Beyond Headlines

Return of Joymoti Tandoori scare Security pangs Doc fight On a fresh note

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 2.07.05
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A Mising woman stands with her child in front of her house, constructed on stilts for protection from the recurring floods on Majuli island. Picture by Eastern Projections

Return of Joymoti

It?s raining classics in Indian cinema. If Bollywood is churning out Mughal-e-Azam in technicolour and remaking Devdas, Assam?s national award-winning director Manju Bora has turned to the state?s first film.

Nearly 70 years after Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala put Assam on the cinematic map with Joymoti, Bora has announced her plan to remake the classic.

Agarwala?s film not only heralded the birth of Assamese film industry but also established the craft of filmmaking as an art in the entire region.

Announcing her latest celluloid venture, Bora said, ?My objective is to present Joymoti as a historic figure. She was a visionary, who through sheer foresight and unflinching determination, saved the Ahom kingdom at a time when it was passing through one of its worst crisis, marked by grave political instability?.

Bora?s latest venture holds special significance as the original print of Agarwala?s Joymoti is nowhere to be found in any film archive. The lone surviving version of Joymoti, with English subtitles, was recently shown at the India International Centre at Delhi on the birth anniversary of Rupkonwar on June 17.


Tandoori scare

If you are a resident of Shillong and swear by chicken tikka, then remember this word of caution everytime you open a menu card. In fact, Shillongites will be safer if they delete chicken from their gourmet?s list altogether ? the vendors are injecting water into chicken unhindered to increase the weight of the birds.

Although the vendors have succeeded in reaping huge benefits by this illegal practice, the health of poultry lovers is at risk. The water injected is taken from all kinds of sources, including drains.

The department of food and civil supplies, however, has tightened its belt after a few vendors were caught red-handed on camera by some ingenious photographers.

A few arrests have also been made and the police is hoping to put an end to the entire practice. Restaurant owners, who are the bulk buyers of chicken, are also oblivious of the vendor?s trick. So think twice before you order that chicken dish at your favourite joint.


Security pangs

It does not take too much brains to guess why tourism and terrorism can almost be termed antithetical. Even the side-effects of terrorism, namely deployment of security forces, has affected tourist count in Manipur.

Sendra Youth Club, a tourism promoting organisation in Manipur?s Moirang block, pointed out in its latest findings that the continuous occupation of the important tourist sites by security troops has lowered the flow of both domestic and foreign tourists.

Complaining against the occupation of scenic tourist lodges in and around Loktak lake, Kh Buddha, general secretary of the club, said, ?The flow of tourists has come down by 50 per cent after the security forces took over the tourist spots.?

The club has suggested that the state tourism department should broaden its outlook and develop other tourist homes located in different parts of the state by setting up resthouses and parks, so that the tourism potential throughout the state could be explored.

In order to set an example, the club is planning to build a theme park at Sendra along with a museum near Loktak lake.


Doc fight

Recently, there was a curious showdown between two senior academics at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.

The protagonists of this unseemly duel were Chandra Shekhar Das, the venerated head of the college?s department of paediatrics, and Sujit Nath Choudhury, an assistant professor in the same department who happens to be a former student of Das.

The senior teacher alleged that Nath Choudhury accosted him near his chamber in the college hospital on a day when he rejoined the college after a three-month sabbatical. To his horror, Das found his student-turned-successful-medical-professional hurling abuses and invectives at him. Later, when Das was checking out of the college, Nath Choudhury suddenly pounced on him and dragged him to his official quarters nearby and tried to hold him captive. But before his junior colleague could bolt the door Das somehow managed to slither out.

But Nath Choudhury has a different tale to tell. According to his version, Das incited two employees in the hospital to attack him and in the scuffle he injured his hand. The junior doctor also accused Das of being jealous because the former?s books and dissertations had earned plaudits from the medical fraternity.

This no-holds-barred acrimony between two teachers has added grist to the campus gossip.


On a fresh note

Music is an integral part of the life of the people of Shillong. Unfortunately, none of the institutions, till some time back, offered music as an academic discipline.

This lacuna has been compensated by St Anthony?s College, which will become the first institution in the Northeast to introduce a Bachelor?s degree in music.

Rev. I. Warpkama, principal of the college, said it was the ?non-existence of academic course for music and culture that prompted the college to start it?.People of the northeastern region are naturally gifted in music,? said the principal. ?This new course aims to cultivate and nurture the innate love for music that is woven into the fabric of the life and culture of the region.?

Only music of Assam, Meghalaya and parts of Manipur will be covered by the course at the initial stage.

The section on ?Music of the Northeast? has been introduced with the objective of discovering, documenting and preserving the rich, yet less known, musical traditions of the tribal groups of the region.