Tuesday, May 28, 2024

A Conversation with Dr Angkita Dutta – Entreprenuer and Former Assam Youth Congress President

Robin Bhuyan (Editor-in-chief)

Mohsin Khaiyam (Senior sub-editor)

Dr Angkita Dutta, is a youth leader from Assam, who is the former President of the State’s Youth Congress. The daughter of Late Anjan Dutta, who was one of Assam’s most well-known and veteran political leaders, she is also an entrepreneur and businesswoman, making her a role model for women, who wish to pursue a career in the field of business. Let us have a chat with her, regarding her life, several aspects of her career, and her view on the political scenario of Assam.

First of all, we would like to ask you how exactly you got into the world of politics, despite being a businesswoman?

Actually, I was never keen on joining politics. I would say politics is something that has happened to me. Since my father was in this field, it was through his day-to-day activities that I got inspired to be a voice for those who cannot raise their own. After finishing my studies, I came back to Guwahati to spend more time with my father. Soon, I began contesting in the organizational elections, and since then, there has been no looking back.

Your father was one of the most well-known and respected political figures in the state, not just in among the Congress, but even in other political parties. So, what is the one particular thing that your father had taught you, that you still remember?   

Unfortunately, my father left us at the very time when I was supposed to learn politics from him. However, one thing that we learnt from him while growing up was that leadership is about making other leaders, rather than being just about yourself. It is about how many more leaders you can create.  Another aspect I loved about him was that whenever somebody would come to him with a problem, he would always try to help. Another thing I liked about him was that he always maintained good relations with everyone, not just people in the world of politics, but also journalists, sportspeople, etc.

As a woman and a senior youth leader, would you say that the current political scenario of Assam is safe for women?

I wouldn’t talk about Assam or any other specific region as a whole. I feel that the problem is that society sees the bodies of women as a medium to express their anger, or to seek revenge. And it is not just a problem in Assam, or India, but it is prevalent everywhere.

Regarding the Manipur incident, the country came to know about the incident, only when a video had gone viral. Do you feel that the government is doing enough to protect the women and prevent such incidents?

I don’t think that it is a one-way job. Yes, the job of the government is indeed to provide protection and to punish the perpetrators. But it is the mental state of the people that has to change. It is more important to think about how to prevent such incidents. It is very important to educate policemen as well as the common people about gender issues and gender sensitivity.  

Talking about women’s issues, there was a controversy regarding you, on a national level just few months back. Would you mind sharing with us a bit about what had happened?

Well, since there is a court proceeding going on, I can’t really share much here. But I would definitely say that I had faced discrimination, because of my gender. Since I am somebody who has spent a lot of time studying about gender equality and women’s issues, I had to seek the help of law when my complaints were left unheard.

Apart from being a politician, you are also a businesswoman. So, could you tell us something about what you do?

I run an organization in the name of my father.  We take up government and non-government projects, and after the Covid situation, we have been focusing on mental health issues.

It is usually men or boys who go for business. A very few women dare to venture into the world of business? So what would you say about this? How should women come forward?

Many people go for starting their own businesses nowadays, and due to social media, opportunities have definitely increased, for both men and women. Yes, getting the capital amount to start a business is difficult, but if you have the passion, I do feel that many opportunities are waiting.

The current government had come into power promising Achche Din, as well as promising employment amongst many things. We would not go into the other issues, but as a businesswoman, what would you say about their promise of eradicating unemployment and creating business opportunities?

Unfortunately, we have seen how after the Covid situation, so many small and medium entrerprises have shut down. We can also see how well-educated individuals are applying for third-grade or fourth-grade jobs in various parts of the country. While there is a dignity in every job, it is also important to consider this – Did you study so hard all these years for this particular job you are applying for? So I would say there is much to be done by the government, in this aspect.

Our current CM- Himanta Biswa Sarma, is one of the few leaders who has been able to gain massive popularity. Many say that once our current CM is gone, there will be no one to replace him. What would you say about this? Do you think anyone can replace him?

There was a time when people thought that Hiteshwar Saikia or Tarun Gogoi could not be replaced. And now people feel the same about our current CM. But I feel that it is just a matter of time. We might have a leader in the future, who is not that famous, or does not appear much in the media.

Whom would you consider an ideal leader for the people of Assam?

I find it hard to name any particular individual. But I feel we need a leader who understands the problems of all Assamese people, and thinks about problems of all classes, including the problems of the lower classes, middle classes as well as upper middle classes. Regarding our current CM, we can only judge him at the end of his term.  

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