GUWAHATI, Dec 27 � Mohammad Muhibur Rahman, popularly known as Bhadiya Kai, a folk artiste from Lakhimpur district specializing in Zikir and Jari categories of folk songs, was conferred the Padmashri Pratima Barua Pandey Memorial Award by the All Assam Students� Union (AASU).
The award has been instituted by the AASU in the memory of the renowned exponent of Goalparia folk songs Pratima Barua Pandey. Since 2007, many eminent artistes working for preservation and popularization of the traditional and folk art and culture have received this award.
Receiving the award on the occasion of the 10th death anniversary of Pratima Baruah Pandey, Muhibur Rahman expressed his willingness to continue to work for popularizing the folk songs. �I thank all those who have encouraged me to continue singing. If I get an opportunity, I would be happy to train the younger generation,� he said.
Other than Zikir and Jari, Bhadiya Kai has also contributed immensely towards promoting other folk songs like Dihanaam, Tokari Geet, Shalita Lagowa Naam, Bhakatiya Bihu Naam among others. Though illiterate, he can fluently sing over a hundred Zikir and Jari songs.
�Such artistes are the torchbearers of the traditional Assamese folk songs and culture. Eminent Zikir singer Rekibuddin Ahmed also collected some of the lyrics and tunes of several Zikir songs from him. He is also an expert of the expressions and postures during the time of Zikir presentation,� AASU president Shankar Prasad Rai said.
Earlier, husband of Pratima Barua Pandey, Ganga Shankar Pandey and her siblings Prabir Barua and Parbati Barua inaugurated the award function by lighting the ceremonial lamp and offering floral tribute to the folk artiste at Chandmari Swahid Udyan, where a life size statue of Pratima Barua Pandey has been installed by the AASU.
Asking the State Government to preserve the house of Pratima Barua Pandey at Matiyabag of Gauripur as a heritage building, AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya said that the State government should take steps to preserve the rare folk songs of the State in an archive.
�Folk tradition and songs are an integral part of our culture and it must be preserved carefully. The government must take up a comprehensive plan to preserve such rare songs before they are lost,� Bhattacharyya added.