The beauty of a society is enhanced by the contribution
of each individual living in that society. Great men and women have been
contributing towards their religion and culture continuously but there are
individuals who made their literature and culture rich and beautiful by
making sincere effort according to their ability.
Late Sashiprabha Dutta’s name may be mentioned among
such great social workers who had immense love for literature. She was
born in 1911 and was the eldest daughter of the famous literatures and
dramatist Late Durgaprasad Majinder Barua of Betbari in Sibsagar (now
Sivasagar). Sashiprabha Dutta’s mother was Purnakanti Majinder Baruani and
her husband was a police officer named Narayan Chandra Dutta.
Though Sashiprabha Dutta had completed her education up
to the Middle School level staying with her paternal aunt in Dibrugarh,
she from her childhood showed her interest in literature encouraged by her
father who was a known literary figure.
Sashiprabha Dutta’s activities reflected her great
enthusiasm for social work in spite of the restrictions that prevailed in
the society of those times. Only her literary works will be discussed here
first- though she also worked spontaneously for the welfare of children
and society. Sashiprabha Dutta played a dynamic role in constructive works
related to the society besides trying to bring up her children well. She
took active part in the meetings, processions, picketing, etc. of the
Non-cooperation Movement. She formed the Samaj Sewa Committee and worked
wholeheartedly for it. She was an active member of the Congress and she
along with a few more women came forward to establish the Kalyan Sangha in
1947 at Raja Maidam in the heart of Jorhat which bore the memories of the
ancient Ahom reign and Swargadeu Purandar Singhas burial ground.
The society rarely appreciated the works of either
Sashiprabha Dutta or the institution she and the like-minded ladies
represented. Sashiprabha Dutta worked selflessly as the secretary of the
Kalyan Sangha and was associated with women, children forums like Mahila
Mel and Maina Mel. She also worked for weavers and Primary school and was
punctual enough to come out in time amidst her household responsibilities
to collect donations for welfare works.
Sashiprabha Dutta made enough contribution towards
development of literature and she was a life member of Assam Sahitya
Shabha. She was a member of Sodou Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samitee and a
regular writer of poems and stories for the magazine "Ghar Jeuti". Her
translated stories found a place in the magazine from time to time. She
wrote in Janambhumi and Orani and her writings were aired by all India,
Dibrugarh Centre in the programme "Ghar Jeuti". Her one act plays on
Kanaklata, the martyr of the freedom movement of 1942 was also enacted.
"Kanaklata" "Gohain Barualoi Shradhanjali" and "Nimat
Nital Deshat" were the famous poems of Sashiprabha Dutta. A few excerpts
from these poems are given below:
Nimate ahiba sokhi Nimat biloy phuli
Nimate nitale jaba Nimati podum pahi
Nimat gyanor katha Nimat sondatjya bilai
Nimat bhashare koba Nimatate thake hangi.
From the poem- "Nimat-Nital Deshat"
Jonaki jugat ahi Sahitya sewak ripe
Asomik dila tumi naba pran
He kobi Padmanath Yake sunwori aji
Tomak jonalo ami ashesh pranam.
Bhasha jananir hake Di jua abadan
Rakhile sohoki kori sahityar bharal
Sei puja samalere Bandhila bhashar bedi
Kori gola sei bedi aru jyotisman.
Tumak seyehe aji Sunworu ami je kobi
Nibedilo mor ei bhakti shradhanjali.
From the poem – "Gohain Barualoi Shradhanjali"
Theist poem reflects the amount of respect Sashiprabha
Dutta the poetess had for Gohain Barua. Her poem "Kanaklata" beautifully
depicts the courageous Kanaklata who had sacrificed her life for her
country. A few lines from the poem are given below:
Kanaklatai Bharat tyag bani
Bukut saboti loi
Janambhumir Uddharar hetu
Maran korile pan
Tapat tejere Burai pelale
Seuji dubori bon
Asomar jiyari Kanaklata
Swadeshat janam dhori
Biranganar tej desh biyopai
Thoi gol pohar kori.
Her poems are replete with emotions intertwined with
beautiful rhythm and rhyme. Her literary style is enriched with her simple
style of using of words that clearly express her calm disposition and view
Sashiprabha Dutta’s books "Gandhibadi" and "Daiwabani"
are no exception to this style and perhaps for this and other
contributions Dimbeswar Dayal Sharma, past Assistant Secretary of Assam
Sahitya Sabha described her and her works in beautiful words. He said that
he met Sashiprabha Dutta baidew both personally and in the forum of the
Assam Sahitya Sabha and Jorhat Sahitya Sabha. She loved Assamese language
and culture from the core of her heart. The eldest and able daughter of
litterateur Durgaprasad Majinder Barua of the Jonaki age inspired by her
father had started writing from her childhood and this continued till the
last days of her life. (Curtest: Souvenir on Sashiprabha Dutta)
Sashiprabha dutta left everyone crying when she
breathed her last in her residence at Raja Maidam on 17 January 1986. This
silent social worker and active and sincere litterateur will be remembered
by all in the years to come.