Remembering The Great Artisan Gopinath Talukdar

He was an appreciator of folk art, classical music & theatre and also a thinker. A thinker and also an artisan himself, Gopinath Talukdar, who took an innovative plan to weave Assamese traditional Bihuwan in a mini form expired recently. Died after a brief illness on June 25 evening (2012) at Dispur Hospital in Guwahati Talukdar, 80, lived in Pathsala, a small town of western Assam in northeast India, where he was also cremated with Hindu rituals in presence of his family members and well-wishers. Born in January 9, 1932, Talukdar was the eldest son of Satya Talukdar & Ramanti Talukdar and he had his early education in Pathsala and Howly.

Later he shifted to Guwahati and Shillong to complete his IA and BA courses. Talukdar had to abandon his Science stream due to financial constrain and took a part-time job to continue education through night classes. Initially Talukdar had to take care of his brothers and sisters too. After the completion of BA from Saint Anthony College, Shillong in 1955, Talukdar joined in Assam Cooperative Society and retired from the department in 1993 as the Deputy Register. As a sincere, committed and honest employee, Talukdar earned goodwill from his colleagues. A thinker in nature, Talukdar also tried his hands in cultural plays, writings and handicrafts.

Since early Eighties, Talukdar developed a mini form of Bihuwan (6 x 14 sq inches) with the traditional design and motives. “Initially he (Talukdar) used to send the Mini Bihuwans to the closed relatives and well-whishes. Our leisure time was mostly spent in weaving those pieces. Slowly his initiatives received appreciations from various sections in the society.

During the Pathsala session of Asom Sahitya Sabha in 1987, we had opened a stall and where thousands of Mini Bihuwans were sold,” said his bereaved wife Kanika Talukdar remembering the golden days. It may be mentioned that Bihuwan is recognized as the highest traditional love and respect to somebody in the Assamese society. The traditional Assamese towel, Bihuwan is offered to the dearest one during the Bohag bihu festival celebrated in every spring.

A habituate angler, Talukdar designed the initial emblem of Bajali College of Pathsala. A vivid fan of Dr Bhupen Hazarika, Talukdar himself used to sing and encouraged his daughter and four sons for formal education in classical music. For some time, he taught in Bajali Higher Secondary School, Pathsala too.

A soft spoken gentleman, Talukdar also tried his hands in creative writings and two collections of his poems titled as Samannay and Adhyatmika were published. Many of his creations on spiritual theme were also translated from Assamese into English by himself. Talukdar also entertained the invitations from different organizations and individuals for recitation (reading) of holly volume of Bhagawat in various places. His crisp and clear voices with wisdom added attraction to the devotees and also the general listeners.

Here is an excerpt from Adhyatmika

I ( THE PRIME BEING ) By Gopinath Talukdar

I am the positive and negative charges of electron, confined within the atoms. I posses the dangerous destructive explosion, and the source of dream-like creation. I am the root of all, but everybody fool befalls. I always crave for love: I am the Director of the drama of life, I make the garlands of happiness and grief. I play the game of birth and death, I make the wheel of Time. I exhibit the world of happiness, I distribute the granary of matters.

I establish the merry making festivals, I play the game of wrestler’s hell. I lighten the lamps of knowledge in mind, I become light the foe of darkness. I become darkness to vanish the light, I am the devil of the mind and senses. I am God the enemy of devils, I am the devils the enemies of God. I am the shining moonlight, I am the skyful lime-light of the every morning. I am the rose of the gardens, I am the scent which attract the bees. I am the sun who emits heat, I am the wind which moves the clouds. I am the rainfall flowing as rivers, I am the mountains to embrace the rain on my breast. I am the greenful trees of the nature, I am the butterflies of attractive colours.

I being trees go straight to the skies, I am the creepers, creep on the trees. I am the fruits ripe and fall, I am the beings eat and fulfill the bellies. I enliven the bodies as blood, feeding the cells, I am the germs to ring their death-bells. I am the snake to bite on the body, I am the snake-charmer (Dhanantari) to treat it. I am the cells in lakhs in the bodies, I am the cancer to kill them promptly. I am the ‘Amrit’ (life essence) donate deathless bliss, I am the poison to bring death to it. I am the cemen to enter into the womb, I am the egg to bring creative urge to reproduce. I am the ‘Kangsha’ (pain) the demon of mother ‘Daibaki’, I am the ‘Krishna’ (baby) fulfil the will of her mind. I adorn the lap of ‘Jasodha’ to nurish all along, I am the wicked son and earn her pity. I am the ‘Gopinees’ encircling ‘Krishna’, I blow the flute to seat their minds.

I am the cowboy keep the cows, I am the cows and calves roam about forests. I am the demons namely ‘Agha’, ‘Baka’, ‘Pralamba’ etc., I am the friends of the cowboys of ‘Gokul’ (Braja). I am the ‘Kali’ (serpent) in Kalindi lake, I demolish her and get the glory and glamour. I am the ‘Putana’ and offer poisonous milk of breast, I am the baby by sweeping finish her life.

I conquer and kill ‘Kangsha’ the uncle, I am the friend of ‘Pandavas’ (body of five elements) savior. I bear the waters of the oceon, I flow the waters on the earth. I become the Sun and warm up the waters, I become vapours and form the clouds. I am the sound under the Sea (Sangkha), I am the lotus glaring the ponds.

I become ice and fly in the sky, I again transform into water and fall on the Earth. I bloom in the green valley, I incarnate as fish in the water of the sea. I incarnate as tortoise (Kashyap) and roam, I dip into the water as pig (Varaha). I incarnate as lion-man (Narasinggha) on the Earth, I am renowned as dwarf-man (Bamana) in the world. I am ‘Parasuram’ (man with axe in hand) enemy of warrior, I incarnate as ‘Haliram’ the elder brother of ‘Krishna’. I incarnate as ‘Sree Rama’ and establish ideal rule, I incarnate as ‘Buddha’ to sprinkle peace. I incarnate as ‘Kalki’ the perversions on the Earth, I vanish the madness in the calm and quite world. Except me there is nothing in the Universe, I am the sight, touch, audio, scent and taste.

I am philosophy, I am ‘Jagya’ (firing), I am life-involver, I am the guard, I am the thief and the savior of all. I am devotion, I am knowledge and I display the light, I am the father, I am mother, I am the copulation. I am the Rhyme, I am Rhythm, I am the songs of – ‘Samaveda’, I am donor of ‘Jajurveda’ (scince of worship) and – ‘Atharbaveda’ (science of medicine).

I am the priest, I am disciple, I am the massenger, I am ‘Dharma’ (faith), I am ‘Karma’ (deeds) I am infinity. I am the King. I am its subjects, I promulgate laws, I am the foe, I am the friend, I solemnize love. I am sound, I am the tune, I am Rhyme and Rhythm, I am observer, I am sight, I am the objects to be seen. I am one, I am many, I create and destroy, I remain intact at the time of total destruction. I am ‘Christian’, I am ‘Hindu’, I am ‘Muslim’, I am ‘Buddha’, I am ‘Sikh’, I am all others. I am the only one in the Universe, and there is nothing else except me. I evolve as the source of the bud, I am the evolutionary development day by day. I am the old to decompose and vanish, I take rebirth again.

I am pure, crystal, benevolence and everlasting, I am wicked, I am dissatisfaction and divisions. I encicle the Universe all along, I am the luminous metior engulfing fire. I am the Devine being, I am devil, I am the self, I am the worshipped, I am worship, I am body & mind. I am the subject, I am predicate, I am the results, I minus the boat sinks there, my existence brings efflorescence, I minus exists only the emptiness. I am the objects, I am their glaze, I am ornaments, I minus ziro and nothing shines. I play my games with my tools. I am winner or looser, I only remain at the end of the game. I minus there is nothing and nothing, I only remain, so everything is mine, who identify me by knowledge and belief, he remains with me in my abode.

I am the glamouring rays of the sky, I am the slumber at the bottom of the sea (patal). In the universe I am the endless deeds, I am the granary of incarnations in my play-fields. I am the infinity in all my material bodies, I am so unthinkable and unknown by mankind. I am the King of the reactionary senses, I enjoy it by uncommunicated administration tools. I am the finite life (jibatma), I am infinity (Atma), I am the supreme infinity the source of enliven energy. I remain outside and in the interior, I am conceived differently by ullusion. I am truth, I am everlasting, I am overwhelming, I am miracle, hallucination and covering all.

I am air, I am water, I am earth and stars of the sky, I am the Sun, the planets and the beautiful moon. I am ‘Swattwa’ (pure), I am ‘Raja’ (mixed), I am ‘Tama’ (impure), I react them but I myself ‘Nirguna’ (qualityless). I am the drops, I am the mass, I am the reservoir, I am liquid, I am solid and I am the iceberg. I am the life (Chit), I am words and I shine, I am truth, everlasting and the omnipotent. I minus nothing in the universe, I am total and everything got from me. I am single but become many, I make the endless circles of seeds and trees. I construct the illusive net of the open light, I puzzle everybody by that open light.

I remain everywhere as shadows, The play of light and shade bring senseless state. I am the illness, I am meal, I am epidemic, I am Doctor, I am medicines which cure diseases. I start birth by the art of copulation, I bring death for the sake of starting life anew. I tremble the earth by the roaring of sounds, I am the calm and quite in the peaceful sky. I am the softness on the cheeks of the babies, I am the rough wrinkles of the old bodies. I am the strength of sound health and enthusiastic madness, I am the burden of handicaps, philosophy of five eliments.

I incarnate as the most beautiful woman, I am the body of neglected miasma leprosy. I am the enchanting roses with scent inside, I am the obnoxious blood stains of its thorns. I am the thirsty bees mad after scented flowers, I am the flies who like the scent of sceptic sour. I am the destructive terrible monsoon, I am the peaceful autumn of happiness. I am the shining flowers of the calm water, I am the poisonous snakes emitting poison there. I am the waters of ganges from the hilly lakes of purity, I am the poisonous water of the lake “Kalindi”.

I am the beautiful and ugly, I am the lifeful charms of the lifeless elements. I am the body, I am the shadow and I play game, I am figureless, I am figureful and I exhibit fame. I am semen, I am egg, I am the copulation, I am the father, I am son, I am the relatives and all, except me there is nothing . . . . . . nothing, all exist so long I exist. I destroy the darkness becoming light, I finish the light becoming darkness. I am the light of preaching the knowledge, I am the illiteracy the ignorance of mind. I and you have no differences, I am quality less, I am endless and I am indivisible.

I am straight line with two ends, I am a circle when two ends meet together. I am the craver of love to meet and mingle, I love to make the opposites into one. I am the art of creation in the Universe, I am playing the game of birth and death. I am circular ‘atom’ like beautiful drops of water, I am the gist of ‘Vedas’ the knowledge of Hinduism.

Me you worship, Me you imagine, put your mind tome, be yourself omnipresent and submit to me. I am nowhere, but present everywhere dividingly, I am extra-ordinary, charmer of the Universe, you are mad after your ‘Ego’, but your ‘Ego’ is I, I exist, so everything exists and devote only to me. I am the seed of man, the cows of creation “1st person I”, I am the cause of the seed to perplex and befool men.

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Northeast India) based journalist, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world.