Around some special days like international women’s day, for example, I tend to look back on all the powerful women of my life. That does not mean that I don’t think of them otherwise though..! But yes, special days evoke special remembrance. In this process, it gives me immense happiness to start with someone who made me even to bring such thought processes into my mind. She is my ‘Ma’, my mom – a powerful woman with multiple strengths. Here I bring one of her strengths, which is my most favourite also, i.e. her writings.
Recently her book ‘Bibah Paddhati Aru Biyanam’ has been published. It is about wedding rituals and songs associated with the rituals. The book is written in Assamese. On a personal note, the draft of the book was ready almost 4 years back. Me as her adviser daughter, thought of bringing this work to the popular culture on a different level, delayed the whole process. The thought continued though, but could not be got executed. Finally, her tantrum to get it at any form, at any cost and made all of us (her children) to put effort and hence the current form! This brings another realisation – so much of resources have been awaiting untold! Ma has written about wedding rituals but not in details. She made it clear that the rituals should be left open to the people the way they are inheriting the oral traditions and continuing among them. Instead, she focused on the procedures involved with executing those rituals and how aural traditions get fit into those procedures. The work includes a description of the procedures, relevance of the songs to those procedures, song narrations and some wedding images. It is a complete documentation of an aural tradition of the caste population of the upper Assam region. Ma hereby connects herself to her root. It is a complete ready work to serve as a handbook or manual for people who keep interests in following their traditions and customs but not very clear about those.
It needs strengths and power to pen down wedding songs, which is an aural tradition. A tradition that is overpowered by women. In other words, it is an attempt by a woman to document a women song genre. A woman picking an element from the women domain which are continuing aurally. Only someone with deep insight can attempt to do so. This is my personal belief and expects a response from my readers in affirmation.
Therefore I take this opportunity around women’s day to salute a woman who is my ‘Ma’ for scribbling an aural tradition to the literary world. Interestingly, this also marks the beginning of the process of sonic preservation of an aural tradition. Another project underway! Stay tuned!!