The relief that the people of North East India are going back to their places of work or study is visible in everyone who do not like fractious elements taking over the society. Perhaps this relief will be more visible, in the faces of those boarding the trains. One must say kudos to the gargantuan Indian Railways in providing succour, in times of distress, by providing extra trains and bogeys both for return and onward journeys. This service has indeed been invaluable.
Ever since the mass exodus of students and working people, especially from the southern part of the country, things have been distressing. Moreover the underlying cross currents were not good. It could lead to further feelings of alienation, and separatism. But better sense prevailed in most quarters, and a grim situation was averted.
The Karnataka Chief Minister and his colleagues, must be given a lot of credit for their wisdom and tact, in binding communities. These are instances which should be highlighted, like minority communities ensuring peace for all residents. Instances like this, and examples of prayers during Id are good portents, that India is not always at cross roads. There are individuals, who can rise above animosity and spell out brotherhood in concrete actions, and not by lip service which characterizes most politicians of the country, today. These examples are also foil to beliefs which take refuge in generalization of people, and communities, ethnic and religious.
Before our analysts could come to a conclusion, whether the trouble in Assam was 'ethnic' or ' communal' (a word whose meaning I don't understand) there was unprecedented chaos ostensibly due to rumours, with animadversion and heinous intent. So much so, that people who were in no way connected with the problem, were made scapegoats. But among such horrendous happenings, there were instances of assurances and reassurances.
The media could do well to convert one of its rumbustious 'Big Fights' into an ordered programme of sanity, brotherhood and love by highlighting these sanguine instances. I would love to view such a programme, not having much of a fetish for the classic idiot box. But, with inner eye when I visualize the students returning, I feel in Wordsworthian terms: 'a thrill of pleasure'. That is because I taught such students from this wonderful part of our country, in a college here in Shillong, for over a decade. I found them reverential, good natured and very amenable to discipline. They were very grateful for the smallest of help rendered. They were amiable and courteous. And here I am talking of education, not in terms of securing marks, but of securing friendship and bonhomie. Many of them I am still in touch with. That was within the four walls of a classroom.
I moved on to work in our National Open University, where I came into contact with students of a different category, economically weaker, or struggling to come to terms with a 'return' to study after years of hibernation. Here too I found the same deference, the same love by those condemned to be called 'drop outs'. Here too many have become good friends. To think that students could be uprooted from their place of study was what hurt me most, they had after all gone to these places, with searing hope. Their parents, who could be spending a fortune on them, raised the same hopes. I can sleep peacefully, for some more days to come, I hope.