Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday asked the 100-year-old Asam Sahitya Sabha – the oldest and largest socio-literary body of the region – to play the lead role in strengthening the “greater” Assamese society comprising various ethnic and linguistic communities of the state.
“Completing 100 years of its existence, Asam Sahitya Sabha has the natural right to guide and lead the state in strengthening the greater Assamese society that comprises of various ethnic and linguistic communities that have been living in harmony for centuries. The Sabha is in fact a binding force, one that has inspired people for 100 years, and the most respected body in the entire region,” Sonowal said. He was speaking as the chief guest at the open session of the four-day centenary year session of the Asam Sahitya Sabha at Sivasagar on Saturday.
Sonowal said while language and literature constituted a core component of a nation, it was the Sahitya Sabha that had to also shoulder responsibility in protecting and promoting the Assamese identity. “While saint-reformers like Sankaradeva, Madhavadeva, Harideva and Ajan Fakir had laid the foundations of an all-encompassing Assamese society, it is for the Sabha to inspire the people of today to move forward innovatively by protecting their language and culture,” he said.
Recalling contributions of the founders of the Sahitya Sabha 100 years ago, Chief Minister Sonowal also lauded the efforts of those who had worked selflessly to make it the largest socio-cultural and literary umbrella of the entire Northeast. “We should also tell the people outside that this is the largest literary body in the whole world. Look at its membership that runs into several lakhs. Look at the number of branches it has all over. Look at the sea of humanity that the Sabha session venue has turned into in the last three days,” Sonowal said.
The Asam Sahitya Sabha, which was established in Sivasagar in 1917, in fact witnesses the huge turn-out during its annual sessions, with organisers of the on-going centenary year session in Sivasagar putting the total footfall in the past three days in the venue at over three lakh. The sale of books at the book fair held alongside the Sabha session has already recorded sales worth over Rs 25 lakh, an organiser said.