|Folk singer Muhibur Rahman (second fron left) receives the award from AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya (extreme right) during a function in Guwahati on Thursday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Dec. 27: The All Assam Students’ Union today demanded Dispur to set up an archive to preserve zikir and zari, the folk songs, which play a role in unifying the greater Assamese society.
The great 17th century social reformer and Sufi poet Azan Peer, who came to Assam from Baghdad around 1635, and composed 36 zikir and zari songs in Assamese.
Ajan Peer, who was inspired by the idealism of Srimanta Sankardev, presented zikir and zari songs as a mark of respect to all other castes, creed and religions.
“As there are no written forms of zikir and zari, these continued to be transmitted orally till litterateur Syed Abdul Malik brought out a compilation of many of such songs in 1958. But despite such effort the remaining zikir songs had unfortunately been lost. We do not want to lose any more such songs, which reflect the rich cultures and ethos of Assamese society. The state government must set up an archive of zikir and zari,” AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said.
Bhattacharyya was speaking at a function to felicitate a 95-year old zikir singer from North Lakhimpur district, Mahibur Rahman, today.
The AASU conferred the Pratima Barua Pandey Award on Rahman.
Moved by the AASU’s felicitation, Rahman said, “I do not expect awards because singing zikir is the call of my soul for which the worldly recognition hardly matters. But I am grateful to AASU for recognising the importance and influence of zikir and zari in the greater Assamese society.”
Rahman said the basic content of zikir and zari is that all human beings are all children of the same power.
He said there is a huge influence of the indigenous language, tradition and thinking in these songs for which it has a unifying power.
After the felicitation ceremony at Swahid Udyan on GNB Road in Guwahati, Rahman rendered several zikir and zari songs.
Despite faced with financial hardship, Rahman is imparting free training on zikir and zari to the younger generation.
“These songs will continue to inspire the people of Assam to remain united. So, it is my responsibility to train the younger generation.”