Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardev
Srimanta Sankardev (1449-1568) was a 15th-16th century Assamese polymath: a saint-scholar, poet, playwright, social-religious reformer and a figure of importance in the cultural and religious history of Assam, India. He is widely credited with building on past cultural relics and devising new forms of music (Borgeet), theatrical performance (Ankia Naat, Bhaona), dance (Sattriya), literary language (Brajavali). Besides, he has left an extensive literary oeuvre of trans-created scriptures (Bhagavat of Sankardev), poetry and theological works written in Sanskrit, Assamese and Brajavali. The Bhagavatic religious movement he started, Ekasarana Dharma and also called Neo-Vaishnavite movement, influenced two medieval kingdoms-Koch and the Ahom kingdoms-and the assembly of devotees he initiated evolved into Sattras over time, which continue to be important socio-religious institutions in Assam and to a lesser extend in North Bengal, Sankardev inspired the Bhakti movement in Assam just as Guru Nanak, Ramananda, Kabir, Basava and Chaitanya. Mahaprabhu inspired it elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent. His influence spread even to some kingdoms as the Matak Kingdom founded by Bharat Singha, and consolidated by Sarbanda Singha in the latter 18th century endorsed his teachings. His literary and artistic contributions are living traditions in Assam today. The religion he preached is practised by a large population, and Sattras (monasteries) that he and his followers established continue to flourish and sustain his legacy.