Ganesh Gogoi

[Papori Kobi] (28 December 1907 - 21 August 1938 / Assam / India)

Biography of Ganesh Gogoi

Ganesh Gogoi poet

Ganesh Gogoi (Assamese: গনেশ গগৈ) was a poet of Assam and then he is remembered also as a lyricist, composer, playwright, actor and football player. He is also known as Papori Kobi.

Ganesh Gogoi was a man of versatile personality. A multifaceted sports and literary genius, he was a distinguished poet, lyricist, composer of many elegant songs, a playwright of outstanding caliber, an expert actor, an able athlete and a good football player. As a romantic poet, he had access to a wide dimensional space in the Assamese literary world.

Ganesh Gogoi was born at Jorhat on December 28, 1907. His father Kanak Chandra Gogoi was a very learned person and hailed from an aristocratic family of Dhakuakhana in present-day Lakhimpur. He passed BA and BL from Calcutta University in the last part of the 19’h century. Kanak Chandra Gogoi was the first graduate in undivided Lakhimpur district (which included the present-day districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia) in Upper Assam. Starting his career as a lawyer in Jorhat court, Kanak Chandra Gogoi became an EAC under the British government in Assam.

Ganesh Gogoi’s schooling started at Jorhat under the strict supervision of his magistrate father. Passing the Matric examination from Jorhat Govt High School in the second division, he gained admission to Cotton College in 1926. In 1927 he left for Kolkata and was admitted to the prestigious Ripon College for further study. Following request of his intimate friend Ananda Chandra Barua, he went to Benaras and got admitted to the Hindu University. But without completing his study he returned home and dedicated himself for uplift of Assamese culture and literature.

The cultural renaissance that swept Bengal in the early part of the 20th century inspired Gogoi to start a theatrical movement in Assam. While he was studying at Kolkata, he came in contact with many stalwarts of Bengali theatre and closely observed their performance on stage. Returning home, he founded a socio-cultural organisation at Jorhat called Bani Sanmilan with the help of Ananda Chandra Barua. In 1929, he joined ‘Jorhat Theatre’ and acted in a number of plays. His superb acting in different roles mesmerised people irrespective of age and sex.

To meet the necessity of Assamese theatre, Ganesh Gogoi wrote a number of dramas on different plots and left an indelible imprint in the Assamese dramatical world. Taking a glorious chapter from the Mahabharata, Gogoi wrote an epical drama called Sakunir Pratisodh. With his unique style of narration and presentation, the drama created quite a sensation in the Assamese theatrical world. Its lucid dialogues in blank verse became very popular among the readers and audience. It is still regarded as the most successful drama performed for several nights in every nook and corner of the State. His other fullfledged dramas like Kashmir Kumari, Sita and Kuri Satika were also widely acclaimed by the critics as popular Assamese drama.

Gogoi also wrote a number of short plays on different themes and recorded them in gramophone disks. With songs, music and dialogue, the dramas became very popular among all sections of people. The heartrending story of Kamala Kuwari and its melodious songs enthralled the listeners inspiring them to repeatedly listen to the gramophone record. When Jyotiprasad Agarwalla made the first Assamese film Joymoti, Gogoi at the same time composed a drama on similar theme. Following the advice of Jyotiprasad, he changed the title of his drama and named it as Jerengar Sati.

An accomplished music composer, singer and lyricist Ganesh Gogoi wrote a number of songs and extensively used them in the sequences of his dramas. Many of his songs were published in a number of popular magazines like Banhi, Awahan, Ghar-Jeuti, Dainik Batori, Na-Jon etc. Beautifully composed on the basis of Assamese folk-songs and music, the melodious tune of his songs became very popular at that time. Collecting his songs, renowned poet Amulya Barua published them in the form of a book called Rupjyoti.

One of the most riveting, romantic and sensuous poets of the Assamese literary world, Gogoi produced many precious gems of poetry coloured with a deep intensity of passion, simplicity of tone and artistry. Encouraged by his friend and an eminent poet Ananda Chandra Barua, Gogoi wrote his first book of poetry called Papori in 1934. Papori was the manifestation of the finest poetic achievement of Ganesh Gogoi and it heralded the beginning of romanticism in Assamese poetry. Describing it as ‘a modem idyll’, veteran politician, poet, critic and literatteur Hem Barua, who also translated Papori into English wrote: “In it, he creates pearls of poetry, each dyed with the superb tings of a sad heart. It is a love-lyric that has for its subject the plaint of love, he envisages this eternal theme now joyously, now passionately and lavishes upon it a copious flood of colour and sound.’

A handsome, softspoken and amiable person, Gogoi emerged as the best player in ‘Assam Valley and Surma Valley Tournament’ held in 1926 while he was studying at Cotton College. He also became popular among his friends and admirers as an outstanding football player in Ripon College at Kolkata and Benaras Hindu University. Leaving an indelible imprint in the domain of sport, culture and literature, Ganesh Gogoi died on August 21, 1938 at the age of 30. His immature death created irreparable loss in the world of Assamese culture and literature.


The Government of Assam to institute an award in the name of Ganesh Gogoi from the year 2009. This film was officially selected for South Asian Film Festival 2007 at Dhaka.

An documentary entitled 'Ganesh Gogoir Jiban Surabhi' has been produced on his life and works.

A park named as Ganesh Gogoi Kabita Kanan after renowned him in Jorhat at Assam.

Ganesh Gogoi's Works:

Some of his famous dramas had pictured in 'Jorhat theatre' where Ganesh Gogoi used to stage these dramas.

Jerengar Sati (1937),
Sakunir Pratisodh,
Kashmir Kurmari
Kuri Satika, etc.

Papori (1934) A romantic Assamese poetry book.
Swapna bhanga (1934)
Rupajyoti (1945).

There are lots of songs were published some magazines like Banhi, Awahan, Ghar-Jeuti, Dainik Batori, Na-Jon etc. on that time. His only book on lyrics is titled Geetimala.

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