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Mr. Shlur Nongbri

THE UNSUNG HERO

Mr. Shlur Nongbri has been hailed as the most illustrious football player of the fifties and sixties in North East India. Those who have been fortunate enough to watch him in action often find themselves at a loss for words when asked to describe his performances on the field. ?Once he had possession of the ball, it didn?t matter how many defenders threw themselves at him, his swift legs and deftness ensured he?d always get a good shot,? reminisces Wahingdoh resident Lber F. Nalle.  

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Violence-hit areas still tense

Violence in AssamOver a month has gone by since another spell of violent clashes between the Bodo tribe and Muslim community bled three districts under Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and parts of adjoining Dhubri district of Assam leaving over 80 dead and driving over four lakhs out of home. Still the tension is palpable in the area that has been kept guarded through heavy deployment of paramilitary forces while Army has remained on standby. Sporadic incidents of shoot out and violence continued reflecting that the inter-community hatred that triggered the riot run very deep.

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ULFA Peace Talks

Progress Amid Hurdles

By Swati Deb

It is a case of a glass half full or a glass half empty. The beauty ofa thing lies in the eye of the beholder.This paradoxical kind of situation, the ‘pro-talk faction’ of ULFA finds itself in is undoubtedly its own making and, it will be erroneous to find fault with that too.

In what is already being dubbed by the Paresh Barua faction of the ULFA as a ‘sell out’, a neo-pragmatic approach on the other hand is that the flexibility of Arabinda Rajkhowa and his team marked the beginning of a formal political dialogue with the Government of India. As they say, ‘The ice has been broken’.

The reference is to ULFA’s announcement in New Delhi on the 5th of August, 2011 that “sovereignty does not mean secession”.

A seven-member delegation of ULFA led by its Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa submitted a 12-point ‘broad charter of negotiations’ to the Union Home Secretary R. K Singh while indicating that it has given up its original demand of freedom for ‘Aai Asom’.

Fielding questions from journalists after the meeting, the suave ULFA Foreign Secretary Shasadhar Choudhury dispelled notions of ‘compromising on sovereignty’ demand but maintained in the same breath that, “sovereignty does not mean secession”.

“In fact, ULFA movement never started with the goal of secession ….. it was to ensure the respect of motherland and the indigenous people,” he said tongue-in-cheek.

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The Passing of an Icon

Although I have nothing to do with controversial Sathya Sai Baba, who has left his physical presence at his hometown in Ananatpur District of Andhra Pradesh aged 85 after struggling between life and death, I joined millions of people across the globe in mourning the demise of one of the prominent religious teachers having followers and professional institutions across the world. Even those who are critical of him for his cocktail of religion and magic called ‘Chamatkar’ will admit that the institutions constituted by him and at his instance have contributed singularly to various walks of life. It will not be an exaggeration to say that perhaps he is ranked among the top religious teachers in terms of setting up socio-educational and professional institutions during their earthly sojourns besides creating direct and indirect jobs for several lakhs of people through these institutions.

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Weavers of Sualkuchi The Spin in the Tale

The approaching of Christmas in Meghalaya indicates that it is time for a class of skilled weavers in Assam’s silk village Sualkuchi to move the shuttles of their looms faster. It is during this time of the year that these weavers of this textile hub, about 150km off Meghalaya’s capital Shillong, get to display their weaving skill on specially designed looms to weave traditional Khasi female dresses with vibrant colours and motifs.

Sualkuchi, known for its centuries old tradition of weaving Assamese silk-products and having world recognition for its unique handloom products, is also successfully producing traditional Khasi silk textile for ages. The annual trade of the traditional Khasi dresses made of mulberry silk in this silk village now runs into several crores.

Hara Kumar Baishya, an entrepreneur living in Phulbari Pahar area near the River Police Station of Sualkuchi has seven handlooms at his home that produce, on an average, 200 pieces of Khasi women’s attire in Mulberry silk, a month. For generations, this traditional weaver’s family has been associated with the skill and today, on an average, he gets Rs 1,600/ for every piece of such silk products, he tells Eastern Panorama.

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