GUWAHATI, Dec 27 � For his untiring efforts towards preserving and popularizing the folk culture and music, educationist Dr Anil Saikia was today conferred the fifth Padmasree Pratima Barua Pandey Memorial Award 2011.
The award ceremony was held near the statue of the renowned Goalparia folk artiste Pratima Barua Pandey at Chandmari on the occasion of her ninth death anniversary.
Principal of the Moran College and a researcher of folk music and culture of Assam, Dr Saikia have contributed immensely towards the preservation of folk music of the State. A doctorate in the field of economics, Dr Saikia has learnt piano from the Trinity College of London. He had also learnt tabla and music.
An avid collector of folk music, he has a collection of 26 gramophones, 35 record players, 6,000 gramophone records, and three record changers. His collections of gramophone records include plays and music of Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telegu, Bhojpuri, Russian and Italian languages along with some rare collections of Assamese folk songs. He has 300 records of Rabindra Sangeet, 20 old bihu songs, six bianaams, 20 folk songs of Kamrup, 150 songs from Bengali cinema, among others.
The award instituted by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU) consists of a citation, a xorai, a gamosa, a cheleng chadar and cash amount of Rs 25,000.
Receiving the award, Dr Saikia said that he wants to dedicate his rare museum of music to the people of Assam. �I want to train more and more youth into folk music to popularize our folk tradition among the younger generations,� he said.
Speaking about the contributions of Pratima Barua Pandey, he said that she provided new heights to the Goalparia Lokageet in terms of popularity. He also stressed the need to promote such folk music among people through modern means of mass media like mobile phones and Internet. �Very soon, I would launch a website on Goalparia folk songs and would make public my entire collection of such songs on Internet,� he added.
Dr Saikia has also authored a book on music Sangeet Aru Natakat Sangeet, 15 plays, two science books for children, textbooks of economics etc. In his attempt to popularize folk songs and music among people, Dr Saikia has attended several workshops on music, as a resource person.
Earlier, while speaking on the occasion, AASU president Sankar Prasad Roy said that there is a need of a cultural movement for the overall progress of the State.
�The AASU has started this award in the name of the great folk artist to felicitate such people who are working diligently towards preservation and promotion of folk culture, which is the very essence of the Assamese society,� Samujjal Bhattacharyya, advisor of the students� union said.
Husband of the singer Ganga Shankar Pandey, sisters Parvati Barua, noted elephant expert and Pranati Phukan and her brother Prabir Barua also paid their tribute to the Pratima Barua Pandey on the occasion.