Badan Chandra Lahkar - A Tribute

Badan Chandra Lakhar, a leading businessman, jourlist, publisher, social worker and public activists is no more. He left for the heavenly abode on January 23.  Late Lahkar was born at lbari on September 23, 1942. To revive the economic condition of his family, late Lahkar came to Tezpur at the age of 12. He had his early education at Lahkarpara but on arrival at Tezpur, he took initiatives for earning and learning and passed HSLC examition as a private candidate and joined the Darrang College.

He was the editor of souvenir of Darrang College Students Union and also served as assistant secretary of Darrang College Students Union. He took active part in the language, refinery and foreigners’ movement of Assam.

After graduation, he started a book stall under the me and style “Jata Trading and Jata Book Stall” in the year 1956 and later the Jata Press in the year 1969. His book stall and press were the centres for intellectuals of Tezpur for evening gatherings. His Jata Press was one of the leading printing presses of North Bank of Assam and about one hundred books were printed and published by it. The famous magazine ‘Prasangik’ published by San’git akam was published from Jata Press. Late. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika also used to contribute his articles in this magazine.

Late Lahkar also published a weekly newspaper from his press under the me of “Sadiniya Sambad” from 1990 to 1997 under the editorship of Trilokya Bhattacharyya. He was one of the founder members of Tezpur B.T. College and contributed a lot for its development.

Late Lahkar also served in the Tezpur Chamber of Commerce and Mahabhairab Co-operative Urban Bank as its chairman. I too had the opportunity to work with him as a Director of the Bank and because of his honesty, hard working ture, the bank is catering to the needs of a large number of businessmen of Tezpur. Late Lahkar also served as a president of Kamrupiya Satan Dharma Mandali and Jyoti Kala Kendra, the first Sangeet Mahabidyalaya of Assam, President of Mara Bharali Cremation Ground, Life member of Ban Theatre Hall, Tezpur Xahitya Xabha. He was also an active member of the souvenir published by the Assam Xahitya Xabha, Tezpur conference (1968). In the year 1967, when Kalaguri Bishnu Prasad Rava was suffering from cancer, it was Late Lahkar who took him to Mumbai for treatment and stayed at Mumbai with Kalaguri till he returned to Tezpur and incurred the expenses for treatment. When Kala Guru Bishnu Prasad Rava was arrested by the Assam Government, Late Lahkar took all efforts for his release by way of legal battle with Advocate Bibhuti Bhusan Chakraborty of Tezpur in 1967.

In 1962 at the time of Chinese aggression, late Lakhar in association with artist Hiren Choudhury, former minister Bijit Saikia, Dr. P.N. Sinha, Prab Sinha played an active role by asking people not to panick and not to leave Tezpur, in view of evacuation order given by the district administration. He was one of the patrons of “Kohinur” and ‘Abahan” theatre groups of Assam and always extended cooperation for the progress of the traditiol mobile theatre of Assam.

Late Lahkar also served as a guest editor of the bi-weekly “Mahajáti” of Tezpur when Dr. P.N. Sinha was detained under tiol Security Act and played pivotal role during the emergency period through the weekly in spite of censorship. The death of Late Lakhar came as a bolt from the blue for the people of Tezpur. On the arrival of his body at his residence at Nepali Patty here, hundreds of his friends, well-wishers, businessman visited the house to pay their last tributes.

The sudden death of Late Lahkar is a huge loss to the people of Tezpur and the vacuum that has been created is not easy to fill up. Late Lahkar was 73 and is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter. His funeral was largely attended. He was cremated at Mara Bharali cremation ground and hundreds of friends and well-wishers gave him adieu with tears.

Today, on the occasion of his Adya Sraddha, I pay my tributes for the peaceful rest of his soul.

— Subhash Chandra Biswas

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