Related Links

Authors & Poets

Assamese Poetry

Assamese Fiction

Music From Assam

Lyrical Expression

A Profile of Raghunath Choudhury (1879 - 1967)
by Chandra Mohan Kakati


The scenic excellence of Bondarkhat left an indelible imprint on the mind of the poet Raghunath Choudhury. He had a poetic bent of mind since his early days. His first poem, published in Jonaki, an Assamese monthly brought out from Kolkata, ushered in his maiden appearance in the firmament of Assamese literature.

It gives me great pleasure to make a humble venture to give a short review on renowned Assamese poet Raghunath Choudhury who has made significant contributions towards the embellishment of Assamese literature by his distinctive genius.

Born at Laopara in the undivided Kamrup district in 1879, Raghunath Choudhury had his early schooling at Guwahati. He served as a teacher in a primary school and gave up the job after a few months. After relinquishing this teaching job, he did open a cabbage farm at Bondarkhat (near modern Noonmati where the oil refinery is established). He used to live in the sleepy hamlet surrounded by a lush green forest and from then, he devoted himself to poetry amidst the all pervading tranquillity of the surroundings, side by side with his ploughing of the land. The scenic excellence of Bondarkhat left an indelible imprint on the mind of the poet. Raghunath had a poetic bent of mind since his early days. His first poem, published in Jonaki, an Assamese monthly brought out from Kolkata, ushered his maiden appearance in the firmament of Assamese literature. He was the editor of a children’s journal Moina (1923) and Jayanti (1936-38) and then Surabhi (1940-42-44). He also composed some poetical works. Mention may be made of Keteki (1918), Karbala (1923), Dahikatara (1931), Sadari (1940) and Navamallika (1958). He died on November 5, 1967.

We find two different distinct trends in Choudhury’s poems – one sensual and the other spiritual. The love of physical beauty, human love and affection find their full expression in one; spiritualism, devotion to knowledge and renunciation in the other. These two trends pervaded the poetic creations of Raghunath. Despite the glaring differences between these two – there seemed to be room for reconciliation, but it sometimes led to conflict of thoughts where deep passionate feelings of the poet found a fuller expression. We may refer to his various poems on birds and flowers in this context. He led a very solitary life amidst vast green stillness, where beautiful objects of Nature in brilliant colours quietened his poetic mind and in turn, Nature’s lush beauty found beautiful expression in his poems. The panoramic beauty of the place brought the delicious aura of peace and calm to Raghunath, which helped him immensely in contributing considerably to the domain of Assamese literature as a bird-poet (Bihogi Kobi). His poetical works, such as Dahikatara, Keteki, Bohagir Biya, etc. are creations of superb beauty.

The second trend had brought a marked change in the feelings of the poet, which makes room for spiritual thought and meditation. The poem Phula Sayya shows the second trend which is tinged with the note of sadness. His observation of Nature was very keen and his insatiable attachment to Nature’s hidden beauty defies comparison. To speak the truth, Raghunath’s love of Nature is unique and uncommon in Assamese literature. A thorough and consummate study of Kalidasa’s treatises enriched his language and poetic gifts. While delving deep into his poems, we find a poet steeped in a mystic adoration of the beautiful birds and flowers of Nature.

Courtesy: The Assam Tribune (2007)

Back   Top

Home
Assamese Poetry | Assamese Fiction | Music From Assam