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Gogoi recollects days with Chaliha

- CM releases biography of freedom fighter who had been an inspiration to him

Jan. 24: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said he is still inspired by the life of Deshneta Kuladhar Chaliha, a veteran freedom fighter and Congressman of the state.

Gogoi said when he was a leader of the student wing of the Congress, he used to meet Chaliha several times and was influenced by his personality. “I am fortunate that I met him while I was a leader of the Youth Congress in Jorhat. I am still inspired by his life. But he is not known in the state the way he should have been,” said Gogoi.

Gogoi released a biography of Chaliha — Deshneta Kuladhar Chaliha — written by Dileep Chandan, at Rabindra Bhawan this evening. Several renowned Gandhians as well as a good number of residents were present on the occasion.

Chaliha’s biography was released on the occasion of his 125th birth anniversary and 50th death anniversary this year. Chaliha’s youngest son, Chiranjit, and eldest daughter, Arati Saikia, were present at the event.

Chaliha, Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi and Deshbhakta Tarun Ram Phukan were the three top most leaders of the freedom movement in Assam. After getting a law degree, he joined the Assam Civil Service as an extra assistant commissioner in 1913, but opposing policies of the British government he resigned. He joined the opium prohibition movement and then the Bar at Jorhat Court.

After the Jalianwala Bagh massacre in 1919, Chaliha joined the freedom movement under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi and was convicted for a period of one year. He was the first president of the Assam PCC in 1920, elected to the Assam Legislative Council in 1927 and to the Central Legislative Assembly after the death of Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bardoloi. He became a member of the Constituent Assembly. He was also elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Katobnigaon constituency of Jorhat and became the Speaker of the Assembly twice.

Chaliha was born on September 20, 1887, in Sivasagar and died on January 19, 1963. The government of India issued a postage stamp in 1988 on the occasion of his birth centenary.

Chandan said as most of the people who knew Chaliha closely have passed away, collecting information on him was a difficult task.

Gandhian Natwar Thakkar and Hema Bharali said every step should be taken to popularise freedom fighter and leader Chaliha in the other parts of the country. They suggested translating the biography into English and Hindi languages to popularise him.