Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Translated from Kokborok by Hamari Jamatia
Bipasha Reang of Tripura can be called destiny's child. Born to an economically weak family, she never dreamed of fame and fortune. But, life had other plans for her and today, with more than 100 songs in her kitty and an MBBS degree, Bipasha maneuvers between her passion for singing and her duty towards treating people. She also received an accolade on International Women's Day called 'Srestha (Sera) Kanya Santan', organized by the Government of Tripura to mark her achievements.
A simple search on Youtube throws up many songs sung by her; in some of them she also makes an appearance. One of her songs “Hamjakmano Hwno Bono” released in 2019 has more than 29 lakh views and has many fans. Bipasha also sings covers of Hindi songs especially those sung by Lata Mangeshkar. But, her first loves continues to be songs written in Kokborok language.
Bipasha says that she was drawn towards music ever since she was a small child. She remembers growing up in a poor household in Dhumachhara Kami which today is known as Hakutwisa.
“When I was a child, there were no good schools around. Then one day my father got posted to Dhalai district and I got admission to a good school,” she reminisces. Although she was academically strong, she never thought she would become a doctor. “I thought I will grow up to become a lawyer but I sat for the medical entrance test on a whim and got through,” she adds. It was during her MBBS days in Agartala that she decided to sing as much as possible. She would go to the studios in the evenings after classes and on Sundays. “I had many offers to sing so I had to make way for both studies and music,” she says. After completing her studies, she now works in Guwahati, Assam.
Just like how she never thought that she would become a doctor, Bipasha never imagined that she would become a famous singer. As a teenager she used to sing at home and at local village functions. Listeners used to compliment her for her beautiful voice. One day, she decided to try her luck at a singing competition held in 2008 at TTAADC. She came second in the competition and the then Chairman of ADC, Ranjit Debbarma, was so impressed by her voice that he began to invite her to come and sing in many ADC sponsored programmes. During this time she became a known face among the indigenous people of Tripura. In addition, Bipasha began to train in singing so she could polish her skills. “When I won the second prize in the 2008 competition, my grandmother’s younger brother decided to gift me a harmonium. That’s how I began my formal training,” she says.
Bipasha's first album, aided by TTAADC, was Khapang Yakhrai which became an instant hit. Bipasha says that she looks up to seniors in the Kokborok music industry such as Indian Idol winner Sourabhee who also sings in the language. Other than that she is also into sports such as table tennis, cricket, and carrom. She is a member of the band Jaduni Khorang Musical Team.
Bipasha Reang says that she will continue to sing in Kokborok for as long as possible. She adds that if she ever gets the time she would like to coach young Tripuri people in singing. “I request the elders of the community to encourage young people to explore their talents,” she says.
This article has been created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.