Greetings to all of you from Chicago, The Windy City!
It is truly an honor and privilege for me to serve as President, Asom Sahitya Sabha, North America (ASSNA) for the next two years, 2013-2015. I am delighted to have my childhood friend Dilara Boruah of Los Angeles, California, as Vice President, ASSNA.
As most of you know, Asom Sahitya Sabha ("Assam Literary Society") is a non-government, nonprofit, literary organization of Assam. It was founded in Assam in December, 1917, to promote the culture of Assam and Assamese literature. With its central office located in Jorhat, Assam, it presently has about one thousand branches with offices all over Assam and outside of Assam.
Forever a student of history, I am motivated to reflect on the stories of our past - true stories that are the footprints of history. Here is one for you, recalled by Dr. Deva Borah, President, Assam Association of North America (AANA) on the evolution of the current name of the organization ASSNA:
The Story behind the Name ASSNA
Back in early 1990s, there was a 'house-warming' gathering and 'Naam-prosongo' at Mr. and Mrs. Dilip and Sangeeta Choudhury's home in the upstate New York. Dr. Deva Borah was the president of Asom Sahitya Sabha, US Branch, at that time. He presented a proposal to change it to a more suitable name and suggested a few names. Based on that, Dr. Debabrata Sarma (now living in Seattle) proposed the name Asom Sahitya Sabha, North America (ASSNA). Everyone present, including Dr. Kripanath Bora, Dr. Brojen Boroloi, and many others accepted the new name. Moreover, it rhymed with AANA and AFNA, the other two Assamese organizations in the country. Thus, ASSNA was named. When we write, let us be mindful to spell it correctly as ASSNA - and not as ASNA or ASNNA.
I would like to claim that my association with Asom Sahitya Sabha began at an early age! Kindly allow me to return, for a moment, to my own childhood. When I was just three years old, I was admitted to a newly opened Montessori school, "Balya Bhaban" in Jorhat, Assam. The school did not have its own building yet; so we, a handful of tiny tots, attended school for a few years at the "Chandrakanta Handique Bhaban" premises. Incidentally, that same building has served as the headquarters of 'Asom Sahitya Sabha' for a long time now. When I visit Jorhat next, I plan to visit the offices, on behalf of ASSNA.
ASSNA's primary duty has been to publish the annual Luitor Pora Mississippi magazine before each Assam Convention. I also believe, we are at the crossroads of a unique and new challenge. When the older generation of Assamese who are proficient in the native language gradually passes on the torch to the younger generation, it is inevitable that ASSNA will take a different course. We are very pleased to see a large number of children participating in Assamese cultural activities during the conventions and local Bihus, thanks to the children's willingness to learn and the parents' efforts to teach. We can still retain our Assamese language (to a certain extent) in this country through our youngsters if we all work together. In the upcoming AANA Newsletter, ASSNA will open a new door for us, offering to keep the flame of our Assamese language and culture lit. I would like to invite and welcome you to join me in this endeavor.
I look forward to serving you as President, ASSNA, and welcome any suggestions that you may have which will help me serve ASSNA better. Thank you for your goodwill and support.
With warm wishes,
President, ASSNA [2013 - 2015]
Note: ASSNA (Asom Sahitya Sabha, North America) has been using both 'Asom' and 'Assam' interchangeably. When ASSNA was named, they used 'Asom'. I am following the tradition.