Liberation Salutes Progressive Assamese Dramatist Munin Bhuyan

Munin Bhuyan, a leading figure of amateur people's theatre (Gananatya) movement in Assam , passed away on 9 September 04 at the age of 57, after a five-year long battle with cancer.

Munin Bhuyan was a multidimensional personality. He was a poet, a translator, a singer, an actor and also an essayist. He had earned outstanding recognition among the people as a dramatist and director. He wrote only three drama scripts originally: ‘Jorowrowa Praja', Hati Aru Phandi' and ‘Sandhikshyan', all of which are based on the theme of class struggle. The background of ‘Jorowrowa Praja' is the peasant uprising and seizure of power from the autocratic Ahom monarchy. ‘Hati Aru Phandi' is based on the life struggle and protests by the community which tames and tends elephants for a living. And ‘Sandikshyan' is rooted in the peasants' land seizure struggle in Shalmari of Dibrugarh district of Assam conducted under CPI(ML) leadership, in which Comrade Mukul Barua had embraced martyrdom. The three plays based on class struggle have played a significant role in developing modern Assamese theatre into real people's theatre.

In the decade of 1980, when the Assam movement was at its zenith, Munin Bhuyan played an active role in founding ‘Sadau Asom Janasanskritik Parishad' in 1982. He was in close touch with the Party all through the 1980s and had great respect for our movement till the end of his life. He graced the Karbi Cultural Festival held in 2001 as its chief guest and expressed great admiration for the cultural movement in the hill districts.

As a dramatist and director, Munin Bhuyan followed the dialectical theatrical style propounded by Bertolt Brecht. Although he had earlier founded a theatrical organization “Natyacharcha” (Theatrical Discussion, he devoted his energies to establishing a state level organization ‘Theatre Forum of Assam' in 2002, in order to mobilize all dramatists, actors and directors so as to develop a modern, democratic theatre movement in Assam. He was awarded the title of ‘Natya Pran' by the Asom Sahitya Sabha. In the last days of his life he was contemplating a play on the life and struggles of Maniram Dewan, the great anti-colonial martyr of Assam - a dream which remained unfulfilled.

His works include translations of Bertolt Brecht, Lu Hsun, Dostoyevsky, Turgnev and Paulo Coelho.

At the time of his death, he was the Director of the All India Radio Dibrugarh Station. Munin Bhuyan's death is an irreparable loss not only for Assam but for the people's theatre movement of the whole of India . We pay our heartfelt homage to his memory.