RONGALI BIHU 2005 (Bohagi Bidaii) Celebrated in Imphal (Manipur)

Just like other parts of India celebrating the new lunar year, here in Imphal, capital city of Manipur, the Assamese community took privilege to celebrate their “Rongali Bihu” at the initiative of ASOM SAMAJ: MANIPUR on Sunday, the 22nd May 2005 at the auditorium of Devalaya, Thangal Bazar, Imphal. The day began with the hoisting of Asom Samaj’s flag through the hands of Samaj President, S/Shri Upen Basumatary, M.K.K. Pegu & SC Borah, AK Pradhan, Advisors in the presence of a large gathering from different communities. Also present on the occasion was S/Shri Diganta Bora & Rajen Gogoi, President and Secretary of Asom Samaj : Manipur respectively. The Samaj members sang the famous patriotic number “Shreemoyee Asomeer Sheetal Bukut” in unison as the President & Advisors unfurled the flag, this was followed by a “Mukoli (Open) Bihu” by the members and their wards present. Thereafter “Boot-Maah” (chickpea & green moong dal soaked in water) offerings made to the traditional deity were distributed, which made the members nostalgic about their “Naamghar” (House of Names, i.e. a Community Prayer Hall) back at home in Assam.

The Chief Guest for the afternoon was Shri Y. Surchandra Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Imphal West District. The celebration was also graced by Ms. K. Sabita Devi, Jt. Director (Art & Culture), Govt. of Manipur and Managing Director, Manipur Film Dev. Corpn. Ltd.; Dy. Director, Regional Tasar Research Station, Central Silk Board, Govt. of India, Dr. N. Ibohal Singh. The Chief Guest briefly touched upon the historical ties between the two neighbouring states of Assam and Manipur since the days of Manipuri princess Kuranganayani being married to Ahom King. Then Guest of Honours also dwelt upon the importance of Rongali Bihu in the cultural life of Assamese people. Thereafter, the President of the Samaj, Shri Upen Basumatary spoke in length on the relevance of peace & unity between the two largely identical society of Assam and Manipur to usher in progress and prosperity. Shri Dilip Das, Jt. Secretary of Samaj also spoke on the past performance of Samaj and the future road ahead. To mark the occasion a Souvenir named ”Smaranika” published by the Samaj, was formally released through the hands of Chief Guest and other Guest of Honours present. The Chief Guest was mighty pleased and minced no words in lauding the efforts of the Samaj and members of Editorial Board in particular in bringing out the colourful Souvenir on time. The “Xalagor Xarai” (Vote of Thanks) was offered to the Chair by Shri Diganta Kr. Borah, Vice President of the Samaj. Thereafter, VIPs, Invitees and guests were treated with traditional Assamese delicacies like “Pitha”, “Laru” etc., prepared by lady members of the Samaj.

The celebration of “Xanskritik Xandhiya” (cultural evening) began with “Bonti Prajwalon” (or lighting of the traditional lamp) at the hands of Chief Guest and Guest of Honours. Then a “Nagara Naam”- a traditional method of offering prayer to the deity in community prayer hall (Naamghar) accompanied by the beating of an Assamese drum (Nagara). The main attraction of the “Xanskritik Xandhya” (cultural evening) was presentation by Cultural Troupe from Nagaon, Assam. The visiting troupe from Assam showcased their brilliant repertoire of “Bihu Nritya – Ekak as well as Jutiyaa”, “Huchori”, “Dhol Badan”, etc., in front of a packed audience. Special mention may be made of colourfully attired nachoni (dancers) of Nagaon, Assam namely, Aparna, Manashee, Pompy, Dolly, Nitumoni, who mesmerized the “Bihu Boliaa Raaij” (Bihu mad audience) with their duet as well as solo performance of “Bihu Nritya”. Then visiting guest Artist Ms. Minakshi Saikia of Nagaon charmed the audience by her solo rendition of a few Assamese hit numbers of yesteryears as well as modern songs. It was good to see all the Assamese folks jiving to the tunes of “Dhol, Pepa & Gagona” (traditional music instruments of Assam). A few Assamese & Manipuri, hit songs were also sung by local Manipuri singer Mr. Bobin. He sent the crowd wild with popular Assamese number “Chal Gori”. The Samaj also gave scope to a few budding child artistes to showcase their talent on the occasion, namely – Priyanka Agarwal, Heena Kaur, Priyanka Das, Rimpa Kar, Priyanka Bora and many others. The cultural evening was hosted & compared by the duo of Ms. Brojeshwari and Mr. Sahidul Hassan Borah in their impeccable grace & style. Finally the curtain was brought down on the cultural evening by a sterling “Bihu Nritya” performance by the visiting cultural troupe from Nagaon, Assam. Not to be left behind the “Bihu Boliaa Raaij” (Bihu Mad Audience) also did their part by giving a quick jig from time to time with the foot tapping music of “Dhol & Pepa” as the volunteers found it difficult to restrain them.

Shri Dignata Bora and Shri Rajen Gogoi, Vice President & Secretary of the Samaj, respectively expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the entire Assamese as well as non-Assamese community, contributors, patrons & well wishers, sponsors & advertisers, committee members, volunteers, Manipur Police & Commando, local musical hands (SARGAM) and above all the Imphal West District Administration for their kind co-operation and support for making the “Rongali Bihu Festival” a success. The Publicity Secretary of the Samaj, Shri Biswajit Deb also thanked the members of Press Corps for their kind presence. Shri Dilip Singh, Art & Culture Secretary of the Samaj was effusive in his praise for the whole Assamese Community, who in spite of their busy schedule had turned out in great strength to remember their beloved “Axomi Aai” (Motherland Assam).

Contributed by :
Biswajit Deb
Publicity Secretary