Monthly Archives: March 2014

Lachit Borphukan: Assam chya Shivaji?!

This friend of mine asked me, sometime last year, if I was interested in accompanying them for a trek to a fort. I think it was Rajgad fort. Though I didn’t go, given the laziness I am (in)famous for, I did look up online about the history of the fort. It’s a very nice, scenic trek, and a fort of immense historic importance.

“This fort was also one of the 12 forts that Shivaji kept when he signed the Treaty of Purandar (1665) with the Rajput king Jai Singh in 1665 who was leading the Mughal forces. 22 other forts were handed over to the Mughals under this treaty.” [Source:Wikipedia]

As soon as I saw “Mughal”, an alarm went off- Lachit Borphukan. I think anyone with a little knowledge of history will know about Lachit; he had defeated the mighty Mughals near Guwahati, forcing them to retreat. Quite a hero! Then I read up more about Lachit’s history (a brush up, actually). And what a coincidence, around the same time, two other incidents surrounding Lachit Borphukan came up:

  1. Somebody shared online a photo of Lachit’s memorial present in National Defence Academy, Pune.

    Memorial of Lachit Borphukan in National Defence Academy, India.

    Memorial of Lachit Borphukan in National Defence Academy, India.

  2. Someone invited me for a book release in Pune. The book was authored in Marathi, titled “Lachit Borphukan: Assam chya Shivaji” (Meaning: Lachit Borphukan: The Shivaji of Assam. Sorry, I couldn’t dig out more information about that book at this moment.).

So, all these three things- The book, the image of the memorial, and the “R&D” about the fort happened around the same time. And once again, the average pseudo intellect in me kicked in. Though I never blurted out anywhere, I was, once again, deeply concerned about us, the Assamese community as a whole. For not respecting ourselves, for not giving proper value and respect to our heroes that they quite rightfully deserved. We’ll soon be a forgotten community otherwise; despite of all the rich heritage. I was high on thoughts, but soon time and beer sobered me up. These were worthless concerns. I even saw some intellects outraging massively on the Internet over calling Lachit as the Shivaji of Assam in that book; on comparing him with Shivaji, basically. But have they done anything for Lachit, compared to what the Maharashtrian people have done for Shivaji? ANYTHING at all? I did not get their point. I did not bother either. Then, in another context, I quoted one of the very famous dialogs of Lachit to an Assamese friend on the net. He very proudly said he didn’t know any of this. I thought, probably yes, I should shut up. I am being “too Assamese” perhaps.

I am not asking to blast people’s ears on every “Lachit Diwas” by playing some rowdy songs in probably a 1000 decibel. No. I am not asking to shout slogans and using him for political exploitation. No. But some basic things? Like, preserving his tomb? Can’t we even do that? Where are we heading to?

By the way, Lachit Borphukan’s tomb is in Jorhat, my home town. I had to Google for it.

You may also read: Lack of nationalism among Assamese decried (An article published in Assam Tribune, an English daily).

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Hey Ram!

Many of you know about my defiance towards religion and God. I have always been quite vocal about all these and have written quite blatantly in this blog too. I was saying all that from a layman point of view, someone who was just annoyed at not being able to find some logic and answers for some questions. Basic things. Common sense. But I always wanted to read a “readable” version of these mythological tales. To understand, why people act so crazy about it? What is behind that? Why Indian mythology and Hinduism are said to be philosophically so potent? I wanted to know, and quite to my delight, I saw two abridged versions of Ramayana and Mahabharata on Internet last week. I read through the sample that was available for a free read and I really couldn’t wait to get my hands on these two; I instantly bought them. Though I had bought a Gita before, I couldn’t read past a couple of pages. So incomprehensible that is! I have started reading the Ramayana and have already read 1/3 of it. It is like a novel, an unputdownable novel. After reading through it so far, I got to know the “reason” behind many rules and rituals, and seriously, I feel more ridiculous now, about its irrelevance in today’s society and its absurdity.

Really, what lessons on moral conduct will they give? Everyone saw women as an object or property, much to have sex and “produce sons”. They always hankered after a male child, so that their ancestors can reborn (WTF!). Even the gods kept raping women whenever they got even a faintest of chance (Justification: There are no rules in nature. So, there are no violations either. Only a society has rules). On the other hand, a father, who was a sage, orders his sons to behead their mother because she, in her mind, desired a different man. So, basically, a man could sleep with whatever number of women he wishes to, but if a woman even THINKS of a different man, even though her husband does not cater to her biological needs, she is doomed! Let me also tell you why Hindu women wear vermillion, bangles, and necklace – to let the gods know that they are married and unavailable for any man except their husband, so that the gods don’t rape them (refer to the story of the wives of the Saptarshi, the seven sages.) And if the gods play tricks and rape them? The woman is cursed to become a stone or such. It was a saga of male dominance, deceit, debauchery, and hypocrisy.

And Ram himself says that the rules must be followed voluntarily and must not be enforced. Plus, a rule is a rule, it cannot be bent as per one’s convenience. But what are we doing? We did change some of the rules that were very much prevalent in those tales, like- child marriage, polygamy, rape etc.? Then why not the other rules that have no relevance in today’s society? The problem is that we have one foot in 21st century and the other in, probably, 5000 BC. We can’t move like that!

Probably we should have a new Gita, or Ramayana, whatever that is, that says:

  • Be faithful and trustworthy to your taxpayers and voters
  • Do not cheat people
  • Do not spit on the road
  • Follow traffic rules
  • Do not park your car in the middle of the road
  • Be courteous towards every human
  • Have only consentaneous sex
  • Use dipper
  • Do not rip off your patients
  • Do your duty diligently and do not take money for lodging an FIR

What? Sounds silly? But wouldn’t that make a happier and healthier society?

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You may read another post I had written a few years ago (~2010), about Ram, Sita, and the surrounding absurdity: Ram, Sita, and some thoughts