Daily Archives: December 22, 2010

Raj Dweep’s debut collection

City-based journalist Raj Dweep released his debut collection of short satires in the ongoing 12th Northeast Book Fair on Thursday. The book, Guwahati.Com, which is a collection of Assamese satires, was released in an unique manner. No distinguished guest or celebrity was present to release the book but the honours were done by a group of readers and young and upcoming journalists of the state


Shillong Chamber Choir releases Christmas album

Following its high run all over the country after their win in the India’s got talent reality show on television, the Shillong Chamber Choir is presently blazing across the international circuit with concerts lined up in places like Malaysia, etc. The choir had recently performed for US president Barack Obama.

More recently, the group released its debut collection of Christmas songs. Leader of Opposition, Conrad K Sangma, released the album. Speaking at the occasion, Sangma said: “As a citizen of Meghalaya, I feel extremely proud and happy to be associated with SCC. I think the way SCC has come up in recent months speaks about itself.” Choir member Damon M Lyndem told reporters in Shillong that they will gift the album to Barack Obama.

Citing an example about the extent to which SCC has promoted Meghalaya, Sangma said that when he was recently in Kolkata for a conference, he introduced himself from Shillong to which other members said: “Oh, you’re from Shillong! That’s the home of SCC!” Apprising of SCC’s stint in India’s Got Talent–2, Sangma said that his friends from Mumbai, who are members of parliament, told him that seeing the choir win the talent show made them feel like they had won an election. “I also share a similar passion for the SCC,” he said.

The Christmas album has been produced by choir member Damon Melam Lyndem. Lyndem, spokesperson of SCC, apprised those present on the journey of the SCC since the year 2001. He also reminded of the vision of the SCC – to start a home school for underprivileged children. Meanwhile, elder sister of choir’s conductor and mentor of SCC, Neil Nongkynrih, Pauline Warjri, said that music was the only language that connected everybody.

The music album is priced at Rs. 249 and will be available at all major shops in the city. The album will also be launched in New Delhi and Mumbai at a later date.The choir is currently in New Delhi, except for Damon, who is preparing for a corporate show in Malaysia by Mahindra.

Capturing the flight to eternity

Conflicting human emotions vis-a-vis infinity of space mark Ulup’s new series

A preview of the recent works of well-known Assamese artist Debananda Ulup to be exhibited in New Delhi next month is currently underway in the Guwahati Artists Guild. The preview exhibition, which has around 25 of the artist’s works on display, was inaugurated last Thursday, with human relationships vis-a-vis space being the recurrent theme in most of the artworks.

The artist’s new approach is markedly different from his previous concepts till now. Elaborating on the reasons for this new approach towards art, Debananda says, “Eternity, the horizon, the complex and conflicting human emotions within oneself and in trans-personal relationships, all these stimulates me to wonder about the space around me, the space which is all engulfing and infinite in all possible dimensions.”

The complex nature of human relationships when compared with the complexity of space is an area which the artist wants to focus in. As he says, “When compared to the vastness of eternity the human being is a cluster that makes for just a tiny tot. But the hopes, aspirations, expectations, desires, dreams and wishes of humans travels and transcends far beyond the eternity. Human emotions transcends beyond understanding, at times, many a times, and, most of the times.”
The drive of human beings to achieve material and small-term gains depresses the artist no end and the delusion of human beings of being able to defeat time reflects in his new works. He adds, “We define humans as a species endowed with the abilities to be rational, logical, and compassionate and having a sense of purpose. But we act to the contrary. We make futile, pointless, baseless and senseless attempts to hanker after materialistic things which have no end value. Time can penetrate and travel through the strongest of the walls, we can’t. But we tend to believe that we can, we live in the delusion that we can defeat time or race ahead of it. It amazes me when we keep running after the delusional oasis throughout life. We delude.”

Music can overcome all hurdles

The occasion might have been the World Disability Day, but these special children enthralled the audience with their unique set of talent, belting out hit numbers, strumming the guitar to melodious harmony and shaking a leg to the right rhythm.

As the top names of Assamese music industry participated in a function of World Disability Day on the banks of the Dighalipukhuri in the city on Friday (December 3), the children and teenagers of Destination too displayed their musical skills to much applause from the big-wigs and the audience.

Students of Destination danced to the tunes of a popular Hindi film number ‘Ek Tara’ as their teachers and guardians fondly held their hands and guided them through the movements.

Neelotpal enthralled the audience with two songs in accompaniment of live music, making the audience swing and clap with him. His friend Rohan was not be left behind as he strummed soulful tunes on his guitar.

The programmes by these special children of Destination were punctuated by performances of professional artists.

Popular heart-throbs Zubeen, Dikshu vied for attention along with senior singers like JP Das and National Award winner Tarali Sharma. Zee TV’s dancing star Jeetumoni too put up a special performance.

But the clear favourites were the Destination students, who proved with great success that a handicap in some form cannot be a hurdle for musical excellence.

Books on ethnic Assamese cuisine released

Noted foodie Jyoti Das recently started her new series of book, Aaita, Ma aru Mur Akholar Pora with the successful release of three new collections of ethnic Assamese cuisine. The new books are Mangshor Juti, Kharor Juti and Mithar Juti.
The three books were released last week in an august gathering at the Guwahati Press Club by eminent anthropologist Dr. AC Bhagawati, noted poet Nalinidhar Bhattacharya and the author’s mother Bina Saikia.

Releasing the books, Dr. Bhagawati reminisced about his first acquaintance with the author and how she has since then been working steadfastly for the promotion and documentation of our traditional ethnic cuisine. Expressing happiness at the work of the author, the eminent anthropologist wished her the best in her future work.

Mangshor Juti is a collection of meat recipes, Kharor Juti is a collection of Khar recipes and the third book Mithar Juti has some delightful desserts to offer. “The book is the refection of a typical Assamese course. We normally begin our meals with Khar (alkali), meat is an indispensable part of our food, while we follow it up with a dessert.”

Comics Power

Children take help of comics to express their views

Comics, though apparently childish, are a highly powerful social medium, the latent qualities of which are being exploited by activists across other parts of the country. A similar venture called the Young Reporters had been launched in Dibrugarh last year. Following its successful launch, the Young Reporters initiative has been successfully replicated in Kamrup district by Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust in association with Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti and UNICEF Assam.

Under the programme, children of 20 schools in Kamrup district have been oriented on child rights and grassroots comics to highlight their issues and concerns and exercise their right to participation. Subsequently, children have developed comics on many issues concerning them and put them on public display at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra. The objective is to highlight children’s issues and voices, and generate a discussion amongst peers and community, with a view to bringing about a change in attitudes and practices as well as programmes and services for children.

Dr (Capt.) Suchitra Kakoty, Chairperson of the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR), inaugurated an exhibition of comics drawn by school children at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra here last Tuesday. The comics are also being exhibited at the Regional Science Centre. Appreciating the initiative, Dr Kakoty, urged the society to provide them a congenial atmosphere to develop their skills and potential. Stating that ASCPCR would always act as a watchdog for any violation of child rights, she urged the society to be vigilant and help prevent child abuse. She also
urged everyone to respect a child’s individuality and personality.

Mr Kushal Bora, Deputy Secretary, Department of Secondary Education, Govt. of Assam, said comics play a crucial role in the lives of children and cast a permanent influence till they become adults. He appreciated the Young Reporters programme and thanked the KGNMT for their support to young minds in helping develop their skills. He urged the society to create a conducive atmosphere where “young minds can blossom without any fear”.

Ms Nipurnh Gupta, Communications Officer, UNICEF Assam, said, “Through simple yet insightful comics, they have drawn attention to the lack of roads and health services in their villages, the lack of toilets, drinking water, sports in schools, the ill-effect of child labour, child marriage, alcoholism, corporal punishment and other issues.” She said that children have a right to be heard and it is now up to the duty-bearers – parents, teachers, government, civil society and media – to pay heed to children’s voices and take action to ensure children can enjoy their rights to survival, development, protection and participation. She emphasised that children have immense potential and need to be encouraged, guided and supported to participate meaningfully in their own and community’s development.

Earlier, two young reporters – Jakir Hussain, 14, and Reema Chakraborty, 14, shared their experiences of the Young Reporters programme with the dignitaries and thanked the organisations concerned for having provided them with a platform to get their voices heard.The children also presented a small skit wherein they highlighted the importance of education for young girls on the occasion. A copy of “Mukta Akaash”, a newsletter brought out by young reporters on children’s issues, was also shared with everyone present.

The Children’s Comics Exhibition also commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC) which is celebrated globally and nationally as the Universal Child Rights Day on 20th November.