Hema Prabha Saikia
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Hemaprabha Saikia

The poet who wants to make her life lively by adorning it with music is this Hemaprabha Saikia, a silent worshipper of Assamese poetry. Born on 7th July 1928, she was the daughter of Late Dandinath Kalita and late Kamaleswari Kalita. Her father was one of the prominent poets who wrote honors our and satirical poems in Assamese.

Initially they resided at Ketekibari in Tezpur. Later on they moved to their own residence at Lambodor Path. They named their residence ‘Mangalalaya’, in memory of their grandfather. Mangalatam Kalita. She was the eldest of ten children who lived happily in ‘Mangla1aya’. The beautiful natural scenario of Tezpur and healthy cultural environment helped them in building up their mental and physical growth. Born and brought up in the contemporary cultural environment her parent helped and guided her lot to think of life differently. Her father inspired all his children to recite the Sanskrit ‘Slokas’ and it developed their religious thinking. Later in their life they wholeheartedly felt the importance of their father’s teachings. She remembers her mother’s inspiration which helped her to develop her individual personality.

From her childhood days she devoted herself for the enlistment of Assamese literature and culture. So she took it as her aim in life. She wrote poems from an early age.

"Nirobe karilu pon

Kabitare bikashira kori sajam kanon

Pindhi nite nabarange Haba Sayan,

Subashita hoko mur kabita

Nij sristi sani rup monohor

Thoi sobi ski rang bitongar."

(Sonowali Saisab)

(My Poems will enlighten the world, my poems, are like beautiful flowers in a garden, I will leave a foot print by writing colorful poems.)

Like, Hemaprabha her brothers Bibudh Kalita a journalist and a literary person’ Satyaranjan Kalita a detective writer, younger sister Madhuri Kalita Choudhary also contributed a lot to Assamese literature, Unfortunately she lost, her younger brother in an early age. In his memory ‘Hiranyaranjan Granthakuti’ of Tezpur is dedicated to her. In her poems the sorrow of her heart is reflected.

Under the guidance of her father, Hemaprabha was educated at Tezpur. Her father never discriminated between boys and girls, he always had a dream to make his children educated persons. But Hemaprobha did not have any interest in formal education and always tried to get rid of it. She got married at an early age even when she did net complete her high school education. Though she tried to get rid gf formal education she could not, because her husband insisted that she should complete her studies. After marriage she passed her matriculation examination and put an end to her studies.

Although she was not interested in formal education as her father wished yet she had an artistic temperament and got great applause in the literary competitions. In the ‘Sahitya Sabha’ held in Makum, her artistic talent was highly appreciated by the audience. In her whole life she takes great pleasure in her artistic creations.

Hemaprabha’s father who inspired her in her literary works was a famous person. Her father’s inspiration helped her to write poems from an early age. Moreover most of her father’s friends were literary persons who used to visit their home frequently. She remembers that once ‘Bihagi Kabi’ Raghunath Choudhury visited their home and she was surprised to see that such a great man was talking to their father. Of course she was very young to understand their conversation but in her heart she felt joy and pleasure, When she had grown up her father would feel her mind and tried to inspire her to write poems by looking at the little wonders of nature, So, she wrote her first poem at an early age when she was early ten years old.

‘jarat kapi gosliltar Safil phlllpat

Phular saril mukhor hahi, pokhir horil mat.

Sukai khiiiai noi bilor olai paril jaka

Aiiete adin uthil baji dm 'amass aka.

Sei sorotei goslatai pindhile notun Saj

Ahil uri pekhi pokhili, mou bhornurar jak.

Nodi nijgrai khalakani tuli boi gol geet

Sukan pathar seujia hoi, hol kene diplip

(Sitor Seshar Sobi)

(In winter all the leaves fell from the trees, flowers dried up, and the rivers also ‘dried up, but one day spring came and the trees, flowers, birds danced with joys the rivers danced and nature became beautiful)

After writing her first poem she was confident and tried to give shape to her feelings through poems and short stories. Her attraction for literature was one of the reasons for which she started reading books in Assamese, Bengali and many other languages. She was deeply interested in the writings of Ashapurna Devi, Bonful, Maittayee Devi etc. Mostly she was interested in reading the travel stories. She greatly acknowledges her sister who helped her a lot in editing a magazine. At first she took interest in writing short stories but later on she established herself as a poet. Unlike her father she had a dream to write many books which she expressed like –

"Suala bhasare likhi jam moi

Chanda tulika loi,

Saudice uri bilai surabhi

Robo jugarniya hoi"

(Mor Asha)

(My hope is to write many things which will perfume the world and my name will be remembered in this world)

The cultural environment of Tezpur helped her in her creative writings. When she was a student, she showed her talent in all the performances of singing, dancing, painting etc. She had the guidance of her uncle Deban Chaliha in learning music but due to lack of practice later she could not develop this art. But in her heart music had a deep place for music.

Like every other girl she was married to Sri Manik Saikia- Her husband was one of the favorite students of her father.

"Sonar kathir nai prayojan

Nibisaru moi raj sighasan

Bhuban bhulua rupar chamak

Moi bhabu Prahasan"


(I don’t want wealth and to be a queen, beauty of the mind is important for me)

This was her thinking when she got married in 1944. As her husband was a govt. servant she had to travel from one place to another. She got no opportunity to write poems and her creative thinking was hampered. Due to lack of environment and interest she totally engaged herself in the household works. Arup, Ashim and Aruna were born and they lighted up their family. She became busy with the household works. Her husband encouraged her a lot but she could not write anything. After a long gap of twenty years she again devoted herself in writing poems and lyrics and continued her journey. She was dissatisfied with her eldest son who did not try for medical course and studied philosophy so she wrote a poem-

"Bhul korili toi mohabhul korili

Put logic loi ki kam korili

Doctor ba engineer kiya nahali

Philosophy loi toi mahabhul korili"

(Putra loi)

(You have done wrong by taking philosophy as a subject. Why didn’t you become a doctor or engineer?)

Although her children did not study the subjects as she wished, still they grew up with good educational qualification and also became good human beings.

They were established permanently in Tinsukia since 1974, though she came to Tinsukia in 1964 with her husband. Now she was almost free from her household bindings as all her children were grown up. The aim of her life, to be a great poetess and lyricist never left her and she engaged herself in creative writings. In the 70’s she published "Sukula Pahir Subhas Sishi", ‘Runjun Nupurar Dhwani", and in 1972 she published ‘lndramalati. There are many unpublished works of her. Some of her writings were lost due to her carelessness. Now her husband had collected her writings and they will be published. They are ‘stories for children’, ‘Rinkumonir Santrash’ Bhisapta Ahisha’ (novel) ‘Sanghamititrar Santrash’(p1ay) and another collection of poems, "Rwitoa Rwitoa’ etc. Some of her lyrics and poems were published in 'Asom Bani', 'Prasangik', (8th year, Bihu edition) 'Abagunthita' and other articles published in magazines like 'Aideur Jonaki Bat', Salangkrita', 'Usha', etc.

She had composed many lyrics on demand. One of her famous; lyrics which she wrote in memory of the martyrs of 'Asom Andolan', became very popular. Her son helped her in the tune of the song. But some other people demanded that the song was not her and she had to give one clarification in the newspaper. The song was sung in the 1984 'Sadan Asom Lekhika Samaroh Samiti' conference and it was greatly praised and applauded by the audience. The song is like this --------

Bukur tejere arghya jasila

Apahi rakta jaba

Matri pujat jiban bilala

Jyagere janala sewa' .........

(Oh, the great souls you have; dedicated your life for our motherland. You will always be remembered by the people for your sacrifice.)

After their permanent settlement in Tinsukia she joined many cultural and social organizations. She was associated with 'Purbanchal Mahila Sangha' from its early stage. She was the president of 'Bhaskar Jyoti Moina Parijat' from 1985. She taught the small children of her won composed songs, poem, recitation etc. Many of her children were able to win prizes in the different competitions. In her leadership in 1980 the sub-committee of 'Sadau Asom Lekhika Samaroh' of Tinsukia District was formed. From its establishment she had been the president of the District Committee. In 1984 the 8th conference of 'Sadau Asom Lekhika Samoroh Samiti' was held in Tinsukia. She was the president of the organizing committee. Of course she got help of her co-partners.

Her own composed song was selected in the 51th Bihpuria conference. Maitrayee Devi wrote a review in the magazine 'Paribartan' about the song. She was always inspired by her husband and younger son in her writings. Though she was engaged in her household works she always creates something different.

Her husband always collected and copied what she created. She also tried to tune the songs and created a musical atmosphere in her home. The untimely death of her younger son grieved her and she expressed it in her poems like that ------

'Puoti nikha jetia rongousa

More monot Pore akhoni mukh phulkumolia’

Monot Pore aji bare bare ati kotha

Ma, tumi pabane beya bojau jodi duparia?

(I remember you oh; son when it is dawn, your sweet face comes to my mind. I always hear your voice when you asked me if I will be angry if you play your in the noon')

Her son-in-law died prematurely leaving behind their two children. She was shocked hearing the news. She revolted against god in her poems like -----

'Maj Pothotei Parilu Bhagori ------

(Oh, God what did you write in my fate my life is full of only sorrow. In my mid-life I have to face so many difficulties. The song of my life is full of sadness.) But life goes on. Nobody can deny the reality of life. As a human being she had to accept life as it was. She was not upset with the happenings of her life.

As the dream of writing poems and to become a great literary person never left her she engaged herself after a long-break in her writings. She never looked back and whole heartedly tried to write poems.

Her first poems were published in 'Mahajati' a newspaper edited by Purnanarayan Singha in Tezpur. This was a great inspiration for her in her later life. After that her poems were published in a magazine called 'Purbanchal' in the Puja issue. Her first published book was 'Sukula Pahir Subas Sishi' (Publisher Hiranya Runjan Grantha Kutir, Tezpur, published in 1976, 'Runjun Nupuror Dhawinit' (Publisher Hiranya Ranjan Grantha Kutir, year 1978) includes 30 poems, and her third published book ‘Indrama1ati' (Assam paper Industry, Tinsukia, year 1982) includes 97 songs. Her published and unpublished poems and songs are so lyrical that she can be called a lyricist. Her writings become more lyrical because they express her deep emotional values. Her books (first published two) were reviewed in 'Dainik Asom' and 'Asom Bani’. She had an important place in the field of Assamese songs and poems. Her poems are rich in their emotional, lyrical and poetic value. Her emotional feelings are expressed in all her poems.

Her published and unpublished poems are deeply emotional, and varied. Sometimes she felt a deep emotional relation with nature and she happened to be a part of nature. Sometimes 1161 writings express human love and personal love, and her pol¢1‘I1S are also filled with deep patriotic feelings. Basically she is a poet and looking at different dimensions she will be evaluated as a poet.

This historical place where the poet was born is remembered for 'Usha Chitralekhas tales'. The natural beauty of Tezpur always inspires the poet. She could not deny the inspiration which she felt in her childhood days and kept it as reminiscence forever. She writes ----

'Sundar sangeet lipire besesh’..... ..

(How beautiful the place was where I spent my childhood, the green landscape, the soil of songs and music, and the remembrance of the sweet memory of the land heaven left me) –

--- Sonowali Saisab.

Nature always inspired the poet. The change of seasons inspired her to create poems. She imagines herself as nature. She feels like nature -as the cloud, flower, river etc. So she writes.

Hoi ati saru pokhi deshe deshe uri uri -------- (lndramlalati)

(I want to be a small bird and enjoy flying from one country to another; I will enjoy nature and sing songs)

She wanted to fly like a bird; she wanted to be independent and free from the bandage of life. She compared herself with flowers trees, butterflies, etc. Sometimes she feels like the blue water ----

Kumudini moi neel jaladhar --------

Tumi sudhakar dur duranjr -----------

(I am a lotus flower in blue water. You come from a distant land and we will become one under the blue.

Her language is simple. The readers always feel joy of reading her poems. She could reach to the deep core of the heart. Her poems are full of similes and metaphors. Her personal feelings of happiness and sorrow; of love, sadness are depicted in the poems. Sometimes she becomes pessimistic and lose all hopes- But when something really positive comes to her life she becomes happy and optimistic. She hopes that God will help her in her way ---

Moni morokot nai proyjan

Pua nupuar misa ayujan

(Sukula Pahir Subash Sishi)

(Oh, God if you bless me I don’t want any richness. I don’t want a palace to live. This hut is enough for me and I shall be happy forever)

In her youth she devoted herself to Indian ideology and philosophy; to be a life partner with somebody whom she would love faithfully and deeply. She never hankered after money. She wanted to be his shadow --------

Juge juge ram moi tumarei saya hoi

Nelim duoi ake jiban tari

(I shall be your shadow until death; if I die again I shall come to this world to be your partner)

Looking back into her life she finds herself amidst two pictures depicting one of her achievements, love, hope, etc. and another picture of the harsh reality of life but she never loses hope. Her experience of life resulted in accepting all the happy and sad moments of life. She never rejected life. Her heart was always filled with new hopes.

The bindings of this life and earthly pleasures and worries led her to write beautiful poems. She writes....

Ahar path s andhar ghan

Juar patwat dagha kanon ----

(Sukula Pahir Subas Bisari)

(The path of life is full of ups and downs. This world is full of sorrows. But it never dies. So she appeals -----

'Nahibi dhumuha hoi, najabi druoi loi

Ashar sakiti nokoi jolaise ---------’

(Oh, wind, don't put out the lamp of my life with your cruel power. Let me live with my hopes and begin a new life)

She believes that her life is god gifted and only hope can give a new direction and meaning.

Asc jiba ronga nila swapna bhori ---------’

Time is eternal. Only time can change life. Time never waits

Somoy Pakhila uri gusi

Gopone kathati ki -----


(Time has passed by leaving behind some memories) She expresses her feelings in her poems that if there is life there is death also. So we have to accept it. We cannot challenge God.

Kal pasuai kpai adkin

Jibanr dip sikha ------------

In her poems she also expresses her feelings about re-birth as Indian philosophy believes.

Jibanor sandhiya bela

Sesh haka prithibir khela --------

(After death you please come to one and I will wait for you)

She never minds what the end of life will be. It may be full of pleasures or sorrow: But she wants to be remembered by her writings. She wants to leave footprints in the sand of time.

In her lifetime she had seen many deaths of her relatives and near and dear ones. No one can overcome death. Only the omnipresent God can solve to me.

From her personal cravings of life at one time she submitted herself to God and religion. She never forgot the truth of life that she hankered after light after darkness. She prayed to God to lead her in the harsh reality of life.

She felt that God is omnipresent and only He can lead her life to the path of light. Our duty in life is to pray to God and lead a happy life.

As a poet she is always conscious of the cultural heritage of our society. This consciousness helped her in rejecting whatever is harmful to our society she always believed in self-dependence and personal enlistment. "All that glitters is not go1d". She accepted the belief so she appeals that we have to express our thoughts and beliefs through our 'Bihugeet', 'Bongeet', etc. which express the beauty of Assam, and the natural sceneries. We should always respect our culture.

We should always pray and worship our motherland as a devotee and devote our lives for the betterment and enlistment of our society She hopes that one day golden dawn will come and darkness will be no more.

All who loves their motherland hope that their motherland will be enriched with riches and beauty. She believes that her motherland is full of natural beauty water resources and beautiful Bowers. She believes in national integrity and says our country is majestic.

She remembers the contribution of Sankardev Madhabdev, Bishnu Rabha, Jyoytiprasad, Kanaklata and Mulagabharu and all who dedicated their lives and souls for the integrity of Assam. Our historical and cultural heritage is so rich that she wants to dedicate her poems for the nation.

As she was a woman she always believed in self- independence and liberty of woman. So she wanted to liberate woman from the bondage of society. She had faith that women can give a new meaning to society by their works.

Every artist has duty towards the society. The poet is also an artist. Though a poet is independent they can reform the society. She hopes that a poet can give a new dimension to the society, reform it and create a new age of hope.

The poets of the new age do not give importance to the narrow aspects and ideologies. They want to create a greater society and gives importance in unity in diversity. The Assam agitation played an important role in her creative life. She wrote many poems related to the historical event. She hoped for a bright future of Assam. But sometimes she was dismayed when she saw that the leaders were strayed away from their path.

She thought that from their childhood days the children should get prepared for the development of the nation. Every child is a nation builder. The can integrate the society. Our new generation should be well prepared for the development and enlistment of society. They should take oath to build the nation.

A child's mind is full of dreams and fantasy. The inquisitiveness of every child brings to their mind many questions. The natural attraction for the moon is always there in a child's mind.

So, she wrote many poems for the children. She wrote a dance-drama called 'Basanta Phulani' and many dance-dramas for the theatre groups.

So, when her poems are read we can feel her imagination, her approach to life and aims and objective of life. Her poems are lyrical and so they became songs. ,

Lately she wants to establish a 'Sewa Kendra' in memory of her younger son Mannab and son-in-law Bikash. So her 'Sewa Kendra', 'Manab-Bikash' organization is dedicated for the welfare of the orphans and women who are helpless. This organization will take responsibility for the orphans and helpless and poor women and they will end a place of peace and solace.

May this great poetess, Hemaprobha Saikia's wish be fulfilled and hope her long and happy life.


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