| Dhaniram Tisso (right) at the book fair on Monday. Picture by UB Photos |
Jan. 7: Karbi Anglong Diwas was celebrated at the 14th Northeast Book Fair today with performances by cultural troupes and writers reminiscing about their bond with the district.
The organisers of the book fair this time had decided to make the day the main attraction of the fair in order to show their respect to the cultural mosaic of the central Assam district.
Chojun Puja, Rongker, Chokk-eroi, Hacha-Kekan and Chomangkan are some of the festivals observed by the Karbis in Karbi Anglong.
Karbis, Bodos, Kukis, Dimasas, Hmars, Garos, Rengma Nagas, Tiwas, Man (Tai speakers) are some of the major ethnic groups of the district, which has over 8 lakh people.
Short story writer Phula Goswami was among those who participated in the event. She said it was Diphu, the district headquarters of Karbi Anglong, which shaped her mind to become a writer. “I was hardly 20 when I had gone to Diphu with my husband. The red royal poincianas (krishnachura), the winding roads and the serene atmosphere in Diphu made me ecstatic. Then, I devoured countless books stacked in the shelves of two schools. Today, whatever I am is because of what I have received from the district,” said Goswami.
Film director and producer Dhaniram Tisso inaugurated the Karbi Anglong Diwas. He thanked the organisers for highlighting the culture of the district while writer Garima Kalita talked about her relationship with the district.
Retired teacher of Cotton College, Dwijendra Narayan Goswami, was equally grateful to the people of the district. “During the Assam Movement, I was in Karbi Anglong with my family. At that time I was put behind the bars and was suspended. Then the Karbi women came to rescue my family from starving by bringing whatever they could,” said Goswami.
As part of the event, a symposium was organised on “Oral memories to written texts: promoting Karbi literature, language and culture”. During the event, presided over by Aparna Konwar, head of the Assamese department of Dibrugarh University, scholars and writers highlighted different aspects of Karbi Anglong and its people and culture.
“There still exists a very large corpus of undocumented traditional verses in rural Karbi Anglong. The traditional rhyme patterns upon which all oral or ritual performances were constructed have virtually gone out of fashion,” said Dharamsing Teron, a researcher.
A programme for children, Aaitar Sotal, will be organised tomorrow morning, followed by a spelling competition.