‘Literature, culture can play vital role in establishing peace\\'

Earlier, the Sabha flag was hoisted by its vice-president Lahori Barthakur and the Sahitya session started with Chiro Senehi Mor Bhasa Janani sung in chorus. President Gagon Hazarika welcomed the distinguished gathering, in particular the appointed speaker Prof Dr M Rahman of Halifax University, Nova Scotia, Canada and the participating artistes Samar Hazarika and Chandana Deka from Guwahati and outlined the aims and objectives of ASSUK and invited all Assamese expatriates to stand united and help and inspire in keeping up the good work. He said, among other things, literature and culture could play a vital role in establishing peace and amity in today’s volatile world; through this medium, misunderstandings and disunity could be eliminated and peace and harmony could be ushered in.

After a prayer for peace in this stifling world conducted by Lahori Barthakur with the Sloka Asato Ma Satgamaya... and observing a minute’s silence for eternal peace of the departed souls lost in violence all over the world, self-composed poems were recited by Surovi Lahon, Nirala Baruah and Probin Hazarika.

Prof Rahman delivered an interesting lecture entitled Mathematics as a universal language and its relation to literature. Mathematics and literature have a common bond, he said; some of the best litterateurs of the world are physicists. General relativity laid the foundation for all kinds of discoveries such as the Big Bang, the expansion of the universe and black holes. Einstein described relativity “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute and it seems like an hour; sit with a pretty girl for an hour and it seems like a minute; that is relativity.” Einstein discussed the nature of truth with Nobel laureate Tagore; while Tagore held that truth was realised through man, Einstein maintained that scientific truth must be conceived as a valid truth that is independent of humanity.

Kamal Hazarika, the cultural adviser appraised the gathering that there was a controversy in Assam regarding O Mor Aponar Desh the Assamese national anthem composed by the Sahityarathi. People were questioning whether the stanza with Bisari Janamtu Nupuwa Korileyo Pat as adopted by Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS) or Bisari Nupuwa Janamtu Korileyo Pat believed to be the original composition of Sahityarathi should be the right version to be used. ASS fraternity should clarify the situation.

In her speech Lahori Barthakur passionately appealed to the audience that Assamese language, literature and culture and tradition were unique and had a distinct identity and we must preserve it at any cost wherever we were. Our next generation who were doing much better than average English or other ethnic groups should be inspired to learn all about it and should be well informed of our roots. They should be involved more in our social and cultural activities in order for them to derive maximum benefit.

Manjira Chowdhury, the secretary and Protim Choudhury the cultural secretary submitted a report each about the activities of ASSUK in the past year.

A general quiz relating to literature-culture of Assam was conducted by Dwijen Baruah and Manjira Chowdhury which resulted in a draw. There was a session on story telling where story of Lady Godaiva and Beula & Tezimala were demonstrated by Pru Porretta and Kusumika Chatterjee respectively.

The cultural programme began with a Rava sangeet sung in chorus by Samyami Chowdhury, Surovi Lahon, Puspa Hazarika, Nabamallika Choudhury, Shahida Haque, Manjira Chowdhury, Tarun Chowdhury, Nilmoni Sikdar, Manoj Baruah, Bilal Hussain, Basab Miri and Dwijen Baruah followed by a solo dance by Rhianne Mahanta, self composed modern songs by Samyami Chowdhury, Jhumur dance by Lorna Miri and Chalisa Kaur, songs by Surovi Lahon, Group Dance (Bihu) by Samyami Chowdhury, Oiki Cheung, Bilal Hussain and Manoj Baruah, Rabha sangeet, Jyoti sangeet and modern song by guest artiste Chandana Deka and then the floor was taken by the invited guest artiste Samar Hazarika who mesmerised the audience by singing Jyoti sangeet, songs by Bhupenda and Jayanta Hazarika and Bihugeet when the audience joined in to dance in addition to his own songs. Samar Hazarika was accompanied by Mitam Barooah (keyboard), Rishi Chowdhury (tabla) and Ranjan Laskar (guitar).

Pratim Choudhury, conducted and compered the cultural function all throughout and presentation of a token gift was made to each of the appointed speaker, participating artistes from Guwahati and the story tellers.

Gagon Hazarika informed the gathering, to their delight, that the authority of the State Library of Coochbehar had agreed to supply a microfilmed copy of the original manuscripts by Sri Sankardev, Sri Madhavdev, Ananta Kandali, Govinda Misra and other Assamese writers preserved by them, in response to a request by Asam Sahitya Sabha soon. It may be recalled that when Koch Kingdom finally decided to join Indian Union in 1948, although ethnically, linguistically and spiritually she was Assamese, unfortunately she became a part of West Bengal by a stroke of pen by some civil servants in Delhi.

Before closing, votes of thanks were offered by Manjira Chowdhury to all those attended, all artistes in particular those from Guwahati and the non-Assamese girls who learnt Bihudance, the story tellers, Manoj Baruah and Bilal Hussain and others for logistical support and above all Karunasagar and Rumi Das for their sizeable donation in making the function a grand success and Assamese national anthem was sung in chorus followed by a gala dinner.

The Assam Tribune(02/08/2005)