Two highly sensitive developments have put the North-Eastern state of Assam in the spotlight by reviving the 'insider-outsider' debate. Both CAA and NRC are proving controversial as they are once again stoking the sensitive subject of immigration into the state.
Over the last hundred years, different political powers have played the 'immigrant' card in Assam for economic and political gains, and with the issue being revived once more, it is important to view the controversy in its historical context.
We all know that with the silent support of Muslim League, the British Government conspired to divide the country on religious lines. But one leader,Gopinath Bardoloi, played a vital role in saving Assam from becoming an Islamic state more than six decades ago. He strongly protested inclusion of Assam into Group C and argued that Assam was already a province formed on linguistic and cultural basis enjoying provincial autonomy. "It should be allowed to continue in the future set-up also as a full-fledged unit," he pleaded. He favoured even separation of Sylhet district from Assam and rejected Mohammed Ali Jinnah's demand for Pakistan as absolutely preposterous. The Cabinet Mission stuck to its plan of forming groups.
Except Muslim League, all quarters in Assam protested against this grouping scheme.The Asom Jatiya Mahasabha also exposed the designs of Muslim League in Assam. It was clear that once Assam was grouped with Muslim majority Bengal to serve the interests of the Muslim community, her fate would be sealed . Assam would lose her identity and individuality in the political whirlpool of Muslim India, although Assam was not and had never been a Muslim majority province. Gopi Nath Bardoloi succeeded at last in convincing the Indian leaders about Assam's just case and getting this part of the Cabinet Mission's plan scrapped. Had not Assam opposed the grouping scheme, the formal establishment of Pakistan might have been delayed for a time, but there would have been no Assam left. Gopinath Bardoloi with his farsightedness and sagacity, revolutionary zeal and heroic leadership rescued Assam and her people from the mischievous conspiracy of foreign rulers. He steered Assam through a very crucial phase of its history and saved Assam from the conspiracy of Muslim League .