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Saint bridges Great Wall

- NGOs request translation of book on Sankardev

Guwahati, Feb. 18: It is one step forward to taking Assam’s Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sankardev across the Great Wall.

A university in China is translating a book on Sankardev into Chinese language. It is expected to be released this year.

Kunming University in Yunan province of China is translating Srimanta Sankardev: Vaisnava Saint of Assam written by Bimal Phukan. The university is the only “comprehensive professional university” in the province and was set up with approval of the ministry of education of the People’s Republic of China.

The initiative came after a team, formed by two NGOs, Byatikram MASDO from Assam and Saraswati Online from West Bengal, visited the university in December last year to participate in the Sino-Indian Cultural Exchange Programme. The team requested the university to bridge the cultures of the two countries through translation of the book.

“A few days ago, when I contacted the university, they confirmed that the translation work was on. In April, we will visit Dali University in China. We are hopeful of seeing the final translated manuscript of the book during the visit,” said Saumen Bharatiya, president of Byatikram MASDO.

“When we thought about the project, the first name that came to our mind was Srimanta Sankardev. For us Sankardev was the most important person in Assam who should be taken to the Chinese people. That is why we offered Phukan’s book on Sankardev for translation,” said Bharatiya.

The book is a document on the Vaishnavite saint and has some good photographs on the tradition left behind by him. Bharatiya said the university had promised them to consider introducing the book in their course curriculum.

Srimanta Sankardev is the most-revered personality in Assam who, through his Vaishnavite movement, tried to unite different communities of the state. Kirtana Ghoxa, Rukmini Harana, Ajamilopakhyana, Bali Solona, Kurukshetra Yatra, Amrita Manthana, Sihna Yatra, Patni Praxada, Kalia Damana, Keli Gopala, Parijata Harana are some of his works. Bhaona is one of his important contributions to the people of the state.

Bharatiya said they would request the university to translate another Assamese book, Makam, written by Rita Choudhury, as the plot of the book has a link with China. Makam (The Golden Horse) deals with the plight of Chinese-origin people who lived in Upper Assam during the Sino-Indian war of 1962.

However, writer Phukan is not yet sure about the translation. “Only a few days ago Saumen Bharatiya called to inform me about the translation. I have not received any written letter from anybody regarding the translation,” he said.

Bharatiya said during the December visit they also inaugurated a yoga centre in China. “The team also presented Bhupen Hazarika’s songs and Xattriya dance to the people of China to give them an insight into the culture of Assam,” he added.

Bharatiya said since setting up of their organisation 10 years ago, they have been working to take the Assamese language and literature to the national level and bridge different linguistic communities of the state through cultural activities.


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