Chembur and Silapathar

Some years ago I happened to land up in a locality called Pestom Sagar in Chembur, Mumbai. To reach the exact location the taxi driver asked a man passing by, but did not get a proper reply. Then he told me that in the locality people understand only Tamil and do not understand Hindi, English or even Marathi. I wondered that just like Assam has many Bangladeshs, West Bengals, Muzaffarpurs and Bikaners in it, Mumbai also has many Bihars, UPs and Tamil Nadus. But I doubt if any Tamil organization would ever venture out to vandalize a Shiv Sena office in Chembur.

But Assam is a unique land. Perhaps there is hardly a square kilometer area left in the state in which one cannot  arouse communal sentiments based on language, religion or ethnicity.

I also recall a train journey from Dimapur to Guwahati. My co passenger was talking to me in Bengali. I tried to take part in the conversation with the little bit of Bengali I can manage. On similar circumstances earlier, the other speakers had switched over to more convenient languages, but this gentleman was different and was perhaps satisfied with my proficiency of Bengali language. He continued lecturing and soon after started “Assamese bashing”. He went on to say that the extinction of “Assamese people” is a matter of time.  I decided to avoid any confrontation and kept nodding on whatever he said. He alighted the train before reaching Guwahati , perhaps believing that he had a great chat with a fellow Bengali passenger.

I am still not sure about the provocation behind the attack on AASU’s office in Silapathar by an unknown organization but apparently a political agenda is evident.

We can only hope that the society is mature enough and would avoid any retribution.


5 thoughts on “Chembur and Silapathar

  1. I cannot help but agree. Nobody would dare vandalise a Shiv Sena office in Maharashtra. I’m not saying AASU should turn into Shiv Sena now. There would be pretty volatile repercussions then.

    But even if we consider a secular Assam with respect to all our friends from non-Assamese speaking but Assam-born and brought up backgrounds, I for one, do not favour bringing home refugees and settling them when we’re already saturated. At least, not until we have emptied the lands of illegal immigrants to make it available for them. This is a very confusing and convoluted topic. But it begs attention. We are letting people in, by and large, every single day. They come and go as they please. And they do it by will too, not just circumstances. If you have read Rites of Passage, check the chapter about Keramat Bhai.

    Btw, do you share your posts on Facebook?


    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and surely would like to go through the chapter you are referring to.
      I distanced from Facebook due to some personal reasons and also perhaps because I am not so digital savvy…..Thanks again!


      1. I find your reflections quite riveting. Glad someone is writing like you do. Even though you don’t share, I suppose you’re fine if I occasionally share your posts, right?


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