Friday, June 14, 2024

University for Barak Valley


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Barak Valley, the name more in common use lately to describe the two Assam districts of Cachar and Karimganj, has a long history of deprivations. A compact territory inhabitated by now, it is in many ways detached from the mainland of Assam proper, which is the Brahmaputra Valley. And, yet, it has to remain tagged to the latter due to circumstances of history, in the making of which it had no independent or willing role. Its cultural and political isolation from the other valley, in particular, was never more exampled than by the very revealing phenomenon that while the entire Brahmaputra valley was ablaze for the past few years over the AASU-AAGSP agitation, the Barak Valley kept itself totally aloof from the popular upsurge.

For all these troubled years, there was no vestige of administration in the Brahmaputra valley, not so was it in the Barak Valley Students in Barak valley refused to fall in line with their counterparts in the other valley, attended their classes as usual, and yet were made to suffer because examinations on time could not be held in Barak valley also. This was a pointer to having an exclusive arrangement for the quiet Barak Valley in regard to University and under-graduate levels in particular, and hence cropped up the idea of having a Central University for it to get over this obvious contradiction and absurdity.

Not that the demand for a separate University for Barak Valley had not been raised even earlier, well before these political and administrative considerations irresistibly coming up in the wake of the recent agitations in the other valley. What marked out the new thinking in this respect now was that such a University should preferably be Centrally sponsored, was considered more feasible under the present circumstances, with New Delhi appearing willing to concede it as a stark necessity. At one time, the Prime Minister’s support to this move was even openly quoted by the valley leaders themselves. They have not been as outspoken now why some at least among them whose opinion count seem to have reconciled themselves to have a State University, if Barak valley has to have one at all, and not a Central University

Does this indicate a concession on their part to the other valley which is reported to be aspiring to have a Central University for the Brahmaputra valley in addition to the three existing State University? It is apprehended that if a Central University now, the chances of having such a one later for the Brahmaputra valley would recede farther. There are, however, more valid reasons for the Barak valley getting priority for a Central University over the other valley. Apart from other considerations, a Central University in Barak valley might eventually draw in Tripura also to its fold in due course. Neighbouring Tripura perhaps cannot for too long hold on to distant Calcutta ; nor can it switch over to a new one in the Barak valley if it is not a Central University but one controlled by a different State government.


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