By Tapas Dey | April 27, 2018
It was long ago in the year 1996, a phone cackled breaking the silence of the room. The occupant of the room in a quiet home in Abhaynagar area of Agartala , absorbed in his reverie mulling ideas for a new poem waked up to the call . It was a joyous news as the venerable ‘Sahitya Academy’ had decided to confer the prestigious ‘Bhasa Samman’ award, meant for poets and authors of non-scheduled languages, on him. The joy was boundless as Tripura’s indigenous poet Chandra Kanta Murasingh was the first in entire northeast to be conferred the prestigious award till then. He quietly settled down and shared the good news with his wife and children and later reached Delhi to receive the award. This was neither the beginning nor the end for Chandra Kanta : lot more laurels awaited him in the days to come but the national recognition spurred him on to new creativity.
Born in the tribal dominated Tuibandal village under Sonamura subdivision Chandra Kanta has been a living witness to the socio-economic transformation of Tripura from his childhood. From the pristinely pure tribal community life as shifting cultivator to the modernity of existence as an urban dweller and poet-Chandra Kanta has seen it all . The simplicity and innocence of tribal life supported by shifting cultivation and allied activities , the light and shade of nature, gargling sound of hilly spring and the clattering of raindrops on his thatched house still remind him of his early days. His father Syampada Murasingh (101) , a shifting cultivator, had been a forward looking man and in the new competition spawned by influx of new people he decided to send his son to Ramesh School in Udaipur for studies. Chandra Kanta completed his schooling with credit in 1973 and then joined Indian postal and communication service as an employee and was posted in Imphal.
‘I had a spirit to write and express my thoughts in poetry from the early days but in Imphal I got an opportunity to extensively study literature including poetry which stood me in good stead ; I keep on reading even now’ said Chandra Kanta. Within three years he had studied the masterpieces of Bengali literature and then returned to Agartala to join Tripura Gramin Bank (TGB). His poetic career started blossoming in Agartala as he started penning poems in both his mother tongue ‘Kokborok’ and Bengali . In due course of time he bagged a number of literary awards given by the state government like ‘Rabidnra Purashkar’ and others. ‘The awards acted as impetus for further writing and I have translated works of Rabindra Nath Tagore in ‘Kokborok’ after I was requested by the authority of Calcutta’s Presidency university and Viswa Bharati’my translation of Tagore’s works as well as other works in ‘Kokborok’ were appreciated by the universities’ said Chandra Kanta, an acclaimed writer in Bengali also.
But his greatest contribution is going to be the musical notation he is preparing for ‘Kokborok’ folk songs which have already attracted attention of connoisseurs. Having retired from service Chandra Kanta now spends his quiet days, shuttling between his home in Abhay Nagar area of Agartala and ancestral home in Tuibandal . ‘I now write ceaselessly but my present priority is to complete the musical notation for ‘Kokborok’ folk songs ; I am nearing the finishing point and very soon this will be published’ said Chandra Kanta.
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