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The Biography of Legendary writer Mamoni Raisom Goswami

"Mamoni Raisom Goswami's death marks end of an era in Literature of Assam. A lady with bright personality and a noble heart, popularly known as Mamoni baidew, worshipped literature and her mother-land whole life. She lived life that was full of ups and down, she faced the grievances with a bold heart and treasured every happiness to her inner-most corner."

   »Dr Mamoni Raisom Goswami is no more     »A Biography on Photos

Mother of a legend - Ambika Devi

School Going Indira Goswami

With sister Sabita Goswami in her early days

14th November of 1942, in Amranga village of south Kamrup, a baby girl was born to father Umakanta Goswami and mother Ambika Devi. The baby was named Indira. Goswamis' were an affluent Vaishnavite-brahmin family, known as Goxain in Assam. They started her education in Latasil Primary School in Guwahati. But soon she was sent to Pine Mount School in Shillong for better education(1954). Indira returned to Guwahati again and passed her matriculation from Tarini Charan Girls High School in 1957.

Indira Goswami started her college life in Cotton College, Guwahati. She took honours in Assamese and graduted in 1960. She had an extra-ordinary towards literature since her childhood. In 1962, she published her first book 'Sinaki Morom', a story collection, in the name 'Indira Goswami'. She was then studying in Guwahati University in Assamese Literature.

The Young Beauty

With her husband Madhaven in Kashmir

Pet Banju during University days

During her university days, she met with an handsome and young Engineer from Mysore, Madhevan Raisom Iyengar, who came to Assam to work on the construction of the Saraighat Bridge in river Brahmaputra. The young and beautiful lady soon fell in love with smart Raisom and got married to him in 1963. The same year Goswami completed her Master Degree. They newly wed couple soon left Assam and travelled around India for the demand of Raisom's job. But this happiness was not written on her lot for longer time. Madhevan Raisom met with an unfortunate accident in 1965 while they were in Kashmir which took away his life. Indira went into complete depression after this shocking incident. Her life took a new turn. She battled with intense depression, spending her nights with sleeping tablets, handfuls of which she swallowed in two attempts to end her life. But her life was meant to finish lot more tasks than that, thats why probably she survived both the occassions. She slowly took shelter into her old love of writings.

Very soon her immense talent was discovered by Homen Borgohain, a young journalists at that time. He invited her to write an autobiography of her in his weekly newspaper, 'Nilachal'. Her autobiogrpahy "Adhalekha Dastabez" published in series in Nilachal from 1968 in her pen-name 'Mamoni Raisom Goswami'. She got a new life with a new name which brought fame and respect though out rest of her life. A name that always carried her husband's name, his love and inspirations. But it didn't last long as it fell victim to wrath of many readers who found objections in an autobiography written by just a 26 year old. Fortunately, the same year, she got a job offer of teaching from Sainik School in Goalpara.

Accepting Sahitya Academy in 1982

In the Sahitya Academy award program

With Munshi Premchand's son Amit Roy

In 1969, Mamoni Raisom got an invitation from Upendra lekharu to join the Institution of Oriental Philosophy in Brindaban. She completely immersed herslef into the Ramayan studies during her research in the institute. In 1971 she joined Delhi University as a lecturer of Modern Indian Language. In Delhi, she started writing her first novel, "Senabor Shroot", which was published in 1972. It is the story of exploitation of labourers working for companies building an aqueduct over the Chenab River in Kashmir, and drew from her own experience in the Valley with her husband. The next year, she completed her Phd on "A study of Madhab Kandali's Assamese Ramyan and Tulsi Das's Ramcharit Manas".

Mamoni Raisom Goswami became an i nternation figure of Ramayan studies soon. She travelled many countires and gave lectures on her studies. Her lectures brought along the culture of Assam to the outside world. She continued writing in assamese. Her new style of semi-autobigraphical story telling took every reader of Assam by a shock.

With Poet Nabakanta Barua in Delhi

Gulzar with Mamoni baidew

With writer Sunil Gangopadhyay

Mamoni's confrontation with the windows during her stay in Brindavan created a master piece novel "Nilakanthar Bajra". It is a valuable work and pioneer in depicting the miserable and exploited lives of widows in Brindavan.

Mamoni Raisom Goswami's pen never stopped till her death. She brought out various intense issues of the Indian society and gave a new dimesion to the Assamese literature.

The plight of widows in Hindu society, and the oppression of girls and women were the focus in her classic creation "Dontal Hatir Uiye Khowda Howda" (The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker). Her novel about the bloody anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, "Tej Aru Dhulire Dhusarita Prishtha" (Pages Stained with Blood), is a heart-touched and haunting read.

Music Composer Gopal Das Niraj

Legendary Literate Bhishma Sahani

With Great Urdu writer Qurratulain Hyder

Mamoni Raisom Goswami's autobiography that was first published in Nilachal finally got a form of a book "Adhalekha Dastabez" (Unfinished Autobiography) in 1988. It opens her life to her readers, the curves in time, the ups and dowsn of her emotions.

"Mamore Dhora Tarowal" (The rusted sword) published in 1980, is based on a worker's agitation in Madhya Pradesh. "Dashorothir Khuj", a novel published in series in popular monthly magazine, 'Prantik', reflects her immense knowledge on Ramayan and Indian philosophy.

Goswami's book Chhinnmasatar Manuhto was against animal sacrifice in the famed Kamakhya Temple, the seat of Shakti worship, which raised the hackles of the temple priests while Jatra is set against the backdrop of insurgency in Assam.

Mamoni Raisom Goswami is one the author of the recent days who made every Assamese proud. She is probably the assamese author whose work has been translated into english and other national language in the highest quanity and equally applauded across countries.

Jnanpith from President Krishna Kant

With Nobel Laureate V S Naipaul

Indian President Shankar Dayal Sharma

In 1986 her novel "Nilkanthar Bajra" was translated into emglish as "The shadow of the dark god and the sin". Her autobiography was trnslated into english as "An unfinished Autobiography" in 1990, just two years after the orginal assamese publish. In 1993 "Dontal Hatir Uiye Khowda Howda" got the english translation as "Saga of South Kamrup".

Her only english book "Ramayana from Ganga to Brahmaputra" was published in 1996.

Since 80s decade, Mamoni Raisom Goswami has been counted as one of the great author in India. She has numerous awards and recognitions at national level. She was awared with 'Sahitya Academy' award in 1983 for her novel "Mamore Dhora Tarowal aaru dukhon upanyax". In 1988 "Axom Xahitya Xabha" awarded her with its greated literary award for her novel "Dontal Hatir Uiye Khowda Howda". In 1989, Goswami was awarded with "Bharat Nirman" for her three novels "Xanskar, Udaybhanu, ityadi". In 1996, she was awarded with life time literary achievement award by "Kamal Kumari Foundation". In 2000, Mamoni Raisom Goswami was awarded with the highest literary award of the nation "Jnanpith". She was the second assamese literate to get this reward in the history of Assam, after Birendrkumar Bhattacharya. In 2002 she was awarded with "Padmashri" by Indian Government, but she refused to accept the same. In 2011, she was awarded with "Axom Ratna", the highest award by the government in the state of Assam. Other noted awards to her acclaim are Katha National Award for Literature, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar Gold Medal from Asiatic Society, etc.

Loksabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee

Two Legends of Assam

With PCG members

What made every assamese proud of Mamoni Raisom Goswami, is her recognitions in the International platform. She was invited to all international discussions on Ramayana studies, in Spain and various places in south Asia. In 1999 she was awarded as "Tulsi Award" by Florida University of America for her studies in the literary works of Tulsi Das. In 2006, she was awarded as "Ambassador of Peace" by Korean federation of peace. She was the first Indian to recieve "Principal Prince Claus laureate" award in 2008 by Netherland Government.

Apart from a great literate, Mamoni Raisom Goswami was a great human being at heart and owner of a affectionate personality. She had an unfortunate short-lived marriage of just 18 months, without any children. But she carried the memories of her husband through out her life and taking that as an inspiration. During her stay in Delhi University she was the comman gurdian to every student from north-east region. She was very affectionate and always open to any help to the poor and to the needy. She was called affectionaelty as "Mamoni Baidew (Elder Sister)" by most of her fans. She devoted significant amount of her life into social reformation of the region. She was considered the major force for peace talk initiative between the militancy(ULFA) of the region with government. She dreamt of an united Assam despite of the diverisifed culture and communities. She wanted to brought all of them together in peace and enrich the culture of the region.

Prince Claus award in 2008

Tribute to Mamoni baidew

End of a legendary life

In February of 2011, when Mamoni Raisom Goswami's health deteriorated, she planned well to utilize her wealth and time to social services. She donated 34 Lakhs rupees that she got from her "Principal Prince Claus laureate" award to build a hospital in her native place in Amranga. She also created a trust to study Ramayan and Indian philosphy donating signficant amount of money and her house for it. She donated her eyes, so that her vision can be of help to someone needy even after-life.

Thousands of her fans and followers greeted her well-being when she took to the bed. For months chidren, students and general public of Assam wished for Mamoni baidew's recovery. Unfortunately all the prayers stopped suddenly at 7:30 am on 29th November. As the news spread across about the last breath of the great personality of Assam.

Mamoni Raisom Goswami

Mamoni Raisom Goswami is no more with us today. But her legends, works and dreams will still live in every Assam lover's heart forever.

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Dr Mamoni Raisom Goswami is no more

A Biography on Photos

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