GUWAHATI: Seeking the overall development of xatras and naamghars in Assam, the ASM (Asom Sattra Mahasabha) has moved the State government for a package.
Talking to The Sentinel, ASM general secretary Kushum Kumar Mahanta said, "There are 1,242 xatras and around 1 lakh naamghars across Assam. However, we are concerned about the poor state of infrastructure in most of these xatras and naamghars.
"The last BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led government in the State had extended financial aid to several such religious institutions. However, there is an urgent need for the State government to cover all the xatras and naamghars. We urge Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to take up the issue with the Central government at the earliest.
Mahanta elucidated, "The Central government also has a responsibility in this aspect. This is also because the vital subject of preservation of the xatras and naamghars has been mentioned in the Assam Accord signed in 1985."
Mahanta further stated, "When Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India, an amount of Rs 400 crore was sanctioned for the development of xatras. But of that sanctioned amount, only Rs 100 crore was released."
The ASM general secretary added, "The xatras and naamghars are the epicentres of the neo-Vaishnavite culture. If these religious institutions are not given sustenance now, the very identity of the larger Assamese society will be at stake."
Shedding light on the varied activities of the ASM, Mahanta added, "During the last 25 years, we have been propagating the rich Xatriya culture among the students in around 250 schools across Assam. It is being carried out by different units of the 'Xatriya Sangskriti Sarcha Kendra'.
"The Sangeet Natak Akademi awarded the status of classical dance to Xattriya in 2000. Now, the State government should provide remuneration to the teachers dedicated to the cause.
"The State government should also initiate steps to open xatriya cultural centres in the major cities across the country besides reopening the centre at Puri in Odisha."
Mentionably, the other classical dances of India are Bharatnatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Kathak (North India), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), Manipuri (Manipur) and Odissi (Odisha).
The ASM general secretary further informed, "A delegation of ASM recently met the Chief Minister in Dispur. He assured us that he would hold a discussion with us on all aspects of the xatras and naamghars."
The ASM delegation was led by its president Jitendra Nath Prodhani — Xatradhikar of Ramraikuti at Satrasal in Dhubri district.