PATACHARKUCHI, June 12 - Father figure of bhramyman (mobile) theatre Achyut Lahkar is no more. The producer of Nataraj Theatre and a dramatist, actor, writer and a lifelong cultural activist breathed his last at Pathsala (Jyotinagar) in Barpeta district around 7:55 this morning.
He was around 86 and was bed-ridden for the past couple of months due to old-age ailments. He leaves behind his wife Kiran Lahkar and a daughter, besides a host of relatives and well-wishers.
Born at Bagana village near Pathsala in 1931, Lahkar was instrumental in giving birth to mobile theatre in Assam. He founded the popular Nataraj Theatre at Pathsala in 1963 and the mobile troupe performed shows across the State as well as outside Assam for nearly 40 years before being closed down. He brought in several innovations into mobile theatre, including experimentation with three stages.
Before venturing into mobile theatre, Lahkar published and edited an Assamese illustrated magazine called Deepawali for some time in 1952. He also wrote a number of dramas. He was honoured with the Kamal Kumari National Award in 1997 for his immense contribution to the field of culture. He also received the Bhaben Barua Award, Mancha Prabhakar Award and Braja Nath Sarma Award.
As soon as the news of the legendary figure�s demise broke out, a large number of well-wishers from various corners of the Bajali subdivision and other places of Assam thronged his son-in-law Rubul Sarma�s residence at Jyotinagar in Pathsala town. He was taken care of his old-age ailments for a long time at the residence of his son-in-law.
Representatives of different organisations of Pathsala, local people, government officials, mobile theatre stalwarts
Ratan Lahkar, Krishna Roy and others rushed to the house where the great mobile theatre pioneer breathed his last to pay their last respect. Ranjit Das, Speaker of Assam Assembly also arrived at Pathsala to pay his last respect to the departed soul.
As per the State government�s announcement, Lahkar was cremated with full state honours on the Pragati Sangha premises in the heart of Pathsala town. Earlier, his body was taken to the cremation site in a huge procession joined in by people from different walks of life. Officials from the Barpeta district and police administration attended the cremation ceremony.
Meanwhile, Governor PB Acharya, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, different ministers and political leaders, members from the film and theatre fraternity, and various organisations condoled the demise of Lahkar terming it as a great loss to the State�s cultural world.