The Maestro Speaks

The Beauty of Assam

By Ustad Amjad Ali Khan

(A Kavita Media Presentation. Please email comments here.)

I am very sad to see the sufferings of the people of Haiti and Chile. So many people have died and got injured. The survivors are suffering especially because they have lost their loved ones. May God give them peace and strength to bear this great tragedy.

Sri Maa Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam, is considered to be one of the most important and powerful religious shrines in India.  Recently we visited Assam on an invitation from the Kamakhya Debutter Board of Trustees for their 4th Kameswari Music and Dance Festival held in February, 2010.  The Board Members of Kameswari Festival Committee felicitated our family.  It was a matter of great honour and privilege to be blessed along with my wife Subhalakshmi who belongs to Assam and our two sons, Amaan and Ayaan.  It was a nostalgic moment to be able to offer our services to Maa Kamakhya through our music at the premises of this great shrine.

Assam is a beautiful state.  People there are extremely loving, caring and are very simple at heart.  The inner beauty of the people and their warmth is obvious when one interacts with them.  Every time we visit Assam, our hunger to return to the state becomes stronger for the love of one and all. My knowledge of Assam and its culture was broadened by my late father-in-law Shri Parsuram Borooah (incidentally the first Assmese hero of the movie called “Joymati”) and his elder brother Late Shri P.C.Borooah, a Member of Parliament for two terms.

I have heard and also later experienced the beautiful memories of Assam and its cultural festivals.  The music festivals which took place in the early 50’s in cities like  Guwahati, Tejpur, Shillong, Jorhat, Sibsagar, and Dibrugarh had brought together the top legends of our country.  Unfortunately, with time and political issues and its differences, culture has taken a back seat for sometime now. Hence the Kamakhya Festival was like a breath of fresh air.

Assam is plentiful with natural gifts of nature from God: the flora and fauna, lush green tea gardens, mountains covered with romantic clouds, oil and natural gas, one horned rhinos (only found in Assam) in the forest of the world famous Kaziranga sanctuary. It also has the silks like Endi, Pat and Muga, cane and many other handicrafts makers. Assam stands tall in the world map.  I understand Assam Oil Company (AOC) is one of the oldest oil companies in India.  Later, Oil & Natural Gas Company (ONGC) took over in much bigger scale.  The Russian collaboration with India for drilling of oil has been a great significant achievement.  This beautiful state of North East which is linked with rest of the country only by a corridor passage believed to be floating in Oil. I was told that the realization of Oil in Assam had come to the forefront by the locals when the elephants from the deep forest had the foot prints leaving oil marks. The result was the formation of Assam Oil Company.

During my several visits to Assam I realize the place of worship in Assam is called “Naam Ghar”.  It is a very touching and a moving experience for me to realize that  Naam Ghar literally means "where you worship in the name of God."  People of Assam are free and open minded. The people of the State are also know for their great sense of respect and freedom.

My humble suggestion to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture is to promote more activities of this beautiful state.

I can see a lot of developments like high-rise buildings, malls, internet cafes etc, but I hope that the Government considers building few beautiful air-conditioned concert halls in the capital towns as well!  The Tourism Ministry also can think of seasonal music festivals from time to time in the historical monuments of this state, especially along and in the banks of mighty river Brahmaputra and revive its glorious culture. Change is a part of our daily need.  But it is also our duty to save and retain our glorious heritage.

Before leaving Guwahati I visited my mother-in-law Smt. Khiroda Kumari Borooah, a remarkable multifaceted lady.  At 87 she is active, alert and dynamic.  The food prepared under her supervision was truly delightful.  I feel very happy and content that I married a lady from the soil of Assam.

This article courtesy of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and The Week.


CONCERT DATES:
USTAD AMJAD ALI KHAN, AMAAN ALI KHAN AND AYAAN ALI KHAN

July 30, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

The Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI  
www.pabsttheater.org/show/sarod

July 24, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

Meany Hall, University of Washington , Seattle WA
www.meany.org

July 23, 2010

Amaan Ali Khan and
Ayaan Ali Khan

Masala! Mehndi! Masti! Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto
www.masalamehndimasti.com

July 17, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

Hubbard Auditorium, Houston TX
www.houstontheaterdistrict.org

July 10, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

North Shore Center of Performing Arts, Chicago IL
www.northshorecenter.org/

July 9, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan with Carrie Newcomer

Lotus Arts Festival, Bloomington, IN
http://www.lotusfest.org/

May 29, 2010

Amjad Ali Khan, Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, University of California , Santa Barbara, CA
http://mcc.sa.ucsb.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these columns are solely those of the interviewees / writers and do not necessarily represent those of the editor/publisher. 


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