MANGALDAI, Jan 22 � �Darrang district is known for its traditional music and culture including the two art forms of Ojapali music � Byash and Suknani � along with Deodhani dance. This rich cultural heritage has been successfully preserved by some sincere and hard-working, but illiterate and semi-literate artistes, and now it is time for the educated young generation to come forward and preserve this unique resource as a performing art,� said Dr Kanak Chandra Saharia, associate professor, Gauhati University, and a research scholar of Ojapali music at the Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha auditorium here recently. He was delivering a talk as the appointed speaker in a meeting held on the occasion of the release of a book on the life and works of octogenarian Muktaram Barua Oja of Rainakuchi, Patharighat, an exponent of Ojapali music. The book is called Touryatrik Parongat Silpi Sri Muktaram Barua Oja.
Dr Saharia said that to popularise this culture among educated youths, it should be introduced as one of the events for competition in schools and colleges. He stressed the necessity of opening a new section attached to the Assamese Department of the Gauhati University where students can study Kulhati Dhol, Goalparia music, Ojapali, Deodhani dance, etc., popular in areas of lower Assam, with a new outlook as has been done for Sattriya music in the Dibrugarh University.
Addressing the function as a distinguished guest, Dr Nabin Chandra Sarma, retired head of the Folk Culture Research Department, Gauhati University, dwelt at length on the history of Ojapali music, its relevance in relation to other Indian classical dances and music like Bharatnatyam and its powerful impact on the rural folk of Darrang, irrespective of caste, creed and religion. He also remembered the all-time great Ojapali exponents of the district, Bor Oja Durgeswar Nath and Thanuram Kalita, winners of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Lalit Chandra Nath Oja, Kinaram Nath Oja and Muktaram Barua Oja.
Earlier, Binay Kumar Medhi, veteran academician and artiste, while releasing the book published by Prafulla Barua, brother of Muktaram Barua, appreciated the family of Muktaram Barua for their efforts to bring out the biography in his lifetime which will help the future generation to rediscover him. He also urged the Indian Government to offer national recognition to Muktaram Barua who has already earned the State Government�s artiste pension.
The meeting, presided over by Dr Nagendra Nath Sarma, prominent educationist and former president of the Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha, was also addressed by Dulal Roy, eminent drama personality and the North-east in-charge of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. Speaking on the occasion, Roy recognised Ojapali not only as a culture of Darrang or Assam but as an enriched culture of the world.
The meeting also witnessed the felicitation of Muktaram Barua by various public organisations including the Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha, Udalguri Sahitya Sabha and Tangla Sahitya Sabha. Dhirada Deka, widow of Batahu Ram Deka, renowned daina pali (associate of oja), was offered cash and clothes by the family members of Muktaram Barua.