While Shilpi Divas was celebrated in different parts of Assam with remembrance of Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla and recitals of his songs and poems, the one at the Theater Hall here took on an added dimension of a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
While singers, dancers and artists including drama, folk and other genre congregated under the banner of Samuh Shilpi Samaj, Jorhat to participate in the protest through patriotic songs and recitals, former three-times Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi dropped in uninvited while on his way to Titabar, the constituency he represents.
Gogoi added his voice with a recital of a song of Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla and a dialogue from a drama which told the tale of martyr Piyali Barua.
All the protest songs and dialogue were from the repertoire of the literary giant Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla, who also gave Assam it’s first movie, ‘Joymati’.
The event was organized and started by singer Jayanta Nath and continued for more than two hours with about 50 artistes participating.
Nath said the protest songs were mostly of patriotic and regional flavour rousing one to be ready to walk through fire if required as the Assamese identity was at stake.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was in the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill proposes to give citizenship to all religious communities except Muslims who have faced persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
This comes in contradiction to the Assam Accord which has March 24, 1971 as the cut off year for accepting migrants and does not differentiate between Muslims and Hindus, especially Bangladeshi Hindus, which have illegally entered reportedly in large numbers, post the cut off year.