Skip to main content

Assam 'in search of roots'? Pragjyotishpur literary fete to focus on rich history, culture

By Nava J Thakuria* 

An intellectual and interactive treat for the literary enthusiasts, cultural connoisseurs and budding writers is waiting to emerge as Pragjyotishpur Literature Festival 2023 (PLF) which will unfold a series of literary activities for three days in the virtual capital of northeast India. 
The three-day literature festival, organised for the first time by Sankardev Education and Research Foundation (SERF), will kick start on 29 September 2023 at Asom Sahitya Sabha and district library premises in the heart of Guwahati city. 
Themed as ‘In Search of Roots’, the national-level festival is aimed at showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the land and also encouraging the young talents to rediscover and redefine the legends of Pragjyotishpur.
The present-day Assam is the central part of the ancient kingdom named Pragjyotishpur (later also known as Kamrup), where its capital was located roughly in the present day Guwahati. The kingdom was spread to Jalpaiguri, Koch Behar, Bhutan hills (including some parts of Nepal), Rangpur, Sylhet, Mymensingh, Dhaka (now under Bangladesh), Tripura, Khasi & Garo hills, etc. 
Pragjyotishpur (meaning the eastern part of Jyotishpur) gets its mention in both the great Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata as well as in Kalika Puran, Yogini Tantra and Charyapada. Pragjyotishpur is mentioned as having been pronounced by Lord Ram in the critical phase of his struggles after losing his wife Seeta. On the other hand, the powerful king of Pragjyotishpur, Bhagadatta fought along with the Kauravas (against Pandavas) in the battle of Mahabharata. 
When it came to exist as the Kamrup kingdom, legendary king Kumar Bhaskarvarman used to rule over the land. Bhaskarvarman enjoyed a dignified and mutually respected relationship with emperor Harshavardhan (of Kanauja and Thaneswara) and often sent valuable books as gifts to Harshavardhan.
He was a vibrant patroniser of ancient Nalanda University, one of the greatest centres of learning across the globe.
Pragjyotishpur itself was an abode of learning, publications and intellectual exercises as these were the oldest traditions and practices for the residents. Many valuable books were written in this part of the world, where Madhav Kandali’s Ramayana in a local language signifies the dimension and intellectual capacity of an author. 
The society used to promote the learning and redefining of general science, Ayurveda and traditional healthcare, astrology, craftsmanship and both performing & visual arts. The residents still carry the legacy of ancient Indian culture, developed since the pre- historic days.
Literary activists will brainstorm to rediscover their own past and pave the way for a futuristic and purposeful literary works
Through the PLF initiative, the younger generation will come to know and realise the greatness of ancient cultural diversities of the land.
With a series of discussions, interactive sessions, thematic quiz competition and literary recitations, the unique festival is expected to mobilize the young writers to connect with their roots of civilization through literature. 
National Book Trust-India chairman Prof Milind Sudhakar Marathe (a recognised author-critic), Padmashree Lil Bahadur Chetri (a noted Gorkha writer), Pankaj Chaturvedi (Delhi), Suvash Chandra Satapathy from Bhubaneshwar, Bhushan Bhave from Goa, television news personality Rubika Liyaquat along with a number of distinguished writers, translators, literary critics from various parts of the country as well as northeast Bharat are gracing the occasion to add more colour to the festival.
Meanwhile, pre-events to the festival were organised in Dhubri Bholanath College, Dibrugarh H Surajmall Kanoi College, Dhemaji Balika Bidyalaya, North Lakhimpur College etc with great enthusiasm from hundreds of novice writers, book-enthusiasts and promising young talents. Inspired by PLF working president Soumyadeep Datta, a few more such literary awareness programmes are on the card, where the ancient civilisations of the great nation will be celebrated. 
PLF president Phanindra Devchoudhury expects a fruitful exercise showcasing eastern India’s rich history, culture and languages, where the literary activists will brainstorm to rediscover their own past and pave the way for a futuristic and purposeful literary works.
---
*Senior journalist based in Guwahati 

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Why convert growing badminton popularity into an 'inclusive sports opportunity'

By Sudhansu R Das  Over the years badminton has become the second most popular game in the world after soccer.  Today, nearly 220 million people across the world play badminton.  The game has become very popular in urban India after India won medals in various international badminton tournaments.  One will come across a badminton court in every one kilometer radius of Hyderabad.  

Faith leaders agree: All religious places should display ‘anti-child marriage’ messages

By Jitendra Parmar*  As many as 17 faith leaders, together for an interfaith dialogue on child marriage in New Delhi, unanimously have agreed that no faith allows or endorses child marriage. The faith leaders advocated that all religious places should display information on child marriage.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Ayurveda, Sidda, and knowledge: Three-day workshop begins in Pala town

By Rosamma Thomas*  Pala town in Kottayam district of Kerala is about 25 km from the district headquarters. St Thomas College in Pala is currently hosting a three-day workshop on knowledge systems, and gathered together are philosophers, sociologists, medical practitioners in homeopathy and Ayurveda, one of them from Nepal, and a few guests from Europe. The discussions on the first day focused on knowledge systems, power structures, and epistemic diversity. French researcher Jacquiline Descarpentries, who represents a unique cooperative of researchers, some of whom have no formal institutional affiliation, laid the ground, addressing the audience over the Internet.

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive. 

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.