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Journalism workshop in BTAC area

2 workshops on "Citizens as Journalists & the power of New Media" at Udalguri and Kokrajhar on August 23-25 and August 28-30 respectively are being organised by Assam Times Foundation in association with All Bodo Students Union.

The journey of journalism began with pamphlets. But gone are the days. The advancement of science and technology has brought a sea change in the entire realm. The proliferation of media in the biggest ever democracy on this planet hardly finds any echo of public voice. Northeast India is sandwiched in between simmering armed conflict and conspicuous ignorance by those in the distant Delhities where media is a booming business these days. 

But it has some dark aspects. Politically motivated news seems to have been teeming with some corners of the entire sector, at times, raising doubts over the sanctity and sincerity of a section of media people. Prevalent technology empowers youth-citizens to practice journalism, represent it and bolster social-political change by setting regional and local agendas for the otherwise ailing perceived mainstream.

With the above as backgrounder the Assam Times Foundation (ATF) intends to conduct a workshop on Citizens as Journalists & the power of New Media.

Interested persons are requested to contact the organizers or local ABSU offices at Udalguri and Kokrajhar

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Hantigiri Narzary's picture

Reporting from Kokrajhar

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ULFA had traced me to Philadelphia - Assamese Tea Baron's Biography Released

14 Jul 2007 - 3:23pm | editor
Guwahati: Noted tea industrialist Hemendra Prasad Barooah has revealed in a new book about being traced by the ULFA to Philadelphia, about his English acquaintance involved in the Great Train Robbery in the UK, and about the search for Dr Bhupen Hazarika's lost Rolex watch one dark night on a street near Sivasagar. The planter, a multifarious personality, who has remained away from media glare, shares many intimate details of his life with eminent journalist Wasbir Hussain in 'Life and Times: Story of an Assamese Tea Baron', an authorized biography.

The book, published by Spectrum Publications, Guwahati/New Delhi, was released by chief minister Tarun Gogoi at a function in a city hotel here on Saturday. The packed gathering included guests of honour Jahnu Barua, a celebrated filmmaker, playwright Arun Sarma, and Hemen Barooah, the man himself. The book is not just about Barooah, it is also about the times in which he lived and the fascinating people he had encountered from across the world —thieves and conmen, painters and politicians, lovers and musicians, business tycoons and lunatics, god men and frauds, and many more.

Barooah says in the book how on June 11, 1990 he along with 13 other top tea company captains from across India met ULFA leaders at the tea garden bungalow of a leading business family in Dibrugarh after the outfit summoned them to 'discuss the active participation of the tea industry in the economic development' of the state. The then chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta advised Barooah not to meet the ULFA leaders. 'Who advised you to go for the meeting?

I suggest, you don't go,' Hemen remembered Mahanta as having told them. But, the tea captains were prepared to take the risk and face the rebels. Barooah in his biography recounts how they went in three cars to meet the ULFA leaders – the meeting ended just before the crack of dawn with the rebels talking to the planters individually and demanding hefty amounts. The ULFA, however, did not demand any money from Barooah in that meeting. 'An ULFA caller one day threatened to kidnap me from Calcutta. That was the first time I got scared. I could not sleep that night," Barooah said in the book. Such was the pressure from the ULFA that Barooah was even traced in the US where he was on a holiday with his daughter, trying to beat the stress. The phone buzzed at his daughter's home in Philadelphia. "Dada, are you all right? How's your daughter," an ULFA militant said on the phone at a time when there were reports in the media in Assam that he had 'fled' India.

On the lighter side of his life, Barooah in the biography recounts the night when he and Dr Bhupen Hazarika searched for the music icon's lost Rolex watch on a desolate road near Sivasagar, besides his encounter with the man behind the Great Train Robbery in the UK. Hemen narrated many fascinating tales in the book, including his 'secret' meeting with Mrs Indira Gandhi at the Circuit House in Jorhat, and her bus ride to the sleepy town of Golaghat.

The book gives an account of the society in Assam around the time India became independent and after that. It also details how Barooah became the first person from the North-east to obtain an MBA degree from the prestigious Harvard Business School (HBS). In fact, he belonged to the HBS's famous Class of 1949 and has batch mates who went on to transform the destiny of American business. The book talks about Hemen the art collector, the connoisseur of music, Hemen the racing enthusiast, and Hemen the tabla player, having been a disciple of Ustad Munwar Ali of Calcutta.

Speaking on the occasion, Hussain said: " Aside from writing about his life, I have tried to give an account of the challenges facing the Assamese planters during the British Raj. The British, after all, never wanted the locals to enter into the business of tea. The story of Bisturam Barooah, Mr Hemen Barooah's grand-father, is indeed remarkable, because here was a man who displayed both foresight and tact by venturing into forbidden territory, by keeping the sahibs on the right side. The battle with tea giant Williamson Magor, agents of the Barooahs, had indeed been interesting. The links finally got snapped between the Barooahs and Williamson Magor in the early fifties. By that time, Assamese planters had come of age."

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Home for needy adults inaugurates in Imphal

18 Jun 2011 - 10:19pm | editor

A home for destitute adults has been inaugurated Friday by All Manipur Senior Citizens’ Welfare Association at Mongshangei in Imphal West.The home christened as “ Old Age Building” was formally inaugurated by Rajya Shaba MP, Rishang Keishing.

The inaugural ceremony of the newly constructed building was also attended by All Manipur Senior Citizens’ Association President, L Kiranina, Lok Shaba MP, Th Meinya,state Health Minister L Jayantakumar, MLA RK Anand and AK Imobi, donor of the land where the building was constructed. MP Rishang Keishing said that people should help the needy adults, adding that the Mother Teresa Trust in West Bengal provides food and shelter to the destitute children.He also urged the people to live in harmony.

Fast track court taking up serial bombing case

4 Dec 2017 - 9:35am | AT News

GUWAHATI:A special CBI court in Guwahati on Monday is taking up the serial explosion case in the city along with Kokrajhar and Barpeta in 2009 where around 100 people lost their lives.

Special court judge P Chakrabarty is set to decide on the fates of altogether 23 rebels who were accused by CBI as the country's premier investigation agency was probing the deadly incident.

The accused, mostly, have struck the peace deal with the government during the UPA regime even amid the crucial probe into the episode.