This is the month of Bohag is a very special month for the Assamese community. Rongali Bihu, an inseparable part of Assamese society and culture is celebrated with a sense of solidarity, togetherness, and feeling of oneness amongst members of the Assamese community. The word ‘Rongali’ is derived from the root word ‘Rong’ meaning gaiety and happiness indicating that the festival is marked by a fervor and jollity that find their manifestation in the various Bihu songs and dances that are performed through ‘Husori’.
Since my younger days, I have always heard and read about how Assamese diaspora in abroad celebrates Bihu and organize other various Assamese traditional art, cultural and literary events from time to time. It is heartwarming to see how the people from every nook and corner of Assam have united and able to spread the redolent of rich cultural and heritage of Assam on foreign soil.
I have never imagined that one day I will also be a part of this Assamese expatriate community in Australia. Thousands of miles away from our motherland, they still share common taste and avid interest of preserving our rich cultural and literary heritage. Yes, I am talking about none other than vibrant and dynamic Assamese community of Sydney and Canberra, Australia. It’s been only two years in Australia and I am very much delighted to see their love and passion for art, culture, literature and especially in maintaining the unbroken umbilical cord with their own tradition sprouted from the love for the motherland Assam. To touch with these enthusiastic people make me inspired to pursue my interest once again. It is surely an overwhelmingly pleasant feeling.
The rhythm and euphony of Rongali Bihu pulsate in the veins of the people of Assam spreading messages of goodwill, peace and harmony. Like all previous years, the Assamese Community in NSW and ACT celebrated Rongali Bihu with great enthusiasm, zeal and thrill on 16th April in Pennant Hills Community Centre.
The evening was inaugurated with a beautiful chorus of ‘’Shree Moyee Axomi’’ which undoubtedly touch the heart of the audience. An opening speech was delivered by the President of Assamese Association of Australia ACT & NSW. The president gave a brief overview of newly formed association and launching of the association’s website.
The children program was started with stunning kid’s fashion show (below the age group of 5 years).The little kids walked on ramp holding their mum’s hand and wearing different kinds of traditional attire with background tune of ‘O Junbai iman dhunia tumi’ (o moon how beautiful you are). It has reminded me of my precious childhood time with my mother and her melodious lullabies. All the kids enchanted the audience with their magnificent performances such as dance performance in the tune of ‘Poka dhanor maje maje xoru xoru ali o’, Rabha Sangeet ‘Tilai Tilai’ and song performance of popular Assamese singer Dipali Borthakur’s ‘Kon man borxire sip’ and Bhupendra Sangeet ‘Manuhe Manuh r babe’. The group of small children enthralled the crowd by their dance ‘Padel mari mari’ and it was really fascinating and entertaining. Our talented girls also performed a medley dance on Karbi, Jhumur and Tiwa song which indeed portrays the existence of our rich cultural heritage and unity and diversity among various ethnic tribes in Assam.
It was very pleasant to see the performances, anchoring by the kids and their ability and knowledge on Assamese art and culture. However, born and raised in Australia, the children have a remarkable understanding of Assamese language. For this, we should be grateful to Sydney ‘Bhaxa Ghor’ (Assamese Language Art and Cultural School) for the commendable initiative of involving our kids in the various socio-cultural forum.
The team Canberra also captivated the crowd through their fabulous performances such as group dance medley on ‘Assamese version of Kolaveri di’ and ‘Xagor Xangamat’, soulful instrumental recital and of course the dance drama named ‘Xanskritir Pragatir Jokhola’.
This year Bihu magazine ‘Gogona’ was also inaugurated on the day of Rongali Bihu celebration. Through everyone’s contribution and effort ‘Gogona’ has accomplished seventh successful year and has taken a beautiful look.
The cultural evening also featured a number of solo song performances by our local artists and their songs comprised of old and new Assamese melodies. One of the most dazzling performances of the evening was ‘Labra dance”. A group of our brilliant artists danced to the tune of ‘Dhiniki dhin dao’, “Madhu danav danav’ and “Ram tal bao khuti tal bao’ and their impeccable dancing style received wide appreciation from the audience. The another mesmerizing program of the event was Assamese traditional fusion group song blending in a sequence of devotional and Bihu songs.
The popular Assamese band Jantroz’s sparkling performance on old and new Assamese melodies further added the beauty of the evening and it was greatly appreciated by all the audience.
This evening was ended with the most awaited Husori and Bihu performance by Sydney Bihu Dol with their superb performance and acknowledged their energy, enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to put up such a marvelous show. The stage was also beautifully and artistically decorated with gamusa, japi, dhol, pepa, bihuwa-bihuwoti etc. by our young talented artists.
As the Assamese community grows it became evident that the community needed to organize itself and hence Assamese Association of Australia (ACT & NSW) was formed last year. The Association has been instrumental in organizing a few events over the past 12 months and has had 2 successful elections. The official website of the Assamese Association was launched in Bihu – www.assaminaustralia.org.au . The Assamese community’s popularity and recognition are spreading all over Australia gradually. These Assamese residents of Sydney and Canberra’s continuous effort have made the bond of our rich cultural and literary heritage more powerful and effective.