Poetry in Muslim ‘dialect’ kicks up a storm in Assam

It allegedly portrays the Assamese as xenophobic
A group of people accused of portraying the Assamese as xenophobic through poetry, in a dialect associated with Bengal-origin Muslims, has asserted that controversy was being manufactured at a time when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was being updated in Assam. On Thursday, the Assam police registered an FIR against 10 people after receiving a complaint about a poem in ‘Miyah’ — a colloquial dialect of Bengal-origin Muslims — lamenting the citizenship challenges faced by religious minorities. The poem, titled ‘I am a Miyah’, is written by Kazi Sharowar Hussain and translated into English by Shalim M. Hussain, both based in western Assam’s Barpeta district. They are named in the FIR with eight others. “The real intention of this poem is to motivate and provoke their community against the system. This is a threat to the Assamese people and national security. The poem talks of their men being gunned down, and women being raped. Assam has no such history, and Assamese people were not involved even in the Nellie [February 1983] massacre,” he contended. He alleged that the poem was “copied” from ‘ID Card’ by Arabian poet Mahmoud Darwish, with certain words replaced for local effect. The poet and the translator, who could not be reached for comment, however, issued a statement on Friday, rubbishing the charges made against them. The current debate was “baseless” as a few lines written three years ago were taken out of context with malicious intent, they contended. “Not a single Miyah poem uses the word xenophobia,” they asserted. They trashed the allegation that Miyah poetry was 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… ,” they said in the statement.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/poetry-in-muslim-dialect-kicks-up-a-storm-in-assam/article28417237.ece

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