Youth Activism and Challenges of Democratic Governance in Assam, India

Abstract: 
The state politics of Assam, the most conflict-ridden area of North-East India, reflects increasing youth activism. The official records of the All Assam Students’ Union, the biggest student organization of North-East region, and government reports on those as well as other material evidences show that youth activism has toppled the state governments, and also, at times forced governments to negotiate on issues involving policies affecting polity and society of all the states in North-East India. We also see youth making a determined bid to change the existing socio-political processes of the state. Such activism could be summarized as the engagement of youths in organizing people for some aspects of social action. It is also found that contrary to the Western societies, the hegemonic role played by both the youths and middle classes has been instrumental in achieving the unity of the community involving all segments of the greater Assamese community. Such activism in contemporary Assam is taking place in a political reality which centers round democratic governance of the state of India. Therefore, there is a possibility that the political attitude and the behavior of the youth might have challenged the democratic governance of the state affecting the process of development. This paper aims at examining how youth activism as a social phenomenon influences the democratic governance in Assam, particularly in the matter of popular participation. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth activism motivate people to participate in democratic politics? There is an urgent need to examine this aspect so that we can arrive at a better understanding of youth activism and its consequences for democratic governance of the state.
Main Article: 

1. Introduction

Youth participation in politics is not a recent occurrence but has been a fact of modern history. The existing literatures on youth activism of the West reveal large scale participation of youth in the revolutions of France, Germany, Austria and Bolshevik Revolution of Russia (Ahluwalia, 1972, p52) Youths have also been found making a determined bid to “democratize” colonial politics by wresting political control from the petty-bourgeoisie nationalists in the African countries like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco (Langley, 1972). In Asia and in developing nations like China, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Indonesia and Latin America, we see youth opposing the traditionalism, the obsolete medieval social and intellectual order and national and economic oppression under the impact of 20th century European imperialist expansion (Ahluwalia, 1972). The sixties were remarkable in the West again as a period of wide-scale youth activism when the New Left as a movement resulted in growing involvement of upper middle class students to change the prevailing social system (Sethy, 1989). We may also refer to the “Hippie Movement” which made an attempt to subvert and reverse the conventional legitimating of western societies (Halls, 1969).

In India, after the introduction of constitutional governance and politics of modern kind, involving popular participation, the young people had initially kept away from politics. However, in 1880, there were some agitations by students for conducting the Indian civil service examination in India instead of England for better opportunity to Indian students (Bora, 1992). We find large scale student and youth participation in India’s struggle for freedom. Such participation was evident during the period of Non-Cooperation Movement, Civil-Disobedience Movement and Quit India Movement, which is regarded by Altbach as the apex of student activism and most militant and highly organized period of the Indian Student Movement (Altbach, 1968). Altbach again argues that pre-independence youth activism in Bombay reflected broader trends of Indian politics under the impact of western political ideologies from Marxism to Liberalism (Altbach, 1967). While pointing out radical transformation of Indian Students Movements during post-independence period, he says that the nationalist fervor of the pre-independence movement has been replaced by generally sporadic agitation aimed at remedies for specific grievances (Altbach, 1968). Some major instances of student activism of post-independent India, excluding North-East India, are Gujarat Student Movement from 1973-74 (Mehta, 1967) Bihar Students’ Movement for the re-organization of the educational system under the guidance and advice of Joyprakash Narayan. Students’ anti-Hindi demonstration in Madras in 1969, Mysore and Bangalore student movements in 1962 against occupation of Indian territory by communist China (Mehata, 1975) Bengal Students’ fight for independence and anti-tramfare rise agitation in July-August, 1962 (Ghosh, 1969).

It may be stated here that in such socio-political movements the youth participated as activists and supporters (Baruah, 2002, p8-9). Fleming and  Karpantschof (2001) point out that youth have always played a major role in mass movements, but very occasionally do we come across real youth movements, i.e. movements which recruit the vast number of their followers and leaders from among the younger generation, and demand selective goods intended for youth segments. There, indeed, are movements of young people which go beyond the selective goods intended for youth segments. It is necessary to examine the real youth activism which is the agency of youth. A.K.Baruah shows that North-East India has been a hot-bed of student politics with the beginning of formal education in the region (Baruah, 2002). Here also, we see significant youth participation in mass movements and on some occasions, the young people have themselves become the initiators of such struggles. In Assam, it is found that the beginning of student movement can be traced back to the period when the Assamese students consciously made up their mind for the social, cultural and intellectual uplift of the Assamese. Such consciousness was evident in the efforts of Assamese students in 1836 when they initiated a movement to restore the Assamese language which was replaced by Bengali in the schools and courts of Assam. It may be noted here that under the three-fold impact of the British administration and western education, the propaganda and the activities of missionaries and the inspiration of Bengal renaissance, an enlightened west-oriented Assamese intelligentsia emerged by the seventies of the nineteenth century (Chaudhary,1984).

Anadaram Dhekial Phukan (1829-59) championed the cause of Assamese as a language distinct from Bengali (Guha, 1991). He also contributed to the cause of Assamese language and literature for its regeneration which was followed by Gunabhiram Baruah and Hem Chandra Baruah. The initiatives and efforts of American Baptist Missionary to enrich Assamese literature had also been significant. Democratic movements in Assam began to take shape under the aegis of the English educated Assamese youth, who advanced their liberal views in the Newspaper Arunudoi (1846) (Borpujari, 1993). The year 1867 was also remarkable in the history of student power in Assam for the formation of the Assamese literary society which brought the students’ involvement into the freedom movement in Assam. It was established with the initiative of the Assamese students residing in Calcutta of West Bengal state led by Anandaram Baruah, Madhav Chandra Bordoloi, Julnur Ali Ahmed and many others. But, it became dysfunctional very soon (Barman, 1998). In this context, we may also refer to the establishment of Asomiya Bhasa Unnati Sadhini Sobha, an organization for the development of the Assamese language which was regarded as the landmark in the history of Assamese language and literature for bringing a revolutionary change in style, content and approach to it. This was also considered as another aspect of the manifestation of the great national movement (Borpujari, 1993). In the words of A.Guha, the students of Assam were, “increasingly turning as much to the great nationalism at all-India level as to the little nationalism at the linguistic regional level. It was through these twin processes, more often complementary than conflicting, that nationalism in India did project itself as a vivid challenge to imperialism" (Guha, 1977, p69).”

The students in Assam also took initiative in the establishment of “Assam Chatra Sanmila” in 1916, one of the oldest student organizations in India. It was also found that this organization was the forum for Assamese students where they could think in terms of national regeneration and a platform for stirring the political consciousness of Assamese people. There was significant Assamese student and youth participation in the national struggle for freedom. We also see the role of leftists in Assam who organized the student fronts and united them into a single forum. In November 1939, the All Assam Students’ Confederation (ASF) was formed consisting of Assam Chatra Sanmilan, Manipur State Chatra Sanmilan and Shillong Chatra Sanmilan with the initiative of All India Student Federation, an all-India level student federation of Communist Party of India. Soon the student organisation of the Brahmaputra Valley came under the direct control of ASF (Bhuyan and Sibapada, 1980). In post-Independent period also, we see youth launching massive movements on issues involving socio-economic-cultural backwardness sometimes with secessionist tendencies.

A few significant examples of democratic student movements in Assam are the movement for an oil-refinery in Assam in the late-fifties, the movement demanding to make Asomiya the official language of Assam in 1960, the movement for a tribal hill state, the food movement of 1966, the movement for a second oil-refinery in Assam during 1969-70, the movement to make Asomiya a medium of instruction up to the graduate level in Assam’s two universities in 1972, the All Assam Students’ Union Movement for economic development of Assam in 1974 and the movement against the foreign nationals, the famous “Assam Movement” of 1979-85 (Hussain, 1993). It is evident that such movements organized and led by youth could not have been possible without youth activism. Such activism could be best summarized as engagement of youth in organizing people for some aspects of social action. All these movements involving youth activism in contemporary Assam are taking
place in a political reality which centers around democratic politics of the State of India.

Since youth activism has been a prominent feature of the politics of Assam, the most conflict-ridden area of North-East India, therefore, there is a possibility that the political attitude and the behavior of the youth might have challenged the democratic governance of the state. But what do we mean by democratic governance? Democracy itself is a contentious term. Societies practice various types of democracies. From the simple direct democracy of the older times, we have moved to the incursive, communicative and deliberative variations of democracy (Farrelly, 2004). In the recent past democracy came to be synonymous with liberal representative governance (Albraster, 1994). Though there are controversies about the meaning of democracy, yet the responsiveness of the government to the preferences of its citizens is often considered as a
key characteristic of democracy (Dahl, 1991).

Democracy in its original sense means the rule by the government in accordance with the will of the people (Macpherson, 1966). In essence, Democracy as a form of politics involves principles of popular rule, ensuring human rights and rule of law (Sartori, 1962). Governance is also “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development” (World Bank, 1`992, p3). Democratic politics of any form would often include governance, which is conceived of as a system based on active popular participation in the exercise of legitimate authority of the state in a just, transparent and accountable way (Chahar, 2007). Participation would obviously refer to participation in representation, mobilization and opinion formation to influence political decision making. Participation of this kind would, of course, involve civil liberties and rule of law. But these phenomena can not be expected to emerge without the sufficient conditions of democracy, namely, democratic consciousness. This paper aims to examine how youth activism as a social phenomenon influences the democratic governance in Assam particularly in the matter of arousing popular consciousness and bringing popular participation. The researchable question we intend to examine is – does youth activism motivate people to participate in democratic politics? There is an urgent need to examine this aspect so that we can arrive at a better understanding of youth activism and its consequences for democratic governance of the state. To facilitate the above, we plan to analyze the politics of the “Assam Movement” (1979-1985). This movement has been the most prominent one because of its tremendous capability of achieving unity of community involving all segments of the greater Assamese community including, of course, the peasantry, which constituted the
most numerous part of it (Baruah, 1993).

Plethora of Assam Movement

The Assam movement began in 1979 under the leadership of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and officially came to an end on 15th August, 1985 with the signing of the memorandum of understanding popularly known as the Assam Accord 1985 with the government of India. Though it seemed more like a political movement, the Assam movement was considered as a social movement because of its strong basis and effect in the society and its people in the Brahmaputra Valley. Moreover, it had significant social implications too, in addition to the political, constitutional and economic impacts. The main demands of this movement were to stop (1) the illegal immigration of foreign nationals to Assam from the neighboring countries- Bangladesh and Nepal (2) their participation in the electoral process (3) deportation of all foreigners living illegally in Assam and (4) enable the people of Assam to protect their distinct identity (Hussain, 1993).

The historic Assam movement was the consequence of long feeling of insecurity of the Assamese people about the demographic structure in the state due to “silent invasion” (Gohain, 1980, p418-20) by foreigners who were mostly from East Pakistan. Some political parties were also alleged to use these foreigners as their vote banks (Barooah, 2008). The death of Hiralal Patowari, the sitting member of Mongoldoi Parliamentary Constituency prepared the ground for a by-election where it was found that an alarming figure of 45,000 foreigners got infiltrated into the voters' list. This was considered as the immediate reason for it and accordingly a movement was started demanding the three D’s including detection, deletion and deportation of foreigners from the land of Assam with student youth as the vanguard and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, the other supporting wing of the movement comprising elite section of Asomiya middle class which made it a massive movement (Ahmed, 2006). Within a period of time, AASU played a major part in bringing the support base of a large number of mass organizations. The movement involved various shades of people comprising the greater Asomiya nationality. But, what do we mean by Asomiya nationality? To quote Hussain (1993) summarized as:

Though Hussain gives us a description of Asomiya nationality, however, public debates arousing opposite opinions exist regarding its meaning and also of the people who come under the umbrella of this nationality. Be that as it might be, we find that to give a broader base to the movement, the Students’ Union called meetings of all organizations which were in active support of the demands. It involved organizations like All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP), the Asom Sahitya Sobha (the Literary Organisation of Assam), Assam Tribal Sangh, two regional political parties like Asom Jatiyatabadi Dal (AJD) and Purbanchaliya Loko Parishad (PLP) and a few other student organizations including Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad and Asom Yuvak Samaj. AASU led this movement in a democratic manner. It implicated the programs like rally, Satyagraha, picketing and Bandh calls which asked for greater participation of people from various sections. For example the rally of students in Gauhati on November 6, 1979, week-long Satyagraha ending on November 17, 1979, program of picketing in front of the state government offices were participated in by all segments of the society, including Sikhs, Rajasthanis, Biharis etc (AAGSP, 1980).

It was also found that after the announcement of the Lok Sobha election, the movement geared up under the leadership of AASU and AAGSP demanding the amendment of the voters' list. Very soon, it became able to take the shape of a spontaneous mass rise of all sects of people irrespective of race, language and religion. It was successful in stalling the elections in twelve out of the fourteen parliamentary constituencies of Assam. This can be considered as a strong consequence of youth activism on democratic governance in Assam. It also reflects youth activism as a prominent feature of democratic politics of Assam.

The student organization which claims to be a non-political organization grew in strength as the authentic voice of Assam. This led it to a position in which it alone could be able to safeguard the aspirations of the people of Assam. With all election-oriented calculations and policies, the political parties slowly began to lose their hold over the common people, and AASU with its exemplary conduct of leaders, dedicated cadres and the discipline of its rank and file became able to garner support from the masses while retaining its unique character as non-party forum (Chhabra, 1992). To bring support from the tribal people of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills, who stood aloof in the early phase of agitation, AASU set up its unit at Diphu of Karbi Anglong District and an understanding was built between AASU and tribal students' union regarding the agitation. Accordingly, we see that the 49th session of Asom Sahitya Sobha was held at Diphu in 1982 where Joy Sing Doley, a tribal student, was elected as its vice president for the session 1982-83. AASU made vigorous efforts to draw the widest possible support from all sections of the people by organizing meetings even in the remotest villages of the state to gain peoples’ participation (Chhabra, 1992). Accordingly, it was found that under the strong and united leadership of the AASU, the movement was able to motivate people's participation even at the grassroots
level into the democratic politics of Assam.

However, it may be noted that the movement attracted the attention of the common people for varied reasons. Noted scholars have put forwarded their arguments in this regard which are quite different from each other. Misra (1980) finds the land of Assam as a colonial hinterland of India. Mishra sees the Assam agitation as a positive outcome of the growing awareness of the colonial pattern of exploitation of Assam’s natural resources among the masses of the common people. Supporting this view Das (1982) sees this movement as a mass movement which gained support from all indigenous people of the state including legal Indian migrants. Slowly and gradually, this movement achieved unity of different communities of Assamese society fearing that they would loose their identity in case they do not support. The author views this mass upsurge as the outburst of a nationality, which had a long history of neglect, suppression and exploitation (Misra, 1998). Baruah (1983) views Assam movement as the result of the genuine fears of the Assamese people of losing their national identity and, accordingly, it cannot be termed as mere “xenophobia”. Weiner (1983) sees Assam’s Anti-immigrant Movement from the point of view of demographic changes. The author observes it as the result of severe breakdown of precarious political system where populations are in the midst of political, cultural and economic insecurity which invited all classes of people to participate into it numerically. Likewise, Gohain (1985) finds the movement as a revolt of the destitute peasants and hard-pressed petty-bourgeoisie youth against intolerable circumstances. Similarly, Assam movement was also viewed from the perspective of legitimacy crisis that the rest of the people of independent India have enjoyed (Gupta and Gupta, 1985). Bhattacharjee and Goswami (1985) opine that the movement was an outcome of the long history of agonies and grievances of Assamese people. Mass participation in the movement was the result of sense of deprivation, alienation of people of Assam because of a silent demographic invasion by the infiltrators (Bhattacharyya, 2001). Baruah (1980) obtains this mass movement as essentially a struggle for Assam’s self-preservation and maintenance of national and territorial integrity. Acharya (1987) and Sing (1984) find the struggle of Assamese people and their participation in the struggle was seeking for survival and eventually saving alienation of Assamese people from the soil. While various authors identified various causes for participation in the movement, it becomes necessary to analyze the class-structure of the leadership of the movement to understand this mass participation. However, prior to that, it is necessary to present the class-structure of Assamese society of that period.

Assamese society is basically a semi-tribal and semi-feudal society with a very slow process of urbanization. Though the middle class, which evolved primarily out of western education has a dominant position in this society, it is also found that this section has a close connection with the peasant section of the villages of Assamese society. Therefore, though this movement was basically led by the students who belonged to middle class, it gained massive support from the peasant section of Assam also. It was also able to attract the attention of the weak bourgeoisie section of Assamese society because, in the course of time, they also tried to safeguard the oil, tea and plywood industries from the influence of the strong bourgeoisie section of rest of India (Angikar, 1980, p1-3).

The Assam Movement led by students was the biggest movement in Assam so far and the young people were able to gain large scale popular strength at different levels. The students also became successful in bringing people to participate in the electoral process of Assam during this period. The table (see annex 1) shows the statistical report of Assam’s Legislative Assembly elections from 1951 till the end of the movement i.e.1985.

From the statistics (Annex 1), we see the increasing trend of people's participation in the electoral process of Assam from the year 1951 to 1985. However, we find a very low percentage of 31.46 of electors who voted in the election in 1983 held during the peak period of the movement. It may be stated here that, as mentioned above, this happened due to the student body’s call to the people of Assam for not participating into the election process. The student leaders were dissatisfied with the voters' list of the electors which according to them was faulty. As per the agitators, the voters' list included foreigners which needed correction. The leaders demanded the amendment of the voters' list before holding any election in the state. But, the 1983 election was held without amending the voters' list. Accordingly, AASU decided to discard the election and also made an appeal to the people of Assam not to participate it. Accordingly, it became able to postpone the election in twelve out of fourteen parliamentary constituencies which can be regarded as the big impact of youth activism on governance process in Assam. At the same time, it is evident that, immediately after the end of the movement in 1985, the political participation of people in the election increased tremendously and reached the highest percentage of 79.21. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) came out as the single majority party in this election and became the first regional party to form government in Assam. It may be stated here that this political party was the outcome of the movement consisted mainly of the student leaders of the movement. Therefore, from the above discussion, it is evident that youth activism in Assam became able to gain massive support and motivate people to participate or not to participate in democratic politics of Assam during that particular period.

But, how did this student body become able to gain support from the various segments of people irrespective of caste, class and ideology? Scholar's view that the explanation of such situation is enfolded into what Antonio Gramci called “hegemony”. By hegemony of the dominant classes in civil society, Gramci meant ideological predominance over the subordinate classes. They view those students as receptive members of the intelligentsia are exposed to this hegemony. Accordingly, it would therefore be necessary in the study of student movements not merely to locate the class, which apparently rules, but to locate the class or the combination of classes, which exercises hegemony in that particular society at that particular phase of history (Baruah, 1980). The role of the middle classes in Assam in this respect is also significant. However, the students were the first to introduce the potential danger of large scale immigration across the border (Das. 2000). Accordingly, the voice of the students became the voice of the greater Asomiya nationality. This was the Assam movement where people from children to men and women of different age-groups and various sections of the local people irrespective of language, religion and community participated, which itself signifies the uniqueness of the movement.

Recent Phenomena of Youth Activism and Challenges of Democratic Governance

Through the years youth activism has been an eminent feature in the societies and politics of the state of Assam which many a times has come down heavily on the government. The recent activities of the youth body concerning the people of Assam have also been very prominent. Apart from enhancing people's participation in the democratic politics of the state, the recent activities of the All Assam Students’ Union include its protest demanding sealing the Indo-Bangladesh border in view of the cross-border influx from Bangladesh. The student body has accused the state government and the centre of lacking political will to resolve the issue which has resulted in a dangerous situation for the inhabitants of the state (Assam Tribune, 2009, p5). The AASU has asked the centre to take effective steps to resolve the burning problem of influx which has not only posed a threat to the identity of the indigenous people of Assam, but has also created a grave threat to the security of the nation. While criticizing the government’s apathy over sealing of the Assam-Bangladesh international border, the body has asked sincerity from the government side to complete the work of border fencing to prevent further infiltration.

The problem of insurgency is the biggest problem of North-East India and particularly of Assam. The role of the All Assam Students’ Union has been very significant in this respect also. It has demanded both the Centre and the State governments to take strong measures to resolve the problem of terrorism and proliferation of jehadi groups, particularly from Bangladesh. The organization has been constantly pressurizing the government to make its clear stand on this vehement problem. It has also asked the government to clarify its proposals to deal with the problem (Assam Tribune, 2008).

The recent prominent activity of AASU which has come down heavily on the governance process is its joint agitation programs with the Takam Mishing Porin Kebang (TMPK), the Mishing Tribal Students’ Union demanding safety of the life and property of the people from mega dam-induced floods. The agitation program has included satyagraha at the district headquarters of the state, holding up of construction activities of the Lower Subansiri Hydel Power Projects (LSHP) until the completion of the final report of the expert committee. It also demanded for publishing white papers asking the central and state government’s respective stands clear on the issues of flood and erosion faced by the people of the state. It has also alleged the state government for compromising the interest of the state’s people and not doing anything to impress upon the central government on the need of undertaking cumulative downstream impact studies of the hydel projects before initiating any work on them. It has also made an appeal to both the centre and the state to initiate effective steps to bring an end to this problem to save the life and property of people living in the downstream areas of mega hydel projects.

As the representative of the students of the state of Assam, the AASU has also alleged the political interference of government in the educational institutes of Assam. It has also demanded the appointment of academicians in the school managing committees, replacing politicians. For this, AASU launched statewide movement to mount pressure on the state government to fill in all the vacant posts of teachers in the government schools and to appoint of permanent principal and headmasters in the educational institutions. At the same time, AASU has also alleged widespread corruption in re-evaluation of answer scripts of Higher Secondary Examination (HSE) of the year 2008 and demanded a high level inquiry of it.

From time to time, AASU has adopted different action plans for the solution of the burning problems of the state. The body has also been making its stand clear on the key issues relating to the people of Assam, covering issues like implementation of the Assam Accord, giving special constitutional status for Assam with right over land and resources, problems of floods and erosion, improvement of rail and road communication, construction of a new bridge on the river Brahmaputra at Dibrugarh, National Highway and Gauge Conversion Projects, better relief and rehabilitation package for the flood victims of the state, setting up of rail coach factory and more technical institutes for better educational facilities in the state. It has also urged all the political parties of Assam to exhibit their sincerity with a time-bound action plan for the solution of the problems faced by Assam. By undertaking such new issues, the student body has been acting as the main pressure group in the societies and politics of Assam and has also become able to influence the process of governance in the state, to a large extent.

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The Assam Tribune, Saturday, July4, 2009, p.5.

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The Assam Tribune, December17, 2008, pp.1-3.

The Assam Tribune, August 4, 2009, pp1-4.

The Assam Tribune, June10, 2009, pp.1-12.

The Assam Tribune, June20, 2009, pp.1-3.

The Assam Tribune, February28, 2009, pp.1-4.

The Assam Tribune, March11, 2009, pp.1-4.

Annex 1

Statistical Report of Participation of Assamese People in
the Legislative Election (1951-85)

Year No of Constituencies Electors Who Voted Poll %
1951 General  94 Single Member 1,547,434  
  SC  0 Double Member 901,456  
  ST  0    
  Total  94 Total 2,448,890 47.54
1957 General  62 Single Member General 1,314,084 SC 0 ST 627,908 Total 1,941,992  
  SC  5 Double Member General 72,883 SC 395,687 ST 530,118 Total 998,688  
  ST  26      
  Total  93 Total General 1,386,967 SC 395,687 ST 1,158,026 Total 2,940,680 51.37
1962 General  77 Men General 1,267,500 SC 83,235 ST 237,975 Total 1,588,710  
  SC  5 Women General 7,500 SC 43,155 ST 237,975 Total 288,630  
  ST  23      
  Total 105 Total General 2,017,550 SC 126,390 ST 379,135 Total 2,523,075 51.05
1967 General  93 Men General 1,617,734 SC 144,395 ST 276,289 Total 2,038,418  
  SC  9 Women General 1,074,172 SC 87,869 ST 276,289 Total 1,438,330  
  ST  24    
  Total 126  Total General 2,691,906 SC 232,264 ST 445,060 Total 3,369,230 61.83
1972 General  92 Men General 1,843,277 SC 155,129 ST 2,530,231 Total 4,528,637  
  SC  8 Women General 1,304,045 SC 106,061 ST 189,356 Total 1,599,462  
  ST  14    
  Total 114 Total General 3,147,322 SC 261,190 ST 442,387 Total 3,850,899 60.85
1978 General 102 Men General 2,499,177 SC 207,361 ST 390,056 Total 3,096,594  
  SC  8 Women General 1,802,901 SC 145,106 ST 286,589 Total 2,234,596  
  ST  16    
  Tota 126 Total General 4,302,078 SC 352,467 ST 676,645 Total 5,331,190 68.85
1983 General  90  Men General 1,146,537 SC 55,939 ST 191,220 Total 1,393,696  
  SC  7  Women General 811,320 SC 42,651 ST 137,523 Total 991,494  
  ST  15    
  Total 112  Total General 1,957,857 SC 98,590 ST 328,743 Total 2,385,190 31.46
1985 General 102  Men General 3,441,683 SC 288,228 ST 505,008 Total 4,234,919  
  SC  7  Women General 2,912,476 SC 245,572 ST 434,893 Total 3,592,941  
  ST  16    
  Total 125  Total General 6,354,159 SC 533,800 ST 939,901 Total 7,827,860 79.21

Source: General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Election Commission of India.

Abbreviation: SC: Schedule Castes ST: Schedule Tribes