43rd Assam Convention Brings Generations Together

Houston: After two years of virtual conventions, the Assamese community in North America gathered in Houston, reuniting relatives, rekindling life-long friendships, welcoming new families and sharing the rich culture of Northeast India’s state of Assam.    The 43rd Assam convention began on Friday July 1st and after two days of cultural activities and fantastic social interactions, concluded with guest singers from Assam and everyone dancing the famous Assamese Bihu dance.   Attended by over 350 people from the US, Canada and India, this was the 43rd year that Assamese families got together to celebrate their beautiful home state, and the Houston families were happy to be the hosts, sharing their Houston hospitality.   Mrs. Pallabita Bhuyan, president of the Assam Association of North America (AANA) was the lead organizer and the effort was jointly sponsored by AANA, the Assam Foundation of North America (AFNA) and Assam Sahitya Sabha, North America.

The Hyatt Regency, Houston West was a great venue for families to reunite, catch up on recent family events as well as to meet those who recently came to the US.   The hotel halls and foyers were brightened with beautiful ladies wearing the traditional Mekhela chadors made of Assamese muga and paat silks in the most modern colors and styles.  Gentlemen wore Assamese styled kurtas highlighted with the famous red and white Assamese gamosa.

Cultural events spanned over six centuries starting with Assam’s classical dance form known as Sattriya Dance and classical opera known as Bhaona with a thread bearer (known as Sutradhara) created by none other than Mahapurusha Srimanta Sankardev to modern day music and dance forms.  While the cultural events were delighting the audience, traditional Assamese snacks were served along with tea.

Many Houston families brought their specialties including many types of Pitha and Ladoos to the delight of all. To make things even more interesting a special room was set aside for several clothing designers to have a “trunk show” where the most modern fashions from Assam were presented, complimented by Assamese jewelry and a local painter.

Two famous guest singers Bornali Kalita from Diburgh, Assam and Dikshu Sarma from Guwahati, Assam made the long journey from India’s Northeast to thrill the audience with both the classic and modern music.   Many other singers from within the community sang and there was even a chorus competition where over 50 singers competed to show the results of weeks of practice.  The audiences cheered on their uncles, aunties, brothers, sisters and children.

The finale of the convention was highlighted by a very professional fashion show hosted by the guest designers- many of the ladies in attendance became “supermodels” for several hours as they tastefully walked the runway displaying the best of Assamese fashion.

The fashion show was followed by a dinner and a special appearance of Sri Aseem R. Mahajan, Consul General of India to Houston.   Upon arrival, the Consul general was felicitated with a traditional Assamese gamosa.   Sri Mahajan and his guests then enjoyed the evening highlights of the cultural show, including a special Bihu dance performance.  The Consul General had many nice things to say about India’s Northeast and wished the people of Indian Origin to keep up the rich trade of ideas and resources between North America and India.

This year was highlighted with many “three generations” families enjoying the events together. The Assamese community is very proud of the members and carrying on the culture abroad in such an authentic and passionate way.

After 43 years, the second generation “kids” have been bringing the third generation “grandkids” to many conventions too—so during this Houston convention, many grandparents were able to dance with their children and grandchildren, adding to the joy and richness of being Indo-Americans in Houston.