Guwahati: A dedicated tribal leader turned a great nationalist Bhimbar Deuri was remembered for his extraordinary contributions to the country, while preparing to adopt a new identity as a sovereign nation after decades of foreigner’s rule, at a gorgeous function in the city on 30 November 2023. Organised on the Jananeta’s 76 th death anniversary at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra, the Bhimbar Deuri Divas witnessed a spectacular participation of audience where the guests spoke a volume about the legendary personality and a successful organizer.
Patronaged by Assam government’s cultural affairs department and initiated by Deuri Autonomous Council (DAC), All Assam Deuri Students’ Union (AADSU) along with the concerned residents of Guwahati, the program was graced by State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma along with State legislative assembly speaker Biswajit Daimary, State minister Ranoj Pegu, legislator Bolin Chetia, Kalakshetra secretary Sudarshan Thakur, principal secretary to cultural affairs department B Kalyan Chakravarthy, DAC chief Bhairav Deuri, AADSU president Niren Deuri, secretary Tapan Deuri, etc.
CM Sarma, who unveiled the statue of Bhimbar Deuri and a bhawan at Borbari in the city virtually from the dais, paid floral tribute to the most popular leader from the indigenous community of Assam before delivering his elaborate speech. He termed Bhimbar Deuri as a visionary personality who always raised voices for the benefit of indigenous people. Maintaining a strong stand against the infiltrators, Bhimbar Deuri played a vital role along with Assam’s first chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi in dismantling the conspiracy of British colonial forces to include the region in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) during the partition. Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi himself termed him as Jananeta (people’s leader).
Bhimbar Deuri (16 May 1903 – 30 November 1947) was also a successful lawyer, who logically fought against the British officers in accommodating due space for the tribals in general and common residents in general. One of the prime architects of Khasi Darbar Hall Resolutions (21–23 March 1945), where various ethnic leaders resolved for independence, Bhimbar Deuri also played a leading role in forming Assam Backward Plains Tribal League (1933). An undisputed leader among different tribes in Assam, Bhimbar Deuri insisted on sanctioning land pattas to indigenous Assamese families, primary education to every child and adequate political patronage to the deprived section in the society.
A souvenir was also published on the occasion, where a number of articles highlighting different aspects of Bhimbar Deuri’s life & struggles were incorporated. Edited by award winning writer Bipul Deuri, the souvenir reprinted some articles penned by veteran personalities like Nibaran Bora, Golap Borbora, Medini Choudhury, Indibar Deuri etc. It also comprises thought provoking pieces by eminent author-scholars namely Hiren Gohain, Udayaditya Bharali, Anil Bharali, Paramanda Majumder, Mayur Bora along with Dilip Patgiri, Adip Kr Phukan, Ratneswar Deuri, Soranan Deuri, Nandeswar Deuri, Anup Kumar Deuri, Hem Ranjan Deuri, Subanti Deuri, Rupjyoti Konwar, Ratneswar Basumatary, Bhadreswar Deuri, Niroj Kr Raimedhi, Binu Deuri Barua, etc.
In my speech as the assigned speaker I emphasized on recognizing Bhimbar Deuri in all India level with a national award. Moreover, his contributions should get their due space in the history of India’s freedom movement. The educational institutions may consider academic research on his activities and an annual lecture will be an important tribute to the great social equalizer. At the same time, Assam should start debating over an upper house (Bhimbar Deuri was also a member of Assam Legislative Council in the pre-independence era), so that the tribals and underdeveloped communities with tiny populations can enjoy the political space they deserve.