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“Old order changes yielding place to the new,” goes the immortal saying.  In keeping with the inevitable, we are on the threshold of bidding good bye to 2019, a year of many milestone events, earth-shaking controversies coupled with mountains of despair.

A nostalgic looking back rekindles our minds, at once, with some of the glorious moments as well as some bizarre, topsy-turvy happenings reminding the famous lines of the classical novel A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  To quote the immortal lines of the immortal novelist,  “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair.” At the risk of luxury, we can draw an analogy with the time so poignantly described by Dickens with that of the year about to leave us and enter into the pages of history.

Incidents like the  adrenaline-pumping ‘surgical strike’  to counter  Pakistan’s attack on ‘’Uri’   destroying seven Pakistani ‘launch pads’  killing huge terrorists in the process and then   air attack on Balakot  annihilating    a ‘Jaish-e-Mohammed’  terror camp etc had  evoked chest thumping patriotism among the Indians.

Then when abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was announced,   euphoric Indians, especially financially secure middle class Indians,   went berserk at the prospect of an emerging Indian political power with aggressive intent.

In consonance with enthusiastic, optimistic and belligerent spirit captivating the entire country coupled with the prolonged period of peace and tranquility, the state of Assam witnessed unprecedented all round development during the year.

Jadav Payeng

Road network connecting literally from Sadiya to Dhubri has seen appreciable improvement. Sky-rocketing registration   of vehicles, both four and two wheelers,   has gone   on unabated   rising to nearly nineteen lakhs   from 15, 28, 269 in 2011 thereby recording    a whopping    18.65% percent growth despite decadent growth rate elsewhere in the country.

A   new   horizon has unfolded that saw tumultuous   success of films, both artistically and commercially, much to the delight of cine-goers of the state.

Celebrated   filmmaker Rima Das, has produced   another highly aesthetically satisfying film titled Bulbul Can Sing as a sequel to Village Rockstars winning best regional film   award. Movies like Xaixobote Dhemalite, Ratnakar, Aamish etc have been magnificent winning accolades of the connoisseurs countrywide.

Continuing her scintillating success, Dhing Express, holding the current Indian national record in 400 metres with a timing of 50.79 s that she had clocked at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, Hima continued her success in 2019 winning the 200m Gold in Poznan Athletics Grand Prix in Poland, on July 2, 2019.

Thereafter,   she won 200m gold at the Kladno Athletics Meet in the with a time of 23.43 seconds and went on to achieve  fifth gold of the month in her 400-meter race Nové M?sto, Czech Republic completing the race in 52.09 seconds.

Creating furore  among sporting fraternity,   Assam’s  Lovelina Borgohain and Jamuna Boro went on to win medals in the ‘ Women’s World  Boxing ‘championship ‘  held at Ulan- Ude , Russia in the month of October 2019.

The icing in the cake in Assam’s   march    to glory is Jadav Payeng  who single handedly raised 550 hectares of forest   spending 30 years of his life planting trees, creating a ‘real man-made forest’   in ‘Mulai Reserve’ in  Majuli,   stunning the entire country  by the heroic feat.  Unanimous   showering of   deserving     recognition has led to the declaration   of Payeng  as ‘Forest Man of India’.

Nearly seventeen year old unhindered peace, progress and development were severely disturbed at the spontaneous protests against CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill- now CAA) by the indigenous people of Assam.

It needs no reiteration that apprehension of the people of Assam of being outnumbered by foreign nationals is absolutely genuine, substantial and real.  Further, the fear that the rich Assamese language will be in jeopardy if Bengali Hindus are offered leverage as envisaged in contentious act, is based on historical reality. The enactment of CAA ignited flashback of the deadly days from 1837 when Bengali was declared as the state language.

Ironically, intense  protests against controversial CAA; have  rolled over  to nearly the entire country from neighboring West Bengal to UP and New Delhi threatening to destroy the socio-economic –secular fabric of the country.

Gautam Ganguly

Ganguly is a retired ACS officer and sports enthusiast. He can be reached at: gautamganguly2012@gmail.com