All about Aiyushman
A journalist-critic-cultural activist based out of Guwahati, Aiyushman Dutta has been writing on north-eastern music, folklore, culture and developmental issues in various publications and portals. One of the first and very few mainstream journalists working for the propagation of the Northeast Indian cultural paradigm, he has travelled extensively across the region, knowing the people, soaking in their culture and way of life.
Presently the Features Editor of The Sentinel in Guwahati, he is associated with numerous organizations like Drongo Express (published from Karbi Anglong, Assam). A regular writer on music and culture for premier international publications like Livemint and Caravan, he was also the principal correspondent (East India) for Sound Box, published from Mumbai. He is also associated with a host of international and national agencies like the United Nations and the Government, both at the States and the Centre, as a documentation consultant.
A north-easterner passionate about his land and people, he has been exploring varies cultural and social facets of the region. He has been writing on the art and cultural scenario of the Northeast continuously since 2006 for a weekly column, Symphony, in The Sentinel. His brainchild initiative, The Guwahati International Music Festival, which had begun in 2011, has emerged as a premier music festival of India.
Among his efforts towards preservation and propagation of Northeast Indian culture, mention can be made of his efforts to explore cultural ties between the Northeast and ASEAN countries. He was a member of the coordinating team in the ‘Inter-cultural dialogue between North East India and South East Asia’ programme, organized by Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi (IGNCA), NEZCC and Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in February-March 2010. He also coordinated the Nagaland leg of the same festival.
Aiyushman also participated in the first-ever seminar on determining and chalking out a way forward for “Cultural Industries of the Northeast,” which was chaired by Rajiv Sethi, Prof AC Bhagawati, along with representatives from all the Northeast Indian States. The seminar was organised by NEZCC for the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Besides this, he has written and edited a number of journals and publications related to Northeast Indian oral and folk traditions as well as contemporary issues.
Aiyushman is also the founder secretary of the Eastern Beats Music Society – the first and only such society of Northeast India – that works towards the holistic development of the independent music industry of the region, besides looking at the possibilities of unifying people in strife-torn Northeast India through music and the arts. He has conceptualised a number of radical initiatives like the Karbi Anglong Beats Contest, Guwahati International Music Festival, etc.
He continues to explore avenues towards exploiting the latent power of the arts through the sister organization, Quaint Essense, which seeks to document and analyse the cultural ethos of the land. A number of sessions and projects have been undertaken under the aegis of Quaint Essense. Mention can be made of the Quaint Essense Food Fest – the first systematic approach towards understanding the culture of food dynamics vis-a-vis Northeast Indian communities – which he had conceptualised and implemented in Guwahati in 2009.
As an occasional filmmaker, he has directed docu-features on the folk traditions and life and culture of Arunachal Pradesh, a feature on harnessing the healing power of music in strife-torn areas, etc. As a script-writer, he has scripted stories for a number of productions, including the 25 years celebration of Zonal Cultural Centres, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and which was directed by Bansi Kaul, SNA awardee.
His authored and edited works includes a coffee book on the music, dance and culture of the Northeast (published by NEZCC, Ministry of Culture, Government of India), a coffee table on Hornbill festival for the Tourism department of Nagaland, 25 years silver jubillee publication of NEZCC, Food Trail: Discovering Food Culture of Northeast India, besides others. He had also edited and produced the first-even pan encyclopedia of folk dances of India for the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. Besides, he has edited numerous books and photo essays published by bodies under the Government of India, NGOs and Assam Police.
Besides writing and exploring world music, he is presently continuing with his research-based study of the food culture of Northeast India. When he is not criss-crossing across the Northeast, Aiyushman lives in Guwahati, Assam and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +91-9957193228.