The birth centenary celebration of late Bishnulal Upadhyaya comes to an end on the July 16, 2017. On this memorable day, the people of North-east India in general and the Gorkhas in particular remember him with profound love and gratitude and offer respectful homage to his departed soul for eternal peace. Late Bishnulal Upadhyaya was a multi-faceted personality, a noted freedom fighter, an educationist, a connoisseur of Assamese and Nepali literatures and a stalwart among Gandhian leaders, all rolled into one. He was born of a humble and respectable Nepali Brahmin family of Majhgoan, under Mouza Behalf, in Darrang district (now Biswanath district).
As a student Bishnulal was a sharp and intelligent boy. He passed his matriculation in the first division from Tezpur Government Boys� High School in 1938 with letter marks in Sanskrit and graduated in 1944 from the Cotton College, Gauhati. While still a student, Bishnulal took part in Freedom Movement under the guidance of the prominent Congress leaders of Tezpur like Omio Kumar Das, Gahan Chandra Goswami, Vijoy Chandra Bhagavati and Chhabilal Upadhyaya.
During the Quit India Movement, he took active part in the historic procession of September 20, 1942 which culminated in pulling down of the British Union Jack and hoisting of the Congress flag at the Behalf Police Station. For this reason Bishnulal Upadhyaya along with others were arrested and imprisoned at Tezpur Jail. Knowing him to be a student of Cotton College, the Magistrate tried to win him over by saying, �You are a young student, you have a future. If you agree to sign a bond stating that you would not do such an act in the future, I would set you free.� Bishnulal smartly replied, �Whatever I did, I did it knowingly and I will continue to do it�. Hearing such a curt reply of young Bishnulal, the Magistrate sentenced him to six months� rigorous imprisonment.
Behalf High School started in 1941 with Bishnulal Upadhyaya, though still a college student, as its founder and the only teacher. After graduation he again joined Behalf High School as Head Master and worked as such until 1957 when he was unexpectedly offered a Congress ticket to contest election to the Assam Legislative Assembly. Working in the Behalf High School for long 14 years he made a great contribution to the cause of education for the backward people of that area by the dint of his consistent effort, hard work and dedication.
In 1957 election he returned as a member to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Gohpur constituency, and, thereafter, he continued to remain in that office for three consecutive terms till 1972. After a break of five years, in 1978 he became Congress MLA once again from Behalf constituency for one full term from 1978 till 1983. As an MLA, Bishnulal Upadhyaya was an avid democrat and a disciplined parliamentarian.
He was imbued with Gandhian ideology and followed the teachings of Gandhiji in letter and spirit. In 1960 when Binoba Bhave visited Assam, he became one of the active members of the Assam State Binoba Bhave Reception Committee. He also acted as the Chairman of the two-day seminar held at Helem Revenue Circle office on October 13-14, 1966 for the review of the Assam Bhudan Act. It was because of his active participation in the Bhoodan movement that many landless cultivators of Helem Revenue Circle were benefited with plots of land.
He loved Assamese literature and participated in Assamese cultural functions like Bihu, Rash Mela, Sankaradeva Tithi etc. He was actively involved in Asam Sahitya Sabha as a life member of the same. He wrote books and articles in Assamese language and enriched Assamese literature. Dr Jogendra Narayan Bhuyan, Maheswar Neog and Satish Chandra Kakati praised Bishnulal Upadhyaya as an accomplished Assamese writer. His book in Assamese, Dugaraki Mohan Bibhuti, in which he portrayed the lives of Assamese prophet Sankaradeva and Nepali epic poet Bhanubhakta, he tried to build a golden bridge between the Assamese and the Nepali languages and culture.
Another Assamese book of his, Eri Oha Din bor, would go a long way to keep his memory evergreen in the hearts of Assamese people, said Dr Jogendra Narayan Bhuyan. He was awarded Phulchand Khandelwal award by Asam Sahitya Sabha in recognition of his valuable contribution to literature. Bishnulal Upadhyaya was a connoisseur of Nepali literature and occupied a place among the top ranking Nepali litterateurs. He wrote 17 books, of which 12 are in Nepali and five books in Assamese. He breathed his last at his ripe old age of 90 on July 21, 2007.