The Koch dynasty, established by Maharaja Biswa Singh, and expanded by King Naranarayan and Bir Chilarai in the 16th century heralded a golden chapter in Assam’s history. Every year, the State celebrates the birth anniversary of Chilarai, also known as the ‘Kite King’ due to his likeness to a kite in his swiftness of movement on the battlefield. The government has also been conferring Bir Chilarai Award every year since 2005, honouring persons displaying rare courage and bravery.
Despite his glorious achievements, Chilarai has remained largely neglected in the present-day society of Assam. We must remember that his glorious reign has also left behind a large number of cultural relics of great historical significance and research value.
Indrajit Narayan Dev, a noted personality from the film industry and a direct descendant of the Koch Dynasty has recently produced and directed a music video - Na Jujor Ronuwa: The Rebirth of the Koches, which highlights the rich and vibrant history and culture of the Koch community. But most importantly, the music video depicts the ancient edifices and the characteristics of the Koch Dynasty, when so much we ought to be proud of now sadly appears more as ruins of architectural grandeur, a mere shadow of their former glory.
Relics are often viewed as the purveyors of culture, the concrete evidence of the long history and cultural traditions of a state and a people. The decrepit state of these relics, that have got such immense potential to attract tourists from various parts of the country and even abroad, testifies to the sheer negligence on the part of the authorities.
As informed by Indrajit Narayan Dev, apart from highlighting the history and culture, the music video should work as an eye-opener for the government to work for the preservation of such a heritage, which is crumbling – due to environmental influences. The need of the hour is to formulate laws aimed at the protection of ancient relics through preservation and restoration programmes. Dev also feels that such initiatives will not only inspire, but also instill a sense of respect in the new generation to look at their history with pride.
A working still from ‘Na Jujor Ronuwa'
Featuring traditional Koch Rajbongshi folk music and culture, the track written by noted lyricist Ibsonlal Barua, has been rendered by popular singer Joy Barua, who has also composed the song.
A number of princely families of the Koch lineage hailing from Darrang, Bijni, Beltola, Chidli, Cooch Behar and Raikot have contributed with their inputs and ideas to the music video.
A number of artistes from the Koch Rajbongshi community, with their traditional attire, also figure in the video. The video covers different parts of Assam including Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Gouripur and Majuli. In north Bengal, it has covered Cooch Behar, Madhupur, Jalpaiguri, Dinhatta, bordering Bangladesh, banks of the Kosi river in Nepal, Chikanjhar forests, bordering Bhutan, and some places in Jharkand.
Choreographed by Koch David Yor, the video has been edited by Ashim Sarmah, and cinematographed by Amiya Ranjan Das and Raaj Ahmed. While Abani Tanti has handled the sound engineering, Dhruba Rabha has worked as the visual effects supervisor. The video has already been made available on YouTube.