Life suddenly bloomed like the kopou festivity when the spring comes. It is a wonderful feeling of heart and mind where cultural diversities are melted into one cauldron of unity. Laughter, and gaiety, enthusiasm and energy were never in dearth and the whole hearted participation of the Assamese and Bengali artists gave the Rongali Bihu 2018 in Kolkata a glorious height of performance.
It is an interesting fact to know that Assamese culture is promoted through Rongali Bihu in Delhi and Haryana to usher in spring. It shows how culturally Assamese and Bengali people are close and interconnected. The Baul singers with their dotara go hand in hand with young Assamese singers with dhol pepa and gogona. A rare meet a rare experience like this will offer vivacious and exuberant passions which will leave long cherishable memories for all.
Spring is everywhere inspires people to come out for a festive package. From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to the Roman Valentine celebrations everywhere we find spring brings to the mind of the people the sunny feelings of American Cherry Blossoms. People enjoy in Kolkata the beauty of kopou flowers which are really iconic of Assamese culture.
The Kolkata Assamese Cultural Association is a wonderful team of young and veteran artists and writers, dancers and singers who all give the show of Rongali Bihu a brilliant ambience each year during the advent of the spring. Bohag matho ata ritu no hoi (Bohag is not just a season) sang by Bhupen Hazarkia, the legendary cultural ambassador of Assam.
This year too there was no exception. But it was a stormy evening of Sunday and yet the city of joy was resonant with the sounds of dhol, pepa-gogana again on May 13 when the Kolkata Assamese Cultural Association (KACA) showcased the rich and diverse culture of Assam by organising the yearly Rongali Bihu celebration in the prestigious Madhusudan Mancha in the heart of Kolkata with hundreds of Assamese and Bengali family actively participating in the event ably anchored by Pallavi Gogoi.
President of the Association Dipakananda Bharali in his inaugural address focused on the contribution of the KACA for promotion of Assamese cultural edge in the neighbouring states. The highlight of the evening was Simanta Sekhar who amazed the audience with the delightful peppy numbers. The General Secretary of the Association Anuj Gogoi thanked all participants who dared the stormy weather to take part in the colourful event. Prize of the literary contest were announced and Janmoni Nath and Nayanjyoti Bora bagged them. Commendation prizes went to Birinalihir Hathkhowa, Anubhi Bhattacharjee and Orgha Goswami.
The songs of Simanta Sekhar enthralled their ears while the beautiful dances made a colourful feast for their eyes and the impressions were really indelible. Suddenly the drab and dull routine life got a new lease of colourful and melodious spell which will energise them for another full year. Eminent Baul folk artist Padmashree Purnendu Baul was also felicitated as a noble gesture of Assamese -Bengali bhai bhai affinity.
The nationally renowned choreographer Sudarshan Chakraborty and others were also felicitated on this festive display of regional culture, nay the Indian diversity. The programme started with a Mukoli Bihu by the members of the association where others too joined for dancing and also with their cameras taking selfie and doing video recording.
The felicitation with phoolam gamocha is another great eye-pleasing event. The well-dressed Assamese young men in dhoti and punjabi and the women in muga mekhela-sadar gave the occasion a dignity of its own. The Madhusudan Mancha was filled with enthusiastic audience. The students of Padmini Dance Academy paid tribute to their founder late Monideepa Sarkar Mukherjee by performing a beautifully choreographed dance drama which moistened the eyes of many.
The annual publication Sristi, the magazine of KACA was released by the eminent journalist Tamal Kanti Ghosh. The Bihu team of KACA Ramdhenu had their brilliance performance to enthral the audience.
The magazine edited by Ratul Bezbaruah is a wonderful trilingual landmark of literary creativity accommodating writings from all over India in Assamese, Bengali and English.
Dr Ratan Bhattacharjee is the Associate Professor at Dum Dum Motijheel College. He can be reached at [email protected]