Book title: Culture, Ideology, Politics: Jyotiprasad Agarwala and His Vision for Social Transformation
Editor: Akhil Ranjan Dutta
Publisher: DVS Publishers
Price: Rs 450
Jyotiprasad Agarwalla’s name has a place in the heart of every Assamese. If one wants to study anything about contemporary Assam, especially its cultural aspect, he is one person we must know. A first in many fields for Assam, this luminary, whose name might create some amount of confusion for a few because of the surname, has, one can say, transformed the place in an immense way and is one of the few doyens whose all-encompassing contribution is felt in all spheres.
The volume Culture Ideology Politics edited by Akhil Ranjan Dutta is a commendable effort to analysis some facets of the great personality.
Most of the contributors are stalwarts in their fields and are quite renowned — Amarjyoti Choudhury, Harekrishna Deka, Ananda Bormudoi, Mitra Phukan, Pari Hiloidari, Chandan Sarma, Dhiren Bhagawati, Jayanta Krishna Sharmah, Khanin Choudhury, Moushumi Kandali, Rajen Kalita and Shrutimala Duara — all known names in literary circles, though belonging to fields as diverse as physics, mathematics and law enforcement.
The editor must be lauded for his effort in bringing all of them together though many others working in the field may have been left out because of various reasons. All these articles can be termed as compact research papers compiled painstakingly.
This volume will certainly help spread the knowledge about the Rupkonwar among people outside the state and is definitely a valuable reference book for researchers and students as well.
But notwithstanding the editor’s sincere efforts, some songs and poems of Jyotiprasad have been referred to in translated form with totally different wordings in the writings of different authors in the same compilation, which could have been avoided. Some typos also dent the expectations of readers from a quality publication.
And the one thing that a reader expects to have been incorporated in this volume is an exclusive chapter on his songs, lyrics and uniqueness without which the cultural aspect of Jyotiprasad loses its jyoti (luminescence).
The book contains 14 chapters from the 13 different contributors, the editor summing up with an introduction and then bringing up the rear.
Atreyee Gohain put some real effort in translating a few of his immortal songs and poems.
The summing up of the articles by the editor in the introduction appears superfluous as the tagline in each article is explicit enough. He could rather have appended some additional information in those pages.
Assamese words like byadh, jinjiri, thapona, khandava, which had to be quoted in their original form should have been explained to make the publication friendly for non-Assamese readers.
As it is basically meant for readers outside Assam, a couple of pages containing a brief biography of Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and a comprehensive list of his contributions would have helped highlight his importance and lent more credence to the book and at the same time justified its purchase.
The price appears a bit steep considering the girth. It may hit the psychological barrier of some interested buyers though the overall production is up to the mark.
A must read for bibliophiles and students of art and culture. Go for it if you are one.