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Bhasa Sanskriti Milan Utsav held

The 13th Bhasha Sanskriti Milan Utsav 2019 – a cultural event, organised by the state’s well-known socio-cultural organisation Byatikram MASDO (Mass Awareness and Social Development Oraganisation), successfully concluded at the Pragjyotish ITA Centre, Machkhowa, Guwahati, recently. The five-day event, held to mark the Mother Language Day - a day celebrated annually on February 21 worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, multilingualism and the preservation and protection of languages, saw several cultural programmes, discussions, book launches, poets’ meets, art exhibitions, felicitations, among others, where several artistes and noted figures from Bangladesh and Assam participated.

This year, Bhasha Sanskriti Milan Utsav 2019, that took place from February 21 to 25, chiefly comprised of three main events - Ekkushe Samman, Kobitar Anusthaan, and an art exhibition titled ‘Jugalbandi’ in addition to a live performance by the noted folk band Dohar.

The special celebration on February 23 kicked-off with an art exhibition titled ‘Jugalbandi’ presented by noted fine arts artistes from Bangladesh - Jamal Hossain and Abida Hossain, which perfectly captured the individuals’ passion and strength,  followed by a scintillating live performance by the Kolkata-based folk band Dohar, which has played a significant role in popularising Bengali and Assamese folk music. The art exhibition was graced by the eminent artist Noni Borpujari, noted singer Manisha Hazarika, Usharanjan Bhattacharya, Assistant High Commissioner and Head of Mission, Bangladesh High Commission, Dr Shah Mohammad Tanvir Monsur, Hasan Arif, among others. On the occasion, Borpujari recalled being profoundly enriched by a trip to Bangladesh, which possesses a diverse and extremely rich folklore, art and cultural heritage.  “I consider myself extremely fortunate to witness Jamal Hossain’s art work for the first time, and they are a testimony to his wonderful artistry,” said Dr Monsur.  “I can never forget how India stood with Bangladesh during the Liberation War. We are eternally grateful to India for that. On that good note, we have always maintained cordial relations with the country and its regional players. Off course, I would like to offer my special thanks to Byatikram and its President Dr Saumen Bharatiya, who has been playing a pivotal role in deepening our relationship with Assam for so many years now,” said Hasan Arif. Dr Bharatiya on his part spoke about the importance of organising an event like Bhasha Sanskriti Milan Utsav on the occasion of Mother Language Day, which has now stepped into its 13th year. “Even organisations like the Asam Sahitya Sabha and the Karbi Anglong District Sahitya Sabha have been observing Mother Language Day, which has gained broad appeal and momentum with people hailing from different backgrounds,” he added. The noted guests Bidhan Dasgupta, Manoj Rai, Udayan Biswas, Dipankar Kar, Bangladesh’s Sheela Mustafa and Munni Saha, among others, were felicitated on the occasion. The special segment of the cultural evening - Kobitar Anusthaan, saw the participation of noted artistes from the neighbouring country. The day started with a sitar recital by Debidatta De of Guwahati. De, who  completed her BMusic degree from Kolkata, Allahabad and Lucknow universities, kept the audience at the Pragjyotish ITA Centre spellbound with her dexterous display of sitar playing. The talented artiste, who is training under eminent sitar exponents Prodyumna Das and Indra Konwar, has already performed in a series of musical concerts and cultural evenings in various places, not just in the State, but also in various parts of the country. Debidatta De’s distinct style of playing is a development of the Maihar gharana school of playing to which her first guru, the eminent exponent of sitar Prodyumna Das, who was a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar, belongs.

Shankar Lal Goenka being felicitated with the Ekkushe Samman during the 13th Bhasha Sanskriti Milan Utsav 2019

As it was early evening, De chose  to play the Raga Yaman. She started with a short alap, followed by a beautiful drut gat, along with several tans, Bol tans, toda, vistars and jhala. A full-time ‘Art of Living’ teacher, Debidatta De has performed as a opening act in live shows by eminent ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas, popular Bengali singer Aditi Munsi, Kolkata-based prominent singer of Rabindra Sangeet Lopamudra Mitra, Rabindra Sangeet exponent from Bangladesh Rezwana Choudhury Banya, etc.

The awarding of the ‘Ekkushe Samman’ is a tradition that recognises the most eminent scholars, who have contributed immensely in safeguarding their respective mother languages. The award acknowledges the committed endeavours of people striving to promote the significance and awareness of mother languages and cultural diversity. This year, the Ekkushe Samman was presented to five individuals for their exceptional contributions in their chosen fields of work. Veteran film producer Shankar Lal Goenka was awarded - for his influential work in the social sphere, popular actor Jatin Bora - for his contribution to Assamese Cinema, Dr Maniklal Bhowmick - for his work in the field of literature, Nibedita Tarafdar, a well-known dancer, for her contribution to the field of theatre and dance, and Sankha Subhra Devbarman, Regional Director, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, for his contribution in the field of Literature.

On the occasion, a tribute function dedicated to the memory of renowned folk singer, researcher and co-founder of the band Dohar, Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya took place with the keen participation of a number of people, including his better-half Ritacheta Goswami, his daughter Ashabori Bhattacharya, Nandini Chakraborty, among others.

The range of programmes also coincided with a book release function. No event organised by Byatkram MASDO is complete without a book release. ‘Boguli Pokhi Aru Haramai Bhattrita’, written by Jamal Hussain, and Mangala Bhattacharjee’s ‘Moner Akashe’ was released on the occasion. An MOU signed between the Asam Sahitya Sabha and the Bangladesh Sanskritik Mancha Guth took place on the final day of the event.

It has to be mentioned here that the people of Bangladesh, who fought for their right to speak their mother tongue, have been celebrating February 21 as the Mother Language Day since 1952, when students sacrificed their lives for the recognition of Bengali as one of the state languages of Pakistan. In 1999, UNESCO declared February 21 as the International Mother Language Day, when a draft resolution, tabled by the Bangladesh government, was unanimously adopted during the plenary meeting of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaiming the day as the International Mother Language Day.  
The fundamental aim of Byatikram MASDO, which has been organising this festival for the past 12 years, is to create awareness on the need to preserve and promote one’s mother tongue through the medium of literature and performing arts, stress the importance of cultural diversity and at the same time, find some underlying common elements which unify the diverse cultures of India and Bangladesh.


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Prez sacks Rajkhowa

13 Sep 2016 - 12:57pm | AT News

Finally, the Centre has removed JP Rajkhowa as Arunachal Pradesh. The move got seal of approval from President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday evening following Union home minister Raj Nath Singh confirmed the NDA Government’s displeasure with the former Assam Chief Secretary.

The Centre sent feelers twice to Rajkhowa to wash his hands off on health ground. But Rajkhowa refused to do so even after the Supreme Court snubbed him for his inefficient handling of the Nabam Tuki Government issue.

Now Rajkhowa has confirmed the development saying that he has never been hankering after any post.

Assam Times broke the inside story a couple of weeks back when the he was kept under pressure to quit.

East India wakes up to Guwahati Int'l Music Fest

1 Dec 2012 - 7:31pm | Aiyushman Dutta

Three days of fun, frolic and non-stop music marked the second edition of the Guwahati International Music Festival. One of the only such festivals in the eastern part of the country, more than 200 artists from as many as 6 countries took part in the mega event. The festival was organized by Eastern Beats Music Society with the support of Assam Tourism, NTPC and NEEPCO.

From Jazz to Blues, Classical to Rock – Guwahatians were spoilt for choice as some of the biggest names in the music industry descended in the Northeast. For the visiting artistes too, it was an excellent opportunity to network with the virtuoso musicians of the far-flung region of the country.

Bickram Ghosh, Snehasish Mazumdar and Sound of Mandolin (SOM) from New York, virtuoso drummer Greg Ellis from USA, legendary anti-establishment Bangladeshi rockstar-philopsopher Mac Haque, Sufi prodigy Manmohan Thapaliya from Nepal, Rishiii Chowdhury from UK, Harris Khan from Holland were the visiting artists who actually networked with the folk musicians of the region, thereby initiating a wonderful round of cross-cultural exchange.

Manmohan, who is a faculty member in the Indian Council for Cultural Research in Kathmandu, said, “When I came to Guwahati, I never expected the kind of networking that was in store for us. I have had a great time knowing and interacting with all the fantastic guitarists here. I am coming here again to experiment further with Sufi music and Northeastern folk.”

The festival kicked off on the evening of November 23 with a fascinating symphony of 100 Sitars which was conducted by eminent Sitarist Hem Hazarika. The 100-member troupe, which was dressed in traditional white Assamese attire – men in Kurtas and women in mekhela chador – performed a 15-minute recital based on a pahari tune. Needless to say, the visual array and sweet melody kept everyone glued to their chairs and provided an excellent example of what was lined up for them for the next three days.

Padmabhushan awardee Pt Buddhadeb Dasgupta, despite his ill health, also arrived in the city for the inaugural performance. Despite doubts about his performance capability on account of his growing age, the octogenarian, who has taken the Sarod to the entire world, kept the audience spellbound with his hour-long recital. He was accompanied by virtuoso Tablist Gopal Mishra and Mallar Rakshit.

Pt Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s performance was sponsored by ITC Sangeet Research Academy – the sole institute working for the development of classical music in the country. SRA, which has produced some of the finest musicians of the country, also took auditions for their institute from talented musicians from the region. The instituted also sponsored the performance of Pt Anniruddh Bhattacharya, who is presently blazing across the national circuit, in a bid to revive the dormant classical music scenario of the Northeast.

The highlight of the entire festival, however, was undoubtedly the performance of master percussionist Bickram Ghosh and his popular troupe Rhythmscape. For more than an hour, he kept the packed 3000-capacity Shilpgram amphitheatre on their toes as they clapped in unison to his beats. He was accompanied on the drums by Greg Ellis from the US.

Bickram Ghosh’s performance was preceded by the spell-binding performance of Snehasish Mazumdar and his troupe SOM. Mazumdar, who hails from Kolkata, has developed a double-necked mandolin and adapted the typical western instrument to the Hindustani style. His troupe SOM was selected as the winner in the Battle of Boroughs and performs regularly in the US.

Needless to say, GIMF gave the people of the Northeast an excellent opportunity to watch some of the most interesting musical trends of the world. As Dr. Nandan Phukan, who came to watch the event, said, “I never knew that such interesting work was being done with the Mandolin. The other performers too have been a pleasant delight to watch. I would rate this festival as one of the best in the entire country.”

A national rock competition was also held during the festival and the finals of which were held on the third day. From the 17 bands which went to the last three rounds, heavy metal Tickstock were declared the winners. The judges for the competition were Mumbai-based Guwahatian drummer Ambar Das, bassist Larry from Shillong and vibraphone player Ralph Kamphuis from Germany.

The highlight of the final day however was the performance of the guest bands – UDX from Nagaland and Scavenger Project from Mizoram. UDX had recently performed in Kazakhstan while Scavenger Project has one of the largest fan followings in the entire country. Such was the craze of the audience that they even overthrew the barricades and made a rush to the stage for 5-odd minutes before the organizers could finally push them back.

All in all, GIMF was a major success and is sure to translate as one of the biggest festivals in the country in the years to come.

IED recovered in Longpotia, Sivasagar

29 Jan 2009 - 2:52am | shariefzamanborah
Acting on a tip-off, SDPO of Sonari along with Army and CRPF personal recovered an IED of weight 1 kg above from Longpotia near Sonari in Sivasagar district around 7.30 pm today. The IED was placed under a railway bridge in Longpotia; no one has been arrested so far in this connection.