Assamese-Americans Mourn Dr. Saikia's Demise

The subject said it all - "Dr. Bhabendra Nath Saikia Passed Away". Since the last few days we had been closely following his deteriorating health condition, his admittance to GNRC, ICU etc. But we had been hoping and praying that "the situation would turn around" (email from Dil and Dilip Deka, Texas). This sad news brought a deep sense of loss and sorrow to the entire assamese community in the USA. "A giant of our arts and letters back at home has left behind monumental achievements that enrich Assam", said Dr. Atul Sarma's email.

Since then, emails had been flowing from various corners of the U.S., discussing his achievements, his personality and the personal experiences of all those who had come in close contact with him. Through exchanges of emails we are glorifying his achievements, his creations, his stories, dramas, movies, awards and all his philanthropic activities. Dr. Jugal Kalita, from Colorado Springs posted a short biography titled "Bhabendranath Saikia: A Brief Celebration of Life" in the website www.assam.org. An email from Mantu Baishya, President, Assam Society of America said, "ASA joins all Assamese organizations in North America: Assam Association of North America, Assam Xahitya Xabha (North America), Assam Foundation of North America, and UOANA, in expressing its sincere condolences to the bereaved family and friends of the late Dr. Saikia. May his soul rest in peace!".

From all the exchanges over the web and the telephonic media, it's quite evident that the people from Assam living in the USA are mourning the death of this Great Assamese Personality in the their own special way. It's the distance, which is keeping us away from personally attending his last rites and offering our gratitude for all that he had done in his life for our Janmabhumi. However, our heart and soul are there in Assam mourning the death of this doyen of Assamese arts, culture and literartue. From a distance we pay homage to this illustrious son of Assam.

Recently we had been in close contact with his family with regards to the Aarohan project of his Children's Welfare Trust. We had offered him to collect some money for financial assistance to the Aarohan project. We had been working on a fund-raising drive through Assam Foundation of North America and have collected more than a lakh of Rupees so far. We wanted to personally deliver our donations to him. But he left us before we could do that.

It goes without saying that Dr. Saikia was one of the worthiest sons of Assam. "… his creations and footprints will be for everyone to see for years to come.", said an email from Rajen and Ajanta Barua from Houston, Texas. Indeed, as the old adage goes - "Great Men Never Die". Needless to say that Dr. Saikia was one such man. He will live forever in his creations, in his contributions to the society, in each and every assamese individual who is inspired by his "Sesh Pristha" in Prantik. I wonder, who will write "Sesh Pristha" now! "Dr. Saikia is no more with us, but his kaleidoscopic array of artistic creativity will live and relive in the hearts of a people, forever", very appropriately written in an email by Prakash Deka from New Jersey.

From this distant land we offer our condolences to the bereaved family, share the sorrow with all our assamese brethren and offer our tributes to Late Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia - one of the greatest Assamese of all times. May his noble soul rest in eternal peace!

Krishanu Kaushik,
kkaushik@ford.com
Detroit, Michigan, USA