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Sabha yet to keep its promise of grammar book

- Former Asam Sahitya Sabha president delivers lecture on literary body’s role in growth of language

April 27: The Asam Sahitya Sabha is yet to publish an Assamese grammar book, which it had promised during its formative years.

Former president of the literary body Nagen Saikia today said Rai Bahadur Radhakanta Handique, who donated the Sabha’s main building in Jorhat to the memory of one of his sons, Chandrakanta, had entrusted the responsibility of publishing an Assamese grammar book in memory of another of his sons, Indrakanta, which is yet to be published.

Saikia today delivered a lecture at the inaugural session of a two-day national seminar on, Role of Asam Sahitya Sabha in the Development of Language, Literature and Culture of Northeast India, organised by the Assamese department of B. Borooah College.

Prominent personalities like linguist Pramod Chandra Bhattacharyya, Sabha’s president Rong Bong Terang, Institute of North East Studies of Gauhati University director Umesh Chandra Deka and writer Dinesh Baishya were present at the programme.

“The responsibility that was entrusted to Asam Sahitya Sabha to publish a grammar book in memory of Indrakanta Handique is yet to be accomplished,” Saikia said.

Radhakanta Handique was known as danbeer for his habit of donating benevolently to different institutions.

Late playwright Nakul Chandra Bhuyan described his role in formation of the Sabha as “he was one of those who formed the firm base of Asam Sahitya Sabha”. Radhakanta’s two sons — Indrakanta and Chandrakanta — died within a span of three weeks in 1923.

Saikia explained the students and participants in the seminar the historical aspects of many critical phases that the Sabha had overcome since its formation in 1917.

He refuted the allegation that the Sabha had not done anything for development of the languages of the indigenous communities in the region.

“Many say the Sabha did not do anything for growth of the languages spoken by smaller communities which led to misunderstandings about Assamese-speaking people. But at that time these languages were at a very nascent and oral form and Assamese language had to struggle to establish itself. Besides, Assamese was like their second language. It is not that Assamese language was brought by certain section of people from other states to impose here. Rather, it was created by the indigenous communities here,” he said.

Terang said the Sabha was going to enter its 100th year in five years’ time.

He expressed the hope that the research papers that were going to be presented by the research scholars would help the Sabha to take up its future course of action.

The Sabha thanked the Assamese department of B. Borooah College for selecting the topic that was related to the state’s biggest literary organisation.

Umesh Chandra Deka said the Sabha had worked to communicate with different languages and cultures of the Northeast so far but it was yet to work for their growth and development.

“The Sabha has connected with the languages and cultures of the neighbouring states like Nagaland and Manipur. But, it is yet to throw light on the language and culture of Mizoram. The same has happened with Sikkim also,” said Deka.

Writer and former principal of B. Borooah College Dinesh Baishya said he met scholars from different parts of the Northeast who were doing research on some topics of language and cultures of different communities, which were unknown to many.

Baishya said the Sabha could connect all the research scholars and lead them.