Debika Saikia
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Dr. Debika Saikia

She treasured many poems, many dreams, and boundless love in the casket of her heart…She never got exhausted of listening to the unheard melodies of the red, blue and green flowers…. But time was much more healing to take her bound to cease everything…She had prayed to the Almighty to give her peace before she died….

Dr. Debika Saikia, the woman with an indomitable and immense power of work, the woman whose creations mirror and reflect the gravity and dignity of her nation, was born in an aristocratic, dignified and culturally rich family of Titabar, Jorhat on 20 October,1926. Her father was Sri Kanaknath Saikia and her mother was Srimati Niradabala Saikia. She was married to Sri Debendranath Saikia of Naali, Dhekuajuli on 11 December, 1953. Dr. Debika Saikia started her educational life in Jorhat itself. She passed her HSLC from Jorhat Girl’s High School. She passed her IA from Jagannath Barooah College, Jorhat and completed her BA in St. Mary’s College in Shillong in the year 1953. In the year 1957, she obtained her graduation in Hindi from Asom Rashtrabhasha Prasar Samitee. Dr. Saikia did her master’s degree in Assamese from Guwahati University in the year 1963. In the year 1965, she did her PhD from Guwahati University. The topic in which she accomplished her research was ‘Development of Elementary Education in Khasi and Jaintia Hills.’ Dr. Saikia passed in a conclusive course in Khasi language from the North east Hills University in the year 1977. She completed her Diploma course in Montessori Method of Training from the Oxford College of Education, Kolkata. Not only this, she also participated in several refreshers course, workshops and conference in various subjects and topics.

Dr. Saikia had been working as a senior journalist in Media and Mass Communication, Assam since 1957 to 20 February, 1965. Formerly, she worked as the Secretary of Mass Communication, Assam in Shillong. This was the beginning of Dr. Saikia’s vibrant and colourful working life. As an educationalist, Dr. Saikia bore a very brilliant and versatile career.  She joined as a professor in department of Assamese in Sankardeb College and worked there till 20 October, 1996. She had been working as a professor in Assamese in the Post Graduate College in Shillong since 1972 to 1990. She also worked as a part time professor in many colleges such as Christian College, Borapani and St. Edmunds College, Shillong.

Establishment of educational institutions spread of education and teaching, these were the three objectives of Dr. Saikia’s life. With these primary goals in her mind, she initiated the foundation of the Kamala Nehru Institution in Shillong in the year 1964. Her indomitable spirit and desperate efforts led to the foundation of three educational institutions in Jorhat. They are – Boparam Saikia Pre Primary Child Welfare Centre (1987); Sarudoi Saikia Women Training College (1994); and junior Colleg (1996). In the year 1994, she started a training centre for primary education, namely, he Kanaknath Dutta Saikia Shiksha Niketan. Later, this centre came to be known as the Kanaknath Dutta Saikia Junior College. This junior college was the pioneer of junior colleges in Assam.  Sarudoi Saikia Primary School was established in the memory of Dr. Saikia’s mother-in-law in the year 1964. She devoted herself completely in the development of these institutions after she had returned from Shillong. At this time, she worked as a lecturer in the Women training College in Jorhat.

In addition to these, Dr. Saikia also had the pound privilege found several welfare institutions for women and children, pre primary schools, primary Middle English school and High School in Meghalaya and Assam. Dr. Saikia had been working ceaselessly for the mental development of women and children of different strata of society funded many institutions and by accomplishing awareness programmes. She was privileged to be the first establishing member of ‘Maina Parijaat’, the renowned children organisation of Assam. In addition to this, as a children loving personality, she actively participated and initiated the foundation of Bharatiya Shishu Kalyan Parishad, Jorhat Children Library with a motive of entire and overall development of children. As a human being, Dr. Saikia was equally co-operative and sympathise toward the women. She always encouraged women to step forward to make exposure of the field of literature and culture. Dr. Saikia was an active member of the Sodou Asom Lekhika Somaroh Samitee. She took the initiative to found the Assam and Shillong branch of the Indian Social Welfare Council and East Indian Women Conference. She was an active member of the Axom Bhaxa Bigyan Samitee. She visited the Soviet Russia in the year 1973 as the representative of a cultural troop from India.

Dr. Debika Saikia started her career as a litterateur at a very young age when she was in school. The anthology of poems entitled “Smritir Arghyaa” is the outcome of her craves and appetite for his literary taste. She edited a college magazine called “Chatri Arghya” when she was studying in J.B. College in Jorhat. She also wrote a few books in that period while her poems, plays, short stories and articles were being published in many magazines and newspapers. Her works contributed a lot to the field of Assamese literature. They are a part of the wealth in the reassure of Assamese literature. Her article entitled ‘Jorhator Samaj, Sahitya Sanskriti Mohilar Abadan, published in ‘Jorhat 200’ in the year 1997 gives a vivid and accurate scenario of the women in Jorhat at that time. She also contributed a lot to the Hindi literature by composing poems and articles in Hindi. She was awarded the ‘Vidyalankar’ by Vishwabharati Vidyapith of Agra in the year 1975 for her immense contribution to the national integration of India. She published two books in English while a few of her articles are yet to be published. The names of the published books of Dr. Saikia are as follows:-

1.    Sundarar Saundarya Bisari (1985)

2.    Amak Puhor Diya (1985)

3.    Sonar Champaphul (11 February,1988)

4.    Amak Amrit Diya (11 February, 1988)

5.    Maramar Mou Mitha Axomiya Bhaxa (1922)

6.    Smritir Arghya

7.    Shishu Kalyan Aru Puak Prathaamik Shiksha Putiska

8.    Development of Elementary education in Khasi and Jaintia Hills (1984)

9.    A Profile of Meghalaya (1984)

There are eighteen poems in the book ‘Sundarar Saundarya Bisari’. Among them the poem ‘Naba Jugamiya Kari Itihash Rosibo Dhunia’ is remarkable. The poem seems to be an outcry of the poetess’ inner grief and anger in restless society –

“Sabhyatar ajir jugato

Muhuhar hato aji

Tejere rangoli

Seka laga aji manuhor pran

Tothapio manuhor gay joygan.”

Dr. Saikia’s poems are the portrayal of pure and genuine feelings of true human life. This is what she draws very effectively in the poem ‘Anubhav’ in the same book-

“Tumito dekhisa robhu

Manuhe je manuhor

Manobota budh aji

Pelale pahori

Nijor sontane ahi

Matrik kore apaman”

There is another poem in the book, entitled Prithibihkhon Jilike’,where she says-

Narir astitwa mathu

Naritie loy pay

Kotojoni gabhoru nariye

Puruxor nishpeshan

Shahi oktore

Kandi kai

Ojagore xomoy kotay.

Her book ‘Amak Puhor Diya’, a collection of eighteen short poems, is a perfect representation of the simplicity, thoughts, views and notions of a child’s mind. In her own words, “boga podumor pahir dore pabitra kumol monor shishuborak mosi ataitkoi bhal paun”, she expresses her deep love for children.

The last poem of this collection is remarkable where the poetess represents herself as a child to express the inner feeling of her heart in the following way-

Kator bhabere minoti korisu

Sundarar phul

Sakoloke tumi diba

Prithibit thoka pratikhoni ghar

Tumar jyotire

Tumiyei puboraba

‘Amak Amrit Diya’ is another collection of poems by Dr. Saikia where she composes twenty-eight short poems. All the poems in the book are a glowing tribute to the renowned children litterateur, poet and artist – Bokurani Phukan. Dr. Saikia pays her homage to this poet through the poems in the book. All the poems in the book are based on child psychology.

Morom monere thakiba hodai

Monot nethake dukh

Morome tumak dibohi xahox

Hepahe dibohi xukh.

There is another collection of poems by Dr. Saikia entitled ‘Moromor Mou Mitha Axomiya Bhaxa’. The most striking feature of this book is that each of the poems is written in four lines. The most remarkable poems among them are Moromor Mitha Bhaxa, Natun Jun, Uronia Sorai, Morom Bilaba, Ramdhenur Rang, Moromote Xukh Paba, Xukhor Thai, etc. All these poems are the manifestations of various themes and subjects.

Development of Elementary Education in Khasi and Jaintia Hills’ is a research book of Dr. Debika Saikia. There are six data based, theoretical chapters in this book which gave us numerous information about the system of primary education, curriculum, training of education of Khasi and Jaintia Hills.  In addition to this, ‘A Profile of Meghalay’ is a similar book of Dr. Saikia which provides documentaries of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills and Meghalaya with maps and five data based lists.

Dr. Debika Saikia, the woman who gave human values always a superior position in her life, who was a source of indomitable work power, died on 11 June, 1997 when he was 63 years old. But death could not shadow her greatness and qualities as a true human being. In the words of the poet Hiren Bhattacharya:-

“Mrityuu to eta shilpa,

Jibonor kothin shilat kota

Nirluv  bhaskarjya.”

 

 

 
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