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Have You Heard About Santali Poet And Social Reformer Gomasta Prasad Soren?

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Gomasta Prasad Saren was born in 1943 in a remote village called Udalboni near Bandwan of Purulia district, West Bengal. His father’s name was Gobinda Saren, and his mother’s name was Monubala Saren. He was his parents’ second son and has three brothers and two sisters. He received his primary education from Kesra Primary School.

He used to learn his lessons when his friends would read them loudly during the night as he was poor and could not afford a lantern. He passed his matriculation in Hindi medium with a second division from Dr Amarnath Jha High School. He did his Junior Basic Teacher Training from Laudaha Junior Basic Training Institute, Bundwan.

Soren got married when he was studying in fourth or fifth class. He started his career as a teacher in 1961 at Madhupur Primary School in Purulia district and served there up to 1980, and then went to teach in Sirisgoda Junior Basic. He retired as Head Master from the school in 2003.
He started writing in his childhood days when he was in class three or four.

Gomasta Prasad Soren

He observed that the Santal people were exploited and denied justice in many ways by the so-called civilized people. He could not tolerate the atrocities inflicted on his people. He would vent to his ire through his writings. His first collection of songs Hor Sereng Puthi was published in 1960. Tire Merhed Sakom Jiwi Rarej is his only collection of short stories published in 1988.

He has six books of essays, titled Karam Binti, Darege Dhon, Tojbij, Adi Than, Nonkan Geyabon Hor Nonkage Tabona Samaj and Sarbhautik. He has also written and published a lot of books of essays in the Bengali Language. Some of his manuscripts are awaiting publication. Though he did not initially have any guru or pioneer to inspire him to write, in later years, he was deeply impressed by a host of writers from Santali and other languages. He was influenced by the writing and activities of Sadhu Ramchand Murmu, Majhi Ramdas Tudu, Pandit Raghunath Murmu, Sarada Prasad Kisku, Narayan Soren and Doman Sahoo.

Soren is a voracious reader and a great lover of books. He edited Pondgoda, a monthly journal since February 1981. It was literary-cum-news journal continuously published for 14 years. He contributed articles to other Santali journals like Hor Sombad, Galmarao, Susar Dahar,Tetre, Pachim Bangla, Sili, Kolom, Pondgoda, Debon Tengon, Jirihir, Artagom, Umul,Kherwal Jarpa, Jharna,Singar Sakwa, Aven, Lauriya, Dorkar, Ipil, Piyo, Kherwal Piyo, Saonta Sandes, Saonta Arsi, Hipiri, Midok Arang, Raybar, Mantar and Sanghariya.

One of the important dimensions in his life his stint in politics; he joined the Jharkhand Party in 1968. He became a member of Adibasi Socio-Educational & Cultural Association, West Bengal in the year 1971. He held the position of the President of ASECA, Purulia district till 2009. He was secretary of Purulia Zela Susar Gaonta and Manbazar Bandwan Thana Adibasi Sudhar Samiti. He was the joint convener of Association for protection of Democratic Rights, Purulia district. Now, he is the vice president of Kavi Sarada Prasad Kisku Smriti Sansad. He was also actively involved with Purulia Santali Literary Society, a pioneering Santali literary organization of Purulia district and served as its Vice-President for some year.

He was not only a great writer but also a popular social worker. He strongly raised his voice against the superstitious beliefs in witchcraft widely prevalent in Santal society even today. He joined hands with the popular social reformer and poet Sarada Prasad Kisku and organized many meetings in several places against this social evil in order to create awareness among the people. Saren realized that Santals are superstitious due to abysmal literacy in the community. He found that imparting education in society could be an ultimate remedy to it.

He was awarded and honoured by many literary and cultural organizations for his remarkable Contributions to Santali language, literature and culture. All India Santali Writers Association felicitated him in 1990 at its third conference held in Bisoi of Mayurbhanj and again honoured him with Pandit Raghunath Murmu fellowship in its 17th conference at Bhubaneswar in 2004 for his total contribution to Santali literature.

One of his remarkable awards is Ginijon Sambardhana by Backward Classes Welfare Department of West Bengal, conferred in 2000. Other organizations like All India Santali Bhasa Morcha, Adibasi Lok Sanskriti Parishad, All Santal Students Association, Puruliya Adivasi Employees Recreation Club, Bharati Sahitya Sammelan, Khatra Adivasi Cultural and Development Centre and Adibasi Socio-Educational & Cultural Association have also honoured him.

An erudite scholar, Saren has presented his papers in many literary seminars and conferences. His critical opinion on contemporary literary works is worthwhile commentary. Shri Gomasta Prasad Saren’s mission as a writer and social worker is an ongoing journey. He is working on many creative and critical endeavors to add to the richness of Santali literature, culture and society. He believes in simple living and high thinking.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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