After three and half decades, when I think of the early 1980’s, I think that I did well by not joining the Assam Movement (or Assam Agitation of 1979-1985) as per the advice of Nagen Saikia and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
I am on self exile in the distant capital city in Delhi, away from Assam, my home state and from Meghalaya, my second home, because even as an Assamese I did not find a suitable job in my beloved home State nor in Meghalaya where I was brought up as a child when my dad was a Minister in Bordoloi’s Cabinet and we lived in “Lake View” Minister’s Bungalow in Rilbong, Shillong, then the capital of Assam, even before India became a Republic.
During the Assam Agitation in the 1980’s when I was serving in Parliament as Senior Class-I Officer (now I am a Pensioner), I wanted to join the agitation but Nagen Saikia, then the General Secretary of Asam Sahitya Sabha and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the then leader of the Assam Movement, a former Chief Minister of Assam, wrote to me these (same) words (though separately, Nagen Saikia typed on his letterhead and Prafulla Mahanta in his handwriting):
“To work for Assam, you need not come to Assam. Rather, it would be very much helpful, if you can made (sic) your friends and others in Delhi understand the genuineness of the causes of the movement and its non-communal, non-violent and democratic character.” (Quoted from their letters)
After taking voluntary retirement from Parliament, I went to Shillong, my second home. But as fate would have it, my family members and I started getting death threats from people who could not tolerate my writings in SHILLONG TIMES and MEGHALAYA GUARDIAN. One organisation filed a criminal case against me in the court of law, and the then Meghalaya Home Minister was kind enough to invite me to tea at his office where he told me about the delegations that came to him with complaints about me and he asked me if I could give him assurance that I would write nothing that would hurt the religious sentiments of a particular religious community. Being a member of the church I went to for worship, the Home Minister was gracious enough not to use harsh words again me, unlike my enemies, who threatened on phone to kill me for my ‘evil deeds’ and kidnap my children. Under such unpleasant circumstances, I decided to leave Shillong after residing there for a decade and left on self exile to Delhi. I am now in the capital of India, away from my home state, Assam and away from my second home, Shillong. The Home Minister of Meghalaya is no more in our midst as he became dear to the Lord and is in his heavenly Father’s Home. May his soul rest in peace. I am thankful to God that He has given me peace even though I am away from my beloved people.
Omar Luther King