Renowned writer and litterateur Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi on Thursday expressed his admiration at the literary zest of Assamese litterateurs during a book launch program in Guwahati.
‘You Can Ukraine’, a compilation of poetry was formally launched at an event at Vivekananda Kendra Institute of Culture in Guwahati’s Uzan Bazar today. The project was taken forward by Asomiya Pratidin Digital and is the brainchild of Associate Editor Prakash Mahanta and Senior Journalist Mridal Kumar Handique.
Padma Shri recipient Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi was the guest of honour and formally launched the book. He was joined on stage by the owner of Sadin-Pratidin Group and the Editor of Asomiya Pratidin newspaper, Jayanta Baruah. Former Director General of Police (DGP) and President of Asam Sahitya Sabha, Kuladhar Saikia was also present on stage as a distinguished guest for the event.
Apart from them, several other eminent personalities attended the program including Pratidin Time Editor-in-chief Nitumoni Saikia, Nandini Editor Maini Mahanta, Editor of Sadin, Anuradha Sharma Pujari, Law Teacher Kuntala Deka, Former Vice-Chancellor Dr. Deepak Sharma, Editor of Asom Bani Dilip Chandan, eminent Journalist Haidar Hussain, eminent litterateur Bhabani Prasad Adhikari, President of Asom Natya Sanmilan Kumar Deepak Das, noted poets Pranab Kumar Barman, Lachit Barman, noted litterateur and journalist Ankur Deka, Chairman of Northeast Cancer Institute Ganesh Tamuli, Executive Editor of Niyomiya Barta Amal Das, professor Dr. Sushanta Kumar Kashyap, senior journalist Ranen Goswami, Assam Lekhika Samaj President Dr. Padumi Gogoi, Bornali Dutta Bora, poet Rudra Singha Matak, retired IAS officer Thaneswar Malakar, Sanjib Kumar Phookan, Associate Editor of Asomiya Pratidin, Senior Associate Editor Manasi Bayan, Abaak Publications’ owner Bhaskar Barman, Asomiya Pratidin’s Senior Associate Editor Manoj Goswami, Hemanta Bhagawati, poet Mahesh Parikh, Azad Usman Gani.
The proceedings were initiated by Prakash Mahanta, who delivered the welcome note and thanked everyone for taking out time from their busy schedule to attend the event. He welcomed the guests on stage.
Thereafter, Doctor Anjan Jyoti Choudhury took to stage to recite a short musical poem of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika which engaged the audience. This was followed by a short felicitation program of the guests on stage and in attendance.
Asam Sahitya Sabha President Kuladhar Saikia was then invited to speak on the occasion. Beginning his speech, Mr. Saikia commended the effort of Asomiya Pratidin Digital in publishing the book. Talking about the title of the book, ‘You Can Ukraine’, he said that it is a welcome change that we are now talking about national and international issues.
Speaking about the war in Ukraine and the use of poetry to describe it, Mr. Saikia said, “Poetry can be a very powerful means of communication at times of war as they bring to light several humanitarian stories that are otherwise not very much talked about amid wars.”
He said that poetry brings a sense of hope among the people in war-torn regions and spoke about how the government in Ukraine have arranged for people to share poetry which also helps them to harbor hope of a better tomorrow.
Highlighting how writings during war are helpful, Kuladhar Saikia said, “Wars end but poetry does not.” He also went on to mention the advantages of digital media and advocated for digitization of Asam Sahitya Sabha.
Then on, Editor of Asomiya Pratidin, Jayanta Baruah came on stage to share a few words. He welcomed the guests and the audience and thanked them for attending the event. Mr. Baruah spoke about the journey of the Sadin-Pratidin Group from the time of Sadin, after which came Asomiya Pratidin, Nandini, Satsori, Pratidin Time channel and finally, the digital editions of both Asomiya Pratidin and Pratidin Time.
Before leaving the dias, Mr. Baruah lauded the effort of the digital family in taking up the mantle of publishing literary works and bringing them to the people of Assam.
This was followed by the formal inauguration of the book, ‘You Can Ukraine’. The guests on stage, Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, Kuladhar Saikia and Jayanta Baruah were joined by Prakash Mahanta and Mridul Kumar Handique in formally launching the book.
Mr. Dharma Prasad Bhattacharjya, a businessman based in Guwahati and the nephew of noted poet Hiren Bhattacharjya and also a poetry enthusiast then expressed his will to buy three copies of the book for Rs 5,000. He was then presented with the copies, signed by the dignitaries, formally on stage.
Mr. Mahanta then asked Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi to speak a few words. He began by expressing his gratitude to the media group for having him as a guest. Mr. Thongchi said that he liked and appreciated the literary zest of Assamese litterateurs, something that he did not witness in Arunachal Pradesh.
Mr. Thongchi said, “I have been fortunate to attend several literary events across Assam and have been left mesmerized by this zest of literary enthusiasts. In Arunachal Pradesh, I feel there is a lack of this level of discussions in the field of literature. In this regard, Assam is showing us the way and I hope the entire Northeast will follow. We are also working on a similar project and hope to see it to completion soon.”
He then went on to commend Asomiya Pratidin Digital on this project. He said that this will help in connecting with the people and bringing forward the zeal of literary enthusiasts which is undoubtedly helpful in preserving the language and literature. Mr. Thongchi also spoke on the current age of digitization saying that it is eminent that we keep pace and use the means available to us to the fullest.
At the end of his speech, Mr. Thongchi again thanked everyone involved with the publication of the book and formally announced the launch of ‘You Can Ukraine’.
The desk in-charge of Asomiya Pratidin Digital and journalist Mridul Kumar Handique, who is behind the publication of the book, delivered the vote of thanks to bring the event to its conclusion. He thanked all the guests and the eminent individuals present in the audience for attending the program. Mr. Handique also expressed his gratitude to the team behind the compilation and publication of the book and everyone who submitted poems that found their way in it.
It may be noted that ‘You Can Ukraine’, is a compilation of Assamese poems and is the culmination of a small experiment by Asomiya Pratidin Digital Desk. Over the period of the last year or so, the desk published poems submitted by avid followers and noted personalities on the website asomiyapratidin.in.