Dutta, Manomohan

Manomohan Dutta

Dutta, Manomohan (1877-1909) ascetic and writer of mystic songs, better known as 'Manomohan Sadhu', was born on 10 Magh 1284 BS (1877 AD) in Satmora village under nabinagar in brahmanbaria, where his father practised herbal medicine. After early schooling at a village school, he was admitted to Muradnagar High School, but soon dropped out for financial reasons. From 1896-1899, in compliance with his guardian's wishes, he tried to become a mukhtar (a low grade lawyer) but failed to complete the training.

Manomohan Dutta's disinterest in worldly affairs may be dated from his contact with Guru Anandaswami at Kalikachchha when he was eighteen. He was also considerably influenced by his visit to Pir Maulana Ahmadullah of Maizbhandar in chittagong, which inspired him to write mystic songs. He soon became famous for his lyrics, which numbered about 850.

Manomohan Dutta knew the vedas well and routinely read the quran and the bible. In one of his songs he wrote, 'The Quran, the puranas, the Bible and the Vedas. They are inseparable from one another'. He set up an ashram in the name of his preceptor where music sessions were held nightly. Much later, his followers started celebrating his birth anniversary at the place by rendering his songs. His only son, Sudhir Chandra Dutta, later took over the ashram.

Some famous composers like aftabuddin khan, Ustad gul mohammad khan, Nishikanta Sen and Labachandra Pal were among his disciples. Aftabuddin also set the songs written by Manomohan to music. Manomohan's first collection of songs was the two-volume Malaya. His other books include Pathik (Traveller), Patheya (Travel Money), Kathamrta (Sayings), Yogapranali (Rules of Yoga) etc. He died on 20 Ashvin 1316 (1909) and was buried as he had wished, instead of being cremated. [Ali Nawaz]