Sarker, Kavi Rasaraj Tarak Chandra

Sarker, Kavi Rasaraj Tarak Chandra (1847-1914) kaviyal (bard), was born in November 1847, in Joypur, a village in the district of narail. His father, Kashinath Sarker, was an agriculturist. Takar Chandra had very little institutional education, studying only for a few years at the village school. A natural poet, he established himself through his creativities.

Mrityunjoy Biswas was the Tarak Chandra guru in kavigan contests. Although this type of tournament evolved in Kolkata, Tarak Chandra was among the few who promulgated and popularised it in East Bengal. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, his genius rendered his compositions far superior to those of Kolkata. His particular contribution to the song contests was the dhuya gan.

Tarak Chandra was a born poet who followed the matua faith promulgated by harichand thakur (1811-1877) of Orakandi. Even with his slight education, he wrote two books: Mahasabgkirtan and Shri Shri Harililamrta. In Mahasamkirtan, published from Kolkata in 1910, he described the matuya faith and the importance of its practice through harinam kirtan, devotional songs. Shri Harililamrta is a biography of Harichand Thakur and was published from Kolkata in 1917. Some of his songs were also published in two journals: Shri Haridarshan and Matuyasuhrd.

Tarak Chandra was famous as a kaviyal all over Bengal. His exceptional reasoning power, amazing power of improvising poetry and melodious voice popularised kavigan in every corner of Bengal. He was awarded many prizes and titles for his successes. Guruchand Thakur (1847-1936), the son of Harichand Thakur, awarded him the title of 'Premik Chudamani' (Lover's Crown); the scholars of Itina awarded him a gold medal and the title of 'Sukavi' (Great Poet); the scholars of Kalia in Jessore awarded him the title of 'Kavi Rasaraj'(King of Poets). Tarak Chandra used this last title till his death in December 1914 in his own village, Joypur. [Dulal Bhowmik]