News Assamese

Book on Jyoti Prasad Agarwala and his family out now


The book examines the family and history of the father of Assamese cinema within the context of Assamese identity.

Our Correspondent

In Assam, the name Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, one of the foremost cultural figures from the state, is etched in public memory. Agarwala’s death anniversary, 17 January, is observed as Silpi Divas or Artist’s Day across Assam.

A multi-talented artiste, Agarwala made the first Assamese film Joymati (1935). Besides filmmaking, he wrote plays, composed music and wrote revolutionary songs and poems. He presided over the first Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) conference organized in Assam and was active in political activities against the colonial government.

Pranjit Agarwala’s recently released book, Challenging Destiny, goes back in history to narrate the life story of Navarangram Agarwala (1811–1865) and his descendants, most prominent among them being Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad.

Spanning more than a century, the book is a saga of adventure, enterprise and daring initiatives by the members of the Agarwala family which ultimately helped to restore the identity, language, literature and culture of a community.

Set in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, the book provides a panoramic overview of the history and heritage of Assam as well as the Northeast, intrinsic to which was the role of the Agarwala family which contributed significantly to the evolution of modern-day Assam.

Speaking about the book, author Pranjit Agarwala said, “Assam and the Northeast region have found little mention in Indian history books. Hence, there is still little awareness in the country about the history and heritage of this region. Challenging Destiny is a humble attempt to correct this lapse and spread some awareness about the history and heritage of Assam and the Northeast.”

Challenging Destiny is available online and will also be available at the New Delhi World Book Fair to be held at Pragati Maidan in January 2022. The book is published by Bluerose Publishers.