Assam Name Change Issue
- Government of India
This petition is now closed.
July 2, 2006
Assam to Asom what's in a name?
Mr. Chandra Prasad Saikia, ex President of Oxom Xahityo Xobha, proposed, through the Assamese magazine "Gariyoshi" that the name ASSAM is not an indigenous one, and claimed that it is a word coined by the British during the colonial rule for their own convenience and therefore the name ASSAM should be changed.
Without discussing the merits of the suggestion with any official literary organization or any other entity, last February the government of Assam took the decision to change the name of the State from Assam to Asom. This decision was based on the above suggestion. The ruling congress party took this political decision before the assembly election.
This shows that we not only have serious problem in practicing the democratic values in Assam, but it also shows that there are some grave misconceptions even among the educated people in Assam regarding the origins of the names of the state: OXOM and ASSAM. This is rather a very sad and pathetic situation.
Mr. Chandra Prasad Saikia is wrong in his assumption that the word Assam is coined by the British. Local newspapers like Amar Oxom etc are asking for an open debate on the issue. Recently the joint Xahityo Xobha Monso of Assam also took a resolution against the spelling ASOM.
The Tai-Ahom and the Buddhist organizations in Assam are sending petitions to Government of India against the spelling ASOM. Moreover the decision of the Assam Government is still pending and it has not issued any notification to that effect.
No news paper from Assam has actually written any Editorial on the issue worth its name. Respected and prestigious English language news papers like The Assam Tribune and Sentinel, instead of playing a leadership role in the debate for the right spelling of the word ASOM or ASSAM have started using the name Asom.
By this blind adoption, The Assam tribune and Sentinel are trying to make it a fait accompli.
In a democracy there is no room for a hasty decision without any public debate to pass a political resolution. The government of Assam should give the arguments for their proposal to change the name of the State. It seems in Assam those who speak, they don't know, and those who know, they don't speak.
As there are several arguments in defence of the name Assam which existed before the British came to India, the Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters (FASS), we are voicing our strong opposition to the Government of Assam's hasty decision without any public debate to pass a political resolution for the use of the spelling ASOM.
Mr. Chandra Prasad Saikia who initiated the name change has not come forward to defend his contention. The cabinet decision by itself does not become automatic implementation. As the name Assam is enshrined in the Constitution, to change the name requires a Constitutional amendment.
For this reason we from the Friends of Assam and Seven Sisiters (FASS) would like to submit a petition to the to the President of India, Prime Minister, Union Law Minister, Governor and Chief Minister of the State resenting the recent move of the State Government to respell the name of the State as 'Asom' in English.
Please find enclosed the petition we are trying to push through. We know that this change does not necessary affect each one of you and that it may not impact your individual situations but we do hope you will on principle support us in asking the Indian government to react.
In the event that you do support this letter please reply before 99-99-9999
with a yes. We shall then include your name in the petition to the Prime
Minister of India.
Counting on your support.
Rajen Baruah, Huston Texas, USA
Shantikam Hazarika, Guwahati, India
Wahid Saleh, Berkel en Rodenrijs, The Netherlands
On behalf of Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters
PS: If you want to have extra information on this subject, please download two papers written by Rajen Baruah of FASS. The papers may be found at http://www.indiawijzer.nl & for more inofrmation contact the author of this petition.
1. On the origins of the names of Oxom and Assam in English. (http://www.indiawijzer.nl)
2. On the origins of the names of Oxom and Assam (Assamese text). (http://www.indiawijzer.nl)
We, the undersigned, petition the President of India, the Prime Minister, Union Law Minister, Governor and Chief Minister of the State to reject the recent move of the Assam State Government to respell the name of the State as 'Asom' in English.
The Assam Name Change Issue petition to Government of India was written by ChangeName and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.