Poki, presently the Jyoti Bharati Museum, was the ancestral home of Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, the doyen of Assamese culture. The house was built in 1874 by Hari Bilash Agarwala, grandfather of Jyotiprasad Agarwala.
The house was the first concrete (pucca) house in Tezpur and therefore was popularly known as Poki. The Architecture of Poki is a subtle blend of Rajasthani and Ahom style. The walls are made of flat bricks and are 2 1/2 feet in thickness. There is a 50′ x 20′ rectangular courtyard in the centre of the house with flat stones laid on the floor.
The Agarwala family which migrated from Rajasthan got fully assimilated in Assamese society and produced some of the most illustrious personalities such as Ananda Chandra Agarwala, Paramananda Agarwala, Chandra Kumar Agarwala and Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. They were harbingers of Assamese cultural renaissance.
Jyotiprasad Agarwala was born on 17 June 1903 to Paramananda Agarwala and Kiranmoyee Agarwala in Tamulbari Tea Estate.
Jyotiprasad Agarwala was an owner of multifaceted personality. He was a poet, dramatist, litterateur, artist, musician, film-maker and freedom fighter.
Poki, the ancestral house of Jyotiprasad Agarwala has also remained an epitome of Indian freedom struggle. During the freedom movement the place attracted many national leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Lala Lajpat Rai, Motilal Nehru, Madan Mohan Malviya, Aruna Asif Ali, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Raja Gopalachari, Acharya Narendra Dev, Bishnu Rabha, Phani Sarmah, Bhupen Hazarika, to name a few.
Gandhiji stayed in Poki in 1921 and 1934. On both the stays Jyotiprasad was highly moved by the ideology and his principles. These encounters with Gandhiji left an indelible mark into the mind of the then young Jyotiprasad.
Within the four walls of the house important decisions related to the socio-political and cultural arena of the state was taken. Also, the house remained a common meeting place for various state leaders who actively participated in the freedom struggle of Assam against the British. This was also the place where the planning of producing an Assamese talkie was rooted. Here, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala wrote the script of Joymoti, the first Assamese movie, after he was released from jail.
The Agarwala family handed over the building and its premises to the government of Assam in 1977 for its preservation as a memorial museum. In 1978, a cultural centre called “Jyoti Bharati” was setup at the premises of Poki. After few years the house was renovated by the state public works department and Sonitpur district administration and officially opened it for the visitors. Poki, popularly known as Jyoti Bharati is presently a memoralia museum of Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala. Here, one gets an insight of the domestic, cultural, social and political events of the great personality.
Jyotiprasad married Devajani Chaliha In 1936 and on 17th January, 1951 his soul left for heavenly abode after suffering from cancer.
Jyoti Bharati, the centre of cultural excellence is currently under the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Assam.