‘Unity in diversity must for development of society’

Pokamura Pothar (Assam): Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturdayurged the people to get involved in the process of building a greater Assamese society imbibing the teachings of the state’s 16th century Vaisanavite socio-religious reformer Srimanta Sankardeb.

Inaugurating the Barechaharia Bhaona Bhawan here in Sonitpur district, Gogoi said, “Unity in diversity is most essential for development of a society. Strengthening of the diverse cultures of the state will reflect the all-round development of society”.

“Great saint Srimanta Sankardeb through the Vaisnavite culture dreamt of a greater Assamese society where people irrespective of caste and creed could live in harmony. Barechaharia Bhaona has been playing a major role in bridging the gap among the people of different castes and communities”, he said.

“That is beautifully reflected today here in Pokapmura Pothar in Jamugurihat where people from different communities, including Adivashi, Nepali, Boro, Missing, etc., are seen participating in the historic event signifying a good sign for the future”, the chief minister said.

“The people of Jamugurihat conceived the idea of holding Barechaharia Bhaona, a show of strength and solidarity against frequently disruptive neighbouring communities. This show of group cohesion soon flourished as a stunning display of ‘Naat Bhaona’ (drama) which continues till today,” he said.

“Sankardeb was not only a spiritual person but a great social reformer who always tried to keep every caste and creed under the umbrella of unity,” Gogoi pointed out. Referring to the Assamese culture being enriched by the influence of Srimanta Sankardeb’s Vaisnavism, Gogoi said, in Assamese cultural history Bhaona dramatising Hindu mythology is the brainchild of the saint to preach his Vaisnavite ideology of good over evil and existence of one supreme power.

“Bhoanas are strung together using Geet (songs) in different Raga and Taal alongwith Bhakti ras’ (devotional verses), Gayan and Bayan (orchestra) who play khol (drum) and cymbals”, he said explaining the art form of Bhaona.

“These are enacted in Naamghar (community prayer halls) and Satra (monasteries) designed by Sankardeb to promote Vaisnavism. All these were not only spiritually but scientifically designed social infrastructure during the 16 century world of Assamese society”, he pointed out.

The Barechaharia Bhaona Bhawan was built at a cost of Rs one crore funded by the Assam Tourism Department to keep alive the Vaisanavite culture of Srimanta Sankardeb among the different communities living in the area as well as across the state. Referring to the contribution of Vaisanavite cultural icon Sonit Konwar Gajen Baruah in taking forward Vaisanavite culture to the world arena, Gogoi said to shut out the present social unrest and disturbances among the different ethnic communities of the state one must follow the ideology of the great social figure. (PTI)

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