Jyotiprasad Agarwala
Jyotiprasad Agarwala

Honoring Heritage: Jyotiprasad Agarwala and the Legacy of the Silpi Awards

Silpi Divas, is observed across the State on the death anniversary of noted Assamese film maker, playwright, poet, and bard Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala on January 17.

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala:

Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was an important figure in n the history of Assamese cinema. He was born on 17 June 1903 in the Tamulbari tea state, Dibrugarh.

  • He is credited with introducing realism to Assamese cinema and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of Assamese cinema.

  • Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was a transformation artist. He managed in gaining a place in the people's hearts.

  • He was not limited to any particular region; his ideas and perspectives were nationalist in nature.

  • Jyoti Prasad Agarwal succeeded in introducing a novel idea to the public. Following which, he was referred to as the Rup tirtha traveler by Kalaguru Vishnuprasad Rabha.

  • Because of his significant contribution to Assamese culture, he is referred to as an icon of Assamese culture and is also known as the "Rupkonwar" of Assamese culture.

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala in Assamese literature – culture:

  • He was a playwright, storyteller, novelist, child writer, poet, lyricist, composer, dance designer, filmmaker.

  • He was rich in national thoughts and consciousness, practiced literature from a young age.

  • At the age of 14, he wrote a play called Sonitkonwari. The theme of this play was collected by Agarwala from Puran but from a distinctive point of view he gave the play a new look.

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala contributed to Assamese drama literature by composing plays like:

  • Karen’s Ligieri,

  • Lavita,

  • Rupalim,

  • Nimati Koina,

  • Sonpokhili,

  • Khanikar,

  • Kanakalata, and

  • Sundar Konwar.

Stories of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala:

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala also wrote stories. He also wrote many stories like:

  • Rupohi 

  • Bogitora 

  • Xontora

  • Xuntir Abhimaan 

  • Zuzaru

  • Xotir Xuworoni  

  • Xondhya

  • Pratnatattikar Kalaaghumati 

  • Neela Charai


Agarwala took up a novel called “Our village” (Amar Gaon). However there were some difficulties: he could not complete the work.

Child writer:

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was also recognized as a child writer. His notable child poems are:

  • ‘Bhoot puwali,’

  • ‘Akoman Lora,’

  • ‘Akomani’s Prayers.’

Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s outstanding contribution to a children’s literature is Jyoti Ramayana and Ghura Dangoria. Jyoti Prasad narrated the story of Ramayana for children through poems in Ramayana.

Contribution of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala to Assamese Cinema:

  • Jyoti Prasad Agarwala’s Joymati film has been given the status of the third Indian film and the first Indian dubbing film recognized by the Indian film critic

  • After producing "Joymati," Jyoti Prasad Agarwal went on to make "Indramalati," another movie.

  • He set up the Jonaki hall in Tezpur in 1937. Because of his exceptional contribution to the Assamese film industry, he is referred to as the father of Assamese cinema.

His death day i.e. January 17 is celebrated as “Artist’s Day (Silpi Divas)” every year as memory of Agarwala. The day was celebrated on January 17,1953, to commemorate the artist for the first time since the artist’s death. However, then it was named Jyoti Diwas. It was later named Artist’s Day (Silpi Divas) instead of Jyoti Diwas.

In honor of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, the Government of India issued a commemorative postage stamp worth Rs. 5 on June 17, 2004.

One of the brightest stars in the Assamese poetry scene was Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. His poetry combined revolutionary ideas, modern consciousness, human consciousness, and nationalist ideology in every one of them. He conveyed the idea of metamorphosis in his poetry. Agarwala composed about forty-six poems.

Awards conferred on Silpi Divas:

  • The coveted Silpi Bota was conferred on eminent artiste Manisha Hazarika.

  • Eminent journalist Dhirendra Nath Chakrabarty was conferred the Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi Award for National Integration.

  • Krishna Kanta Handiqui Award was conferred on Dr Pradip Jyoti Mahanta.

  • The Sukafa Award was conferred on noted journalist Dhirendra Nath Bezbaruah.

  • Noted actress Chetana Das honoured with Natasurya Phani Sarmah Award,

  • Journalist Prashanta Baruah honoured with Dr Birendra Kumar Bahattacharya Award,

  • Noted social activist Dr Malati Baruah honoured with Sati Radhika Award,

  • Veteran folk artist Jagadish Barman honoured with Silpi Sainik Brajanath Sarmah Award.

From introducing realism to Assamese cinema with films like "Joymati" to his impactful poetry and writings, Agarwala's influence resonates deeply in Assamese society. His enduring impact is honored through various avenues, including the commemoration of his death anniversary and the issuance of a postal stamp by the Government of India. Agarwala's artistic brilliance continues to inspire generations and remains an integral part of Assamese cultural heritage.

Advait IAS