They generally say that “April is the cruellest month”. Ask any Assamese, why this is absolutely the opposite here. This is the month when the old gives way to the new in our State. A month which declares the advent of spring and that of love being in the air. A month which welcomes a New Year. It was the month of April that saw the Prime Minister of India coming to Assam and dedicating not only key infrastructure projects to the nation but also baring his soul for its people, and its festival: Bohag Bihu.
Wherever the Prime Minister stepped in, he was all praises for Assam and its people. Don’t we now know why Assam is so much in his heart. Nay, it is the North East that he carries in his heart wherever he goes, besides, of course, the Gamosa, the cultural symbol of pride of any Assamese that he carries with him. The fact that the Prime Minister has rated Assam as an A-One State is more than enough for us. A man who has singularly carried the vision of a new and resurgent India in his heart speaking so highly of Assam is a matter of pride for all of us, who make up the entity called Assam. I know why I am reiterating that the state of the State has changed ever since Modi Ji came to be the Prime Minister of India. The attention that the State and the North East has received from New Delhi has clearly reduced the hyphen in the distance that had existed all this while between this land, which many term as periphery, and New Delhi, which they call mainland. Ask any Assamese or for that matter, anyone from the North East what it means to be an Indian now, you will have your answer. Massive strides in physical infrastructure have made life easier for the people, both in urban and rural geographies of the region. It has brought a new sense of belonging to us who had, for a long time, felt alienated at being so far physically and probably mentally from the Centre. No Government worth its salt could bring about this change in attitude but this Government is different. Thank you Prime Minister for making us believe that “We Belong”.
It was again in the month of April wherein President Droupadi Murmu came to Assam once again and won us over with her graceful simplicity and dedication to public welfare. Her participation in public programmes across the State never for once made us feel that she is the First Citizen. Her conduct and attitude were truly inspiring for each one of us who had the privilege of interacting with her from close quarters.
How can April be cruel for us when we have finally put a full stop to the boundary dispute between us and Arunachal Pradesh after 51 years? I had written in the same space previously that these are protracted negotiations which take time. I still believe these issues must take time to be settled once and for all. Afterall, it is the fate of the people that is on the table and not just two Governments sorting out a vexed political issue. The dynamic and decisive leadership of our Prime Minister and Home Minister were the biggest factors that led to the solution, besides of course, the will of my Arunachal counterpart Pema Khandu, and the skill sets of the team that was working behind the scenes for months together. We have already advanced significantly in our discussion with Meghalaya on the same issue. I am hopeful that this historic deal with Arunachal Pradesh will open avenues for other boundary disputes involving Assam to be laid to rest, once and for all. Actually boundary issues are never a zero-sum game. One cannot categorise them in a binary of either you win or I. Most negotiations are in the spirit of give and take. I have kept this in mind when negotiating with my counterparts from our neighbouring States.
I must conclude that April is the month all Assamese, like many of their fellow citizens, look forward to. For many forthcoming April now, people across Assam and India will talk of this April when 11,000-plus artistes set a unique record of solidarity and symphony, united in purpose to catapult their favourite Bihu dance to the world stage. I am a proud Assamese today more than ever in boldly proclaiming that our Bihu dance always deserved its rightful place in the cultural world. I am happy that our Government acted as a facilitator in the process. It is not the record that excites us. It is the unity in diversity that was at display, all through, that has made us believe that a united and strong Assam will be a shining example across the country. This was also the spirit of the address the Prime Minister made at the Sarusajai Stadium while witnessing the nasonis, the dhulias and the trainers, who worked alongside them, setting the stage on fire.