NAHARKATIA, Dec 2 - The Assam government today conferred the Siu-Ka-Pha Award on eminent Tai scholar Bimal Borpatra Gohain during a function held at Tipam village, some 10 km from here on the occasion of Asom Divas (Siu-Ka-Pha Divas) celebration.
Tipam is a place of historic importance between Naharkatia and Namrup because Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha, the first Ahom king had a stopover in the village during his journey into Assam. The village also has a moidam of the Ahoms. The Asom Divas celebration was observed at the Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha High School ground in the village.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal gave away the coveted award to the veteran teacher and Tai researcher in the presence of Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley, Dibrugarh University Vice Chancellor Dr Alak Kumar Buragohain and guests from Myanmar and Thaliand, MPs Kamakhya Prasad Tasa and Rameshwar Teli and a host of MLAs.
The Siu-Ka-Pha Award that carries Rs 2 lakh along with a citation and a sorai, is given away annually to a prominent personality of the State who has made considerable contribution to the society in any field.
The Assam government has been observing December 2 as the Asom Divas or Siu-Ka-Pha Divas in commemoration of the first Ahom king.
The Chief Minister in his speech said that if the ideals of Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha are followed with earnestness, Assam can become socially and economically strong. The basis of the governance of the great Ahom king was brotherhood and he managed to unite different ethnic communities to establish a great Assam, he said, adding the path shown by Siu-Ka-Pha is more relevant today.
�If we as a state have to grow and become strong, we must follow the ideals of Chaolung Siu-Ka-Pha. We have to respect each other and must not discriminate on the basis of community, language and religion. We must learn to live in harmony,� Sonowal added.
The Chief Minister also directed the Cultural Affairs Minister to see if the historic Tipam village could be converted into a tourist spot. He also asked the minister to preserve the Ahom monument in the village along with other infrastructure development.
Bimal Borpatra Gohain was born in 1930 in Darikial village in Sivasagar district. He did his primary schooling in his village and then moved to Nazira for his high school studies. After clearing intermediate science, he took to teaching science in Simalguri High School. It was during his teaching period that he was drawn towards the Tai language.
He began to learn more about the language from one Khonglet Gohain of Gargaon village near Simaluguri. In 1980, he established a study centre of the Tai language at Simalguri High School in collaboration with one Pushpo Mohan and imparted lessons on Tai language to students and enthusiasts.
In his quest to learn, preserve and propagate the Tai language, Bimal Borpatra Gohain travelled to several Tai villages in both north and south banks of the Brahmaputra. He researched the language among the Tai Khamti, Tai Phake and Tai Shyam people, and took initiative in forming the Tai Sahitya Sabha.
In 1981, he was successful in forming the full-fledged All Assam Tai Sahitya Sabha. He took over the reigns of the literary body as its general secretary during its second convention held at Charaideo. He was also instrumental in preparing the alphabets of the Tai language along with the then Tai Sabha president Ratneswar Buragohain during his stay in Pune, Maharashtra.
Bimal Borpatra Gohain has also contributed to the society by publishing a grammar book in Tai language. He has written several articles and books on Tai language, culture and traditions. Jon Ming Le Lon Mai, Deo Buronji, Krim Moung Lengdonor Esuwa, Chaolung Siu-Ka-Phar Kotha, Lik Pan Khum Tai Ahom, etc., are some of his works on Tai literature and culture.