The Rich Tapestry of Famous Poets of Assam

The Rich Tapestry of Famous Poets of Assam

Assam's literary tradition, particularly its poetry, has been shaped by renowned poets. Their contributions have not only enriched Assamese literature but also reflected the region's cultural and emotional landscapes.

Assam, Literature, Poetry, Lakshminath Bezbarua, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Hiren Bhattacharyya, Nabakanta Barua, Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Assamese Cinema, Sahitya Akademi Award, Cultural Heritage, Roxoraj, Kalaguru, Jonaki Era Assam, Literature, Poetry, Lakshminath Bezbarua, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Hiren Bhattacharyya, Nabakanta Barua, Bishnu Prasad Rabha, Assamese Cinema, Sahitya Akademi Award, Cultural Heritage, Roxoraj, Kalaguru, Jonaki Era

Assam, a verdant jewel in the northeastern part of India, boasts a cultural heritage as diverse and colorful as its landscapes. One of the most enchanting aspects of Assamese culture is its literary tradition, with poets playing a pivotal role in shaping the region's artistic identity. In this exploration, we will journey through the lives and works of some of the famous poets who have left an indelible mark on Assamese literature.

Lakshminath Bezbarua

Born on 14th November 1864 Lakshminath Bezbarua was an Assamese poet, novelist and playwright of modern Assamese literature. He was one of the literary stalwarts of the Jonaki Era, the age of romanticism in Assamese literature when through his essays, plays, fiction, poetry and satires, he gave a new impetus to the then stagnating Assamese literary caravan.

Bezbaroa was honoured by a unique title on 29 December 1931 as Roxoraj by Asam Sahitya Sabha at its Sibsagar session. In the felicitation letter by Asam Sahitya Sabha, the word 'Sahityarathi' was used for the first time for Bezbarua. He was also the founding president of the Asom Chattra Sanmilan (All-Assam Students' Conference) at Latashil, Guwahati in 1916.

He presided over the 7th annual session of Assam Sahitya Sabha held at Guwahati in 1924.[9]
He died in Dibrugarh on 26 March at the age of seventy four only a few months after he went back to live in Assam permanently. The Asom Sahitya Sabha annually observes this day Sahitya Divas.

Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was born on 17 June 1903 to an Agrawal family, to Paramananda Agarwala and Kiranmoyee Devi at Tamulbari Tea Estate. He was a noted Indian playwright, songwriter, poet, writer and film maker from Assam. He was considered as Assamese cultural icon, deeply revered for his creative vision and output and is popularly called the Rupkonwar of Assamese culture. In fact, he is regarded as the founder of Assamese cinema for Joymoti (1935).

 His notable poems are ‘Bhoot puwali’, ‘Akoman Lora’, ‘Akomani’s Prayers.’ Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s outstanding contribution to a children’s literature is Jyoti Ramayana and Ghura Dangoria. Jyoti Prasad narrated the story of Ramayana for children through poems in Ramayana.

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was a brilliant star in the Assamese poetry world. Each of his poems was a combination of a nationalist ideology, revolutionary thinking, consciousness of humanity and modern consciousness. Agarwala left this world on January 17,1951 at the age of 48. On this day “Artist’s Day(Silpi Divas)” is celebrated every year as memory of Agarwala. 

Hiren Bhattacharyya

Hiren Bhattacharyya was born in Jorhat, Assam in the year 1932. He was  popularly known as Hiruda, was an Indian poet and lyricist best for his works in the Assamese literature. He had innumerable works published in Assamese and achieved many prizes and accolades for his poetry.

His poetry collections published in Assamese are ‘Bivhina Dinar Kabita/Poems of Different Days ‘ (1974), ‘Kabitar Rod’ (1977), ‘Hugondhi Pokhilaa’ (1981), ‘Shish Pathar Manuh’ (1981), ‘Mur Prio Bornomala’, ‘Vhalpuar Bukah Mati’, ‘Mur Desh Aru Mur Premor Kobita’ ‘Vhalpua Dishau Batere’, ‘Bachakaviniya Kavita’, ‘Hugondha Hipah’, ‘From roots to leaves’, etc.  In addition, Bhattacharya’s Bengali-language poetry collections are ‘Junaki Man Aru Onyaina’, ‘Grain Fields and Others/Haishyar Mitha Aru Onyaina’.

Hiren Bhattacharya, who fascinated countless readers with his distinctive poetry style, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1992 for his poem ‘Sahis Pathar Manuh’. He also received the Bajalini Award of the Indian Language Council in 1993 for his collection of poems. In 2012, Bhattacharyya died at hospital due to undergoing treatment for lung and urinary infection since 14 June.

Nabakanta Barua

Nabakanta Barua was born 29 December 1926 in Guwahati to Nilakanta Barua, a school inspector and later teacher, and Swarnalata Baruani. He was a prominent Assamese novelist and poet. He was also known as Ekhud Kokaideu. 

The poet worked at AK College in Uttar Pradesh. He also joined Cotton College and worked there till 1964. He also worked as an officer of English education at Assam Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad. Barua was considered the renaissance of modern poetry in Assam. Barua’s writings were most contemporary of its time. He started his career in writings, mostly poems, during the World War II and boomed around post-independence phase. 

The Sahitya Akademi Award winner’s “Kokadeutar har” is referred to as all time classics. He wrote 5 novels. He also wrote essays and short stories for children. His several collections include “Ratnakar”, “Raban”, “Jati aru Keitaaman Sketch”, “Mor aru Prithibir”, “Dolongot Taamighora”.  His works have also been translated to different languages.

Among his most noteworthy and popular poems are included in the book “Kapiliparia sadhu”. He wrote eleven poems. The most important poems of Barua are “Polokh”, “Monot pore Arundhati”, “Norokot Don Juan” and “Crussot don Juan”. In 1984 he published the Assamese magazine “Sirolu” which later published as “Notun sirolu”.

Bishnu Prasad Rabha

Bishnu Prasad Rabha was a multifaceted artist and revolutionary singer of Assam. He was a singer, poet, dancer, actor, music composer, playwright and great artist that Assam has ever produced. He was also an eminent freedom fighter and played an active role in the freedom struggle of the country.  He is popularly known as ‘Kalaguru’ (teacher of arts). He is the Leonardo da Vinchi of Assam for his immense contribution in the field of music. Bishnu Prasad Rabha was born on January 31, 1909, in Dhaka. Kalaguru started his primary education in Bengali medium in Dhaka. After shifting to Assam he started his high school education in Tezpur Government high school. He went to Calcutta for higher education. 

Bishnu Prasad Rabha was a revolutionary. He always fought for the downtrodden. In almost all the works of Kalaguru the interest of the weaker section of the society finds expression. Kalaguru was concerned about the uplift and liberation of the weaker sections. Bishnu Rabha’s masterpiece was “bano Kobang”. 
Kalaguru passed away in 1969. The 20th of June every year is celebrated as ‘Bishnu Rabha diwas’ in Assam.

The legacy of Assamese poetry is a vibrant tapestry woven with threads of tradition, social consciousness, and contemporary exploration. Lakshminath Bezbarua, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Hiren Bhattacharyya, Nabakanta Barua, and Bishnu Prasad Rabha among others have sculpted this intricate fabric with their unique voices and perspectives. As we immerse ourselves in their verses, we embark on a journey through the cultural and emotional landscapes of Assam, discovering the essence of a region where poetry is not merely an art form but a reflection of life itself. The verses of these poets continue to echo, connecting readers to the heartbeats of Assamese culture and leaving an everlasting imprint on the literary heritage of the land.

Edited By: Krishna Medhi
Published On: Feb 20, 2024