|Ramleela celebrations in Guwahati over the years|
GUWAHATI, Oct 1 – A section of the Guwahatians has been relentlessly trying hard for the past about four decades to keep the messages of the Ramayana alive and to uphold the ethos propagated by the epic through the Rama character.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi with Mamoni Roisom Goswami and Tulsi Govinda Baruah during a Ramleela celebration in Nehru Stadium, Guwahati. - File photo
One of them, Ram Niranjan Goenka president of the Fancy Bazar unit of the Asam Sahitya Sabha, the founder convenor and now president of the Asom Bijoya Dashami Mahotsava Committee, told this newspaper that about 40 years back, a group of Guwahatians, led by Gauri Sankar Bhattacharyya as the president, Chaganlal Jain, Ratna Ojah, the then Deputy General Manager of the NF Railway Kranti Kumar, railway employees Ramavatar Sarma, Amarjit Sarma and MN Chaturvedi together with RN Goenka, started the Assam Bijoya Dashami Mahotsava celebration at the Maligaon Railway Stadium.
Proprietor of the Assam Tribune group of newspapers Radha Govinda Baruah was invited to the function as the chief guest and the then Chief Minister of Assam Sarat Chandra Sinha was invited to inaugurate the function. After the function, RG Baruah suggested RN Goenka to shift the venue of the celebration to Nehru Stadium here.
Since the following year, the Nehru Stadium became the venue of the celebration with RG Baruah as the chairman of the celebration committee. After RG’s death, some problems cropped up and the celebration remained suspended for some years. In 2009, RG’s eldest son Late TG Baruah, the former Chairman of the Assam Tribune group of newspapers, requested Goenka to resume the celebration and the celebration started again with TG Baruah as chairman and RN Goenka as the president of the celebration committee.
After TG Baruah’s death, Editor of The Assam Tribune PG Baruah became chairman of the celebration committee and the next year Asamiya Pratidin’s proprietor Jayanta Barua became its chairman.
This year, founder Editor and proprietor of the Agradoot group of newspapers and a former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha Kanak Sen Deka is the chairman of the celebration committee with Sankarlal Goenka as its vice chairman, RN Goenka as its president, Pradip Kumar Bharech and Ratan Sarma as its working presidents, Sudhir Saraf as its general secretary, Arun Sarma and Dinesh Mangalunia as its joint secretaries and Madhukant Sarma as its additional secretary.
Significantly, the number of people witnessing the performance of the open-air Ramleela performed by the local artistes as part of the Bijoya Dashami Mahotsava, is also swelling every passing year. According to the information provided by RN Goenka, from 7,000 in 2009 the number of audience swelled to 15,000 in 2010 and in 2013 it rose to 20,000. This year the number of audience is expected to be around 25,000, he said.
This year, the artistes of the city along with the artistes of Ayodhya, Varanasi and Kolkata will perform the Ramleela, Goenka said.
Gayan-Bayan is also a part of this celebration and the troupe led by Dulal Chandra Goswami and Guneswar Barman will perform the Gayan-Bayan with Pranjal Deka and his wife Swapna Deka taking care of the sound and light arrangement.
The fire works displayed in the celebration are the creations of Mridul Sutradhar of Barpeta. Singers Sangeeta Kakati and Sangeeta Chamuwa will sing the Bhajan dedicated to Ramchandra at the function, Goenka said.