‘Xurare deulare, rupare xikali
Bhangidili khuli, duwar xunuwali,
Who hasn’t heard this song during their childhood? We all have been humming this melodious song since our childhood days. This song was a masterpiece by Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha.
Born in Dacca (now Dhaka), Bengal Presidency, British India on January 31, 1909, Bishnu Prasad Rabha is one of the pioneers of Assamese music and culture. The people of Assam called him Kalaguru, which means the master of the arts. He did his schooling in Tezpur and later went to Calcutta to pursue higher education.
Right from his childhood, Kalaguru actively took part in India’s freedom struggle. For him, freedom meant to be free from poverty; to be free from all the social evils. He was also the president of the Assam branch of Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). His works were about the various indigenous communities of Assam. His dedication and interest in uplifting the weaker parts of the societies is quite visible in his works, like Bano Kobang, Missing Coneng, Sonpahi, Atit Axom, and so on. His famous slogan “Haal Jaar Maati Taar” meaning “those who cultivate should own the land.”
Bishnu Prasad Rabha learnt by the Borgeets of Shrimanta Shankardev. His songs, known as Rabha Sangeet, have diverse themes. Kalaguru was an actor, a film director, and also, a music composer. He used to perform dramas at one of the oldest cultural activity centre of Assam, the Baan Theatre.
Few of Kalaguru’s evergreen songs, which have been ruling our hearts since childhood, are:
- Roi Roi Keteki
- Porojonomor Xubhalaganat
- Aaji Mandir or Duwar Khula
- Biswar Chande Chande
- Mor Kobitar Chanda lagi
- Bilote Halise Dhuniya Podumi
An award, Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha Award is given by the Assam government in his honour for achievements in the field of culture and music. There is also a memorial park, the Bishnu Rabha Smriti Udyan, located on the banks of river Brahmaputra.