GUWAHATI: Chief of Assam’s minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has ruffled people's feathers by allegedly referring to Srimanta Sankardeva as “Sahab” at a political rally near the birthplace of the medieval saint-reformer in Nagaon district.
In a video, a group of people can be seen shouting slogans, including “Sankardeva zindabad”, from the dais of the AIUDF rally.
Sankardeva is revered by the Assamese as “Gurujona”. He was born at Bordowa near the Batadrava Than which he founded. The Batadrava Than Managing Committee has condemned the incident.
“Mahapurush Sankardeva is in the hearts of the Assamese. His sacred birthplace is Batadrava Than. And at a political rally of Ajmal in the vicinity, they addressed the Gurujona as Sahab and shouted Sankardeva zindabad slogan,” the committee said.
“Where did they get this culture from? We are hurt as well as ashamed by their act. The Batadrava Than Managing Committee condemns them. We warn them not to make any comments on the Gurujona in the political arena,” the committee added.
The ruling BJP also slammed the AIUDF. “We worship Sankardeva and they addressed him as sahab. The Assamese are hurt by the assertion,” BJP MLA Prasanta Phukan said.
The BJP said it was an insult to the Gurujona. Party spokesman Rupam Goswami said the Assamese would not tolerate it.
“All communities in Assam are coexisting peacefully. But some illegal immigrant Muslims, who came from East Bengal (Bangladesh), are constantly attacking Assam’s language and culture. They became Indians by virtue of the Assam Accord cut-off year of 1971 but they could not become real Assamese,” Goswami stated.
A polymath, poet, playwright, and socio-religious reformer, Sankardeva is widely credited with devising new forms of music, theatrical performance, dance (Sattriya), literary language (Brajavali), etc.