Monthly Archives: January 2010

illusion

I drown every day.

In the roar of vehicles,
Which zip by me.
In the murmur of people,
Who walk past me.

I drown every day.
In the power of speech.
In the magic of words.

Yes, I do drown
In its beauty, in its grace.
Amazed with its mysticism,
Awed with the hypocrisy.

Yes, I do drown in this illusion.

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‘Phir Mile Sur’ a big disappointment

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, the iconic anthem written by Piyush Pandey with which thousands of Indians of a particular generation grew up, had recently been re-shot in a new avatar. The new version was released in Mumbai on Republic Day earlier this week.
The popularity of the original version of this anthem cannot be gauged in words as it was highly successful in generating patriotic fervor among the masses. The original video featured some of the most popular Indians of that era, like Amitabh Bacchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Jitendra, dancer Mallika Sarabhai, cartoonist Mario Miranda, filmmaker Mrinal Sen, Sunil Gangopadhyay, author Annadashankar Ray, singers Bhimsen Joshi, M Balamuralikrishna, Lata Mangeshkar, Suchitra Mitra and sportspersons Narendra Hirwani, S Venketaraghavan, Prakash Padukone, amongst many others.
The sweet melody of the original version, coupled with the different tunes and ragas incorporated from various parts of the country, made one instantly feel proud of the country. The initiative to bring out the video in a completely new avatar to suit contemporary needs is indeed a commendable initiative as it is time to rouse those feelings of patriotism once again in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
However, I was greatly disappointed when I watched the new version of this anthem, Phir Mile Sur, which has been composed by Louis Banks and which features a host of artistes from the entertainment world. Incidentally, Louis Banks had also composed the original 1988 version along with late P Vaidyanathan. The celebrities which feature in the new video are Amitabh Bacchan, his son Abhishek and Aishwarya Bacchan, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Shilpa Shetty, among many other personalities from all walks of life.
Basically, I could not find any sense of rhythm or melody in the new song. There was no flow as such and the whole song had well-coordinated stretches which were incorporated in a haphazard manner. It is a big disappointment and I feel they would have done better had they stayed even somewhat closer to the original concept. I am also distressed at the way the video has been picturised. Has India today become limited only to Bollywood? This is what one feels after watching the video, which has celebrities from Bollywood being the sole representatives of the Indian spirit.
The Northeast again has been totally left out of the picture with its only representative being a failing, old Bhupen Hazarika humming a Bengali number. While this is definitely an issue that needs to be taken up by our intellectuals and learned people, we should also start thinking as to how many people from the region have actually achieved something to have merited a place in the video in the first place.
All in all, a big disappointment. Both the video and also our Indian culture, if it has indeed become what the video depicts it to be.

Cleave wins Red Ribbon Superstar Idol

The Red Ribbon Superstar Idol contest is a mega music competition organized by the Manipur State Aids Control Society (MSACS) to spread awareness about HIV and AIDS through music. The competition, which targets youths between the age group of 15 to 29 years, has already attained huge popularity amongst the youngsters of the States. This time around, popular band from Imphal West, Cleave, outshone the other bands to win the Red Ribbon Superstar Manipur Idol 2009-10.
As part of the campaign, MACS had organized musical concerts at the district level since November last year. The finals saw all the winners and position holders in the district level competitions battle it out for the winners crown of Manipur Idol.
As many as 17 bands had participated in the event held at BOAT, Palace Compound. The winner of the contest, Cleave, won the prize money of Rs 50,000, while Exodus from Ukhrul district won the second prize of Rs 20,000. The best vocalist award went to Rubicons of Imphal West and Friends Band. Both of them walked away with Rs 15,000 each.
At a time when this dreaded disease has eaten into the very vitals of Northeastern society, it is imperative that more awareness is generated among the people, especially among the younger section who are more vulnerable to this epidemic. Music is a medium that can bind hearts as well as divide barriers. Given the vibrant music scenario of the region, music, if properly used, can be an excellent tool to reach out to the masses, especially the younger generation, and alert them on the danger.

Remembering an elusive genius

The year 2010 began on a really enthusiastic and lively note as fans, admirers, enthusiasts, followers, disciples, addicts, et al, of the works of the elusive Saurav Kumar Chaliha gathered in the Lakhiram Barua Sadan of Guwahati to discuss the oeuvre of the prolific writer. The meet was organized by the Saurav Kumar Chaliha Anuragi Sangstha. Talking about the meet, an organizer said, “January 1 is supposed to be a day of Chaliha for sharing certain ‘Bhal khabar’ (Good News) to the newspaper readers. As such the ‘Saurav Kumar Chaliha Anuragi Sangstha’ has selected this specific date for their discussion.”
He further said, “Sourabh Kumar Chaliha is a nameless and faceless writer of Assam, albeit a highly honored one at that. For nearly six decades, he has existed only through his writings and voice – short stories, plays, anthologies and translations, radio talks, etc. With little biography, no official photograph and no so-called interview(s), he is more elusive than the famous American recluses Thomas Pynchon, and JD Salinger.” Chaliha was conferred with two major literary awards – the Sahitya Academi Award in 1974 and Assam Valley Literary Award in1995. He accepted them but not in person; he accepted one by post and the other through one of his relatives.
Prof. Ranjit Kumar Dev Goswami was the chairperson of the meeting, and the appointed speaker was Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Dr. Dhrubajyoti Bora. Noted scriptwriter Ranjit Sarma opened the discussion with a significant evaluation of SKC’s works. The meeting was convened to discuss the possibilities of translating the works of Sourabh Kumar Chaliha to different languages, the development and maintenance of a professional website on the writer, and also the collection of the films, videos and radio talks based on the literary works of the genius, amongst others.
The added attraction of the event was the screening of a film “Asanta Electron”, directed by Kaushik Nath, which was based on the first short story of the same title by Chaliha. Chaliha says that he “penned it down (the story) for the cash prize of Rs. 30 in order to pay the arrears of the nearby cigarette shop’. A total of 57 characters have been used by Kaushik Nath in the film. While Naba Medhi and Sudip Prakash Barua are the enact the lead roles of Nikhil and Ranjan respectively, the other actors are Indra Bania, Jayanta Bhagawati, Inu Barua, Arun Hazarika, Madhusmita Barkakoti, amongst others.

International Film Festival on in city

Guwahati, the gateway to the Northeast, is once again witnessing a mega international film festival, which started earlier this week. I am talking about the 2nd Guwahati International Film Festival organized by the Cine Arts Society, Assam (CineASA) for the second consecutive year. Following the stupendous success of the first edition of the festival, this year’s festival has a much bigger and better package with more than 40 international films being screened, much to the delight of film lovers of the region.
The 2nd CineASA Guwahati International Film Festival 2010 was inaugurated on January 18 last by Assam Governor JB Patnaik. The festival kicked off with the screening of the Sri Lankan film, ‘Akasha Kusum’. The highlight of the screening was the presence of Prasanna Vithange, an eminent filmmaker from the island nation and the director of the movie. The movies in the festival are being screened in different locations of the city, which includes Rabindra Bhawan, Gauhati University, IIT Guwahati, Janokee Panjabari, amongst others.
The festival programme includes a retrospective of Pedro Almodovar, a tribute section on the works of acclaimed South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki Duk, a Focus section to showcase the best of the Iranian films by directors like Mahsin Makhmalbaf, Mazid Mazidi, Abbas Kiarostemi, Bahman Ghobadi. On occasion of fifty years of French New Wave, films of Jean Luc Godard, François Trauffaut and Claude Chabrol and in the Romanian New Wave section films like ‘Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days’ by Christian Munglo will also be screened. Apart from these sections, a package of highly acclaimed Asian and European films, which bagged awards at Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Lucama, Pusan, Karlovy Vary and London International film festivals, will be screened in the festival as well. In the Colors of India section National award winning films like Girish Kasarvalli’s ‘Golabi Talkies’ and Shivajee Chandrabhushan’s ‘Frozen’, Bapaditya Banerjee’s latest film ‘Houseful’ and Mazhar Kamran’s ‘Mohandas’ are scheduled for screening.
There are two entries from Assam for the film festival, which include: ‘Aai Kot Nai’ by Manju Bora and ‘Dhunia Tirutabor’ by Pradyut Kumar Deka. The closing movie of the festival will see the screening of ‘The Other Bank’ by George Ovashvili, which bagged the Silver Mayur award at recently concluded International film festival of India held at Panaji.
Like last year, a short film competition is also being organized this year and the short listed films will be screened in the North East Shorts section. Three awards will be given to the best film, best director and Jury’s special mention and awards will be presented by eminent film maker Jahnu Barua in the concluding function to be held tomorrow evening. Apart from simultaneous screenings at all four venues, interactive sessions among viewers are being held. Three open forum sessions are also being held in the Rabindra Bhavan premises.
The Guwahati International Film Festival is truly a wonderful initiative by CineASA and can be described to be a real treat for cine lovers of our region. It is indeed heartening to note that the festival has improved considerably since last year. Truly a wonderful initiative.

“The term ‘Guru’ is being misused…”

“The term ‘Guru’ is being misused…”

For someone who has devoted his whole life to music, the present scenario of classical music in the state can be hurtful. And so it is for eminent Sitarist of Assam, Hem Hazarika. His is a name which needs no introduction in the state for he is the person responsible for giving the Sitar the very status, which it enjoys in the state today. He is known for his obsession with hard work and the urge to better his art. Not only in Sitar, Hazarika has spread his conceptual skills in other musical instruments too, like the Surbahar, Hawain Guitar and Santoor. Hem da, as his is lovingly called, has ensured that his musical genius passes over to his son Subhankar as well, who has turned out to be a very good fiddler. Subhankar is the first Assamese musician to be selected as a scholar of IT SRA, Calcutta and is very much on the way to replace his dad as the front runner of the Sitar in Assam. In a frank and candid discussion with The Sentinel, Hem Hazarika lambasted the present musical scenario and the intense lobbies at work which has been the main factor responsible for the dearth of new musical talents in the state. His son also offers his views at times.

• What, according to you, is the scenario of Classical music in the state?

Hem Hazarika: The Classical music scene has really improved a lot from the previous days. A lot of new people are playing though the whole meaning of music has got lost somewhere down the line. After Parveen (Sultana) left, no musician has come up who is even anywhere near her musical genius. The main problem is that there is no one to guide the upcoming musicians, to show them the road. The road which they are taking presently is way out of the track.
One can talk about the environment but ultimately, it depends upon the self. The armchair critics will and are blaming it on the lack of a proper musical environment but who makes the environment? Even in the sphere of studies, has the environment changed from where it was a few years back? Why is it improving then? The moot question remains where are we taking our instruments and sadly, no one is doing anything in this regard.
The society has such a big role to play to encourage the immense pool of young and talented artists. Who is harnessing these talents? They don’t even have a good teacher to guide them and the word ‘Guru’ is being misused.

• How is the term ‘Guru’, being misused? Please illustrate your statement a bit.

The road to learning an instrument is very difficult and as such, the Guru’s responsibilities are enormous. Just learning music from books and imparting them to youngsters doesn’t make one a teacher. ‘Guru’ is a big word and a Guru is responsible not only for making his disciples pass their examinations, but also pass on to them everything that he has learned. In the field of academics, a teacher cannot just teach the basics of a subject to someone who has reached his graduate level and then leave him to fend for himself. As a Guru, it is your duty to ensure that you teach him till his post-graduate levels so that he is at least equipped to fend for himself. After he has reached that level, nobody needs a Guru to show them the way, but just someone to guide him.
Again, the Guru should be a performing artist otherwise he’ll never be able to impart lessons on performing arts. If someone who has never played in a football match is made the coach of an International football team, you can imagine the condition of the players. Same is the case with Classical music. The experience of performing should be foremost for a proper and good Guru. After all, it’s the Guru who shows his disciple the immense expanse of the ocean of music through his renditions.

• What is your view of the new artists of the state?

Most of the artists here are nothing more than copy-paste artists. Reciting a poem doesn’t make one a poet and repeatedly playing the dhuns made famous by others, does not make one an artist. When you compose your own song and perform it – right or wrong does not matter – you are a true artist. Even if you were not correct while playing, you have the satisfaction that you at least tried. When we play a raag, it should have our own flavour though retaining the basics of the same. If you ask ten Sitarists to play their own version of the Emon raag, then you are bound to get ten different type of sounds. And if you ask the same thing to the present day musicians of the state, you are bound to get the same sound from each one of them. You can compare it with the essay writing competitions that are held in schools where everyone writes the same essay when they are cheating. Even for Television and radio shows, we (earlier artists) know where to cut the tune so that it meets the requirements of the director. I can’t say the same thing about today’s artists. When you are making a shirt, you should also know how to handle a scissor. Just cutting the cloth doesn’t make a shirt, you should know where and how to cut. It all comes down to the lack of a proper ‘Guru’ for these musicians.
Subhankar adds: Why is Calcutta so famous as far as classical music is concerned? Over there, the students are taught to build structures for building houses and buildings. But here, the students are taught just to build the houses. They end up building the same set of houses throughout their career and cannot even move out from their own houses. Isn’t it sad?

• You mean that the present state of classical music is due to the lack of proper guides?

What is the parameter of judging talent? We have hundreds of Visarats coming up every year but are they anywhere near the standards of the musical icons of the state, leave alone the country? Examinations are not and should never be a parameter for judging talent. You don’t need to be a musician to appreciate music. Every normal person in the world has the power to distinguish amongst the seven tunes. You do not need classical training to compose a Bihu song which is very much within the purview of the seven surs. You need a Guru to bring out the emotions of the instrument, give it life. Is that happening here?
Just knowing Badi-sambadi, Bibadi, That, Pakkar, Arohan-Aburhon does not make you know a raag. Its just an introduction to a raag like an address. Letters will go to the address but to know the person residing at the address, you have to develop cordial relationships with the person. To know a raag, you have to develop a relationship with it through your instrument. For that, you need Sadhana. Raags are very much similar and you should have a relationship with them, if you are to distinguish between them. The Guru does it who also teaches the disciple to learn to listen to songs and further expand his musical acumen. This Guru-sishya relationship and the said culture is missing here. The main drawback here is that students don’t even know their own levels and need some other person to judge their capabilities, on their behalf. This is not good.

• How is the present teaching method at fault?

Those who are pursuing music today are not going about in a systematic way. I have found it amongst my present students who were earlier learning under others. They have not even learnt the basics of ‘taal’ and ‘loy’ and still are so much obsessed with ‘taal’ and ‘loy’. We have so many fantastic Bihu, Lokgeet and Bogeet singers. Have they ever learnt about ‘taal’? In our present system, it is put into the mind of the student that ‘taal’ and ‘loy’ should be perfect. As a result, many people leave the art midway though the course. When a person comes to learn music out of interest, he will naturally stop learning when such rigorous strictures are imposed upon him. Many people sing popular sings without having any knowledge of ‘taal’. And as I said, ever normal person has ‘loy’ in his blood. And when ‘loy’ is present, ‘taal’ is bound to be there.

Daddies of Rock

It’s time now for the grand old daddies of rock of not only Assam, but the entire north eastern region. They are none other than Friends, the pioneering bards who shaped the music scene of the state through their musical prowess and courage to follow their dreams. And as the name itself suggests, these versifiers choose to play soulful music as a group, which is but, just an extension of their friendship.
The line-up of Friends has seen quite a few changes since its inception but three members have remained steadfast in their decision to play their heart’s rendition. They are founder member and guitarist-singer Dhruva Sarma, his talented brother and drummer Nomoni and ace guitarist Annirudha Barua. A household name in the western music crazy states of the region, Dhruva and his group of talented musicians had been making their presence felt all over the country, including the earlier Mecca of music, Bombay before an unfortunate break-up created a huge void. After seven long years, the group has got together once again and it’s great to note that the members are still going strong musically. The rock music fans of Guwahati have got reason good enough to cheer and Dhruva looks back at the earlier days and says, “It’s been quite a break and it feels good to be back once again”.
Friends has an inclination towards 70s style music which is evident from their own compositions as well as the covers which they like to play. They are never into heavy stuff nor loud sounds and Dhruva likes to classify their songs as ‘soft rock’, while they also lay a lot of emphasis on Rhythms and Blues. The band was formed when four music crazy friends got together to practise music and create their own compositions. Guitarist Umesh Boro, Bassist Dadul, Guitarist cum singer Dhruva and his brother Nomoni were the earliest members of Friends, formed in 1988. They were soon joined by another pioneering guitarist Aniruddha Barua. The band’s line-up has seen numerous changes since then and some of the members have gone to become top musicians of the country. Musicians who have played with Friends include the likes of Kalyan Barua, Rakesh Barua, Rajiv Barua, Liton, Rajiv Hazarika, Rintu Phukan and Rafeal. The present line-up is a mixture of experienced maturity and youthful exuberance in the form of Dhruva Sarma (vocals, guitars), Annirudha (Lead guitar), Nomoni (Drums), Partha (Guitar), Monu (Keyboard). At times, the group is joined by vocalists, Garisha and Pritisha, to accompany Dhruva. The group is soon going to be joined by Mainak from Diphu and Warimeki from Shillong.
The group has been shelling out superbly crafted originals right from its inception. They are all classics in their own way, be it their earlier composition Harder Way or the favourite Any Day Now. Any Day Now is one of the earlier recordings and it is based on the universal phenomenon of teenage crush and its associated heartbreaks. Frontman Dhruva, who is a pioneer of rock music and one of the most popular musicians of the country, writes the lyrics and composes the songs.
So what has been the secret behind the immense fan following and incessant popularity of this band? Dhruva likes to base it on the chemistry among the group members and regrets the break-up, “Initially, the chemistry was great. We played for a long time together and we enjoyed the time”. He adds, “We were all students and we did not know anything other than school and practise. We used to come home and practise everyday. We never used to hang around and devoted ourselves whole-heartedly to practise. However, after we left our studies, we had to start thinking of a living and slowly other things began to take precedence. The very spirit, which was the hallmark of our band earlier, began to fade and the members began to take music more easily. As such, a void was inevitable”.
Now that they are back and still roaring i.e. if their last couple of shows are anything to go by, they have a couple of plans up their sleeve. Their foremost aim is to create their own identity which Dhruva feels is of utmost importance for a music band to shine in this era of competition. Dhruva adds, “We have to do a lot of live shows so for the next few months, we plan to play covers. After that, we want to stick to creating our own stuff and then one we settle down, we want to change the whole musical agenda and priorities”.
These veteran rockers have faced all kind of audiences for two decades now; from toddlers in classrooms to the bold and beautiful of the tea clubs of upper Assam; to gun-waving, leather clad youngsters at Churachandpur in Manipur to the MTV hit generation of Shillong and Guwahati. We can just wish that Friends keeps on playing its hearts rendition so that the era of friendship which they gave life to, can start afresh, once again. Play on Friends!

Jiten Basumatory

Jiten Basumatory is a vocalist in the genre of Hindustani Classical music who is actively involved in the music scene of not only Assam, but the entire north eastern region. Music has remained a passion for the vocalist who is at home singing modern songs, as he is with ‘Kheyal’.
The seeds of a musical career were sown in his infancy as he used to listen to his mother hum Biya Naams and Khisa Git, while going about her household chores. The humble musician, born and brought up in Kokrajhar and son of Basanta Kumar Basumatory and Badali Basumatory, remembers those days with a smile and sigh.
“I have been performing on stage for a long time, even before I came to Guwahati”, remarks Basumatory and adds, “Initially, I used to feel shy to sing on stage so I used to play instruments like the flute and Tabla”. But, prodded on by friends Paresh Barman, Pushpa Saloi and Udoy Goswami, Jiten has been fortunate enough to recognise and indulge in his life’s calling.
Vinoy Das happened to be Jiten Basumatory’s first Guru, whom he approached in the year 1985 after arriving in Guwahati. Jiten was around eighteen years old then. He explains, “Though I have been learning music since a very young age, it was very late that I came under the Guru-Sishya parampara. And I went under a Guru only when some songs became difficult to sing. Today, I can state that the real benefit of learning music can be found only in the Guru-Sishya parampara. Music should be learnt at your Guru’s house and at his feet. It cannot be learnt in schools and colleges and taking talim from your Guru’s house is the real essence of music”.
Jiten Basumatory has a host of degrees to his credit including a Bachelor of Music from Guwahati University, Master of Music from Delhi University besides being a Sangeet Visarad from Bhatkhande Sangeet Vidyapith, Lucknow. An approved artist of All India Radio in the category of classical Kheyal, Bhajan, Borgeet and Sugam Sangeet, Basumatory is also a recipient of Junior fellowship for young artists by Ministry of Human Resource and Development, Government of India.
The founder principal of Kokrajhar Music and Fine Arts College, Basumatory has performed in many prestigious musical festivals and concerts all over the country, including all the states of the north eastern region besides Delhi, Amritsar, Chennai, Kanpur and Lucknow.
He has also lent his voice for a Hindi modern song album, ‘Jan Ki Baazi’ along with Music Director, Devkumar. Though the album has hit a roadblock which has resulted in the tapes remaining undistributed, Basumatory is pretty optimistic about the eventual outcome. He is planning to cut an album of Kheyal, Bhajan and Borgeet and another album of Assamese modern songs in the near future.

Colouring lives with Music…

Moonwind
When one hears the words ‘Moonwind’, one automatically reflects towards purity. Purity is an outcome of purgation and music is a fiery instrument of negating one’s imperfections. An honest outpouring of one’s thoughts and feelings through music is a genuine approach of one’s arm towards purity. It was with this very aim that Moonwind came into existence; as for these bards purity is all there is to music.
Moonwind – the band – consists of Suman Dutta and Mrinmoyee Sarma, Rajib Hazarika, Gaurav Bania’s drum Rakesh Barua (Bass), Joshua Queah (Vocals and Rhythms) and Lyton Choudhury (Keyboard). Moonwind was basically formed in the late eighties at the initiative of talented musician Suman Dutta. An unfortunate void triggered by a couple of splits and the time lapse before the group rejoined once again ensured that Moonwind in its present morphs could be formed only in the early part of 1995.
For Moonwind however, the second innings started off with a bang once they established themselves in the club circuit of the north east. Based in Guwahati, the first major event was the IOCL Digboi Club Meet, where they shelled out requests one after another, ranging from R & B, Rock, Pop Rock, Ballads and Rock ‘n’ Roll to Reggae. There has been no looking back ever since and from club circuits and concerts to friendly gigs, the band has done it all. In its present impressive line-up of six members including a lady crooner, Moonwind has lived up to its expectation of being a ‘Living ‘n’ Breathing’ Rock and Roll band, no matter come what.
The band has played in all the major clubs and is a regular face in the club circuit of the region as well as the country. They have performed at IIT (Powai), IIT (Guwahati), Tollygunge Club (Kolkata), Dalhousie Institute (Kokata), Some Place Else (Hotel Park, Kolkata), Oil Tea Planters Club and much more recently at Dakshin Kolkata Sangh in Kolkata on 31st December 2007. The Band is special for they have had the courage of conviction to be a part of the United Nations Drug Control Program (UNDCP) Anti-Drug Campaign. At a time when Rock ‘n’ Roll is popular amongst the youngsters for all the wrong reasons, this act of theirs can be described as another outstretching towards the purity concept. The band has also played at the CM’s Campaign in Kohima, Nagaland at the behest of former Chief Minister of Nagaland S.C. Jamir.
Their debut album, ‘Colour My Life’ was a runaway hit and though it was not meant to be a commercial venture, the band managed to make inroads into the heart of the music loving people with their soulful music. Special mention should be made of Tuk-Tuk, a versatile lady singer who is known as a hard-core singer with stupendous grace and power in her voice. The richness of her voice is evident in most of the tracks of the album and she manages to add a somewhat artistic touch to the entire album, which plummets the album to a different league altogether. The other members are as good and one can gauge that their sound is a conglomeration of the efforts of each and every member in the band.
The twin cities of Guwahati and Shillong have always been a place haunted by the frustrations and ego play of musicians that has smashed their dreams. Smashed dreams are like fragmented glass that stabs the heart of those who dare to dream. Moonwind comprises of members who really want to show the people the realm of their dreams. Though ‘Colour My Life’ was a failed advertorial effort of a private company, it was a dream come true for Moonwind, being an outcome of the daring and honest artistic efforts of the members.
Moonwind has a long standing reputation of being a talented and good natured band and when it comes to entertaining in live shows, Moonwind has always been there with utmost professionalism and fresh sound all the time and every time.

Sukumar Borthakur

Sukumar Borthakur is a Tablist in the genre of Hindustani Classical music. Born in Uzanbazar in 1948, Borthakur was brought up in the city of Guwahati and it was in Guwahati city that he developed a strong leaning towards music. He is the son of Late Bhubaneshwar Borthakur and Late Karunamayee Devi.
It was in 1965 that Borthakur started learning classical music under the initiation of Late Khagen Das. He continued with the guidance of Lt. Ram Pravesh Singh and Ustad Munne Khan till he obtained ‘Sangeet Alankar’ (Master of Music) degree in the year 1975. A science graduate, Borthakur has been indulging in his passion of playing the Tabla for almost half a century now shunning publicity.
A ‘Sangeet Alankar’ from Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, Miraz, Sukumar Borthakur has kept in touch with music in some way or other. After having to stop performing in live shows due to a major accident, he has involved himself in the theoretical and technical aspects of the art. He has been related with All India Radio local audition board as an examiner for the last fifteen years.
An examiner of Centre of Cultural Resources and Training, Borthakur is also a member of the board of examiners of Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal upto the M. Mus level. His musical acumen had spilled over to his disciples who have managed to become front running musicians of the state. Mention can be made of disciples like Arup Kumar Mishra, Subroto Chakraborty, Nitul Goswami, Himansu Baruah, etc.
Keeping the spark of music alive in the heart of a person is no mean achievement and calls for undiluted passion and respect for the said instrument. Borthakur has done so and has also taken care to promote classical music amongst the new generation as well. He is the President of ‘Gandharva’ – a musical organisation which felicitates the senior classical musicians of the state besides acting as a platform for new and old classical musicians.
Sukumar Borthakur is also the Editor of ‘Anunad’, the only monthly published from the country which is devoted entirely to Indian classical music. Besides classical music, he also strives to promote art forms like ‘Xatriya’, ‘Lokageet’ and Art through his publication.