A Golden AwakeningJyotiprasad Agarawal

Who art thou
seeking to gilt this land and
adorn mother Asomi
with radiant garments of light.
Who art thou?Upon the fields
of this land of mine
nature abundantly blooms
and dawn’s golden smile
plays near my courtyard door.
The last rays of the setting Sun
brighten the Luit under a gilded Sky
the golden hue of muga silk
enhances the beauty of a young maiden.
Upon the Silver sand,
Fool’s gold weaves glittering dreams
the yellow pollen of the keteki flower
drifts in the perfumed air
here the golden mind of the dreamer
roams in shady green-wood bowers.
Great poet saints of this land
Sankar & Madhav
Shed enlightenment in the world,
unfolding great minds
of great genius
on golden dreams of common men.
Let the golden future of this land
bloom in luminous light
the splendid vision of artists’ minds
weave rich reality in the world.
Awakening the universal creative mind,
of people belonging to this land
to bloom as the lotus with golden hue
and smile with radiance.

-- Jyoti Prasad Agarwala
(translated into English by Nina Dogra, sister of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala)

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala (1903-51) was a pioneer of Assamese culture who carried forward the values of communal harmony inherited from Sankardev and Madhavdev and strove to build a democratic mass culture. A creative genius, he made the first Assamese film “Joymati” in 1934 in his makeshift studio ‘Chitraban’. He also built the first cinema hall in Assam in 1937. Popularly known as ‘Rupkonwar’, Jyotiprasad Agarwala composed about 300 songs and himself set quite a few of them to music. He has also written nine plays. Apart from writing 3 books on child literature, he explored almost every corner of literature and art. In his works he dwells on the task of the present generation as a renewal of tradition by discarding dead wood and reviving creativity. In all departments of life, right from constitution-building to public architecture he issues a clarion call for overthrow of colonial mental servitude and awakening of the native creative spirit while stressing the value of the unique regional and national features, he never loses sight of their place in the universal polyphony of resurgent mankind. The freedom movement is seen by him as a historic moment in man’s struggle to liberate his creative energy from all useless divisions and fossilized remnants of the past and re-discover his integrity in a new civilization where man’s passion for artistic expression and beauty becomes sovereign.
Art and beauty, according to him, are to be achieved not by abandoning the material, practical world, but by transmuting it with the creative freedom of man. The historical separation of the intellect from manual labour, of the cultural elite from the masses, must be overcome in a society where everyone in his field becomes a productive artist.
The year-long birth centenery celebrations of Jyotiprasad Agarwala started in June last year