[Assam] It’s anything, but not Bihu - AT Letter

Ram Sarangapani assamrs at gmail.com
Sun May 20 23:00:01 PDT 2007

This is an interesting letter at several levels. Bihu functions years past,
 barely had any Hindi songs. In those 'old' Bihu functions, there would be
the local artists, children, maybe a tiny natok (play), a lokogeet, a
Manipuri dance item or two,  and they then would slowly bring in the big
guns, (someone like Dr. Bhupen Hazarika ). The major artist would them croon
well into the night.  I wish they had stayed that way.

I guess, performers and audiences must have changed. Pallavi Barua (the
author of this letter) cites Majou (don't know who that is) & Garg for their
English and Hindi inclinations - but they are just the artists. If one
doesn't like that particular strain, they ought not to invite them to
perform. Shouldn't that do the trick? Apparently, that seemingly is not the
case - without Bollywood songs, crowds in Guwahati and other places don't
crowd "Bihu Samelans".

Barua also cites "French singer Celine Dion" and "Paris"  -- well,
well, almost! Dion is from Quebec, Canada, and has as much to do with Paris,
France as I have to do with singing.

I hope it doesn't come down to NRAs and those Assamese in other states in
India becoming the only ones to host Bihus, and dance to the tune of Bihu
songs at the various locations and keeping up traditions.

Just my thoughts.

It's anything, but not Bihu
 Sir, –The Bihu functions of recent times organised in the State ought to be
named anything but not 'Bihu Sanmelans'. Going by the steep rise of Hindi
songs in such functions, they ought to be named 'Bollywood Sanmilans'. Let's
not bring all sorts of so called 'Sanmilans' under the orbit of 'Bihu'. As
for the 'folk' festivals taking place every now and then in the region as a
whole, it is amusing to watch Lou Majou crooning English songs in Shillong
and Zubeen Garg doling out Hindi songs in Dimapur, Guwahati, Sivasagar etc.

Even amusing is the phenomenon of 'campaigning' promoted by the cell-phone
operators in collaboration with the numerous Hindi TV channels. For those
who harbour the illusion that Assam would shoot into limelight through
winners in Hindi song competitions, let us look into an even broader arena.
If Assam wants to hog the limelight all over the world, there has to be
winners in Olympics, Wimbledon, World Cup etc. Small countries in the
European Union like Spain, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, or even impoverished
ones like Algeria (in Africa), Brazil, Argentina (in South America) are
known world-over not because of any Hollywood connection or English songs,
but because of world class players like Rafael Nadal, Jana Novotna, Kim
Clijsters, Zinedine Zidane, Pele, Maradona et al.

Also, when the celebrated French singer Celine Dion renders her voice to an
English number at times, the French people donot take out processions on the
streets of Paris. It is her own business and the French public donot waste
time in English affairs in a collective manner. Though the number of English
speakers far exceeds the French, they know it very well that Hollywood is
not the platform for a whole nation to be known for. –Yours etc., Pallavi
Barua, ManiramDewan Path, Guwahati
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