Skip to content Skip to navigation

Northeast author reflects on saga of violence

Guwahati: A lone voice that has undertaken several peace initiatives over several decades in the conflict ridden northeast India has come out with a new book chronicling and reflecting on the saga of violence perpetrated down the ages.

“The book is precisely about the “Collective Anger” that accumulates,” says the octogenarian author.  

The book traces the anger of the primitive man in self-defense to the aggressive postures of World Powers in our own days. Violence has become so frequent these days that Pankaj Mishra has called our age the Age of Anger. 

The President of the Pastoral Conference of Northeast India, Archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, released Archbishop Emeritus Thomas Menamparampil’s latest book Stored Anger (Claretian Publications), this morning, 11 September 2018.

The Bishops of the Northeast and all the religious superiors of the region were gathered to discuss this year’s conference theme ‘Current Situation in India’ and its implications for the Northeast.

Stored Anger is a study of violence, its contextual understanding, and related themes like sensitivity, respect and peace seen  in various forms down the ages to our own days. 

The book begins with a brief account of the Paris terrorist attack in 2015 that carried away 127 lives. It comments on Francois Hollande’s call for a “pitiless response,” and Marine Le Pen’s  remark, “There is cold anger in my heart.” 

“I am worried about this kind of ‘Cold Anger’ that gets stored, and remains as a buried explosive, with the danger that it can go off at any time when people least expect it,” Archbishop Menamparampil who has lived in northeast India for over six decades. 

The race-related anger of the African-American may differ from the caste-related anger of the Dalit. Again, the post-colonial anger the Middle East may differ from the post-Communist anger of East Europe, or that of the weak nations that feel that their natural resources are being exploited by stronger nations, or people who feel that their jobs are being taken away by immigrants. But each of them hurts human hearts, and each of them makes human societies unstable. 

Stored Anger says, epics are full of violence, so are historic accounts. The winners boast, and their boasts go into histories. Losers remember, and their memories go into the production of more brutish weapons. The development of Nuclear weapons had some relationship to the Holocaust.

Great conquerors are admired for their achievements. The good they do remains on and bears fruit. The harshness they inflict on others too bears its fruit in due time. In Ayodhya it was after four centuries, in Kosovo after eight.

Arnold Toynbee argues that the Persian excesses on the Greeks produced Alexander, that the Greco-Roman thrust into Asia invited an Islamic thrust to the gates of Vienna and the heart of the Iberian Peninsula. A western response to this aggression took them all the way to world-conquest and to the ends of the earth. A push in one direction in excess invites a push in the opposite direction, says Toynbee.

Too often we study the immediate causes of an instance of violence. Deeper causes, diverse causes, and distant causes are not explored. So the issues do not reach the road to solution. And wrong solutions place you on the path to further violence.

Stored Anger is an invitation to a ‘Contextual Understanding’ of a situation of violence, not in order to assign blame but to share the pain...not only with the victim, but also with the aggressor. Archbishop Menamparampil’s argument is that contextual understanding of anger with sensitivity and respect alone will open out a path to peace. 

Sensitivity brings anger down. Even if peace does not come immediately, some progress can be made. ‘Anger-reduction’ or anger-management is merely the first step. But a helpful conversation can begin. For, all are interested in a common future.

The Archbishop argues that it is in the context of violence that peace-makers also arise: Buddha in his times, Gandhi in our days. Mandela or Tutu or Martin Luther King in their own contexts. The book refers to a number of models and their contribution. But ultimately ‘creativity in context’ alone will give the answer.

Man-created problems definitely have answers discoverable my man, whether they be in Afghanistan, Syria, Dallas, Paris, Saxony, or Muzaffarnagar. Every committed citizen has a duty to contribute his/her share. In global times, it is a global duty.

Author info

CM Paul's picture

Former HoD, Dept of Mass Communications at Assam Don Bosco University, Guwahati, C.M. Paul was editor of The Herald weekly in Kolkata and director of Don Bosco International News Agency (ANS) based in Rome. He has MA degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from FORDHAM University, New York.

Add new comment

Republish

Republish this content

The ULFA confusion

28 Sep 2010 - 2:37pm | Bg Gogoi

Everything seems to be utter confusion. If you call it a mystery, nobody can easily crack it and will not be able to do so. ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, Pradip Gogoi, Mithinga Daimary et all are preparing the massive blueprint to be guided by Jatita Abhibartan leader Dr Hiren Gohain and government interlocutor P C Halder. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is waiting to give the political touch and to extract electoral mileage thereof.


The things are understood to have moved in right direction. The process touches touches even a few elusive hardcore aides of commander in chief Paresh Baruah. They include 709 battalion commander Hira Sarania. Hira aided and guided by the jailed top guns has been coordinating the entire process. The huge blueprint came to light when around 19 ULFA topguns and their family members shifted to Assam without the knowledge of Paresh Baruah. They incude Anu Buragohain, Bhaity Baruah, Biju Deka. With active but tacit support from BSF and Assam police,they sneaked in to Assam from across the Indo-Bangla border. Later, they stormed into Nalbari and Barama areas very recently.


Army's Dogra regiment is providing them security in the lower Assam areas.In bid to cover up the blueprint Anu Buragohain said they have only shifted the camp for security reasons. But it fails to buy any support. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi reads it a positive sign while Asom Jatiyo Abhibarton chief convener Dr Hiren Gohain said they have come only after the appeal of the central ledership.What makes out assessment very clear is the sudden visit of government interlocutor PC Halder who visited Rajkhowa on Monday inside the Guwahati Central Jail.


In yet another development, a 20 member team of the outfit's 28th battalion have sneaked into upper Assam from across the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh inter state border. The purpose is understood to be same: they want Rajkhowa to follow. With this, Paresh Baruah remains with only Jibon Moran, Antu Chaudang,Bijoy Chinse. Nobody knows when they would do an Anu. But Barua is still firm. He will carry forward the struggle. But for whom? Has he ever tried to know how many people have sent him to the jungle to fetch an independent Assam?


Poultry culling in progress as bird flu dispersing

13 Dec 2008 - 5:47pm | editor
Authorities in Assam have beefed up poultry culling in several parts of the state as the killer bird flu is further dispersing in the state. A high level central government delegation is in the state to asses the over all situation.

Altogether nine districts have so far sounded alert in view of the outbreak of the disease and sale and purchase of poultry and poultry products have been strictly prohibited to avert a major disaster in case the virus inflicts to human body.

Several persons have so far been arrested in the city during the last two days for continuing the deal in poultry despite the ban clamped by the government. Police on Thursday night arrested three persons and seized 470 poultry from a vehicle from Barpeta to Shillong via Guwahati.Two more poultry dealers have also been picked up by police on Friday morning from the city's Beltola area.

Meanwhile, animal husbandry and veterinary department officials with the help of district administrations are continuing culling operation. Rapid action force units deployed in the culling operation are in work in several city areas including Hengerabari, Bormotiria, Sarumatoria, Davbandha, Hatoigaon, Basistha, Aamrigug, Moidamgaon, Khanapara.
Notably, all it began after the outbreak of this killer disease in poultry was confirmed in some areas of rural Kamrup district. It was spreading to Nalbari, Barpeta and and then to Bongaigaon as culling operation was in progress in the Kamrup district. Of late, it is spreading to Dibrugarh district where the culling operation started on Friday.

Tragic Death of Kaushik Das

19 Jan 2013 - 6:51pm | Rajen Barua

Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS) mourns the sudden death of Kaushik Das (Jipu) of Guwahati in an accident on railway in Guwahati  on Jan 17.   We wish that  his soul may rest in peace. We offer  our most heartfelt sympathies for the loss to the agieved family and convey  that our thoughts would be  with the whole family during this difficult time.

Kaushik Das (Jipu) was an unassuming individual who would like to keep a low profile for himself on the outside and high profile of his actions. He had practically dedicated his life to the welfare of the poor through his welfare projects   ‘Atma Nirbhar - Ek Challenge’  and,  ‘Spreading Sunshine’  FASS has been engaged in active dialogue for especially promoting  'The Blessing" the guest house for volunteer tourism that he was constructing and discussing how we can attrack volunteers from outside for the Guest House. It is a tragic irony that it was only on Jan 15th (that is just 2 days ago) that Jipu sent me the details of the programs for the Blessings

It is really difficult to find such selfless dedicated person for the welfare of the disadvantaged and the under privileged in the community. His death will be a great loss to the community at large and  a devastating blow to many who were looking upon him as a guiding star. We hope that the Atma Nirbhar will continue to carry on his legacy of dedicated selfless service to the poor.

Jipu's death, like that of his elder sister Mamata nobow some 19 years ago, is really sad, sudden, untimely and  tragic. Such deaths, it seems, are for the great souls for which God has some other urgent design at hand.  Such deaths reminds one of the American Poet Emily Dickinsion who wrote, "Because I could not stop for Death, he kindly stopped for me."