A group of Bodo students of Bengtol Don Bosco Higher Secondary School, who are also the victims of insurgency in Chirang district of Assam formed a School Brass Band team which is the first ever from Assam to be selected to take part in the R-Day celebrations in New Delhi.
The band has been doing rehearsals in the national capital for the last few days so that they can leave a mark of perfection at the Republic day celebrations. The team had also undergone 10 days training in Narangi Army camp in Guwahati and further 20 days conditioning and other training in Delhi before final participation in the R-day celebrations.
“Tears welled up in my eyes when I saw the young team performing and that too in such a distant corner of the country,” said noted educationist and provincial of the Guwahati Salesian Province, Fr VM Thomas, the man behind the idea of constituting the brass band team comprising boys and girls.
The 45-cadet band saw a phenomenal rise in just two years after its formation in 2016. The band came into the limelight when it caught everyone’s imagination at the state-level Republic Day celebrations. Impressed with their performance, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal was keen to give them a bigger platform.
As most of the members are from the victim families of insurgency or ethnic clash, Fr Thomas expressed hope that the youth brigade-mostly comprising Bodo youths-can rightly be called the messengers of peace and harmony.
“Not a single family from Bengtol was untouched by insurgency that was at its peak in the 1990s. Many of the participants have seen how violence ravaged the Bodo-insurgency hit areas in western Assam. It’s heartening that from such an erstwhile bastion of militancy, the youngsters have come forward to contribute towards nation-building,” said Thomas.