GUWAHATI, Dec 27 - The Padma Shri Pratima Barua Pandey Memorial Award, 2020 was today presented to noted artiste Pabitra Rabha for his immense contributions in the field of Assamese theatre and cinema at a programme held at the Chandmari Swahid Udyan here. Instituted by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU), the award is given annually on December 27, the death anniversary of the legendary folk singer Pratima Barua Pandey.
The award carries a citation, a sarai, gamosa, seleng sador, a jacket made of eri, and Rs 25,000. Rabha hails from Jalah-Nabhanga village in Udalguri district. He received his training at the National School of Drama (NSD) with specialisation in acting. He runs an all- dwarves theatre group, �Dapon-The Mirror� for which he had received the CNN-IBN Real Hero Award in 2012. He had also received the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for his notable talent in theatre as a director.
Receiving the award, Rabha vowed for working towards preserving the contributions of Pratima Barua Pandey.
Criticising the State government, Rabha said, �If the present government cannot preserve the contributions of legendary Goalpariya folk singer Pratima Barua Pandey, I will do it on my own under my ongoing project theatre and film village.� Rabha, however, dedicated the award to those who have been working with him for years.
Earlier speaking on the occasion, AASU�s chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya, president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Sankor Jyoti Baruah slammed the State government for not taking any concrete steps towards conservation of the contributions of Pratima Barua Pandey.
�We have been demanding the State government for years but not a single step has been taken yet. But we will not stop here. The State government should have declared that they cannot do anything regarding it,� Bhattacharya said.
Dipanka Kumar Nath said, �It is an irony that the State government has done nothing to conserve the Matiabag House of the cultural icon despite repeated requests.�
General secretary Sankor Jyoti Baruah observed that, �There may not be any political benefit as the government is not taking any steps.�
Pratima Barua Pandey�s daughter Alaka Pandey, music composer JP Das, singer Manisha Hazarika and members from several organisations among others were also present at the event.