[Assam] Its anything, but not Bihu - AT Letter

Mridul Bhuyan mridul_mb at yahoo.com
Sun May 20 23:27:59 PDT 2007

Dear Ram Da,
  Yes, It's been a trend nowadays specially in Assam, where bolywood songs are a must. In the Bihu's celebrated in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai atleast, it's seen that the organisers stick to the Assamese songs, Bihu, Bihu dance etc. But the inclination towards hindi, english songs are more in Assam and in some instances, I have seen video clips of bolywood dances in some bihu organised in US, I forgot where. I personally don't support that.

Ram Sarangapani <assamrs at gmail.com> wrote:
    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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