year at Baithalangso under the preside ship of Chandrasing Teron (Teron: 1965:11). The founder president of the organisation was Bronson Engti and the secretary was Birensing Engti (Ahamad 2015:42). Many educated youths joined the organisation and opposed the KSA. The KSA got divided on the issue of Roman script. The prominent members of the Karbi Riso Adorbor were Khorsing Engti, Royal Timung, Joysing Terang, Holiram Terang, Lunse Timung and Samsing Hanse etc. They endorsed that the Karbi language should be taken in Assamese. At that time, in the KSA, the prominent leaders were Longsodar Engti Kathar, Sunaram Terang, Hari Kanta Ronghang, Chandrasing Terang, Premeshwar Ronghi, Lumbajong Ingti Kathar,Pratap Chandra Tokbi and Gandhiram Timung (My conversation with Harsing Engti on 14 April 2016).

 

The formation of Karbi Riso Adorbor according to many was actually to suppress the KSA movement for the Hills state. In the 6th annual conference of the Karbi Richo Adorbar held at Sariajan in 1969, the organisation pledged to strengthen the relationship between the people and the government keeping in view the national and geographical integration (Kathar 1969:29). The official language policy of Assam Government in 1960 though not directly imposed Assamese language to the autonomous Hill districts but it created apprehension and fear in the minds of the tribal people about the possible loss of their language and culture. Subsequently the All party Hill leaders Conference came into being in the hill areas of Assam and the lead was taken by the people of Khasi, jayantia and Garo Hills (Terang 1991:123). Since 1962, there was a demand for North East Frontier Hill state except Nagland and Manipur and it was also known as Clear cut Separation from Assam (Terang 1991:123: My conversation with Lunse Timung on 9 September 2016). Since then the KSA started a Hill state movement to protect the language and culture of the Karbi people. From 1962-1968 demonstrations and processions were held on regular basis by the KSA. The District Council Government prevented them and the KSA leaders were arrested and even beaten up in several occasions for crafting out the demand. In the 1970s the demand for the Hills state was in the agenda of the KSA but the demonstrations and protests were not regular (My conversation with Pratap Chandra Tokbi on 12 April 2016). “Historically, the Congress did not accept the demand for the Autonomous state and from 1986-2000, there was a singular voice, an authoritative voice of the Congress” narrated by Dhoromsing Teron (My interview with Dhorom Sing Teron on 14 April 2016). Harsing Ingti who held the post of president of the KSA from 1969-1977 composed a couple of songs and plays on the theme of the hill state, the need of protecting culture, language of the Karbis etc. and acted in one act play in various functions of the Diphu Government College, the premier institution of higher learning of the district. His plays were banned by the District Council government. From 1973-1976, he received the best writer and the best actor award in various functions of the Diphu Government College. One of his songs was adopted later as the anthem of the Karbi Youth Festival. In 1973, Roy Enghee and other youth leaders started the Script Movement and on May 31, 1973, a meeting was convened in Diphu Club under the chairmanship. The Karbi Risho Adorbar lost its influence when Janata Dal came to power in Assam.

 

The political situation of Karbi Anglong district was volatile from 1967-1977. “The All Party Hill Leaders Conference spread its tentacles in the district and a few people were attracted towards it. The Riso Dorbar was opposed to its entry and fought a battle to remove its influence in the district” (Cited in Bhattacharjee 1986:90). The Mikir Hills District unit of the APLHC was officially formed in 1965 with Barelong Terang as the president and Bapuram Singnar as the general secretary (Choudhury 2016:211). The two hills districts, North Cachar and Karbi Anglong had the option to join the state of Meghalaya in 1970. But the ruling Congress party of the District Council government was in favour of staying in Assam and that was reflected in the General meeting of the District Council. All the members except one supported the resolution to remain in Assam in the Council session held on the 21st February 1970 (ibid). Raidang Ingti was the one who did not support the move. He won as an independent candidate in the District council election from Duar Bhaguri constituency. Moreover, Chatrosing Teron and Joy Bhadra Hagjer were the ministers in the Bimala Prasad Chaliha Government in Assam and probably had political ambitions to become the chief minister. Chotrosing Teron said: “I am the leader of Karbi Anglong. Whatever, I will say, it will be done”. Joy Bhadra Hagjer said: “I am the leader of N.C Hills. We will stay in Assam”. The Karbi Student Association members made a delegation to the APHLC held in Tura and eagerly awaited the decision in favour of merging with Meghalaya. The status quo utterly disappointed them (My interview with Harsing Engti on 14 April 2016).

 

6. AUTONOMOUS STATE DEMAND MOVEMENT AND KSA:

The Separate State Demand Committee was constituted during the Janata rule in Assam in 1977 and since then there was a pressing demand for a full-fledged state. Subsequently, the Autonomous State Demand Committee was set up in 1985 to implement the state. Interestingly, KASCOM came into existence after 14 days of the formation of the ASDC. A Conference was held in Chokihola in Karbi Anglong District, wherein it was decided that the KSA would not align with any political party and would carry on the autonomous state movement along with the ASDC. The movement for the autonomous state very soon transformed into a mass movement with the support from all classes, other tribes and communities. Since Karbi Nimso Chingtur Asong, a woman wing of the ASDC (a woman organisation at the time of inception) joined the Autonomous movement in 1986, it garnered the support of the women who joined in large numbers. The mass support attracted the Congress government and they intended to lead the movement for electoral gain. But the KSA members asked the local MLAs and the elected members of the Karbi Anglong District council to resign on which they expressed their reluctance. Subsequently, differences cropped up between the leaders of the KSA and it finally got a split on 17th May, 1987(Ahamad 2015:46). It is pertinent to mention that since the KSA played a very significant role in the autonomous state movement and a very powerful student organisation, efforts were taken to divide the KSA in order to weaken the autonomous state movement. Edward Bey and Ratul Teron were instrumental in creating Representatives of the Karbi Mass Students, the new factions of the KSA and it was the brain child of the Congress. Incidentally Ratul Teron was the office secretary in the afore-mentioned 1985 conference (My conversation with Laisong Engleng on 22 August 2016). The RKMS continued barely for a year and ultimately became defunct. In 2000, the Congress party came to power after a spell of 15 years of ASDC rule in Karbi Anglong. In that year, New KSA was set up with five Hills and a star as the symbol. The Representative of Karbi Mass students set up the New KSA. Hanuram Engti was the president and Rollend Kiling as the general secretary. Subsequently, the New KSA was converted as Inlongpo KSA (My interview with Dipendra Rongpi on 12 September 2016).

 

The fierce political unrest that followed with the demand for the Autonomous state was curved with the signing of the Memorandum of understanding on 1st April, 1995. Therein, the Karbi Students Association played a significant role. It was signed between the Autonomous State Demand Committee, the Karbi Student’s Association, the North Cachar Hills Students Federation and Dimasa Student’s Union (Rongphar 2005:390) and the state governments to confer more powers under the sixth schedule of the constitution by effecting the constitution of India (Sixth Schedule) Amendment Act, 1995.The Assam University, Diphu Campus is the outcome of the tireless efforts of the KSA (Narrated in an interface by Borsing Rongphar on 4 May 2016). The KSA was instrumental in opening Science stream and P.G classes in the Diphu Govt. College. The Diphu B.Ed College, Polytechnic, Law college etc are the outcome of the initiatives of the KSA (narrated in an interface by Dipendra Rongpi on 12 September 2016).

 

 

7. FROM POTENT FORCE TO POWERLESSNESS: SECOND SPLIT OF THE KSA:

The KSA, a powerful student organisation which once resolved not to align with any political party ultimately fell into the prey of the political parties. In fact, they have lost their glory and genuflected to the political parties and party leaders in fulfilling their political ambition. Their own dream and objectives got marginalised in the ominous policy and practices of the perverted politicians. Consequently, the KSA got its second split on 6th and 7th September, 2000 in the general conference held in Diphu Indoor Stadium. Hansing Terang was selected as the general secretary and Rollend Killing as the president of the new group (Rongphar 2005:199). It was due to the split of the ASDC wherein one group backed Jayanta Rongpi and another Holiram Terang (The Telegraph, July 25, 2011). By 2000, the KSA was divided into three factions—Inlongpo KSA, CPI (ML) KSA and ASDC KSA.

 

Subsequently, more cleavages within the KSA (Congress) group emerged and Inlongpo KSA was divided into two more factions—one in 2006 and the other in 2009. Until 2015, there were five factions of the KSA—three with allegiance to the Congress party and one with Hill state Demand Committee and the other CPI (ML). It came down to four with the formal unification of Rajen Enghi Group (Congress) and Mirgent Kro group (Congress) in 2015. It is pertinent to mention that Bidyasing Rongphar was the general secretary of one of the Congress group of the KSA resigned from the KSA (Congress group) and joined JACAS (Joint Action Committee of the Autonomous State) after the creation of Telengana in order to fight for the Karbi Anglong autonomous state. Then parallel KSA was created and Mirgent Kro became the general secretary. JACAAs came into being on 3rd August 2014 to implement the autonomous state. There were 21 organisations that have joined JACAAS at the time of formation which came down to 11 at present. Different KSA group joined the JACAAS with their respective ideological underpinnings. In the beginning, CPI(ML) groups were also with JACAAS but they remained in it only for six months (My interview with Leeong Engleng on 12 August 2016). Since HSDC and CPI (ML) got unified, Laisong Engleng CPI(ML) Group of the KSA and Babusing Ronghang Group (HSDC) merged into one (My conversation with Borsing Rongphar on 4 May 2015).

 

 

 

 

Table 3: KSA Groups in 2015

 KSA Group

Party Affiliation

Leeon Engleng Group

Congress

Laisong Engleng Group

CPI (ML)

 Babusing Ronghang Group

HSDC

Rajen Enghi Group

Congress

Mirgeng Kro Group

Congress

 

Table 3 shows various congress groups in 2015

 

Karbi Anglong Student Union:

In 1979, Karbi Anglong Students Association came into being. The founder president was Dhoromsing Teron and Monsing Rongpi was the general secretary. There were 21 members in the organisation such as Apurba Bora, Shashi Kanta Timung, Ramsing Timung, Arun Gogoi, Arati Rongpipi to name a few. This was a time of Assam Movement which was launched by the All Assam Student Association to deport the illegal Bengali migrants from Assam. “By mid-1979 the ASU took up the leadership position and prepared the students and the masses for a movement” (Hussain 1993:106). The KASU was formed with the intent that if the people of Karbi Anglong did not participate in the Assam movement there was every possibility of influx of people from plain areas to Karbi Anglong. The objective of KASU was to sustain Karbi nationalism without any discrimination with other tribes and communities. They also garnered support from all communities of Karbi Anglong. In 1981, a conference of the KASU took place at Diphu club. This was attended by leaders like Debo Kumar Bora,Hiten Goswami, leaders of the North East Regional Student union, Adibashi Student organisation etc. After the conference Shasi Kanta Timung became the president of the organisation. In 1982, the founding members resigned from the formal membership and remained as advisors. Due to repressive measures of the government, Shasi Kanta Timung and others gave up the movement. Meanwhile, the KSA was able to exert considerable influence in student politics and the Karbi students got attracted to it. Monsing Rongpi was the co-opted member of ASU and was a part of the ASU delegation with the Central Government for a couple of times. Subsequently, his connection with ASU got severed due to his career (My conversation with Monsing Rongpi on 22 September 2016).

 

6. ATTEMPTS OF UNIFICATION OF THE KSA:

Given the need of strong student force in the district to fight myriad injustices in the political administration and to address multitude of problems faced by the students, initiatives were taken by the former KSA leaders in different times to unify the different factions of the KSA. In 2004-2005, senior KSA leaders of the earlier era like Sunaram Terang, Pratap Chandra Tokbi and Lunse Timung called a mee        ting at Diphu club in Diphu town. The KSA group of the Congress and ASDC attended the meeting but the CPI (ML) group abstained from it. Hence, the attempt failed. In 2013-14, another attempt was undertaken by Pratap Chandra Tokbi, Lunse Timung and others for unification. But this attempt also did not yield any fruit.

 

In 2009, Better Guwahati Karbi Student Association spearheaded for the unification of the different factions of the KSA. The three-pronged measure- unity of thought, unity of action and unity of Programme on which unification was urged. Meanwhile, a further division of KSA took place in the same year and BGKSA became ambivalent to which group to support. Hence the attempt failed without any fruit (My interview with Bibison Teron on 21 August 2016).

 

In 2011, Bidyasing Engleng, Laisong Engleng and S. Telin Engti have resolved to merge for the greater interest of the Autonomy issue. This was the first joint meeting of the three factions after an 18 members co-ordination committee was formed on July 15, 2011. But they finally could not reach a consensus and consequently the merging remained incomplete (The Telegraph In 2015, Hojai, Nogaon and Tejpur based KSA attempted to unify the different factions of the KSA. But it remained unsuccessful. In January 2016, Diphu Government College Karbi students Convening Committee also took an initiative for the unification of the different factions of the KSA. But it also failed miserably (My interview with Simion Rongphar on 21 August, 2016).

 

7. BLENDING HISTORY WITH MEMORY: NARRATION:

We interviewed 20 students of Diphu town in order to assess their political ambition and aspirations. In our interaction, some of the students narrated that they are interested in crafting out political careers given the ample opportunities to earn money easily. Some others articulated that holding political offices would alleviate them to a high social status with power and influence. There are some others who said that since Karbi Anglong is lagging behind in many significant avenues like employment, agriculture, industry, health and education etc, there is an adequate necessity of young and dynamic leaders with real zeal in public service to drive the district out of perpetual under development, stagnation and ethnic polarization. Majority of them shared the similar view that educational qualification of leaders are mandatory in contesting for the political offices since politics is intimately related to policy making and to effectively deal with the emerging challenges. We have found many respondents who are ambitious for the post of the Chief Executive Member and Executive members of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council rather than to contest for the posts of M.LA or M.P. In order to achieve their ambitions, some of them have opted for political science as a major subject or at least one of the subjects in the pass course. They consider that knowledge of the subject would help them to nurture their political career and provide them proficient knowledge in understanding politics. Some respondents stated that since Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council is unable to create jobs, getting elected in the Council or Assam assembly is a lucrative option of employment. In fact, they aspire to step in politics once they accomplish their studies. Some others articulated that they continue their studies along with their political career simultaneously since their guardians did not raise any objection in their political engagement. Some of the respondents expressed their aspirations in contesting the students’ Union election of the Diphu Government College.

 

Majority of the female respondents narrated that they are less interested in politics and more ambitious in careers like civil service, college teachers and law etc. It is pertinent to mention that the people of Karbi Anglong are yet to rely in the leadership skill of women. Those women who contested election of the Assam Legislative Assembly or the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council hardly could win except those who belonged to the dynastic families. In the 7th Karbi Anglong District Council election held in the year 1989, Patorpi Tissopi contested as the sole woman and independent candidate. She could garner only 23 votes that is 0.38 percent of the total votes (Rongphar 2004:11). In the 8th Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council election held in the year 1996, two women candidates contested, Kabon Engtipi with ASDC ticket got elected with 5,383, 87.79 percent of votes from Hamren constituency (ibid) and Merina Beypi with ASDC ticket lost the election.

 

Some of the respondents narrated that vigilant public opinion in a democracy is significant to elect the right candidate. Sometimes the party bosses are not providing tickets to the right candidate and hence it slims down the chances of electing the promising leaders. The people should reject the office bearers of various political offices who failed miserably to fulfill the aspiration of the people of the district. They also emphasised on horse trading, rigging and materialist politics (offering either money or goods on the eve of election) as obstacles in electing the right candidate. The respondents highlighted that the present election gimmick of providing foods to the people to woo the voters by some political parties on the previous day of the election is highly disappointing. Since many people are not politically conscious and sufficiently enlightened, they fail to understand such election incentives or election gimmicks and cast their votes in favour of that particular political Party. Some other respondents acknowledged their allegiance to the one or other political parties due to the traditional alignment with the party and in other cases they receive small benefits from the party of their allegiance.

 

8. ELECTORAL POLITICS AND DIVIDE AND RULE: AN OMINOUS AGENDA TO WEAKEN THE STUDENT FORCE:

The division of the KSA into various groups is a strong impediment in the real empowerment of the students at large. The burning problem of the students and their aspirations remains unattended with such division. It is perhaps due to the divide and rule policy of the political elites and elected leaders in deliberately weakening the student groups for sustaining their own “petty interests”. The KSA played a significant role in curving corruption of the Autonomous Council and investigated the misuse of political power of the elected leaders. Their role since 1960 for Hill state movement and later on autonomous state was laudable. In every election, the political parties bring forth the issue of autonomous state to woo the voters and solicit the help from KSA for electoral victory. But after election, they resume their role of extracting public exchequer for petty gain and fabulous enjoyment. Initially, the KSA members were politically unexplored and immature and it was easy to brainwash them. In that way, active and creative student politics was replaced by petty party politics wherein the student groups indulge more in materialistic politics than to view politics as a public service. They fail to understand the real spirit behind the formation of the KSA and their true role as student leaders.

 

Pratap Chandra Tokbi endorsed that “the Students body should be free from political interference and allegiance to one or the other political party. The KSA could do more and can serve meaningfully if they get themselves free from the ominous clutches of the elected leaders. The aspiration of the students of the other communities also should not be lost sight of given the ethnic plurality of the district” (My conversation with Pratap Chandra Tokbi on 6 May 2016). Borsing Rongphar articulated that the student groups should play student politics and the motto should be to ameliorate the students of the district towards a creative destiny. Money or material interests are the stumbling block in achieving the larger interests of such groups. The elected leaders should shy away from dividing the student community for selfish gain given the wider role they need to play in the society. The political boss should not give ticket to the dishonest and illiterate politicians for the larger interests of the district” (Narrated in an interface by Borsing Rongphar on 12 March 2016). This view is shared by various student leaders and intellectuals. Harsing Engti observed that “There is the necessity of a student organisation in articulating the greater interests of the students at large and to focus the genuine issues of public interests” (My conversation with Harsing Ingti on 14 August 2016). Ajit Timung expressed his concern about different factions of the KSA and has blamed the political leaders for misguiding the student leaders but hopeful that the implementation of the Autonomous state could unify the different factions of the KSA (My interview with Ajit Timung on 2 April 2016). Dipendra Rongpi highlighted that the KSA division into various factions was not by the KSA members but by political leaders in order to sustain their petty self interest. The KSA should be given free hand by the political parties to serve as the student group and not to be manipulated as pawn to stay in power by the political leaders. If any Karbi student intends to join in active party politics, he or she should join to the student wings of the political parties” (My interview with Dipendra Rongpi on 2 September 2016).

 

9. CONCLUSION:

 In conclusion, we can say that Karbi Anglong is a miniature India and there is the urgent necessity for an independent student body who could ventilate the real grievances of the students and mainstream the aspirations of the student community at large. Hence, dynamic and informed student leaders could create awareness in regard to peace, ethnic tranquility, welfare, morality of students and also morality in governance and the need for development etc. It is pertinent to mention that knowledge; moral foundation of character, commitment to the people etc. shapes and moulds a true leader. The need of the hour is capable, moral and dynamic leadership to drive the district out of years of militancy, ethnic unrest, perpetual underdevelopment and economic stagnation. Divergent political ideology is permissible in a democracy but a common approach in the question of development, education and aspirations of the student community at large is urgently needed. The onus lies to the media, intellectuals, civil society groups and teachers in creating awareness about the issues governing the amelioration of the district towards a desire direction. It is the high time that student leaders should realise the real intension of the political parties and elected members in diluting the issues of autonomous state, development and rampant corruption by dividing the people on ethnic and party lines.

 

10. REFERENCES:

1.         Bhattacharjee Tanmay, Sociology of the Karbis, B.R.Publishing Corporation. Delhi, 1986.

2.         Bhuyan B.C, The Demand for Autonomy/Statehood in N.C Hills and Karbi Anglong in B.C Bhuyan (ed) Political Development of the North East. Omsons Publications.New Delhi, 1989.

3.         Choudhury Lutfur Rahman, Ethnic identity and the Autonomy Movement in Karbi Anglong. The Echo. Published by the Department of Bengali, Karimganj College.Assam Vol.II,Issue II.2016,211

4.         Engti Shekhar, The Administration of Assam Hills Autonomous Councils (Karbi Anglong and N.C Hill,. Rongnihang. Diphu and Karbi Anglong, 2008, 3

5.         Hussain Monirul, The Assam Movement, class, ideology and identity. Manak Publications, Delhi, 1993

6.         Klirdap, The Annual Magazine of the Karbi Student’s Association, Diphu, 2009, 10

7.         Ronghi Sarthe, In Retrospect: Karbi Anglong in Anuradha Dutta and Ratna Bhuyan(ed) Genesis of Conflict and Peace: Understanding Northeast India: Views an1985d Reviews. Peace Studies,OKDISCD and Akansha Publishing House, New Delhi, 2007.

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8.         Borsing Rongphar, Karbi Anglonor Rajnaitik Itihas. Fu Fu Publication. Diphu,2005

9.         Ekiuddin Ahamed ,Karbi Jatir Uttaran.Subhadra Prakash, 2015

10.       Barelong Terang, Smritiprabah. Diphu.1991

11.       Athar Moniram, Karbi Richo Adorbar Er Barshik Sompadokio Path, O’Re Kimi, Gantantra Press. Nagaon. Assam

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12.       Dechoy Teron, Richo Adorbar in orekimi.Vol.1, 1965, Ganatantra Press. Nogaon. Assam.,

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13.       The Telegraph, July 25, 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Received on 03.11.2017       Modified on 18.12.2017

Accepted on 27.01.2018      ©A&V Publications All right reserved

Res.  J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2018; 9(1): 309-316.

DOI: 10.5958/2321-5828.2018.00056.6