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Raas leela celebration concludes

As with the previous years, this year too, the husband-wife duo of Basanta  Kumar Baruah and Bobby Sarma Baruah successfully organised Raas Leela from November 23 to 25, under the banner of BB Creation on a grand scale at the Srimanta Sankaradeva International Auditorium, of the Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati. Besides entertaining, the cultural extravaganza, which has contributed immensely in building intercommunity bridges in Assam, celebrated its 10-year anniversary this year. It all started in the year 2011, with the participation of Bodo, Karbi, Deuri, Mising and tea tribe communities, performing Raas in their own dialects. This year, too, the artistes of the Asom Nepali Natya Sammelan from Behali and Narayanpur performed Raas Leela under the banner of BB Creation. 

Till 2009, the culturally conscious people in Assam have been witnessing the Raas festival in Majuli in the form of Bhaona or in the form of idols depicting the Sishu Leela of Lord Krishna in places of Lower Assam like Nalbari, Barpeta, Howly, Mirza, etc. However, from 2009 onwards, it has been made possible for the people of Guwahati to enjoy the various nuances of this highly traditional and revered Sattriya culture through the endeavour of Guwahati-based Basanta Kumar Baruah, who is the founder secretary of BB Creation as well as the producer-director of Raas Leela. The play ‘Sri Krishna Purnanga Raasleela’ has integrated various ethnic groups, and It has, in the process, played a vital role in espousing the rich cultural legacy and also strengthening the thread of brotherhood as well as unity and amity among the different communities in the State. 

It’s worthy to be mentioned that this unique Vaishnavite culture was performed in New Delhi on November 5, 2017 last under the aegis of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with Cultural Affairs Department of Assam, attracting huge crowds.  The grand spectacle succeeded in arousing audiences interests one again when Basanta Kumar Baruah presented Sampurna Raas Leela at the 8th World Theatre Olympic festival this year, at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre in Kolkata. It was a memorable experience for the entire cast and crew of BB Creation. 

The design and shape of the Sampurna Raas Leela was completely revitalised this year with greater refinement of means in performance and presentation, in compliance with the Raas Kriya episode of Sankardeva’s Kirtan Ghosa. The participation of popular movie stars also helped in the great number of audience attendance. The three day festival was presided over by a host of dignitaries. The opening day of Raas Leela on November 23 was inaugurated by Chief Vigilance Commissioner of Assam, Himangshu Sekhar Das. The presentation of the show on the opening day showcased the performances of film actress Aime Baruah, veteran stage actor Debabrat Dutta, Diganta Bhuyan, Mun Rajib, Rajib Kro, Manoj Das, Mantu Gogoi, Bipul Baruah, Chandan Misra, Suman Teronpi, Larci Im Kropi, Rib Rib Ti Kropi, Tanushree Kalita, Satarupa Das, Alish Sheikh, among others. 

The second day’s proceedings were inaugurated by the Chief General Manager of the State Bank of India, Sunil Tandon. Keeping with the tradition, the souvenir – Monikut, was released by the eminent litterateur and former President of the Asam Sahitya Sabha, Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora. The star cast was led by popular artiste Barasha Rani Bishaya, who was ably supported by rising star Saranga Bordoloi. 

The shows were packed with more than a thousand people each day, making it a memorable and a highly successful event.  It has been observed that several hundreds were left stranded outside the auditorium. Apart from the energetic performances by the cast of artistes, the lavish settings and traditional decor made the audiences awestruck. The play also owes a lot to the painstaking directorial efforts of Basanta Kumar Baruah, who ensured that his vision was faithfully interpreted. 

 The Raas Leela dances were directed by noted artiste Naren Chandra Baruah. Lighting was done under the supervision of Tapan Kumar Baruah.

The final day of the show was inaugurated by the General Secretary of Asom Nepali Natya Sammelan, Purna Kumar Sarma, with the lighting up of the traditional lamp by Pranjal Saikia, who is the President of BB Creation. Raas was presented by Nepali artistes in their own dialect. The crowds and connoisseurs alike were highly impressed by the quality and creativity of the performances on all three days.

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Nation forgets Gandhi’s ideals

13 Oct 2012 - 3:33pm | Daya Nath Singh

Mahatma Gandhi had expressed his clear view on the importance of ‘healthy work culture’ in the Harijan newspaper of 15th October, 1938, emphasizing on hard work by the people of the country, for attaining the goal of freedom. He dared to declare as ‘declaring my birthday as a holiday should be treated as a cognizable offence’. This was a clear indication that the “Great Soul’ was confident of the might of his people, which later on succeeded in bringing freedom to the country. His experiments on Swadeshi movement brought good results. But the present situation has completely changed the whole thing and his dreams are shattered.

Unfortunately, with his assassination in 1948, his ideals and teaching were thrown out in the wilderness. His followers used his name, teachings and ideals for making wealth and playing politics. His soul might have felt tremendous pain on the day the Government of India declared his birthday, the 2nd October, as a National Holiday. This decision ignoring his wishes was a great ‘dishonor’ to him. From there the ruling parties in the country started distancing from his ideals. No doubt they kept crying for Gandhian philosophy and remembering his ideals at all critical times.

Ignoring his sentiments and ideals for long sixty five years, efforts are on to underplay his teachings and increasing holidays from time to time, with intention to make the people idle by reducing their working capability. It is only in India, where maximum holidays are allowed. The practice of demanding more and more holidays in the industries and offices are continuing regularly. It is unfortunate, when the country needs more work for development and prosperity, our people demand more holidays. More holidays means reduction in working capability of our people.

On the one hand, when there is necessity of hard work due to economic globalization to, counter the challenges of multinational organizations; our country prefers reducing working ability of our people. Whereas there is necessity of increasing ‘work culture’ to bring the country at par with developed nations, the tradition of increasing holidays at work places leads to reducing working capabilities of our people. Politicians and trade unionists are equally responsible for this sort of affairs. Mere slogans cannot lead the nation on the path of progress. It needs hard work and foresightedness in planning. Development needs more work and fewer holidays. Developed nations increase production by reducing holidays and increasing working hours to increase per capita working capability. In Indian politics there is a ‘conspiracy’ going on to reduce capability of our people. Power hungry politicians having interest in multinational companies are busy to get the benefit out of this practice. On the other hand our trade union leaders mislead the workforce over various issues demanding to keep their leadership alive. It is unfortunate; these leaders demand more holidays and other benefits instead of encouraging the workers to increase production, so that the industry may be compelled to pay them more. Due to high illiteracy and lack of right understanding, exploitation of workforce is continuing. Working force fail to understand whether their prosperity depends on more work or on holidays.

Government of India has adopted the policy of five days working in a week, which ultimately leads to delaying disposal of works. Not only this, out of 365 days of year, about 25 national, 104 Sundays and Saturdays, besides 65 privilege leaves, casual and medical leaves, provisions are already there. By this way about 2oo days of the year a worker enjoys as holidays. The state governments on the other hand declare local and festival holidays in addition to all these. Another fact that Bandh culture has spread in the country at large scale now a days. On various issues and petty matters any organization declares bandh and it is found that the people give good response to that and enjoy extra holidays. As much misuse and negligence of human resources is done in India, nowhere in the world one can find. Several small nations have attained their position in the developed countries because of proper use of human resources and India is lagging behind even after 65 years of independence... It is not enough to pay homage to the Great Soul by putting flowers on his Samadhi from time to time. It is time to follow his ideals and make the country self sufficient in the fields of agriculture and industries, which can provide work for all and prosperity for the country.

Assam students excel in global scientific project on water

16 May 2013 - 8:44pm | Abdul Gani
Three teams of school children from Assam – two from Nagaon and one from Tezpur in Sonitpur district – have made excellent presentation in a global teleconferencing coordinated by the civil engineering department of North Dakota State University of the USA on Wednesday on their project on Rediscovering Water. At the final review after the teleconferencing, the coordinator from North Dakota State University commented that the projects presented were interesting and seemed to be sustainable. “Now we are exploring how we can give some scholarships to these children so that they can continue these particular studies to further level". Rediscovering Water is an International initiatives of North Dakota State University of USA for popularising method of science among the school children. The programme is aimed at stimulating research in water and waste-water and train the younger generation with the skills necessary to carry out scientific research to purify water and make it available to mankind and others in our environment.

The programme has been necessitated as there is lots of water in this world but very less to drink. The programme facilitates some basic research globally so as to come with a up a design to treat human urine and greywater (water from baths, sinks, and washing machines) in order to make the finished water drinkable. The project explores Wastewater Recycling possibilities using standard Engineering Process Design.

Children participants in the project will learn how to work in a group environment, how to carry out scientific research, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, design a treatment system to treat wastewater, learn that failures teach us lessons too and learn how to maintain a research notebook Participating in a teleconferencing organised by North Dakota State University, team of children researchers from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Tezpur University earned accolade for their presentation on ‘use of blue-green algae to remove unwanted salt in water in order to reduce alkalinity’ and treatment development. The team of children scientist was coordinated by Tezpur University in the teleconferencing.

Similarly, two teams of children scientists who were coordinated by Society for Socio-economic Awareness and Environment Protection (SSEAEP), made presentation on their work in the teleconferencing which was held in NIC conference hall in Nagaon. The teams were from Sankardev Sisu Bidya Nekaton and Nowgong Bengali Girls’ High School. Bidya Niketan team made presentation on their project on designing a filtration processing through improvisation of traditional sand, stone and charcoal filter where soft sand, activated carbon, rough sand, pebbles, s tones, filter paper used for iron, turbidity and hardness removal and lime, salt, Kolakhar, filter paper used for bacteria treatment.

The Bengali Girls’ High School team made presentation on their work on ‘Iron Removal from water collected from tube well using charcoal’. Setting ball rolling for the teleconferencing, Dean Faculty of Engineering Sciences of North Dakota State University, Prof. Gary Smith said, “This is an initiative to develop a young scientific brigade all over the world who can solve different environment related problems faced by the human beings through different scientific approaches.”

Prof Mihir Kumar Choudhury, VC of Tezpur University in his comments during the tele-conference appreciated the initiative and interesting research approach to inculcate method of science among young children.

ULFA section declares ceasefire

27 Jun 2008 - 2:31pm | editor

ULFA leader Mrinal Hazarika addressing the media in a press conference organised under the 28th Battalion of ULFA at a ULFA camp on 26-06-08. The A and C companies of powerful 28th battalion of the ULFA declared an Unilateral Ceasefire few days back.

Pix by UB Photos.