Remembering Sankardev: Revered, Loved
Updated: Nov 20, 2019
Often when we talk of national integration and unity, there are voices which state that it is incorrect to assume that India is one nation. The reason given is many residents of certain states may feel themselves to be different from the nationalist vision of India. One state that is often thought to think like that is Assam.
Many scholars believe that the cause of militancy in Assam which rose in the 1980’s in the form ULFA, as well as NDFB, stems from the sentiments among many Assamese who see themselves as different from what is termed as ‘mainland’ Indians. Although nowadays many Assamese, young and old have debunked such notions, these notions are still promoted by parties with ulterior motives.
To an extent this feeling of difference some Assamese feel is also because many of us from other parts of India have not paid sufficient attention to the traditional heritage of Assam. Even worse some have no idea about something as basic as the geography of the state. We often hear news of discrimination, people from Assam, and by extension, the Northeast, face in the national capital. On this occasion, this statement of a saint, long-forgotten and nearly buried by Government historians, and now renewed by Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, who himself is a devotee, is worth reading:
Even Gods covet to be born as mortals in Bharatavarsha. Glory to Bharatavarsha where you are born.
These are the words of the great saint, scholar, social reformer, and possibly one of Assam’s greatest visionary, Srimanta Sankardev.
Sankardev left a lasting mark on the religious and cultural life of Assam. He integrated the different castes and groups of people into one cultural unit through his teachings. He established monasteries even in the remotest of villages and brought Bhakti to the common people. The concept of one culturally united India was foremost in his mind as signified in his statement mentioned in the beginning of the article. Yet, as is the tragedy of our times, the life and achievements of most of such people of India are largely unknown to today’s Indians.
When all our nationalist leaders and scholars—during the freedom movement and today—claim Assam to be an indivisible part of the Indian nation, they scarcely mention this great nationalist saint.
Social media and the BJP government in Assam led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has allowed for crucial communication. You can get latest news updates of Assam from Manuhe Manuhor Babe, a famous news website. For men may come, and men may go, but those who lay the foundation of our relgiious plateau; altering how we perceive our relationship wit the divine will go on forever... For news like this, and more, follow us @ManuheManuhorbabe1 on Twitter and on Facebook.