This year, Bihu in Assam has surely shown some ‘Bihu’ to all where a separatist terrorist organisation tried to become cultural protector, popular Assamese singer stood up for Indian sovereignty and Chief Minister informed about a thing called ‘Assamese Blood’ to the world!
I live away from Assam, but try to keep myself updated about Assam ( my home state), Arunachal Pradesh ( because I live in a transferred area) and North East India as whole.This episode of ULFA asking Assamese singers not sing Hindi songs in Bihu functions and retort by Zubin Garg by singing a Hindi song in his next stage appearance in a Bihu Function. ULFA retaliated by warning Zubin Garg of terrorist attack ( not responsible if anything bad happens to him) and Assam government provided him security after this threat.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi opined that, Paresh Barua has no ‘Assamese Blood’ who is running a terrorist organisation from abroad.
As usual, social media people from Assam became active with this episode, many siding with Zubin Garg. Few people supported ULFA’s position that Hindi song should not be sung in Bihu functions. I assume many did not opine the same due to fear of siding with ULFA.
My view is No Hindi song should be sung in a Bihu function, actually nothing should be played or sung which is not related to Bihu in a Bihu Function, be it Hindi Song, English song or Korean songs (I am fan of KPOP). I do not support ULFA and specially dislike when ULFA tries to impose something in Assam. But my dislike for ULFA is not sufficient to oppose a move which I think good for Bihu.
Here are my reasons for having such view:-
1. If I know correctly, Bihu is a folk dance, folk art. It is endemic to Assam and Assamese. So, it is responsibility of every Assamese to preserve its uniqueness, and for that Bihu functions should be excursively used for Bihu related music, dance only. Conduct other music Festival and sing Hindi, English or any music of any language.
2. Bihu functions are conducted by collecting donations in the name Bihu. So, Bihu committees should remain true tot that. If they want to get their invited artists sing Hindi/English songs, have a music nite after end of Bihu functions and have fun. And these should be clearly informed during donation collection.
Though I like Zubin Garg standing upto terrorist organisations like ULFA, but he should also stand up to many other evils in Assamese society, like rampant corruption, alcoholism etc.. His selective ‘standing up’ is not impressive, rather sounds opportunistic.
Everybody has entitled to their own opinion, but saving a form of folk art ( be it Bihu or any other folk festival) should be beyond any personal opinion and it should be collective responsibility by all. If music form which are popular and majority audience are the only criteria for practice and preservation, then most probably, we all should just promote and protect English pop song. Or may be Chinese, with their sheer population, would impose their culture, music on everybody else!
I wanted to write more, but not now! My be later, I will update this post.
Just my two cents!