“The excise department of the Government of Assam is taking steps to promote and commercialize indigenous alcoholic beverages”. This is a headline in a recent edition of an Assamese daily “ Niyomiya Barta”.
Unfortunately I have not been following Assamese newspapers of late. So I decided to reinvent my old reading habits and picked up “Niyomiya Barta”, a widely circulated Assamese newspaper . This newspaper is linked to a powerful minister in Assam cabinet and its editorial board has two distinguished Assamese intellectuals.
The news about the indigenous alcoholic beverages is slightly critical of the government move but it is highly informative. It has provided details about the ease of getting a license from the state excise department to start a indigenous alcoholic beverages shop or establish a factory under the new government initiative. The news item appears to suggest that the government move is a part of the broad agenda of “ease of doing business”.
I am no authority to talk about alcohol or wine as my understanding of the subject is almost nil. In my life time , perhaps the intake of liquor is less than a liter and the intake of indigenous alcoholic beverages is not even 1 ml. But many ethnic groups in the state consume home made liquor as part of their daily meal. And if the government is looking to raise revenue collection through commercializing indigenous alcoholic beverages, I have nothing to object. The newspaper has also avoided any harsh criticism against the move.
Other news items talk about topics such as the scam in the state agriculture department which took place during the previous government and the murder of an Indian engineer in the United Stated in an allegedly racial attack.
There are scholarly articles on topics including a border less world and on self actualization written by professors of engineering and medical colleges in the region. The articles contain references to personalities such as Lord Alfred Tennyson,Francisco De Vitoria and Charles Duhigg. I feel proud about the intellectual stature of the readers of the newspaper.
There is a review of the controversial movie “Lipstick Under My Borkha” which also informs about the actress from Assam in the movie.
I enjoyed reading the newspaper. But I have only one suggestion to make.The Editor in in Chief who is also a well known Assamese writer uses two English phrases in his main article – ” Horse’s Mouth” and ” Face Value”. I feel use of appropriate Assamese words would have been better.