It gives me great pride to write this first “President’s Corner” column. At the same time I am deeply honored and humbled to gain your trust to be the AANA President for the term 2013-2015. First of all, I like to recognize the outgoing Executive, President Dr. Baruah, VP Ms. Sharma, and Gen Secy. Mrs. Dutta for their extraordinary services and landmark changes. It was my privilege to work with this great group as the Treasurer and the Newsletter and IT coordinators. Special thanks to Ms. Roopa Sharma for her prompt responses and contributions at times of urgencies.
I am thankful and grateful to Mr. Arup Goswami for agreeing to take the responsibilities of the VP. Those attended 33rd Assam Convention in Calgary, Canada witnessed Mr. Goswami’s organizational skills. I look forward to tap into his vast organizational experiences and working with him in serving you for the next two years.
I am also thankful and grateful to Ms. Geeti Das for taking the responsibilities of the Gen Secy. Geeti and her husband Prantor Bora created the AANA website www.aanahome.org and has been updating and maintaining it for the last two years. Sincerity and dedication of this young couple towards our organization are commendable. I look forward to continue working with Geeti with this added responsibility.
Finally, I like to thank my good friend Mr. Anis Ahmed for agreeing to serve as the Treasurer. He is the best Treasurer I know. He helped saving over $5,000.00 for AANA from the Washington, DC Convention in 2009. We go a long way to the 80’s serving our community together at various levels and wearing various hats, AFNA, ASSNA, and AANA. I look forward to continue working with Mr. Ahmed.
With changing times, we have challenges ahead. The outgoing President and his Executive Board left big shoes for us to fill. Expanding our constitution by adding the “Assam Convention White Papers” to the Bylaws is their landmark achievement. Implementing and testing these guidelines will be one of our major jobs.
The organization needs to adjust itself with changing times. In this electronic age, businesses are done differently than 10/20 years ago. With the help of our IT team (Geeti & Prantor) we will find ways to conduct our business compatible to this modern world. Our expenses are also different because of the way we do business today. So we need to look at our revenue generation and benefits to our members. We will seriously investigate and look into these issues and if necessary propose and present changes at our next GBM.
Bringing together and exchanging information among the Assamese communities in North America is our major focus. We have already begun identifying active Assamese communities in North America in addition to the existing Regional setup. We have also begun recruiting representatives from the communities and making them part of the discussions and decisions in best serving the communities as well as achieving our organizational goals in promoting our Assamese culture, teaching those to our children, and fostering the enduring bonds among them.
In 2009, you formed a Governing Board with five distinguished and experienced members of our organization. Our goal would be to tap into their knowledge and experiences by making them also part of the discussions and decisions. Finally, we need your help to help you. We are open to suggestions and ideas of best serving you. Our contact information is in the Assam Directory. Please call us or send us emails and let us know how we can serve you better.
Thanks to all of you who showed up at the 34th Assam Convention Detroit and made it a grand success. Please keep teaching the children our culture, and encourage/inspire them to participate in your local events to promote and display our culture and of course bring them to the next (35th) Assam Convention in the New Jersey area.
Best wishes and warm regards,
Dr. Deva Borah,
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.
It has been a truly memorable couple of years for me and the entire AANA executive:
Dr. Gautam L Baruah – President
Mrs. Roopa Sharma – Vice-President
Mrs. Ranu Dutta – General Secretary
Dr. Deva Borah - Treasurer
Throughout our tenure, the guiding principles have been to maintain the lofty traditions of the past committees of bringing the expatriate Assamese community together through our Annual conventions, newsletters, directory and Luhitor Pora Mississipi. Our main focus was to streamline our activities and grow our organization so that AANA could undertake bigger projects in the future. Our achievements over the tenure spanning 2011 to 2013:
- Opening a new and vibrant website- www.AANAhome.org
- Boosting life membership significantly
- Convention guidelines – passed in the annual general body meeting (AGBM) in 2012 at Calgary
- Convention White paper- passed in AGBM in 2013 at Detroit
- Facilitating the conventions at Calgary, Detroit, and finalization of venue for Assam Convention in the Northeast in 2014.
We were particularly satisfied to have generated the Convention White Paper that encapsulates all the aspects of convention organization ranging from Hotel contracts, Budgets and Program content. It has several helpful guidelines, samples and templates. This document has received invaluable inputs from our community stalwarts and previous organizers. We thank them for their expertise and dedication. Due to the relatively small population of Assamese expatriates spread over vast distances, organizing the Assam Convention is a complex venture. We hope this will facilitate Conventions for future organizers. Although we lived apart from each other, there was a remarkable level of co-ordination and cohesion through our conference calls and AGBMs. This is what has made it possible for us to achieve so much in just two years.
As we pass the baton over to the next executive, I exhort you to join our organization. If you have a desire to contribute to our culture, champion worthy causes or want your voice to be heard, join us. Together we could work miracles. You may not need the community but the community needs you. The common refrain from the people from Assam is: “Please enlighten us on how you execute business, education, healthcare and projects”. This is where the Assamese technocrats in USA and Canada could come up with guidelines and best practices in their respective areas. AANA provides the perfect platform for you to put together great ideas and make good things happen in Assam.
It has indeed been an honor to serve the community over the last two years. Hope to meet many of you in future conventions and elsewhere.
Best wishes and warm regards,
Dr. Gautam L Baruah
Outgoing President, AANA