Guwahati, Sunday, May 6, 2012
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Rongali Bihu celebrated in North Carolina

 GUWAHATI, May 5 – The Assamese community in Research Triangle Area of North Carolina USA (Raleigh-Durham-Cary-Morrisville) celebrated Rongali Bihu in Morrisville on April 28 in a familial atmosphere reminiscent of the Bihu celebrations of the past in Assam. This occasion gave the small Assamese community in the area an opportunity to usher in the Assamese New Year and celebrate their cultural heritage. This was stated in a press release received here.

Surrounded by an authentic Assamese décor brought to life with colourful gamosas, jaapis and sarais beautifully put together by enthusiastic volunteers, the day began with a cultural programme in which everyone joined in with joyful abundance. The programme began with an introduction by cultural secretary Neelakshi Phukan Neog and Bihu society president Devraj Borah, who welcomed over 50 guests from the RTP area. The energy of the gathering was enhanced by the presence of several Assamese families from the sister city of Charlotte NC about 200 miles from RTP. Participation and contributions from friends and relatives from other parts of India graced the occasion as well.

The cultural programme began with a soulful devotional song by Rathin and Meenakshi Devchoudhury, followed by an hour long children's cultural programme. It was a joy to witness as it showcased the talents of the children and the dedication of their parents in sharing our rich cultural heritage with the next generation. Instrumental music by Eesha (violin), individual songs and recitals by Vansh, Tanisha, Eshan and Prithu, and a delightful Bollywood dance by little Tanisha, Ruhi and Simi brought smiles to everyone.

This was followed with a chorus, an old time popular Assamese song Ejak Sarai Uri Uri Jai sung by the RTP Bihu team of Rathin Devchoudhury(also on harmonium), Meenakshi Devchoudhury, Deepanjali Das, Namrata Chetia Borah, Nilakshi Phukan Neog, Monalisa Barua, Shrabanti Barua, Pundarikakhya Barua, Debojyoti Gogoi, Pulakesh Barua, Devraj Borah and Debananda Neog on tabla.

The husori was presented with great authenticity and completeness, enacting the vision of a husori troupe visiting a family's home in a village on a Bihu morning, rendered in meticulous details. It transported the audience to the front yard (aag sotaal) of their homes back in Assam in the nostalgic past. The husori was performed with great enthusiasm and energy by Rathin Devchoudhury, Pulakesh (flute/pepa), Debananda (dhol), Prasahant (taal), Debojyoti, Devraj (toka), Pundarikakhya accompanied by beautiful nachonis Namrata, Nilakshi, Chayanika, Monalisa Baruah and Monalisa Phukan. The husori concluded with the presentation of a Sarai to the troupe by Deepanjali Das.

Other highlights of the programme included modern songs by Pundarikakhya Barua (Bohag Matho Eti Ritu Nohoi), Nilakshi (Ei Dhunia Godhulir Lagan), Monalisa (Xalikey O), and Pulakesh (own compositions with voice, music and lyrics (Nila akash and Ratir Kola), Sharbanti (Choo Kar Mere Man Ko) from the movie Yarana), ghazal by Prashant and Rathin Devchoudhury (Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar), guitar medley of Bupen Hazarika songs by Chiranjit and Bihugeet by Rathin Devchoudhury.

Guests from Charlotte enthralled the audience starting with a Bihu dance by Monalisa Phukan. This was followed by chorus of a very famous song Bristrino Parore by the Charlotte team of Kabir Bhattacharjya (also on guitar), Chinmoyee Bhattacharjya, Anjan Baruah, Aparajita Baruah, Sandeep Phukan, Panchalee Phukan, Anit Dhekial Phukan and Monalisa Dhekial Phukan. A duet of the song Bohagote aahibi senai oi was presented by Panchalee and Chinmoyee. The very popular song Xurat Mogon Bhoyal Rati was presented by Anjan, Kabir, Sandeep and Anit and was followed by a song by Panchalee (Mayamoi). Rich heritage of the unique Assamese silk weaving industry was captured by a fashion show by Sriparna, Deepanjali, Namrata, Neelakshi, Monalisa and Sarika and choreographed by Sriparna.

A professionally choreographed bollywood dance by Sriparna, Sarika, Namrata and Monalisa enthralled the young and the old alike and provided a contemporary glimpse of an evolving and modern Indian multi-cultural society that can feel equal joy in the old and the new.

Besides the musical programme, the event also provided ample opportunities to learn and recall important aspects of Assamese culture, history and heritage. Fun filled trivia questions presented by Rathin Devchoudhury kept everyone engaged, including the children. The Bihu committee made sure that the event offered a joyous and learning experience for the children who also enjoyed a variety of gifts and definitely enjoyed the attention and limelight throughout the day.

The day’s programme came to an enjoyable closure with a delicious dinner that included mouth-watering delicacies cooked and catered by members and volunteers of the Bihu committee. The menu included many authentic Assamese traditional dishes.

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