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Barak Valley’s Resilience Shines: Rejects Linguistic Imposition, Embraces Unity During Kali Puja

In a recent incident in Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, the desecration of Bengali banners at Durga Pandals by members of Lachit Sena and radicalized groups has ignited fervent condemnation and sparked a wave of unity in Barak Valley.

The Lachit Sena’s vehement protest against banners in Bengali, citing it as an affront to the majority Assamese language, resulted in the tearing down of banners and a tumultuous display of linguistic discord. Shockingly, the police refrained from making any arrests, despite the act hurting religious sentiments attached to phrases like “Jay Shree Kedarnath” on the banners.

The aftermath of this divisive act saw a divided response, with Barak Valley citizens unanimously condemning the incident. However, renowned Minister Ranjeet Dass labeled it as an “obvious retaliation,” further deepening the linguistic fault lines.

Kali Puja Banner
A collage of banners installed at various puja pandals across Barak Valley

In a striking countermove, around 100 individuals from Barak Valley, uniting under the banner of the “Boraker Awaaz” social media platform, decided to turn the tide. Their initiative during Kali Puja aimed not only to condemn the derogatory act against a language but also to propagate warmth and love for mother tongues, while subtly opposing language imposition.

The group’s campaign was clear: a plea to Kali Puja Committees to voluntarily display banners they meticulously designed. These banners, strategically featuring messages in Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, and Bodo, unequivocally stated, “Tearing down language and religious banners during worship is condemnable. Mother tongue is akin to mother’s milk, and we love and respect every language.”

A closer look at the banner installed at various Puja Pandals

The response to this campaign was nothing short of resounding success, with over 150 pandals in Silchar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts of Barak Valley prominently featuring these banners. In a powerful display of unity in diversity, the region stood tall against linguistic discord, reaffirming the value of embracing and respecting all languages. The campaign serves as a beacon of hope, illustrating that unity can triumph over divisiveness, even in the face of provocations.

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