The anti-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Assam, headed by Paresh Barua, has warned artistes and singers against singing Hindi songs during celebrations for Rongali Bihu — the Assamese New Year — that takes off on Monday.
Barua’s faction said singing Hindi songs during Bihu was encouraging “invasion” of the rich Assamese culture by “outside culture”. Last year too, the Ulfa issued a similar diktat, following which Assamese singer Zubeen Garg was provided security after he led an open challenge against the group. “We appeal to all Bihu committees not to encourage singing of Hindi songs during the festival. This is a stand that we had taken several years ago and one that will continue,” said Arunoday Asom, assistant secretary in the Ulfa’s publicity wing, in an emailed statement.
Meanwhile, several Bihu committees as well as artistes and musicians have decided to defy the Ulfa diktat, saying the outfit had no business to define how Bihu should be celebrated. “We will definitely allow artists like Zubeen Garg and Papon (Angarag Mahanta) to sing their own Hindi numbers in our function for Rongali Bihu. We are proud of Zubeen and Papon and others who have made it into the Hindi music world,” said Kamal Medhi, president of the New Guwahati Rongali Bihu Sammilan. Medhi mentioned Bhupen Hazarika and Khagen Mahanta too had sung their Hindi songs during Bihu festival in the past.