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Assam troupe rocks Johannesburg stage

Ramlal Sinha

Culture can bridge barriers like nothing else, no matter how deep and wide they are. Our very own Bhupen Hazarika was among the most successful cultural icons who could unite people across cultures in his lifetime. It was not for nothing that the very first issue of Seven Sisters Post branded itself to widely cover the life and contributions of the man when he had breathed his last. And this happened at a time when the cultural bridge in Assam was collapsing. 

When a bridge falls, it is the duty on the part of those who are in the trade to repair or erect it afresh. Such a bond is strengthened when there is an enriching exchange of tradition in its truest sense. 

Following the icon’s footsteps, a troupe of artistes from Assam, including cine stars Malaya Goswami and Nishita Goswami, Bihu Guru Madhurima Choudhury, Manipuri dance guru and Kalasamgam Cultural Society principal Bibhul Kanta Sinha and others participated in the ‘Incredible India Day’ programme in Johannesburg on August 18, made meaningful by showcasing the folklores of both the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys. The programme, organised by India Club, Johannesburg, was a platform for cultural exchange between India and South Africa. 

The troupe from Assam comprising artistes of the North Eastern Economic Development Society (Needs), Guwahati, and Smile Club, Silchar, showcased some classical dances and the rich folk stock of Assam through a number of presentations that held the audience spellbound. 

While Choudhury, accompanied by actor Nishita Goswami and Mridul Moran, mesmerised the audience with a Bihu performance, the latter awed those present with a fusion Goalporia folk song. The duo also teamed up with Moran and Sinha to perform a dance to a patriotic Hindi number, ‘Aye mere watan ke logon’ to thunderous applause. Dipti Sen, Sushmita and Bijoya, all from the Smile Club, performed Charak dance — a folk dance very popular in the Barak and Surma valleys. They also performed the Ghoomar dance of Rajasthan. 

On the classical front, while Choudhury performed a Satriya dance solo, dance guru Sinha teamed up with her and Dipali Chakravarty and presented a Manipuri dance, Basanta Ritu Barnan. Accompanied by some Odissi dancers, Sinha also put on a ‘Shiva Tandava’ in Manipuri dance form. 

South African artistes also performed many items, including the Zulu dance. In the programme, on could not but help appreciate the diversity of the culture across communities and nations, and the cultural exchange between India and South Africa was an encouraging gesture for the delegates. 

Courtesy: Seven Sisters Post

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