GUWAHATI, Jan 8 – “Violent revolutions do not so much redistribute wealth as destroy it...real revolution is the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character. The only real emancipation is individual,” said acclaimed actor Victor Banerjee, quoting historian and philosopher Will Durant, while delivering the eleventh Kamal Kumari Memorial Lecture in the city today.
According to Banerjee, this statement was valid not just for Assam, but for many other parts of India, where change was being witnessed.
Banerjee questioned some facets of popular culture, which were inevitable, but which indicated cultural traits not truly representative of the country. He referred to art reflecting life and vice versa, and mentioned the ability of art to present life in a changed reality.
Speaking as the chief guest, Prof Amarjyoti Choudhury, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University, underlined the importance of having an open mind in order to usher in original thinking and creative work. He regretted that most of the cutting edge developments in the area of science and technology were taking place in foreign countries even though there was ample talent in India. Emphasising interdisciplinary studies, the academic stressed the need to focus on “our basics in our classroom and facilities”. He mentioned the Kamal Kumari Foundation as reflective of the ethos of Assam, which in his view were kindness, charity and nation building.
The Kamal Kumari National Awards for the year 2010 were presented to Prof Amaresh Datta for Art and Culture, Dr Ramesh Chandra Deka for Science and Technology, and the Siva Prasad Barooah National Award was presented to Subir Bhoumik. Each of the awards comprised a citation, a trophy, and an amount of Rs 2 lakh.
Earlier, Hemendra Prasad Barooah spoke about the activities of the Kamal Kumari Foundation. Established in the memory of Kamal Kumari Barooah, the matriarch of the Khongiya Barooah family of Thengal, the foundation has carried out a range of constructive activities in the eastern part of India.