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					     AANA                 AFNA               ASSNA

Volume 29, No. 2, Issue 104                    Bihu Issue, May 2008

A Note from the Publishers

Dear Friends,
    A belated Happy Rongali Bihu to all of you. It is our great pleasure to publish this Bihu issue of
the newsletter. This newsletter represents the three forefront Assamese organizations in North
America and Canada – AANA (socio-cultural), ASSNA (literary organization which is a branch of
Asom Sahitya Sabha) and AFNA (charity organization). The overwhelming response from all over
US, Canada and across the pond in UK truly demonstrates the great enthusiasm of the Diaspora
to keep our traditions alive and in boisterous health.
    We thank all contributors for the excellent articles on Bihu celebrations and other topics. A
special thanks to Partha Gogoi, President AFNA, for sharing with us the yeoman services
rendered through the Parijat program to uplift under-privileged children in Assam. Members are
requested to contribute generously towards this noble cause.
    Our annual July 4th convention in Atlanta is fast approaching. As has been the tradition for the
last 30 years, this will be a time of gaiety and cultural extravaganza coupled with tones of
bonhomie. The response has been good so far, but the music and laughter will reverberate even
more when the conference is jam packed. Hurry and do the hotel booking to avail of the
discounted rates at Westin, Atlanta by June 3rd. Please specify “Assam Convention 2008” The
phone numbers are: 888-733-7666 and 770-395-3900.
    We extend our apology in advance for any error/omission in this Newsletter. We look forward
to meeting all of you at Atlanta and having a lot of fun.

Enakshi Baruah, General Secretary, AANA
Jib Talukdar, President, AANA

In this issue:
   Assam Convention 2008 – Invitation
   From AANA Desk                                         Next issue of the newsletter
   From AFNA Desk                                         will be published in Jun 2008.
                                                          Please send news items and
   From ASSNA Desk                                        articles to
   Bihu News                                    
   Other News                                             and/or
                                                          by 10 Jun 08
   Membership Forms

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                       Update from Atlanta

    Dear Friends,
        Our fun-filled annual event of celebrating our culture and friendship is not too far
    away. The Atlanta Host Committee is making preparation of Assam Convention 2008 to
    be held from 3 July to 5the July. We are putting in our sincere efforts to make your stay
    here a wonderfully fulfilling experience. If you have not make your hotel reservation yet
    please do so by calling The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North at (770) 395-3900 or (888)
    733-7666 (mention Westin Perimeter North for Assam Convention 2008 in order to
    receive the group rate).

        To make it convenient for you, we have attached the registration form. This can also
    be downloaded from our Convention website.           We are looking forward for your
    participation in cultural program and form is attached. Convention host committee will
    be publishing a bi-lingual souvenir (Assamese and English). All submissions may be e-
    mailed in the form of a Word Document to Anusila Deka at

       We are eagerly looking forward to having all of you in Atlanta. Your presence largely
    counts, so enjoy the warmth of southern hospitality and join us in the thrill and
    excitement to make this year’s Assam Convention a success!

    With kindest regards,
    The Atlanta Host Committee
    Assam Convention 2008 Executive Committee
    President: Dr. Ganesh Deka, email:, Ph- 770 813
    General Secretary: Rajib Sarmah, email:, Ph-770982 8615
    Treasurer: Parulma Deka
    Cultural Secretary: Bandana Sarmah

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                         REGISTRATION FORM Registration Fee
    Before 31 May'2008                                              after 31 May'2008
    Family $125                                                     Family $150
    Single    $90                                                   Single $115
    Student* FREE
    No. of Additional Guest: ______ ($25 USD per person)

    TOTAL REGISTRATION:                                                               $___________
    * Valid id. appreciated from student during registration

                                    Participant General Registration Form

    Name 1: _____________________________________ Name 2:_________________________________________

    Name 3: _____________________________________ Name 4: _________________________________________

    Additional Guest#1: ____________________________________________

    AdditionalGuest#2: _____________________________________________

    AdditionalGuest#3: _____________________________________________

    Address (Street no. /Name): ____________________________________________________________________

    Address (Zip Code/City/Country):_______________________________________________________________

    Phone number ______________________________ Fax No. __________________________________________

    E-mail: _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Special notes/requirement: [____________________________________________________________________


    DONATION:                                                      $_______________
                              Participant Registration form for Food
    FOOD: $75/adult & $35/child (under 12 years)
    no. of Adult: ___________                                 no. of Children: _________

    TOTAL FOOD: ____________USD

    *Food includes: 4th July’08: Dinner         5th July’08: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
    ** Specify VEG meal requirement under special notes above
    *** Breakfast on 5th July is included in Hotel room rate and limited to 4 person per room

                              CONVENTION 2008”


    DULUTH GA 30097

                                              Page 3 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                             Atlanta, GA
                            Cultural Program Participation Form

        •   Participant’s name(s): ……………………………………………….
        •   Participant’s age: ……………………………………………………
        •   Address: …………………………………………………………….
        •   Telephone number..............................................................................
        •   Email address ……………………………………………………….
        •   Type of item (Check where applicable):
             Anima Chakravartty Memorial Chorus Competition
             Bihu Dance Competition
             Fashion Show
             Cultural Program  Group _____ (number of people)
        •   Name of item: ………………………………………………………
        •   Duration: ...........................................................................................
        •   Does it require props?  No  Yes (Please List) …………………
        •   Brief description of item: …………………………………………..
        •   Brief description of participant(s)

    Please send this form no later than April 30th, 2008 to:

    Bandana Sarmah
    1222 Braeburn Drive
    Lawrenceville, GA 30044
    770-982-8615 (H)

                                                  Page 4 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                         FROM AANA DESK
    Assam Convention 2008
    The Assam Convention 2008 will be held in Atlanta. The Annual general meeting of
    AANA will be held in the convention. The exact timing will be communicated once the
    host committee finalizes the convention agenda. There will also be an AANA Board
    meeting. You are cordially invited to participate in the convention. For details please
    Luitor Pora Mississippi:
    Luitor Pora Mississippi the annual publication of AANA edited by ASSNA is now in
    printing press. Copy will be available in Assam Convention 2008.
    Thank you all for your continuous support to AANA. Please renew your membership if
    you have not done yet. The Membership form is attached at the end of this Newsletter.
    Your support is vital for AANA’s activities.
    Assam Directory:
    The Assam directory is being edited. If you have any update please send to Aradhana
    Satin ( or to Jib Talukdar ( or
    Anima Chakravartty Memorial Cultural Competition
    Yearly cultural competition will be held in Assam Convention 2008 – Atlanta. For details
    please contact convention host committee or email to
    Suggestion/ Question/ Comments:
    If you have any suggestions, questions or comments about AANA please email to
    AANA Web site
    AANA website is up and running. Please visit the site. Your
    comments/ suggestions are always welcome.

    A. Quarterly Report on the “Spreading Sunshine” Project:

    To contribute to this project or organization please write a check payable to “AFNA”,
    write “Spreading Sunshine” in the memo and mail it to:

    C/O Mr. Anamitra Bhattacharyya
    2632 Beacon Hill Dr Apt 101
    Auburn Hills MI 48326, USA

    First Quarterly Report: January to March, 2008.
    Introduction of ‘Atma Nirbhar – Ek Challenge’

        The name of our small organization is ‘Atma Nirbhar - Ek Challenge’, meaning ‘Self
    Reliance – a Challenge’. It is working since the 1st of May, 1996, for the welfare of the

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104
    weakest sections of our society in Guwahati, Assam. The Organization is working
    primarily for the economic rehabilitation of the disabled, the welfare of people living in
    residential social welfare institutions, and, an educational support project. It also tries to
    support other like-minded organizations and any other good cause to which it can
    contribute something positive

        Background of the Organization: The Organization was formed by a group of friends
    and like-minded persons, who wanted to do something positive to make this world a
    better place.

        The day-to-day operations of the project are looked after by the Project Co-ordinator
    and an Office Manager. The Project Co-ordinator is a full-time volunteer in the project
    and does not take any remuneration (he is single and modestly financially self-reliant to
    look after his small and frugal needs).

       Presently, the Organization is working on three projects, and, indirectly supporting a
    few other programs. The three projects are:

    1.      ‘Atma Nirbhar – Ek Challenge’ (1996) is an economic rehabilitation and
    empowerment project for the disabled. It engages the services of only the disabled
    persons in a small tea and spices, packaging and marketing unit, in Guwahati, Assam.
    The primary aim of the program is to give such persons an opportunity to work with
    dignity and earn a living. Other things being equal, preference is given to women in all
    fields of activity. It is not simple charity, but a program to give equal opportunity and
    support to only those disabled persons, who have a burning desire to improve their lot.

    At present, it has 16 workers in the production unit (and, the Office Manager, Production
    Supervisor and the Project Co-ordinator). Of these workers, 6 have speech and hearing
    impairment, 10 are mentally / physically challenged. They are happy working here as
    they are working in a stress-free environment and are making a useful and productive
    contribution to the society.

    AWARDS RECEIVED: The Organisation has received the two most important national
    awards for promoting employment among the disabled. They are:

    i) The NCPEDP – Helen Keller Award – 2000, in New Delhi in December, 2000, “for
    promoting employment among the disabled”. The award was presented by Mrs. Sonia
    Gandhi, Chairperson, and NCPEDP.

    ii) The ‘National Award for the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities - 2004’, on the World
    Disability Day, on the 3d December, 2004. The award was presented by President A. P.
    J. Abdul Kalam, at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.

    2. ‘Spreading Sunshine’ (1998): The primary objective of ‘Spreading Sunshine’ is to
    build ‘bridges’ between the civil society, and, pockets of societal neglect. It is to improve
    the quality of life of the disadvantaged and marginalized people living in residential social
    welfare institutions, by providing them with ‘outside assistance’, mobilized from the

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104
    public. Through this program, many residential social welfare institutions have received
    school bags, notebooks, clothes, footwear, furniture, fans etc. In the states of Assam,
    Meghalaya and Nagaland, 13 residential institutions and around 850 inmates benefit
    from this project.

    We also encourage the general public to share a family occasion like a birthday, a
    wedding or death anniversary of a loved one with the residents of such an institution.
    Such simple interactions are a small assurance from the society to the residents that
    they are not forgotten and we do care for them. This simple project is a purely
    humanitarian project and has been very much appreciated by the managements as well
    as the residents of the institutions.

    3. ‘Atma Nirbhar Gurukul’: ‘Atma Nirbhar Gurukul’ is a non-formal educational support
    project to provide guidance and support to the ‘first generation’ school children, where
    the parents of the children did not have the benefit of schooling. The project tries to
    provide these disadvantaged children the three R’s --- basic reading, writing and
    arithmetic skills --- the fundamentals of elementary education. The children also receive
    counseling and learn social skills, social behavior and discipline. They get an opportunity
    to improve their skills and quality of life, and, become better citizens. (This project is
    not doing well due to various factors).


    1. In 2005, we completed a project to help 22 disabled persons in the states of Assam,
    Meghalaya and Nagaland to start a micro-enterprise. This project was supported by
    ABILIS, Finland

    2. With the support from GIVE India Foundation, we provide Annual Educational
    Sponsorships to meritorious, needy disabled students. In the year 2007 – 08, 57
    educational sponsorships to disabled students were provided.

    Kaushik Das.
    15th April, 2008
    Project Co-ordinator.

    Address: ‘Atma Nirbhar - Ek Challenge’,
    ‘MAMATA’ ; 120, Gopinath Nagar,
    Guwahati – 781 016. Assam. INDIA.
    Phone: 91 0361 2471 668.

    * During the quarter, support was offered to Snehalaya ( Dhirenpara ), State Home for
    Women, Deaf School ( Dimapur ), Kasturba Ashram, Snehalaya ( Short Stay Home ),
    Jyoti Niketan School for the Blind, Vagrant’s Home & Observation Centre.

                                              Page 7 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104
    B. Article on Jugal Bhuyan, the Founder of Pragyalaya
    The following is an article written by Ankur Bora, published in the 1st to 15th April 2008 issue of

                                                Page 8 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

    Running for a cause

         Ankur Bora participated in the AT&T Marathon at Austin on 17th February 2008 to
    raise fund for AFNA supported projects. AFNA has been supporting a number of
    education-related projects in Assam, mobilizing the necessary funds, and taking
    ownership for nurturing the projects right from inception to when it is fully functional.
    Ankur Bora on behalf of AFNA is requesting your financial contribution to support these
    initiatives. Your contribution will help these children and teachers of these educational
    institutes in teacher’s salary, buying books, and providing mosquito nets, water filters,
    and other essential items.

                                                      Please make your contribution by writing a
                                                      check payable to AFNA, with a Memo
                                                      “Ankur Marathon” and send it to:

                                                      C/O Mr. Anamitra Bhattacharyya
                                                      2632 Beacon Hill Dr Apt 101
                                                      Auburn Hills MI 48326


    Visit to Parijat academy
    Partha Gogoi, President, Assam Foundation of North America

        It was February 2008 and I was back in Guwahati within 12 months - away from the
    winter in Northern Virginia and Maryland area. Last year Jan 2007, I had visited Parijat
    Academy nestled in the outskirts of Guwahati, Assam. What a contrast, here’s Guwahati
    - a city bustling with growth – coming up as one of the 11 Indian cities (6th) included in a
    UK media study report of the 100 fastest growing cities of the world. Guwahati is also
    emerging as India’s gateway to the prosperous South East Asia – which is only 300
    miles away. But in this backdrop, Uttam Teron has been trying to build this school for

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 AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104
     under privileged kids – children of rock quarry workers, poor tribal villagers, residents of
     Gorchuk (Pamohi) who do not even have access to a proper government school.

 Support by former model Meher Jessiah’s fami             Support from the Sarangapanis of Houston

Class VIII started in 2008. We walked through the classes with small interactions with the kids. There
was reading by a few students – lots of singing choruses and plenty of discussions about their
aspirations – where they wanted to be in life. The students knew a medley of songs – Assamese,
English, and Hindi and could switch very conveniently from one song to the other – from Assamese to
Hindi to English.

Grade VIII – here I started making queries on what do the students want to do as a career?
For 30 seconds, there was passive silence. I wondered what aspirations would these students
have. They don’t even have access to the basics. With illiterate parents (and fathers who are
busy drinking off their money), where is the exposure? Slowly, a girl raised her hand and said

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 AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104
“I wanted to be an airline pilot”. Another girl says “I want to be a nurse”. Only then did the boys
start raising their hands and start talking about them wanting to be scientists, meteorologist
(!!), business owners, engineers and doctors.

          Interaction with students of Grade II             Interaction with students of Grade IV

                   Students of Grade VIII                                    Students at prayer

                  Students at play and PT                                    Some of the teachers

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

        I left the room feeling that the aspiration is there. Surely, with more exposure things
    can improve.
        Summing up the visit, I personally felt that Uttam is working hard and has made lot of
    connections. He has built the school ground up to Grade VIII. But can he sustain long
    term if the infrastructure, payment of salaries, maintenance is not handled? How long
    before he gives up? He has introduced the teaching of weaving to the mothers of the
    students. He is planning to take up organic farming of ginger and turmeric, amongst
    other things.
    Visit to Garbhanga on Feb 21st
    Partha Gogoi, President, Assam Foundation of North America

        What a trip it was? Within 18 kms of Gorchuk is Garbhanga – in the middle of the
    wilderness. It is an amazing place – pristine and untouched by human development.
    How does one get there? Well, one needs a 4 wheel drive to get there otherwise it is
    better to walk. And what a drive it was – through the winding roads, steep curves – on
    the edge of civilization. There are three villages that Parijat Academy is trying to adopt.
    There are close to 1000 residents in this village – only 3 have done their matriculation till
    date. Mostly, a Karbi village – some of them have never been to Guwahati. The block
    headquarters is at Rani – 30 km hike through the hills. Was there a school in
    Garbhanga? Sure there was one – except that not a single teacher happened to last in
    the government school.

                      Garbhanga – in the middle of the wilderness

                                             Page 12 of 48
         Parijat’s sign board is the only hope                       Government School

                     Parijat’s school                        Partha, Mr. Jayanta Barman and Mrs.
                                                              Santana Sarma with village folks

I was traveling with members of Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters – Mr. Jayanta Barman, Mrs.
Santana Sarma and Mrs. Meera Saikia, all residents of Guwahati – folks who are passionate in their
zeal to make a difference to basic primary education and have made contributions to Parijat Academy
in different forms.

It was very depressing to see some of the children of these villages. Some of them had skin irritation,
watery eyes perhaps infected. This lady in the middle gave birth to her child only 5 days ago.

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Can Parijat Academy make a difference to these children? Not without your help!


                                                 Page 14 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

a) NRACC for Dhemaji Assam Sahitya Sabha - 2009

Hiren Sarma received and accepted a request from Non Resident Assamese Consultative
Committee (NRACC) for Dhemaji Assam Sahitya Sabha 2009 to serve as Vice President in the
committee. Please see attached letter - if you may decide to publish.

b) Luitor Pora Mississippi 2008

The magazine is in final draft stage. It is planned to go for printing at Genesis Printers Guwahati by
w4 April/W1 May.

c)) Literary session in Texas Bihu

ASSNA was given a 30-minute slot during the day celebration of Rongali Bihu in Houston on April
19. The session was very well attended. The session started with offering Shradhanjali to
Sheelabhadra and Padma Borkotoky, followed by opening of a new book collection of poems by
Alpona (Lonee) Barua,"Luitor Pora Ronganadir Bukuloi", and then a brief open discussion session
on "Does Assamese Language have a future?" through a panel comprising Rabin Mahanta, Lohit
Datta Barua and Hiren Sarma.

70th Biannual Session of Assam Sahitya Sabha
70th Biannual Session of Assam Sahitya Sabha in the second week of February 2009. A Non
Resident Assamese Consultative Committee (NRACC) is being formed with the imitative from
Dhemaji Organizing Committee. The committee is comprised of Gagon Hazarika (current president
of UK Assam Sahitya Sabha) as president & Arun Kharghoria (based in the USA) as general
secretary of the NRACC (both are originally from Dhemaji) and altogether 17 or more in total
members. In order that all NRA concentrated areas of the globe are represented in the NRACC the
following spread of the membership in addition to the president & general secretary is suggested:

The purpose of the committee will be:
1. Raising funds to (a). Publish rare & essential books, (b). Identify & fund a speaker (a renowned
litterateur - Nobel laureate if possible) for the main session and, (c). Collect write-ups and write
articles for the Session Souvenir

2. Advising ASS / DOC as and when required.
    Contact Address:
    Gagon Hazarika                     Arun Kharghoria
    21 Greenhill,                      4113 Eastleigh Drive
    Sutton,                             Plano, TX 75024 USA
    Surrey SM1 3LF UK                   Ph.(+01) 972-377-9217
    Tel. (+44) 0208 288 0324            

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104


                       ASAM SAHITYA SABHA (ASS), ASSAM
  Non Resident Assamese Consultative Committee (NRACC):70th Biannual Session of ASS in
The undersigned have great pleasure in announcing the formation of the Non Resident Assamese Consultative
Committee (NRACC) of the 70th Biannual Session of the Asam Sahitya Sabha to be held in the first week in February
2009 in Dhemaji as follows:

                           Post                    Name of Person                Country/Region
                 President                    Gagon Hazarika                    UK
                 General Secretary            Arun Kharghoria                   USA
                 Vice-president               Hiren Sarma                       USA
                 Assistant      General       Mrs. Surovi Lahon                 UK
                 Member                       Mrs. Manjira Chowdhury            UK
                 Member                       Mrs. Dhira Hazarika               UK
                 Member                       Ankur Bora                        USA
                 Member                       Kaushik Phukon                    USA
                 Member                                                         Canada
                 Member                                                         Europe
                 Member                       Bikram M. Baruah                  Middle East
                 Member                                                         Australasia
                 Adviser                      Jibeswar Talukdar                 USA
                 Adviser                      Dr Anil Ranjan Barthakur          UK
                 Adviser                      Wahid Saleh                       Europe
                 Adviser                      Arman Hazorika                    Middle East
                                              Dr. Utpal Kataky
                 Adviser                                                        Australasia


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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Washington DC

2008 Washington, DC Bihu
Contributed by Smita and Anurag Barua, Germantown, MD

"Otikoi senehor bihuti adoror, rongali bihuti amaru hepahor"-----thus sang the talented youngsters of
the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, kicking off an enchanting evening of delightful melodies
and other artistic performances. Homemade pithas, laroos, colourful mekhela chadars, and japis
decorating the stage infused a heavy dose of nostalgia among the attendees.

On a day of many outstanding efforts on various fronts, it was the kids that stole people's hearts
with their extraordinary performances. Ranging from ages 18 months to 13 years, the DC area
kids demonstrated an unprecedented level of enthusiasm and dedication across the board.
Children’s cultural program items included Hindi and Assamese solo songs, poem recitations,
traditional Assamese and Bollywood dances and a kids’ husori. This year, the kids’ chorus was
beautifully written and composed by Rabin Goswami. Participating children were: Anusha, Arpan,
Avik, Alok, Adam, Ayan, Grishma, Ishaan, Jahnabi, Joe, Leia, Neel, Neer, Rushabh, Shreya,
Simran, Teeya, and baby Ashwin.

A borgeet by Aroona Borpujari preceded the children’s program. Like past years, attendees
thoroughly enjoyed another evening of traditional and modern solo Assamese and Hindi songs by
Nipika Borah, Anurag Barua, Rabin Goswami, Satyen Das, Anjana Bordoloi, and our new budding
stars: Amar Patgiri, Ashraf Hussain, and Saurabh Raybaruah. Other participating adults were:
Namita Das, Dulali Perlmutter, Gayatri Baruah and Pallavi Borah.

Arundhotee Goswami again thrilled us with her sterling rendition of popular tunes on the harmonica.
A beautifully choreographed bihu dance was performed by Jupi Das and Anjana Bordoloi. Arpita
Gogoi performed a solo Assamese modern dance and a group Hindi dance.                  The evening
culminated in a scintillating husori led by Krishna Hazarika and Anjana Bordoloi. Other participants
were Monoranjan Bezboruah, Rajeev Barua, Vikas Baruah, Punit Rathore, Dhruba Deka, Satyen
Das, Barnali Deka, Lumbini Borah, Jupi Das, Pallavi Borah, Joe Das, Sultana Parveen.

Adults and kids’ musical chairs game was organized by Shabiha. And the cultural evening could
not have gone smoothly without the help of the emcees: Asad Rahman, Sukanya Borah, Ashraf
Hussain and Smita Baruah.

Other factors that contributed to a successful Bihu – the venue (a spacious hall in Sally K Ride
Elementary School, Germantown, MD) and its top-notch facilities, fabulous food, pleasant weather,
and above all, excellent teamwork on the part of the organizing committee.

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                              DC Bihu Photograph

                                                 Page 18 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                                DC Bihu Photograph

                                                 Page 19 of 48
AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Bihu in Washington DC – Kid Perspective
Annesha Goswami (Simran)

Every year, we hold Rongali Bihu as part of our traditional festival. Bihu takes a lot of planning. First
of all, we practice our group chorus and dance every Sunday at a community center called
‘Rotonda’ in Virginia. Last year, we practiced at other people’s houses. It seemed to lead the kids
not wanting to go home after practice. That is the reason we stopped. Nobody wants to sing or
dance, the kids, that is. We only come here to play, but we know how much the Bihu means to the
adults, so we put up with it.
Secondly, each child practices his or her own song or dance at home. Some kids do both dance
and song. I only sang a song because I am no good at dancing. Some people didn’t do anything by
themselves. They only did the chorus and husori dance.
We went to Sally K Ride Elementary school auditorium in Germantown because the Bihu was being
held there. By the way, that is my friend Anusha’s school. The girls came wearing salwars. Boys
came wearing casual shirt and pants. I came wearing a ‘khopa’ on my hair so I didn’t have to waste
time in putting it on at Bihu. We all played for a bit. Then the girls had to change into mekhela
chadors. The boys didn’t change into their churidars yet.
We started by singing children’s chorus. Then we watched as the children made their own
performance. At one point, we had to go behind stage because children’s husori was next. When it
was over, we revealed ourselves and began to dance. This time, the boys were in their churidars.
We had nice time doing husori. After that, we had to change again. The girls all put on salwars and
the boys wore suits and ties. All the kids were relieved to take off their kurta, mekhela chadors, and
churidars. We went onto dance ‘Deewangi Deewangi’ from the Hindi movie ‘Om Shanti Om’. The
young toddlers danced up in front, after the first stanza of the song, the older kids came in. We
entered doing our own dance, and then we followed the steps we memorized at practices. After this
dance, children part was over. All the hard work paid off. While the adults were doing chorus and
husori, we played outside. Time passed quickly, and soon all the adults had finished their solos.
The sun was also resting, so we came back inside. We absolutely did not want to go home. I was
depressed that Bihu was over so quickly. I could always wait until next year. We all did our best to
persuade our parents to let us stay, but to no avail. With much coaxing, the parents took us home. I
can tell everyone can’t wait until next Bihu. I know I can’t!

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                                              DC Bihu Photograph

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Bihu in Chicago

Rongali Bihu celebration in Chicago
By Bornali Bhattacharjee and Panthobi Sharma

The Greater Chicago area community celebrated Rongali Bihu with much fun and enthusiasm in
Naperville, Illinois on the evening of April 12th, 2008. The Bihu was attended by families and
individuals from the greater Chicago area, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Individuals came
from as far away as Arizona, United Kingdom, and even New Delhi! Everybody was welcomed with
a sampling of traditional Assamese savories: Doi Sira, Pitha, and Laru prepared by the ladies of the
participating families.
The cultural program was opened with a welcome address by Priyam Sharma Phukan. Priyanka
Das (daughter of Jona and Rudolf Das) was our Emcee for the evening, and she did a stellar job. A
Bihu dance was performed by Debesh Mondal, Abhishek Bhattacharjee, Uma Bhattacharyya, Isha
Kaushik and Rimjhim Bhattacharjee. Then, the host families performed a rousing chorus (Bhupen
Hazarika’s “Kohua Bon”). Isha Kaushik (daughter of Priyanka and Krishanu Kaushik) delighted us
with both jokes as well as with her singing of Assamese children’s songs. Next, Priya (daughter of
Deepika and Bibhash Barua) and Bidula (daughter of Mala and Bitosh Sinha) enthralled the
audience with a beautiful Oddisi dance. Subsequently, Priya, Bidula, and Anya (daughter of Manjuri
Talukdar and Kirupa Ramiah) entertained the audience with a Bollywood dance. Then, Arvind
Ramiah, Oodish Mondal, and Soumen Mondal performed a few wonderful instrumental pieces.
Kobita Sundi of Indiana delighted the audience with her melodious voice. Everybody enjoyed the
Bihu dance performance by the mother-son team of Maitreyee and Sahil Angelo. Bitan Sinha (son
of Mala and Bitosh Sinha) performed a classical piece on the Tabla. Nibedita Das and Vasanthi
Goswami also performed another great bihu dance. The children amply demonstrated their talent
by performing the Bihu dance, classical and modern dances, instrumental music and songs.
Abhishek, Anya, Isha, Debesh, Oodish, Arvind, Sahil, Priya, Bidula, Bitan, Rimjhim, Ujjal, and Uma
put up their best performances and it was a special treat for all of us.
Sunanda Bose (accompanied by her brother Bitosh Sinha on the tabla) performed raag Bageshri on
Sitar. Gita Barua and Debanushi Goswami, both from Wisconsin performed a graceful Assamese
dance. And then we were mesmerized by a very unique performance - Ujjal Bhattacharyya (son of
Juri and Madan Bhattacharyya from Iowa) used a mobile phone to create music, both contemporary
and classical.
After the first half of the cultural program a sumptuous dinner was served, complete with fish kalia,
butter chicken, paneer, vegetable and sweets, and was enjoyed by one and all. After dinner Istakur
(Iku) Rehman and Krishanu Kaushik, both from Detroit, regaled the crowd with their awesome
talent, singing both Assamese and Hindi songs. Finally, the stage was open to all to participate at
the Mukoli Bihu. Juri Bhattacharyya took the initiative and performed a stunningly unparalleled Bihu
dance. The cultural program came to an end with Panthobi Sharma offering the vote of thanks,
followed by the singing of the Assamese National song, “O’mor Aaponar dekh”.

The two of us (Bornali Bhattacharjee and Panthobi Sharma) wish to thank everyone who attended
the event. They made it a truly memorable Bihu. We also would like to specifically acknowledge
the following host individuals for their efforts: Aparajita Bhattacharyya - for the beautiful decorations
for the stage and backdrop;           Soumen Mondal,          Mrinmoy Bhattacharjee, and Siddharth

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Bhattacharyya – for technical support; Maitreyee Angelo – for coordinating the cultural program;
Rudolf Das and Gautam Sharma – for managing the finances; Arundhati Mondal and Manjuri
Talukdar – for help with arranging the food; Bibhash Barua – for his oversight and wisdom.

                                        Chicago Bihu Photograph

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                                           Chicago Bihu Photograph

Bihu Celebration in Toronto
The Assamese community of Greater Toronto, Ottawa and Buffalo celebrated Rongali Bihu on April
19 at the Malton Community Centre, Mississauga, Ontario. Families from Toronto, Pickering, Ajax,
Whitby, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Hamilton, Brampton, Peterborough, Ottawa, South Carolina
and Buffalo joined in the celebration.
The program was conducted by Dani Sarma. The children cultural event started with a captivating
Bihu dance by 4 year old Garggie Pathak Talukdar. Songs sung by Shreya (Hiya) Kashyap, Rubin
Hazarika, Ruchir Dutta, Arjun Gogoi, Loya Bhuyan, and duets by Jishnu Pathak Talukdar and
Omkar Apte entertained the audience. Raina Lagachu and Shreya Sharma’s dance moves were

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enthralling. Rubin Hazarika and Shreya Kashyap presented a beautiful comic skit, Kani Buri Aru
Bej which was directed by Pratima Hazarika. Sidhant Gautam’s little talk reminded the audience
the significance of Bihu in the lives of all Assamese people. The adult cultural program started with
a chorus “Sri Moi Asomi …” by Deepali Sarma, Nilakshi Khatoniar, Sangeeta Dutta, Purbalee Das,
Uma Talukdar, Aditee Goswami Kumar, Tara Bhuyan, Binu Kalita, Asha Bordoloi, Shatarupa
Hazarika and Pratima Hazarika. Lina Athparia performed two songs by Bhupen Hazarika and a
classical piece on the violin. Nava Das played two tunes in Mouth organ. Tara Bhuyan and
Geetasree Apte each sang an Assamese song. Beautiful solo Bihu dances were performed by
Kuntala Bhattacharjee and Aditee Kumar. Dr Iswar Chakravartty recited poem for the occasion.
The cultural program ended with an open Hushori and Open Bihu dance participated by all.
Cultural program was organized by Purbalee and Pradip Das. Dinner was organized by Paran
Mahanta. Overall organization was by Asom Sangha Canada. Few families made Pithas, Ladoos,
cakes, Samosa, Idli-vada for the occasion.
Lalita Bora founding member of Asom Sangha thanked the outgoing president Nilakshi Khataniar,
joint secretary Rajib Barman (absent) and Mandir Panchanan. Palash Thakur as President and
Dibyajyoti Gohain Barua as secretary became the office bearers of Asom Sangha for next two

                                            Toronto Bihu Photograph

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                                            Toronto Bihu Photograph

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                                            Toronto Bihu Photograph

Rongali Bihu 2008, New York, New Jersey, USA
Gayatree Siddhanta Sarma
Poughkeepsie, NY
On the 19th of April, 2008, a community hall in Bridgewater , New Jersey was temporarily
transformed into a “Bihutoli” by the people from the Tristate area, gathered together to celebrate
Rongali Bihu 2008 . The community came together to welcome the New Year with the sights and
sounds and traditions of Assam. The blooming “Nahar” from home may be replaced by Dogwood
and Cherries here, the Brahmaputra by the Hudson, but the spirit of festivity that engulfs us all
during this time is unmistakably Assamese.
So while Bihu Music filled up the air in the venue, the snacks spread boasted of Pithas, Ladus and
the uniquely Assamese “Sira Doi Jalpaan”. The little girls draped in Muga Mekhela Sador added to
the festivities along with their elegantly dressed mothers. They were, in a way, the symbols of the

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groups of little kids back home who would come dancing and singing to every doorstep to bless the
household with peace and prosperity. For the next eight hours the mundane daily life faded away as
we were all transported back to Assam amidst varied cultural performances and games and the
laughter and joy of reconnecting with our tradition along with friends.
The participants, children and adults alike enjoyed the array of games that were organized for this
occasion. The special attraction of the cultural function was, among other items, the near flawless
performance of traditional Assamese songs and dance by the children of our community. The
children performers of the evening included Priya Sarma, Nandita Brahma, Deisha Brahma, Bishal
Dutta, Ananda Saikia, Ajay Bordoloi, Anjali Bordoloi, Suranjana Thakuria, Shivani Hazarika, Devika
Singh, Amit Sharma, Paulash Sarma, Varsha Sarma, Abhi Sarma, Rimjhim Handique, Arunav
Sarma, Pongkhi Sarmah, Rishov Dutta, Meghna Sarmah and Anuj Dutta.
As the evening progressed the center stage belonged to the adult performers. Whether it was a
creative modern dance, a traditional Bihu dance or popular songs from Assam that was being
performed, these artists enthralled the audience with their dedicated and beautiful performances.
On behalf of everyone present, Kamna Das of NY welcomed the Hussori. The group’s solemn
performance resonated with the traditional rhythm of village elders. The evening’s program ended
with a vibrant Mukoli Bihu.
Thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers who went extra miles to prepare the authentic delicacies,
the dinner was an immense success. The festivities of the evening ended with the rendition of the
“Jatiyo Sangeet”. 150 people attended the Bihu celebration. As always, this year’s Bihu celebration
provided the Assamese community of NE America with a platform to demonstrate one more time
our sincere love and gratitude for a culture and heritage that we are proud to call our own.

                                         Children Chorus – NJ Bihu

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                                              NJ Bihu Photograph

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                                              NJ Bihu Photograph

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                                              NJ Bihu Photograph
    Boston Bihu

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2008 Rongali Bihu news - From South-Central USA: Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma,

                                                                                             were many
                                                                                             the talent
                                                         creativity of these ladies and what better way
The Assamese community of Texas - The                    to serve with than ‘Assam tea’…and plenty of
Lone Star State, had a grand celebration of                                                      it!
2008 Rongali Bihu in Houston area on                                                                 After
Saturday, April 19th. On this beautiful spring                                                    enjoyin
morning, under the clear blue sky around 130                                                             g
people – adults and children of all ages                                                            saah–
gathered at about 10:00 am in the                                                                 jolpaan
neighboring Kitty Hollow Park in Missouri City,                                                           ,
                                Texas          to                                                  everyo
                                begin the day-               ne lined up for mile-walk followed by egg
                                long festivity.              hunt for the young ones (egg hunting is
                                     Attendees               traditionally a part of South-Central area’s
                                      gathered               Bihu celebration although Easter has
                                around       the             passed). This was followed by musical
                                flag pole for                chair; one-legged race; three-legged race;
                                Flag Hoisting,               tug-of-war; 50 meter dash carrying egg on
                                    sang-along               a spoon and egg toss - for adult and
“Srimoyee Osomir Sitol Bukut Uthay…” to
welcome the New Year! Meanwhile, under the
Pavilion in the park long tables were set up
and they were laid with an array of authentic
traditional Assamese snacks prepared by
enthusiastic and talented ladies! Varieties of
Pitha-pona - Ghila pitha, Narikol laru, Till
pitha, Nimki, Khurma, Pati-sapta pitha, Narikol
pitha and Khejur guror sandes - to name a
few including doi (home-made) - sira-gur were                children alike where everyone participated
                                        display              and had tons of fun!
                                        ed and               Cheerful sports winners were awarded
                                         enjoye              with trophies, medals and other memento.
                                        d     by             In addition, announcements were made
                                         everyo              for other achievements and recognition.
                                             ne!             Individuals recognized were: Sanjeet
                                          There              Deka - college graduate, Ranu Datta -

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

    community service, Saduddin Ahmed -                                                          scoring
    recognition      for      an     Assamese                                                         the
    entrepreneur, Ruma Das - career                                                                Pitha-
    achievement and volunteering, Mike                                                              pona
    Fincke – scheduled to go to ISS in                                                           items –
    October 2008 for the second time, Alpona                                                         they
    Barooah - book publishing, Dr. Sangeeta                                                         were
    Saikia - Physician of the year award,                                                               all
    Methodist Hospital, Sugar Land, Reema                                                          delicio
    Das - personal achievement, Seebany                      us!
    Datta-Barua - personal, academic and
                                                             Contest winners were:
    career achievement, Siddhartha Mahanta
                                                             Asomiya Pitha-pona: 1st. Mrs. Suniti
    - personal achievement and volunteering
                                                             Goswami (visitor - mother of Riju
    and Aanika Das - academic achievement.
                                                             Choudhury of Austin) – for Tillpitha, 2nd.
    The Consul General of India, Honorable
                                                             Reema Das – for Khejur guror Sandes,
    S. M. Gavai graced the occasion by
                                                             3rd Parul Hazarika – for Narikol laru
    attending the Bihu picnic and was given
                                                             Children’s Essay: 1st. Arijit Bhuyan (age
    the honor to distribute the prizes. It is also
                                                             12) Topic: “What Rongali Bihu Means To
    worth mentioning that for the first time a
    Consul General of India has attended
                                                             Children’s Art: 1st. Meera Das (age 4), 2nd.
    Bihu celebration in Houston. The
                                                             Anna Ranabijuli (age 7) & Prahlaad Das
    organizers were also honored to have
                                                             (age 7), 3rd. Chandra Fincke (age 7)
    several guests from Assam currently
                                                             Theme: “Rongali Bihu”
                                                             This was followed by an absolutely
                                                             delicious and mouth-watering lunch
                                          folks of
                                                             prepared by the volunteers with selected
                                                             menu items: Tandoori chicken, Ghoogni,
                                                             Tuna-fish bora, Dohi bora, Jeera rice,
                                                             Fried rice, Bread rolls, Jolokia aasaar,
                                          as well
                                                             Teteli aasaar, Podina chutney, Green
                                                             salad and Fresh fruits! It was enjoyed and
                                                             very much appreciated by all!
    non-Assamese folks; and of course
    families from Austin, Dallas and Baton                   After wrapping up the morning events,
    Rouge and many new comers to these                       well-rested folks with colorful attires -
    areas attending the event.                               ladies dressed in mekhela-sador, men in
    The year’s festivity also included: Adult’s              pator kurta set with gamosa - softly
    Axomiya     Pitha-pona       Contest       and                                             hangin
    Children’s Essay and Art Contests. The 1st                                                       g
    place winner’s prize for Axomiya Pitha-                                                    around
    pona Contest was generously donated by                                                         the
    Alpona Sarangapani as a running trophy                                                       neck,
    in memory of her mother Late Baby                                                          childre
    Bezbaruah. Judges had a tough time                                                        n with

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    outfits - all gathered at the Bihutoli, The              Ras malai and Boondi laddoo. Of course,
    Sugar Land Community Center in Sugar                     a dinner is incomplete without tea and
    Land for evening’s dinner and cultural                   paan, supari and mosola! Everyone
    program. The evening’s program began                     enjoyed the scrumptious dinner!
    with a borgeet followed by Sahitya Sobha                 The dinner was followed by a very well
    * discussion session with audience                       represented,      well     rehearsed   and
    participation, dinner and cultural program.              entertaining cultural program. With an
                                                             excellent sound system put together by
                                                             the skilled volunteers, the program started
                                                             with a beautiful borgeet performance
                                                             followed by melodious violin and keyboard
                                                             recitals; beautiful kathak dance and solo
                                     with an
                                                             song performances by talented singers as
                                                             well as adult chorus from Houston and
                                                             Austin group – these were all thoroughly
                                                             enjoyable!      Husori      performed    by
                                                             enthusiastic younger group of children of
    home cooked Soriyohor masor sorsori,
                                                             Houston and chorus by the younger group
    Pohur manso (‘Venison’ - deer meat),
                                                             of children of Austin were a great treat!
    Saak bhoja, Matimahor tenga dail,
                                                             Group Bihu dances by Austin and
    Khorisa aasaar – just to name a few
                                                             Houston ladies were marvelous! And last
    authentic Assamese delicacies and home-
                                                             but not least - with a stand up comedy, the
                                                             evening’s function came to an end. Bihu-
                                                             bolia raiz gathered to join in singing ‘O
                                                             Mor Aponaar Des…’ - National Anthem of
                                       s and
                                                             Assam and just before the strike of
                                                             midnight the memorable Bihu festivities
                                                             successfully concluded – as per
    other items were: Goat curry, Bhendi
    bhoja, Paneer makhni, Chapati, salad,


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 Rongali Bihu in Seattle
 On April 26, the Northwest community celebrated Rongali Bihu in Seattle. There was
 plenty of food with Tel Pitha, Nimki, Singara, Masor Tenga, Kachu Sakar Bhaji, Koni
 Jhul, Mangsha Anja, and delicious desserts.
 Suraj Gogoi arranged the cultural show with a variety of items. Niribili, Ishan, and
 Sachetan played on instruments of their choice. Pooja, Reda and Neda performed the
 kid’s Bihu and one Bollywood dance number. Niribili danced to the tune of an
 Osomiya song. Maina (Devaswa) performed a scintillating Bihu dance and a
 Bollywood dance.
 For the grown ups, Sujata, Dwipen and Amlan sang melodious numbers in Osomiya,
 and Bengali. Madhab Deka graced the occasion with three of his favorite lokageets
 accompanied by Amlan on the Tabla and Suraj on the keyboard. The evening started
 with a chorus selected from one of the Bishnu Rabha collections, sung well by Suraj,
 Dwipen, Muruli, Kaushik, Vavani, Saranga, Latha, Minakshi, Sujata, Smriti and Juri
 accompanied by Mridul on the keyboard and Suraj on the Tabla. A nicely
 choreographed Jhumur was presented by Mapi, Sanghamitra, Sangeeta, Punita,
 Gitashri and Dolly. A Bollywood dance was performed by Babli, Shaheen and
 Sangeeta. The evening ended with a Husori by Suraj and Vavani on Dhul
 accompanied by Saranga, Dwipen, Muruli, Amlan, Mridul, Kaushik, Sanghamitra,
 Mapi, Sangeeta, Mousumi, Punita, Dolly and Gitashri. The evening cultural event was
 compered well by Sahl with quizzes thrown out to the audience every now and then.


 Detroit Rongali Bihu

On the evening of 18th April 2008, the Bihutoli of Michigan, in a suburb of Detroit, came alive
with several people from Assam living in the states of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and the
neighboring city of Windsor in Canada. Around 70 people from various parts of these states
attended the function.
The program, which ran past midnight, started at 5 pm with games like Utha-Boha and Musical
Chairs to the tune of Husori and Bihu songs. For snacks, the guests treated themselves to such
Assamese delicacies as Narikolor Laru, Narikol Pitha, Ghila Pitha, Kordoi Sira etc. painstakingly
prepared by the Assamese ladies attending the function.
Krishanu Kaushik welcomed the gathering and the children’s program started with Suhani’s
rendition of “Bilote Halise” which was followed by Piano recitals by Sanjan, Bhavna and Adit
(from Boston), singing of “Hamsini o mere Hamisini” by Anishka, a poem by Prayas and
Assamese songs “Kahua Ban” and “O, Aa, Ko, Kho” by Krishangi. The children’s program was

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efficiently coordinated by Sangeeta, who looked gorgeous in traditional Assamese Mekhela-
Chador. Anishka and her group also presented a well prepared skit with a nice moral.
The second session of the cultural program was opened with a melodious rendition of
"Srimoyee Osomir" by the Probasi Osomiyas living around the Detroit area. It was followed by a
Borgeet by Nirmali Barua from Columbus (Ohio), Assamese songs by Dhon Bordoloi, a Khayyal
by Ritusmita, a Kathak recital by Fanny, Hindi duet by Anjali/Eku and Hindi songs by Biplab.
The Assamese children from the greater Detroit area (Sanjan, Suhani, Krishangi, Anishka and
Iva) performed a Bihu dance, which was well choreographed by their mothers.

The delicious dinner, served during the interval of the cultural program, was from a popular local
Indian restaurant and it was arranged by Debojit Bora and Istakur Rahman. The catered dinner
was also supplemented with delicious Rou-Mach-Bilahir-Tenga prepared by Priyanka Kaushik

The next part of the cultural program had more songs and dances displaying the rich cultural
heritage of Assam and India. Bhavna Talukdar, 13 year old daughter of Mridushyam and
Mayuri, winner of several awards in Indian dance competitions in the region and the first Bihu
Kuwori of Canada, won accolades from the audience with her performance of Bihu dance to the
tune of popular contemporary Bihu songs. Kamal Sarma, from Columbus, Ohio rendered some
Bihu songs ending with some self-composed songs teasing many of the host families, which
added a lot of fun to the occasion. The three beautiful young Assamese ladies Sanghamitra,
Ritusmita and Ashapurna, wearing gorgeous mekhela-chador and singing the Hindi number
“Made in India” was quite a statement coming from a remote Bihutoli so far away from the land
of rising sun. PN Sarma and Jeuti Sarma performed a comic skit named “Bihu Bihu Lagise
Gaat”, wherein Mrs. And Mr. Sarma introduced the concept of “Gorom Sabot” which can be
considered equivalent to “Jadu ki Chappi” of Munnbhai fame. It was followed by Assamese

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 songs by Krishanu, Hindi songs by Biplab, Bengali songs by Kajori and a duet by Eku and
 Priyanka (Chumki).
 The stage decoration was done by Dhon Bordoloi, who was helped by his wife Juri. The sound
 and music system was arranged by Sabuj Pal, who came all the way from Chicago to attend
 our Bihu, which he could not miss just because he moved to Chicago.
 The program was ended by Husori and Mukoli Bihu, which brought a sense of completeness to
 the Rongali Bihu, celebrated in a land far far away from home. During the Mukoli Bihu
 everybody danced to their heart's content, to the lilting tunes and beats of Dhul-pepa-gogona.
 The overall management of the entire celebration was conducted very efficiently by Istakur


Sabina Zeenat (collage by Geeti Das)
The icy layers of the mighty Mississippi have melted and the river now flows without its snowy
garb. Spring has sprung in this part of the world and its time to celebrate the return of the new
season. The Assamese community of Minneapolis and St. Paul celebrated Rongali Bihu on the
19th of April 2008. We celebrated the most anticipated community event of the year in the
picturesque log cabin at Lions Park, Shakopee. The growing Assamese community in the Twin

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Cities made the Bihu celebrations ever so sprightly.             Friends from neighboring Iowa and
Rochester, Minnesota, joined the festivities.
Sumptuous jolpan of doi sira, laroo, pitha and other sweets and snacks kicked the day off to a
great start. The mukoli bihu and husori set the mood for the perfect Bihu celebrations. The
cultural program this year was a notch above the previous years’ and captivated the audience for
hours. There was a good variety of performances which included somabeto sangeet, adhunik
geet, modern and classical dances, okonir bihu and a comedy show. The sweet and sensational
two-year olds – Geet, Nimisha, Ruhi, Kabita and Sabreen performed their bihu naas wearing
traditional outfits. It was truly a delight to watch the toddlerville in action! The older kids did a
beautiful rendition of ‘Bilote Halise’ and a great group dance. It was a thrill to see Tanish, Nibir
and Ashmita with their individual song and dance performances. Minti, Dipankar, Rinti, Pranab
and Namita’s adhunik Assamese and Hindi songs added the melody to the day’s programs. A
zikir performance was a new addition to the cultural evening. Sarat and Pankaj led the group to a
very impressive performance. Then came the scintillating break dance from our dance guru
Parvez, accompanied by the dance divas, Meghna and Devika. They simply lit up the dance floor.
The cultural climax of the evening was a comical masterpiece, a play titled “Barua’r Ghorot
Ebela”. Somesh, Brajen, Devika, Monika, Namita and Purabi wow’ed the audience with great
theatrical performances. Nilanjana scripted the play and it was comedy at its best.
Although a whiff of the northern air kept the weather on the cooler side, it did not stop the spirited
crowd from enjoying the outdoor games. Everybody enjoyed the tug-of-war, marble-in-a-spoon
race, sack race and the musical chair. A grand dinner in the evening perfected the day and
brought a fitting closure to the day’s celebrations.

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Jayanta Lal Barua of Nashville, Tennessee completed the Country Music half marathon (13.1
miles) at a time of 2 hours 58 minutes. This race helped in raising funds to help the fight
against blood cancers, leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. In its eight-year history with the
Nashville-based event, has raised over $16 million for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
and will raise approximately $2 million this year.
“The entire experience was very wonderful, and the sight of thousands of spectators, dozens
of rock bands and hundreds of volunteers cheering me all along the way - really motivated
and inspired me to kick my heels and complete the race without stopping for a single

                     Jayanta, Gina, Isha and Rishav at Titan's LP stadium

Joydeep and Julie Buragohain became the proud parents of a baby girl (Trisha) on April
9. Congratulations to Joydeep and Julie!

Diganta and Rashmi Kalita moved to California with a new job assignment.
Our best wishes to Diganta and Rashmi.

Parents of Mridul Gogoi and Suraj Gogoi are currently in Seattle visiting from Asom.

                   A Tribute to Our Parents- One Year Later
                                         By Deepika Barua
    One year later. It was one year ago right around this time that we lost both our parents. Our
dear father Shri Deba Kanta Kakati left us on Thursday March 15 2007, and our sweet mother
followed exactly 2 weeks later, just as our Father’s Giatali Bhoj was being wrapped up, the last of
the guests had left; the unused Doi and Mithai distributed to the children of Sishu Kalyan Sadan ,
Jalukbari, when again on a Thursday on March 29, our beautiful mother passed away. Mother,
Shrimati Nirmali Kakati was, indeed, beautiful.
    Established in 1978, by a group of socially conscious women, including Mother, Mrs. Labanya
Dutta Choudhury (of hotel Belle View) and Mrs. Abeda (Begum) Ahmed, wife of then President of
India Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Mahila Imdad Committee has evolved into a home for abused

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       AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

women and children, which offers a beacon of hope, where there was none. Many of the women
who seek shelter here face abusive husbands or in laws, and are often recently widowed or
abandoned by relatives with no resources and nowhere to go; these women find a safe haven in a
supportive environment in the Mahila Imdad Committee facility at Rupnagar, Guwahati, where for
nearly 30 years Mother enthusiastically poured her heart into the work of voluntarily running her
beloved philanthropy. Mother worked tirelessly and selflessly, calling on various government
agencies and other well wishers ceaselessly, to ensure that the Charity continued to receive
sufficient resources so that the young women at the center could learn, without interruption, some
marketable skills like weaving, sewing and other crafts. In a year or two, it is indeed gratifying to
see, many of these women “graduate” from the center as Confident young women ready to take
on the challenges of the real world. The mekhela chadars, saris, and shawls woven at Mahila
Imdad are indeed, “fairy tales woven in cloth,” (Mahatma Gandhi during his post Independence
1948 visit to Assam) exquisite one of a kind pieces which are often available for purchase at
Purbashree and other retail outlets as well as at the center.

    Displaying his own indomitable spirit and intellectual curiosity Father, on the other hand,
involved himself tirelessly with matters that were close to his heart; matters which took him places
and led him to interesting people, from the President of the country to the village folk of
Bathikhuria (near Barpeta), his ancestral home. Nowhere was his enthusiasm more evident than
in his involvement with all matters relating to Assam whether it was politics, the Pensioner’s
Association, the Rotary Club, Barpeta Satra, Madhupur Satra, or Assamese village life. Father,
along with the late Shri Pradip Das, had the distinction of belonging to the first batch of IPS
(Indian Police Service) officers in 1948 shortly after India gained independence from British rule.
Father remained forever endeared to Mount Abu, Rajasthan and to his 1948 batch mates, from
the national training center for young police officers, who were subsequently posted all over India.
Much as he delighted in life after retirement from the IPS, he enthusiastically dove into the
exhilarating life of a young police officer which took him to people and places all over Assam, and
indeed, India. Living in storied old mansions with manicured lawns and well tended gardens, his
early career took him to the far corners of Assam from Dhubri, “home on the western range,
where the wild elephant roam” to the pine scented slopes of Shillong nestled amidst the rolling
Khasi and Jaintia hills of Megahlaya and on to mythical legendary Tezpur, home of Usha and
Aniruddha, on the banks of the mighty Brahmaputra. Ah! Picturesque Shillong conjures instant
memories of our childhood playground; Loretto, Pine Mount and St. Edmunds schools, forming
the backdrop, the cornerstone of life in the Kakati family of the sixties and seventies. This magical
period will remain forever etched in our memory; those carefree idyllic days spent chasing one
another up and down the steep slopes of Lachumere, climbing fragrant flowering peach, plum and
pear trees, going to the Gymkhana races on Saturday afternoons and taking a stroll down lovely
Ward’s lake on a sunny leisurely afternoon. Life in Shillong was magical indeed; thank you sweet
Mother and Father for all the precious treasured moments of our childhood.
    Today on the day of your Adya Shraddha we pay our respect and homage to you, our dearest
parents. Your grandchildren living in scenic sweltering Guwahati, ancient Pragjyotishpur, and
across oceans in frigid new world Chicago on the windy shores of beautiful Lake Michigan,
lovingly remember you.

Bibhash and Deepika Barua            Trisha Anjali and Priya Anjali
Dhiraj and Kalpana Kakati            Arijita (Jita) and Binita (Lily)
Pankaj and Anamika Choudhury          Padmaja (Remie) and Amarjyoti (Reet)
Rajib and Paramita Kakati             Aditya Kiran (Suruj) and Shyamanta Kiran (Anuj)

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      AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Bihu program "Bohagor Duwardolit” in IIT Guwahati campus on 20th April 2008.

                                                                                  Asom Samaj Oman,
                                                                                  Muscat             has
                                                                                  published their first
                                                                                  Souvenir “GOGONA”
                                                                                  in April 2008. The
                                                                                  committee members
                                                                                  are      Dr.    Dipali
                                                                                  Bhuyan, Dr. Geetali
                                                                                  Deori, Dr. Kabita
                                                                                  Baruah,        Nandini
                                                                                  Neog,        Phanijyoti
                                                                                  Sarma      and    Umi
                                                                                  Goswami.          The
                                                                                  souvenir was edited
                                                                                  by Tridip K. Das.

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AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

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       AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Literary and Cultural
Minoti Khaund and Sunita Bhuyan UK Tour
By Rini Kakati

The evergreen violinist of 70's musical world of Assam, she is undoubtedly one of the most
popular violinists today and can equally be placed among the best. With her disarming smile and
charming manner, the bespectacled Minot Khan exudes a comfortable air: music, she says takes
her closet to divinity and accords her peace and tranquility. It is an invigorating experience which
exalts her spirits. Born in a well to do Human Paribas of Jorhat. Her father Manik Chandra Phukan
and mother Nalini Debi. She was raised in a culturally rich atmosphere. Her maternal
grandfather: Bisheswar Sharma, well-known Tea planter and a culturally gharana of Jorhat. Being
a connoisseur of the fine arts himself encouraged Minoti and bought her a violin. So, she started
to play at a tender age of 10. Minoti had her early training in violin from Shri Indreswar Sarma of
Jorhat, in the music school of late Darpanath Sarma. She performed in several concerts and
festivals and the turning point in her life came when she was performing at the All Assam Music
Conference in 1972 and violin maestro Pt. V. G. Jog heard her on stage and offered to impart his
art to Minoti. Her husband Kabindra Ram Khaund and the daughter in law of Deputy
Commissioner Rabindra Ram Khaund a traditional family of Assam supported her and started her
apprenticeship under Pt .Jog. Thereafter started the traditional Gururshisya Parampara between
Minoti and Padmavibhusahan Pt Jog.

The Rising Talent Conference at Kalamandir Calcutta in 1978 introduced Minoti as a talented
artiste. There has been no looking back since then. The Amir Khan Music Conference at Rabindra
Sadan Kolkata, Benaras, Burdwan, Cuttack, Bhubaneshwar, Tatanagar, Rabindra Natya Mandir
Mumbai, India International Center Delhi, Mehta Memorial Hall Allahabad, IIT Festival,
Shankardev Kalakshetra Guwahati, National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai, India Habitat Centre
Delhi, Women's International Forum Goa, Madhusudhan Manch Kolkata etc were the platforms
that Minoti performed in and enthralled the audience and press alike. She became the foremost
violinist of Assam. She was conferred the title of Sangeet Jyoti.

Minoti started her parallel studies in the field of music and attained Sangeet Nipune from Prayag
Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad, in 1986, bagging a gold medal for her Sangeet Visharad. During this
period she also got associated with vocalist Pt. A.T, Kanan of the Sangeet Research Academy,
Kolkata and imbibed the "gayaki ang" in her style. She also underwent music studies in the field of
raga improvisations and rhythmic patterns of "tala" from sarod maestro and musicologist Pt.
Buddhadev Dasgupta.

Sunita Bhuyan is a violinist of the Hindustani style and has carved a niche for herself as an
upcoming musician of India. Recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini award for Music. She
was initiated into musical a tender age by her mother Minot Khaund. The mother daughter duo of
Minoti and Sunita have performed duets all over the country and abroad, regaling the audience
and the press alike with their "jugalbandi". What makes her great is: selection of her tune, her
style of presentation and she tried to give a semi-classical touch which has a blend of folk western

Sunita has attained a master's degree in Hindustani Music from Prayag Sangeet Samitee, with a
distinction and has also studied advanced music under the apprenticeship of violin maestro

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       AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

Padmabibhushan Late Pt V.G. Jog. Minoti Khaund, the award winning violin master whose
musical career spanning 50 years. She has been awarded the prestigious Silpi Bata this year by
Govt. of Assam. A violin recital by Minoti Khaund and her daughter Sunita Bhuyan are on an
exclusive UK tour at the prestigious Nehru Centre (the Cultural wing of Indian High Commission)
on 26th June and other British cities: Manchester: Kalapremi mandal, Birmingham and
Nottingham organized by Rini Kakati, NRI Co-ordinator for UK.

Also the Glasgow concert is organized by Mrs. Anima Sharma, an active member of Lancashire
Hindu Association.

                                  Minoti Khaund & Sunita Bhuyan


By Bikul Das

In February, our entirely family (Britta, me, our two daughters Anjuli, Sonali and one year old son
Devon) took the long flight from Toronto to Guwahati, and then met our extended family in the
Guwahati airport. Anjuli immediately started sharing smiles and short-talk with her cousins, while
three year old Sonali tried hide her face under mother’s protection. Then we made an hour
journey to Sualkushi in a hired Toyota minivan. The driver Hemanta was proud of his car,
only rented Toyota in Guwahati, while Devon was fascinated by noisy traffic outside. Anjuli was
excited to see the Saraighat Bridge and the surrounding greenery along the Guwahati-Hajo path.
It was a great relief from the cold and dry Canada! When we arrived at our 100 years old wooden
home (with a newly built Pacca house equipped with hot-shower, and filtered underground
water!), both Anjuli and Sonali were immediately fascinated with our backyard: the green Pathar
with kids playing soccer and cricket! Beyond the greenery is the slivery water of River
Brahmaputra and its clean, private (!) beach. Anjuli immediately screamed: it is better than
Portugal (they spend their 2007 holiday in Portugal beach with Britta and her parents). Britta was
of course busy greeting our relatives, whom she last saw during our wedding in 2000. Then, we
had an excellent holiday for next three weeks in our village filled with river picnic, temple dance
and silk shopping. My mother spend all her time playing with Devon, while Anjuli and Sonali were
busy building sand-castle with their cousins in the clean beach just 10 minutes run from our home.
We then returned back to cold, icy Toronto with a promise to come back again to play sand-castle

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       AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

next year! On the way back to airport, Anjuli pointed to traffic congestion at Jalukbari: is it India?
For her, the noisy, polluted Guwahati was that typical India of chaos and noise, whereas the
clean, greenery backyard of our village was Assam. I said "yes", and then looked across my
shoulder to face the stern eyes of sisters, who all decided to leave our village to live in the India of


                                         THE HURRICANE
                                      By Trivikram Rajkhowa

        The wind roared against the trees, pummeling them with all its fury. Lightning flashed
incandescently and the long blades of grass were crushed with the constant onslaught of rain and
hail. The windmill that was a picture of serenity a few moments ago was now in the midst of the
tumultuous mercy of the forces of nature. These forces of nature transformed itself from one of
serenity and placidity to that of a rolling juggernaut of fury and malice.
        Cindy stood near the corner of the windmill, her face ashen as she stared fearfully at the
behemoth windmill structure that she and her husband had struggled to make and run. Her
husband was out in the fields and she feared for his life as well as her own. It was as if the Gods
were plotting to destroy all that she and her husband had strived so hard to achieve.
        The windmill swayed precariously, its sturdiness being tested by the whim of Mother
Nature. Lightning flashed constantly illuminating the fields and small cottages that dotted the
countryside. The numerous brooks that snaked through the fields were replenished by the
constant pouring of rain.

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       AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

         Taking refuge in the shelter of a small overpass of the bridge, Cindy looked frantically for
Rover, the golden Labrador, known for its playful nature. She descried the sodden dog treading
somberly towards her. Quietly whispering a prayer, Cindy fingered her talisman and closed her
         Soon she heard a series of footsteps close to her. She opened her eyes and saw her
husband crouching near her.
         “Cindy, we have to leave, there is a small cottage in the midst of the nearby woods. The
cottage is in a location so shielded from the forces the nature that it would be impossible for us to
be inflicted with any harm if we go there,” he whispered.
           Acquiescing tacitly, Cindy bundled Rover into her lap and supported by her husband
made her way to the dense undergrowth of the woods for refuge and respite.
The trio made their way into the thickets. They were soon deep in the woods.
           After an hour they, caught sight of the quaint cottage nestled against a thick clump of tall
grass. Cindy, Rover and her husband made their way into the uninhabited cottage. Upon reaching
the cottage, they rested and waited for the hurricane to subside.


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        AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

               A   ASSAM                                                      Diganta Barman. Treasurer
               N ASSOCIATION of                                             9737 Mt. Pisgah Rd. Apt. 803
                                                                           Silver Spring. MD 20903. USA
               A North America                                      E-mail:



Phone number(s)

Email ID(s)

                                                                Yearly dues                       Life
                                                  Family $40    Single $25      Student $0        $300
Membership dues
Donation to Anima Chakravartty memorial
Donation to Assam Convention fund
Donation to AANA Project fund
Total $ (Paid by Check / Cash)
Check payable to Assam Association of
North America and mail to the Treasurer


A receipt will be sent via email within two week of receiving your membership request/renewal form with
dues/donation. Make Check Payable to AANA. Please mail it to Diganta Barman at the address above., email:

                                              Page 47 of 48
         AANA AFNA ASSNA Newsletter, Bihu Issue - 2008, Volume 29, No 2, Issue 104

                          Assam Foundation of North America, Inc.
                          President : Partha Gogoi, Secretary: Ankur Bora Treasurer : Anamitra Bhattacharyya
                          Address: 2632 Beacon Hill Dr Apt 101, Auburn Hills MI 48326
                                                       Phone: (703) 867 0062

A non-profit organization registered under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code with Tax I.D # 61-0994468

Membership and Donation Form

Name:                        .............................................................................
Spouse’s name:               ..............................................................................
Address:                     .............................................................................
Telephone number:            .............................................................................
Email address:               .............................................................................

(Please provide your email address. The saving from a postage stamp can buy needed supplies for
a school in Assam.)

Membership dues:             $ 25.00 (Family), $ 15.00 (Single), $ 5.00 (Student)                             ..........
                             Donation for …………………….                                                           ..........
                             Additional contribution to AFNA’s general fund                                   ..........
                             Total (Please make checks payable to AFNA)                                       ...........

Please mail to:
Assam Foundation of North America (AFNA)
2632 Beacon Hill Dr Apt 101,
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

If you want to donate using paypal account and for more information please visit our website

                                                             Page 48 of 48