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Amity message from Mughal era

Sept. 14: Ismail Siddique aka Bagh Hazarika put patriotism over religion when he fought the Mughals in the Battle of Saraighat.

His valour now finds pride of place in Jitu Jyoti’s play Bagh Hazarika.

Sivasagar-based Ramdhenu Natya Gosthi will stage the play on September 18, showing Bagh Hazarika’s life in the backdrop of the Battle of Saraighat, in Rabindra Bhawan at 6pm.

“We think it is time people knew Bagh Hazarika’s story to sort out the chaos in our society,” said Lohit Hazarika, president of Bagh Hazarika Naat Parisalona Xamiti.

“For some reason there is not much information about Bagh Hazarika in history books. For him, patriotism was above all, which is the ideology of Islam. This message is important in a state torn apart by communal conflicts,” said Hazarika.

Siddique, a 17th century historical figure from Assam, was known for his valour. He was born at Dhekerigaon village near Gargaon. Once a tiger had entered the village and a literally unarmed Siddique killed it.

The news reached Ahom king Chakradhwaj Singha who called the young man to his court to display his strength. The king was impressed by the show of strength and appointed him a hazarika, an Ahom office in charge of 1,000 paiks.

This event marks the beginning of the legend of the brave Bagh (meaning tiger) Hazarika that culminated in his acts of bravery during Battle of Saraighat.

The organisation has already staged the play in Sivasagar and Nazira and planning to do so in other places as well.

On the other hand, the 6th Annual Brajanath Sarma Memorial Drama Festival will come into an end tomorrow with the staging of the play Jooj, written and directed by Sitanath Lahkar.

The play, depicting the plight of the people in Majuli during floods, will be staged by Samahar Natya Gosthi.

The festival that started with the play Akhon Gaaot Eta TV Asil, has hosted the plays Baghbandi, Xoraguri Sapori, Ostachalar Bahi, Xatatai Xampad and Kafaan till today.

Altogether six theatre groups from across the state as well as Mumbai have participated in the festival this time.

“We are trying to promote good theatre though this festival for the past six years. We give priority to plays that have a strong social message. We have invited directors and playwrights who are interested in such theatre to participate in this festival,” said Namita Lahkar, member of the Samahar Natya Gosthi.

“The artistes have tried to portray the stories of our time through different themes. The plays are also entertaining and we are sure people will enjoy them. For instance, there is a play on a lighter yet educative topic like how people in a village get hooked to television and neglect their duties. This also reflects the adverse effects of television on youngsters,” Lahkar said.