If you think the Assamese language would be spreading fast in Assam with a growing population, you probably need a correction. Yes, in every census, the Assamese-speaking population in Assam is fast decreasing. But the Bengali-speaking population in the State is growing rapidly every decade. Left influenced professors will tell you that the increase of Bengali speaking population doesn’t indicate any illegal infiltration or increase in the migrant Muslim population, but we can decode the true mathematics behind the rising threat to the Assamese language.
With the ever exploding population of migrant Muslims in lower Assam districts, the Assamese language has been facing an enormous threat in the last few decades. Census reports from 1991 to 2011 are proof of this. Assam has a sizeable Hindu Bengali population. The Southern Assam part, known as Barak Valley, is home to around 12 lakhs of Bengali Hindus, and the Brahmaputra Valley has almost 28 lakhs of Bengali population. According to the 2011 census, 90 lakhs and 20 thousand people have registered themselves as Bengali-speaking, which means over 50 lakhs migrant Muslims registered Bengali as their mother tongue in the State. In the 1991 linguistic census, the number of Assamese Speaking population in the State was 57.81 per cent. But in two decades only, it reduced to 48.37 per cent in the 2011 census. In comparison to that, the Bengali-speaking population increased from 21.67 per cent in 1991 to 28.93 per cent in the 2011 census. But it doesn’t stop here, and it is not because of the Hindu Bengali population growth.
Linguistic changes in seven lower Assam Muslim dominated districts will make the picture clearer for our readers. In the Barpeta district of lower Assam, the Assamese-speaking population was 8 lakhs and 66 thousand in the 1991 census. Gradually in every decade, the Assamese-speaking population decreased to 6 lakhs and 12 thousand in the 2011 census. But in comparison to that, the Bengali-speaking population in the same district inflated to 10 lakhs and 45 thousand in 2011 from 3 lakhs 95 thousand in the 1991 census. The situation is similar in some other districts of Assam, which are migrant Muslim dominated.
The left-liberals want to put the theory that Bengali speaking population growth is due to the Bengali Hindu population growth and some influx. But the census data on Hindu population growth in these areas clearly nullifies that claim
The above table shows that the increase of Assamese-speaking population in 7 middle and lower Assam districts in two decades is 7.34 per cent. The total Assamese-speaking population in these seven districts was 53 lakhs 29 thousand and 29 in the 1991 census, which increased to 57 lakhs 20 thousand and 466 in the 2011 census. Against this, the Bengali-speaking population in these seven districts increased 115.99 per cent from 1991 to 2011. The Bengali-speaking population in these seven districts increased from 17 lakhs 24 thousand and 146 in 1991 to 37 lakhs 23 thousand and 955.
The reason behind this linguistic shift is clearly because of the population blast of migrant Muslims in these districts. The left-liberals will now argue that the rise of the Hindu Bengali population in these seven districts might be one of the reasons behind the sharp increase of the Bengali-speaking population. But our next table will clear the air for our readers, which will show the population growth of these districts. During the period of 1991 to 2011, the Hindu population in these seven lower and middle Assam districts mentioned in Table 1 reduced by 6.41 per cent. But the Muslim population in the same districts increased by 62.65 per cent between 1991 to 2011.
The Government of India Census data intelligibly shows the huge population growth of Muslims in these districts and simultaneously the growth of the Bengali-speaking population. From 1991 to 2011, the Hindu population in these seven districts has gone down to 35 lakhs 92 thousand and 819 in 2011 from 38 lakhs 38 thousand and 791 in 1991. The left-liberals want to put the theory that Bengali-speaking population growth is due to the Bengali Hindu population growth and some influx. But the census data on Hindu population growth in these areas clearly nullifies that claim. But during the same period in these seven districts, the Muslim population increased from 39 lakhs 13 thousand and 920 to 63 lakhs 65 thousand and 873.
It is worth mentioning that from 1991 to 2011, the total Muslim population growth in the seven lower and middle Assam districts of Barpeta, Darrand, Morigaon, Nagaon, Bongaigaon, Dhuburi and Goalpara, the population growth was 62.65 per cent. In the same districts, the linguistic change was also very alarming. During the period, the growth of Bengali-speaking population in these districts was 115.99 per cent, and the Assamese-speaking population growth was just 7.34 per cent. This data proves that with migrant Muslim population growth, the Bengali-speaking population has increased many folds in the Brahmaputra Valley of Assam, posing a great threat to the Assamese language. It is true that some of the migrant Muslims still register Assamese as their mother tongue, but the number is decreasing with every passing decade.
Radical groups and institutions are constantly working to reduce the Assamese language to a minority language in Assam. Even efforts are on to create a rift between Bengali Hindus and Assamese people by a vested section of people on the language issue
If we look closely at the linguistic data of the 2011 census, the picture will be clearer. In Baghbor, the revenue circle of the Muslim-dominated Barpeta district; the Assamese-speaking population was 1,33,449 in 1991, which drastically reduced to 15,728 in 2011. On the other hand, the Bengali-speaking population was 1,11,441 in 1991 in the Baghbor circle, which increased manyfold to 2,90,158 in 2011. The Hindu population in the area was down to 10,789 from 14,112 in Baghbor during the same period, and the Muslim population increased to 2,94,993 from 2,31,242. That means the entire Muslim population of the Baghbor revenue circle is Bengali-speaking. This again proves that with the migrant Muslim population growth, the Assamese language is diminishing in many districts of Assam. Similarly, in the Dolgaon revenue circle in the Darrang district, the Assamese-speaking population was 1,73,288 in the 1991 census, which attenuated to 74,138 in the 2011 census. But opposite to it, the Bengali- speaking population grew from 1,15,120 in 1991 to 3,86,595 in the 2011 census.
People who are working to secure the Assamese language are of the view that till 1991 most of the migrant Muslims registered Assamese as their mother tongue for social security and affiliation. But due to constant efforts by radical groups, these people are shifting to the Bengali language to resemble their Bangladesh origin roots. Radical groups and institutions are constantly working to reduce the Assamese language to a minority language in Assam. Even efforts are on to create a rift between Bengali Hindus and Assamese people by a vested section of people on the language issue. Left influenced pundits still trying to set the theory that the decreasing Assamese-speaking population is the result of the fact that the tribal of Assam started registering their own language as their mother tongue; but the tribal languages have been there in Assam for thousands of years, which never posed a threat to the Assamese language. But the migrant Muslim population blast and their shift to the Bengali language is now a serious threat faced by the thousand-year-old unique Assamese language.