The quintessential ‘Mor Shukula Ghora’ is one of those enduring Assamese compositions, that people of all ages continue to enjoy to this day. The peerless performer Jiten Deka, who endeared himself into the hearts of audiences through some of the most heartfelt renditions, rose from a very humble background to become a major artist of our times.
Recently, this multitalented artist died in a car accident in lower Assam’s Goalpara district. The accident took place at Fafal under Dudhnoi police station in Goalpara district around 1.30 am when Deka was returning home at Harimura village after performing in a cultural programme at Boko in Kamrup district.
There were four others in the car with Deka. One of them, Mitra Rabha, a social worker from Dudhnoi, died on the spot. Deka died while he was being taken to Guwahati. The three others were injured. Deka’s friend, Nirmal Kumar Chatterjee, who was also in the car, said the accident had occurred because of thick fog.
“I was in the front seat and Jitenda was driving his car. The road was so foggy that we could hardly see anything. We noticed that a truck was on the road without its backlight on. Within a moment our car hit the truck and I passed out”. “After sometime, I found myself and Jitenda badly injured. I immediately called the 108 ambulance services. Four of us were taken to the Dudhnoi health centre. Later, I was taken to Goalpara civil hospital and Jitenda was taken to Guwahati for better treatment,” Chatterjee said.
Born in Dhupdhora, on January 26, 1952, Jiten Deka had spent a major part of his childhood and adolescent years in the wide-open landscapes of Harimura, a place he sought life-long allegiance. Deka, who completed his graduation from Goalpara College, discovered his immense love for music at a very young age. A number of songs that wrote are also inspired by the river Jinary that flows through Harimura.
In 1978, Jiten Deka became a regular artist of modern songs, and a lyricist, on AIR. In 1980, the Gramaphone Record Company of Kolkata brought out his first E P record. A wonderful gift to the music lovers of Assam, this critically acclaimed and commercially successful E P produced songs like ‘Shrutashini O’ Ganga’, ‘Mor Shukula Ghora’, ‘Bhori Pisole Mon Pisole’, ‘Oi Tumar Mon Nobuju’, and songs rendered in duet with Minoti Choudhury.
There was no looking back for him since then.
It was followed by several audio cassettes and CDs like ‘Hits of Jiten Deka’, ‘Mor Xuror Indrodhonu’, ‘Mor Xukula Ghora’, ‘Sandhyarag’, ‘Botoror Piriti’, ‘Gaan Mathu Mur’, ‘Jinary’, etc.
An accomplished artist in the true sense, his creations and unique compositions has inspired many in the State and outside. He sought to humanize people with a number of his songs, in his profoundly expressive baritone. His two albums ‘Rupali Anurag’ and ‘Pol Anupol’ are yet to release.
A great Jayanta Hazarika fan, Deka even organised a big music programme on the bank of Jinary river at Harimura village where 5,000 singers sang Jayanta Hazarika’s popular song ‘Akou Natun Prabhat Hobo..’ in unison, in 2012. A year before his retirement from the sales tax department of the Assam government in 2013, Deka had set up Jinary Kolakendra, an institute for budding artistes, near Jinary in Harimura. A committed social activist, Jiten Deka had been involved in an exhausting amount of humanitarian work in the district.
Jiten Deka had left an indelible mark in Assamese music and his commitment to his craft, as well as his humanity, will forever be an inspiration to many.
Deka is survived by his wife Lekha Deka and two sons, Nidarshan Prabin and Sudarshan Prabin.