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Cultural Program and Activities in NJ

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To accommodate the needs of the growing number of young people in the Assamese community in Northeastern USA, an information-rich cultural program was organized at the Bridgewater Public Library on August 23, 2003. "This is a program for kids of various age groups below 16 years old", according to the organizers: Satyajit Dutta, Purandar Sarmah, Sankumani Sarmah and Sanjay Saikia. "Currently we are planning items like recitation of poems, singing, musical performance, discussion of scientific topics, training in public speaking, instrument playing, dance performance, acting or anything else you can think of" - said the four hosts in an email circulated to members of the community.

About 20 Assamese kids from New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts and their parents attended this first session of the program. At the outset, Satyajit and Jolly Dutta introduced the children to the audience. They were encouraged to say a few words, sing a song or do any acting while introducing themselves. Reema Rajbonshi, a recent graduate of Harvard and her sister, Ruby who is a final-year undergraduate student at MIT, held an informative quiz about Assam and the Assamese that was appropriate for the age of the children. Poonam Bordoloi led a short session in interactive story telling and rhyming. Rahul Kalita, a sophomore at Northwestern University, presented a story on the life of Mahatma Gandhi and noted that Martin Luther King derived inspiration from Gandhi.

At the end of the program books were presented to each of the participants to encourage good reading habits. Mahesh Kalita of NJ donated a few of these books; others were purchased by the organizers. School supplies like pen and pencil were distributed as well. Pizza was served for a quick lunch.

Finally, there was an open discussion in which it was decided to make this a monthly program. Senior members of the community and visitors from Assam also participated in the discussion.

(Contrubuted by Jukti Kalita, NJ)