Barpeta witnesses highest increase of Bengali speaking population in recent times, almost twice of Assamese speaking people

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The recently published census data on linguistic population carries a gloomy picture for Assamese speaking people in Brahmaputra valley. The population of Assamese speaking people in seven districts of the Brahmaputra Valley declined while that of Bengali speakers increased over a last 10-year period in these districts.

The most surprising is the growth of Bengali speaking people in Brahmaputra valley’s Barpeta district where it is almost twice of Assamese speaking people. As per the census data, the number Assamese speaking people in Barpeta district is 6,12,248 while number of Bengali speaking population in the district is 10,45,698.

In Darrang district, as per the latest census record, Assamese speaking people number is 4,57,696 and Bengali speaking population is 4,50,233.

For the first time since Independence, both Barpeta and Darrang district have witnessed spurt in Bengali speaking population.

Many linguistic scholars from both the districts expressed concerns over the census data and termed the development as conspiracy from vested interest sections in government wings to create trouble in society at a time when the immigrant population have whole heartedly embrace Assamese as their mother tongue and assimilated to the Assamese mainstream.

Leading Assamese litterateur Ismail Hussain, who hails from Barpeta district while expressing concern over census data report on linguistic population, said that it was almost impossible in the district as minority people always write Assamese as their mother tongue in census record.

“There are some conspiracies in the entire development. Some vested interest sections have been trying to project Assamese speaking people number decline in the state” said Hussain.

Both Barpeta and Darrang district have a sizable population of immigrant settlers, including indigenous Bengali-speaking Muslims from East Bengal — who settled in Assam during pre-Partition days — and Bengali-speaking Muslims who migrated from the erstwhile East Pakistan. Most of them mentioned Assamese as their mother tongue during successive censuses.

But in other districts of Brahmaputra valley where there are sizeable population of immigrant settlers, the growth of Bengali speaking population is far below that both Barpeta and Darrang district.

Featured image: Maps of India

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