Guwahati: The 88th birth anniversary of ‘Krantikari Kavi’ Hari Bhakta Katuwal was observed at the prestigious Cotton University in Guwahati on Saturday.

‘Krantikari Kavi’ Hari Bhakta Katuwal, one of the brightest gems in the history of Gorkha Bhasa literature, was born on July 2, 1935 in a small hamlet called Bogibeel in  Assam’s Dibrugarh. He has penned several poems in Gorkha Bhasa, English, Hindi and Assamese.

Hari Bhakta Katuwal received his formal education in an Assamese medium school and as a result Assamese poetry had a deep influence on him. But he was also a prominent voice in the realm of Gorkha Bhasa poetry during the 60s and 70s from the northeast region.

It was in Digboi during the late 50s when Katuwal was teaching in A.O.C. Nepali M.E. School that he attained a new glory in the spheres of Nepali literature and culture. That was a period of literary and cultural renaissance in Digboi with the circulation of reputed Nepali journals and newspapers from literary hotspots of the time like Darjeeling, Banaras, Dehradoon and Kathmandu. In fact, the then literary works and writers from Darjeeling inspired him a lot.

The 88th birth anniversary of poet, philosopher, writer, composer and lyricist Hari Bhakta Katuwal was organised by the Cottonian Gorkha Unit at AGRC Hall, Cotton University on Saturday. Dr. Khagen Sarmah, Assistant Professor, Department of MIL and Literary Studies, Gauhati University graced the event as chief guest, said Shiksha Basnet, General Secretary of Cottonian Gorkha Unit.

It is for the first time such an intellectual interactive session was organised in Cotton  University. The students of Post Graduate Diploma in Nepali language along with students of various department also attended the event.

Speaking at the event Dr. Khagen Sarmah said, “His poems and lyrics should be translated into other languages, and as his patriotic poems caused revolution that’s why youth called him Krantikari Kavi. He requested Cotton University students to initiate this movement. 

Ita Devi Dewan, an advocate in Golaghat, who recently wrote about Hari Bhakta Katuwal said, ‘ Yo Desh ko Mato ley Bhancha, Yo Desh ko Dhoonga ley Bhancha, Haamro pani Raati Ragat yehi bogeko cha, Haamro pani Taato pasins yehai Khaseko cha‘ ….This patriotic poem is one of the cause of Gorkha renaissance in Assam. It’s a poem filled with patriotism with a message of supreme sacrifice at any time for the nation.  Katuwal’s life was influenced due to his friendship with Bhupen Hazarika since they were born and brought up in Eastern Assam.”

 “I was interested to explore ‘Krantikari Kavi’ for his relations with Jajabor Bharat Ratna Dr. Bhupen Hazarika. It is widely believed and accepted that it was Hari Bhakta Katuwal who had crowned Bhupen Hazarika with the Gorkhali Bhadgawley Topi (particular cap worn by Bhupen Hazarika ) and it remained with the legend maestro till his death and is still being kept at Bhupendra Sangrahalay at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra. This made me write an extensive article on Hari Bhakta Katuwal with his life sketch and work,” Ita Devi Dewan said.

Katuwal wrote his poems with great revolutionary zeal and the subject matter largely revolved around patriotism, sacrifice of the Gorkhas in nation building, cause and sufferings of the Gorkhas, racial consciousness, nationalism, rights needed to be asserted for the safeguarding of the Gorkhas and so on.

He was awarded by the Royal Academy for his poem ‘AKASHKA TARA KE TARA‘. It was in the year 1973 that he came up with his collection of poems, ‘YO JINDAGI KHAI KE JINDAGI‘. It is one of his most significant works and a landmark contribution in the history of Nepali literature. 

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh virtually observed the 88th birth anniversary of the great poet philosopher song writer, lyricist and composer Hari Bhakta Katuwal.

Late Purna Chetri, former chief spokesperson of Gorkha Autonomous Council Demand Committee (GACDC) and author of the book ‘Haami Gorkha – Haami Bharatiya’, had proposed the title ‘Krantikari Kavi’ at Katuwal janma jayanti held at Gorkha Thakurbari.

Kabita Katuwal, elder daughter of Late Hari Bhakta Katuwal, expressed happiness for awarding title ‘Krantikari Kavi’ to her father by the Bharatiya Gorkha Yuva Parisangh that was proposed almost a decade ago.

“My father Hari Bhakta Katuwal had keen interest in painting. His paintings were highly admired by the people. He was unequivocally a great poet but he was a lyricist of equal merit. His ”Malai Nasodha Kahaan Dukcha Ghaaw” and  ”Pokhiyera Ghaamka Jhulka Bhari Sangharaima” are still the favourites among the youths of 21st century. The great poet spent even his days in the 70s in forging something new for  Nepali literature,” added Kavita Katuwal.

Similar events were held at Rongbong and Kohra in Golaghat, Margherita in Tunsukia by Assam Nepali Sahitya Sabha (ANSS) and at Rowta in Udalguri, Tezpur in Sonitpur by AAGSU on Saturday and Sunday. 

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