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The house where poetry flowed

- Fans seek to preserve Hiren Bhattacharyya’s residence and memories

Jorhat, July 28: The abandoned jailor’s residence in Jorhat and the house in which one of Assam’s greatest poets, Hiren Bhattacharyya, was born 82 years ago, is sought to be preserved and developed into a musical amphitheatre by his fans.

On his birth anniversary today, the Hiren Bhattacharyya Smriti Sangrakhyan Samiti unveiled a Rs 4.5-crore project to be built around the house, which would also include a literary block, artistes’ workshop block, a conference room and a raised plaza.

The Samiti, which is headed by the former director-general of police, Assam, Harekrishna Deka, held a shraddhanjali meeting at the house where he was born, opposite Jorhat Central Jail, and vowed to keep the memory of the poet alive for all times to come.

It sought the government’s aid to help build the Sahitya Kshetra of the Sugandhi Pakhila poet, as he was known.

“A civilisation lives on and flourishes only when we preserve the language and culture on which it is based. If we do not preserve all that Hiruda stood for — especially the language which he had used with such dexterity to compose some of the best poems in Assamese literature — it would be a big failure for who consider him to be a legend,” Samiran Bordoloi, the joint secretary of the Samiti, said.

Bordoloi added that on this day, the poet of prem and rodali (love and sunshine) would usually come to Jorhat and make it a point to go and see the house in which he had been born and spent a part of his childhood.

“Our focal point is this house, which is now in a disused state, as this is the place where Assam’s greatest poet was born and who gave us hundreds of lyrics — some simple and some profound and thought-provoking but all easily understood and liked,” he said.

Tapan Changkakati, an artist and co-ordinator of the Samiti, explained the project proposal that he had drawn up on the two bighas of land on which the house stood.

“Apart from the amphitheatre and poets’ workshop, the project will be complete with a parking space, canteen, overhead water tank, galleries, caretaker house and toilet block. Memorabilia of the poet would be kept inside the house,” he said.

He added that they had sought the help of Jorhat MLA Rana Goswami and Barnali Saikia Bora, official on special duty to the chief minister.

Diganta Dutta, a follower, said this spot would be like the birthplace of Shakespeare, which was visited by tourists from all over the world.

“Though Hiruda’s fan following may be on a smaller scale, we would like to preserve his memory by conserving his birthplace and making it a pilgrimage spot for all those who love his poetry and those who love poetry or who write poetry,” he said.

In keeping with this mood, singer and filmmaker Jayanta Nath sang one of his songs: Andhare, andhare, eti jonaki uri ahi mur bukute hule, tumar kotha bhabile, nijanot okole, eti tora phul phule. (In the darkness a firefly alights on my breast. When I think about you when I am alone then a white flower blooms).