Veteran journalist and educationist Prof Jyotilal Choudhury — a well-known, devout nationalist of Silchar — is no more. Prof Choudhury used to teach English at Cachar College. He was also the president of the governing body of Gurucharan College. He breathed his last at the age of 75 at the Silchar Medical College & Hospital (SMCH) in the evening hours of 7 January.
He died due to severe cardiac issues at 10:10 PM on Friday last. Prof Choudhury was suffering from cardiac diseases, septicemia, and electrolyte imbalance. Following a sharp decline in his health condition, he was admitted at the SMCH on the 2nd of January and was undergoing treatment in the ICU. He left behind three sisters, other relatives and a host of admirers and well-wishers.
Prof Choudhury graduated from Banaras Hindu University with a master’s degree in English. He was a Lecturer in English at the prestigious Cachar College of Silchar. He joined the college as a Lecturer in the sixties.
Prof Jyoti Lal Choudhury was the nephew of the prominent leader and freedom fighter of South Assam, Late Mahitosh Purkayastha. A renowned figure in Silchar, he was one of the founders of the Silchar Collegiate School and the President of Silchar Press Club.
He was an intellectual giant of Barak Valley. Frank and fearless in his views, his work spanned many decades. He was a committed social worker, pillar of journalism, keen political observer and an excellent author. His life revolved around pen and paper, but chiefly, the contemporary issues of Assam and Barak Valley. Although Prof Jyotilal Choudhury has left, the imprints of his ideas, he left still exists. He was a nationalist to the core and never minced his words to fulfil his commitment. He wrote for many national and regional newspapers including the Asian Age, Organiser, Eastern Chronicle, Sentinel, etc. He penned and edited several books, including ‘Glimpses of British Raj in Barak Valley’, ‘Rumblings from Northeast’ and ‘Mahapran Mahitosh’, a book published commemorating the birth centenary of the illustrious freedom fighter and leader, Mahitosh Purkayastha. As a determined champion of the Hindutva movement, he wrote vociferously highlighting the core Hindu causes. His works reflect, aside from his genius, his passion, dedication and perseverance to work for the Hindu renaissance in this region of the country. He wrote against rampant forcible religious conversions of the innocent, indigenous residents of India’s Northeast; such conversion campaigns, in his view, has dismantled the culture and traditions of the autochthonous residents. He also deliberated deeply on the ISI link to Northeast insurgency and the plights of Hindus routinely persecuted by Islamic fanatics in Bangladesh. He worked dedicatedly and would immerse himself even in the smallest of tasks.
Dr Shankar Bhattacharjee, an eminent academician of scholastic excellence, wrote a heartwarming tribute to Prof Jyotilal Choudhury:
“I know Prof Jyotilal Chowdhury from the middle of sixties. I was then a student of Cachar College, Silchar. He was an astute teacher of English and taught me for long four years(from 1966 to 1970). His class lectures were characterised by lucid language, witty touches of humour and enlightening illustrations. He was adorned with sterling qualities of head and heart and as such, was loved by his colleagues and students as well.
I joined as a teacher in a degree college of Silchar in 1972 and was assigned some organisational work in the RSS. As a social worker, I used to meet promising personalities of various professions and became acquainted particularly with Prof Chowdhury also. During informal conversations, I came to know that he mastered from Benaras Hindu University and attended RSS Shakha in that city.
In the seventies, he started sending news and articles for publication in the “Organiser”, the celebrated weekly published from Delhi. He was a nationalist to the core and published dozens of articles on the burning problems of the NE Region including Bangladeshi Infiltration, Conversion Activities of mischievous elements, current political issues and social movements. He also acted as the local correspondent of “The Sentinel”, a leading daily newspaper published from Guwahati. After retirement from the college, he was appointed as the Sub-editor of the Silchar Desk of the newspaper and served in that capacity with exemplary dedication and sincerity for 1.5 decades.
He also composed a number of books on various topics. I had the good fortune of writing the foreword in one of the books, which was rather a compilation of his prime articles, published in the Organiser Weekly over the decades.
I do humbly pay obeisance to the sacred memories of the great soul and charming personality, who shall remain a source of perennial inspiration for the coming generations of social activists.” [Dr Sankar Bhattacharjee is the former principal and now the president of the governing body, Women’s College, Silchar. He is also the president, Samskrita Bharati, South Assam State Committee.]
Prof Jyotilal Choudhury was one among the twenty-three eminent personalities of the state who had recently been awarded the Sahityik Pension 2021-22 by the Assam government.
The news of Prof Jyotilal Choudhury’s death made the rounds across social media platforms, with many people sharing information about the incident and paying their last homage to a great academician. Silchar, the city he brought honour upon with his variegated accomplishments, paid rich, overwhelming tributes to the academic giant.
May Prof Jyotilal Choudhury’s luminous Atman gain Paramadhama. My heartfelt pranama to the departed Atman and sincerest condolences to the family, kin and loved ones of the deceased. ॐ शान्तिः।