Rongali Bihu Celebration in Atlanta, Georgia

-By Ganesh Deka

The Atlanta Assamese community would like to wish you all Rongali Bihur olag and a happy and healthy New Year.

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On Saturday 14thApril, the Atlanta Assamese community celebrated this year’s Rongali Bihu with lots of fanfare. It was held in a club house and altogether 57 people attended the Utsav. We were happy to have several families from Alabama and Tennessee join in the celebration. The festivities began with the pitha competition, with participants delighting all with both sweet and savory dishes. After some delicious snacks and a few cups of tea, the children had fun during an outdoor Easter Egg Hunt, while the adults played tekeli bhanga. The evening cultural program started with a moment of silence in remembrance of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, followed by the opening chorus, Manuhe Manuhar Babe, sung by all. A few of our children also sang and danced beautifully to some of Bhupenda’s popular songs. The rest of the evening’s entertainment consisted of various dance performances, song recitals, and dramas. The entertaining dramas enacted by some of our community’s comedians had audience members laughing throughout the night. Another highlight of the evening was the fashion show, where infants, children, and adults alike donned their ethnic attire on the runway. Food was catered from an Indian restaurant and was delicious. The night concluded with the annual Husori.

Celebration of Bohag Bihu in Toronto

- By Uma Talukdar


On Saturday, April 14 2012, the Assamese community of greater Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa, Peterborough gathered at the Tagore Centre, Toronto to celebrate Bohag Bihu. The Bihu was organized by Asom Sangha, Canada. The celebration started with a Jol-paan consisting of a variety of pithas, laroo, cake and, mithais, The celebration was opened with flag hoisting by Minati Sharma of Buffalo followed by singing of Assam’s national song O’ Mor Aaponar Desh and national anthems of India and Canada. Children took the lead on singing the National Anthems. Jib Talukdar, President Asom Sangha welcomed the gathering. After the opening ceremony, the children started their program with a group song “Bilote Halishe .” participated by Tanya Sharma, Jishnu Pathak Talukdar, Garggie Pathak Talukdar, Shreya Kashyap, Sneh Boro. Krishiv Thakuria, Arush Deka, Avni Saxena, Jishnu Talukdar, Shreya Kashyap and Tanya Sarma sang individual songs. Rubin Hazarika played guitar. Aayan and Rubin Hazarika danced to Bollywood songs. Avni Saxena dance to an old Hindi song. Garggie P Talukdar performed a Bihu dance. After the children’s program there was tea/snacks break and people got an opportunity to greet and talk. Six new families joined the community this time. After the break, cultural program started again with a Shradhanjali to Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. Chorus was sung by Mitali Sarma, Purbali Das, Uma Talukdar, Rita Baruah, Nayana Talukdar and Gitimoni Barua. Gitimoni Barua performed Bihu dance. Kuntala danced to a popular Assamese song. Purbali Das, Nayana Talukdar, Hitesh Thakuria each perform couple of individual song. Uma Talukdar performed a song by Bhupen Hazarika. Kaushik lead an orchestra. Nabul Baruah and Reeta Baruah presented an Alakhya on Bhupen Hazarika. Mitali Sarma Baruah along with Nabul Baruah sang in the alakhya and Reeta Baruah and Hitesh lended their voice. The last part of the cultural program was a mukoli Bihu dance starting with Husori. Everyone partipated in the Husori and Mukoli Bihu. In Toronto no function can end without a delicious dinner. It was no exception this year either. The Annual general body meeting of Asom Sangha took place. A new executive committee was elected with Kaushik Bhattacharjee as President and Gitimoni Baruah as Secretary for the term 2012-2014. Seema Baruah Patel was elected as a member to the permanent board of directors. Jib Talukdar President, Hitesh Thakuria Secretary Asom Sangha takes this opportunity to thank everyone for their help and participation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-S9xJjym7U

Urukar Xomohiya Bhoj and Bhupenda’s Shradhanjali Celebrated in Minnesota

- By Geeti Das

 The Assamese community of Minnesota experienced one of its best Urukar Xomohiya Bhoj on 21st January, 2012 at Somesh and Minti’s residence in Shakopee, MN. This year’s Magh Bihu was indeed special as we took the opportunity to celebrate Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s life that Uruka evening. I would like to start here by sharing a few lines from the Bihur Ayujon/Invitation email from our cordial hosts that says:

  Bhupenda1.1    "Bohaagote amaare aai mohura hoi ghure…
Maghot xunor haatere lakhimi adore." 
"Etiya amar dexot, Lakhimi adora'r xomoi.... 
Etiya bondhuwe bondhu'k Maihang Dhanor xuwad pani jasa'r xomoi."

"Bojali je Pepa ti, Bojali je Pepa ti 
Xurere xojali dekhu Mississippi'r nixati." 
 Devarsh Sangeet_ 

A beautiful, striking portrait of Bhupenda came all the way from Assam (a gift of warmth, sent by Prantor’s parents, Dolly and Progoti Bora), right in time to pay our tributes. Finally, as the evening arrived, families gathered with colorful mekhala sadors and kurtas, and kids running around in their best traditional outfits too. The dining area was quickly getting filled with pitha, laroo, doi-sira, and dozen other appetizers, and oven set to warm with all homemade delicacies getting stacked for the dinner menu.

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Kids had an ear to ear smile all evening…

Around 7:30pm, Ankita graciously anchored the Shradhanjali evening which started with Bonti Projwolon, followed by the opening chorus „Manuhe Manuhor Ba‟be‟ sung by all. Little Devarsh and Sangeet (in the photo above) sang ‘Moi Eti Jajabor ‘and ‘Manuhe Manuhor Ba„be‟. Somesh spoke a few lines on Bhupenda’s musical ingenuity and how we should be spreading his eternal voice across generations. Pankaj, Anjan, Reza, Sabina, Bijan and I shared a few personal experiences, all of mixed taste, some sweet and inspiring, some filled with fun and humor. Aruni Kashyap, a new student at the University of Minnesota, impressed us all by singing ‘Bimurti Mur Nixati.‟ Sabina recited the ‘Manuhe Manuhor Ba‟be‟ translated in English by her brother-in-law, NF Haque. It was amazing to see six-year-old music master, Sangeet singing ‘Bristino Parore‟ and playing it in the piano too.

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The whole place in front of Bhupenda‟s portrait seemed to have a warm golden glow…

The actual fun began when the guys started to energize up by singing Bhupenda’s all-time hits, accompanied by guitarist, Saroj. As they were singing so whole-heartedly and flipping page after page of Bhupenda’s song collection books, the ladies started to worry that we may not even get a chance to sing. Finally we took over the mikes, and sang to our heart’s content, which of course sounded much sweeter when accompanied by Minti’s melodious voice.

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From "Aah Aah Ulai Aah‟ to „Shillongore Monalisa Lihingdou‟…
no one wanted the evening to end…

Ankita conducted a debate for the young kids (between 10 - 12 years) with the topic: “Does Bhupen Hazarika deserve better recognition”. Hats off to our future debaters (Riyah, Ashmita, Nibir and Aayan) for being able to turn on the attention of the entire audience by delivering some very strong facts with confidence and great debating skills. Somesh concluded the Shardhanjali evening by reciting (Amor Jyoti Choudhury’s poem) „Eta Gaan Xesh Hol‟, and I bet, nobody amongst us could have done it better than Somesh.

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We couldn‟t have been happier and (more nostalgic)
seeing the kolpaat, at the first glance, nicely laid out on the floor...
 

Finally, the oven timers went off, and the long awaited feast was minutes away. The highlight of the bhoj was hot delicious food served on Kolpaat, and nice arrangements were made to sit down on the floor. An unending array of dishes, one after the other (starting from Kaath Aloo Fry to Hahor Manxso) served warmly by the guys in the perfect Axomiya style added to our taste. 

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