DIBRUGARH, April 7 - After successive governments in the State failed to take any concrete steps towards preservation of the residence of one of the most-revered cultural doyens of Assamese culture Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala at Tamulbari tea estate, the new management of the plantation has decided on its own to convert the estate into a Jyoti Tirtha (Pilgrimage site) with exhaustive plans.
The residence which is nestled amid the green bushes of the tea estate is of historical importance to the State because the cultural icon who also holds several other celebrated identities like playwright, lyricist, poet, litterateur, dramatist and a film maker for his immense works in the mentioned fields, was born here. He was instrumental in pioneering Assamese cinema by producing the State�s first Assamese film Joymoti� in 1935. His death anniversary (January 17) is marked as Silpi Divas as an honour and homage.
Considered to be an extraordinary initiative by the new garden owners, the entire plan has been drawn by prominent tea planter, author and social worker Devi Prasad Bagrodia, who happens to be one of the owners. The other co-owners include Sunil Kumar Agarwalla, Sumit Kumar Agarwalla and Saurav Karnani. The new team formally took over the tea garden from March 1, 2019. The nomenclature of the Company �Tamulbari Tea Company Private Limited� however, remains the same, they informed.
As initial part of the preservation activity of the residence of Rupkonwar, the new management today invited three daughters � Jayshree Chaliha, Gyanashree Pathak and Satyashree Das � of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala to describe to them about the original set-up of the residence, interiors and surroundings. The new management got all the description and interviews of the three sisters documented in a video format at the residence site. The family members and the new management were also accorded warm reception by the garden workers. They also lit earthen lamps at the graveyard of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala. Later, the new owners and the three sisters addressed newsmen at Natya Mandir in Amolapatty here.
Devi Prasad Bagrodia told newsmen that since past 20 years or so, he had developed in himself the passion for preserving the memorials of the great Assam soul. �When I took over the responsibility of the garden, I decided along with other partners to ensure that we renovated, upgraded and did everything to preserve the memorial residence of the cultural doyen of Assam. As first step, we wanted to gather information from the family members about where and how Rupkonwar was staying and working. Therefore, we invited three of his daughters for comprehensive sharing,� said Bagrodia.
Bagrodia said that legacy left behind by the cultural icon ought to be preserved and promoted particularly among the new generation. �It is worth emulating his work culture, exemplary and visionary life. We must carry forward his ideals and show the path he paved to the younger generations,� he said.
The three daughters of Rupkonwar, who also shared their feelings about the new project and about their visit to their father�s birth place, said that they were delighted but at the same time felt nostalgic. �I am really moved by the plans of the new management for preservation of the memorial home. We are ready to extend our help in preserving the house, which is in a dilapidated state now,� said Jayshree Chaliha. As Gyanashree spoke about her father, she also recalled her young days playing with the kids of the plantation workers, going for fishing with hooks, looking for bogori and hilika in the surroundings. She said that the garden was not only about tea but was also a hotspot for intellectual discourse among several prominent people of the State. Satyashree expressed her gratitude to Devi Prasad Bagrodia and all his partners for taking the noble initiative and assured them of support and cooperation in getting their dreams fulfilled. Eminent writer Dr Nagen Saikia who also spoke on the occasion, said he is highly impressed about the initiative.