Language, attire diversity in House

Sanskrit debuted in Assam Assembly today with three BJP legislators taking oath in the language, marking perhaps the first step towards " poriborton" (change) that the BJP-led alliance has promised to usher in after 15 years of Congress rule.

By OUR BUREAU in Guwahati
  • Published 2.06.16

Guwahati, June 1: Sanskrit debuted in Assam Assembly today with three BJP legislators taking oath in the language, marking perhaps the first step towards " poriborton" (change) that the BJP-led alliance has promised to usher in after 15 years of Congress rule.

Assembly principal secretary Mrigendra Kumar Deka told The Telegraph that this was the first time legislators took oath in Sanskrit in the House.

Deka said since Sanskrit was listed in the Eighth Schedule, there was no bar on its use. "In the rules of the Assembly, though, only English, Bengali, Hindi and Assamese are mentioned," he said.

But if a member wishes to use any other language outside these four within the Eighth Schedule, then he or she would have to intimate the Assembly in advance. "They had intimated us," Deka said. The Assembly staff had kept the Sanskrit script ready ever since some members of Parliament took their oath in Sanskrit in 2014.

"We anticipated we could require it someday, so the Sanskrit script was with us," Deka said.

Batadroba MLA and actor Angoorlata Deka was the first to take oath in Sanskrit. It caught many unawares and took them microseconds to realise they were witness to history.

"Though Sanskrit is considered the mother of all languages, yet it's slowly losing its significance. Today, I tried to do my bit to preserve and promote the language. In fact, whenever I get time, I want to study the language again," she said later. It helped that she studied Sanskrit as a subject at the higher secondary level. Tingkhong and Nalbari legislators Bimal Borah and Ashok Sarma also took oath in Sanskrit.

Other MLAs took oath in Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, English, Bodo and Nepali.

The first day of the Assembly session also witnessed diversity in attire.



From denims to mekhela sador and Bodo scarves to skullcaps, it was all part of a colourful swearing-in this morning. The day also saw election of new Speaker Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

Angoorlata chose to wear her wedding dress, the first time she wore it in about six months. "Like my wedding, this occasion is auspicious and significant," she explained. "Like then, this is a new journey with new responsibilities I am embarking on. There couldn't have been anything better than this. It was an easy choice to make. There was no competitor to the dress in my wardrobe today and I had made my decision on the day the Assembly session date was declared," she said.

Six months ago, when she tied the knot with fellow actor Akashdeep Deka, she had wondered when she would again get the opportunity to wear her wedding dress. "I am lucky...I didn't have to wait too long," she said.

Not only the dress but also the jewellery, except the earrings, were from her wedding collection. "I basically wore things that are very precious to me," she said. The three red roses on one side of her bun completed the radiant look while adding a dash of colour to her white mulberry silk mekhela sador woven in golden thread.

Her poise and elegance reminded the gathering of evergreen actor Mridula Baruah. "I have been always enchanted by the gracefulness of Mridula baideu," Angoorlata said.

Gurujyoti Das was in dhoti and kurta and carrying off the ensemble well, too. "I am used to wearing dhoti," the youngest MLA who won from Mangaldoi said. "It is actually quite comfortable and I wear it regularly at the naamghar."

Duliajan legislator Terash Gowalla was dressed in the same attire as Gurujyoti except he wore the dhoti differently. He also wore a pair of green sandals with yellow straps and a gamosa around his neck.

While BPF legislator and minister Pramila Rani Brahma was in traditional Bodo attire, the AIUDF lawmakers were seen wearing skullcaps.

BJP legislator Dass was elected unopposed to the post of Speaker.

Pro tem Speaker Phani Bhusan Choudhury declared Das elected as Speaker after four legislators from the ruling coalition of BJP, AGP and BPF proposed his name and an equal number of MLAs seconded it.

Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, former chief ministers Tarun Gogoi and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, former Speaker Pranab Gogoi, several ministers and MLAs congratulated Dass, a two-time MLA from Sorbhog constituency in lower Assam's Barpeta district.

Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia, who is set to become leader of the Opposition, hoped that Dass, as guardian of the House, will do justice by giving equal opportunities to the ruling and Opposition MLAs to highlighting the problems faced by the people.

Citing that there are only eight women legislators, Congress MLA Ajanta Neog urged Dass to give them adequate chance to raise women-related issues in the House.