Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee

Jepulin Rajkumari, who won Asom Bhasa Gourav Award, is a popular name in Assamese literature. Her sixth poetic volume titled Tumi Koisila- Moi Tomar Beatrice comprises 150 brilliant poems.

WH Auden once said, “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.” The moment I got the sixth poetic volume of Jepolin RajkumariI fell in love with her vocabulary which is in the best order and matched to the content in her poems. She is a prolific poet and writer having inborn creative talent with an incredible zeal of a social reformer and positive vibes and now it is a privilege for all to know that this poet of Assam again is recognized by the Government of Assam.

Her poetic debut was Dichangporiya Ratani Moi, which was followed by Chamiyana, Dapon Phoenix and Bhogjara each one revealing her poetic oeuvre. Now she comes up with her sixth book Tumi Koisila –Moi Tomar Beatricepublished by Protisruti Prakashan. This Beatrice of Assamese Love poetry enchanted the readers of Chamiyanain 2000 where her poetical ecstasy stuns the poetic world to surely reach out to a greater audience and admirers and since then for last two decades, her golden nib inked more than 500 poems on love and life.

A serious social thinker like her simultaneously went on writing essays for book like Daponas early as 2016 which was a vivid social document reflecting her profound perception on society and the burning issues of her times ‘Dichungporiya Ratani Moipublished in 2018. Phoenix(2019) was her third anthology published in 2019.She is a dynamic personality revealing her penchant for Bihu Dance and also inscribed her name in the heart of the audience as a singer.

Ujjayaniis her another poetic milestone accepted by the poetic minded readers for their lovely images and ideas. These poetic volumes are collection poems in which she raised profound questions about life in notable poems such as Jajabori Jibon, Dushapno, Rod e Pora Neelachal, Poti-Potni, Achol Manuh, Kobitar Mahasabha, Nari Kiyo Eti Karun Bahi, Kencha Ghar Jwalanto Jui, etc. Till today her unpublished poems have reached nearly 600 in number and the published one are like one-eighth part of a huge poetic iceberg.

Truth that is unbearable is painful like the fresh wounds, she says in one of her poems. She compares in another poem the old houses to the past memories. Worship of green leaves is the secret of her poetic energy. Sometimes she voices loud the agonies of a female heart. Maximum feelings in minimum words are the sine qua non of her poetic style that gives her poems a new dimension. Sometimes her mind goes romantic where she imagines herself in the Radha image where she listens to the flute of her lover in the colorful bower.

In the sixth book, her poems reached a mature stage of lyrical expression. The book begins with ‘Your Love and My Love’ (Tomar Prem, Mor Prem), a poem where she brings the comparison of the male and female minds reacting to love. In her poem, she refers to Oinitam a festive song of the Mishing Bihu thus focusing on the tribal heritage.

This is combined with her modern musing on Cleopatra’s image in one of her poems. Again she imagines the Mississippi or the Amazon or the Kanchenjungha and the China Wall to explain the width and height of her depth. ‘You are Mark Antony, I am Cleopatra’.

What a simple yet profound utterance from the deep core of her heart. She discovers the limitless horizon of the firmament in her love. In another poem, she speaks of the moonlit night for the celebration of love. In one poem she expects her lover to gift her a flower bouquet every day “Every day you will come to me to give me a flower/ To make my life colourful”.

That such a serious writer of articles on social issues with so much zeal of a reformer can so gracefully dive deep into the fathomless poetic ecstasy, especially of Romantic love is more than an astonishing feat for any poet. Jepulin can write fast and so profoundly because she breathes poetry rather than writes it.

She writes about all six different seasons of Assam in the manner of English poet Thomson and describes the beauty of all the months Kartick, Aghon, Bohag, Fagun. She observes each hour of the day and can write on the morning and evening. She asks frankly in one poem, ‘Can I fall in love?”

She writes on Dichang Festival and with equal grace on Tejimala, and the story of rebirth (Punor Janam Kahini) to inspire the women of our times. A great poet is always a great motivator and Joplin’s poetry motivates not merely the members of the Tai Ahom Council in which she holds a prestigious position, but also the readers in general. She inspires all in artistic activities even her own daughter by publishing her book of poetry. All these are due to her love of poetry and life.

Her write-ups in nearly all important Assamese papers and her nearly regular publication of poems in the national Assamese dailies mesmerize the readers in her passionate scholarship as she uses a lot of learning in her poems and the images of European and Indian literature to enrich the texture of her poems all through this marvellous combo of reflection and passion.

It is important that she enjoys the role of organising Tai women for progressive activities and engaging them in creative works as the President of the All Tai Ahom Writers’ Council.

Her poems have a wonderful range and variety that include poems on parental love, nature, society, and conjugal life, filial bond and so on. But as a spokesperson for women’s freedom, she seems to be the best.

Robert Frost once said, “I have never started a poem whose end I knew”. Writing a poem is discovering. This is absolutely what happens in the poems of Jepolin Rajkumari. Her poems never ride but always claim our attention and more than attention our sensitive reception.

In Xaponor Jonak she dreams, we see the quest for her own self in Nixhar Batori, she is romantic in Nahoror Deshot Sonaru, she talks of her green land in Indranil, she writes on the beauty of Aswin, or on the emptiness of Kartick, she is the poet of sunshine and again she loves rain. She loves red and it is the colour of love and revolution. She is ‘a poet of the red’.

Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee is an academician and poet. He may be reached at: profratanbhattacharjee@gmail.com

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