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Dispur mulls Ahom show at complex

Jorhat, July 11: Dispur is planning to add a light-and-sound show to depict the major achievements of Ahom rulers at the Chou Lung Siu-Ka-Pha Samanway Kshetra, which is under construction at Moubandha on the outskirts here.

A manuscript preservation unit is also on the cards.

Named after the founder of the Ahom dynasty, Siu-Ka-Pha, the Rs 70-crore cultural complex has been planned on the lines of Guwahati’s Sankaradeva Kalakshetra and is coming up on 60 bighas of land along National Highway 37, about 14km west of here.

The complex will have a 1,500-capacity auditorium, an open-air theatre, a space theatre, a heritage museum, an art gallery, a library, nature interpretation centre, handicrafts bazaar and a shopping arcade, apart from gardens and parks.

A guesthouse, conference hall and a banquet hall, a life-like statue of Siu-Ka-Pha sitting on a throne in the middle of the complex, will be some other attractions. Well-known artiste Biren Singh is sculpting the statue out of optical fibre.

B.K. Gohain, vice-chairman of the Chou Lung Siu-Ka-Pha Samanway Kshetra Society, told The Telegraph that the government has decided to submit a proposal to the Union ministry of culture requesting funds for the light-and-sound show. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi is the chairman of the society.

“After the chief minister gave his approval, we have engaged a consultancy firm to prepare a proposal for the show and for setting up a manuscript preservation unit at the complex,” Gohain said.

Gohain, a former home and state information commissioner and a researcher on Assam history who has authored several books, said the light-and-sound show is expected to attract more visitors, especially tourists who come to nearby Kaziranga, Majuli and Sivasagar.

He said a group of Ahom-era scholars would be asked to prepare the script for the proposed show in which the highlights of Ahom rule along with a mention of the pre-Ahom era will be shown.

Apart from the magnificent palaces and temples constructed by the Ahom tulers, their beating back of Mughal attackers and other cultural aspects of the period could also be shown, Gohain said.

He said the manuscript preservation unit under the guidance of National Archives was needed to ensure preservation of old manuscripts available in Upper Assam, especially those in Tai and Assamese languages as well as of the Vaishnavite culture.

Gohain said he personally has collected over 100 manuscripts belonging to the Ahom period and digitised them. But there are many other such texts with individuals and organisations, which needed to be preserved by applying scientific methods like micro-filming.

Moreover, the proposed unit could assist in compilation of the lists and collection of artefacts, coins as well as the study of the culture of Tai groups, including the Ahoms in all respects, including old games and sports by engaging a group of experienced scholars on history, anthropology and sociology.

Gogoi had laid the foundation stone of the complex just before the 2006 Assembly polls. But the project could not take off because three landowners moved Gauhati High Court and obtained a stay order from the court on the land acquisition.

In February 2008, the court disposed of the case and the district administration took possession of the land. Work began after the government sanctioned Rs 2 crore in the 2009-2010 state budget. The lion’s share of funds is being provided under Special Central Assistance of the Centre.


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