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Moment of Pride!

How is ‘Pride’ such a pride for some or rather a very few of us? There is always much ado about everything. Within the realm of everything, pride of bruised souls, bodies and minds was somewhere lost in the crowd. Such loss was never noticed, addressed or heard with sensitivity but ridiculed with negativity, violence and torturous upturns within both personal and public spheres. Wonder why people are always concerned about the straight flow of nature. Sometimes they flow with the norms to avoid any form of complexity and confusion. People are wired and transmitted into a world which is either/or, this or that, here or there, for or against, yours or mine, us and them and even more precisely right or wrong.

Stories of pride run through layers of multiplicities. They are beyond the comprehension of just being a part of a whole or rather a whole within a part. Pride is aggressive when it is rooted in jealousy and ego centrism but pride is crucial for ensuring human dignity. In the context of India pride is the key to the dalit, adivasi, disabled, hijra, prostituted minors, ex-communicated individuals and any non-conformist whose identity, ethnicity, religion, colour, status and sexuality define everything around the individual. Pride is a celebration of vibrancy, diversity and disassociation for the normative rigidities.

In a world constantly struggling with its layered existence needs to either belong or become the insignificant other in the pursuit of justice, equality and freedom, Queer Pride holds the ground for alternatives. It is not about being, becoming or belonging to the airtight containers or gender binaries or those queering such binaries but more so the move beyond such identity constructions which relieves an individual from every kind of oppression and restricted living. Youth celebrates pride in many countries across the world and even in Guwahati in the past four years Pride was spearheaded by the youth and the matured to be precise. But age is indeed a state of mind. Every stage of life relates to the contours of Pride to be able to embrace it completely.

Sexuality is a concern for many and sometimes it is also a gender expression. Pride celebrates gender expression and diversity within which such expressions are recognised and reflected within the broad spectrum of gender identity formations. Pride empowers people to bring out their intimate, closeted and most vulnerable gender experiences within the public space. Whether individuals or groups are concerned about public, political or professional issues, pride enables people to engage with their own inhibitions vis-a-vis others and also accept the differences with dignity and power.

Guwahati Queer Pride is an effort towards the expression of such diversity enabling every individual and group with choices. Choice is a matter of pride in today’s shrinking world. Choices are pre-determined, destined or manipulated as per the dominant world-view. But queer pride entails an opportunities for individuals and groups to explore the possibilities of dissolving the rigid constructs which constantly leads to conflicting paradigms.

 


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Lightning kills 16 cows in one spot at Raha

9 Jun 2009 - 7:42am | Dibya J Borthakur

‘An undoubtedly tragic scene !’- People passed comment visiting the spot. It was on 8th April in the afternoon at around 4.10, while 16 cows died on the spot at Raha in Nagaon district. According to eyewitness , there was a heavy rain that continued for more than twenty minutes at Raha which was followed by strong lightning. The cows sheltered under a tree to keep themselves safe from the downpour. Unfortunately, they all were struck by lightning which led them all to death on the spot.

New documentary on Doul Utsav

A scene from ‘Holi – The Spirit of Colours’
25 Jun 2017 - 7:33pm | Prantik Deka

The National Award winning film director-editor Ranjit Das, who started his career with noted filmmakers D’bon Barua and Jahnu Barua, has made a fascinating documentary on the traditional Deul or Doul Utsav, titled ‘Holi – The Spirit of Colours’, which was recently nominated in the 9th Jaipur International Film Festival 2017 and the 7th Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival 2017, New Delhi. Das’s achievements in cinema have been familiar to some extent to critics and audiences alike with films like ‘Pratyavartan’ (1993) and ‘Sanskar’ (1997) to his name. The latter, premiered at the Kolkata Film Festival, received three State Awards in 1999. But the film that earned him a well-deserved reputation came in the way of the aesthetically vivid ‘All Alone If Need Be’, a documentary film, which received the National Award for the ‘Best First Non-Feature Film of a Director’, in 1996. The film had been selected to various film festivals in India and abroad. Another documentary - ‘Return of the Dead Bird’ was screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) in 2008. He has also served on the National Film Awards Jury twice.

The vitality and radiance of Holi or Doul Utsav, locally known as Deul, the enormously popular and colourful festival, celebrated with tremendous pomp and joy every year during the Spring time, truly represents a unique part of Barpeta Satra, one of the most revered Vaishnavite centres of Assam. There has, of course, always been an enormous inflow of devotees to the Barpeta Satra, which amply manifest the Vaishnava character. More than being just a place of worship, the Satra’s religious manuscripts are valued as aids to cognitive learning, while its cultural activities are seen as a levelling and unifying force.

It was Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva’s most trusted disciple Madhavdev who established the Barpeta Satra in 1583 AD. Shree Shree Mathura Das Burah Ata took charge as the Burah Satriya (Chief Monk) of Barpeta Satra in 1595 AD. And in 1596 AD, he started Doulotshav within the Satra precincts. Under the guidance of Mathura Das Burah Ata, Vrindavani Vastra was intricately woven by a host of disciples of this satra, depicting scenes from Sri Krishna Leela, which had been designed by Srimanta Sankardeva.

Though present in most Vaishnava satras of Assam, Barpeta Satra’s Deul surpasses them all with its uniqueness and grandeur. In the month of Chot, Deul is celebrated for three days, which is called Burha Deul and the Deul that is observed for four to five days, in the month of Phalgun is called Deka Deul.

The first day of the Deul, called Gandha or Bahnutsav, which is referred to as the ‘festival of bonfires’, starts with a Namprasanga in the morning. The idols of the satra - Dol-Gobinda and Kaliya Thakur, are immaculately dressed with new costumes and ornaments, and brought out from the Monikut to the courtyard. Devotees celebrate the occasion by playing the khol and by lighting locally made fire-crackers.

The second day of Deul is known as Bhor-Deul - meaning main Dol. Bhor Deul is celebrated for just one day in the month of Chot and two three days in the month of Phalgun. The idols are coloured with faku on this day.

The last day of the Deul is called Suweri or Fakuwa.  On this special day, the idol of Ghunusha also makes an appearance from the nearby Baradi Satra, and gets to meet Dol-Gobinda and Kaliya Thakur. Devotees of every age and gender, irrespective of caste, creed and community celebrate with a spontaneous expression of joy by playing with coloured powder and singing Holi songs in unison, that really heighten the spirit of the festival.

Holi songs are a unique literary and musical contribution of the cultural heritage of Barpeta Douljatra. The divine music and the rhythm of Holi reverberate in the hearts of the devotees. Written in a religious lyrical style, the Holi songs generally focus on the natural beauty of the Spring season, while at the same time, it also depicts the legend of Radha-Krishna, and their enduring love affair. But Barpeta’s Douljatra is mostly Krishna-centric, as the Assamese Vaishnavite movement does not give that much importance to the character of Radha. Bamboo crashing is also one of the most interesting parts of the last day of Doul Utsav.

All this is colourfully and authentically projected in ‘Holi – The Spirit of Colours’ by director Ranjit Das, who was awed by Barpeta Satra’s cultural vitality. The unique traditional Deul performed with sacred rituals and distinct local flavours will, perhaps, acquaint audiences with our rich and colourful tradition in other parts of the country and abroad, through this documentary. ‘Holi – The Spirit of Colours’ is produced by Debajit Kalita under the banner of UCK Production. Besides directing, Ranjit Das has also designed and written the script. The film’s cinematography has been done by Himangshu Barman, Pranab Medhi and Phulan Das. While the location audiography has been done by Manjit Nath, the 5.1 audio mixing has been conducted by Faruk Iqbal and Chungkham Ingo. The film’s research has been done by Ranjit Das and Manturaj Das, while the narration has been written by eminent writer Munin Bayan, and is narrated by actor Bibhuti Bhushan Hazarika. The English sub-titles are penned by noted writer Dr. Bipuljyoti Saikia. Ranjit Das is assisted in direction by Manturaj Das, while Sanjib Das has worked as the production manager.

It's gonna be a Pink Saturday, this year

13 Feb 2009 - 7:20pm | Monjib Mochahari
This time Valentine’s Day, will undoubtedly be known as ‘Pink Saturday’. Probably historians will have something to write upon and we have something to laugh at. It does gonna to be a big fight between Pink Chaddis versus Pink Sarees. But, nobody seems winning the battle. Neither the Pink Chaddis, nor the Moral CEO-ship Promod Muthalik, achieving anything from this useless campaign. Nevertheless, it does could promote a brand name for moral brigade Muthalik as “Moral Guru”, rather than fighting against him.
I do believe, at the moment it’s a high time to create massive awareness against moral policing or any act which takes away our freedom. But I do totally disapprove of this movement against Muthalik and his Shri Ram Sene activists in the Facebook. Categorically, I prefer not be part joining this campaign. No amount of panties they throw at Muthalik, whatever the color they choose, will not be able fight this social menace. It’s a mere virtual war, heading nowhere. Rather, it’s showing the weakness of the womenfolk. Women should face the reality, not just raise their voice in the virtual manner, where everybody hears but nobody cares for it. The significance of campaign depends on how much it is able to draw people to its genuine cause and consequently how many people are ready to act for it. But, just increase in the number of Facebook registration does not necessarily mean that a large people are really standing for women rights or fighting for individual freedom and liberty. It’s totally a useless campaign. Instead of sticking to the real issue, it’s just diverting the attention of the people from the main issue.
If I ask, especially those who are part of the Facebook campaign to come out in streets to show their sincerity in fighting against moral brigades, probably only a few sections of the people will turn up. May only metro girls will do it. The reason is very simple; there is no leader to organize them. This campaign has also not yet reached the rural women. In fact, violence against women is not only in the metropolitan cities, it very much common even in the rural areas whereby thousands of women are subject not only to physical torture, but emotional and psychological as well, on a routine manner. So, if the battle they are waging for, to succeed it must also mobilize rural women. Unless and until, they are part of the crusade, it really gonna to be a war whereby we battle with paper jets against the foe.
This war ‘Pink Chaddis Vs Pink Condom” is a useless campaign. It’s an insensible, cowardly exercise and just a time pass. No sensible intellectuals will resort to such campaign. This movement should just should not be directed to Muthalik alone, rather it lead to change in the policy of the government. For this, the government must be forced to act upon and consequently people involved in Talibanisation of women should be put behind bars. So, campaign should be directed either to the state or the central government. It’s a state sponsored thugs, therefore the state government must be forced against these anti social elements.
Women empowerment is the only way to women justice. No effort, whatsoever, other than women-empowerment will fail in all its effort. Neither, Renukha Choudhary’s slogan ‘Pub Bharo’ to defeat the so called ‘moral police’ will succeed. Rather than engaging in Pink Chaddis campaign, each one should come forward for women empowerment and this can be achieved only through women education and gender studies must be part of the academic. This is what we should campaign for. Even the China walls can be built centuries back, certainly, we too can fight against anti social elements.