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documentary film on Swami Vivekananda in Assam

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The Sentinel

12th january 2004


City set for treat on Vivekananda's visit


By a Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Jan 11: A group of young film-makers, social activists and

noted intellectuals have made a documentary film on the historic


of Swami Vivekananda to Assam in 1901. The film will include footages

of locations at Dhubri, Guwahati and Shillong, where he had stayed,


well as interviews of descendants of those few people with whom

Vivekananda was in close contact during his visit.


The 25-minute English language film, titled A Look Back in Wonder,

has been directed by Dilip Gosai, produced by the Sanskriti Vikas

Sanchar Kendra (SVSK) and presented by the Vivekananda Kendra,

Guwahati. It will be screened on the occasion of World Youth Day on

January 12 by the Kendra.


In 1901, Swami Vivekananda, at 38 years already India's leading

socio-spiritual reformer and the country's best-known cultural

ambassador abroad, reached Dhubri by steamer from Dhaka, accompanied

by his mother and disciples. After staying at the steamer ghat there,

the group proceeded up-river to Guwahati.


"He stayed at the Kamakhya temple for three days and prayed there.

The group stayed at the house of Sivakanta and Lakshmikanta Panda,


priests at the temple," revealed Dilip Gosai, talking to The


The film contains a talk with Niranjan Panda, a descendent of the

hosts, as well as scenic shots of the ghat and the river at Dhubri. A

500 year-old Gurudwara and a 19th century Brahmo Samaj temple near


ghat were also filmed.


"At Guwahati, Swamiji addressed four meetings including one at

Sonaram High School and another at the then newly-established Cotton

College," revealed Dr Dipankar Banerjee of the Department of History,

Gauhati University, who did extensive research on the visit, for the



The great spiritual leader was much impressed by what he saw of

Assam. "Assam is the most beautiful place in India, next only to

Kashmir," he wrote in a letter dated July 5, 1901, to Mary, one of




Vivekananda then made an arduous journey over difficult hilly terrain

to Shillong, the then capital of Assam. The journey then used to take

three days by horse-drawn cart, according to Dr Banerjee.


"He stayed there for two weeks, and during this period came in touch

with Sir Henry Cotton, Chief Commissioner of Assam," Gosai added.

Another important aspect of Vivekananda's visit was the deep

impression he cast on his hosts, including Henry Cotton.


The film, besides containing footage of the places and institutions

during that historical visit, also have scenic shots of the area

around the Brahmaputra.


Prof. Dilip Kumar Barua, former Dean of Cotton College, has provided

the narration to the documentary, while the camera-work has been

executed by Jayesh Das, who has also written the script.


The screening of the documentary is a part of a slew of programmes

scheduled for World Youth Day on January 12, including a speech by Dr

Khound, who was a member of the team led by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam,

which had conducted the nuclear tests in Pokhran in 1998


VKIC Guwahati


--- End forwarded message ---

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