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Gorkhafa conferred ‘Pillar of Society 2021-22’ international award

Harka Bahadur Chetry receiving Pillar of Society 2021-22 international award in New Delhi
‘Gorkhafa’ Harka Bahadur Chetry, Chairman of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) received ‘Pillar of Society 2021-22’ international award conferred by Social Justice for International Civil Rights Council (SJFICRC) affiliated to Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)’s civil society of United Nations (UN) and National Anti Crime and Human Rights Council of India (NACHRCOI) affiliated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India for being a crusader for Gorkha community’s human and constitutional rights and in social justice domain. Chetry was decorated with award certificate, citation and a name inscribed award trophy by SJFICRC International President G Vanneri, India President Md. Shanon Shaikh and Founder Director Dr. Diwas Lama and Sabita Gurung.

In his award address Harka Bahadur Chetry thanked the organization for nominating him for the recognition and expressed gratitude to jury members for deeming him fit for the prestigious award. ‘I dedicate this award to the first martyr of Gorkha Autonomous Council Shaheed Birbol Limbu of Golaghat along with the martyrs of Gorkha Ekta Sabha. I feel this award is not my personal achievement but recognition our struggle for indigenous community status in Assam and the Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) movement that was conceived in 1997 when I was  the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) president. The name of our organization GACDC is self explanatory and as its chairman I am glad, honoured and gracefully accept  ‘Pillar of Society’ international award’, added Chetry.

In 2016 while National Register of Citizens (NRC) was being updated and Gorkhas names were being stricken off from NRC assuming them to be from neighbouring nation Nepal instead of being an Original Inhabitant (OI) of Assam, Harka Bahadur Chetry undertook 650 kms Marathon March ( Long foot march from Murkungselek Jonai in Dhemaji to Dispur in Guwahati ) in seeking Assamese identity for the Gorkhas stating that Assam Accord cut off year is not applicable on Gorkhas since the community is indigenous of India and not from the specified territory i.e Bangladesh as stated in the accord.  This resulted in one on one meeting with the then Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and various departments of Government of Assam where the then CM proposed bipartite Home & Political Affairs Commissioner & Secretary level talks between GACDC and Government of Assam on granting indigenous status to Gorkhas of Assam vide Gazette Notification which is still on. It was under his leadership dreamt of an autonomous council for Gorkhas when he became president of AAGSU in 1996 and resolved at its annual conference at Boginadi Higher Secondary School in North Lakhimpur in 1997 for self determination and indigenous identity of Gorkhas in Assam’. His AAGSU, GACDC colleagues in different associations and unions and counterparts in other community organizations too congratulated Harka Bahadur Chetry for the international award in social justice instituted and given by a reputed INGO.

INGO’s ‘Pillar of Society Award’ in social justice to Harka Bahadur Cherty


Pillars of Society Award 2021-2022' an international recognition by the INGO Social Justice for International Civil Rights Council (SJFICRC) working in social justice domain in association with National Anti Crime and Human Rights Council of India affiliated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is being given to Harka Bahadur Chetry, Chairman of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) for being indigenous Gorkha community rights crusader over three decades in the state of Assam.

Dr. Diwas Lama one of the founder and Director of SJFICRC stated in a press statement that Social Justice for International Civil Rights Council (SJFICRC) affiliated to Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)’s civil society of United Nations (UN) and National Anti Crime and Human Rights Council of India (NACHRCOI) affiliated to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is giving away awards in ten categories to awardees from eleven nations at an international award conference focusing on Indo-Nepal relations. The award conference ‘International Indo-Nepal Friendship Award 2022’ will see presence of ambassadors and chief of the mission of award winning nations where A Narayana Swami, Minister of State for Social Justice, Government of India and John Barla, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Government of India will be present as Chief Guest and Guest of Honour to give away the award besides a galaxy of dignitaries. Chetry will be presented ‘Pillar of Society Award 2021-22’ with awardees of other segments from different countries at Constitution Club, New Delhi on 19th Aug 2022 at 3pm.


Talking to this correspondent Dil Bahadur Limboo Senior Vice President of GACDC said, ‘Congratulations to the indigenous fearless real leader of Gorkhas of Assam spearheading the Raithaney Sangram (Indigenous movement) thinker of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) in Assam. Proud to be his colleague in GACDC and AAGSU since 1996 when he was first elected president of All Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU). Since then it’s my honour and pleasure to have always received his encouragement, guidance and support not just in social service but also in life. Glad to be have been working as community leader and doing impactful social work under his mentorship since two decades.’“'Pillar of Society Award 2021-22' by an International NGO working in social justice domain to our chairman is testimony to the fact that GACDC's movement for Indigenous Identity and Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) is not only legitimate but also in high spirit and right direction towards social justice.”, added Limbu who was the president of AAGSU in 2010.

Harka Bahadur Chetry expressed gratitude to the jury and international NGO who has chosen him for the recognition and told that it came as surprise for him since he never expected any award for the movement he lead since 1996. Chetry left for New Delhi this afternoon from Dibrugarh along with GACDC vice president Bhoj Raj Karki who has been his colleague since 1999 after the formation of GACDC. Bogiram Gorkha Bhandari an Indigenous Gorkhalism and Gorkha Bhasa activist wrote a lengthy facebook post recalling Gorkhafa’s three decades of movement recent one being 650 kms Marathon March ( Long foot march from Murkungselek Jonai in Dhemaji to Dispur in Guwahati ) in 2016 which lead to bipartiate Home & Political Affairs Secretary & Commissioner level talks between GACDC and Government of Assam on granting indigenous status to Gorkhas of Assam vide Gazette Notification which is still on. Durga Khatiwora president of Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha (ANSS) expressed happiness over the recognition and congratulating Chetry for the award said, ‘Harka Bahadur is the person who dreamt of an autonomous council for Gorkhas when he became president of AAGSU in 1996 and resolved at their annual conference at Boginadi Higher Secondary School in North Lakhimpur Dist in 1997 for self determination and indigenous identity of Gorkhas in Assam’. Arjun Chetry and Numal Chetry president and general secretary AAGSU too congratulated GACDC chairman for the award. Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) Assam state gen secretary Bimal Pradhan said, ‘Honour in the form of an award by an INGO is recognition of his leadership skills and vision since it is called Pillar of Society, the name itself is self explanatory. BGP on behalf of Gorkhas of the nation congratulate the awardee Chetry for bringing recognition and laurels in social  justice category as a community leader’. Leaders of Gorkha Community organizations Kirat Rai, Mahasabha, All Assam Magar Union, All Assam Gurung Tamu Union,  Limbu Mahasabha, Assam , Akhil Assam Newar Sanghathan, Akhil Assam Gorkha Biswakarma Samaj and other civil society organizations (cso)s congratulated Gorkhafa for earning recognition. His AAGSU, GACDC colleagues in different associations and unions and counterparts in other community organisations too congratulated Harka Bahadur Chetry for the international award in social justice instituted and given by a reputed INGO.

Nation pays tribute INA’s ‘Singing Soldier’ composer of National Anthem's tune

108th Birth Anniversary of Late Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri observed along with 76th Independence Day

Padumpathar, Golaghat Assam: The 76th Independence Day was celebrated with spirit of ‘Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav’ throughout the nation as such a small village in Assam’s Golaghat district known for organic revolution in the region Padumpathar alongside hoisting the flag and celebrating Independence day paid rich floral tribute to Indian National Army (INA)’s ‘Singing Soldier’ composer of the tune of India’s National Anthem Jana Gana Mana.  Very few are born to leave an impact to bind a nation with music for eternity; Late Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri was one of those god-gifted ones whom India was fortunate to have in the right era.  When he was born on 15th August 1914 (coincidently the same day as Independence Day) to a Gorkha family in Khaniara village, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, no one ever imagined that one day 1.35  billion Indians would remain united with his music of Jana Gana Mana, Kadam Kadam Badeya jaye and Sare Jahan Se Achha. Fond of music and dance from early childhood, he was expected to become a soldier but he never compromised and pursued his passion for music. If music was the mainstay for thousands of INA members, the man behind it was Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri. In 1943, his composition the tune for INAs Quami Tarana was first played to thunderous applause at the Cathay Building in Singapore.

108th Birth Anniversary of Late Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri was observed by 22 state units of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP) across the country. Several Gorkha organizations of the nation too observed the day alongside 76th Independence Day celebrations Talking to this correspondent, Prakash Dahal president of Assam State BGP said, ‘Celebration of Birth anniversary of Capt. Thakuri shouldn’t be limited to the Gorkhas alone, he was the son of the soil and pride of the nation who bind the country with his patriotic tune.  Capt. Thakuri should be given highest one of highest civilian award Bharat Ratna or Padma Vibushan posthumously to honour his role in freedom struggle movement. Like we remember and pay tribute to second prime minister of India on 2nd October though it is shadowed by Gandhi Jayanti, BGP strongly feels that INA’s ‘Singing Soldier’ should be remembered alongside Independence day.’

Our National anthem is considered as one of the finest compositions in the world till today and we always credit on man behind it the great Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore, however he was behind making the lyrics the original tune was given by somebody else. Its a wonder that a member of Netaji Bose’s Indian National Army, Captain Ram Singh Thakuri created the tune of India’s national anthem and gave us iconic songs like ‘Kadam Kadam Badhaye Ja’.  Singer, Composer, Conductor and Musician, Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri composed many rousing Patriotic songs, the mainstay for thousands of INA members. His music continues to be soul of Independent India. In 1942-45 Capt. Ram Singh created the music for the INA anthem “Shubh Sukh Chaina ke Barkha barse (Quami Tarana)” and wrote the lyrics and music for “Kadam Kadam badeya jaye”. He gave the exciting martial beat to Tagore’s Hymn, our national anthem today. His composition as pefrormed by Calcutta Youth Choir can be heard. He is the man whose ‘Kadam Kadam’ fills every Indian heart with pride and joy. In May 1946 Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patelji suggested that Capt Ram Singh set up an orchestra of musicians (all from INA, e.g. Ganesh Bahadur, Gulab Singh Thapa, Avtar Singh, Ram Saran, Nar Bahadur Thapa) under the supervision of Col Rathuri, Col Sahgal and Col Ahmed. It was named as “All India INA Orchestra”. Patelji gave Rs 5000/-for instruments from Bombay and other expenses. They travelled around the country to light up national unity through patriotic music and songs with full gusto.

On 15 August 1947 at the Red Fort in New Delhi on the day Independent India first hoisted the national flag  Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri and the Orchestra played the Kaumi Tarana “Subh Sukh” at the flag hoisting occasion at Red Fort. Captain Thakuri played the tune on the violin presented by Netaji who had told him “You will play this violin at the Red Fort when India gets her Independence”. On 15th August 1947 when he played the stirring instrumental version of “Shubh Sukh Chaina ke Barkha barse (Quami Tarana of the INA)” on his violin at the Red Fort, the music added as is said in Hindi ‘Chaar Chand Laga diya’ to the historic occasion. Capt. Ram Singh’s entire life has been actively devoted to creating peace and patriotism through music in highly eventful phases—as a Gorkha soldier of the 2/1 Gorkha Rifles, as the Bandmaster of the INA and as the most active musician of Independence’s formative years and lastly as the Bandmaster of PAC (Provincial Armed Constabulary), Lucknow. Gorkha Historian Jyoti Thapa Mani says, ‘During his lifetime, ex 2/1 Gorkha Rifles, later INA Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri was denied national recognition for his musical contribution to Indian history. While his music stirred India to national pride, he remained an unsung hero until his demise in 2002. While India sang and played Kadam Kadam Badaye Jaye everywhere including at The Beating of the Retreat on the evening of Republic Day, the composer remain unacknowledged. His letters and pleas remained unanswered causing much anguish to a man whose passion for India was a lifelong obsession, the motivation for his sterling and eternal patriotic music.’

‘The gauntlet for his quest for recognition was picked up the Indian Gorkha community soon after his death. We strove to spread awareness of this great Gorkha. On 15 August 2006, the Capt. Ram Singh Thakur Memorial Football Tournament was inaugurated in Dharamshala, the day being his birthday and Independence Day. Efforts of all from the local Gorkha and Gaddi community laid the foundation of a highly anticipated annual event under Retd. Capt Bhagwan Singh Gurung, the President of the Memorial Association. From 15 to 25 April 2010, Dharamshala’s Kangra Museum of Art held the first ever Exhibition on the History and Culture of Himachal Gorkhas, Language and Culture Department, Himachal Pradesh. A resounding success, the exhibition received top media coverage, visited by members of the Government and most of all, Indian Gorkhas from Darjeeling Hills and Dehradun. Panels displaying INA Capt. Ram Singh Thakur received attention and created an unprecedented awareness all over. The Gorkha people of Sukna, Darjeeling Hills erected his statue of him with the road named after him. In 2017, at Khaniara village Dharamshala from where Ram Singh hailed, the government named a senior school, road and Bhavan in his name.’ says Jyoti Thapa Mani author of ‘The Khukri Braves – the illustrated history of the Gorkhas’.

After about twelve years of efforts Gorkhas of the nation were in a position to claim his long overdue national recognition in the field of music. With research and compilation for the nomination conducted by Gorkha History writer Jyoti Thapa Mani, the initiative was undertaken by Shri Ravinder Rana, President of the Himachal Punjab Gorkha Association, and Gorkha community including Capt. Bhagwan Singh Gurung, Shri Naveen Gurung, Shri Anil Gurung, Shivraj Thapa of Khaniara Village, Dharamshala.  Things come together at when the time is right, here are the awards and recognition Captain Thakuri George VI Medal 1937, Netaji Gold Medal (Azad Hind) 1943, 1st Governor Gold Medal, 1956, President Police Medal 1972. UP Sangeet Natak Academy (UP Music and Drama Academy) Award 1979, Sikkim Government Mitrasen Award 1993, The First Azad Hind Fauz Award by West Bengal government in 1996.

In 1945 the British had declared Capt. Ram Singh’s composition “Kadam Kadam badeya jaye” as seditious, and banned its recording at the British Gramophone Company in Kolkata. Two weeks after Independence, on 29 August 1947 the ban was lifted. In 1948 Capt. Ram Singh was appointed as DSP with the Provincial Arms Constabulary (PAC) band of Uttar Pradesh Police. On retirement in 1974, he was awarded the title of ‘Emeritus Musician’ and lifetime service, Govt. of UP. On 27th  May 1971,Teen Murti Bhawan in New Delhi, Ms Padmaja Naidu, Governor of West Bengal invited Capt. Ram Singh with his musicians for an evening of patriotic songs on the death anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. For the Morning Prayer, Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri played his composition “jalta hoon aur hasaan karta hoon” to the sacred ‘eternal diya/flame’. In the evening Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri  played the two eternal tunes of “Kadam Kadam” and “Shubh Sukh Chaina ke Barkha barse” along with the INA officers, All India Radio singers and National Drama Division. On 7 July 1981 at Ceremonial installation of Netaji’s Chair at Red Fort, New Delhi Capt. Ram Singh played the eternal two tunes on his violin on this occasion.

The Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP), Himachal Pradesh state unit paid shradhanjali to the legend on Monday at his native  ancestral residence at Khaniyara Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh with his cousins, immediate and extended family members. Captain Ram Singh Thakuri breath his last on 15th April 2002 at his Mahanagar residence at the age of 87 peacefully and was cremated at Bhaisakund, Uttar Pradesh, India with full state honours though no one from the state or union government were present barring a few senior police officers and families of freedom fighters.  A few days later the then governor of Uttar Pradesh expressed profound grief and over the death of the veteran freedom fighter and composer of official tune of India’s national anthem. A man who deserved at par recognition with Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore who composed the lyrics Jana Gana Mana is yet to get his due, though is music is played in every government and official ceremonies. When will the government give due to the son of the soil is the question of the nation and why not on or before his 110th birth anniversary since we didn’t recognize and reward him on his 20th death anniversary on 15th April 2022.

Organised by the influential All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) and the Padumpathar Agro Organic Producers Company Limited (PAOPCL) a farmers producers company in association with the Upper Assam Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh (BGP). The Indian national flag was hoisted by Sanjit Biswakarma president of AAGSU Sarupani Simanta and paying floral tribute to the martyrs began with Kumar Limboo, president AAGSU Doyang Sarupani Simanta Co-ordination Committee. Chairman Anjal Limboo and Directors of PAOPCL were in attendance along with BGP’s Upper Assam Sr. Vice President Bhakta Limboo along with leaders of Assam Gorkha Sammelan and Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha (ANSS). Representatives of all the units were present where besides the freedom struggle movement and achieving of Independence, guests spoke about unsung heroes ‘Piyoli Phukan’ known to be first martyr hanged by British and ‘Kushal Konwar’ last freedom fighter hanged by British India who was a resident of Sarupathar of Golaghat district 21 kilometers from Padampathar venue of celebration of Independence day. Co-ordination Committee president Kumar Limboo informed the gathering in his speech that besides 76th Independence day it was the 108th Birth Anniversary a legend ‘Singing Soldier’ of Azad Hind Fauj Late Ram Singh Thakuri who composed tune of India national anthem. Like in the rest of nation, we will pay tribute to the unsung and forgotten hero of the country Late Ram Singh Thakuri who passed away in 2002. Documented history of Captain Ram Singh Thakuri complied by author of ‘Khukri Braves – an illustrated history of Gorkhas’ and circulated by the BGP was orated by Anil Limbu, working president of Golgahat district Limboo Mahasabha, Assam and founder president of Sarupani Simanta Gorkha Students’ Union.

( Its a feature article with an event storyline on 'Sangeet Ratna' Late Capt. Ram Singh Thakuri compiled on the 108th Birth Anniversary INA’s ‘Singing Soldier’ who composed the tune of India’s National Anthem Jana Gana Mana, whom the nation is due to recognize at a time when the country celebrated Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav that is 75 years of Indias Independence. Written and compiled by international ward winning community journalist Nanda Kirati Dewan based out of Guwahati Assam and can be reached at +918254023456 and nanda.dewan88@gmail.com quoting published work of Gorkha historian Ms. Jyoti Thapa Mani  )

Community Digital Media groups gets support from Assam Govt's Development Council

 Gorkha Development Council (GDC) distributed laptops to community journalists and meritorious BPL students 

Guwahati: Gorkha Development Council (GDC) a statutory body of the Government Assam created by the Assam Legislative Assembly under the Welfare of the Plain Tribes & Other Backward Castes Department on Thursday here in Guwahati distributed laptops to community journalists and BPL meritorious students who passed recently concluded HSLC and HS examination. GDC also gave away football kits to one hundred sports clubs of the state.

Talking to his correspondent about the distribution program Prem Tamang, chairman of Gorkha Development Council (GDC) said, 'GDC out from its 2020-2021 earmarked 40% procurement budget have distributed 70 laptops and football kits for 100 sports clubs of the state. Latest laptops with editing softwares will surely support our community digital media groups and journalists who have been serving with limited resources over the few years. Laptops for meritorious BPL students too  will of great use for their higher education.'

'Meritorious BPL students from all the districts on the recommendations of All Assam Gorkha Students Union (AAGSU), we have provide laptop to support their higher studies along with subject and state toppers', Tamang added. GDC also distributed football kits that includes boots, jersey, leg guard, footballs, goal keeper gloves, goal nets to 100 sporting clubs of the state. GDC is hopeful that such support will keep the youths of the club fit and healthy so that they can qualify to be a sportspersons or crack Agniveer interview. 

M K Rijal and Pukar Khanal, Editor and Bureau Chief of AG Web TV, Nanda Budhathoki and Rajat Bharadwaj Managing Editor and Editor in Chief of  NE Live 24, Milon Upadhyay of Gorkha Live, Krishna Raj Sangrowla of G News Today and Sanjib Dahal, Editor  of Gorkha Dhwani were the community journalist who recieved laptops for their respective community digital media houses. 'These digital media platforms have been frontliners in disseminating information of the community in public domain in our mother tongue Gorkha Bhasa and ourbstate language Assamese since the advent of digital media. One way they are progpgating and preserving our language which also the responsibility of the GDC so we decided to support those media platforms which are in active service for more than 2 years with digital media technologies begining with laptop and editing tools', said Ram Dahal, Deputy Chairman, GDC.

Bogiram Gorkha Bhandari, Gorkha Bhasa author speaking to his correspondent said, ' Distribution of laptops with editing tools to digital media houses is a welcome move but when will GDC support our mainstream community journalist who have been community's voice even before GDC was formed. GDC should honour journalist along with laptop who contributed to creation of GDC reporting about the Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) demand of AAGSU and GACDC when digital media hardly existed.'

On the issue of the funds from NEC being reduced Chetry said, 'It seems the amount sanctioned almost ₹ 2 Crore per year i.e 2010 to 2021-22, it may also  be said that it was so especially during the previous Congress govt in Assam since the Sarbananda Sonowal government didn't allocate any major funds for development councils created by Congress government in his tenure  The same amount has been reduced to ₹ 1 crore only by the BJP Govt in  2022-23 FY.'

Gorkha Development Council (GDC) was formed in 2010 under the Chief Ministership of Late Tarun Gogoi lead Congress government and is one of 33 community development councils of Assam. It has since 2010 given utilisation certificate of 23.95 crores of funds and North Eastern Council (NEC) has earmarked 1 crore find for 2022-23 session, a statement issued by Development of the North Eastern Region (DoNER) Minister G Kisan Reddy on the floor of the Parliament in written reply to the question of TMC Raja Sabha MP Shanta Chhetri. Meanwhile the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addressing the 27th Trinnenial General Confrence and 80th Foundation Day of Assam Gorkha Sammelan at Nikashi in Tamulpur BTR in May had announced that Goverment of Assam will grant one time financial grant of Rs.25 crores to the Gorkha Development Council (GDC).

Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) is the need for indigenous identity- AAGSU

99 students scoring above 90% and 33 Achievers honoured at the Conclave.

 AAGSU president Arjun Chetry and other dignitaries. 
Formation of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) is the constitutional need for the Gorkhas for indigenous identity and equality in Assam. This was stated by the Assam's influential apex Gorkha students organisation  All Assam Gorkha Students' Union (AAGSU) president Arjun Chetry on the concluding day of two days 'Education and Felicitation Conclave' held at PWD Convention & Training Centre in Guwahati on Saturday.  99 students scoring above 90% in the recently results declared HSLC and HS examination were felicitated with a Jhaapi ( traditional Assamese head gear), Asomia phoolam gamosa with AAGSU logo printed on it, a citation and a memento. Atleast 33 Achievers too were felicitated and awarded from newly appointed ACS , APS and civil services officers to high ranking officials in civil and police administration after their recent promotion, Sahitya Akademi awardee, national and international awardee in their respective trades including new appointees and electees. 

'GAC is the basic demand of the Gorkhas of Assam and Government of Assam should form Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) in Assam on or before AAGSU's golden jubilee year 2026 and we are hopeful that GAC will be passed in the Assam Assembly before 2024 general elections', Arjun Chetry told this correspondent.

'Achieving demand in democracy is situational and number game. Since the BJP at the centre haven't met demands of creation of Gorkhaland in North Bengal and granting ST status ro 11 left out tribes of the Gorkha community in Sikkim and Darjeeling, i am sure BJP leadership and government will form the Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) in Assam for political edge over other parties among the Gorkhas of the nation in the ensuing general election 2024', Numal Chetry, general secretary AAGSU told mediapersons when asked about their belief that GAC will be formed by 2024.

Lochana Bastola who scored 499 out of 500 in CBSE Class X examination too was accorded 'Achievers Award' felicitation. Subject toppers of various Universities and various Boards too were felicitated today. Atleast 33 'Achievers Award' were presented today this includes Anjan Baskota - Youth Sahitya Akademi awardee for Literature, Babul Gurung, Ace Indian Swimming Coach for Sports, Krishna Bhujel newly elected President of Assam Gorkha Sammelan for Social Service, Prem Tamang, Chairman, Gorkha Development Council, Goverment of Assam for Public Administration, Nanda K Dewan, international award winning senior community journalist for Jouranalism along with newly appointed ACS, APS and civil services officers. Industrialist Ganesh Sharma and MD of Hotel Atithi Yuvaraj Sharma too were specially felicitated. OSD to Youth Affairs & Sports Minister Rajiv Thapa ACS, OSD to BTR Chief Executive Member Raju Dhakal, Political Secretary to CEM and Member of Council Legislative Assembly (MCLA) BTR Madhav Chandra Chetry delivered motivational speech on civil and applied services, corporate career and potentials in political career 

Addressing the achievers students industrialist and motivational speaker Yuvaraj Sharma emphasized on developing entrepreneurship skills for students who donot qualify in desired destination. 'Gorkhas are genetically hardworking being a Himalayan community but smart work is the need of the hour. We should make our fermented foods like gundruk, sinki, sikooti and delicacies commercial. Gorkha milkman should move to shutters from street and start branding their milk produces instead of selling loose to the customers. Our handloom is rich in colour and vibrant naturally should be made available in the market instead of borrowing from Darjeeling and Sikkim'.

History of Demand of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC).

The All Assam Gorkha Students' Union had resolved for an autonomous council  in lines of swaraj of the freedom struggle movement  for constitutional safeguards and political rights of Gorkhas in 1997 at the 20th Annual Session at the Boginadi Higher Secondary School from 18th to 20th April 1997 in North Lakhimpur under the presidentship of Harka Bahadur Chetry. The annual session had resolved to build AAGSU as cadre based organisation, set up district offices and organisational expansion, financial plans for cadres to take forward issue of assertion of political and constitutional rights. This is understood to be first occasion that the Gorkhas dreamt of an autonomous council in lines of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council in Assam while  Harka Bahadur Chetry and Gopal Acharya were president and  gen secy of AAGSU, than it was known as AANSU (All Assam Nepali Students'Union). Since 2003 after AANSU was renamed to All Assam Gorkha Students' Union (AAGSU) shunning Nepali identity in Assam and the Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) too rechristened from Special Protected Class Demand Committee (SPCDC) which was formed as an independent political organisation in aegis AAGSU on 26th Dec 1999 on AAGSU's 22nd Foundation Day at Helem Gohpur in Biswanath with founder president of  AANSU Dr. Harka Bahadur Chetry (Senior) as Chairman and Ab Narayan Pathak as general secretary to meet the constitutional demand of an autonomous type arrangements as  Special Protected Class in Assam. In 2002 at the silver jubilee of All Assam Nepali Students' Union (AANSU) in Tezpur as per the resolution passed at Barpathar Golaghat conference in 1998.  With Bhaskar Dahal from Chirang as President abd Padmo Pradhan from Dibrugarh General Secretary of the All Assam Gorkha Students' Union, it  was unanimously resolved to be identified as Gorkha community in Assam instead of the Nepali which is not reciprocal at all inspite of opposition from Kishore Upadhyay who was made the president of AANSU for several years who was of the view that Nepalis donot want Autonomous Council in Assam. In 2003 the AANSU adopted the name All Assam Gorkha Students' Union. After 3 terms AANSU president Harka Bahadur Chetry took responsibility of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) and is still spearheading the Gorkha's indigenous identity movement. He had undertaken 650 kms Marathon March ( Long Foot March) from Murkungselek in Jonai of Dhemaji to Dispur in Guwahati in 19 days demanding Assamese identity and Indigenous status from government of Assam through gazetted notification. 

Krishna Bhujel, president of Assam Gorkha Sammelan declared unconditional support to the Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) movement as per their resolution at their 14th November 2021 in General Council meeting. Prakash Dahal president of Assam Unit of Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangh congratulated meritorious students and  wished them a bright academic and professional career. He also called for united movement from all the civil society, students, literary organisations with a common minimum agenda. OSD to BTR Chief Executive Member Raju Dhakal and Member of Council Legislative Assembly of BTR Madhav Chandra Chhetri too addressed the conclave.

Education Conclave & Career Choice

On the previous day career counseling and seminar was organised where Dr. Sammujal Bhattacharya, Chief Advisor, All Assam Students'Union (AASU) inaugurated and addressed the conclave as Chief Guest. The All Assam Students' Union apex influential students' union of Assam on Friday criticised the Government of Assam decision to  enforce learning Science and Maths for students vernacular and indigenous languages schools in English. In his addresses Dr. Sammujal Bhattacharya Chief Advisor AASU said, ' Scientific researches have proven that if a students learns science in his mother tongue, the student can understand better so the decision to force students to study science and mathematics in English is not at all scientific. The Goverment of Assam is going against the National Education Policy scheduled to be implemented across the nation by Government of India where it emphasizes on educating young students in mother tongue at tender age.'

'Instead of enforcing medium of instruction to the students it is important to ensure even a vernacular students is able to read write and speak English fluently and comfortably and vice-versa', asserted Dr. Bhattacharya. On the first day an educational awareness seminar was organised where Dr. Sanjib Upadhayay, HoD, Zoology Tyabir Hemchandra Baruah College spoke on National Education Policy 2020. A seminar on ' Career choice, Education and Social Responsibility'  was anchored by Tinku Powdel, Education Secretary AAGSU with experts and panelist. 

2 days Quiz fest 'Gyanouday-2.0' concluded in Tezpur

A two days Quiz fest 'Gyanouday 2.0'  was organised here at Darrang College auditorium in the cultural city of Assam Tezpur  on the occasion of 2nd anniversary of Tezpur Quiz Association. The Quiz fest saw a footfall of around 100 participants from all over the state that begun with the School Quiz - MINDSCAPE - conducted by Mr. Rajibul Awal. Darrang College secured 1st position in the quiz while Army Public School, Tezpur bagged both the 2nd and 3rd positions. This was followed by the written Sports Quiz - KHELKSHETRA - conducted by the duo of Manash Jyoti Baishya and Bikram Dwib Deka. Raktim Ranjan Baishya of Guwahati was adjudged the champion while Biswajit Sarma from Nalbari and Sayantan Saikia from Digboi were the 1st runners up and the 2nd runners up respectively. The last event for the day one was the Assam and NE quiz - ' Paharey Bhoyame Prosnor Laharey' by Sasanka Sarma and Sashwat Prayag Barua. Sayantan Saikia (Digboi) won the quiz playing all alone followed by the team of Raktim Ranjan Baishya and Biswajit Sarma (Nalbari) in the 2nd position and the team of Himangshu Kalita (Nalbari) and Jeet Saikia (Hawajan) in the 3rd position.

Inaugurating the quizfest as the Chief Guest Dr. Palashmoni Saikia, Principal, Darrang College said, "In recent times, Quizzing is a very useful medium for the exchange of ideas and knowledge. It has immense contribution in the journey of a student towards education. Hence I applaud the efforts of Tezpur Quiz Association for the advancement of quizzing in this region. May they continue their good work in the coming days with the same enthusiasm.' It was followed by a tree plantation in the college campus with Mr. Kaustav Mahanta, President, Tezpur Quiz Association assisted by Abhijit Sarma, executive member and creative graphic designer who designed the creatives of all the quiz segments that attracted the young quizzers mind.

The 2nd day of the fest begun with the MELA Quiz - Q Sera Sera - conducted by Mr. Bidyut Bikash Bailung and Sayan Mazumdar. After 5 rounds of quizzing, the team of Raktim Ranjan Baishya (Nalbari) and Biswajit Sarma (Nalbari) were adjudged winners while the team of Ashutosh Das (Guwahati) and Rajdeep Barman (Tezpur) got the runners up title. The 3rd position was won by the team of Bishwayan Bhattacharjee (Silchar) and Anmol Chandak (Tezpur). The last quiz of the fest was the flagship Open General Quiz - Asadharan - hosted by the reputed quizmaster of Tezpur, Dr. Palashmoni Saikia. Sayan Mazumdar (Tezpur) and Bishwayan Bhattacharjee (Silchar) won the the title with cash prize and was awarded the Late Dhireshwar Baishya Memorial Running Trophy (donated by Mr. Dilip Baishya in memory of his late father). The team of Rajibul Awal (Barpeta) and Sayantan Saikia (Digboi) got the 2nd position whereas Raktim Ranjan Baishya (Nalbari) and Biswajit Sarma (Nalbari) were the 3rd position holders. A total of 30k in cash prizes were distributed to the podium finishers in all the quizzes apart from certificates being awarded to all the finalists. The quizmasters for all the segment were also felicitated with a memento and a Fulam Gamusa as a token of appreciation.

Assam’s pineapple in-store export promotion show in Dubai 's largest 'Lulu Hyper Market'

Assam ranks second in pineapple production in the country with a production of 338.98 MT (2020-21).

 


Nanda Kirati Dewan

Guwahati (Assam) July 23 : In a major boost towards harnessing export potential of naturally grown fresh pineapples of North-Eastern (NE) states, APEDA today organized an in-store export promotion programme in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote Assam’s pineapples, which is considered as sweetest in the world, among consumers for wider acceptance in the Gulf countries.

The ‘in-store promotion show’ of pineapples from Assam, which was organized in association with Dubai’s largest supermarket group Lulu Group, is the part of APEDA’s strategy to promote locally produced agricultural products to the international markets.

Talking to The Citizens Radio, Sunita Rai, Asstt General Manager and Regional Head, APEDA North East Region said, 'Organic certified pineapples are directly sourced from the farmers of Assam and showcased at the Lulu hyper market in Dubai with the assistance from APEDA. The showcased pineapples are procured from Hmarkhawlien village under Lakhipur sub-division in Cachar district, Assam. At the in-store export promotion show, consumers were offered Assam pineapple to taste the sweetness of the fruit.'

Speaking on the occasion, APEDA chairman Dr. M. Angamuthu IAS stressed on promoting processed form of value-added pineapple from north-eastern states to sustain in the global export market for a longer time period. "We need to focus on promoting pineapple sourced from farmers in processed form in the Gulf countries in collaboration with private entities including Lulu Group. It will help farmers in better price realization of their produce,” Angamuthu said, adding that 10-15 aggregators should be identified for expediting hassle-free export from North Eastern states.

The NE region is geopolitically important as it shares international boundaries with China and Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh making the NER a potential hub for the export of agricultural produce to neighbouring countries as well as other foreign destinations.

Notably, Assam’s pineapple is one of the most important tropical fruits grown in the Northeastern Region (NER) and the fibre-rich fruit is cultivated in almost all the region.With a production of 338.98 Metric Tonne in 2020-21, Assam ranks second in pineapple production having a share of 18.75 per cent in total production in India. The top ten importing countries of Indian pineapples are UAE, Nepal, Qatar, Maldives, USA, Bhutan, Belgium, Iran, Bahrain and Oman. A quantity of 7665.42 MT of pineapples valued at USD 4.45 million was exported in the year 2021-22.

Prior to Assam making a debut in pineapple export to Dubai in 2019, Tripura was the first North Eastern state to export its ‘queen’ variety of pineapple to Dubai and Doha in 2018. Tripura’s pineapple was also exported to Bangladesh in 2020. With the intervention of APEDA, there has been a significant increase in the export of agricultural produce from NE states like Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Meghalaya in the last few years.

The NE region witnessed an 85.34 percent growth in the export of agricultural products in the last six years as it increased from USD 2.52 million in 2016-17 to USD 17.2 million in 2021-22. The major destination of export has been Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Middle East, the UK and Europe. In the last three years, APEDA organised 136 capacity building programmes on export awareness across the different parts of NER. Highest, 62 capacity building programmes were held in NER in 2019-20, while 21 in 2020-21 and 53 such programmes were organised by APEDA in the year 2021-22. Apart from capacity building initiatives, APEDA facilitated 22 International Buyer-Seller Meets as well as trade fairs in NER in the last three years.


APEDA also organized a conference on the Export Potential of Natural, Organic and Geographical Indications (GI) Agro Products in Guwahati on June 24, 2022 to tap the abundant export potential of organic agricultural products from Assam and neighbouring states of NER. APEDA aims at creating a platform in Assam for the exporters to get the products directly from the producer group and the processors. The platform will link the producers and processors of Assam and exporters from other parts of the country that would expand the base of the export pockets in the North-Eastern states, including Assam and increase the employment opportunities among the people of the state.

Obtaining Caste Certificates eased under Mission Bhoomiputra

Gorkhas OBCs, ST, SC are Indigenous so Caste Certificates to be issued without questioning citizenship. -Assam CM

Guwahati July 20 : OBCs, STs, SCs including Gorkhas should not be questioned about nationality while issuing Caste Certificates since these communities are Indigenous to Assam. This was stated by Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam at a goverment function for inauguration of 25 MW Solar power plant at Lalpul in Udalguri BTR on Tuesday. CM Sarma was explaining the gathering about Mission Bhoomiputra which will enable OBC, ST and SC students to get caste certificates at their respective schools. CM also responded to the story carried by us where Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committe (GACDC) chairperson Harka Bahadur Chetry had demanded Indigenous status for Gorkha community. Chetry citing anthropological studies had claimed  from a HSLC / HSSLC successful students felicitation program from Merapani in Golaghat that Gorkhas are Himalayan aboriginal community so Government of Assam should recognise Gorkhas as Indigenous community. 

'I have been recieving complaints that the DCs seek NRC documents and question Gorkhas nationality while issuing OBC certificate. This should immediately stop. Gorkhas are Indian, there shouldn't be any doubt and district administration shouldn't harras, CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said while taking about ease of process of issuing caste certificates under Mission Bhoomiputra which will start from Aug 1.

'STs, SCs and OBCs are indigenous to Assam so they should be issued caste certificate without any questions on nationality. From 1st Aug 2022 District Administration should issue Caste Certificates to the students of classes viii to xii at their respective schools. From next year Government of Assam will give Caste Certificates to the students as they reach Class viii as a gift from the government.' CM added.

Office bearer of Assam Tribal Sangha on anonymity told this correspondent that Mission Bhoomiputra might give rise to lots of fake ST certificate holder  and it will be similar for SC, OBC and MOBC. Government of Assam should develop a mechanism to check issue of orginal Caste Certificate to bonafide candidate only. He also suggested to seek caste certificates of both parents even if the candidate or the students apply for caste certificates online and it should be properly verified. Assam Tribal Sangha is skeptic about the cabinet decision's implementation without flaws. All Assam OBC and MOBC Association have expressed satisfaction over the matter however said that the respective community's approved nodal organisation recommendation to be enclosed with either of the parents caste certificates. Meanwhile GACDC's Chetry appealed government to issue notification on the matter and instruct all district administration to comply from Aug 1. 

'Similar verbal assurances from the Chief Minister on on earlier on earlier occasions too were turned down at goverment offices. Even after verbal communication from the CM while applying Caste Certificates, Permanent Resident Certificate for education purpose, the district and subdivisional administration seeks 1951 NRC, names of ancestors enrolled prior 1971 or names in present NRC', Harka Bahadur Chetry lamented and requested CM to issue gazzette notification that Gorkhas are Indigenous community of Assam.  SC organisation of Assam were not available for comments at the time of filing this report

Mission Bhoomiputra Assam 2022 is a mission mode scheme taken by Assam Government to issue caste certificate to all the individuals and students of Assam belong to SC, ST, OBC and MOBC caste in simplified manner. The features or highlights of Mission Bhumiputra Assam 2022 are single application form for all castes, Digital Caste Certificate, Storage in Digi Locker, Transparency of Caste Certificate, Special drive to issue caste certificate to students of class viii to xii this year by DC. To ensure uniformity and making the procedure of applying for caste certificate in Assam easy, Mission Bhoomiputra Assam will have single application form and the application form will be same irrespective of caste.

Gorkhas are Aboriginal Himalayan Community : Harka Bahadur Chetry

GACDC demands Aboriginal status and creation of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) to establish indigenous identity.

GACDC Chairman 'Marathon March' man Harka Bahadur Chetry
Nanda K Dewan

Communities of Himalayan Mountain range as per studies are aborigines of the region. Gorkhas being a Himalayan community today claimed to be aboriginal community in Assam being a conglomerate of Khas and Kirats. Speaking as the Keynote Speaker at '208th Bhanu Jayanti and Bishesh Abhinandan Samaroh' Harka Bahadur Chetry, chairman of the Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) said, 'Himalayan communities are evolution of Sivapithecus or Ramapithecus,  stages of evolution of Homo Erectus which later lead to formation of Homo Sapiens - today's human'.

Ramapithecus, fossil primate dating from the Middle and Late Miocene epochs (about 16.6 million to 5.3 million years ago). For a time in the 1960s and ’70s, Ramapithecus was thought to be a distinct genus that was the first direct ancestor of modern humans (Homo sapiens) through Homo erectus before it became regarded as that of the orangutan ancestor Sivapithecus.

Bisesh Abhinandan Sabha in progress along with 208th Bhanu Jayanti
Explaining the above matter Chetry further added, 'Himalayan communities like Mikir (Karbis), all the Naga tribes,  Mizos (Lushai), Lalungs (Tiwa) , Miri ( Mishings), Mompa, Apatani, Gorkhas ( conglomerate of Khas and Kirats) and others are descendents of Homo Erectus. The Khas Kirat communities of the Himalyan mountain range are the aborigines and direct descendents Ramapithecus or Sivapithecus found in anthropological studies.' Harka Bahadur Chhetri is a lifelong student of Anthropology, gold medalist in the subject from Dibrugarh University. He is the founder president of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) who had undertaken almost 650 kms Foot March ( Marathon March on Foot) from Murkungselek  Jonai in Dhemaji district to Dispur in Guwahati demanding Assamese identity and Indigenous status for Gorkhas after the community faced discrimination in the of Original Inhabitants (OI) status during NRC process.

Welcoming decision to award indigenous status to 5 Assamese Muslim communities Chetry said, 'Gorkhas are no less indigenous than any other communities in Assam so the Government of Assam should immediately declare Gorkhas as indigenous community of Assam without any delay. Government should also address the 2 decade long demand of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) and create it soon'. 

GAC Demand Committe  Chetry chairman said that the 'Raithaney Sangram' (Indigenous Movement) bilateral talks with the Government of Assam is kept on hold from the government end and we will push democratically now again since Gorkhas have again been ignored. Harka Bahadur Chetry dissected Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's proclaimed historic speech at the Open Session of the 27th Trinnenial General  Conference of Assam Gorkha Sammelan where in CM tried many a times tried to dilute Gorkha community's Indian national identity calling the community Nepali which is largely understood as nationality of neighbouring independent sovereign country Nepal. He stressed on Indigenous Identity for Gorkhas and creation of Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC).

Organised by Doyang  Sarupani Simanta Co-ordination Committee of All Assam Gorkha Students' Union at Bhanu Bhawan, Kachomari under Merapani PS in Golaghat district the Bisesh Abhinandan Sabha witnessed giving away of 'Golaghat Gorkha Gaurav 2022' and felicitation of 132 meritorious HSLC and HSSLC passed students with a Thaka shawl and citation. The session was presided by the union president Kumar Limboo and anchored by general secretary Monoj Newar which was inaugurated by its chief advisor Prem Newar. The meeting unanimously resolved to observe 14 December as GAC Martyrs Day, the day Birbol Limboo of Golaghat made supreme sacrifice participating at the Gorkha Autonomous Council (GAC) movement and is known to be the first martyr. Former president AAGSU and senior vice president GACDC Dil Bahadur Limboo too addressed the felicitated students. GACDC executive member Dambar Rai,  Joy Bahadur Limbu president of Dhansiri Private School Association and Bhim Rai, vice president GACDC too were present as guests. Chief Guest Padmashree Lil Bahadur Chhetri addressed the meeting virtually though voice message. He spoke about Life and Learning which according to him is a never ending process, hunger for knowledge will pave the path for success. He wished the meritorious students for becoming better human beings. The organisers Doyang Sarupani Simanta Co-ordination Committee AAGSU conferred him 'Shresth Sahitya Sewa Samman 2022' for his life long contribution to literature and education for which the Government of India conferred upon the 4th highest civilian award Padmashree in 2019. 

In the morning the AAGSU flag was hoisted by president Kumar Limboo followed by homage to the martyr by gen secy Manoj Newar. Literary competitions of various age group saw huge participation and prizes were given away in the evening. The open session that began at 12 noon ended at 7pm. Before the open session a career interactive session was held with speakers of various fields with all the students present for the felicitation event.

88th 'Krantikari Kavi' Hari Bhakta Katuwal Jayanti observed in Cotton University, Guwahati

 

~ Nanda K Dewan

88th birth anniversary of 'Krantikari Kavi' Hari Bhakta Katuwal was observed at the prestigious Cotton University in Guwahati on Saturday.

'Krantikari Kavi' Hari Bhakta Katuwal, one of the brightest gems in the history of Gorkha Bhasa literature was born on July 2, 1935 in a small village called Bogibeel in  Dibrugarh, Assam. He read and wrote poems in Gorkha Bhasa, English, Hindi and Assamese. Hari Bhakta Katuwal received his formal early education in an Assamese medium school and as a result Assamese poetry had a deep influence on him but the fact that he was also the loudest voice in the realm of Gorkha Bhasa poetry during the 60s and 70s from the northeast region is not an exaggeration. It was in Digboi during the late 50s when Katuwal was teaching in A.O.C. Nepali M.E. School that he attained a new glory in the spheres of Nepali literature and culture. This was a period of literary and cultural renaissance in Digboi as there started the circulation of reputed Nepali journals and newspapers from literary hotspots of the time like Darjeeling, Banaras, Dehradoon and Kathmandu. In fact the then literary works and writers from Darjeeling inspired him a lot.

'Cottonian Gorkha Unit organised the birth anniversary of poet, philosopher, writer, composer and lyricist Hari Bhakta Katuwal  at AGRC Hall, Cotton University in Guwahati on Saturday 2nd July 2022 where Dr. Dr. Khagen Sarmah, Assistant Professor, Department of MIL and Literary Studies, Gauhati University attended as Chief Guest.' said Shiksha Basnet, General Secretary of Cottonian Gorkha Unit.

It is for the first time such an intellectual interactive session was organised in Cotton   University. The students of Post Graduate Diploma in Nepali language along with students of various department also attended the event which was anchored by Milan Bhattarai. Dr. Srijana Sharma, Assistant Professor, Centre for Language Culture & Art (CLCA), Cotton University and Dhakaram Kafley, Guest faculty of Nepali language at CLCA Cotton University attended as Guests. Speaking at the event Dr. Khagen Sarmah emphasized on recognizing Katuwal with a 'Title' by the Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha (ANSS)- the only literary body of Gorkhas in Assam. He also felt that atleast thirty of the best of his poems and lyrics should be translated into other languages and compile a book of his Patriotic Poems and lyrics that caused revolution that's why youth called him Krantikari Kavi. He requested Cotton University students the epicenter of students and youths empowerment to initiate this movement. 

'Yo Desh ko Mato ley Bhancha

Yo Desh ko Dhoonga ley Bhancha

Haamro pani Raati Ragat yehi bogeko cha

Haamro pani Taato pasins yehai Khaseko cha' is the most read, recited and heard poem by the Krantikari Kavi.

Elaborating this ita Devi Dewan an advocate in Golaghat who recently wrote about Hari Bhakta Katuwal said, 'This patriotic poem is one of the cause of Gorkha renaissance in Assam. It's a poem filled with patriotism with a message of supreme sacrifice at any time for the nation where he sweat and blood.'  Katuwal's life was influenced due to his friendship with Bhupen Hazarika since they were born and brought up in Eastern Assam . Some author has shared anecdotes between them that they were friends as cattle rearers and  learning to consume home made beverages.

 'I was interested to explore 'Krantikari Kavi' for his relations with Jajabor Bahrat Ratna Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. It is widely believed and accepted that it was Hari Bhakta Katuwal who had crowned Bhupen Hazarika with the Gorkhali Bhadgawley Topi (particular cap worn by Bhupen Hazarika ) and it remained with the legend maestro till his death and still kept at Bhupendra Sangrahalay in Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra and jajabor's Jalukbari museum. This made me write an extensive article on Hari Bhakta Katuwal with his life sketch and work.'

Katuwal wrote his poems with great revolutionary zeal and the subject matter largely revolved around patriotism, sacrifice of the Gorkhas in nation building, cause and sufferings of the Gorkhas, Racial consciousness, nationalism, rights needed to be asserted for the safeguarding of the Gorkhas and so on. He was awarded by the Royal Academy for his poem 'AKASHKA TARA KE TARA'. It was in the year 1973 that he came out with what his now dim literary prowess still finds a flame of reassurance - his collection of poems, 'YO JINDAGI KHAI KE JINDAGI'. It is one of his most significant works and a landmark contribution in the history of Nepali literature. 

Mean while the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh observed 88th birth anniversary of the great poet philosopher song writer, lyricist and composer Hari Bhakta Katuwal virtually and adopted a resolution to second the proposal to award pen name 'Krantikari Kavi'. Former chief spokesperson of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) and author of the book 'Haami Gorkha - Haami Bharatiya' Late Purna Chetri had proposed the title 'Krantikari Kavi' at Katuwal janma jayanti held at Gorkha Thakurbari AAGSU office premises in Guwahati organised  by the Guwahati City Gorkha Students Union in last decade. Since than youths and students of Assam use pen name ' Krantikari Kavi' Hari Bhakta Katuwal. 

Kabita Katuwal elder daughter of Late Hari Bhakta Katuwal expressed hapiness to see her father being given 'Krantikari Kavi' pen name or title by Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh that was proposed almost a decade ago. ' My father Hari Bhakta Katuwal was keen interest in painting is also discernible in the poet. His paintings were highly admired by the people. He was unequivocally a great poet but he was a lyricist of equal merit. His ''Malai Nasodha Kahaan Dukcha Ghaaw'' and  ''Pokhiyera Ghaamka Jhulka Bhari Sangharaima'' are still the favourites among the youths of 21st century. he great poet spent even his last days (late 70s) in forging something new for  Nepali literature. In its aim of attacking the varied ills of society and the blows and counterblows of life , his poetry has touched the reader's pain. Thus, his poetry has become the poetry of a common man.', added Kavita Katuwal.

Similar events were held across Assam at Rongbong and Kohra in Golaghat, Margherita in Tunsukia by Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha (ANSS) and at Rowta in Udalguri, Tezpur in Sonitpur by AAGSU on Saturday and Sunday. 

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking observed in Biswanath College


Biswanath College observed 'International day against Drug Abuse and Illicit trafficking' under the aegis of the Internal Quality Accessment Cell (IQAC), Biswanath College in collaboration with Biswanath District Police on Sunday . The awareness event was attended by  Superintendent of Police Nabin Singh and senior police officers of  of Biswanath district apart from the  teachers, students, staffs of Biswanath College and media persons. Dr Chinta Mani Sharma, Principal, Biswanath College who chaired the meeting welcomed the guests and deliberated on the menace of drugs and asked the students to keep away from drugs. Mr Nabin Singh, Superintendent of Police, Biswanath district also welcomed the audience and elaborated on  the disastrous effect of drug abuse  and illicit trafficking and urged the gathering to say no to drugs and to create awareness among the community members about the  menace of drug. Mr Singh  also read out  the pledge for the day  to the audience. He said that the present govt has shown zero tolerance towards drug abuse and illicit trafficking. Dr Bikram Sutradhar, Senior Resident of Psychiatry of Lokpriyo Gopinath Bordoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health (LGBRIMH) graced the occasion as a Resource Person. Through power point presentation Dr Sutradhar spoke on various aspects of drugs, its effect on human body and mind, various preventive and protective measures as well as treatments available for the drug addicts. He further interacted with students, teachers and other persons and quenched the queries. Ms Rituparna Dhar, another Resource Person from LGBRIMH also  dealt at length about the nature and affects of drugs, preventive measures, mental health of the addicts and  the curative measures available. 

It is worth mentioning that Biswanath College has signed MoU with Lokpriya Gopinath Bardoloi Regional Institute of Mental Health(LGBRIMH) with an aim to provide emotional counseling, psychological counseling to keep students away from stress and mental anxiety and to foster an anxiety free environment for the students. Mr Kulendra Nath Deka, Additional Superintendent of Police conducted the interaction session with the gathering and especially interacted with two former drug addicts and some students. Two former  drug addicts who now run Rehabilitation centres for  curing  the drug addicts shared  their experiences with the audience and asserted that drug addicts could be brought back to the mainstream through proper counselling and guidance. Mr  Jayanta Baruah, DSP, Biswanath Head Quarter also spoke on occasion to make the awareness programme successful. Dr Naresh Thakur, Coordinator, IQAC, Biswanath College compered the programme with  active support from Dr Debashis Sarmah, Dr Lalit Baruah, both Asstt Professors of Physics and Dr Rinku Moni Kalita, Asstt Professor of Botany.

Meanwhile  Biswanath College, the premier institution of Northern Assam has joined hands with Kaziranga University, Jorhat  in order to develop academic and educational cooperation on the basis of equity and reciprocacy.

Dr A. Sriharikrishna, Registrar of Kaziranga University and Dr Chinta Mani  Sharma,Principal of Biswanath College signed MoU last week  in Biswanath College in the presence of Dr Abhishek Sinha,Professor of Kaziranga University, Dr Naresh Thakur, Coordinator,

IQAC and Ms Deepjyoti Nath, President,IIC of Biswanath College. It is stated that both of the institutions will emphasise on extension of students' learning opportunities, faculty development programme to cover areas such as technical education policy, new concepts, methods and techniques, motivation, communication skills,skill based training,education and placement for students,exchange of sports and cultural activities,cooperation in research besides exchange of academic materials,  publications and other scientific information.

Mukesh Ambani, Son Donate ₹25 Crore For Flood Relief In Assam


Coming forward to help the flood-affected people of Assam, Industrialist Mukesh Ambani and his son Anant Ambani have donated ₹25 Crore to the Chief Minister's Relief Fund. This was informed by the Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma on Twitter.

"My deepest gratitude to Shri Mukesh Ambani & Shri Anant Ambani for standing with the people of Assam at this crucial juncture by donating Rs 25 cr to CM Relief Fund. We appreciate this kind gesture. This will go a long way in augmenting our flood relief measures," tweeted Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma on June 24.

Swimming is a ‘Head to Toe exercise’ and Motion Meditation – Babul Gurung

Babul Gurung holds ‘Assam Book of Records’ of being the youngest athlete to have swum across mighty Brahmaputra at age of 11 in 1991. On March 30, 2022 along with his 9 year old student Kasturi Gogoi, they swam through the Indian ocean from Colombo in Srilanka to Chennai in India in 19 hours. On ‘International Day of Yoga’ Gurung with his 12 year old student Kuldeep Saika performed ‘Water Yoga’ for 30 hours that is now claimed being sent to ‘Guiness Book of World Records’ 

~ Nanda K Dewan

International Yoga Day 2022 was celebrated in a very unique way by Assam Swimming team coach Babul Gurung and his student Kuldeep Saikia. Both did yoga without stopping for 30 hours in water. Babul Gurung, 42, is the swimming coach at Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati and Kuldeep Saikia, 12, is a swimmer. They started their yog asanas at 10 am on 20th June and continued till 4 pm on 21st June. The coach and student performed this record breaking yoga session at Dr. Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, Sarusajai Sports Complex, Guwahati. Gurung and Saikia achieved this feat in front of a team of observers from the ‘Assam Book of Records’ and in presence of  ‘Asia Book of Records’, ‘Limca Book of Records’ and ‘Universal Book of Records’ representatives and all the above record books have booked the record. Under his training at Sarusajai Sports Complex many swimmers won several national medals and registered records at the All India National Records since 2011 to 2021. In the year 2017 Jahnabi Kashyap created 3 All India National Records and received the Best Swimmer Award in National Aquatic Championship India, in 2019 Sri-Manash Pratim Baishya got Best Swimmer in Junior Category National Swimming Championship.  Ms. Kasturi Gogoi won Silver Medal in National Sea Swimming Competition, 2022, held at Porbandar, Gujarat. Babul Gurung and his  9 years old student Kasturi Gogoi made a world record by swimming 110 kilometres from Colombo to Chennai in just 19 hours. On 29 March they started to swim from Munar Island of Colombo in Sri Lanka during the evening hours and 30 March, the student-teacher duo from Assam reached the Indian shores near Archul Mulai in Tamil Nadu's capital city Chennai by swimming across the Indian Ocean.

The first ‘National Open Water Sea Swimming’ gold medalist from Assam and 5 times National Gold Medalist in Swimming Competition (1989, 91 ,92 ,93 ,1995) spoke exclusively to senior community journalist Nanda K Dewan in Guwahati, Assam. Here are the excerpts

NKD - Congratulations Mr. Babul Gurung on your successful 30 hours yoga on the occasion of ‘International Day of Yoga’. Tell us, how the idea of yoga in water came to your mind.

BG - Thank you. Yoga is a powerful meditation. Any sportsperson practices yoga as a part of their meditation to focus on the game and derive energy.  An aquatic sportsperson too practices Yoga and being swimmer obviously in swimming pools too, we practice Yoga. That’s how idea of ‘Water Yoga’ came in my mind without any backend research. Since 8 years now Yoga is a global phenomenon and it is India’s contribution to global health and fitness not just athletes and sportsperson.  Glad to inform you that our record have been sent to ‘Guiness Book of World Record’ after ‘Asia Book of Records’, ‘Limca Book of Records’ and ‘Universal Book of Records’ confirmed and booked the records respectively. 

NKD – What made you choose 30 hours timeline and please tell me about your preparation preparation?

BG - I have been practicing Water Yoga for hours while in the swimming pool since a long time now.  I am the youngest swimmer in Assam Book & Bengal Book of Record having swum across the Brahmaputra in 1991 so I wanted to hold longest Water Yoga with my 12 years old student Kuldeep Saikia who is a potential athlete. Even when I swam from Colombo in Sri Lanka to Chennai in India through the Indian Ocean, I did it with my 9 years old student Kasturi Gogoi. I checked the records of normal yoga it was nearly 60 hours by an Indian which made me feel proud and I thought of attempting half of it on water and longest water yoga was less than 2 hours only. 

We planned it on ‘International Day of Yoga’ being inspired by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to make our feat global so we started preparation from October 2021.  Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma had extended administrative support and directed Directorate of Youth Affairs and Sports for supporting our national and international feats as and when we attempt. Former Chief Minister and Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal too supported us and they inspired us to achieve higher goal and place our names of our nation in the world map.  

From 1st Jan 2022 we practiced daily for hours and department made venue available for us as per convenience. In the begin it began few minutes than half an hour, after dedicated practice we could achieve range of 4-6 hours in two weeks which became 15 hours in a month time. In the 3rd month we achieved 30 hours for the first time which we repeated it three times till May end. In June we repeated 30 hours just once and than started to reverse decreasing 2 hours every day. After each 30 hours feat we underwent full medical checkup ascertain our health condition, not even a single occasion it was worrying for us since we practiced scientifically. We maintained a balanced diet and practiced in optimum to extreme water temperature. It was six months of motivation, dedication, will power and scientific skilled stamina to keep floating on the water without swimming or movement for more than a day and night. 

NKD – What were the challenges?

BG- The best swimmers are the ones that almost don’t try the most. It’s just about relaxing and enjoying it. We thoroughly enjoyed it. The water is our friend. We don’t have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help us. Water temperature was a factor since the weather was rainy and wet but we had practiced in winter in January so that was not a big challenge. Luckily we got bright sun on 20th and 21st June so the water temperature was optimum. 

I consider swimming a Yoga form and for me ‘Swimming is a ‘Head to Toe exercise’ and Motion Meditation’.  I concentrate on preparing to swim my race and achieve feat and let the others think about me, not me about them

NKD- Sports is a learning curve, what does swimming teach us?

BG- The most important lesson I’ve learned from swimming sports is how to be not only a gracious winner but a good loser as well. Not everyone wins all the time, as a matter of fact; no one wins all the time. Winning is the easy part, losing is really tough. But, you learn more from one loss than you do from a million wins. You learn a lot about sportsmanship. “I’ve swum for my state, I’ve swum for my coaches and my association and my teams. I believe in myself, not only in swimming but in life itself. I always have to have fun while swimming. Most of the time I have an open mind to embrace opportunities and welcome ideas. 

As I said it is a ‘Head to Toe’ exercise, a swimmer remains healthy and fit and for professional sportsperson opportunities for podium finish and increase medal tally.   

NKD – Tell us more about your achievements during your journey to becoming Head Coach of Assam Swimming team?

BG- I am born and brought up in Assam and swam across Brahmaputra at the age of 11 years in 1991. Since we grew up on the bank of river Brahmaputra we are natural swimmers. Being a ‘son of the soil’ a Gorkha naturally my family wanted me to be an Indian Army or CAPF so fitness was always top priority. Didn’t took up swimming by choice, it came naturally to me. My coaches and Sports Authority of India (SAI) are instrumental in my career. Assam Swimming Association has been kind enough to extend all possible support since I started swimming. Other than what you mentioned in your opening remarks, I have represented Indian SAARC team as a coach in Kathmandu, Nepal 2014. I also participated as a coach of Assam Team in the 35th National Games in Kerala (2015) and represented India as a Technical Official in the 12th South Asian Games 2016 in Guwahati. I was the Chief Judge in 3rd Khelo India Youth Games and Best Coach of 2019. Since last 15 yrs I am being given the responsibility of Head Coach of the Assam State Team and we produced national gold medalist swimmers like Shivangi Sharma, Manash Pratim Sharma, Jhanabi Kashyap. I myself won Gold Medal in National Sea Swimming Competition, 2022, at Porbandar, Gujarat recently.

NKD – Let us know your plans to increase swimming medal tally in nationals and expectations.

BG – We have lots of prospects in increasing our medal tally in Swimming and Aquatic Sports. Government of Assam has improved Sports infrastructures across Assam and they have been organizing major sporting events in Guwahati hence trying to make Guwahati  ‘Sports capital of India’. We have good pool of swimmers here and are being given class training. Assam has the potential of podium finish in Olympics for India in next 3 editions of games. We get continuous support from our association and federation and Government of Assam ensures sportsperson are given best of facilities. If this continues, Assam surely will produce world class swimmers and aquatic sportspersons. Assam will have more Jhanabis, Manash, Shivangis, Kasturis and Kuldeeps and I look forward to lead from the front. To achieve our goal, we need support from our people through media like you give us space to speak and express.

NKD – How do you feel about your 30 hours ‘Water Yoga’ feat ?

BG- I am happy to achieve what I planned. Glad that Assam Swimming Association backed me since beginning of career. Sports Authority of India (SAI) has been instrumental in achieving this feat. All successful people have a goal. No one can get anywhere unless he knows where he wants to go and what he wants to be or do. I was clear from day 1 when I planned it and I am blessed I could make it successful. I thank Indian Swimming Federation for their support and representatives of Record Book who were present at the Zakir Hussain Aquatic Complex, Sarusajai Stadium for documenting our feat and booking it in their record book. I am happy to learn from them that the documentation is being sent to ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ by authorized observers. I am lucky to be trusted by parents of my students in achieving feats and setting records also by sports enthusiasts of the nation.