Imran Shah, the newly-elected president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, will take charge at the ongoing 72nd biennial session of the Sabha at Gobindapur in Baksa district tomorrow. Sticking to tradition, the Sabha will organise a huge procession to honour him. Shah shared his views on a number of issues with Rajiv Konwar of The Telegraph ahead of assuming charge of Assam’s apex literary body.
Excerpts from the interview:
TT: You were never actively associated with the Asam Sahitya Sabha. But, now you are its president. Tomorrow you will take over the responsibility to lead the Sabha for two years. How do you feel?
Shah: It is a big responsibility. It is a feeling anybody would have when he/she takes on such a huge responsibility.
And it is not exactly true that I was not associated with the Sabha earlier.
It may be true in case of my membership. But I know the Sabha since my childhood; sometimes I used to work for the Sabha. I have been also involved with some branches of the Sabha. But, yes, I am new in a big position. I will go ahead carefully.
TT: It is more than two months since the election (for president). By now you might have chalked out a plan how to carry the Sabha forward.
Shah: Unless we all — the committees and branches of the Sabha — sit together, the plan of one man is not important. That is why I do not want to say about any plan right now. I do have some plans. But I can tell you that I will lay emphasis on literature and culture.
TT: We have seen that the sahitya sabhas of other communities, like the Bodo Sahitya Sabha and the Mising Sahitya Sabha, have not participated in the 72nd biennial session.
Shah: I am analysing the reasons for their non-participation. It should not happen. We should try to fix the problem.
TT: Do you think that these sahitya sabhas are drifting away from the Asam Sahitya Sabha?
Shah: There is a difference between drifting away and misunderstanding. I do not think that they are drifting away.
TT: Do you think that Asam Sahitya Sabha has become Asomiya (Assamese) Sahitya Sabha?
Shah: I don’t think so. I feel from my heart that Asam Sahitya Sabha is Asam Sahitya Sabha.
TT: What are the changes required immediately for the Sabha?
Shah: I am not in a position to spell out the immediate changes required for the Sabha.
TT: Do you think that English medium schools are drawing away the new generations from Assamese language and literature?
Shah: It is difficult to say so. It seems like that. We still see the use of proper Assamese language in the villages, which need to be encouraged and spread.