Rights

Assam: Miyah Poets Release Statement Condemning 'Baseless' Allegations

The statement says that "the current debate over Miyah poetry is baseless because poems written three years ago are now being dissected" and that "a few lines" are being "cherry-picked and taken out of context".

New Delhi: A joint statement issued by Miyah poets and the ten persons named in an FIR filed by a Guwahati-based journalist this past July 10, alleging that they are trying to spread communal disharmony ahead of the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The full text of the statement is reproduced below.

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‘Miyah poetry’ began in 2016 as a series of poems opposing the use of the word ‘Miyah’ as a slang word for Assamese Muslims of Bengal-origin. Today, Miyah poetry is an umbrella term for poems by many, mostly young poets, from within and even outside the Bengal-origin Assamese Muslim community. These poems include stories of humiliation and discrimination, love poems, poems spreading social awareness, etc.

The current debate over Miyah poetry is baseless because poems written three years ago are now being dissected and a few lines of two poems are being cherry-picked and taken out of context. This wilful misreading of cherry-picked lines of these two poems is malicious and malafide.

Also read: Assam: Ten Poets, Activists Booked for Poem on Citizenship Row

One of the baseless allegations against Miyah poetry is that these poems are being used to depict the whole of Assamese society as xenophobic. Fact is, not a single Miyah poem uses the word ‘xenophobic’, ‘xenophobia’ or any variation of the word.

Another allegation against Miyah poetry is that it is a threat to the Assamese language. This is an utter lie. A huge majority of the Miyah poems are written in Assamese, some in English and Hindi and a handful in local dialects.

Moreover, among the ten accused in the FIR, there are four researchers who have either completed or are in the process of completing their PhDs on Assamese language and literature. One of the accused is an acclaimed Assamese writer, propagator of Assamese language and literature and renowned public intellectual.

The current controversy is absolutely needless and is being created by groups with vested interest at a very crucial time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) update in Assam is nearing completion.

The final NRC is set to be published this July 31.