Choudhury, Achuyatcharan

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Choudhury, Achuyatcharan (1866-1953) historian, poet, Vaishnava critic, was born on 23 Magh 1272 BS at village Moina in Karimganj District of Sylhet. His father was Audoitacharan Choudhury and his mother was Kotimoni Choudhury. He had some education at the primary school of his village but Achyutcharan Choudhury was basically self-taught. Through his own efforts he gained expertise in history and religion. His knowledge in Vaishnav theory and literature was worth mentioning.

He began his career in 1904 as assistant pandit at Girish Middle English School at Sylhet. On 1 August 1905 he was appointed treasurer of the Patharkandi estate.

After his initiation into Vaishnav religion, Achuyatcharan Choudhury visited many places of pilgrimage including Puri, Bhubaneshwar, Gaya, Vrindavan and Dhakadakkhin. At Dhakadakkhin he established Gourvishnupriya temple at his own cost.

In Ashar of 1306 BS he began publishing a monthly named Shrihatta Durpun. The journal ceased publication after two years and in Baishakh of 1331 BS he and Ramanimohan Das began editing monthly Komola.

A book of considerable importance written by Achuyatcharan Choudhury was Shrihatter Itibritta in two volumes. The first volume was published in 1317 BS and the second volume in 1323 BS. The first volume is divided into two sections. The ten chapters of the first section contain description of Sylhet's geography and the thirty one chapters of the second section contain description of its history. In section three of the second volume (chapter 31) there are family trees and in section four the life stories of 111 persons of Sylhet have been discussed. The appendix contains the names of past writers of Sylhet and details of the books they wrote. The book drew the attention of intellectuals as an example of writing regional histories and it received appreciative reviews in newspapers. Sir Jadunath Sarkar termed it as an ideal technique adopted by Achuyatcharan Choudhury in writing history. The labour, patience and devotion dedicated by Achuyatcharan Choudhury in writing a regional history more than a century ego are being appreciated even now.

Achuyatcharan Choudhury's books on Vaishnav thoughts: Vokti Niryash (1299 BS), Shrigopal Bhatta Goswamir Jibancharit (1302), Prem Prosongo (1304), Shrimot Haridas Thakurer Jibancharit (1306), Oviram Charit (1306), Shrimat Shyamananda Charit (1308), Shripad Ishwarpuri (1309), Œrimat Roop Sanatan (1312), Œrichoitannya Charit (1312), Nitai Lila Lohori (1319), Sadhucharit (1319), Shantilata (1320), Œribalasutramer Padyoanubad (1322), and Œrigouranger Purbavchal Paribhramon ba Assam O Dhakadakkhin Lila Prosongo (1328).

Achuyatcharan Choudhury was a keen reader of varied scriptures and history. His own collection contained three thousand books and manuscripts. These collections and his own creations speak of his devotion and intellectual capacity. In fact, his entire life was dedicated to devotion to Vaishnavism and research for historical writings. To the common people he was a guru. He died on 10 Ashwin 1360 BS. [Nandalal Sharma]