ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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SEMINARS-Client Intellectuals

them of a decent livelihood. Their contempt and defiance of the CRP and the array are a portent of their profound disillusionment and wrath against the cheats at the top. Unlike the other sections they take to revolutionary slogans like ducks to water. Unfortunately, while the oil blockade dramatises their anger against the ''injustice of the Central government", the present leader- ship of the movement does not raise anti-government slogans very often. The fiery speeches are against the CPI(M) and the "stooges of all-India parties". Violent passions have often exhausted themselves in useless attacks on the minorities. Indeed, the whole issue of the movement seems designed to sidetrack public indignation towards fratricidal ends. The leadership seems quite inclined to strike a bargain with the Central government. This bargain is the most squalid part of the whole thing, for while it will entrench the leading strata in their positions of privilege, it will bring to the popular enthusiasts and the democratic masses only dust and ashes. Of course, the CPI(M) will always be there as the scapegoat! As for secessionism, I am not sure it is an immediate danger. The CIA and the British Old Boys are certainly active. But the leadership is aware of the uncertainties of that patronage. They would much prefer a good bargain with the Centre. In fact, Assamese chauvinism had been in the past the safest bet for the Centre for 'peace and goodwill' in the north-eastern region (including bombing in Nagaland), The democratic and national aspirations of the various ethnic groups in Assam (including the Assamese) had been kept under lid by the Centre through a selective patronage of the Assamese bigwigs and through indulgence shown to Assamese chauvinism. (It is a prominent thread in the chauvinist argument that non-Assamese groups had opposed the adoption of Assamese as the official language in 1960 and as the medium of university education in 1972, whereas in actual fact they had objected only to imposition of Assamese on them.) Since the seventies this chauvinism has come up against a number of challenges, whether from leftists or from non- Assamese ethnic groups. That is why there is an air of desperation about the current struggle.

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