GUWAHATI, June 20 – The Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha Awards for the year 2011 were bestowed on eminent performing artistes Durlobha Moran and Shanti Shankar Dasgupta at a solemn function held here today.
Presenting the awards, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, appreciated the contributions of Moran and Dasgupta and underlined the rich cultural heritage of Assam to which they belonged.
Gogoi said that artistes were individuals who wished for positive changes in society, and cultural icons such as Bishnu Rabha were committed to changing society so that the poor and the marginalised could find justice and equity.
Paying homage to Bishnu Rabha and recalling his ideals, Gogoi said that Rabha was a dedicated artiste devoted to serving the downtrodden and establishing a just social order. The young generation could draw inspiration from such a personality and his dedication to his cause.
He mentioned that culture cannot be taken in isolation, but should be viewed with a perspective that can also connect it with economic development. Cultural development could enable communities to seek and achieve happiness, something that the neighbouring country of Bhutan has reinforced.
He said that his government was committed to promoting the cultural wealth of the state, and he had held discussions on it with the Planning Commission of India.
Congratulating Moran and Dasgupta he mentioned that the youth should realise that success that the artistes have got comes only after long struggle and committed work.
Accepting the award, highly regarded Bihu dancer of yesteryear Durlobha Moran said that her success would not have been possible without the support of those who had performed with her at the various Bihu venues.
Shanti Shankar Dasgupta, who is a master of folk dances as well Kathak, in his acceptance speech recalled his association with cultural artistes of Tezpur, and recalled the encouragement he had received from Ajay Chaliha.
They were awarded with a citation, a chador, a sorai and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh each.
In his speech, former VC of Dibrugarh University, Kamaleshwar Bora delineated the life and times of Bishnu Rabha, revealing the range of talent possessed by the eminent Assamese. In his view, Rabha was a multifaceted genius who contributed to performing arts, painting, intellectual thought, and in many other areas.
His association with Jyotiprasad Agarwala was significant as it brought out a creative synergy that benefitted Assamese culture immensely. Bishnu Rabha, he said, was a major complementary force to Agarwala and together they created a rich repertoire of music and cinema.
Speaking at the function organised by the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Minister of Cultural Affairs, Pranati Phukan described Bishnu Rabha as a cultural luminary of the highest order who was an inspiration to the Assamese people. She said his ideals are worth emulating today, and that would be the highest respect that can be paid to Rabha.
Awards for painting and Rabha Sangeet competitions to mark Rabha Divas were also given away at the function. Three young artistes from Assam – Mary Bora, Nabajyoti Barman and Abhisruti Bezbarua were also given awards.