The Assami literature having been deeply influenced by the Vaishnavite religious sect, we find similar prominence being given to Vaishnavite themes in the Assami dramas. But with the coming of the British rule in India and the spread of new liberal reformist ideas a new trend set in. The wellknown playwright Barva who had himself married a widow, presented in 1857 a play 'Ramnavami' in Assami portraying the theme of widow re-marriage.

In Guwahati the first theatre hall was built. Thereafter theaters were built in Golghat, Tezpur, Sibsagar, Nagaon. Translations of Shakespeare's plays were now staged in these theatres. In their repertoire were included plays by Ibsen, Bernard Shaw and Galsworthy. Among the works of Assami playwrights Chakravarti Someshwar's 'ABHIMAN', Chaliha Padmadhar's 'AMARLEELA' (based on Romeo and Juliet) are worthy of mention. In 1924 Talukdar Devchandra's 'PRATIBHA' which had 60 scenes was staged. Under the impact of the Gandhian age 'AHUTI', a play by Atulchandra Hazarika was performed. Notable among other writers were Rajkuvar Venudhar, Rajkuvar Shailadhar and Ahinalchandra Choudhary whose plays written in modern style were staged.

With the advent of freedom (1947) modern ideas and techniques made their entries in Assami drama. Among the new crop of playwrights, Prabin Fukan's 'MAHIRAM DIWAN' and Piyali Fukan, Abdul Malik's 'Rajdrohi', Uttam Barua's 'JERENGAR SAT' and Buraiya Phuleshwari were noteworthy. The remarkable thread in these plays is that the women in these plays revolt against the AHOM rulers. In plays such as Girish Chowdhary's 'Meena Bazar' and 'Lakshidhar Chowdhary's '"NEEMILA ANK" economic problems of the middle class are debated.

Jyotiprasad Agarwal is considered a rebel dramatist. His "SHONITKUMARI" and "KARANGAR LEEGEERI'" are notable plays; in his another play "NIBADAN BHATTACHARYA" there is a touch of the most modern dramatic art. His "AAHAR" is equally remarkable, while in his "PURUSH" there is a strong reflection of Indian philosophy. Following the traditions of Assami folk drama "Ankiya Naat", the writers Hemendra Barthakur, Mahendra Barthakur, Ratna Oza, Arup Chakravarti and others have experimented in their plays. There are many drama theaters, many drama groups in Assam among whom prominent are Shefali Yuvak Samaj, Bapuje Bhawan Natya Samiti, Rupam and Samalay Natya Natghar.The contribution of Assami theater to the Indian drama world is significant.

A Note

The information presented here in respect of the Assami Theatre has been gathered from available sources. It has been like an attempt to gather pearls from the ocean. It is possible that some happenings, names of some dramas and dramatists and drama artists may have been left out. For our lack of knowledge we seek your forgiveness and at the same time request the experts in this field to draw our attention to any errors or mistakes by writing to us the correct details. We assure you such corrections will be promptly carried out.

Further the names of dramas, playwrights and drama artists who are listed here are not in any order of priority of their qualities or achievements but only with a view to present the information as it has been gathered.

Lastly we once again request you to send in your suggestions, information etc. in respect of Assami dramas and thereby enrich this humble record of the Assami Theatre.


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