GUWAHATI, May 17 - Devkanta Barua, illustrious Speaker of the Assam Assembly and one of the few competent parliamentarians chosen by Jawaharlal Nehru as his close assistants, would have been an all-time great statesman in the world in the company of Edmund Burke, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, if he had not dabbled in petty affairs of caste politics and political pettifoggery.
This was observed by senior journalist DN Chakravartty at a discussion held in the city recently.
Referring to the brilliance of Barua as a student of Benares Hindu University under the great professors of the time, where he built up his political career when he was below 30 years of age, Chakravartty said that Barua, who had been described as the ‘Fastest Mind in Asia’ by an American journalist, would have been installed among the great politicians of Asia and as a great freedom fighter had he been able to absolve himself of the legacy of the caste politics of India.
Chakravartty said that Barua would be remembered for long for his great work, Sagar Dekhisa. “In about 35 poems in the volume, Barua had eulogized the glory of the country, beauty of the world and the heroic exploits of patriots like Lachit Barphukan. His poems Devdasi, Ami Duar Mukoli Koro, Mor Desh Manuhor Desh, Kolong Parot and Kolong Parot Maajnisha would not only ring in the ears the solemn beauty of rivers but would generate a celestial sense of satisfaction at the unison with Nature.
Chakravartty said that he displayed his astounding command over historical facts when as a Speaker and a parliamentarian he visited several countries and delivered most thought-provoking speeches, dwelling on the achievements and conquests of Genghis Khan, ascendance of Napoleon and emancipation of America.
“A socialist by faith, a Gandhian by conviction and a humanist in spirit, Barua was a rare Assamese who could enthrall foreign parliamentarians and scholars with his supreme command over historical facts not only of Asia but of Europe and Latin America as well,” he added.
“Adored as the most romantic poet of Assam, it was Barua who flung open the doors of modern Assamese poetry. His poetry was of the highest order, and under enabling circumstances, he would have won the Nobel for Literature. All the crestfallen lovers of Assam can recapture their spirits from the message contained in Barua’s poetry. It is a pity that the uninformed Assamese intellectuals and less educated writers and thinkers have failed to discover the basic message of Barua and more particularly, the creative genius of the great thinker and poet,” Chakravartty said.