Guwahati: Rich tributes are being paid to Assamese cultural doyen Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala whose death anniversary is being celebrated today as Shilpi Divas across the state.
A poet of great brilliance, a musician of rare calibre, an artist, an ardent revolutionary and a humanist Jyotiprasad was born on June 17, 1903. The pioneer of Assamese film industry who made the first Assamese movie ‘Joymoti’ in 1935, died on January 17, 1951.
Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma took to Twitter to pay his homage to Agarwala.
আধুনিক অসমীয়া সমাজ, সংস্কৃতি আৰু সাহিত্যৰ এগৰাকী অন্যতম ৰূপকাৰ জ্যোতিপ্ৰসাদ আগৰৱালাদেৱ আছিল আমাৰ আপোন ৰূপকোঁৱৰ৷ অসমৰ জনজীৱনলৈ সীমাহীন অৱদান আগবঢ়োৱা জ্যোতিৰ জ্যোতিয়ে অসমৰ জনজীৱন আলোকিত কৰক চিৰদিন-চিৰকাল৷ পৱিত্ৰ পুণ্যতিথি ‘শিল্পী দিৱস’ত সুন্দৰৰ পূজাৰীক জনাইছোঁ সশ্ৰদ্ধ প্ৰণিপাত৷ pic.twitter.com/A1hM26RJfu
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) January 17, 2022
Assam Sahitya Sabha organised several events across the state to commemorate the lumineer’s contribution to the field of art and culture.
Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was the ‘Rupkonwar’ of Assam who was the first filmmaker, belonging from the Marwar of Rajasthan. His forefather arrived in Assam in 1811 from Rajasthan but he was truly an Assamese from his heart. He has contributed a lot to his birthplace.
He is regarded as the Assamese cultural icon and gained the title of ‘Rupkonwar’ of the state. He was a notable writer who has constituted in several dramas, films, songs, and poems. He had a creative vision and his words were cherished by lakhs of people that his name is still pinned in everyone’s heart.
He was born on June 17, 1903, in the Tamulbari tea estate of Dibrugarh, Assam. His father was Paramananda Agarwala and his mother was Kiranmayee.
He was very patriotic and he joined the freedom movement during his school days. He was completely involved in the freedom movement and he was also imprisoned for around fifteen months and was charged a penalty of Rs. 500 for active participation in the struggles of freedom. Since childhood itself, he was exposed to nationalist ideas, and his outlook was intensely influenced by the freedom struggle against British rule.
He was actively participating in the freedom struggle and when Gandhi visited Assam in 1921, he dwelled in Prasad’s home which was the first concrete home in Tezpur named as ‘Poki’ and later becomes a place for meeting.
Jyoti Prasad was a celebrated writer 14 years of age. During that time, he wrote the well-known plays ‘Sonit-Konwari’ and ‘Joymoti’ in collaboration with the ‘Kolaguru’ Bishnu Prasad Rabha. In 1934, he established the Chitaraban Studio at the Bholaguri Tea Estate in Tezpur.
In 1935, he began his first film making career and produced his first-ever Assamese film, ‘Joymoti’ and he became the first filmmaker of the state. In 1937, he launched a movie theatre named ‘Junaki’ in Tezpur. His second film was ‘Indramalati’ in 1939 which gained much popularity during that period. He also republished a newspaper named ‘Asomiya’ which was shut down in 1944.
He was a renowned poet and his valuable words were immortal and still remembered in the present era. He was also a noteworthy songwriter and wrote about 300 songs and provided music to most people. His collections are known as ‘Jyoti Sanjeet’ which itself became a genre of music in the future days and will always be evergreen. He used to love children and wrote a lot of stories for them. Several well-known plays written by him include Ligiri, Lobhita, Rupalim, Karenghar, and many more.
He got married in the year 1936 to Devajani Bhuyan, his wife who stood by his side throughout his life. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala has a creative mind and was an expert in almost everything so he aptly gained the title of the ‘Cultural Icon’ of Assam. He was the founder of the Assamese film industry and his movies were distinct and made bold political statements that have greatly influenced the mindset of people even now.
He also offered opportunities to several women to act as the lead role in his movies. He contributed a lot to art and culture, the emancipation of women and their social and political independence is still felt in the state. He was truly an inspiration for all of us.