Skip to content Skip to navigation

Gopinath Bordoloi, who saved Assam becoming an islamic state

The deteriorating political and law and order situation in Assam and involvement of political leaders in dividing the society for their personal or party's interest has compelled the citizens to remember a leader, who saved Assam becoming an Islamic state on the eve of India's attaining independence in the year 1947. That was a time when British government conspired to divide the country on religious community basis by creating Hindu and Muslim majority states and leave them quarreling for ever. The present turmoil in the state calls for emergence of a leader like Gopi Nath Bardoloi, who played a vital role in saving Assam becoming an Islamic state more than six decades ago. Had the British Cabinet Mission succeeded in its plan, the history of Assam would have been different one.

The Labour Party government in Britain sent the Mission to explore the possibility of drafting a future Constitution for India in consultation with the Viceroy and the Indian political leaders. The Mission reached India on March 23, 1946 and began discussions with Indian leaders. According to its plan the Union of India would consist of both British India and the Indian states. It arbitrarily divided British India into three groups viz A, B and C. While six Hindu majority provinces of Madras, Bombay, Bihar, Orissa, Central Province and United Province of Agra and Awadh formed group A, Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and North West Frontier Provinces in group B. Assam and Bengal were clubbed together in group C. The Cabinet Mission had thorough discussions with the Congress and Muslim League leaders before announcing their plan.

On April 1, 1946 Gopi Nath Bardoloi had an interview with the Mission. He strongly protested inclusion of Assam into group C. He argued 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 Jinna's demand for Pakistan as absolutely preposterous. The Cabinet Mission stuck to its plan of forming groups.

The Mission's proposal to group Assam with Bengal for creating a predominantly Muslim zone in Eastern India like one proposed to be setup in western India was strongly resented by the people of Assam. According to this plan the Assam representatives to the Constituent Assembly would have to sit in a section with the Bengal representatives to determine the provincial constitution and also a constitution for group C by a simple majority of votes. Except Muslim League, all quarters in Assam protested against this grouping scheme. The Cabinet Mission's announcement of the proposal came out on May 16, 1946. Assam Provincial Congress Committee then in session at Guwahati lodged an emphatic protest with the Congress Working Committee against it. The Asom Jatiya Mahasabha did some secret papers showing the designs of Muslim League in Assam. There began a feverish agitation in Assam to quash the group scheme, which was but the thin end to be driven into the heart of Assam.

On July 16,1946 the Assam Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution moved by the Chief Minister (erstwhile premier) Gopinath Bardoloi himself expressing strong disapproval of the plan and directing ten representatives of Assam to the Constituent Assembly elected by the Provincial Assembly not to sit in section with any other province for devising the Constitution of Assam or any group constitution with such other province for settlement of any question relating to Assam.

The discontent in Assam was based on genuine fears. It was clear once Assam was grouped with Muslim majority Bengal to serve the interest of 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. Gopinath Bardoloi, who became the chief minister of Assam for the second time in February 1946 and continued to lead his ministry through Independence until his death on August 5, 1950, took best opportunity to express his views on the future Constitution of India and the state of Assam within it when the Cabinet Mission invited him for this purpose in April 1946.

The Congress Working Committee took time in giving a clear and bold lead to Assam on this vital issue. On behalf of Gopinath Bardoloi, Bijoy Chandra Bhagawati and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury called on Gandhiji at Srirampur and placed Assam's case before him seeking his advice and guidance at the critical juncture. Strengthened with blessings of Gandhiji, Gopi Nath Bardoloi succeeded at last in convincing the Indian leaders about the 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. Revered by the people as a true patriot and a disciplined Gandhian, Gopinath Bardoloi was a statesman of high stature. He steered Assam through a very crucial phase of its history and saved Assam becoming an Islamic state.

Comments

anubhav roy's picture

had gopinath bordoloi and assamese body not give sylhet to Pakistan there would have no linguistic problem in assam. but due to his linguistic chauvinism bengali community who are the genuine inhabitants of barak and sylhet became refugees. but today's assamese intellectuals did not want to discuss the matter.
Dilwar Hussain's picture

Bordoloi opposed inclusion of Sylhet dist of present Bangladesh, and opposed inclusion of Assam with Bengal in Group C . He knew that that will harm Assanese language and culture .

Pages

Add new comment

Random Stories

New Award constituted for artists

9 Jul 2013 - 11:47pm | Peter Alex Todd
Department of Cultural Affairs has constituted the District Level Silpi Award to honour senior artists who are socially and culturally recognized for their remarkable creations, dedication and...

Beltola heat on police administration

2 Dec 2007 - 2:10am | pbaruah
The Shameful Saturday in Beltoa could have been averted if police administation was aware of its duties and responsibilities.This has become as clear as broad day light going by two confidential...

Congress majority for 15 districts

31 Jan 2008 - 5:09pm | editor
The ruling party which have majority in altogether 15 districts out of 19 which have gone to panchayat polls. Besides preparing to form zilla parishads in 15 districts, the Congress have majority in...

Police chief speaks on human rights

19 Jan 2008 - 7:13am | Daya Nath Singh
Complaints of human rights violation are very common now days. Allegations and counter allegations are pouring almost every day from various corners of the northeastern region. The root cause of such...

Other Contents by Author

The greatest challenges facing persons with disabilities lie in the areas of access, education and employment, said Ms Anju Talukdar, coordinator, Disability Law Unit, NE. Addressing the media persons at Guwahati Press Club on December 31, 2008, she expressed concern over the physical barriers in the environment coupled with societal prejudice severely restrict and often completely block available opportunities. One of the laws enacted to ensure the protection of persons with disabilities in India is the 'Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act 1995. Unfortunately, even with its many beneficial provisions, the said Act has failed to...
To bring discipline in a society either the citizens should be conscious themselves or the law enforcing authorities should be prepared to make them disciplined. It may be a hard step for the time being, but in the long run result would be beneficial to both the human beings and the society. In present days we find lack of sense among the people to go through the legal means of life and improving the deteriorating standard of the society. Violation of laws has become a fashion now-a-days.Smoking in the public places has been banned since Gandhi Jayanti, on October 2 last. This is not the first time that it is prohibited by law, but the law enforcing authorities lacked will power to...
Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has been totally failure in providing basic amenities to the citizens of the city. Despite getting sufficient funds from both the Central and state governments, it is not in position to meet the requirements of tax payers, small traders and other business houses, which are the major source of revenue to its coffer. An appeal from a citizen for providing basic amenities is turned down by the authorities on the ground that the GMC has no fund for the same. Instead of providing amenities and developing the sources to benefit the tax payers, GMC proposes to hike the rate of taxes and levies from time to time, on those who already bear the brunt of existing...
At last the Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi has realized that the situation in the state is not as he had dreamed so long. The opposition parties and various Non-governmental organizations had 'cried out' on explosive situation in the state frequently and tried to awake the administration for doing something to protect the lives and properties of the people, which passed through deaf ears and failed to give result. In fact the state has not enough security personnel which could be effective to protect the people from such incidents, but this was not realized by the government.Earlier, on the complaints of the Human Rights Commission, regarding violation of human rights by Army and...
It was Thursday the 30th October 2008, when Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) was organizing a ‘Gandhi March’ from the party headquarters at Rajiv Bhawan to Mangaldoi, the headquarters of Darrang district. The march started at 9 a.m. and proceeded by road for propagating the message of ‘peace and non-violence’, which is central to Gandhian philosophyThe citizens’ life was normal till then and the people came out of their houses for their work places unaware of any untoward incident likely to happen without notice. The weather was pleasant and office goers were busy rushing for their work. It was a busy day for courts, schools and colleges, markets and...
It is more than twenty-three years now, the Assam Accord was signed between the Government of Assam and the movement leaders, who propelled an agitation for long six years demanding detection and deportation of illegal migrants from the state. The signing of Accord could not have been possible without involvement of the Union government as the movement leaders had lost confidence on the intention of the state government, which was continuing on the strength of such 'vote banks' of the migrants. The erstwhile, Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi took initiative to bring peace in the state as the people were fade up with such a long agitation. It was an Independence Day gift for the people of Assam...
An incident of recent communal violence in Udalguri district has bred a number of questions to argue between the administration and opposition parties as well as media. The issue of Pakistani flag hoisting in Mohanpur at Jargaon playing ground on October 4 last has raised a number of questions about the incident. First of all the chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, going through the media reports flatly dismissed the report of hoisting Pakistani flag. Following the publication of photographs in the newspapers and video clippings shown by the electronic media, the government spokesperson and health minister, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma tried to defend the administration by over ruling the claims of...
The last two decades have seen a mushroom growth of the Fourth Estate in the northeastern region in general and Assam in particular. There is no doubt that due to this haphazard growth the demand for the media persons has increased, but their functioning in general, has fallen short of the set journalistic norms. With information technology witnessing a fast pace development, the media houses have not been able to get competent and trained workforce to cope with the increasing demands of this ever expanding and fast changing sector. The vacuum created by such situations has given birth to 'neo-journalism'. This is just a 'stopgap' arrangement for the unemployed educated youths.The majority...
The International Day of Non-violence and the holy Id-ul-fitre festival, both observed simultaneously on October, 2, 2008 and perceptive to communal harmony did not prove its worth so far the situation in a part of Assam is concerned. It was a day of violence in the district of Udalguri under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), which spread to Darrang district and other areas around it as wildfire which led more than fifty innocent people including children and women killed and hundreds others injured. When Udalguri was burning, the state government was sleeping. Its slumber came to an end when a number of organizations flayed for its role at this critical juncture of the situation.A...
It's tragedy with our politicians who try to turn their failures on the others, especially before the elections. Mud slinging is very common to divert the attention of the electorate. The recent visit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani to the states of Assam and Meghalaya has brought excitement for Assam chief minister, Tarun Gogoi, who has tried to put blame of failures to check illegal migrants influx on the six years rule of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which ruled at the Centre from March 1998 to May 2004. Since the BJP and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are coming closer in view of the ensuing Lok Sabha elections early next year, the chief minister...