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Seminar to delve into Buddhist mysticism

- Central Institute of Assamese Studies to conduct research into influence of Charyapada

Jorhat, Jan. 8: Asam Sahitya Sabha will conduct research into the role of Charyapada form of poetry and its influence during the formative years of poetry in Assam.

Charyapada is a collection of 8th-12th century mystical poems written by people who practised the Sahajia cult of Buddhism that evolved in Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam and other northeastern states.

As part of the plan to have a thorough analytical study on the subject, the academic wing of the sabha — Central Institute of Assamese Studies (CIAS) — based here, is organising a national seminar on all aspects of Charyapada at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati on February 23-24.

The seminar has been organised with support from the Delhi-based Nath Yogi Development Council and Jugal Kishore Choudhary Charitable Education Trust.

The registrar of the centre, Kutubuddin Ahmed, said here today that an in-depth study on Charyapada form of poetry could help throw light on the early period of poetry development in the region and Assam in particular.

“Many states of the eastern region claim that this (Charyapada) originated in their respective states, but we do not want to rekindle that controversy. We want more research on the subject to unearth interesting facts about the mystic poetry form and how it helped development of poetry in Assam,” Ahmed, a former member of Sahitya Akademi, said.

He said they wanted to focus on contemporary language, literature and the socio-economic culture of the period. Apart from the language, there are literary and musical values in Charyapada, along with traditions, depiction of women and cultural elements in the form.

The registrar said the seminar papers could be submitted in English, Assamese and Bengali. All the selected papers will be published in book form, for which an International Standard Book Number has been obtained.

Interested participants should contact the centre’s office in the sabha headquarters here by January 25 and send their complete papers by February 10.

The centre, which has been functioning since 2010, has been running courses on PhD, MPhil and minor and major research projects on languages and literature. It has organised three national seminars and one workshop on language and literary topics in the last two years in different districts of the state. The centre has set up four sub-centres across the state to conduct research on literature and language of various tribes and communities of Assam and three more are coming up in northeastern states and one in Calcutta soon. Last year, the centre published a short encyclopaedia on tea and tea tribes of Assam.