GUWAHATI/BARPETA: Legendary Xatriya exponent and Burha Xatriya of Barpeta Xatra, Basistha Dev Sarma, breathed his last at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) at 4.56 pm on Saturday. He was 84.
Dev Sarma was admitted to the GMCH on October 11 last due to various age-related ailments.
The news of the Burha Xatrita's demise cast a pall of sorrow across the state and condolences started to pour in.
Meanwhile, the state government has announced that the last rites of the Burha Xatriya will be conducted with full state honours.
The mortal remains of the Burha Xatriya were taken to his residence at Sundaridia on Saturday evening. Subsequently, the mortal remains will be kept at the Barpeta Xatra bus stand for 10 hours for 'Sraddhanjali' by the public. Later on his body will be taken around the main Kirtan ghar and three Baatchoras, namely Dakshinhati, Nahati and Uttarhati, and then kept at the premises overnight for homage. The Burha Xatriya will be cremated on Monday in the eastern part of Khatkhati of Barpeta Xatra.
Basistha Dev Sarma was born on April 1, 1938 at the Sundaridia Xatra in the Barpeta district. Basistha Dev Sarma was a teacher in profession earlier. He joined as a teacher at Pallarpam LP school and retired as a teacher of the Sundaridia Dakshinhati LP school.
He joined the Barpeta Xatra as Deka Xatriya in 1993 and was elected as the Burha Xatriya in 2007, which position he held till the end.
Srimanta Sankardeva Awardee Dev Sarma set up many naamghars and connected them to the mainstream of Barpetra Xatra. He organized more than 300 sakha xatras of Barpeta Xatra and succeeded in keeping them functional till now.
The main philosophy of Dev Sarma was to serve the people in accordance with the ideals of Srimanta Sankardev, Sri Sri Madhab Dev and their disciples.
He translated many dramas from Bengali to Assamese, prominent among which are 'Matir Manuh', 'Nahash Uddhar', 'Mahisasur Badh', 'Bethar Puja'.
He efficiently performed 'Bir Naam', Nibir Kirtan', 'Ghosa', 'Holi Geet', Nao Khelor Geet' and 'Borgeet' at the All India Radio's Gauhati centre. He also spread Xatriya culture in different parts of India such as West Bengal, Delhi, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc. In particular, he was famous across the state for his rendition of 'Holi Geet'.
Dev Sarma also gave sermons on religious philosophy among the Scheduled Caste-Tribes and downtrodden sections of society.
Apart from the Srimanata Sankardeva Award, during his lifetime Dev Sarma received the Jibanjora Sanskritik Sadhana Award, Sri Sri Daittari Thakur Dev Bota, Sri Sri Mathura Das Burha Ata Bota, Sankar-Madhav Bota, Howly Bota, Majuli Badla Padma Ata Bota etc.
The Burha Xatriya is survived by a son, two daughters and grandchildren.