ART OF PERSONIFICATION IN THE POETRY OF BIHOGI KAVI RAGHUNATH CHOUDHARY

Dr. Jonali Devi
Subject Teacher
Jorhat Govt. Boys’ H.S.& M.P. School, Jorha, Assam, India

The art of personification1 is very old in Indian Literature. This style of nature’s description has been followed by the poets since the days of the Rigveda. The Nadisukta, Suryasukta, Sraddhasukta, Ratisukta etc. are some of the specimens of personification in the Vedic literature. The puranic stories suggest that trees and shrubs, birds and streams also behaved like human being. Imposition of human behavior on non-human character is found in the poetry of Kalidasa too. In the first canto of the Kumarasambhavam, the Himalaya is treated as a wise man where the conversation between Himalaya and seven sages took place.2It is quite evident that the master poet reaches the zenith of his achievement in personification so far his Meghadutam is concerned. Wherein the piece of cloud appears to the reader as a human being endowed with all sorts of cognitive power. The poetry of Raghunath Choudhary, one of the brightest jewels of Assamese literature, is very rich in the art of personification.

In his poem ‘Bahagir Biya’ the poet nicely depicts the picture of the marriage ceremony between Bahag and Bahagi, where the farmer is conceived as a groom and the latter as a bride. He gives an account of the pre-nuptial enthusiasm of Bahagi, the daughter of nature, which makes everyone happy.

prakriti jiyari          gabharu chowali
bahagi aire biya
ulah-malahe          sakalore jen
ananda nadhare hiya.3

Different birds and flowers are presented as behaving like ladies busy in singing sweet folk-songs of marriage.

ayati sakale rabhar talate
kariche jar ji kam
konojani ahi diche puspanjali
konowe gaiche nam.4

Even the bird Patmadoi is all set to leave far place where Bahagi resides, to offer Joron, a customary rite in Assamese society, in gorgeous dress. In the fancy of the poet, the flower ‘Golap’ with the unique beauty and odour wins the adoration in the heart common people in general and the royal families in particular.

rup ras gandh paras premat
jinili piyara hindusthan
badcha herem kari guljar
dil dariyat tulili ban.5
The same flower ‘Golap’ is delineated as the poet’s companion who is peeping through her veil made of her tender petals.

kar parasat phulili bandhoi
o’ mor sadari phulam pahi
syamali patar orani gucai
kar phale cai marili hahi.6

The Assamese bird poet Choudhary’s bird ‘Keteki’ stands as a celestial spectator of humanity and messenger to mankind. This bird has been described as separated lover. When Keteki moves turning her head this side and that side, the poet feels that she is in the search of someone.

epine sipine dingi meli meli
kak cowa jumi jumi
kar birahat   birahini tor
goiche hriday pami?7

The poet realizes that the immortal bird has brought the message of happiness to the suffering mankind through her ‘Sanjivani gan’ (the life-revitalizing songs) which has reawakened the ‘nistabdha dharani’ (the quiet earth). His poem ‘Keteki Charai’ bears his longing as lover who wants to have sensual pleasure in company with birds. On finding this, sometimes, the readers begin to recognize the bird to be a human being. His love for the flowers knows no bounds. The poet feels pleasure when he comes into the contact of ‘Girimallika’, conceived as his life-partner. He counts his days of agony with the flower and implores it to sprinkle nectar in his miserable life.

pranpriya, aji mor bijan kunjat
tulibane laya lase hahir taranga?
byathare upaci para akul pranat
diya prem makaranda amrit paras.8

In all these, the imagination of the poet finds a mellifluous expression with the presence of lucid but simple style. Through the art of personification, Choudhary proves himself to be a poet par excellence.

Notes and References
1. (a) “the representation of inanimate objects or abstract ideas as human beings.”
(b)     “attributing human qualities or characteristics to abstract ideas or inanimate objects.”—The Lexican Webster Dictionary, Vol.II, P.708.
2. KS, I.38
3. Raghunath ChoudharyRachanawanawali, P.40.
4. ibid., P.41
5. ibid., P.48
6. ibid., P.70
7. ibid., P.74
8. ibid., P.77
  •  A Comparative Study of Nature in The Poetry of Choudhary and S.N. Pant of T.K. Sarma, 2003.
  • Kavi Choudhary Aru Choudhary Devar Kabita of Kamaleswar Sarma, published by Banalata, 1990.
  • Raghunath ChoudharyRachanawanawali, ed. By A.C. Barua, Published by Assam Sahitya Sabha, 1970.

  
About the author: Dr. Jonali DeviSubject TeacherJorhat Govt. Boys’ H.S. & M.P. School, Jorha, Assam, India.[Read More]

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