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Amzad Ali Khan roots for freedom of speech

Sarod maestro Ustad Amzad Ali Khan receiving the Kamala Saikia national award from former Asam Sahitya Sabha president Kanak Sen Deka as veteran journalist DN Bezboruah looks on, in Guwahati on Thursday. - UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Aug 9 - Ustad Amzad Ali Khan, who was conferred the fourth Journalist Kamala Saikia Memorial National Award, 2018, today said that freedom of speech was necessary for the future of the country.

A globally-acclaimed sarod maestro with a distinguished career spanning more than six decades, Amzad Ali Khan received the award at a function at Vivekananda Kendra here. The honour was bestowed on him for his matchless contribution in promoting peace, unity and universal brotherhood through music.

“I always have very high regard for free and fair press and here, while receiving this award, I would like to thank all the committed and dedicated journalists, who seek to explore and expose truth and show the right path to those in power,” he added.

A son-in-law of Assam, he also underscored the inherent struggle in the field of classical music and uncertainties of life associated with the field.

“My wife Subhalakshmi Barua (Khan) is the first teacher of my sons Ayaan and Amaan like all mothers. But I feel, for some reason our mothers and our women still have to struggle to get what they deserve,” he said, also expressing concern over increasing incidents of crime against women.

The biennial award, instituted in memory of martyred journalist and freedom fighter Kamala Saikia by a trust constituted after his name, contains a citation and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh.

Observing the 27th death anniversary of the journalist, the trust in association with the Guwahati Press Club also organized the 17th Kamala Saikia Memorial Lecture, which was delivered by Justice Biplab Kumar Sharma, a retired judge of Gauhati High Court.

Deliberating on the ‘Freedom of press and the law of contempt’, Justice Sharma said that regarded among the four pillars of democracy, both media and judiciary have to maintain a lot of restraint and work for the greater good of society.

“The laws of contempt are in place, but, in several examples of such cases, we have witnessed that the Indian judiciary has maintained a lot of restraint while dealing with such cases. The contempt charges on writer Arundhati Roy is one such example. Media too, is a powerful medium in itself and so long it exercises some amount of self regulation no other law is necessary for its regulation,” he added.

Specifically underlining the criminal contempt, he said that while media has power to mobilize the masses, it should not work as an influencing factor in imparting justice. “Attributing motive to judges or conducting media trials on pending judicial matters are a few things to be strictly avoided,” he said.

Senior journalist and president of the trust Kanak Sen Deka in his presidential remarks said that the ideals of martyred journalist Kamala Saikia are a guiding force for society. “Media and journalists have a greater role to play in society with an affirmative outlook,” he said.

Senior journalists DN Bezboruah, Dilip Chandan and Sanjib Phukan were also present in the event.

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