Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stressing on the importance of his proposed department for Indigenous Faith and Culture said that several Muslim people have told him that their ancestors were Hindus however they do not know the details.
Replying to Zero Hour notice regarding the newly created Indigenous Faith and Culture department, Sarma in state assembly said, “There is a need to preserve history where it happened and not in a museum and that is why the government has set up a new department of Indigenous faith and culture.”
Sarma recently held a meeting with the Muslim leaders and various people from their community and discussed many issues regarding the community.
He said that, “Some Islamic organisations whom I met told me that their names must be in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) for they have been residing for ages in India. I do not know if it is right or wrong, however I asked them how to substantiate that claim, where is the history and evidence.”
The chief minister said, “We have failed in several ways to preserve history. I met the Assamese muslim community recently and asked them where is the conflict with Hindu. I said that your ancestors were Hindus. It can happen that present religion may not allow some practice and tradition of my forefathers to be followed now, but there are several practices and traditions which may not be in conflict with my religion but that can be followed so that the history of ancestors and roots can be discovered.”
He said that in Assam, communities such as the Bodo, Mising etc follow indigenous faiths such as Bathou and Donyi Polo. “While trees are worshipped as Bathou, Donyi Poli worship Sun and Moon. Owing to Sanskritization and aggressive religious campaign of different groups these indigenous communities are losing their culture, language and tradition”, he added.
Sarma said, “The Tiwa people lost their language. While temple, mosque and church gets donations if people decides to build one however there is no financial support for the people believing in the worship of nature.”