By Manoj Kumar Ojha
DOOMDOOMA : The lyric used by Bihu expert Ranjit Gogoi during programme at Sarsujai Stadium in Guwahati has given pain to 2.5 lakhs Sema Naga residing in Assam,said All Assam Sema Naga Council (AASNC)in Tinsukia district of upper Assam.
AASNC president Kahoto Sema,vice president Kasto Sema and general secretary Hotoi Sema( head office situated at Longtong village under 124 number Margherita assembly constituency in Tinsukia district of upper Assam; said , ” Bihu is a state festival of Assam and being Sema Naga we are proud of it as we participate in Bihu programme but the lyric used by Bihu expert Ranjit Ranjit Gogoi “Okora Naga ,Nagini “during Bihu programme at Sarsujai Stadium in Guwahati has given pain to 2.5 lakhs Sema Naga residing in Assam. “
“We demand to Bihu expert Ranjit Gogoi for an unconditional apology before the Sema Naga people residing in Assam ” said Kasto Sema ,vice president of AASNC.
One after another Naga Organizations are reacting sharply to the Bihu song since it was sung during world records Bihu event .
At a time when Assamese people are jubilant over the world records created by the Assamese Bihu dance, Naga people felt humiliated through the song performed at the state’s largest Bihu gathering.
Altogether 11,304 Bihuwotis (Bihu dancers) and dhuliyas (drum beaters) performed the “largest Bihu performance in a single venue” to create two Guinness Book of World Records at Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati on April 13. The record was created at around 5.30 pm. The event was performed for 15 minutes.
The event was organized by the state cultural affairs department to take the traditional Bihu dance form to the world stage.
However, Naga people living in Assam since time immemorial are saddened by a Bihu song performed by Bihu exponent Ranjit Gogoi at the event.
The lyrics of the song say: “Nogar sange sage bogai nu moi asilu..Nogai nu alu kochu khai…okora Nogake bhinihi buli matilu majoni oi Naginike bulilu bai.” (Rough translation: I was roaming in Naga houses… Nagas have potato, yam… I call Naga brother-in-law and Nagini sister.”
An official of the Assam cultural affairs department, which organised the event, said it’s a traditional Bihu song. “It has nothing to hurt the Naga community.
However, the All Assam Naga Welfare Society (AANWS) also reacted sharply to the Bihu song saying that the organizers should not allow such a song to be performed at an international event.
“We condemn the song performed by artist Ranjit Gogoi in the event to create the Guinness Book of World Records. We have noticed that Naga communities have been insulted in the lyrics of the song using the words like okora Noga, Nagini, etc,” AANWS president Shompha Wangsu and general secretary Manto Konyak said in a statement here on April 15.
”The song intensely hurt the emotion and sentiments of the people of 10 Naga communities with 2.5 lakh population living in Assam,” they said. Besides AANWS, other Naga civil societies or organizations, including community-wise organised councils and student bodies also reacted strongly to the song.
“The song with derogatory lyrics against Naga people by well-known artist Ranjit Gogoi is not acceptable,” AASWA president Shompha Wangsu said.
He said that Assam is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural state where each and every ethnic group is conscious about its own identity and culture. “10 indigenous Naga communities with a 2.5 lakh population have been living in 11 districts of Assam since time immemorial. We are an integral part of Greater Assamese society and culture. We really feel proud to be a part of this society, but most of the time, we are facing discrimination and negligence in different ways. So we, all the indigenous Naga communities of Assam, are strongly against such derogatory lyrics and defaming our community,” he said.
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“We strongly demand to ban this song in any event hereafter. We also demand an unconditional apology from artist Ranjit Gogoi for the song. Otherwise, we will be compelled to take legal recourse as well,” he said.
“At a time when chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is talking about one spirit of Northeast, such a derogatory Bihu song is not acceptable to us,” he added.
Lohit Gogoi, another Bihu artist, said, “I am really shocked to hear the song. It is not good to call a community okora. We should respect them and recognize their grievances. We should not hurt them.”
Commenting on the entire issue, Naga Hoho advisor P Chuba Ozukum said: “It’s really bad. Why is he creating enmity in the neighbourhood?”
Bihu exponent Ranjit Gogoi was not available for comment.
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