Assamese in the city say Hyderabad is very ‘cool,’ friendly and accommodative. Prabalika M Borah vouches for the same

A day after the news of riots during a protest rally in Mumbai broke out, worried relatives from Assam who were watching the television visuals, ignoring the ‘news factor’ called a cousin in Hyderabad. The message passed on to him was — there is trouble brewing in Hyderabad. Oblivious to what really happened, Assamese in Hyderabad cancelled their plans, and sat glued to the TV sets, surfing news channels. After two long hours, they realised that all the talk of the northeast (NE) people being targeted in the city were just rumours.

That evening and in days after that, I drove from one end of the city to the other, sampling the Ramzan flavour in the Old City and still didn’t get the slightest indication that anyone wants people from Assam out of the city. It was frustrating to reply to messages and calls from everywhere enquiring of a situation that never was in Hyderabad, where everyone was in fact busy discussing haleem addresses. Wondering if I was missing something, I caught up with a few people from the north-eastern state of Assam.

I hadn’t missed anything. Ask if there is any problem in Hyderabad and I hear, “Not at all; it is really annoying to listen to such news. To prove a point we stayed out late and walked in and around Masab Tank where I live. I forced a couple of friends to come with me so that they could see things on their own,” says Ananya Das, a software professional. Ananya who has earlier lived in Delhi feels that Hyderabad is a much better place to stay. “It is economical, friendly and with Hindi being widely spoken, living here is hardly a problem.”

Unlike Ananya, there are others who seriously considered taking a flight back home and returning after the problem subsided. “When I spoke about it to my friend in Shillong, she laughed hard and said, ‘don’t be a fool! It’s very obvious that a rumour that triggered the panic situation.’ So I came back to work the next day and am busy conveying the message that all’s well in Hyderabad,” says Anamika Gogoi.

Yet some people from the NE are leaving the city. “It was very sad to hear such rumours. The people who are fleeing are those who have minimal access to internet and news and are purely driven by rumours,” says Dr. Sahariah, a senior member and the former president of the Assam Association in Hyderabad.

David Bordoloi, a veterinary doctor in the city, puts across his analysis, “The section of people who are fleeing are those who live in groups and work as security personnel in various organisations. Their herd psyche has made them follow each other, hence the situation. In reality I’m sure none of them would have received any threat. I am ekdum bindaas here.”

Preeti Borah, another veterinarian in the city says, “I was only worried about my parents who were to leave for Assam during the unrest, to Bongaigoan. They, however, reached safely and found their co-passengers extremely helpful and caring. They kept assuring my parents that they were from Andhra Pradesh and they would take care of them at any cost.”

So, do students have a different story? “Not really. We are not letting ourselves bother with such rumours. Being in a university with students from across the country we didn’t feel a thing. To maintain a feeling of brotherhood, our Muslim friends have organised an Eid get-together and we can’t wait to go there and eat some good food,” says a student from Assam, who is pursuing his Ph.D from the University of Hyderabad.

If all these rumours of riots against NE people in Hyderabad kept you from stepping out, it isn’t too late. The city is still at its festive best — full of surprises, good food and goodwill.