DAKHIN CHUBURI, Dec 30 � The news of the selection of nonagenarian exponent of the traditional Suknani Ojapali, Kinaram Nath Oja for the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademy Award has brought delight to people of his home district Darrang on the eve of the New Year. The very special news has made the people of his native village Daksin Chuburi under Sipajhar Revenue Circle jubiliant as people thronged his residence to congratulate him and his family members for this rare achievement as a recognition to his lifelong dedication and untiring effort to make this performing art popular among young generation.
Talking to this correspondent, Kinaram Nath an artist core to the heart said that born to the family of Jhapahudhar Nath and Dhaneswari Devi in 1920, he had learnt the art of Ojapali and beating of drum called �Jaidhol� for �Deodhani Dance� from Haliram Sarma and Chandiram Bhuya respectively when he was only 14 years old and continued his never ending journey in spite of severe hardships. His stage performance began in 1953 in Shillong, the then capital of the State in a function called �Parvat Bhaiyamor Milan Samaroh� as co-artist �Daina-Pali� with Lalit Ch Nath Oja, the distinguished Ojapali artist who won the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award in 1983.
In an interaction he cherished his memorable moment of the year in 1958 when after enjoying their performance on Dheodhani Nritya, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru invited the cultutral troupe to his official residence for a tea party and during the party Pandit Nehru suddenly came close to his chair and hold both his hands and expressed his feelings as � Oh! Assam ke Dheodhani dance bahut achhaa hein, yeh admi bahut barhiya hein�. He went onto perform with Lalit Oja upto the year 1980 and then onwards he led folk artists group of his own and continued performing in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Odisha, Sikkim and many parts all over India upto 1994 and subsequently made his State proud. But his journey for the traditional Suknani form of Ojapali has not yet ended and with a view to make this culture preserve among the future generations he has been imparting training to young artists both in Suknani and �Deodhani� as a performing art which is also on the verge of extinction.
In his reaction to this correspondent on considering him for the National Award as �Moi bor anandito, mor yar babe yogyata nai�, the maestro of the said traditional culture said that he has developed and is guiding six local groups of artists which also included his eldest son Dimbeswar Nath (60). He has also trained more than 20 young interested girls from Tezpur, Golaghat, Bongaigaon, Pathsala and other areas of the State keeping them in his residence for nearly a week altogether.
A true lover of folk culture, Kinaram Nath however expressed his dissatisfaction at the way the government has been playing their role for its proper preservation among the new generation. Moreover, he expressed his keen desire to set up a training centre at his residence if the Government comes forward with proper patronisation.