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An illustrated talk and seminar on Srimanta Sankaradeva at London‏

Sankaradeva inspired an artistic and cultural Renaissance in the state of Assam. As a religious leader and social reformer Sankaradeva deserve to be mentioned with Sankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Guru Nanak and Tulsi Das.

Assam is a part of India which in somewhere is little know even in India itself because of its remote location. More importantly the relative neglect absence of Sankaradeva in the history of the Neo-Vaishnavite movement in India, has long been a gap in knowledge waiting recognition.

It is highly imperative that this great saint receives world attention. And also imperative that the life and philosophy and artistic creations of Mahapurush Srimanta Sankaradeva and the exposure of the Assam's cultural tradition and heritage at the international level is the need of the hour.



Richard Blurton showing a power point presentation on "Vrindavani Vastra" kept at British Museum.

On Friday evening 29, June, 2012 - a seminar and illustrated talk on the vasihnavite faith and Sattriya culture of Srimanta Sankaradeva was held at Nehru Centre auditorium. The cultural and heritage building of Indian High Commission, Govt.of India.

The prominent speakers were Jitendra Kumar, First Secretary, Indian High Commission, Richard Blurton, Head of the South Asian Section in the Department of Asia, British Museum. Dr Nicholas Sutton, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford. Dr Audrey Cantlie, author of of the book "The Assamese" and Reader Emeritus in Anthropology at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies). Sharodi Saikia, Director of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati (The Premier Cultural Institution of Assam) & Renowned Sattriya dancer from Assam. Jayanta Pathak, the composer musician of "Dokho Avatar".

The initative has been taken by Rini Kakati, NRI Co-ordinator for UK . The dignitaries were felicitated with Assamese traditional way with phulam gamosha.

Jitendra Kumar, First Secretary, Indian High Commission, in his inaugurating speech said "the name Sankaradeva is the history of Assam and the pulse of the Assamese nation". And he is honoured for this invitation.



Dr Nicholas Sutton and Rini Kakati



Richard Blurton, Head of the South Asian Section in the Department of Asia, British Museum - spoke highly about Vrindavani Vastra - the wonderful creation of Sankaradeva which was kept at British Museum. He explained beautifully the image of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan at this figured silk material with a power point presentation.

Dr Nicholas Sutton, Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, University of Oxford - exploring the interrelationships between the Hindu religion and vasihnavite faith. He gave an informative speech on "The Importance of Sankaradeva in the development of Hindu Religious Thought".



Sharodi Saikia giving a lecture demonstration through laptop on Sattras and Sattriya culture of Assam

Dr Audrey Cantlie, author of of the book "The Assamese" and Reader Emeritus in Anthropology at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) - She was was born in Shillong in 1923. Her father - Sir Keith Cantlie served as the Chief Secretary of Assam when Gopinath Bordoloi was the first Chief Minister of Assam. Remembering her time spent in Jorhat as a young wife of Thomas Hayley, who was then the Deputy Commissioner of Jorhat. She is quite familiar with the name of villages, namghar, bhaona, sutradhar, borgeet and Sankaradeva. She gave an emotional speech mentioning "Sankaradeva, the Father of the Assamese Nation".



From the left: Sharodi Saikia, Richard Blurton, Jayanta Pathak, Rini Kakati & Dr.Nicholas Sutton

Sharodi Saikia, Director of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Guwahati (The Premier Cultural Institution of Assam) - Gave a lecture demonstration on Sattras and Sattriya culture of Assam. She is invited again to London in October for a solo performance of Sattriya dance in the ocassion of celebrating London 2012.

Jaynata Pathak, talked about the importance of 500 year old traditional melodies of Assam and his attempt to bring Borgeet to the global audience."Dokho Avatar" - CD album was released by Jitendra Kumar, First Secretary, Indian High Commission.

Through these documentations, the remarkable works of Srimanta Sankaradeva and the rich cultural heritage of the Sattras of Assam has been taken a positive step to get the attention of the outside world.

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Rini Kakati's picture

London, UK

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