Shashi Prabha Dutta
 
 
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SHASHIPRABHA DUTTA

(1911-1986)

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 of life.

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.

 

 
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