Dr Mrinal Choudhury, a poet by nature, a lyricist , a well-known cultural organizer and president of the cultural body ‘Yuva Tirtha, Asom’ and a senior medical practitioner by profession, who often drew public attention for his philanthropic activities, once again drew attention on Sunday for unique way of celebrating his birthday.
Unlike his other colleagues in their lucrative profession celebrating their birthdays with their families and friends in star category restaurants with imported cakes and dinner parties, Dr Choudhury celebrated his 64th birthday with a difference in a remote village spending time with a veteran folk artiste.
Dr Choudhury moved from Mangaldai to meet Kulendra Nath, a veteran folk artiste and lone survivor exponent of ‘Kali’, a woodwind instrument of traditional Darrangi folk culture in his residence at village Tupamara in Niz-Sipajhar, some 20 km from Mangaldai.
Dr Choudhury sought blessings from the veteran artiste in his early seventies on this special day after greeting him with a ‘Bihuwan’ and sweets.
He also offered a cash amount of Rs 10,000 to meet his necessary day-to-day needs. The highly-overwhelmed septuagenarian artiste, who has been passing his days amidst acute financial crisis, could not control his emotion and offered Dr Choudhury his blessings with a full stretch hug.
Media person Bhargab Kumar Das also accompanied Dr Choudhury on this special occasion. Later, talking to Northeast Now, Dr Choudhury said, “We spent much money every year in the name of celebrating our birth days. But I think instead of spending the amount non-judiciously in the name celebration, we may spare it for a needy one for whom the amount means a lot.”
It may be mentioned that the folk musical instrument ‘Kali’, one of the most important features of the highly-rich traditional folk culture of Darrang district, is on the verge of extinction.
Long back, the ‘Kali’ recital was an integral part of all wedding ceremonies, celebration of pujas and other religious traditional rituals in Darrang and Kamrup districts.
In 1973, Kulendra Nath coming to know about this musical instrument got highly interested and made a thorough search and finally collected it from a villager near Kalaigaon which, at that time, was lying abandoned.
Since then, Kulendra Nath has been performing ‘Kali’ in various weddings and other public functions with traditional Oja Pali recital. Much to the disappointment of culture lovers, even though Kulendra Nath conducted many training programmes over the years and found a few promising trainees, yet till date, not a single young artiste has come forward to learn the art and thus preserve the culture as the ancestor of Kulendra Nath.
“I found some young artistes who had potentials to learn the performing art. But one can’t learn it just within a training period of ten-fifteen days. You need long dedication and hard work, which was missing among them,” lamented folk exponent Nath. However the Department of Cultural Affairs may come forward with a full-proof practical plan for preservation this endangered art.