GUWAHATI, Nov 2 - Some Bengalee youths of Gauhati selflessly engaged themselves in the efforts to spread the message of the freedom struggle in Gauhati. Among them, Gobinda Lahiri, an employee of the Assam Valley Trading Company Ltd, was the most active during the Swadeshi Movement in 1901. He worked with Ambikagiri Raichoudhury and Triguna Prasad Barooah to inspire the students of the then nascent Cotton College to join the freedom struggle, said noted writer Kumudeswar Hazarika.
In the post-Independence period, some Bengalee youths of Gauhati played a major role in spreading the communist movement in the State, along with several Assamese youths of Gauhati. Of them, Mohan Lal Mukherjee, Hiranmoy (popular as Hena) Ganguly and Nirendra Mohan (Niren) Lahiri were the most prominent. While Mohanlal was the son of late Lalit Mohan Mukherjee, Hena Ganguly was the son of late Satyabrata Ganguly. Both the families were residents of Rehabari area and were among the old Bengalee families of Gauhati.
Niren Lahiri was the son of late Satyendra Mohan Lahiri, who was an advocate general of undivided Assam in the post-Independence period. Mohan Lal Mukherjee, Hena Ganguly and Niren Lahiri were active members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of India (RCPI) and were also close associates of Kalaguru Bishnuprasad Rava, said Hazarika.
The Lahiris lived in Phansi (Fancy) Bazar area and Niren Lahiri later became an advocate general of Meghalaya. He was the publisher of Bishnu Rava�s first published book Muktir Deol. Kamala Majumdar of the Jorpukhuripar Ugratara Temple area was also a leading lady of Gauhati, who took part in the RCPI movement actively in the post-Independence era. She also belonged to an old Bengalee family of Gauhati. Hena Ganguly, who played cricket, was a feared fast bowler of Gauhati. His brutal killing by the Calcutta Police on a Calcutta street in broad daylight in 1977 was shocking news for the Guwahatians.
Mohanlal Mukherjee�s younger sister Baruna Mukherjee, an Assamese stage and cine actress of fame, married Assamese film producer, director and actor Anil Choudhury. Though he came to Gauhati around 1920, late Animesh Ganguly, a bachelor, emerged as a renowned footballer, as well as a prominent sports organiser of Gauhati and Assam as well. He discovered Indian Olympic soccer team captain Dr T Ao and the lone Assamese captain of Calcutta�s Mohun Bagan AC, Sarat Das. Manoranjan Banerjee, a son of Kunja Behari Banerjee (Kunja Thakur) of Kamarpatty area, was a renowned footballer. He was a reserve player of the Indian soccer team selected for the 1952 Olympics.
In the Ulubari B Barooah Road Sitalabari area, there lived the Deys and Banerjees � the two old Bengalee families. Pulak Banerjee of the Benarjee family is a leading singer of Assam.
Sitalabari was once the main centre for treatment of small pox, measles etc., in Gauhati and the Dey family used to run the Sitalabari for generations.
There are some century-old Bengalee families in the Silpukhuri area. They are the Chakrabortys, Deys and Chatterjees. Among the Deys of Silpukhuri, Sitangshu Mohan Dey was a founder teacher of Kamrup Academy. He later became a headmaster of the Bengalee Boys� High (later Higher Secondary) School, said Hazarika.