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Fest to promote trade

Jorhat, Nov. 17: The 11th edition of Assam Mahotsav will begin here from Wednesday with a surfeit of programmes.

The festival, which will conclude on December 4, will focus on ethnic food, handicrafts and culture, said Dilip Kumar Bordoloi, secretary of Intandem, the organiser of the mahotsav. The festival will provide a platform for the mingling of the urban with the rural and promote ethnic goods, he added.

“The stalls, which will be set up by self-help groups, will be given at a nominal cost and an attempt will be made to promote ethnic goods so that they can come into their own at the national level,” Bordoloi said.

The idea is to promote what has been tried and tested in the Indian market along with what is produced here so that entrepreneurship can develop through competitiveness.

Besides trade, there will be an ethnic food mela where one can sample Mising, Karbi, Thengal Kachari and Deori cuisine. Prasenjit Rajkhowa, a member of Intandem, said there would be cultural shows and awareness programmes as well. On the opening day, 14 women, all homemakers, will play in a sitar orchestra to the accompaniment of dotara and flute under the guidance of Dipti Sharma, a musician who is also a member of Intandem. The fest will be inaugurated by Satra Mahasabha president Lila Mahanta.

“An open-air programme will be held on November 25 in the memory of Dennis Bangs, the western musician who excelled in playing the bugle. A number of singers will pay tribute to Bhupen Hazarika, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala and Rabindranath Tagore by singing their compositions,” Rajkhowa said.

Flautist Deepak Sharma will stage a recital on November 24 while Mumbai-based Bollywood singer Anindita Pal, who hails from Guwahati, will perform on November 30.

Dance troupes of communities like the tea tribes, the Karbis and the Misings will also perform during the festival. Competitions will be held for children in ethnic fashion, drawing and modern dance.

Tridib Bordoloi, president of Intandem, said interactions would be held with educationists, scientists, environmentalists and social workers. On December 1, an interaction will be held with Debashis Sharma, a counsellor for cancer patients, who is also the chairman of Deepshikha, a Guwahati-based NGO.

Sumangal Dutta, another member of Intandem, said over the years the mahotsav has contributed to Assam’s trade and commerce, culture, tourism, traditional dresses and to society at large.