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NGO to build cultural bridge with chaporis

- Experts to teach youths from 4 chaporis Xattriya & borgeet at a 7-day workshop from Thursday

Jorhat, Dec. 10: A socio-cultural organisation of Majuli is taking the initiative to popularise xattriya culture among people residing in the chaporis.

The aim is to ensure that the rich xattriya culture, encompassing songs, dance, music and plays, should not bypass the people living in nearby areas at a time when the culture is gaining popularity across the globe and foreign tourists are increasingly visiting the island.

Abakash Majuli, the NGO, backed by xatras (Vaishnavite monasteries), is organising a seven-day workshop on Xattriya nritya (one of the eight classical dances of India) and borgeet (devotional songs) at Sarai Chapori from Thursday in the first phase.

Over 200 boys and girls from 24 villages of four chaporis will be taught the basics of borgeet and Xattriya nritya by Xattriya experts. The Sarai chapori is located in the middle of the four chaporis, southwest of Majuli.

Abakash Majuli president Amlandeep Borah told this correspondent from Majuli today that the chaporis need a “cultural” brush-up, which tends to fade because of poor communication.

“Largescale erosion and heavy floods on the island in recent years have increased the distance between Majuli and the chaporis. This has resulted in the island’s cultural activities not being resonated in the chaporis. We need to renew the link and we want to start it with the youths,” Borah, a college student, said.

He said the transport system between chaporis and Majuli was poor with only small country boats, mostly without engines, plying between them. The changing course of water channels of the Brahmaputra in the past few years has compounded the problem.

The organisation’s secretary Jadab Bora said the initiative had been taken with financial help from well-wishers and a few xatras of the island. Bora is a bhakat (disciple) of Natun Kamalabari Xatra and an office-bearer of Asam Samanita Yuba Tirtha, the youth wing of Asam Xatra Mahasabha (the apex body of all xatras in the state).

He said youths from all communities — general and backward castes and tribal communities — residing on the four chaporis are expected to participate in the workshop.

A team of performers, with their musical instruments, will accompany the borgeet and Xattriya experts. The team will camp at Sarai Chapori while the participants will come everyday to the camp from their villages, he added. The workshop will have audio-visual and live presentations.

“We will conduct the workshop at a community hall by tying up with Shankar Madhab Milan Krishti Sangha, a socio-cultural organisation of Sarai Chapori. Messages from at least five xatradhikars (head priests) will be read out.

Xatradhikar of Natun Kamalabari Xatra of Majuli, Narayan Chandra Goswami, a winner of Sankardeva and Sahitya Akademi awards, welcomed the initiative and said the xatras would certainly support and initiate such moves.