New Asam Sahitya Sabha president Imran Shah greets visitors during a cultural rally at Barpeta Road on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos
Gobindapur (Baksa), Feb. 3: Asam Sahitya Sabha president Imran Shah today expressed hope that the languages of all communities of Assam would be developed to ensure overall development of the state.
Shah, who took over the reins of the apex literary body today, was speaking at the Sabha’s 72nd biennial session here soon after being escorted to the venue by a colourful procession comprising hundreds of people from different communities. Right through the over 7km journey to the venue, he stood with folded hands on a vehicle made up to look like a peacock.
“A decision that we should, and can, take is to love our mother tongue,” Shah said. “By the word mother tongue, I mean the languages of all communities of the Northeast, including Assamese.”
“Assam is also made of different communities. Our language, culture and identity are dependent on each other. We should all go ahead hand in hand,” Shah said. “A body grows if all limbs grow. Similarly, development of the languages of all indigenous communities will lead to the overall development of the state. We should help in the development of languages of all communities.”
His call assumes even more significance in light of the fact that literary bodies of other communities had not attended the current Sabha session.
Shah’s 80-year-old lean body stood firm and he did not falter as he spoke, with hundreds of eyes staying riveted on him. More than one lakh people had come here today to wish him luck for his tenure as the Sabha president. The audience also included delegates from the Sabha’s branches in different districts.
“The Asam Sahitya Sabha is nothing but a combination of all its branches. Their strength is our strength, their dreams are our dreams and their activities are our activities,” Shah said.
After travelling more than 7km, when Shah passed through the main pandal, all stood up and tried to have a closer look at him. Several hands moved to remove his sandals when he was taking his seat on the stage and many more touched his feet when he came down from the stage for some time. After all, for many, he was now the most revered person in the state — its first citizen.
Regarding the increasing influence of foreign languages, he said, “At this time, I feel we are directionless because of a complex psychological provocation. We have started believing that we will not be successful unless we learn several languages. But I cannot understand why, for this, the mother tongue is being abandoned,” Shah said.
He said there was a need to write accurate, scientific history of all the places of the state, suggesting that the Sabha branches could do it.
The Barpeta district administration has declared a local holiday tomorrow to allow people to attend the Sabha session.