The new fault lines in Assam
Efforts by Bangla-speaking Muslims in Assam to assert a distinctive identity through a museum give a new twist to old fears of a threat to indigenous culture
Exhibits at the Miya Museum in Assam’s Goalpara district; (Photo: ANI)
Inside a one-room house with a tin shed in a nondescript village in Assam’s Goalpara district, a few items such as a hand towel, traditional fishing gear, a plough and a lungi are placed over a table. This is the Miya Museum that was shut down by the Assam government just two days after its inauguration on October 23. Set up by the All Assam Miya Parishad (AAMP), reportedly at a cost of just Rs 7,000, in a house that belongs to its president Mohor Ali, the museum was meant to showcase the culture of Muslims of Bengali origin in Assam. But the initiative seems to have irked the state’s indigenous communities and provided political parties on both sides of the communal divide fertile ground to consolidate their respective vote banks.