GUWAHATI, April 29 � Rich tributes were paid to Ramchandra Das, an eminent figure in the field of Assamese folklore, in a function held at Guwahati Press Club today. The highlight of the function, organised by Media Trust Assam, was a memorial lecture in his honour, which was delivered by former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha Dr Birendranath Dutta.
In the function presided over by Radhikamohan Bhagawati, editor of Dainik Asam, speakers recalled Das as a tireless worker who dedicated himself for collecting folk compositions from various parts of this region. It was largely due to his efforts that many folk songs could be preserved for posterity.
Das was instrumental not just in collecting the folk compositions but was also able to retain notes about the songs he had collected. In one instance he was able to retrieve a song that celebrates a Muslim individual, but that was sung by a Hindu widow who originally hailed from Hajo.
In his lecture, Dr Birendranath Dutta appreciated the untiring work of Ramchandra Das and mentioned that he was remarkable in being a folklorist and a performing artist at the same time. Das was accomplished in singing songs, taking notes and composing lyrics in various forms.
Dr Dutta mentioned two categories in folklore � applied and action � and described Das as an action folklorist, as he was able to perform the items he collected or knew by heart. This ability had endured Das to people in the areas where he carried out his investigations.
He also recalled a personal encounter with Das many decades ago, in which he had been made aware about the importance of folk literature. Since then, he had come to better appreciate the varied accomplishments of the folklorist.
Addressing the gathering, Phani Das, a son of the eminent researcher, said his father had written many songs and collected others during his life. However, some of those songs were later sung by well known singers and made available in cassettes and CDs without any mention of the man who had collected those. Except for two, none of the singers singing those songs had the courtesy to refer to Ramchandra Das.
He, on behalf of his family, thanked the Media Trust Assam for organising the lecture to commemorate Ramchandra Das, who was conferred with the honorific Loka Sahitya Bisarad during the Asam Sahitya Sabha�s Shillong session.