Suprabha Devi
 
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Suprabha Devi

There are some people who became famous as they find opportunity to express and spread their talents. But there are many unfortunate people who remain neglected as they don’t find opportunity to express their talents. This class of people led their lives with self satisfaction by silently spreading fragrance of their talents. Suprabha Devi can be included in the calls of people.

Although the life span of human being is short lived, even then every person wants to do something unique in his or her life. This lady of Goalpara District also was having the desire of leaving some marks behind her and as a result she took the help of pen and paper. Amidst conservative society and worldly whirlpool, her imaginative mind was about to die. But fortunately she got the opportunity at her later age.

This unknown poet Suprabha Devi was born in 1918. That day was full moon day the month was ‘chat’ (The Assamese calendar month). Her birth place is Gauripara of Dhubri Subdivision (Present Dhubri District). Her father was a famous Sanskrit Scholar Maha Mohopa Dhyaya Pandit Adya Nath Nyaya Bhusan. His house was at Hakama of Goalpara District. Pandit Nyaya Bhusan was conferred the Maha Mahopadhyaya title by the British Government on 1910. He was honored with best Scholar title in the presence of Lt General of Bengal Phular Sahab. He was the first Assamese who was honored with this title. Late Bishewar Smiriti Ratna, Late Sharada Kinkar Bidyabigash, Durga Kingkar Shatri etc. were his students. In a meeting of Scholars held in Kochbihar he was given award of Rs.3000 for winning a debate. Many great scholars used to come to Nayaya Bhusan seeking answer for difficult questions. He wrote many books in Sankrit. Dr Birinchi Kumar Brauah brought many of his books for publication. But his family does not know till today whether those books were published or not. Suprabha Devi’s mother was late Chinmayee Devi daughter of Bhattapalli’s (Kolkata) scholar.

The famous Jamindar of Gauripur late Pratap Chandra Baruah brought up a Sanskrit School ‘Tarini Priyachatuspathi’ in memory of his middle wife. Observing his depth of knowledge in Sanskrit literature Baruah brought Aadya Nath Nayaya Bhusan to Gauripur from Hakama and appointment him in the school as teacher. He served school for long forty years.

Suprabha Devi was the youngest among the five children of Nyaya Bhusan and Chinmayee Devi. As the youngest child she was dearest to her parents. Due to her calm nature she could earn love from the family members. Her father had experiences in studying various places in India and as a result he could realize the necessity of women education. In order to make his daughter educated he admitted Suprabha Devi in a minor school. She wanted to study in high school. But rules and regulations of the co-education was not allowed. On the other hand girl’s education was not deeply felt. As a result there was no scope for formal education. As her parents could not dare to cross the limit set by the society, Superabha’s academic career ended in the primary level. In 1920, on 20th Magh (Assamese month), Suprabha got married to late Sitakanta Chakraborty, the eldest son of Late Nilkanta Chakraborty and late Bedawati Devi. She in laws family was a big joint Brahmin family. Late Sita Kanta Charaborty was fond of literary and he could sing Bhajans, Shyama Sangeet. Rabindra Sangeet is very well. He had also good knowledge in Shastriya Sangeet. Late Sita kanta Chokraoborty was a teacher in Dhuburi High School and he had also a big shop and wood business.

After her child marriage till her puberty she stayed for three years in her parent’s house. During those years observing her intense desire for higher study her parents were at a loss.

In order to fulfill their daughter desire they arranged home tutors. One teacher taught her Bengali while the other thought Sanskrit. During those days people had great hatred towards English education. Suprabha’s father also did not allow her to learn English. Under the guidance of Late Laks pati Pandit and late Shashi Pandit, she learns both the languages.

From her very childhood, Suprabha Devi got the opportunity to associate with big scholars. Perhaps for that reason the seed of literature germinated in her mind from her childhood. At the tender age of twelve she wrote a poem on Sewali flower. After her child marriage when she was in her parents’ house she wrote several poems.

In her literary activities she got inspiration from her father. As there were no newspapers published from Goalpara, her father communicated with Kolkata news papers to publish her poems. Suprabha’s poem was first published in a news paper entitled ‘Prabasi’. As she did not give attention in preserving those newspaper volumes in which her poems were those poems have been lost forever.

After her puberty she went to her husband’s house and in that big joint family she had to be busy in house hold activities and as a result she found no times for her literary works. Apart from other house hold activities she had to engage herself in cooking and after serving food to the male members of the family, the female members could sit to eat. If someday a male member could not come for food for some reason on that day the female members had to starve, at night cooking started after 11p.m. In such a busy schedule where was the time for writing? Sometimes when she read newspaper, it was looked down upon by the other members of the family. Because reading and writing by a woman was disliked by the society. In those days also somehow she quietly wrote poems. In that family there was no such atmosphere where one could concentrate on literary activities. As a result her creativity died out gradually. Although late Sita Kanta Chakraborty had no such atmosphere where one could concentrate on literary activities. As a result her creativity died out gradually. Although late Sita Kanta Chakraborty was fond of literature but due to his busy schedule he could not find time to inspired his wife in her literary work.

At a very tender age Suprabha Devi became a mother of a boy and two girls. Her son was late Pronob Chakraborty. Late Ranjita Borkokoti and Smiti Swajita Sharma are her elder and younger daughters respectively. Late Ranjita Borkotoki was married to the second son of late Tirtheswar Borkotoki of Jorhat, Bipul Borkokoti. She had two girls and one boy.

Smti Swajita Sarmah is at present Assistant Librarian of Arya Bidhapeeth College in Guwahati. She is married to the fifth son of late Kalicharan Dev of Nalbari (Vill. Bhalukuchi), Sri Kailash sarmah in 1973. Like her mother she likes also talent in literature. She had also of writings. Her writings are published in the college magazine. She is the mother of two sons. Late Pronob Choudhury passed matriculation from P.C institute of Gauripur after that he got admitted into the B.N College Dhuburi and passed I.A from that college. While working in PWD office of Dhuburi as a clerk he got appointment as telephone operator in refinery in Guwahati. Late Pronob Chakraborty married Smti Padma Devi, daughter of Late Sonoswar Bhattachariya, behind leaving his wife and two children Anindita and Prosid, Pranab died untimely in 1974 after 5 years of his marriage. Pronob wrote poems in English. Holding the responsibility of a big family for long 25 years Suprabha Devi proved herself to be an ideal house wife. As there were no such good educational institutions for higher studies Suprabha Devi had to come to Gauripur with her children where her husband was working at time. There in Gauripur, she took active part in 1942 movement and delivered strong lectures in meetings.

Just after coming to Guwahati due to his father’s illness Pranob had to bring the whole family of Guwahati. Since then Suprabha Devi has been residing in Guwahati. Sita Kanta Chakraborty died in Guwahati after four years. Within a short span of time, after her husband’s death Suprabha span the second shock. Her only son Pranob died untimely. To lessen her grief she started writing poems at the age of 65. Her talent comes to surface once again.

As she got education in Bangla and Sanskrit languages, she wrote poems in these two languages. However she tried to write some poems in Assamese also. Since 1975 this lady with a heavy heart has been engaging herself in the literary world of poems. Like Padmashri Nalini Bala Devi, her source of inspiration is her painful life. She loves the poem of Bangla poet Late Rajni Kanta Sen. She was attracted by his two books ‘Bani’ and ‘Kalyani’

I was surprised to see many notebooks full of poems written by aita (Grandmother) who lives in a dilapidated house at Jaya Nagar. When she showed the large number of note books full of poems, it seemed as if writing poems is a very easy task for her. I was surprised to see her reciting poems fluently without any break at this age of 80. She has a sharp memory.

There were 40 manuscripts about 100 poems were incorporated in three volumes; entitled Shatadal Aita has given separate name two each of her manuscript. Some of the names are like this ‘Aparajita’, ‘Nil Aakesher’, ‘Tata Mala Raja’, ‘Harichandra Aaru Rani Shaiba’, ‘Kanchan, ‘Kiriti’, ‘Bijayoini’, ‘Joymati’, ‘Sugandhi Gandhraj’, ‘Chandra Hansa’, ‘Sati Sabitri’, ‘Matsyabati Kayna’, ‘Mritika Rai’, ‘Rakta Kamal’, ‘Jhara Malati’, ‘Buddhi Jar Bal Tar’, ‘Swapan Nijharini’, ‘Chitrangada’, ‘Basantika’, ‘Sri Krishna Balyalila’, ‘Kiranmayee’, ‘Lagna Jita Kanak Mandir’, ‘Sri Batsa Chinta’, ‘Krishna Sudama’, ‘Sita Haran’, ‘Nil Nilambar’, ‘Sunanda Rakhal’, 'Kalchakar' 'Madhumati', 'Rakta Shatadol', 'Agaru Chandra Sowa', 'Milan Puranima', 'Sita Banabaas', 'Parbatrir Abhimaan', 'Bhayadhari Kanya', ‘Parimal’, ‘Saagar Mukta’ etc.

She has no published books on poems. Five years ago Sri Sri Surendra Sarma from Guwahati Radio Center recorded her 17 Sanskrit poems and 7 Bangla poems. Sanskrit poems and four Bangla poems were aired in the All India Radio, Guwahati. Suprabha’s three poems contain various subject matters, reflecting her tender feelings. Subject matters include historical events, ancient stories on nature, patriotism and spiritual thinking. Language of the poem is simple.

In a poem entitle ‘Dusanta’ she describes the beauty of hermitage. She not only finds beauty in nature, she also finds beauty in each and every object created by the creator

"Oh, so beautiful

This forest

This captivating garden

The attraction if

Truly, it has downed

Spring, the King of all seasons

Spellbound, today

This sacred place

The garden of saints"

The glory of daytime

The Sun

The glory of night time

The moon

Just like the glory of nature is

Beauty Talent,

The Glory of a delicate little child is

Pure laughter

All creations in his earth are dependent on each other and thereby reflect beauty.

The glory of a honorable women, husband

Of Mother’s breast the child

The animal’s feed in the forests

Animals are the pride of forests.

…………… ………….. ……………….

‘Dharma’ is the pride of human beings

Value is the glare of ‘Dharma’

And the glares of Vaishnavites are

Reciting the song of Hari Vishnu"

Everywhere there is nature. The poet remains speechless seeing the beauty of nature.

"Oh! That blue bluish

O sky, O blue lord

Looking at you again and again

The more I look at you with desire

My heart never tires off.

Sky you

Only look at again and again" (Akash)

In the poem "Eiaamar Hindustain" the poet sings in the praise of her own land of patriotic feelings.

"We are Indians

Cultured Farmers we are

We are Indians

This is our Hindustan"

According to her the people of India always stand united-----

"Christian Muslims are our brothers

Our heart"

Hard work is men

Valuable Jewel

Without hard work nobody

Achieves"

The thought of Indian philosophy has reflected in her poems. The poet believes in the sacred saying of Gita i.e. work is religion where there is work there is labor.

"Parishram Manabar

Gatra Alankar

Bina ParishrameKeha

NapaiNistar"

Through labor one can get good results. From her experiences she thought that in this world one finds more friends in good days, finding no friends during her worst days she regretted-

"When there is happiness

All become best friends

Oh! Oh! See, when there is sorrow

Nobody stands for anyone"

Poets are imaginative human beings and through their imagination they can paintings by selective words. Suprabha Devi is no exception. She imagines Goddess sitting on white lotus, decorated with white flowers wearing white dress with white make up, taking white veena in her hands and writes.

She worships this wise Goddess with garland of starts of the blue sky and writes--

Seated on white lotus the goddess

Desecrated with white flamers

Embellished with white fragrances

Goddess Shurestasive, carries a white thread

Decorated with white sandal

White flute, bringing good luck

Advance with white ornaments

Hair the god’s of knowledge.

Hail three, hail thee.

Hail Sasawati! Mahadevi!

Voice, one who holds the sacred Vedas

The goddess of speech, Narayani,

Bharti! Bhagwati

Listen O Binapani

Today of a hundred skies

Counted the starts

And I have brought, O Mother

To them in to a bead at your timeless feet

I would present as a flowery offering".

(Anjalika)

The poet loses her only son and her husband within a short span of time. Her heart with full of pain could realized the mental distress of Urmila the wife o Laksman and she writes--

"With Surety

You must know

This, your great pours destroyed of vanity

One day it will be broken

On that day

Because of you only

In Spite of Protection

At your present

The great Virtuous lady Sita

That brave monster with ten hands

That Ravana of Lanka

Right at the time he will

Take her away

By abducting"

("Birahiniurmila")

In the poem "The Role of Audience" she being a sensitive poet expresses her reaction to the indifferent attitude of the people who even witnessing the injustice keep quiet. So she writes:

"Today the helpless child of this earth

And where the human so city

Everyone is standing still, looking on

Like spectators"

Although throughout her life was carrying the burden of sorrow, she has not blamed anybody for her painful life and has tried to console herself for her destiny. Like Kabyabharati Dharmeswari Devi Baruani’s poems also do not reflect any mental agitation during her hard days. She seeks means to save herself with compassion of god only.

"Aibar Jeti Hobe, Pathe

Kantakete Bhara Pathe

Bhishan Durana Sagar Bari.

Bhisan Kathen Muru Pathar

Bolo Oohe prabhu

Ami Kaman Haibe Par"

The poet is the believer of rebirth. Therefore though in this life she got only pain, she wants to come to his world again after her death. Her two poems ‘Abhishapta’ and ‘Nirashaya’ are echoing the tune of Padmashri Nalinibala Devi’s ‘Jamanbhumi’.

Listen Disciple

God means you

This motherland

Spend all your days?

In this of god land

You will take birth again.

(Abhishapta)

The poet again says:

Kera je more

Bare bare bare

Firiya asiba ami

Asiba amar ghare"

(Nirashay)

The pious lady Suprabha Devi,s heart intensely wants that intimate union of her atma with Paramatma through divine love. Therefore inspire of her painful life she has became restless to meet Paramatma.

O father

I do not know

Where do you live?

Speak O father

Tell me today, want to see

If to me a particle of dust

Give you blessings

Today for you

I searched and became tired

Please appear O father

Rid me of sufferings".

(Ohe’ Jagadish Pita)

Her boundless belief and devotion to God makes her believe that man can get rid of worldly pain through the blessings f compassionate God. Like a devotee who surrenders to his master, the poet also surrenders with full devotion to God.

"Jobe Aoi

Bichar Diner Bohi

Haibe Bahir

Sei Dine Haibek

Amar Bichar.

Jodioba

Hoi Ami

Akirti, Adham, Sir

Tathapi Prabhu

Toma chara ami

Kaharo Nahi Aar"

(Atutuku thai)

Suprabha Devi also devotes herself to children literature. The beautiful description of Bandini Rajkanya, can very easily attract the minds of children, it can be remarkable book if it is published in the book form with sketches. There are many small poems included in Bandini Rajkanya through which she tried to make them fact absent certain things.

"Ogo Hati

Bolo Bani

Ogo Hati

Mulo Hati

Tumar Baro Baro Dat

Tumi Sur Diye

Sob Karo Kaj

Nai Tumar Hat’

("Hati")

Although there is no connection between the Moon and the needle, still the song is very interesting. Like that though there is no connection of shell with coconut true I Suprabha Devi’s poem ‘Bak Mama’ yet it is a unique children poem.

Bak mama

Bak mama

Phul deye jao,

Nirkal gase

Kari ase

Gune, niyeje’o

By writing poems for children to make them laugh the poet has displayed her child like mind with subtitle expertise skill.

"Kaka Anlen Kine

Akti Tikey

Sei Teiyr Aaj Bieye

Halud Gancha Dieye.

Paleng pata Bane

Mauri Beti Kene

Samuk Bela Boro

Dham Kur Kur

Badiye Baje

Palash Dangai Ghar"

(Dham Kur Kur Bajna Baje)

She has also written one noble entitled "Shrimati" which is still in hand written manuscript. In this novel idealism has been more important than the money. Iron merchant Surendra Mohan Bhattacharyya had three daughters Annapurnaa, Sunati and Shrimati. Annapurnaa and Suniti got married to the sons of well to do families. Shrimati was quite different from her elder sister she was the worshiper of beauty. She wanted to marry an artist. Her sister did not like Aashis, the poor artist. But her father liked her choice and without Shrimati’s knowledge he sent Aashis to England through his Marwari friend after he passed B.A. Aashis was also not aware of the fact. After coming back from the England Aashis and Shrimati get married. The novelist was successful in describing the rich picture of contrast between the rich and the poor.

This 80 years old lady is still engaged in her literary works. Writing poetry is part of her reunited life. It seemed that as if she has been waiting for a publisher. When she came to know that I will write about her, there was a glow on her face.

Many people have come to meet her. They have praised her poems. Many had given assurance to publish her poems. But they did not turn up again for the second time Hearing that a line of a poem by poet Kamala Kanta Bhattacharya stubbed me---

"Jen Phul Ghan Habit Janam

Habir Bataha Habita Nashe".

 

 
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