FEW PROMINENT WRITERS OF ASSAM
Laxminath Bezbarua (1868-1938) is a prominent personality of Assamese literature. He gave a new impetus to the Assamese literature that had stagnated for some time and enriched it through his essays, plays, fiction and poetry. As a sensitive artist he responded to the influences of social environment. His creative literature reflected the deeper urges of the people of Assam.
Assam, India He was popularly known as Roxoraj or 'The King of Humour' for his popular satirical writings. He is also known as Sahityarathi which means expert in all branches of literature. Laxminath wrote short stories, one novel, dramas, satires, biographies, and for children he compiled folk tales of assam. In the later he did contribute by writing few new stories. These stories are published in three books.
The people of Assam call him Sahityarathi. And, with good reason. Lakshminath Bezbarua (1868-1938) dominated the Assamese literary scene for about half a century. During his life time he devoted himself to revive the lost glory of the Assamese language and literature. In those days Assamese was not used in the school and courts of the state. Lakshminath Bezbarua fought an incessant battle with many of his contemporaries to establish a proper place for Assamese in the state. His literary and cultural crusade was aimed at the overall development of the Assamese society.
It was difficult to pigeon-hole Lakshminath into any one particular category, almost like Srikrishna Lakshminath kept amazing his admirers with his many `incarnations'. Sometimes he was a businessmen, sometimes a literary activist, sometimes a journalist, sometimes a cartoonist. Sometimes even an interpreter of Vaisnava faith. Whatever he had done or attempted to do, one identity of his predominated: a great writer for the people of Assam.
According to critics and biographers Lakshminath Bezburua was the Victor Hugo of modern Assamese literature. Eminent critic Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua says: "He was an excellent poet, a gifted essayist and a distinguished journalist. Obviously Lakshminath Bezbarua was a pioneering writer of modern Assamese literature. His style rich with humour, satire, simplicity and a magical quality of language was like a breath of fresh air in the stagnant world of Assamese literature of the time. In fact his writing took Assamese literature on to the road of modernity.
It all began with his Calcutta sojourn. He joined the General Assembly College in the city and profoundly influenced by the intellectual and cultural events of those days. Here he first came into contact with Bengali and English literature. During his college days he read voraciously everything from Rabindranath Thgore, Shelley, Byron and Keats to other great writers, both Indian and Western. He also visited theatre and attended important lectures by the prominent persons.
Calcutta's literary and liberal life gave a tremendous boost to the career of Lakshminath Bezbarua. He initiated the literary crusade by establishing the Asamiya Bhasaunnati Sadhini Sabha in 1889. He was the first secretary of the organisation, which tried to uphold the cause of the literary and cultural tradition of Assam.
During this time the famous Assamese periodical Jonaki was launched under the leadership of Chandra Kumar Agarwala. He was the editor and the publisher of the journal. Lakshminath Bezbarua actively participated this venture. His first satirical pieces appeared in the pages of Jonaki, in the second year of the journal, he wrote extensively under the pseudonym Kripabar Barua. Hemchandra Goswami, another stalwart of the time also worked to make Jonaki a successful venture of the period.
Lakshminath Bezbarua was born, romantically enough, on a boat, as it stood moored in a sand bank of the river Brahmaputra at Ahatguri, near Nagaon on a Lakshmi Purnima night, in November 1868. His father Dinanath Bezbarua, a senior official with the British government, was in the process of moving toBarpeta. An official transfer, Bezbarua had undertaken the journey by road. It was on this journey that young Bezbarua was born. Lakshminath Bezbarua recalled this unusual event in his autobiography Mor Jiuan Sowan. Looking back on his rather unusual birth, he added that when a male child was born in those days it was customary to welcome the newborn by blowing conchshells and perform other auspicious rites. But under such extraordinary circumstances Lakshminath had to come to the world without any of the usual welcome rites.
Lakshminath Bezburua spent his childhood in different places of the state. His father brought his family with him from Barpeta to Tezpur. From Tezpur they shifted to North Lakshimpur. In between the family stayed for a brief while at Garchati and finally they settled in Sibsagar.
For Lakshminath, childhood memories would always remain more vivid, especially when compared to the more blurred recollections of his days as a young adult.
The beauty of the river Brahmaputra and its surroundings, the virgin nature of the countryside and the life of its simple people are depicted in his autobiography with a rare sensibility.
The patriarch of young Lakshminath's family was Dangoria Dinanath Bezbarua. Dangoria had engaged the services of a man called Rabinath Majudotor Barua to take care of his grandchildren. Rabinath had no formal education. But for the children he was a treasure house of folk tales and stories from religious scriptures and mythology. Rabinath quickly became friend, philosopher and guide to the young Lakshminath. During the mornings Rabinath was his playmate and in the evening a regular story teller.
Perhaps these golden moments of childhood moulded Lakshminath Bezbarua's imagination as a great creative writer.
Noted poet Neehnoni Phukan says Bezbarua's sensibility is a rare phenomenon in Assamese literature. Phukan admits that Bezbarua's Burhi Air Sadhu remains his all time favourite book. Even to this day he re-reads the narrative, and with every new read he discovers the unique appeal of the tale.
Like all creative writers Lakshminath Bezbarua was very prolific. Poetry was another passion and his verse is richly layered with a homespun idiom. He wrote beautiful love poems, narrative verse, ballads and patriotic songs. Laced with the romantic idealism of history, heritage, folk tradition and glory Bezbarua created a world of new faith and confidence among the people of Assam. His patriotic
O mora aponar desh O mor chikunir desh has become the anthem of Assam.
Lakshminath Bezbarua has to his credit three historical plays and four farces. Even the first Assamese film made by Jyotiprasad Agarwalla was based on Lakshminath's play Joymati. Bezbarua was overwhelmed by Jyotiprasad Agarwalla's Joymati (1935) and conveyed this feeling to the filmmaker by writing a note of appreciation, on the film during the last days of his life. Bezbarua was equally pioneering and prolific when it came to writing prose. His favourite form when writing prose was the historical novel and easily cast himself as the master of this genre in Assamese literature when he wrote his acclaimed Podumkuwari.
Bezbarua was an unashamed liberal and all his observations of people and places were strongly tinged with this sense of rationalisation. His thought provoking essays on the position of religion in everyday life reflects his rationalisation as well as his liberal outlook. Though patriotism was a dominant emotion whenever he wrote a personal essay, he could just as easily slip into the analytical world of spirituality in his later works.
As a human being Lakshminath Bezburua was honest, sincere and open-minded. He was a product of the Bengal renaissance and the romantic idealism of the Western world in the real sense of the term. He cherished the renaissance ideals strongly exhibited in the life of Anandaran Dhekial Phukan (1829-1859) who was a dreamer and visionary of 19th century Assam. Like an archetypal romantic hero, Lakshminath Bezbarua was a wanderer in his real life too. He spent a considerable part of his life touring and visiting the jungles of Sambalpur and even the forests of Assam. Later he was to use material from these visits in his prolific writing. Deeply patriotic, Bezbarua remained loyal to his first love, literature. Which was also his way of communicating intimately with the people around him.
In his autobiography he unflinchingly noted the weaknesses and failures of his life and career. Including the fact that he was unable to clear his law examination. After graduating from General Assembly College Bezbarua had wanted to go abroad for higher studied. Unfortunately his conservative family did not approve of the idea, so Bezbarua stayed on. But he was able to withstand tough opposition at another crucial juncture of his life. Growing up in a strictly Vaishnav environment,
Bezbarua faced opposition when he decided to marry Prajnasundari Devi, the granddaughter of Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, according to Brahmo rites. He even refused to accept the Rs 10,000 dowry from the Tagore familyUnfortunately like many great writers, Bezburua was denied the recognition he deserved during his lifetime. The response to all 25 books he published, before 1930, was met with little or no appreciation from the general public. Even today, very little of his prolific output is really appreciated. The house in Calcutta where he lived lies in ruins. He died in Dibrugarh on March 26 and the Asom Sahitya Sabha annually observes this day Sahitya Divas.
KRISHNA KANTA HANDIQUE
Krishna Kanta Handique was born on the July 20, 1898 in Jorhat town of Assam, to Rai-Bahadur Radha Kanta Handique. He was educated at Cotton College, Guwahati (1913-15), Sanskrit College, Calcutta (1915-17), Calcutta University (1917-19), Oxford University, Paris University and Berlin University (1920-27). He also studied and learned many languages like Latin, Greek, French, German, Russian, Italian and Spanish. He is known to have known 13 languages: 8 European languages and 5 Indian languages including Pali and Prakrit.
Handique was the founder Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University for nine years (1948-57). Prior to this he was the founder Principal of J.B. College, Jorhat (1930-48) and established the Hemalata Handique Memorial Institute in Jorhat. He is well known for his munificence to literary and educational foundations. He bequeathed his massive personal library to Guwahati University making available to the public rare and valuable books in 11 languages of the world. He also gave the copy right of all his books to Deccan College PG & Research Institute, Pune; The Jaina Samskriti Samrakshaka Sangh, Maharastra and Prakrit Test Society, Ahmedabad.
Krishna Kanta Handique was the President of Axom Xahitya Xabha during the Guwahati conference in 1937 at the young age of 39, President of Classical Sanskrit Section, XVI All India Oriental Conference, Lucknow in 1951 and was elected the general President of the Srinagar Session of the same in 1961.
The Indian Posts and Telegraphs Dept. issued a commemorative stamp in honor of Prof. Handique on October 7, 1983.
Works Handique, the Sanskrit scholar is known for his three major works:
Naisadhacarita of Sriharsa, 1934
Yasastilika and Indian Culture 1949
Pravarasena's Setubandha 1976
ATUL CHANDRA HAZARIKA
.Atul Chandra Hazarika (1903-1986) was a prominent Assamese litterateur from Assam. He excelled as a poet, dramatist, children story writer and translator. He was bestowed the epithet “Sahitycharjya” by Oxom Xahitya Xabha, the premier literary organization of Assam..
Life and literary works Born on the 9th September, 1903, in the state of Assam of India, Atul Hazarika, obtained his M.A. degree from Calcutta University and started his service life as teacher of Assamese literature. He retired as a professor and head of the department of Assamese in Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam. Atul Hazarika was author of more than one hundred books in Assamese. In nineteen thirties he authored a record number of Assamese dramas to give a new lease of life to the Assamese stage. During the same time he became a household name as a young poet-“Dipalir Kobi”. He also authored many story books for children. Some of his adaptations of western classics like “Grimor Xadhu”, Andersonor Xadhu” became very popular. He was also compiler and editor of works of great as well as many lesser known writers of Assamese. He compiled and edited several works of Sahityarathi Lakhinath BezBaruah and at the same time he collected and published in “Moroha Phoolor Koroni” works of many talented but lesser known writers who died in their early years. Atul Hazarika was also one of those pioneers who were responsible for giving a new face to Bihu-the national festival of Assam. He was associated with the founding committee,which organized for the first time Bihu on stage at a city pavilion in Guwahati some sixty years back. Atul Hazarika was also a great literary worker and as a general secretary, he was responsible for giving a new lease of life to Oxom Xahitya Xabha in the fifties. He became the President of this apex literary organization of Assamese language in 1959.
Awards Hazarika was awarded Sahitya Akademi Award in 1969 for his magnum opus, Monchalekha , which traced five hundred years of Assamese drama and stage. He was also awarded Padma Shri by Government of India in 1971
Hem Barua (1915-1977) Born on the 22nd April, 1915, at Tezpur, Hem Barua obtained his M.A. degree from Calcutta University in 1938 and joined the J.B. College, Jorhat, in 1941 as lecturer in Assamese and English. He left it next year during the Quit India Movement and was imprisoned in 1943. On his release, he joined the B. Barua College, Guwahati, and later became its Principal.
Literature Shri Hem Barua was the author of several books. He was the President of the Assam Sahitya Sabha on 1972 and was regarded as one of the pioneers of modern literary movement in Assam.Modern Assamese Poetry, published by Kavita, 1960
Shri Hem Barua left the Congress in 1948 and became a member of the Socialist party. Later he was elected to the National Executive of the P.S.P. He was a member of the Lok Sabha from 1957 to December 1970.
BIRENDRA KUMAR BHATTACHARYA
Dr. Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya is a famous Assamese writer. He was one of the pioneers of modern Assamese literature. He was conferred with Jnanpeeth award in the year 1979 for his novel Mrityunjay (Immortal). He was also a recipient of Sahitya Academy Award in the year 1961 for another Assamese novel Iyaruingom. Another famous novel written by Dr. Bhattacharya is Aai(Mother).
Nabakanta Barua, also known as Ekhud Kokaideu, (December 26, 1926-July 14, 2002) was a prominent Assamese novelist and poet.
Nabakanta Barua was born December 26, 1926 in Diboru to Nilakanta Barua, a school inspector and later teacher, and Swarnalata Baruani. He had three brothers: Debakanta, Jibakanta, and Sibakanta. (Debakanta Barua also became a well-known Assamese poet, best known for poem collection Sagor dekhisa.) At first the family lived in upper Assam, then moved to Puranigudam and lastly lived in Nagaon town.
He started his education at a nearby school, then joined govt Mojolia school. In 1933 he was admitted to Nagaon govt boys in class 3, from there he completed his matriculation in 1941. After that he got admitted to Cotton College, but he lost two years due to illness. In 1943, he went to Shantinikaton (West Bengal). In 1947 he completed his B.A. with English honors and in 1953 M. A. from Aligarh Muslim University.
He worked in Uttar Pradesh at Sokohabad at A.K collage , but the same year was transferred to Jorhat's Jagannath Barooah College. In 1954 he joined Cotton College and worked there until 1964. From 1964 to 1967 he worked at Assam Madhyamik Shiksha Parisod as an officer of English education . He again joined Cotton College, retiring as a vice principal in 1984.
He served as president of Asam Sahitya Sabha's Dhing Adhibashan in 1968 and presided over Asom Sahitya Sabha's Bishwanath Chariali convention in 1990.
Nabakanta Barua died on July 14, 2002
Barua wrote most criticized and recited poems like "Polokh", "Monot porne Arundhati", "Norokot DonJuan", and "Crussot DonJuan".
Barua's contribution to Assamese art and literature includes 39 books in all: 11 poem collections, 5 novels, essays, short stories for children (Xeali palegoi ratanpur) and lyrics. Some of his works have been translated to different Indian languages.In 1984, he published the Assamese magazine Sirolu, later republished as Natun Sirolu.
1974: Assam Prakashan Parisod Award, Mur aru Prithibir
1975: Sahitya Akademi Award to Assamese Writers, Kokadeutar Har
1976: Padma Bhushan, Literature & Education
1993: Assam Valley Literary Award
Homen Borgohain (b. 1932 Assam) is a Indian writer, poet, critic, columist and editor in Assamese language . He was awarded the 1978 Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese language for his novel, Pita Putra .
Homen Borgohain is one of those few Asomiya writers whose works have attracted the attention of a wide number of readers and many acclaimed critics alike. He has carved a niche for himself in the domain of Indian literature by the magic of his words and his refined and dignified personality. He is one of those rare artistes who has allowed the flow of life to find its own form in art.
Though he is a natural columnist, yet his multifaceted genius exhibits its prowess in the genres of novel, short story and poetry with equal aplomb. He is a prolific writer but that has in no way jeopardised his own artistic integrity. Writing for him is a deep ethical commitment. In spite of having rural roots, Borgohain’s work shows a deep understanding about urban complexities. In the early phase of his life Borgohain led an almost bohemian existence and the reflection of that particular life can be visualised in many of his early stories.
Life, said Chaplin’s clown in the film Limelight, is all about desire, and has nothing to do with our beliefs. Borgohain effectively brings to light the hidden cravings and desires of human beings struggling to articulate their feelings. His works light up the dark corners of the mind. Borgohain paints the life of the mind with breathtaking simplicity and there is a perfect blending between the subject matter and style. He may be called a lonely genius because no other Asomiya writer has attempted to depict life in the way Borgohain has successfully done. He can be called a true modernist in his attitude towards art and life. As Carl Jung remarked : “The man whom we can with justice call modern is solitary... Indeed, he is completely modern only when he has come to the very edge of the world, leaving behind him all that has been discarded and outgrown, and acknowledging that he stands before a void out of which all things may grow.” For Borgohain, who does not believe in the concept of institutionalised religion and for whom no ideology can fulfil the spiritual void of human beings, the destiny of man is to undertake the perpetual search for meaning in an otherwise meaningless universe.
Though Borgohain has penned many controversial and thought provoking works like Shubala, Pita Putra, Timirtirtha, Kushilab, etc, yet the novels in which he most successfully scans the existence of man with all its complexities are Astarag and Edinar Diary. In Astarag, Borgohain shows us what it means to be alive in a world which is full of pain and suffering. The heartrending agony of old age is portrayed so vividly in the novel that the readers are drowned in a well of sympathy for both Dilip and his father. Borgohain strives to prove the truth that life is an indefinite reprieve from death and to be alive is to gradually wither away. But this gradual erosion does not mean that man is to give up all attempts to live a happy life. Towards the very end of the book, Borgohain states a deeply felt reality of existence –
“Man will come and go but what will remain forever is this beautiful earth and the love of mortals for this mysterious life. Man will live forever in the midst of this love.”
Borgohain’s language is urbane and the tone is that of an understated irony towards life and death. In Edinar Diary, Borgohain goes one step forward and tries to understand the essence of existence with a philosopher’s profound quest for truth. Borgohain is a widely read man and the gems of his erudition are scattered throughout the pages of the book which help us to come to terms with our existence in a better way. The sense of alienation, despair, boredom all find manifestations in that particular work and we close the book with an enhanced understanding of our existence. As one character, Aditya Baruah says towards the end of the novel – “Life must be having a meaning; I will endeavour to find out that meaning from today”.
He wrote all the novels after doing a great research. Some of his novels itself contains a part of his life.Pita Putra, Astarag,Saudar puteke Nao Meli jai are such examples. Borgohain’s entire artistic career consists of this search for meaning.
2007 Santanukulanandan (Novel) Purabi Bormudoi
2006 Cheneh Jorir Ganthi (Short Stories) Atulananda Goswami
2005 Mouna Ounth Mukhar Hriday (Novel) Yeshe Dorje Thongchi
2004 Manuh Anukule (Poetry) Hirendra Nath Dutta 2003 Anek Manuh Anek Thai Aru Nirjanata (Poetry) Bireswar Barua 2002 Mahat Oitiyya (Criticism) Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya 2001 Edhani Mahir Hanhi (Novel) Mahim Bora 2000 Baghe Tapur Rati (Short stories) Apurba Sarma 1999 Biponna Samay (Novel) Medini Choudhury 1998 Asirbadar Rang (Novel) Arun Sarma 1997 Andharat Nijar Mukh (Short stories) Nagen Saikia 1996 Abhijatri (Novel) Nirupama Borgohain 1995 Maharathi (Novel) Chandra Prasad Saikia 1994 Madhupur Bahudur (Short stories) Sheelbhadra (Rabati Mohan Datta Choudhury) 1993 Mor Je Kiman Hepah (Poetry) Keshav Mahanta 1992 Shaichar Pathar Manuh (Poetry) Hiren Bhattacharjya 1991 Brahmaputra Ityadi Padya (Poetry) Ajit Barua 1990 Snehadevir Ekuki Galpa (Short stories) *Sneha Devi 1989 Asamiya Jatiya Jivanata Mahapurushiya Parampara (Literary criticism) Hiren Gohian 1988 Patal Bahirabi (Novel) Lakshminandan Bora 1987 Aan Ejan (Poetry) Harekrishna Deka 1986 Benudhar Sarma (Biography) Tirthanath Sarma 1985 Krishna Kanta Handiqui Rachna-Sambhar (Literary criticism) *Krishnakanta Handiqui 1984 Jangam (Novel) *Devendra Nath Acharya 1983 Sudirgha Din Aru Ritu (Poetry) Nirmalprabha Bardoloi 1982 Mamare Dhara Tarowal Aru Dukhan Upanyasa (Novel) Indira Goswami (Mamoni Raisom Goswami) 1981 Kavita (Poetry) Nilamani Phookan (Jr.) 1980 Prithibir Asukh (Short stories) Jogesh Das 1979 Sonali Jahaj (Poetry) Bhaben Barua 1978 Pita Putra (Novel) Homen Borgohain 1977 Bakul Banar Kavita (Poetry) Anand Chandra Barua 1976 Srinkhal (Short stories) Bhabendra Nath Saikia 1975 Kaka Deutar Har (Novel) Navakanta Barua 1974 Golam (Short stories) Saurabh Kumar Chaliha 1972 Aghari Atmar Kahini (Novel) Syed Abdul Malik 1970 Mahatmar Pora Rupkonarloi (Reminiscenses) Lakshminath Phookan 1969 Manchalekha (Study of Assamese theatre) Atul Chandra Hazarika 1968 Alakananda (Poetry) Nalinibala Devi 1967 Adhunik Galpa Sahitya (Literary criticism) Trailokyanath Goswami 1966 Bedanar Ulka (Poetry) Ambikagiri Roychoudhuri 1964 Asamar Lok-Sanskriti (Study in Folk culture) *Birinchi Kumar Barua 1961 Iyaruingam (Novel) Birendra Kumar Bhattacharyya 1960 Kangrechar Kachiyali Ra'dat (Reminiscences) Benudhar Sarma 1955 Bana Phul (Poetry) Jatindranath Dowerah