Gokulanada Gitiswami

Gokulananda Singha was born on 26 November 1886, at the Village of Madhabpur of Moulvibazar district of Bangladesh. Gokuladanda could not pursue his studies much, he could study only up to 8th standard because of some adverse circumstances, but his burning desire of acquiring knowledge remained with him which later on encouraged him to set up a school. He came over India later on and settled at Tripura.

Few of his compositions survive today, and those still extant are remembered chiefly by the people from his popular refrains. Recently, a few additional specimens of his writings were recovered. But the few lines which still survive, speak volumes.

Gokulananda was also a social reformer. His impact on the Bisnupriya Manipuries has been manifold. He traversed the whole of the Bishnupriya-speaking region - singing with a missionary fervour of the ills of our society and their remedies. He devoted his entire life to serving the community, to improve the condition of people and to keep pace with the progress of other communities. He dramatized the plight of Manipuri women in the face of the comparative indolence of men. He was a victim of the turbulence of the times and he appeared to have wider sympathies.

He exhorted the Bishnupriya Manipuri people to shake of their deep slumber and awake. He said —

Ojnan adhararma ghumatai koti, Utha aji habihan jwaleya chei jnanor bati

(How long, will you sleep in the darkness of ignorance. All of you must awake to-day. Look ahead after lighting the lamp of knowledge)

Gokulananda was awarded with the title 'Gitiswami' along with a silver medallion, in a special session of Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Mahasabha, in 1935.