It is in human ture to perennially hope for a new dawn, to clear out old cobwebs and plan a fresh beginning. A new year is an excellent opportunity to start on a positive note, keeping in mind happenings that encourage us, people who inspire us, initiatives that draw us out into a brave new world. As we ring in Year 2015, let us by all means make our new year wishes and resolutions. There will be those who warn us to be careful what we wish for, lest these might be granted. But we can always reply that if our wishes are good and worthwhile, maybe the universe will ‘conspire’ to make them a reality! Surely we can all wish and work for a clean Assam, as a proud member state of ‘swacch’ or ‘nirmal’ Bharat! In fact, we may take this battle further and resolve to protect the once pristine environment of our state, now so very imperiled. May we wish for a cleanliness drive of another kind, one that seeks to uproot and sweep away the widely entrenched corruption in our public life?
Looking closer to home, let us pause awhile and spare a thought for the thousands of refugees huddled in shelters in Kokrajhar and Sonitpur. This human suffering that recognises no difference in caste, creed or community, should steel our resolve not to allow such tragedies to befall us when BTC areas go to polls this year. We also need to stand vigilant so that fundamentalist outfits like Jamaat–ul–Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) do not succeed in importing their agenda of terror into Assam, the land of age–old harmony that Sankardeva and Ajaan Pir typified so gloriously. If we turn our backs to divisive politics and look up into the night sky, maybe the red planet will swing into our view. Circling in its orbit and studying it continuously is Mangalayan, the satellite whose journey to Mars in early 2014 an Assamese scientist helped to plan. Earlier the principal scientific officer of the Moon mission as well, astrophysicist Dr Jitendra th Goswami is now the pride of Assam. Engineer–innovator Uddhab Bharali from Lakhimpur continues to invent machines useful not only for agriculture and agro–based industries, but also ebling handicapped persons to live a better life. When hydel power is getting a bad me due to the raging debate over big dams, engineer Kamal Chandra Saikia from Jorhat has devised a micro–light hydro–turbine that can be easily installed in rivers and streams to generate electricity. Young scientist Dr Mukut Gohain has been in the news after a leading German drug manufacturer company bought his patent for a highly effective antibiotic. Renowned worldwide in the field of cancer treatment and research, eminent oncologist Dr Tapan Kumar Saikia was honoured recently in the state with the Kamala Saikia memorial tiol award.
As wanton destruction of habitat unleashes global warming and extreme weather phenome, Jadav Payeng has become an icon of environmental protection the world over. His amazing effort in single–handedly growing an entire forest near Majuli became the subject of a documentary ‘Forest Man’ by William Douglas, which was adjudged the best in its category at the Cannes Film Festival last year. In the Bengaluru Intertiol Film Festival, Mishing film ‘Ko:Yad’ got one of the awards for best entries. One of the country’s leading filmmakers, Jahnu Baruah received the Rajat Kamal award for ‘Ajeyo’ in a year that was good for Assamese films with 17 films released in the theatres. Among these, ‘Othello’ made it to the tiol Panorama. If 2014 was the year of revival of Assamese films, hopes are brighter that the momentum will be maintained this year as well. Meanwhile Adil Hussain continues to make inroads in Bollywood as well as the foreign film scene with three of his films released last year garnering much critical acclaim. Angaraag Mahanta is busy making his mark not only in playback singing in Mumbai, but in also experimenting successfully with fusion music worldwide. In the sports are, footballers from Assam like Durga Boro, Alen Deuri and Holicharan rzari broke into the ISL with a bang, rubbing shoulders with marquee intertiol footballers. For the people of Assam, the achievements and exploits of many such sons and daughters of the state have shone a bright light amidst the gloom of backwardness, drift and general negativity. In the New Year, may this pursuit of excellence drive us all in our chosen fields of endeavour.