GUWAHATI, Aug 8 - Drama in Assam may be popular on the stage but it finds few takers as a literary genre, and this lack of readership has affected its growth in the State. Publishing constraints have also hindered literary assessment of contemporary drama as well as its comparative analysis.
Observing this while delivering the Chandra Prasad Saikia Memorial Lecture on �Contemporary Assamese Drama Literature� at the Kanaklal Baruah Auditorium of Assam State Museum here this evening, eminent dramatist and critic Naren Patgiri said that the lack of availability of quality drama works in the market was a genuine problem that needed attention from all concerned.
�There is no doubt that good dramas have been written but those are difficult to find in bookstalls. This has made assessment of the literary worth of drama besides rendering comparison difficult,� he said. He also stressed the need for �intellectual competitiveness� so that more and more quality drama could appear.
The lecture was organized under the aegis of Gariyoshi, the monthly literary magazine published by the Assam Tribune Group of Publications.
Dwelling on the evolution of modern Assamese drama, Patgiri referred to the pioneering efforts of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala as testified to by classics like Karengar Ligiri and Rupalim, and said that the trend was carried forward by the likes of Arun Sharma, Mahendra Barthakur and Himen Barthakur who produced exceptional plays on varied themes and which also stood out due to the extraordinary treatment.
Among the present-day powerful dramatists, he said Baharul Islam, Rabijita Gogoi and Anup Hazarika were producing quality works with thrust on experimentation.
�The emerging ethnic consciousness, too, is another absorbing aspect of our drama. Dramatists like Pabitra Rabha and Sukracharya Rabha have added a new dynamism and freshness of approach in their works,� he said, adding that mythology, folklore and history, too, are now figuring as interesting subjects for the modern dramatist who is taking recourse to innovation in treating the subject with a contemporary colour.
On the drawbacks of the new dramatists, Patgiri said that language-wise, many of their works suffered. �The use of language as a beautiful, powerful and effective tool to enhance the effect of a drama is hardly seen,� he said.
Editor of Gariyoshi, Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora, in his presidential remarks, recalled the contributions of its founder Editor Chandra Prasad Saikia in encouraging, creating and supporting new writers, including young writers. �Chandra Prasad Saikia was a pioneer on many fronts. He was also a guardian to many of us,� he said.
Ankur Deka, Assistant Editor of Gariyoshi and convenor of the lecture programme, gave the welcome address.