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Ibu Sanjeeb Garg
Date of Publish: 2017-02-18

Reclaiming the roots – INLI Foundation Delhi

 

 

 

 

They say culture is what binds all of us, and in the end we all look back with a lovable glance towards home. However as humans have progressed they have began to span out to new frontiers. In a globalised world of today one is not affixed to a single place his/her own lifetime. Instead they look out for a life a livelihood. It takes them away from their homes, the people they have known, the language they speak, they festivals they celebrate. They adapt to a new life in a new world, yet often they would look back to where they came from. As John Denver many summers ago juxtaposed this position in his evergreen ballad “Sweet Home Alabama” the yearning for back home.

 

And this is no truer for those people of Assam who live outside the boundaries of the red river and the green hills. In the pursuit of job, education and opportunities they have come to bigger cities around the country as well as the world. Yet they cannot let go of their homes which remains a part of their lives. The Assamese people living in Delhi are no different. The fact that the Assamese community in Delhi is a vibrant one can be gauged from the fact that Bihu is celebrated in Delhi NCR in such a grand manner. There are NE and Assam festivals in regular intervals. Cultural idioms of the state like Saraswati puja have made its entry in Delhi NCR region. The food habits kept alive by the numerous destinations which are beginning to grow in the Delhi NCR region. Slowly but surely the people of Assam residing in Delhi are making a sincere effort to make some part of home in these faraway lands.

 

And it is in this respect that special mention must be made of the INLI Foundation. INLI Foundation through the efforts of a few dedicated individuals is slowly but surely brining around a cultural revolution in Delhi. Among the people of Assam living in Delhi INLI Foundation is emerging as a hope that can leave a lasting of the cultural treasure trove that is Assam to the next generation. The next generation who have lived all their lives in Delhi NCR. That generation for whom Hindi comes more easily that Assamese, Duesshera is easier to relate to than Durga Puja and so on and so forth. And INLI Foundation strives to change all that. It aims to introduce to the new generation a new exciting world, hitherto unexplored.

 

The INLI Foundation is a socio cultural trust working in Delhi NCR region to familiarise the kids from Assam born and brought up in Delhi, about the rich history and culture of Assam. It was set up in the memory of Late Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia and since its inception it has done phenomenal work in achieving its intended results. As the case with any cultural organisation would be funds might not be in abundance for the Foundation but the members have made up for it with their enthusiasm.

 

Since its inception INLI has been a part of and has made phenomenal contribution towards the attaining of its goal. One of its first endeavours had been to organise a story telling competition while collaborating with Enajori.com. In order to honour the memory of Dr. Mamoni Roisam Goswami it has organised a number of competitions alongwith a lecture on Ramayani Literature delivered by Dr. Smriti S. Tripathi. It has also organised evenings of old Assamese melodies, educational tours to Rashtrapati Bhawan for kids of Assam among other events. The future endeavours include workshop on songs, reviving Moina Parijat concept in Delhi , workshops on dance drama and art , Assam tour for the children born in Delhi and so on and so forth. Special mention must be made of two endeavours that are most noteworthy of all. The first is a cultural troupe of kids living in Delhi , touring Assam introducing them to the land where it all began. The second is the annual Bihu workshop where little children are taught the intricacies of the Bihu dance. This has caught the imagination of parents around Delhi and has witnessed phenomenal rise in number in past few years.

 

And in the background of all this special mention must be made of the recent play enacted by the children under the INLI banner. The play was Nabakanta Barua’s “Moi Tuniye Tun Tunalu” . Directed by Parag Sarma it however had a twist in the tale. The Tuni story was set in present times when a few children living in Delhi were transported back to the “Tuni times”. The children who were enacting in this play where the ones who had been born and brought up in Delhi. It was no surprise that for them Hindi was closer as a language than Assamese.

But belying all expectations the kids were phenomenal. Kudos must be given to the creative team who ensured that the children prepared the script so well with the expressions and the pronunciations down to almost perfect. The way the play seamlessly wove the new into the old when “seera” had to be explained as “poha” made the whole play praiseworthy. The traditional music that was crafted in the play added a delight to the play that was unmatched. Enacted in the National School of Drama Sanmukh auditorium, the play which opened to a fullhouse was phenomenal in every sense. And it is in this sense that the children the creative team, the musicians, the set designers everyone must be applauded for the flawless execution. Not for a moment did it feel like an amateur endeavour and there was no need to cut slack to anyone. Special mention must be made to the guardian of those children who believed in the idea and took time out undoubtedly from their busy schedule to ensure their children were a part of something this unique. And most of all appreciation must be showered on the INLI team for having given wings to something so beautiful.

INLI has done phenomenal work. The strongest stand that any “people” can make is its bastion in its cultural strength. And in this respect INLI commands appreciation for all that it has done. There is hope for the future, as one guardian aptly put , to take the culture forward and hand the baton to the next generation , because of the work organisations like INLI and others would do. People would die what it would leave behind is its art and its culture.

Ibu Sanjeeb Garg

(The author is an Indian Revenue Service officer currently posted in New Delhi as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. Views expressed are personal. )

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