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Book on bonding between Shillong and Assamese people

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 19 - The Heart Left Behind, a book by former bureaucrat and columnist Swapnanil Barua that chronicles the deep emotional connection between Shillong and the Assamese people, was released at the Guwahati Press Club on Monday.

A narration of oral history linked to Assamese families who made Shillong their home following the shifting of the capital of Assam from Guwahati to Shillong in 1874, the book includes chapters on expansion of Assamese enclaves and Assamese institutions set up in the city of hills in subsequent years.

An account that is sure to evoke nostalgic feelings among a number of families of the State who had a Shillong connection, the book � published by Bhabani Books � also narrates the reverse flow of the Assamese following the transfer of the capital of Assam to Guwahati in 1972 with the birth of a new state, Meghalaya.

Talking about the book in its launch function, the author said that it was an account of the oral history that was not properly recorded. �Despite 98 years of their presence in Shillong, the Assamese are becoming history in Shillong. Whatever Assamese institutions are left in the city, are struggling to survive. Through this book, it�s my attempt to jot down the memories for future generation. This might act as an aid to more detailed scholarly research work on the issue in future,� Barua mentioned.

Former bureaucrat JP Saikia lauded the writer for collecting the memories linked to Shillong and publishing it in book form. He also said that bureaucrats like Swapnanil Barua with deep cultural connections, have a lot to enrich society.

Academician and former SEBA chairman Shantikam Hazarika spoke about the contributions of music pioneer Rudra Barua in expansion of Assamese culture and music in Shillong that worked as a catalyst for assimilation between the Assamese and Khasi people.

Senior journalist Partha Pratim Hazarika, while speaking on the occasion, said that Swapnanil Barua�s original thoughts reflect in his writings, which make his work more impactful.

He urged Barua to pen his experience as a bureaucrat in his next book. �During his career as a bureaucrat, Barua has witnessed several crucial phases of the history of Assam. We will eagerly wait for such a book from him that can shed more light on some of those incidents, which he witnessed from close quarters,� Hazarika mentioned.

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