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Peaceful Protests, Angry Brahmaputra

'I have always loved the mountains but the peace I experienced amidst the turmoil here, is unmatchable'


When I entered Guwahati, it wasn't like I had imagined it to be. I thought it would be a bit like Haldwani and more like Dehradun. It was different, maybe the mighty Brahmaputra adds to its aura.


I was with a bunch of SBI Youth for India Fellows, we were here to promote our fellowship and attend the famous Hornbill Festival in Nagaland.


In a few hours at Guwahati, we wanted to see Brahmaputra - the largest river that causes menace in the North-Eastern region of our country. The walk from the Railway Station towards the river bank was quite something. We wanted to take a rickshaw but each one would say the road is blocked and walking is a better option.


Why were the roads blocked in a small city like Guwahati?, I wondered.



As we walked towards the various buildings hosting the government's administrative, judiciary, and educational institutions, we heard a voice talking on a loudspeaker. Intrigued, we went ahead to see a young man delivering a speech with the utmost passion. He was a member of the Assam's Students Association and listening to him were hundreds of students and locals, who probably did not support the idea of the Citizenship Amendment Bill that is quietly challenging the basis of our constitution at this moment.


We did not understand what he was saying. All we knew is that they were protesting against CAB. Yet, his oratory skills were so powerful, we listened to him and almost agreed upon whatever his intentions were. The paramilitary and police were ready to take charge whenever the administration would order them to - Lassen with 'lathis' and equipped with tear gas shells.


A few minutes after we decided to move forward, because, however interesting the discussion was we had a train to catch and very little time to have lunch.


If one would observe the crowded lanes we were walking on, they would see the daily life of the locals. Buses were busy transporting people from one place to another, street vendors were selling alva and oranges, beggars were asking for alms from passers-by, the smell of hot potato fritters filled the air, and citizens were hustling from one office to another.


We entered one of the courts and went walking to the backyard, from where the river bank was a few meters away.


The river was huge, the small islands adding to its beauty. There were boats running up and down the stream, transporting people. The riverbank was muddy and we were advised by a local fisherman to stay at a distance.



'The current is strong enough to take you down with it, you will be never found,' is what he said in broken Hindi and Assamese.


Even when we tried to walk towards the bank to wash our feet, a group of men screamed at us, which included the water police.


'Go far from the river or else the water police will catch you?' said the fisherman. It took us a while to understand he meant the coast guards were coming. In a few moments, we saw 3-4 cops on a motorboat taking rounds of the river. Their posture looked like a scene from a 90s film where gangsters were smuggling good from Alibaug to Mumbai.


The river banks were a quiet break from the chaos in the city. The current was seriously very strong. It looked like the river was angry at the world and the Assamese were scared of its wrath. We spent quite some time staring at the waters and trying to convince the locals that we weren't there to jump in the river.


At 2 PM, we left for the railway station to take our next train to Dimapur, the only city in the state of Nagaland which was connected with railways

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