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Chaulkhowa Music College – an institution that caters to the cultural needs of Upper Assam

UJJAINI SHARMA

Love for music is undying and this can be better defined through the musical journey of tabla exponent, writer, author and founder Principal and Director of Chaulkhowa Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Dr. Dilip Ranjan Borthakur, the pillar behind giving Upper Assam its first ever educatiol seat of traditiol Indian and folk music which has been engaged in cultivating the latent musical talents of this region.

Cutting over odds to explore the untapped strings of music, the foundation of a school for learning the various forms of music and dance, was laid by Dr Borthakur in the year of 1978 as Chaulkhowa Music College.  With the help and support of a few of his admirers such as former Headmaster of Chaulkhowa High School, Mujibur Rehman, former General Mager of Bokul Tea Estate, Kamal Singh, renowned sitarist and Vice-Principal of Chaulkhowa Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Nilima Borthakur and the former secretary of ABITA, Ranjit Das, the foundation stone of the musical institution was laid for infusing the kck for classical music not widely admired in this part of Assam.

The journey of this Sangeet Mahavidyalaya took off with only 30 students who were introduced to this learning platform by Dr. Dilip Ranjan Borthakur with the aim of imparting them the basic education of traditiol Indian and folk music. Dreams turned into reality in the year 1981 with the construction of a permanent school building in the land doted to Dr. Borthakur by Kamal Singh and Ranjit Das beside Chaulkhowa High School, who had extended unmatched support and had encouraged him to work towards expansion of the stretch of classical and folk music among the ignorant populace of this musically backward region.  Dr. Dilip Borthakur found plenteous patroge from Mujibur Rahman   who had lend a hand in persuading parents of far-flung areas to send their kids to the music college to be trained in the various forms of classical  music and dance.

Musical exponents like Prahlad Chandra, Borbayan Godadhar Roja and Neelima Borthakur, the Vice-Principal of the Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, played a pioneering role in establishing this institution, that has for the last three decades been  performing its part of imparting training and knowledge of music to fulfil the cultural needs of Upper Assam. This music college has been involved in research-based works to gain understanding of the diverse facets of Xattriya culture of the different tribes and communities of the State. This institution, through the hard work of a group of dedicated teachers, has been successful in training boys and girls from rural areas and the tea tribe population in this art form. Many of them have successfully established themselves as teachers and musicians in different corners of the world, while some of them have earned a reputation in the field of Xattriya dance, bringing laurels to Sangeet Mahavidyalaya.

All set to step into its 40th year in December, 2018, Chaulkhowa Music College was founded on the deep-seated theory that music education significantly could bring peace and harmony in the society. A cultural festival slated to be organized to celebrate the foundation day event is being planned by the college authorities who have  made a fervent appeal to the people and well-wishers of the institution to extend their help and cooperation in celebrating the anniversary fiesta.

The journey of this institution, in the words of Dr. Dilip Ranjan Borthakur, has been hard-hitting with no recognition and fincial assistance yet being received by this musical academy that has been holding on to its pledge of steering the roar of Indian traditiol and folk music into the soul of young minds.  Being trained in the nuances of classical music, Dr. Borthakur, an ace tabla player of Assam who has penned books like Music  and Musical  Instruments of Northeast India, Dibaru Paaror Sangeet  and Khol Vigyan and earned a me for himself among the celebrated musical icons of Assam, regrettably till date has not received his due recognition by the Assam Government for his selfless determition to place the region in the road-map of traditiol music.