..................Ambikagiri Roy Chowdhury....................
..................Atul Chandra Hazarika....................
..................Bishnu Prasad Rabha....................
..................Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya....................
..................Chandra Kumar Agarwala....................
.....................Dr. Surya Kumar Bhuyan.......................
.....................Dr. Birinchi Kumar baruah.......................
.....................Dr. Bani Kanto kakoty.......................
...................Krishna Kanto Handique........................
...................Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla........................
............Mofizuddin Ahmed Hazarika................
............Parbati Prasad Baruah................
............Padmanath Gohain Baruah................
............Xilobhadro- Rebotimohan dutta chowdhury................
............Syed Abdul Malik................
............Saurav Kumar Chaliha................
............Rojoni Kanta bordoloi................
--Sri Madhabdeva (1522-1596)
--Mathuradas Burha-ata (1490-1596)
--Swargadeo Pratap Xingha
--Mumai Tamuli Barbarua
--Ajan Fakir (1610-????)
--Swargadeo Jaidhwaj Xingha
--Swargadeo Chakradhwaj Xingha (????-1670)
--Swargadeo Godadhar Xingha (????-1695)
--Xati Joimoti (????-1679)
--Swargadeo Rudra Xingha (????-1714)
--Keertichandra Barbarua (1699-1769)
--Swargadeo Chandrakanta Xingha (1798--
-Maniram Dewan (1806-1858)
--Anandaram Dhekialphukan (1829-1859)
--Nidhi Lebi Farwel
--Gunabhiram Barua (1834-1894)
--Hemchandra Barua (1835-1896)
--Anandaram Barua (1850-1889)
--Manik Chandra Barua (1851-1915)
--Jagannath Barua (1851-1907)
--Bholanath Barua (1853-1923)
--Kamalakanta Bhattacharya (1855-1936)
--Radhanath Handique (1857-1952)
--Lambodar Bora (1860-1892)
--Satyanath Bora (1860-1925)
--Lakshmiram Barua (1865-1913)
--Rajanikanta Bordoloi (1867-1940)
--Chandrakumar Agarwala (1811-1938)
--Lakshminath Bezbarua (1868-1938)
--Padmanath Gohainbarua (1867-1946)
--Hemchandra Goswami (1872-1928)
--Kanaklal Barua (1872-1940)
--Nabinchandra Bordoloi (1875-1936)
--Tarunram Phukan (1877-1939)
--Sir Sayed Sadulla (1885-1955)
--Kaliram Medhi (1880-1954)
--Neelamani Phukan (1880-1978)
--Gyandabhiram Barua (1880-1955)
--Peetambar Debagoswami (1885-1962)
--Harinarayan Dutta Barua (1807-1958)
--Ambikagiri Raichoudhury (1885-1967)
--Saratchandra Goswami (1887-1944)
--Bishnuram Medhi (1888-1981)
--Gopinath Bordoloi (1890-1950)
--Dr Suryakumar Bhuyan (1892-1964)
--Rajbala Das (1893-1985)
--Tyagbeer Hem Barua (1893-1945)
--Dr Bhubaneswar Barua (1893-1956)
--Lakshminath Phukan (1894-1975)
--Dr Dinanath Sarma (1894-1978)
--Brazanath Sarma (1894-1960)
--Benudhar Sarma (1894-1981)
--Dr Banikanta Kakoti (1894-1952)
--Amiyo Kumar Das (1895-1975)
--Lakshmidhar Sarma (1897-1933)
--Krishnakanta Handique (1898-1982)
--Premnarayan Dutta (1899-1965)
--Dr Moidul Islam Bora (1899-1944)
--Rajmohan Nath (1899-1964)
--Radhagobinda Barua (1900-1977)
--Chandraprabha Saikiani (1901-1972)
--Holiram Deka (1901-1962)
--Jyotiprasad Agarwala (1903-1951)
--Bhimbar Deuri (1903-1947)
--Pramathesh Barua (1903-1951)
--Guruprasad Das (1904-1982)
--Kushal Konwar (1905-1943)
--Dr Hiranyachandra Bhuyan (1905-1973)
--Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed (1848-1977)
--Sitanath Brahma Choudhuri (1808-1982)
--Dr Birinchi Kumar Barua (1908-1964)
--Bishnuprasad Rabha (1909-1969)
--Phani Sarma (1910-1970)
--Amalprabha Das (1911-1994)
--Hemanga Biswas (1912-1987)
--Debakanta Barua (1914-1996)
--Hem Barua (1915-1977)
--Dr Maheswar Neog (1915-1995)
--Moghai Oja (1916-1978)
--Dr Bhobananda Dutta (1918-1959)
--Sayed Abdul Malik (1919-2000)
--Tarunchandra Pamegam (1924-1983)
--Dr Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya (1924-1997)
--Pilik Choudhury (1929-)
--Hiteswar Saikia (1934-1996)
--Swarga Narayan (????-1539)
--Bongshi Gopaldeb (1470--
--Ruchinath Kandali (18th century)
--Tularam Xenapati (????-1850)
--Atmaram Sarma (1787-1855)
--Jaduram Dekabarua (1801-1869)
--Haliram Dhekian Phukan (1802-1832)
--Deenanath Bezbarua (1813-1895)
--Duttadeb Goswami (1818-1904)
--Bahadur Gaoburha (????-1891)
--Ramakanta Choudhury (1846-1889)
--Holiram Mahanta Thakur (1846-1950)
--Col. Sibaram Bora (1847-1907)
--Baldeb Mahanta (1950-)
--Pundit Dhireswaracharya (1851-1919)
--Gobinda Bezbarua (1851-1919)
--Balinarayan Bora (1852-1927)
--Radhanath Changkakoti (1853-1923)
--Padmabati Debi Phukanani (1853-1927)
--Phanidhar Chaliha (1855-1923)
--Bhubanram Das (1856-1916)
--Dr Arangshya (1857-1886)
--Bholanath Das (1858-1929)
--Kalicharan Brahma (1860-1938)
--Krishnakanta Bhattacharya (1863-1951)
--Madhabchandra Bardalai (1864-1907)
--Ratneswar Mahanta (1864-1893)
--Ghanashyam Barua (1867-1923)
--Durgaprasad Majindar Barua (1867-1928)
--Mafijuddin Ahmed Hazarika (1880-1958)
--Panindranath Gogoi (1871-1900)
--Swarnalata Devi (1871-1932)
--Benudhar Rajkhowa (1872-1955)
--Chandradhar Barua (1874-1961)
--Anandachandra Agarwala (1874-1939)
--Radhanath Phukan (1875-1964)
--Hiteswar Barbarua (1876-1939)
-Young Mukunda Kakati
-Atul Chandra Hazarika (1903-1986)
-Ananda chandra Baruah (1906-1982)
-Ganesh Gogoi (1910-1938)
-Raghunath Chodhary (1879-1968)
-Durgeswar Sharmah (1882-1961)
-Nakul Ch. Bhuyan (1895-1968)
-Shailadhar Rajkhowa (1890-1968)
-Padmadhar Chaliha (1895-1969)
-Dimbeswar Neog (1899-1966)
-Parboti Prashad Baruah (1908-1968)
-Gyannath Borah (1890-1968)
Englishmen who contributed towards Assam :
-Sir Barry John White - Assam Medical college founder
-Sudmarson - First Principal of Cotton college
-Stilwell - Brain behind the great road connecting Assam (Near Lido of Dibrugarh) to south eastAsia
-Robart Brosh - Inventor of liquid gold - Tea
--Henri Studman Cotton
To read more about some of these great Assamese personalities and their contributions please click on the links below:
"BAGMIBOR” NILAMONI PHUKAN
BIRENDRA KUMAR BHATTACHARYA
FAKHRUDDIN ALI AHMED
SYED ABDUL MALIK
Lachit Borphukan --the commander who defeated the mighty Moghuls
Lachit Borphukan was a commander and Borphukan in the Ahom kingdom known in particular for his successful leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a strong attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take back Kamrup. His heroism during the last and decisive battle, when he inspired a dispirited and retreating Ahom naval force to fight back in spite of an illness, has made him into a national hero. He died about a year later due to causes unrelated to that particular illness.
Lachit Borphukan, was the son of Momai Tamuli Borbarua who, starting from humble beginnings, had risen to become the first Borbarua (Governor of upper Assam and Commander-in-Chief of the Ahom army) under Prataap Singha. Thus Lachit Borphukan had the benefit of the upbringing the children of nobility of his times. His father arranged for his education in humanities, scriptures and military skills; as he grew up he was given positions of responsibility. It is also recorded that Lachit was made the scarf-bearer (Soladhara Barua) of the Ahom Swargadeo, a position equivalent to a Private Secretaryship, which was regarded as the first step in career of an ambitious diplomat and politician. The various other offices held by Lachit before his appointment as the Commander of the army included was the Superintendent of the Royal Horses (Ghora Barua), Commander of the strategic Simulgarh Fort and Superintendent of the Royal Household Guards or (Dolakaxaria Barua) to the Ahom king, Chakradhwaj Singha.
At the time of his appointment as commander-in-chief Lachit held the office of Dolakasharia Barua. The king summoned him to his presence when he was sitting on his royal sedan; and in order to test the efficiency of the general-elect, he asked Lachit to instruct the Dulias or sedan-bearers about the performance of their duties. Lachit stood the ordeal well; and the king broached the subject to Lachit, saying-"The enemies are in our immediate neighbourhood. How will it be possible to capture their leaders Syed Firoz and Syed Sana? The man whom I am going to appoint as general must be endowed with unusual grit, stamina and depth of judgement." To this Lachit replied, "Could it be that there is no man fit enough in Your Majesty's realm? What are the enemies? They are after all ordinary mortals. Shall we not find similar men in our country? Your Majesty should only confer the dust of your feet, and the man equal to the occasion will be readily found". The king immediately resolved to put Lachit at the head of the expedition. The king's selection was confirmed by his ministers and advisers.
The King Chakradhwaj Singha presented Lachit a gold-hafted sword (Hengdang) and the customary paraphernalia of distinction and appointed him commander in chief of the Ahom army raised specifically to drive out the imperial Mughal rulers. Lachit actively participated in raising the army and the preparation were completed by summer of 1667. Lachit at first recovered Guwahati from the Mughals and successfully defended it against the Mughal forces during the Battle of Saraighat. He died about a year later.
About the physiognomy and features of Lachit Barphukan there were no evidence of contemporary portrait. There was, however, preserved in an old chronicle a megre pen-picture of the general along with the other commanders of the expedition. The chronicler points out the distinctive features and says : "At the foot of Itakhuli was Lachit Phukan. His face is broad, and resembles the moon in its full phase. No one is capable of staring at his face."
There are a number of incidents displaying Lachit's patriotism and devotion to duty and to his nation.
During the preparations for the Battle of Saraighat he ordered an earthen wall to be constructed within one night and employed his maternal uncle as the supervisor. Late night when Lachit came for inspection, he found that work was not progressing satisfactorily. When asked for an explanation, uncle tried to cite tiredness, to which Lachit became so furious in this negligence of duty that he beheaded his uncle on the spot, saying "My uncle is not greater than my country"("Desotkoi Momai Dangor Nohoi" in Assamese). The barrier was completed within that night. This episode is still cited in Assam as the ultimate example of Lachit's sincerity and patriotism.
Failed attempt by Ram Singh to prove Lachit traitor
When Ram Singh, the Mughal commander in chief once resorted to spreading misunderstanding in the Ahom camp when he failed to make any advance against the Assamese army during the first phase of the Battle of Saraighat. An arrow carrying a letter by Ram Singh telling that Lachit have been paid rupees one lakh & he should evacuate Guwahati was driven into the Ahom camp, which eventually reached the Ahom king, Chakradhwaj Singha. Although the king started to doubt Lachit's sincerity and patriotism, his prime minister Atan Buragohain made him understand that this was just a trick against Lachit.
Last display of courage
During the last stage of the Battle of Saraighat, when the Mughals attacked by the river in Saraighat, at the sight of the massive Mughal fleet, the Assamese soldiers began to lose their will to fight. Some elements commenced retreat. Lachit was seriously ill & was observing this development from his sickbed. He had himself carried on a lotto a boat and with seven boats advanced headlong against the Mughal fleet. He said "If you (the soldiers) want to flee, flee. The king has given me a task here and I will do it well. Let the Mughals take me away. You report to the king that his general fought well following his orders". This had an electrifying effect on his soldiers. They rallied behind him and a desperate battle ensured on the Brahmaputra. The Ahoms in their small boats cut circles round the bigger but less maneuverable Mughal boats. The river got littered with clashing boats and drowning soldiers.
In this furious engagement, Lachit Barphukan managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The Mughals were decisively defeated and they retreated from Guwahati. Thus ended the battle of Saraighat in a decisive Ahom victory (despite all odds) and giving Lachit legendary fame in Assam. In his hour of triumph, Lachit Barphukan died of the illness that he had been suffering from.
The Mughal Commander-in-Chief acknowledging his defeat had a special word of praise for the Ahom soldiers and the Ahom Commander-in-chief. About Lachit Barphukan he wrote, "Glory to the king! Glory to the counsellors! Glory to the commanders!Glory to the country! One single individual leads all the forces! Even I Ram Singh, being personally on the spot, have not been able to find any loophole and an opportunity!"
Death of Lachit Borphukan
The joy of victory in the Battle of Saraighat was marred by the death of Lachit Barphukan soon after the battle. He was in high fever when he led the attack against the Mughals. It is his indomitable sprit that goaded him to action though his frame was incapable of bearing such a tremendous burden. But for his timely intervention the failing enthusiasm of the Assamese soldiers would have purchased an ignoble defeat. Lachit Barphukan, like Lord Nelson, died in the lap of victory; and the battle of Saraighat was Assam's Trafalgar.
This hero's last remains lies in rest at the Lachit Maidam built in 1672 by Swargadeo Udayaditya Singha at Hoolungapara 16 km from Jorhat.
On 24th November each year Lachit Divas, it is a state holiday, is celebrated statewide in Assam to commemorate the heroism of the great general Lachit Borphukan and the victory of the Assamese army at the battle of Saraighat.
-------------------much revered bravery from the son of the soil------------------------
How the Ahom (Assamese) General Lachit Borphukan annihilated the Muslim Mughal army at the battle of Saraighat on the Banks of the Bramhaputra river
The Muslims had made many attempts from the time of Mohammed Bin Tughlak to swallow Assam. But the Ahom kings of Assam stoutly and shrewdly defeated each Muslim incursion in to Assam. Finally the Mughals during the reign of Aurangzeb attacked Assam with a huge force. The shrewd Assamese king laid a trap for the Muslim army at a place named Sariaghat on the Bramhaputra river.
The Battle of Saraighat was fought in 1671 between the Mughals (led by the renegade Rajput Hindu traitor Kachwaha king Raja Ramsingh I), and the Ahoms (led by Lachit Borphukan, the Ahom governor of Guwahati) on the Brahmaputra river at Saraighat near Guwahati. Although considered to be the weaker force, the Ahom army defeated the Mughal by using a combination of guerrilla tactics, psychological warfare and military intelligence.
In a surprise night attack, Lachit Barphukan dramatically captured the Mughal post in north Guwahati and, later, their fort in south Guwahati. The present day Kamrup Deputy Commissioner's bungalow is now situated on this site. The greatest threat to Lachit's army were the many Mughal cannons. In another secret mission executed the night before battle the cannons were disabled by Bagh Hazarika, a subordinate of Lachit's, During the night, Hazarika poured water into the cannons' barrels, soaking their gunpowder. With the Mughal cannons disabled, the Ahoms bombarded the Guwahati fort with their cannons. After a heavy cannonade and then a determined charge, the Mughals were defeated and the fort captured. After this the Mughals abandoned Guwahati.
Now Lachit Barphukan anticipated a larger retaliatory attack by the Mughals and he started arranging defenses, obstacles and garhs (earthen walls) around Guwahati, relying upon the hillocks around Guwahati and the Brahmaputra River as natural barriers against an invading army. Lachit was thorough and ruthless in preparing for the defense. He even beheaded his own uncle for neglecting his duty. When Lachit asked his uncle why the work was not progressing as expected, his uncle complained of boredom. Lachit in a fit of fury cut off his uncle's head and said "my uncle is not greater than my country."
The Mughals struck back in March 1679. The Mughal commander-in-chief of the advancing Mughal army had at his disposal 30,000 infantry, 15,000 archers, 18,000 Turkish cavalry, 5,000 gunners, more than 1000 cannons and a large flotilla of boats. Portuguese and other European sailors were employed to man the fleet. These forces moved up the Brahmaputra from Dhaka to Guwahati. Lachit's spies kept him informed of the progress of the Muslim advance. The Mughals laid siege to Guwahati that lasted for more than a year.
Lachit fought from within the barriers knowing that his small cavalry would not stand against the Mughal cavalry on open ground. His guerrilla attacks against the Mughal caused them to suffer many casualties. Although the Mughals made many efforts, including one attempt to bribe Lachit with power position and money, as they had done successfully with some Rajputs, but with Lachit the Mughals failed to tempt him to betray his country. Every attempt to bribe him was replied with scorn. In spite of repeated desperate attempts they failed to defeat Lachit and capture Guwahati.
But now the Ahom king, however, became impatient and ordered Lachit to attack the Mughals on open ground. Lachit reluctantly obeyed this command, and attacked the Mughal army in Allaboi. After some initial success, in which the Ahoms captured the local Mughal Commander, Mir Nawab, the Ahoms drew the full force of Mughal cavalry.
The Ahom army was decimated by the Mughal cavalry on the open plain losing some 10,000 troops. Lachit had taken the precaution of digging a line of defense at the rear of his advancing columns, to which they could fall back to if forced to do so. In doing so, he managed to save the remainder of his forces and retreat into his prepared defenses.
The Mughal could not penetrate these defenses and ultimately launched a massive naval assault on the river at Saraighat. They had large boats, some carrying as many as sixteen cannons. The Ahom soldiers were demoralised after their losses at Allaboi and their commander-in-chief, Lachit Borphukan, was seriously ill. At the sight of the massive Mughal fleet, they began to lose their will to fight, and some units commenced retreat.
Lachit had been observing this development from his deathbed. Despite having a high fever, he had himself carried to a boat and, along with seven other boats, advanced headlong against the Mughal fleet. His bold advance inspired his retreating army to rally behind him. A desperate battle ensued on the Brahmaputra. The Ahoms in their small boats outmaneuvered the larger, more sluggish Mughal boats, and the river became littered with clashing boats and drowning soldiers.
The Mughals were decisively defeated and they were finally forced to retreat from Guwahati, and also from other Ahom territory, up to Manas River. Thus ended the Battle of Saraighat, giving Lachit Barphukan the legendary fame in Assam. This battle is remembered as a glorious Ahom victory, despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
Lachit Borphukan, like Lord Nelson, died in the lap of victory; and the battle of Saraighat was Assam's Trafalgar.
-----------------------from historian perspective-----------------------------
Lachit Borphukon, the Ahom general under whose command the Assamese forces gave such a resounding defeat to the invading Moghul army sent by Emperor Aurangzeb under the leadership of Raja Ram Singh of Amber, must be counted as one of history's greatest generals if one takes into account the vast superiority, both in man and material of the opposing forces. Then his personal courage always leading from the front, even when in poor health and ordering his men to carry him to the front of the ranks on his sick bed. And finally his superb strategy and memorable sayings both in war and in peace. Lachit was the younger son of another Ahom nobleman of great wisdom and administrative acumen, Momai Tamuli Borborua.Lachit enters history almost with a bang. King Chakradhwaj Singha (AD 1663-1670) while on a tour of his territories near the hills situated in its south eastern parts, called Lachit near him and in order to test him asked how the Moghul commanders at Guwahati could possibly be captured. Lachit gave a spirited reply which would be characteristic of him all through his later career. He said: "Are there no men in Your Majesty's kingdom? Who after all is the 'Bongal' (meaning the non-Assamese)? He is also only a man. Will not there be such men in our kingdom?" The king, himself a man famous in history for his spirited words and deeds, immediately appointed Lachit commander-in-chief of the Assamese forces to be sent to Guwahati for driving out the Moghuls.The Assamese forces under the command of Lachit Borphukon started for Guwahati in August, 1668. They engaged the Moghuls first on the North Bank of the Brahmaputra opposite Guwahati then attacked them on the South Bank. In September 1668, the Moghul forces were driven out Guwahati. They moved downstream by the Brahmaputra. The Assamese forces chased them both by land and water. Later that year, the Assamese forces soundly defeated the Moghul invaders at the confluence of the river Manah with the Brahmaputra after obstructing their passage by the river. One of their top commanders Syed Feroze was taken prisoner.The battle of Saraighat was fought sometime before April 8, 1671. For Raja Ram Singh went back on that day down the Brahmaputra. But the exact date of the battle of Saraighat is not given in the chronicle I am using for the purposes of writing this article. Here I must add a word about the chronicle I am using and why I am using it. The manuscript of this chronicle was obtained by the late Hemchandra Goswami, the renowned Assamese poet during his deputation by the Assam government in 1912-13, from the family of Sukumar Mahanta of north Guwahati. The manuscript was written on the strips of bark of the Sanchi tree. I am using the printed version of this chronicle for two reasons. In the first place, I saw the manuscript, which was preserved in the office of the director of Historical and Antiquarian Studies, Assam at Guwahati. I happen to possess a printed version of this manuscript. When I came to know that the original version of this manuscript was in the Directorate of Historical and Antiquarian Studies, which was right opposite my own office I went and had a look at it. I thus made certain that there was an original manuscript, which is not always the case.And secondly this chronicle gives, more than any other chronicle, the description of the battles fought between the Assamese and the Moghuls during August 1668 and April 1671 and especially of the battle of Saraighat. It gives details even of the positioning of the Assamese commanders on the eve of this great naval battle. However, it does not give the exact date of the battle.I consulted Dr S.K. Bhuyan's Lachit Borphukon and his Times also. He is considered one of our most important historians. It also does not give the date of the battle even approximately So, instead of resorting to what one of the greatest British historians of the 20th century E.H. Carr, calls scissors-and-paste history, I have faithfully followed this one chronicle for whatever it is worth.Having thus given the merits of the chronicle, I may give an account of whatever has been written about Lachit Borphukon there. Unfortunately, the account is not chronological. So instead of hazarding a probable chronology, I shall follow the order of the paragraphs of the chronicle.After the dramatic first appearance of Lachit and his fateful appointment of Commander-inChief of the forces despatched to recapture Guwahti, we find the names of other important commanders accompanying him. They were: Charingia Pelon Phukon who later became Borborua, the fourth highest functionary in the Ahom military-cum-administrative hierarchy; Miri Sandikoi Phukon, who was later appointed commander of the forces from the village Lathia to the hill of Chila, both on the north bank of the Brahmaputra near the present township of Aminagaon. There were two others of whom there was no further mention. They were Bheba Phukon and laluk Phukon.This is how the war for capturing Guwahati proceeded from August 1668 to April 8, 1671, the date when the Commander-in-Chief of the Moghul forces Raja Ram Singh finally went away.The Assamese forces after arriving near Guwahati, proceeded both by land and water. We found that the first engagement was at a place called Banhbari, where a commander named Dihingia Phukon quartered the force under him. There, two persons named Roshan and Beg who were probably local Moghul commanders were killed. They also took a booty of 12 horses and some swords an<>
Swahid (Myrtyr) Maniram Dewan
If the three ingredients - the man, the moment and the milieu-constitute the recipe for human greatness, these too occasionally conspire to bring about individual tragedies. Maniram Dutta Barua (1806-1858), popularly known as Maniram Dewan, undoubtedly the greatest Assamese of the first half of the 19th century is a poignant illustration of this truism.First, the man. Maniram was born on April 17, 1806, into a family tracing its lineage to the early 16th century, when it had migrated from Kanauj to Assam. His paternal forebears had held high offices in the courts of the Swargadeos, or Ahom kings, "(my) ancestors ...., for 300 years," so wrote he in a petition to A.J. Moffat Mills, judge of the Sudder Court who visited Assam in 1853, "were Chang Kagutees, .... when the country fell into the hands of the Burmese, your petitioner's father was upheld in the office and dignity of a Bar Kaguttee..." Maniram himself became a confidante and counsellor of Purundar Since ha, the titular Ahom king elevated to the throne in 1833, and his son Kameswar Singha and grandson Kandarpeswar Singha. Despite being Kayasthas, his family had assumed the status of nobility under the Ahoms; "rank and respectability" not only enhanced Maniram's influence on the court and the subjects, but also imbued in him a fierce sense of independence and patriotism, as also an aristocratic pride that would break rather than bend.True, his petitions to Moffat Mills, as also those on behalf of Kandarpeswar Singha to the Supreme Government at Calcutta, were couched in rhetoric of utmost subservience. But this was in accordance with the prevalent practice. One must remember that the bourgeois `moderates' who founded the Congress in the post-1857 period and initiated the thrust towards India's independence too had phrased their petitions in a similar, ingratiating manner. Maniram, in fact, belongs to this middle-class stratum notwithstanding his aristocratic lineage, and shares many of its traits. While, in the rest of India, the nucleus of this class was formed by zamindars, traders, professionals and intellectuals, in Assam, due to the absence of a fully defined trading-class, it was drawn from the landed gentry as well as service holders of the Ahom royaltyA product of the British conquest of India, the Indian middle-class was infused with the spirit of enterprise and a hankering for progress absent in the feudalistic medieval order it replaced and provided leadership in every field. In Assam, where the commercial ethos was almost entirely absent, it imbibed capitalist values from the British and, in a somewhat idiosyncratic inversion of the all India pattern, took up the role of businessmen and gave a new direction to Assamese entrepreneurship.Maniram was, so to say, at the very fount of this stream of bourgeois formation, endowed with its intelligence, enlightened progressivism and enterprising spirit, qualities that the British, on the lookout for natives capable of aiding them in running the administration, recognised soon enough. From the very commencement of British rule he was "consulted as to the internal resources of the whole province as well as its in come expenditure; and subsequently appointed by Captain Nobeen (Nueufville), Sheristadar and Tuhseeldar of the District." Encomiums about his intelligence and enterprise are reiterated in British records.Yet a vital difference did exist; the post 1857 middle class thrived under British patronage and owed allegiance to the foreign masters. Its leading lights were cooperators with the British and received Rai Sahib or Rai Bahadur titles for their loyalty. The nature of Maniram the man, on the other hand, and the milieu in which he had been reared, did not permit subservience. This lies at the core of his tragedy. That he later chose to compete with European planters to open out tea gardens in the teeth of opposition is telling testimony to his courage and independent spirit.No doubt, in the early phase of British rule, Maniram does appear to have cooperated with the conquerors. But it was the moment rather than the man which dictated such an attitude.He grew up during the bleakest period of Assam's history, when the state-machinery, buffeted by the Moamariya uprisings, had totally collapsed due to subsequent Burmese incursions. He was barely 11 years old when the first Burmese hordes swarmed over the land, killing, burning, unleashing a reign of terror the likes of which few regions of India had seen. Thus, when the British fought them during the Firsts. Burmese War (1824-26), and succeeded in wresting Assam through the Yandabu Treaty (1826), not merely the royalty and upper class, but the people of entire Assam, looked up to them as saviours. Taken in by the conqueror's assertion that they would renounce all claims of conquest over Assam and her dependencies" once the Burmese had been ousted, and restore them to the rightful ruler, the youthful Maniram could be no exception, and viewed them as a temporary presence.His myopia was prolonged by the fact that the British, after dithering for years, did install Purundar Singha in 1833 as a tributary native rule of Upper Assam. Maniram's association with them had begun much earlier. During the 1817-1824 phase of Burmese reign of terror, his family had fled along with the royals to the safety of Bengal, where he first made acquaintance with the Europeans. By the time the family returned in 1824 with the British, the latter had been sufficiently impressed with his acumen and ability to appoint him in 1828, at a relatively young age of 22, as Sheristadar and Tuhseeldar. Afterwards, when he was made a borbhandar or Prime Minister by Purundar Singha, they readily acknowledged his authority to negotiate on behalf of the Ahom Swargaded.The rapport did not last long, even less Maniram's myopia! At first the British had balked at annexing Upper Assam because Burmese atrocities had depopulated the region and they could not earn adequate revenue. But the Opium Wars with China had endangered the lucrative tea-trade with that nation and the EastIndia Company desperately required an alternative source of tea. The discovery of wild tea bushes in Assam, and the presence of vast tracts of jungles which could be opened out for tea planting, made them forget their pledge to re-establish a native government. Thus, on the pretext of misgovernment and default in payment of tribute, Purundar Singha was deposed in 1833 and direct administration of his realm passed into British hands.The ugly face of British imperialism now lay exposed. Ever loyal to king and country Maniram fought tooth and nail on behalf of the king. His relationship with the foreigners had suffered during the short period of Purundar Singha's rein, primarily because he had sought to speak as an equal before them, souring the `good opinion' they had of him. When his king was deposed, Maniram resigned from the posts of Sheristadar and Tuhseeldar, alienating the new masters further. He was divested of most of the privileges accuring to him as a borbhandar, including the twelve beesoyas under him.While the loss of power and prestige left him undaunted, the entrepreneur within him now came to the fore. He was perceptive enough to understand the motives of the colonialists in annexing Assam, and that tea was the industry of the future. Most European historians of the brew do not acknowledge Maniram's contributions towards the setting up of one of the most lucrative industries in the annals of colonialism. The truth is that it was he who first brought the existence of indigenous Assam tea to the notice of the British. In his pamphlet Tea in Assam (1877) Samuel Baildon does give him credit, though somewhat inaccurately Stanley Baldwin also mentions him in his book, Assam's Tea.Maniram's association with tea began even while the British were contemplating its cultivation in Assam. It was Maniram Dewan whom Charles Alexander Bruce contacted in January, 1825, and was directed to the Singpho chief with whom his brother, Robert Bruce, had contracted for a supply of tea plants and seeds. In 1835, when Lord Bentick's Tea Committee came to Assam to study the possibilities of tea cultivation, Maniram met Dr. Wallich on behalf of Purandar Singha and placed a memorandum before him regarding the prospects. He was also the first to open out private tea gardens in India, long before Lt. Colonel F S. Hannay Commander of the Ist Assam Light Infantry, who is considered to be the first to have done so by European historians.Aware of the lucrative opportunities offered, Maniram was determined to stake his share in the tea industry But he had to learn the techniques of tea cultivation and manufacture before striking out on his own. This, rather than the paltry Rs 200 per month he received, was the reason why he joined the first tea company in India, the Assam Company, as a Dewan or land-agent in 1839.Having acquired the rudiments of tea-craft, Maniram Dewan, as he came to be known now, resigned from the Assam Company in 1845 to open out his own tea plantations. The effrontery of the native upstart in daring to compete against the white masters invited vehement protest from the European tea planters. Since it could not legally prevent him, the administration put numerous obstacles in his path. His application for land grant at the nominal price offered to Europeans was summarily refused, and he had to purchase land at great cost to open out two tea plantations, Cinnamore at Jorhat, and Selung (Singlo) in Sibsagar. His landed property at Jorhat now contains the Cinnamora Tea Estate and Tocklai Experimental Station. His residence was where the factory is located now and is even today called the Dewan plot or Dewan number. Thus, by the time Hannay came into the picture, Maniram already had two running gardens. His success was met with hostility by both the administration and planters.They did not have to wait long! It was not merely personal travails which caused Maniram's disillusionment with British rule and aburning hatred of the Boga Bongals. A true patriot, he could transcend individual concerns and note the evils that subjugation by foreigners had brought to his beloved motherland. Not content to keep his thoughts to himself, he boldly put them into words in a second petition submitted to Moffat Mills in 1853: “the people, he wrote, "have been reduced to the most abject and hopeless state of misery from the loss of their fame,honour, rank, caste, employment etc... The abolition of old customs and establishment in their stead of Courts and unjust taxation; secondly, the introduction of opium in the district, for the gratification of opium-eating people, who are daily becoming more unfit for agricultural pursuits; thirdly, the making of this Province khas and discontinu-ing the poojahs at kamakya, in consequence of which the country has become subject to various calamities, the people to every species of suffering and distress, and the annualcrops to recurring failure. Under these several inflictions, the population of Assam is becoming daily more miserable .... by the introduction into the Province of new customs, numerous Courts, an unjust system of taxation, an objectionable treatment of Hill tribes,theconsequences of which has been a constant state of warfare with them.Under the revenue settlement of Military officers, while a number of respectable Assamese are out of employ, the inhabitants of Marwar and Bengalees from Sylhet have been appointed to Mouzadariship; and for us respectable Assamese to become ryots tosuch foreigners is a source of deep mortification ...."The panacea offered by Maniram is the goal he strove for ever since the annexation of Assam, and reveals his unflinching loyalty to the Ahom rulers: "In the shasters it is written thatrulers ought to practice righteousness and govern their subjects with justice while studying their welfare. These are not now done ...May we therefore pray that, after due investigation and reflection, the former native administration be reintroduced..."Native rule, of course, was furthest from the minds of the imperialists! Instead, the petition alerted them to the dangers posed by such critical elements and Maniram became the administration's foremost suspect. Rather than take any heed of his plea, Mills dismissed the petition as a "curious document!"By 1857, as the rest of India, Assam too was a cauldron of simmering discontent against British rule, with disaffected elements awaiting an opportunity to overthrow the white usurpers. The Sepoy Mutiny, regarded by Indian historians as the First War of Independence, appeared to provide just that. Maniram was in Calcutta in May, 1857, when North India and parts of the East flared into a rebellious blaze, petitioning the government on behalf of Kandarpeswar Singha for restoration of his kingdom. When the news that Bahadur Shah Zafar had been proclaimed emperor and dethroned rulers were wresting back lost territories reached him, Maniram saw another route to a goal that petitions had not been able to reach.Through a series of carefully coded letters he informed Kandarpeswar of the developments, and urged him to rise in rebellion against the British with the help of sepoys at Dibrugarh and Golaghat. Accordingly, a plot was hatched in the royal abode, influential individuals were roped in and arms and weapons gathered. The group contacted Subedars Nur Mahammad and Bhikun Sheikh as well as some Jemadars of the sepoys and obtained their support. The date of the uprising was set to coincide with Durga Puja, when Maniram would return to Assam and crown Kandarpeswar as the Swargadeo.Unfortunately, due to betrayal by the prince's own relatives, the British authorities uncovered the plot before it could be put into operation. On September 7, 1857, Kandarpeswar was arrested along with his accomplices. Maniram was taken into custody at Calcutta and brought to Jorhat to stand trial. Altogether 30 individuals were tried by Captain Charles Holroyd, district officer of Sibsagar, appointed special commissioner to preside over the `Conspiracy Case'. The trial itself was a farce, based not on hard proof but hearsay evidence of dubious witnesses, particularly that of Haranath Parbatia Barua, daroga of Sibsagar. The accused were neither given a fair hearing nor allowed to cross examine witnesses; Holroyd was both the jury and judge, without allowing the accused the rights of appeal in another court.Though not tried along with the others, Kandarpeswar Singha was first sent to Alipur jail, and finally interned at Guwahati. Dutiram Barua, Bahadur Gaonbura and Sheikh Formud Ali were exiled to the Andamans. Two Assamese women, Rupahi Aideo and Lumboi Aideo, had their properties confiscated. Maniram was identified as the kingpin of the conspiracy and, along with Peali Barua, another member of the group, hanged on February 16, 1858, at the Jorhat jail.People from all over flocked to Maniram's residence that fateful day to bid Peali and him a final farewell. A pall of gloom settled over the realm after the hangings, but his detractors rejoiced. The European planters in a joint letter to the administration recommended that the police officer who had arrested Maniram be rewarded and the Dewan's property confiscated and auctioned. A vindictive administration was all too willing to oblige them, the bulk of his landed estate, including Cinnamora and Selung tea gardens, being purchased at a throwaway price by George Williamson. The `taming' of the spirited Dewan was a two-pronged warning. It sent out an ominous signal to Assamese entrepreneurs that the White colonialists would brook on competition except on their own terms. It also served as a warning to disaffected elements that outspoken criticism and open defiance would not be tolerated, total subservience being the order of the day. The moment and the milieu had certainly been inauspicious for the spirited and independent-minded Maniram, leading to personal tragedy Yet, ironically, the man remained untamed! Within decades after his death he was magnified into a myth, enshrined in ballads and bihu-geets, his tale told and retold by the fireside. It was this legendary imageof a patriot who fearlessly took on the mighty British, of an untamed martyr who, having enjoyed his last puff on his favourite hookah at the foot of the gallows, went laughing to his death - which fired up the imagination of those who later waged the non-violent war for India's independence, and sounded the death-knell of imperialism.
Bharat Ratna Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi
Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi was the first, and only, man from the entire northeastern region of the country to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award. The recognition, however, came half a century after his demise in August 1950. The delay in recognition was due to many obvious reasons like Assam being a far away place from the national capital with very weak information and communication facilities and also due to the indifferent perceptions and a general lack of understanding of the people of the region.As a matter of fact it was only when the present Atal Bihari Vajpayee government came to power in New Delhi, and Lt. Gen (retd) S.K. Sinha took over as governor of Assam, that New Delhi began to think of giving national recognition to great leaders of the region like Gopinath Bordoloi, Lachit Borphukon and Mahapurush Sankaradeva. People of Assam, particularly the younger generation are more angry than pleased at such belated recognition. In the case of Bordoloi, the delay rankled even more, given that he was an architect of the Indian National Congress in Assam. If the central government is sincere in its efforts to tackle the root cause of insurgency in the North East, these matters should be sympathetically understood. Gopinath Bordoloi understood all this. An understanding which earned him the respect of Mahatma Gandhi - his political and spiritual mentor. Which is perhaps why Gandhi always stood by him, and supported his stand.Bordoloi was the first Congress chief minister of the undivided state of Assam and was one of the key leaders who had taken an important role in opening up the North East for the Congress. However with the start of the Non-Cooperation Movement, jointly organised by the Indian National Congress and the All India Jamiat-ul-Ulema Hind against British rule in India, preparations were made by the public leaders of Assam including Lokpriya Bordoloi to wind up the Assam association in 1921. They requested its members to individually join the Indian National Congress and the Assam Provincial Congress Committtee was formally established in 1921 with Bordoloi elected as the secretaryEven when there was no formal Congress organisation in Assam, Assamese leaders including Tarun Ram Phookun, Nabin Chandra Bordoloi and Gopinath Bordoloi, took the opportunity of participating in several annual Congress conferences as delegates of Assam while taking advantage of their presence in Calcutta either as students, businessmen or professionals. Delegates from Assam had been participating from the 1886 Congress session.Until then, the Assam association was the only political organisation in the Assam valley with a liberal policy vis-a-vi the British government. It should be mentioned at this stag that though the Congress organisation as such did not exist til then in the Assam valley, there was a militant unit of the Congress known as the Surma Valley Committee of the Congress, This committee functioned as a district committee of the Ber gal Provincial Committee of the Indian National Congress an Gopinath Bordoloi was in close touch with this body.A brief life sketch helps to understand Bordoloi's political philosophy and line of action. Bordoloi was born on June 6,1890. His father was a medical practitioner. He took advantage of his father's profession to understand the social needs of his many patients. He tried to share with them the feelings of their travails and suffering with sympathy He was admitted to the Cotton Collegiate in Guwahati and passed the entrance examination at the University of Calcutta in 1907. As a young boy, Bordoloi saw the British Empire celebrate the golden jubilee of Empress Victoria with much pomp and splendour. While the Russo-Japanese war was on, Bordoloi was studying at the Scottish Church College in Calcutta. The Russo-Japanese war and its outcome which resulted in the humiliating defeat of the great Russian empire of the powerful Czar at the hands of an Asiatic power - Japan - inspired the leaders of a "nation in the making" a term coined and applied to Bengal and India by Surendranath Banerjee.At that time, Sir Surendranath Banerjee, Sir Jadunath Sarkar, Rabindranath Tagore, J.C. Bose and a few others were towering personalities in Bengal. Bordoloi was deeply influenced by them and learnt much from being in close proximity to them. He was a brilliant student of history. And the course of events around him as a student in Calcutta seemed similar to the drama and action of his textbooks.He also saw how, right through the ages, the imperialist rulers have always applied different forms of the age-old policy of divide and rule. In the comprehensive sense, Mahapurush Sankardev is the father of the socio-cultural entity of greater Assam. Gopinath Bordoloi's place is next only to the Mahapurush as the prime architect of the modern polity of Assam based on a solid structure as enunciated in the preamble to the Constitution of India.It was under Bordoloi's courageous and competent leadership that the entire people of Assam were able to save themselves, in a completely non-violent movement, from the Cabinet Mission's plan - which was a concept created by the British in collaboration with the Muslim League and an initial assent by the Congress high command. Despite insistent efforts by Bordoloi, the Congress high command failed to see that the Cabinet Mission plan carried with it a subsidiary plan drawn up by Professor Coupland, senior professor of History at Oxford University who was political adviser to the Cabinet Mission. Briefly Coupland's plan envisaged that the tribal areas of northeastern India including the Garo Hills, Khasi Jaintia Hills, Lushai Hills, Nagaland, North Cachar Hills and theNorth Eastern Frontier Agency was to be made into a selfgoverning Crown colony under the protection of the Crown with autonomous status to each of the regions.Bordoloi appraised Gandhi of the underlying causes and consequences of Coupland's sinister plan. Gandhi immediately grasped the full implication of the plan and advised Bordoloi to intensify the popular struggle against the British Cabinet Mission plan. He openly declared that if necessary Assam should break away from the Congress and intensify the non-violent struggle against the Cabinet plan. He also invited Nehru and Sardar Patel for a discussion with him. They immediately responded. Thus, Bon doloi not only saved Assam for India, but saved the entire northeastern region from the sinister designs of "Crown colony".After Independence when Assam became a constituent state of Part A category it had none of the required infrastructure like medical, veterinary, engineering, agricultural colleges and other institutions. Within a span of Bordoloi's chief ministership, he fulfilled all these needs. Not only did he succeed in uniting all the tribes, sections and sectors of people in the struggles of their existence, but helped them in achieving their immediate goals - there by giving them self-confidence and self-respect. In all spheres of development, including sports, music and performing arts he laid the basic foundations. He also laid the foundation of work culture and popular initiative in all. His was the first government among all provincial governments in India, which dared to levy agricultural income-tax on the rich and powerful planters, and helped usher in swaraj in place of `Planter's Raj. When he was not saddled with governmental responsibilities, Bon doloi volunteered to serve as a school teacher and college professor and became the founder principal of a private college which is still highly regarded in Guwahati. He was a true Congressman of the Gandhian school, which probably explains why successive Congress governments or Congress-supported governments did not care to remember Bordoloi. Not just a good Assamese, Bordoloi was a good Indian, and finally, a citizen of the world in the true sense of the term.
Gopinath Bardloi, an architect of modern Assam, was born on June 6, 1890 and died on August 5, 1950.The second son of Dr. Budhiswar Bardoloi, Gopinath had his early education in Guwahati and later graduated from the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, with Honours in History.He also took his post-graduate degree from Calcutta University in 1914.Back home, he joined the Guwahati High School as Head Master, but left it in 1917, after obtaining his Law degree, to join the Bar.Gandhiji call for non-cooperation soon captured his imagination and his head-long plunge into the movement landed him in the British hails in early 1922.HE soon became an eminent leader of the struggle in Assam and had to return to the prison again in 1940 and 1942.As the Congress Party leader in the Provincial Assembly in 1937, he brought the struggle also into the legislature.Even the premiership, which he assumed in 1938, was to him just an instrument for further expansion of the struggle and for reversal of the administration's repressive measures.He resigned his Premiership in 1939 in protest against the imperialist war but was back in office after the 1946 polls.He used his office, both before and after independence, to lay the foundation for a progressive Assam and to set the trends for Assam's future reconstruction in every sphere.Better known as Lokapriya, Bardoloi's life was indeed a legend of total dedication to the people's cause.Welfare of the people, particularly of the weaker sections, was a passion with him.His profound concern for the Tribals, for instance was eloquent in his forceful plea, as the head of the Constitution sub-committee to examine the question of tribalk autonomy, for the Sixth Schedule.His interests also covered various other fields of human endeavour, ranging from sports to music and from theatre to literature Even in jail he authored several brilliant books including biographies of Saints and Seers with stress on the basic essence of humanism in their teachings.Gopinath is often called Assam's saviour particularly because of his extremely courageous role in resisting the infamous Coupled plan for a Crown Colony in the North Eastern Hills, the Cabinet plan for Assam's grouping with Bengal and the Muslim League's threats to have the province in Pakistan.It was such courage that once prompted India's 'Iron man' Sardar Patel, to hail him as the Sher-I-Assam or the Lion of Assam.
Bishnu Ram Medhi
Bishnu Ram Medhi was born on 24th April,1888 in Humble peasant's family at Hajo, place of Historic and religious importance. His father was Sonaram and mother Alehi. Medhi showed academic excellance from his childhood. He passed the Entrance examination from the Cotton Collegiate High School, Gauhati in 1905 an din 1909 graduated from the Presidency College, Calcutta in the Science Stream. He obtained a degree of MSc from Dacca University in Organic Chemistry in 1911and carried out research in that University for one year. He then passed the BL examination in 1914 and joined the bar at Gauhati the same year. He joined the non-cooperationmovement in 1921. In 1930 he became thePresident of the Congress in Assam an continued in the office till 1938. He was the Joint Secretary of the Reception Committee Session at Pandu in Assam in1926. He was the Chairman of first congress of the Gauhati Local Boar in 1938. In 1946, he became a Minister in the Gopinath Bordoloi Gabinet in Assamand held the Finance and Revenue Portfolios. In 1950, he became the Chief Minister of Assam and continued till 1958. He was appointed Governor of Madrasform 1959 to 1964. In 1964, he came back to Assamand was returned to the State Assembly unopposedfrom 1967 to 1972. After a protactedillness he passed away on 21st January 1981. He died issueless and donated all he possessed for public purposes
Lokanayak Omeo Okumar Das
Loknayak Omeo Kumar Das, one of the great patriots of Assam was born ion Tezpuron May 21, 1895. During his school an college days he was attracted toward the ideals of servants of India society and very much influenced by the writing of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar tilak, Surendra Nath banerjee and other national leaders. He was very active right from his school days when as a student leader he decided to devote himself to the cause of country's freedom and to the service of the masses. He actively participated in the freedom struggle, and became on of the torchbearers of the national movement of Assam. In 1930, when Gandhiji launched the Civil Disobedience Movement, Omeo Kumar Das responded to Gandhiji's call b y organising the youth. He was, for his activities, imprisoned several times, by the British government. Later in 1937, he was first elected to Assam legislative Assembly and then in 1945, to the Constituent Assembly. After the country achieved independence, he served his state as a Minister holding important portfolios like Education, Food & Civil Supplies and Labour.As the Labour Minister, he was instrumental in setting up the tea plantation Worker's Provident Fund for the benefit of the large number of the tea plantation workers of Assam.This effort is a uniquer landmark ion the history of the labour welfare measures, not only in India, but in entire Asia. .As the Education Minister he brought about a number of reforms in the education system and popularised the concept of Basic Education, which was so dear to Mahatma Gandhi. Lokanayak Omeo Kumar Das was an intellectual of very high order. His activities were not confined to political sphere alone. He was a social thinker, a reformer, a journalist and popular writer. Besides writing a lorge number of books, he translated Gandhiji's Autobiography 'My Experiment with Truth' into the Assumes language. From his younger days he was in the forefront of prohibition campaign against opium, liquor and hemp. He was very actively connected within the establishment of several Ashramas based ono the ideals of Gandhiji and several socio-economic centres, tuberculosis centres and leprosy treatment homes and organisations for relief an rehabilitation of destressed people. He was also associated with HarijanSevak Sangha, Bharatiya Adim Jati Sevak Sangha, Bharat Sevek Samaj, Gandhi Smarak Nidhi, Kasturba Nidhi and Assam Seva Samiti. He died at Guwahati on 23rd Januaryy 1975 at the age of 81.
Puspa Lata Das, a veteran freedom fighter and former parliamentarian is an eminent social worker. She has strong faith in power of women. Independent in nature from her childhood, at the age of six, she joined 'Banar Sena' and never looked back since then. Born on March 27, 1915 at North Lakhimpur, Smt.Puspalata Das is one of the surviving freedom fighters from Assam. Daughter of late Rameswar Saikia and Smt.Swaranalata Saikia of Jorhat, Puspalata was thrown out of her school at a tender age of fourteen from Panbazar Girls High School, Guwahati. Her fault was that she was the Secretary of the Mukti Sangha and she alongwith her inmates tried to record a protest in the school against Bhagat Singh's hanging order.
Smt.Puspalata Das was an extrovert and independent in nature from her childhood. At the age of only six, she joined "Banar Sena" to popularise Khadi among the people and organised Charkha Sangha. Even her father, a Government employee at that time in Barpeta, was also compelled by his wife and his little daughter to wear only Khadi. Being inspired by her mother, she took the pledge for freedom and never looked back since then. Remembering her early days she said "I, as a teenager was influenced by the revolutionary literatures of Bengal and one day we (Jyotsna Majumdar, Punya Prabha Barua - later Rajkhowa, Sarala Saxena) assembled in the office of Kamrup Mahila Samiti and formed an organisation called Mukti Sangha and took pledge with a few drops of blood to die for the country. I was the secretary of the organisation". "In February 1930, when I was expelled from my school, my school ecuation ended and my education of life and struggle started" - says Smt.Puspalata Das. That was the beginning the eventful life of Smt.Puspalata Das, a social worker, former Parliamentarian and a veteran freedom fighter. In 1934, Puspalata Das passed Matriculation examination as a private candidate and joined the Banaras Hindu University from where she passed Intermediate. After Intermediate, she enrolled her name with Andhra University for Graduation. She got her M.A. Degree in Political Science in 1938 from the same University. Afterwards, she joined Earle Law College, Guwahati and was elected as Secretary of the College Union in 1940. But her study in law came to an end when she was jailed for joining 'Individual Satyagraha'.
Member of Planning Committee From 1940 to 1942, Smt.Puspalata Das was in Bombay as a member of the Women Sub-Committee of the National Planning Committee. During this period, she worked with Smt.Mridula Sarabhai and Smt.Vijay Laxmi Pandit, "when I saw the wonderful work done by Smt.Sarabhai's 'Jyoti Singha' and other institutions of Gujarat and Maharashtra for the first time, I could realise the strength of constructive works" - Smt.Das recalls.
Intrepid Organiser In 1942, she married a true Gandhian and social worker Shri Omeo Kumar Das despite strong opposition from some of her relatives and changed her place of activities from Guwahati to Tezpur. Here Smt.Das along with Shri Joyti Prasad Agarwalla and others prepared a team of workers for organising people. Her husband was seriously ill at that time. But Smt.Das could not sit idle. She organised Shanti Bahini (Peace Force) and Mrityu Bahini (Death Squad) with her co-workers at Tezpur and was supposed to lead the procession to put the National Tri Colour on the compound of Gohpur Police Station. But fate intervened and Kanaklata took over the charge of the procession from Puspalata Das and got bullets from British rulers
Saviour of Assam Smt.Puspalata Das vehemently opposed Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on the question of dragging Assam into grouping. As a member of the AICC and the convenor of the women's wing of Assam Congress Committee, Smt.Das delivered a remarkable speech on that special session and succeeded in getting an amendment moved by Shri Purushottam Das Tandon, Gandhiji's statement also helped Assam remaining out of grouping with erstwhile East Pakistan.
After Independence Smt.Puspalata Das was elected a member of Rajya Sabha in 1951 and retained it for the next term till 1961. In 1958, she was a member of the All India Congress Working Committee. In 1959, she visited a numer of East European countries as a member of Parliamentary delegation. She was also a member of Assam Legislative Assembly. Besides these, the versatile lady was associated with a number of organisations and institutions in various capacities. Among these, All India Khadi Board (Chairperson, Assam Branch), Planning Committee of Congress (Women Section), Central Social Welfare Board, East India Motion Pictures Censor Board are worth mentioning. She was also the Chairperson of the State Bhudan and Gramdan Board. At present, she is the Chairperson of the Kasturba Memorial Trust, Assam Branch. Moreover, her interest in reading, gardening and in fine arts is well known. During her college days, she acquired proficiency in singing and dancing. One of her demonstrations of dance in Madras and Visakhapatnam was highly praised by the audience and then earned laurels from stalwarts like Rajgopalachari, the then Governor of Madras, through the two famous dance dramas - 'Amrit Prava' and 'Chitralekha'. For sometime, she was also the editor of the historically well-known Assamese magazine "Jayanti" (Women Section).
Krishna Kanta Handique
Among all the modern Assamese, Krishna Kanta Handique understood his country and the world the best. A name synonymous with scholastic pursuits, he was a great Assamese of whom every Indian can justifiably be proud.His life and works were a balancing of apparently irreconcilable opposites. A man given completely to profound study and never bothering about popularity, power and fame, Handique had a strong sense of social and moral obligation.Being the son of a rich tea planter, Handique could have easily devoted all his time and energy to profound study and that would have actually been the sort of life that came most naturally to him. But he chose instead not to turn his back on social duties.Born of a great philanthropist tea planter, Radha Kanta Handique and Narayani Handique in 1898 at Jorhat, K.K. Handique was educated up to IA in Assam and went on to do his BA with Honours in Sanskrit (Vedic Group) from the University of Calcutta. He passed all the examinations with flying colours.In 1920 he began his study tour of Europe. After doing his MA in Modern History from Oxford in 1923, he visited France, Germany and Italy to learn European languages and to study the Classics. After four years of travel and study, he returned home with knowledge of major European languages and a collection of over 2,000 books in different languages. Back home at Jorhat, Handique started learning the complex techniques that were essential to the management of his father's estate. He never entertained the idea of going into government service but he gladly agreed to become the principal of Upper Assam College (which later became Jorhat and finally J.B. College, Jorhat) the first non-government college in Assam.The fact that Handique agreed to become the principal of a proposed non-government college is an example of the great scholar's sense of social obligation. At that time the government did not welcome the idea of private colleges. But Handique remained principal at the institution for 17 years and that meant a lot for higher education in the state.K.K. Handique, the Sanskrit scholar and Indologist, is primarily known to common people as an educationist and in this field he successfully set ideals and values for all times. As early as 1928 he wrote an article on "German Academic Ideals" in Forward, a journal published from Calcutta. He was moved by the fact that the faculty members of the German universities were all very learned people devoted to the cause of education. The professors were all writers with new achievements in their respective fields. He could also see how different the environment for study and research was at the universities in his country As the founder-principal of the first non-government college of Assam, Handique tried to inculcate noble ideals in the most uncompromising of conditions.Handique's notion of values and ideals in education are best articulated in the convocation of speeches as the vice-chancellor of Gauhati University He saw education as an internal condition that continuously changes the man from within. In other words, education is an extension of man's knowledge of man himself. On January 31, 1955 he addressed the students: "The graduates who will be given their degrees today have my best wishes and congratulations. I need not remind them that the man counts more than the degrees and their university education will be judged by the influence it exerts upon their lives and actions."In other words, for Handique it was the man that mattered and education changes this man for the better. A man is what he does and his life is a summary of his action. Handique saw the educated man not just as an individual but also as an agent of change and progress in an underdeveloped countryIn the same convocation address, Handique invited the attention of the government to the poor condition of study in the non-government colleges in the country Quality in education cannot be expected without improvement in the academic environment. He pointed out that many students in the non-government colleges were accommodated in an environment not congenial to health, study and discipline.Handique's views on the examination system deserve attention: "Examinations as a system are decried from time to time but they provide a vital link between the university and the public," he said. Handique observes examinations from a social point of view: performance in examinations is a test of the candidate's ability to work for the society. And from this point of view, he wanted the university to be the guardian of its own reputation and to inspire confidence in its examination standards and the integrity of its methods. About the pay-scales of the teachers, particularly in the non-government colleges, Handique said that the pay should be enough to relieve the teachers of financial worries and to make it possible for them to work with confidence in their professions.Modern education in the country as a primary concern of K.K. Handique. His originality as a thinker is unmistakable. In a speech he delivered in 1917 as the president of the Jorhat Chhatra Sammelan he stressed the great importance of school education: "If the foundation of school education remains weak and narrow, it is no use making elaborate preparations for higher education in the university”.Three great works have brought Handique international fame as an eminent Sanskrit scholar and Indologist: Naisadhacarita, Yasastilaka and Se~ tubandha. The first one is a 12th century Sanskrit epic of Sriharsha, acknowledged as a very difficult text among scholars. Eminent Sanskrit scholars of the world readily acclaimed Handique’s annotation and explication of the text as a great work.Handique worked on Sriharsha's Naisadhacarita while he was the honorary principal of J.B. College, and it was first published by Motilal Benarasi Das, Lahore in 1934. Scholars like M.B. Emeneau, Prof. N. Winternitz and Prof. A.B. Keith praised Handique's work and he was recognised as a scholar of international fame at the age of 36. What surprises everybody is that the mind engaged in a very difficult 12th century Sanskrit text was also the mind that operated upon the immediate problems like poor accommodation of the students in a non-government college and the poor pay of the teachers.K.K. Handique had been the principal of J.B. College for 17 years and in 1948 he became the vice-chancellor of Gauhati University, the first University of the North-East. Handique completed his second major work in 1949. This work Yasastilaka and Indian Culture or Somadeva's Yasatilaka was first published by Jaina Samskriti Samraksha Sangha, Sholapur.Scholars in India and abroad widely acclaim this work. Scholars of the All India Oriental Conference held that year in Bombay duly acknowledged the merit of Handique’s work and Handique was elected the president of the classical Sanskrit session of the All India Oriental Conference held in Lucknow in 1951.K.K. Handique had been the vice-chancellor of Gauhati University for nine years and he shaped this new university according to his vision. After retirement he gave himself no rest. He began to work on Pravarsena's Setubandhana. This book is a 5th century Prakrit which Handique translated into English. He worked so hard on this book that it told upon his health.K.K. Handique, like an Indian sage or rishi in his single-minded devotion to the search for knowledge.He accepted many public offices, set standards in performing duties but his profound study and research continued unabated. While attending to daily duties he also devoted himself wholeheartedly to an undying ideal.Handique presided over the 1937 Guwahati Session of the Assam Sahitya Sabha and in the course of the presidential speech; Handique successfully made the Sabha a meeting ground of all religious, linguistic and ethnic groups of the region.A man cannot give better than his best and the best of Handique is obviously meant for Indologists and Sanskrit scholars. The few articles he wrote in Assamese are quite illuminating. Just one example is the article published in the journal Cetana on translation. Handique was unhappy with the comment made by a writer who trivialized translation. So he wrote spiritedly in its defense. As he knew languages like Spanish, Greek, French, Italian and German besides English and several Indian languages, he could see the problems of translation with far wider perspective than an average man. A few other articles in Assamese acquaint the readers with some interesting aspects of Japanese, Spanish, Greek, Russian and German literature.In Assamese, Handique wrote a few prefaces to books written by others, some reminiscences and a few articles for children. He translated some prose pieces into Assamese from the Russian language. His critical insight in Assamese is best illustrated in the preface he wrote to Atul Chandra Hazarika's Assamese translation of Sakuntala. The few English articles he wrote were all published in research journals like The Modern Review, Calcutta, The Indian Antiquary, Bombay, Indian Historical Quarterly. He also wrote a few poems and songs in Assamese.Handique breathed his last on June 7, 1982. He won many laurels in his life. He was awarded the Padmashree in 1955 and Padmabhusan in 1967. He was made an honorary fellow of Deccan College in 1968. Gauhati University awarded him an honorary D. Lit. Asam Sahitya Sabha elected him Sadasya Mahiyan. In 1985 he was posthumously awarded by the Sahitya Akademi for Racana Sambhar, edited by Jatindranath Goswami. In 1983 the government of India honoured him by issuing a commemoration stamp. Many books have been written on him. Dibrugarh University also published a bibliography on Handique.Handique bequeathed his personal library containing 7,489 great books in different languages to Gauhati University. Handique's love for knowledge, complete devotion to profound study, values and standards he set in the field of education and his simple living will for ever remain a source of inspiration to the people of our country.
Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwalla
Jyotiprasad Agarwalla, a scion of the Agarwalla family of Tezpur, was a multi-faceted genius, who besides being Assam's first filmmaker was also one of the greatest Assamese playwrights. He was also the first to introduce the `western wave' in Assamese filmmaking.A lyricist and composer who gave shape to modern Assamese music and dance, a poet with deep patriotic fervour, a journalist, eminent prose writer and an artist-philosopher whom the people lovingly named Rupkonwar, Jyotiprasad Agarwalla straddled the social arid cultural life of Assam like a colossus. He imbibed his poetical and journalistic talents from his uncle Chandrakumar AgarVvalla who too was a great poet and the editor of Chetana and Asamiya, two famous Assamese journals. He was also deeply influenced by Gandhiji, who stayed at his house during his visit to Assam.Jyotiprasad was born on June 17,1903 at Dibrugarh. His great grandfather Navrangram Agarwalla had come to Assam in search of business and had first settled in Goalpara, later he shifted to Gamiri, a town in Darrang, now known as the Sonitpur district. There he married Sadari, a daughter of the local Rajkhowa familyHis eldest son Haribilash married Kumari Maloma, daughter of Bharam Hazarika of Gohpur and had five sons - Bish nuprasad, Chandrakumar, Paramananda, Krishnaprasad and Gopalchandra. Jyotiprasad was the son of Paramananda whe shifted from Gamiri to Tezpur. In 1936 Jyotiprasad married Devjani, daughter of Khargeswar Bhuyan of Dibrugarh. Thus, over the years, the Agarwallas completely merged into Assamese lift through marriage and active participation in the social life and ways of the local people. They adopted Assamese as their own language and dedicated themselves to the cause of the people.Jyotiprasad wrote his first play Sonit Kunwari at the age o1 14, when he was still a school student. After finishing school in Assam, Jyotiprasad went to Calcutta and joined Subhas Chandra Bose's Calcutta National College. When the British shut down the college, he went to England and joined the Edinburgh University. In England he became more interested in studying British dramaturgy Visionary that he was, he was nurturing the idea of making a film in Assamese.Soon after he left England for Germany where he finally got a chance to transform his vision into reality He visited some of the film studios in Germany and tried to pick up the art and tech nique of film making. But this was a time-consuming task and Jyotiprasad became restless. So he came back to Assam to take up the task of filmmaking.True he had picked up some theoretical knowledge but he did not have the time to learn the technical know-how and other practical aspects of filmmaking. He was, however, lucky enough to get in touch with Himansu Roy and Devika Rani who werE busy completing their own project Karma and Light of Asia. Jyotiprasad discussed some of the prospects of filmmaking with them. Taking along all these ideas he returned to Assam.Two lead characters of Joymati Kuwari, Godapani and his consort Joymati, belonged to the Tunkhungia clan of Ahom but Godapani though quite fit to be king was dislodged through conspiracy by one Lora Raja who with his collaborators managed to kill or maim all who could stake a claim for the throne. Godapani aware of the plan, fled to the adjoining Naga hills to free himself from death or being crippled.Unable to find Godapani, Lora Raja's men imprisoned his consort Joymati and started questioning her about her husband but Joymati despite inhuman torture did not disclose any information about her husband. Godapani in the meantime got asylum in the house of a Naga couple whose young and lovely daughter Dalim gave him company for a few days. Their relationship turned romantic but Godapani who always had Joymati's thought in his heart controlled himself and ultimately left Dalimi and came back to the plains. When he heard about the death of Joymati he gathered his men and with grim determination fought and Lora Raja and assumed the throne as Godadhar. This part was however not adapted for Jyiprasad's film Joymati.Jyotiprasad did not take the whole play for his film. He actually adapted the theme and made required additions and alterations for his film. He introduced different forms of Assamese dances particularly the jhapi and khatasur badh bhowna (traditional ritual theatre prevalent in the villages) to create greater local appeal.Jyotiprasad was very fastidious about having an authentic Assamese backdrop in the film, which is why he had great difficulty in choosing indigenous costumes, ornaments, utensils, dolas and other paraphernalia. Choosing suitable faces for the female roles seemed almost insurmountable. He had to visit different villages in search of typical Ahom faces. At that time Assam did not have any professional theatre group unlike Bengal. Assam did not have a silent era of filmmakers either.Jyotiprasad himself appeared in a small role and danced the jhapi in Joymati. Jyotiprasad planned the decor and indigenous materials like bamboo, timber, the trunk and bark of plantain trees were used. Some of the sequences such as one spy jumping from the top of a beetle nut tree to another were captivating. The wide Brahmaputra, the hills and hillocks of Assam and the silvery streamlets provided Jyotiprasad with exquisite landscapes for the film.At first Jyotiprasad wanted to make a silent film. That would have also cost him much less and he could have avoided much of the difficulties he had to later face. But to his misfortune, during the early period he met one Faizi Bhai of Lahore who claimed to have developed his own sound system. He assured Jyotiprasad that including sound in the film would not add much to his costs.Lured by Faizi, Jyoti floated a company called Chitralekha Movietone and put up an improvised studio called Chitrabon in one of the warehouses of their tea garden Bhoilaguri at Tezpur itself. Naturally it had to be a rudimentary studio without any laboratory or printing machine to enable Jyotiprasad to check the rushes. He could see only the finished product which was 6,000 ft in length. He and his associates found that the finished film was an all-round disaster.Faizi Bhai's sound system utterly failed. Dialogues and songs were distorted and on many occasions these were not audible at all. A horrified Jyotiprasad did not know how to resurrect the film. He went to Lahore with a copy of the film but Faizi Bhai was unable to help.Jyotiprasad, in an attempt to salvage the film, he hired a studio in Lahore and single-handedly tried to do something. He edited the raw film, and then put his skills in ventriloquism to use as he recorded the voices of more than half the actors including some of the ladies. All this in the days before dubbing! With the fresh copy of the film he went to the Kali Films and Film Services Laboratory in Calcutta, to do whatever was possible to resurrect the film. While re-working it, he introduced some rudimentary colour. Finally he was able to release it.While in Calcutta he persuaded Leela Devi (Lily) to record the last song of the film in her deep sonorous voice, bringing out the pathos of the film. Though sung as a background number, the song was very poignant.Thus Joymati the fourth audio-visual film of the country was released at Rounak Mahal showhouse in Calcutta on March 10, 1935. Later, on March 20, it was brought toGuwahati and released at the Kumar Bhaskar Natya mandir, where it ran for a full month. The viewers received the film with warm appreciation and congratulated Jyotiprasad on his first venture, in spite of some defects still being there in the film. The number of cinema houses in those days was very limited which is why Jyotiprasad's cousin Tarun Chandra Agarwalla joined him with a touring cinema unit and moved about in some of the towns and villages of Assam.Borphukan's speeches in the royal court dubbed by Jyotiprasad himself gave us an idea of how Assamese was spoken in the royal court. Critics and connoisseurs agreed that despite its faults Joymati was a great achievement.A couple of years later, in 1939, Jyotiprasad launched his second film Indramalati. His primary aim was to recover some of the losses incurred during the making of Joymati. It was based on his own story and surprisingly he finished the film with only two days of shooting in the studio. Late Gyanadaviram Barooah, the then principal of Guwahati's Earle Law College, added dignity to the film by participating in a small role. Gyanadaviram Barooah's eldest son Manobhiram was the hero and the heroine's role was assigned to a young girl named Raseswari. Bhupen Hazarika also sang a few patriotic songs as a cowherd boy. This film, made on a shoestring budget, gave some profit to Jyotiprasad.But after this, his health completely broke down. He could not concentrate on his work but was unable to totally suppress his creative urge. He wrote a few poems and songs, revised his play Rupalim and Nimati Koina and with great difficulty wrote a new play Labhita which also broke new grounds in Assamese drama.Jyotiprasad died on January 17, 1951. Throughout Assam, this day is still observed as Sadou Asom Silpi divas in memory of the Rupkonwar. In 1961, the government mooted the idea of establishing a public sector studio, the first of its kind in India, on the outskirts of Guwahati in Jyotiprasad's memory. The studio was named Jyoti Chitrabon Studio. And was later transferred to an autonomous society for better functioning and has now been improved with central government finance. Recently a life-size bronze statue of Jyotiprasad Agarwalla was installed in the studio.
Hemchandra Barua (1835-1896)
Hemchandra Baruah was born at Sibsagar in 1835. His father's name was Muktaram Baruah . Hemchandra Baruah had lost his father when he was quite young. After his father's death , he was removed by his uncle Lakhinath Barua , who was then the head of the deputy Commissioner's Revenue office at Sibsagar. After some years, Hemchandra Baruah was appointed as an apprentice in the Deputy Commissioner's office on Rs. 4 per month . It was only the encouragement and guidance of Captain Brodie , Deputy Commissioner of Sibsagar and the Missionaries , Hemchandra Baruah was able to pick up a fair knowledge of English and he became a regular contributor to the Missionary weekly , illustrated paper " Arunadai" . By dint of his hard work and steady perseverance Hemchandra Baruah became the Superintendent of the Judicial Commissioner's office. He retired from the service of Government in 1882 . He enjoyed his pension till 1896 when he died . His first literary work of value was Assamese grammar, which was published in 1860. In 1873 he wrote a first Primer of the Assamese language for which he obtained a reward of Rs. 500. He was the author of a book on " Assamese Marriage System" and of two farcical plays the "Kania Kirtan" which exposed the vice of excessive opium eating, and " bahire rang sang bhitare koabhatoori" which was a satire on the then " bahire rang sang bhitare koabhatoori" which was a satire on the then Assamese Society. Hem Chandra also edited the "Assam News" at Gauhati for some time.
Hem Chandra Barua is one of the prominent writers of Assamese of the 19th century. He was the compiler of first exhaustive Assamese dictionary 'Hemkosh', where spellings based on Sanskrit was first introduced. It was the second dictionary of Assamese language
a writer, editor, grammarian, lexicographer, and social reformer, is considered the Father of Modern Assamese literature.Hemchandra's Asamiya Vyakaran, the first Assamese grammar in the Assamese language, delineated dear-cut rules for spelling and syntax, leaving no room for obscurity or confusion. His Hemkosh (Dictionary) became a standard lexicon to settle all disputes relating to spelling, usage, etc. In fact his Grammar and Dictionary remain standard texts even today.Hemchandra played a historic role as a writer of school books. Credit also goes to him to be the first to introduce satire and criticism in Assamese literature.As editor of Assam News he raised the standard of journalism in Assam by circulating not only useful information, but also problems of common interest. Besides it showed the true model for style and writing naturally.It may rightly be said of Barua that “his class is extinct with him”.
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.
He was popularly known as Roxoraj(ৰসৰাজ) or 'The King of Humour' for his popular satirical writings. He is also known as Sahityarathi (সাহিত্যৰথী) 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
Burhi aair xadhu (বুঢ়ীআইৰ সাধু)
Kokadeuta aaru nati lora (ককাদেউতা আৰু নাতি-ল'ৰা)
Burhi aair xadhu is the most widely read across assam
Mamoni Raisom Goswami
Mamoni Raisom Goswami (1942-), also Indira Goswami and popularly Mamoni Baideo, is a well known writer from Assam. She teaches Assamese literature at the University of Delhi with a research interest on the Ramayana. One of her novels, "The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker" was made into an Assamese film by Swantana Bordoloi in 1996 starring Tom Alter - Adajya which won international awards.Several biographical films have been made on her highly turbulent life and notable among them are "Words from the Mist" by Jahnu Barua and "Aparajita" by Kuntala Sharma. In the arena of modern Indian literature, she is one of the most powerful voices and one of the very few who has attempted to use literary tool as a means for social change. Since several years she has kept herself busy in bring the banned ULFA militants of Assam and the central government of India to the discussion with the purpose of ending the twenty-seven years old bloodshed in Assam. Her involvement has given the problem adequate focus and a peace committee has been formed in the name of People's Consultative Group to take forward the task. She modestly claims herself as an "observer" of the whole peace process rather than a mediator or initiator.
Born in Guwahati on 14th November, 1942 on Children's Day, the birthday of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, she was named Indira Goswami by her father Umakanta Goswami. She studied in Pine Mount School, Shillong, which was a part of undivided Assam then. After that she completed her studies from Cotton College, Guwahati with a major in Assamese Literature. In 1962, she published her first collection of short stories called Chinaki Morom while she was a student.
Indira Goswami, popularly known as Mamoni Raisom Goswami in Assam started writing from a very early age. She was encouraged by Kirti Nath Hazarika who published her first short stories in the journal he edited right from about class VIII. In this period, she wrote about six-hundred short stories. Most of these are lost due to lack of proper archival measures.
Indira Goswami suffered from perennial depression right from her childhood. In the opening pages of her autobiography The Unfinished Autobiography translated into English by Prafulla Kataki, she mentions that she always had the inclination to jump into the Crinoline waterfall located near her house in Shillong. She was extremely attached to her father and was broken mentally after his death. Repeated suicide attempts studded her eventful life. After the death of her husband Madhaven Raisom Ayengar, just after eighteen months of marriage in a car accident in Kashmir, Gardinel sleeping tablets were what she kept herself alive with. Brought back home, she joined the Goalpara Sainik School, as a teacher in Assam.
Being a widow, and that too a young widow, her life was not easy.
At this point she went back to writing. She claims, she wrote just to live, otherwise it wouldn't have been possible for her to go on living. Her experiences in Madhya Pradesh and Kashmir, where her husband worked as an engineer was used in her novels Ahiron and Chenabor Srota, respectively.After working in Goalpara Sainik School, she was persuaded by her teacher Upendra Chandra Lekharu to come to Vrindavan and indulge in research work as well as for peace of mind. Her experiences as a widow as well as a researcher finds expression in her novel The Blue Necked Braja, which is about the plight of the Radheswamis of Vrindavan who lived hand to mouth and carried money sacrificing on their daily food so that they receive a decent, ritualised cremation after their death. But most of them were denied even of this and the bodies never received cremation according to Hindu rites and the money snatched. Indira exposed this face of Vrindavan, the city of Lord Krishna ruthlessly in her novel. It remains as a classic in Indian Literature and also was the first novel to be written on this subject.
In Vrindavana she got involved in Ramayani studies. A massive volume of Tulsidas's Ramayana bought during her stay there for just eleven rupees was the source of this inspiration. Later this finds expression in the unparalleled comparative study of Tulsidas's Ramayana and the 11th century Assamese Ramayana,(the first Ramayana to be written in a regional language) written by SriMadhava Kandali in her work Ramayana from Ganga to Brahmaputra. She joined Delhi University department of Modern Indian Languages and Literature and started her life again with the strong suggestion of her teacher and family friend Upendra Chandra Lekharu. Thus begins one of the most glorious phases of Indira Goswami's life. Here she wrote one of her best works. Several short stories like "Hidoy", "Nangoth Sohor" , "Borofor Rani" were written with Delhias the background. Her two classics. [[The Pages Stained With Blood]] and [[The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker]] were written during her Delhi-phase.In [[The Pages Stained With Blood]] she writes about the plight of Sikhs in the Anti-Sikh riots of 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi which she witnessed herself while staying in Delhi, Shakti Nagar as a faculty member of Delhi University. She herself went to the sites to complete this novel. She even went to G B Road, the famous red-light area of Delhi to depict the lives of the prostitutes who lived there which forms a part of her novel. In The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker she writes about the plight of Assamese Brahmin widows in the religious institutions of Assam called Satra. This novel had been anthologised in the [[The Masterpieces of Indian Literature]] and has been made into a film called Adajya which won international awards in various film festivals and also into two mini-series for the television. In one of them the famous actor Nandita Das acted in the role of Giribala.
In the peak of her literary career she wrote two important novels after The Pages Stained With Blood. Namely, Dasharathir Khoj and [[The Man from Chinnamasta]]. The next novel turned out to be highly controversial since it tried to subvert the thousand years old tradition of animal sacrifice in the famous Hindu temple Kamakhya. She was even threatened of death due to this audacious act. In this novel translated into English by Prasanta Goswami and published by Katha, she quotes scriptures to authentic the argument she puts forward — to worship the Mother Goddess with flowers rather than blood.
At a very early age she received the Sahitya Akademi Award and then in 2000 she received India's highest literary award Jnanpith Award for writing for the subalterns and marginalisedd.
Chinavar Srota (The Stream of Chenab)
Nilakanthi Braja (The Blue-Necked Braja)
Chinnamastar Manuhto (The Man of Chinnamasta)
Mamore Dhora Tarowal (The Rusted Sword)
Datal Hitir Une Khowa Howda (The Moth Eaten Howdah of A Tusker)
Tej Aru Dhulire Dhusarita Prishta (Pages Stained With Blood) The Plight of Sikhs:A Review
Adhalikha Dastabej (An unfinished autobiography)
Read a Review Contours of a Modernity
Sanskar (trans. Offspring)
To Break a Begging Bowl
Dwarka and His Gun
Ramayana from Ganga to Brahmaputra, Delhi 1996. (Research work on Kotha Ramayana)
2008 - D Litt Degree from Indira Gandhi National Open University
Awarded the Ambassador for Peace from the Inter Religious and International Federation for World Peace
2002 - Mahiyoshi Jaymati Award with a citation in gold by Ahom Court of Assam
2002 - D Litt Degree from Rabindra Bharati University, West Bengal
2002 - Padma Shri(refused)
2000 - Jnanpith Award
1996 - Kamal Kumari Foundation National Award in 1996.
1993 - Katha National Award for Literature.
1992 - Sauhardya Award of Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan of Government of India.
1989 - Bharat Nirman Award
1988 - Assam Sahitya Sabha Award
1983 - Sahitya Akademi Award (for Mamore Dhora Tarowal)
The International Tulsi Award from Florida International University for her book, Ramayana From Ganga To Brahmaputra
Hem Barua (1915-1977) was a prominent Assamese poet and politician from undivided Assam.
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.
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.
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.
Parvati Prasad Baruva
Parvati Prasad Baruva (1904-1964) was a poet, lyricist, dramatist: an icon of Assamese literature and the Culture of Assam. Known for his simple and sensitive use of the Assamese language, he is popularly known as the geetikavi—the lyrical poet of Assam. He was also one of the early pioneering filmmakers of Assamese cinema.
What make him unique is that his compositions are in a fluid natural style that appeals to all. The subject matter of his poems was invariably picked up from the rural canvas of the state of Assam. The vast expanse of the mighty Brahmaputra river, locally called the Barluit, with lonely islands, flowery reeds and tiny tiny boats, were the themes of many of his poems and songs. Hills and hillocks, rivers and rivulets, forests and grasslands, flora and fauna, the turbulent summer sky or the calm serene sky of autumn found a place in the sensitive poetic lap of his imagination and ten published anthologies of his poems and lyrics
Throughout his life, he actively maintained his love for poetry and the arts. Growing up in the midst of nature, Parvati Prasad's love for the many faceted natural beauty of his homeland, Assam, is evident in mot of his compositions. He can be compared with England's poet laureate William Wordworth of whom it has been said - he was one with nature.
Parvati Prasad Baruva was a true son of Assam. An Assamese who was proud of Assam's culture and tradition that could stand up to the best in the world.
Poetry and Music
Bhonga Tukarir Sur (?): book of poems
Gungunani (?): published book of songs; including Puja Aha, Nubulu Tuk, and Tur Nai Je Bondhuwa Baat
Luiti (?): published book of bongeets about the river Luit; including Luitor Saporit Kore Naworiya
Sukula Dawor Oi Kohuwa Phul (?): published book of songs about the seasons of autumn (fall); including Sarodi Sandhiyar Jonaki Mel
Lakhhimi (?): dance drama
Sonar Seleng (?): dance drama
Translations and awards
Baruwa's poetry has been translated into Hindi, English and may other Indian languages. Paromita Das won the third prize in Indian Literature Golden Jubilee Literary Translation Awards Competition conducted by Sahitya Akademi of India in 2007 for her translation of two poems by Parvati Prasad Baruwa, namely "If Life Be Lost" and "Life Awakens".
Bhabendra Nath Saikia
Bhabendra Nath Saikia was a novelist, short story writer and film director from Assam. He had a DSc in Nuclear Physics from the University of London and later taught at Gauhati University. He won many literary awards, including Sahitya Academy (1976), and was also recognised with the Padma Shri.
Bhabendra Nath Saikia was born on February 20, 1932 at Nagaon town. He passed Matriculation Examination in 1948 in first division He secured first division in Intermediate Examination in Science in the year 1950 He passed B.Sc. Examination in 1952 with honors in Physics in second class from the Cotton College of Gauhati University He completed his M.Sc. Examination in 1955-56 in Physics in second class from the Presidency college of Calcutta University .He obtained Ph.D. Degree in physics in 1961 from the University of London. He also obtained Diploma of Imperial College (D.I.C.) of Science & Technology, London in 1961. He worked as reader in Physics in Gauhati University. He became a Member, Sangeet Natak Akademi, India.
Dr. Saikia died on August 13, 2003 in Guwahati and is survived by his wife Preeti Saikia, and Houston based daugters Dr. Sangeeta Saikia and Rashmi Saikia and brother, Dr. Nagen Saikia. His dream project Aarohan is now functioning successfully at Guwahati, Assam.
He is recognized as one of the top ranking writers of Assam. Many stories have been translated into English, Bengali, Hindi, Telugu, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati etc. He had also written a large number of plays for All India Radio (AIR). The plays Kolahal, Durbiksha and Itihaas were taken up by the AIR as national plays. Kolahal was selected for broadcast from foreign centers. He has been associated actively with the stage as a playwrit and director. He has written many plays for 'Mobile Theatre' of Assam, and a number of One Act Plays.
He had directed eight feature films. These films have been screened at International Film Festivals held at various places such as Cannes, Madras, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Bangalore, Calcutta, Karlovy Vary (Czechoslovakia), Nantes (France), Valladolid (Spain), Algiers (Algeria), Pyong Yong (North Korea), Sydney, Munich, Montreal and Toronto. Has also directed one episode of a Doordarshan series on Rabindra Nath Tagore's stories in Hindi. Seven out of his eight films have been selected for Indian Panorama Section of the International Film Festival of India. • He received the Sahitya Akademi (India) Award in 1976, the Rajat Kamal Award of the Government of India for the film Sandhyarag in 1978, Anirban in 1981,Agnisnan in 1985, Kolahal in 1988, Sarothi in 1992, Abartan in 1994 and for Itihaas in 1996. He was adjudged as one of the "Twenty one Great Assamese Persons of the twentieth century" in a literary weekly news magazines of Assam.
1. Sandhyarag (Rajat Kamal award, 1978, Cannes Film Festival)
2. Anirban (Rajat Kamal award, 1981)
3. Agnisnan (Rajat Kamal award, Best screenplay - India)
4. Kolahal (Rajat Kamal award)
5. Sarothi (Rajat Kamal award)
6. Abartan (Rajat Kamal award)
7. ltihaas (Rajat Kamal award)
1. Antarip [ the cape]
2. Ramyabhumi [ the accoland]
3. Atankar Shekhot [ at the end of the panic]
Short story collections
1. Prahari [ the watchman]
2. Sendur [Sindur]
3. Gahabhar [the cave]
4. Srinkal [the chain]
5. Upakantha [ nearby place]
6. Ai bandaror abeli [Afternoon of this port ]
7. Brindabon [brindabon-name of a person ]
8. Taranga [ wave ]
9. Sandhya Bhraman [evening walk ]
10. Galpa aru Shilpa [ Story and art]
11. Akash [the sky]
1. Maramar Deuta
2. Tumalukor bhal houk
3. Xantaxista Hristopusto Mahadusta
4. Mahadustor Dustobuddhi
Collection of essays
1. Xekh Pristha [vol-1]
2. Xekh Pristha [vol-2]
3. Xekh Pristha [vol-3]
4. Xekh Pristha [vol-4]
1. Jeebon Britta
2. Jeebon Rekha
1. Kalpalukor Kahini
2. Xampadokor Kuthalit
1. Assam Publication Board award (1973)
2. Sahitya Akademi (1976)
3. Assam valley Literary award ( 1990)
4. Srimanta Sankardeva Award (1998)
5. Padma Shri (2001)
6. Degree of D.Litt, honoris causa (2001)
Dr. Saikia was a Member, Sangeet Natak Akademi; Member of the Executive and General Council of Sahitya Akademi; Member, Indian National Council for co-operation with UNESCO; Member, Academic Council, Gauhati University; President of Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society; Member, Advisory Body, All India Radio, Guwahati; Chairman, Assam State Film (Finance and Development) Corporation Ltd; Member., Governing Body, North East Zone Cultural Centre, Dimapur; Member, Governing Body, East Zone Cultural Centre, Kolkata; Member of Court of the Gauhati University, Assam; Member, Society of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Member, Board of Trustees, National Book Trust of India.
Phani Sarma (1909 - 1978) was an Assamese theatre actor, playwright, film actor and director. Beginning as a stage actor, he appeared in the first film ever made in Assamese cinema, Joymati in 1935.
He acted in and directed Siraj in 1948 and Pioli Phukan in 1955.
Early life and theatre
The theatrical career of Phani Sarma started as a gatekeeper of the women’s gallery of the prestigious Ban Stage situated at Tezpur. His father Molan Sarma was also an exponent of drama and was a noted actor of Ban Stage. Along with his father, Phani Sarma regularly went to the Ban Stage and closely observed the distinguished acting of a number of veteran actors like Indreswar Borthakur, Dr Lalit Mohan Chowdhury, Prafulla Borua. This inspired young Bolin (as Phani Sarma was popularly known) towards acting and had a deep impact on his future life. In 1928, he got the opportunity to act on the Ban Stage for the first time in the role of Akbar in the drama Rana Pratap. That was the beginning of a new chapter in the life of Phani Sarma.
In 1930, Phani Sarma joined the Kohinoor Opera, the first mobile theatre group of Assam, started by Natyacharya Brajanath Sarma. From Dhubri to Sadiya, from the north bank to the south bank of the Brahmaputra River, Kohinoor Opera performed its dramas, attracting thousands of spectators whi came to see Sarma perform. Apart from initiating a theatrical movement, the Kohinoor Opera introduced co-acting on the stages of Assam. In 1931, Brajanath Sarma, with the help of Phani Sarma introduced female actresses for the first time to appear in their drama productions at a time when male acting was completely dominant, revolutionizing the nature of Assamese theatre.
In 1933 Phani Sarma played a significant role in the first Assamese feature film Joymati directed by Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, where he played the role of the historical figure of Gathi Hazarika, the villain of the film. The notable acting of Phani Sarma in that role was a special feature of the film which was released in 1935, and Sarma went on the star in Agarwalla's second picture Indramalati.
In 1948 Sarma, along with Bishnu Rabha made a feature film Siraj, based on a popular short story written by Deshapran Lakshmidhar Sarma.
In 1955 he directed and starred in Pioli Phukan, also playing the films protagonist Pioli Phukan. His last film was Ito Sito Bahuto in 1963 where he appeared as an actor rather than taking the director's helm.
Despite his performances on the stage and screen, Phani Sarma also earned many accolades as a playwright in which he more possibly more acclaimed. Though few in quantity, his dramas are very rich in quality depth, using his knowledge to lay more emphasis upon its dramatical side rather than the literary side. With a universal appeal and substance, all his dramas became very popular on the stage and were widely acclaimed by the critics.
On the basis of a rebellion that took place during the Ahom King Sunyeophaa’s reign, as described by renowned historian Dr SK Bhuyan in his book Konwar Bidroh, Phani Sarma wrote a historical drama Bhogjara. His first film Joymati had also revolved around historical events in the Ahom kingdom and its director whom Sarma had worked under, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was the pioneer among such a new wave of dramatists. With local plots, he wrote a number of dramas like Sonit Kunwari, Karengar Ligiri, Lobhita, etc. Following in Jyotiprasad’s footsteps, Phani Sarma wrote a number of dramas with cultural familiarity to the Assamese people. With his own dramatical approach and treatment, Bhogjara became successful in its own right as a powerful drama.
After the success of his 1948 film Siraj, it inspired him to write the drama veraion of the film also named Siraj. It was regarded as a document of Hindu-Muslim integrity as the memory of Partition was still fresh in the minds of the people. Phani Sarma himself played the title role of the drama on more than a hundred stages across the state of Assam in the 1950s and 1960s.
On the basis of his own experiences as an actor and the sad news of the death of his son whilst stage acting, Phani Sarma wrote the social drama Kiya, a tale of an artiste who dedicated his own personal life and enjoyment to entertain other people with very little compensation from society. Sarma again addressed issues of isolation and corruption in his later drama Nag-Pas. However he often incorporated humour into such dramas, and the drama Kola-Bazarthe incorporated elements of comedy with more serious issues of social injustice and inequality.
Sarma was also accredited with translating J. B. Priestley’s famous drama An Inspector Calls into the Assamese language.
Devdas (1937 film)
Siraj (1948) .... Siraj
Pioli Phukan (1955) .... Pioli Phukan
Ito Sito Bahuto (1963) .... Retired Major
... aka Lots of Things Around
“The idea to start an English newspaper in Assam originated over a cup of tea. It was in the early part of 1939 at Dibrugarh. I used to sit with Tarun Bhattacharjee and talk on all subjects on, earth, Sri Bhattacharjee talked generally of philosophy but one day when the cup that cheer were going round, the talks some how switched over to newspaper. Sri Bhattacharjee spoke so convincingly of the need of an English newspaper that the idea of starting an English weekly newspaper generated in my mind.” Thus spoke late RG Baruah in his memoirs on starting The Assam Tribune.
RG materialised his dream and on the 4th August, 1939. the weekly, Assam Tribune appeared from Dibrugarh. Really it was a red letter day for RG in particular and for the people of Dibrugarh nay for the entire North-east part of the country in general. In order to publish the weekly Assam Tribune, RG established the Baruah Press alongwith his well wishers at Rajani Kanta Bordoloi Path, Dibrugarh. Thereafter he dreamt of publishing a national English daily from the North-east. So he established The Assam Tribune Press in Guwahati and on the auspicious day of the 30th September, 1946, the daily Assam Tribune appeared from Guwahati. The other two milestone of his eventful life are Asom Bani and Dainik Asom which appeared on the first July, 1955 and the 4th August 1965 respectively.
RG founded a publication wing of the Tribune Press named Sahitya Prakash.
RG was born at Sibsagar on the 17th October, 1900 and died on the 15th July 1977 in Guwahati. Revenue Sirastadar Late Gunagovinda Barua was his father, Lilawati Devi was his mother.
He spent his student life at Sibsagar and Guwahati and three decades of his most energetic life at Dibrugarh. His beautiful residence and homestead by the side of the Brahmaputra at Old Amolapatty, Dibrugarh were completely washed away by the devastating erosion of the Brahmaputra in 1954. During his stay at Dibrugarh, RG introduced himself as perfect film actor, stage artist, industrialist, sportsman and a leading public figure. Besides he established himself as a pioneer in the growth and development of banking system, life insurance and small saving movement. People of Dibrugarh will never forget the memory of Late RG as a tireless industrialist, social worker and a lover of art, culture and games and sports. Amolapatty Natya Mandir was the nerve centre of his socio-cultural activities till the end of the World War II. He possessed outstanding personality and calibre which led him to the position of the architect of modern Assam and a pioneer in the field of journalism, sports and culture in the North-east.
Bagmibar Nilmoni Phukan (1880-1978)
Late Nilmoni Phukan was popularly known as ‘Bagmibar because of his outstanding oratory skill. Besides, Phukan was an eminent educationist, writer, journalist, social reformer, a freedom fighter and a thinker of his time. He was born on 22nd June, 1880 at Dibrugarh and breathed his last on the 21st January, 1978 at Jorhat.
Phukan hailed from the respectable Dowerah family of Assam with social and cultural background. He had his early education through Bengali medium and came out with flying colours in the Entrance examination in 1900, securing 13th place under Clacutta University from Dibrugarh Government Boys’ High School. He took his college education in Guwahati, Cooch Behar and Calcutta. In 1907 he passed the BA examination from Calcutta University with credit and without completing the Law final examination Phukan started his service life as the founder headmaster of the then George Institution, Dibrugarh on February 2, 1912.
In 1922, Phukan started a tea garden of his own (Nilmani Tea Estate) near Dibrugarh and in the month of January, 1927, Phukan left the George Institution formally. He undertook his venture not to become a tea planter but to spend a lion’s share of his profit for the cause of education in the State. However, he could not succeed in his mission and thereafter he started his career as a journalist. He was the successful editor of an Assamese weekly Bafori, later on an Assamese daily Dainik Bafori published from Jorhat, owned by Late Siva Prasad Boruah, a renowned tea planter of nationalist outlook.
In 1921, Phukan was elected a member of the Assam Legislative Council where he served till 1927. In 1937, he joined freedom movement. He was imprisoned in 1943 in connection with Quit India movement. During his prison at Borbheta Jail, Jorhat he wrote a book of poetry Jinjiri where he depicted the prison life and advocated his ideas of reformation of existing jails. After independence he was elected a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly where he continued till 1957. Undoubtedly a successful legislator Phukan in many ways fought for social justice and social reform in the floor of the Assembly.
Dr Lakhi Prasad Dutt (1917-1989)
With the demise of Lakhi Prasad Dutt, MA BL, Rector, Dibrugarh University, Dibrugarh lost an eminent educationist, historian, dedicated educational organiser and a distinguished citizen of Dibrugarh who “symbolised a rare breed of men who inspired the younger generation with their zeal, sincerity of purpose and utmost dedication in all walks of life.”
Dr Dutt was an institution by himself. His contributions as an educationist, academician and social worker were immense. He played a significant role in respect of establishing Dibrugarh University and Kanoi Group of Colleges in Dibrugarh. So far as the establishment of Dibrugarh University was concerned, at the initial stage the Chancellor of Dibrugarh University authorised him as Rector to exercise the powers and functions of the Vice-Chancellor till a Vice-Chancellor was appointed.
Dr Auranga Shah (1857-1886)
Dr. Auranga Shah was born at Dibrugarh in 1857. He lost both his parents at the age of six. His schooling was looked after by his maternal uncle Finnatullah. Dr Shah was a brilliant student who completed his medical education from the Temple School, Patna in 1876. Later he worked as a Lance Nayak in the Military wing in the same school. Even though he was financially unsound, Dr Shah left for London in 1884 for further studies in medical sciences from Glasgow University.
Dr Jogiraj Basu
Dr Jogiraj Basu, MA (Tripple), PhD, an eminent scholar, litterateur and educationist who dedicated his life for the cause of higher education at Dibrugarh in particular and in North East part of the country in general. Indeed he was a guiding spirit so far as the establishment of DHSK College, DHSK Commerce College, Manohari Devi Kanoi Girls’ College, DHSK Law College and opening of the Post Graduate classes in Sanskrit, History and Economics and establishing Dibrugarh University was concerned. He led an ashramite’s life at Viraj Ashram, Dibrugarh. Dr Basu’s “India at the Age of the Brahmanas” (Middle Vedic Age), Studies in Vedic Culture (both in English), “Vedar Parichay”, “Vedanata Darshan” and Zarathusta Shastra (all in Assamese), Veder Parichay, Upanishader Bhavadhara and Sadhanae (all in Bengali) are his immortal contributions to literature and oriental learning in three languages.
Padmashree Hanumanji Kanoi
Hanumanji Kanoi who was born 110 years ago came to Assam from Rajasthan in search of livelihood. In those days there was no communication facility so most probably he walked up to Bengal and came here by boat. It is said he started working here in this town penniless and by dint of his perservance he could achieve success. His indomitable and industrious spirit goaded him to do something bigger. He started work for tea plantation. The area which is now known as Ganeshbari was full of jungle. He started clearing the area by himself and sowed tea seeds. He had no formal education not even the basic knowledge of tea plantation but by sheer dint of labour, perseverance, determination and faith he could proceed with his work and establish quite a number of tea gardens. What ever earning he made out of all these business concerns he did not spend for his own comfort nor for his family but contributed handsomely for the cause of society and human welfare. He donated large sums in charity and whoever came to him for donation never went back empty-handed, The Kanoi Group of Colleges here in Dibrugarh is epitome of his munificence and speak volumes of his love for education. His contributions to religious, social, educational and cultural organisations all over Assam and North-East have now become a legend. He had exemplified the ideal set by Yogi Bhartihari.
Radhanath Changkakoty (1853-1923)
Radhanath Changkakoty was popularly known as “uncrown king” of Dibrugarh and a leading personality in the public life of Assam. “He was one of the old time Assamese gentry who readily encouraged a good cause. Radhanath is recognised as a towering personality in the national life of the country and a pioneer in the field of journalism and female education in the entire North East region.
He was born in 1853 in a respectable family of Amolapatty, Dibrugarh, Late Dutiram Changkakoty and Rupahi Devi Changkakoty were his father and mother. After passing the Entrance examination securing first division from Dibrugarh Govt. Boys HE School he started his career as a magistrate in Dibrugarh court for a while. After that, Radhanath dedicated himself for the growth and development of journalism, education, culture and local self-government over coming immense difficulties with firm determination. He established two printing presses at Dibrugarh at that difficult time eg Radhanath Press (1881) and Times of Assam Press (1885) at Dibrugarh. He was the founder and editor of the Times of Assam, the first English weekly newspaper in the North East, published from Dibrugarh (the 5th January 1895) regularly even after about two-and-half decades of his death. He got the opportunity to celebrate the silver jubilee celebration of the Times of Assam during his life time. The Times wielded considerable influence in mobilising public opinion. He also planned to publish an Assamese weekly Asom Hitoishi by name in 1908. Radhanath attended the first session of All India National Congress held at Bombay in 1885 and the coronation ceremony of George V (Delhi-Darbar) held in Delhi in 1911 as an invitee from Assam.
Deshasevak Faiznur Ali (1877-1962)
Deshasevak Faiznur Ali was born on 2nd April, 1877 at the then Jorhatpatty of Dibrugarh and passed away on the 24th April 1962 at his residence all Panch Ali, AT Road, Dibrugarh. His father’s name was Hazi Fannur Ali and mother was Hazi Jarsani Bibi, who migrated from Bhoogdaoimukh Jorhat in the year 1857 and settled down here permanently. His father late Hazi Saheb was the manager of three European gardens of undivided Dibrugarh district. He was also a prominent arms and ammunition dealer. Besides, being a successful lawyer of Dibrugarh Bar, he served the country and Dibrugarh specially holding several responsible and distinguished offices, viz. as the chairman Dibrugarh Municipal Board, founder president of the Assam Medical College, Governing Body, member and the president of Assam Legislative Council, Member, Assam Public Service Commission, Member, Communal Riot Enquiry Commission, Member of Parliament, Member of Assam Legislative Assembly, Member of Constituent Assembly and some time president of the Kanoi College.
Prasanna Kumar Baruah (1884-1958)
Prasanna Kumar Baruah, popularly known as PK Baruah of Siring Chapori, Dibrugarh was a towering personality of Assam and a Stalwart of Dibrugarh, He was born at Rajabheta Tea Estate, near Dibrugarh on 3rd February 1884 and passed away on 25th November, 1958 at his residence at Dibrugarh. PK Baruah was the worthy son of a worthy father late Malbhog Baruah, a pioneer tea planter of Assam and a distinguished public figure of Dibrugarh during 19th century. Baruah passed entrance examination from Dibrugarh Govt. Boys High English School, IA from Cotton College and B.A. from Koch Bihar College with credit.
As an industrialist with high reputation he contributed a lot in respect of the development of tea industry in Assam, banking system of Dibrugarh and establishment of cinema houses at Dibrugarh and Tinsukia. He was the chief patron of the production of Monomati - the third Assamese film released from Dibrugarh in 1941. During his long tenure of office as the city father of Dibrugarh he constructed a beautiful municipal park by the side of the river Dibru, laid stress on complete and proper electrification of the town, development of municipal roads, drains and market places.
During this period Dibrugarh Municipal Board allotted a handsome amount of money for the smooth running of Amolapatty Girls’ High School, Grahambazar Primary School. Dibrugarh Public School (a national educational institution) was established in 1930 at Panchali, Dibrugarh of which he was the founder president. Late PK Baruah was a patriot in the true sense of the term and hospitable by nature.
In order to include Assam under the preview of Governor State he started for London in June, 1919 and arrived by the end of August as one of the two-men Assam delegation ‘to the Joint Parliamentary Committee presided by Lord Selbourne in the House of Lords in connection with Montague Chelmsford Reforms in India in session from June 1919 to October 1919.
Raibahadur Nilambar Dutta (1878-1942)
Raibahadur Nilambar Dutta, a legendary person and stalwart of Dibrugarh public life was a self made man, and rose from a humble position to one of prosperity and influence occupying a leading place in the public life of the country. He was noted for his simplicity, helpfulness, and straight forwardness and he never hesitated to call a spade a spade.
When in 1923 the first non-official chairman of the Dibrugarh local board was elected, Nilambar Dutta who at that time was the Vice-Chairman, the Deputy Commissioner being the Chairman, was elected to be the Chairman and he held that office till his death in 1942 without any break. Nilambar Dutta was a member of the Assam Legislative Council from 1931 to 1936.
He was a very forceful speaker and had a good command of English. He created a sensation by moving a resolution for the separation of Sylhet from Assam. Sylhet district was a deficit district. It thrived on the taxes paid by the people of the rest of Assam. It was a hindrance to the progress of Assam.
Nilambar Dutta called it a white elephant. All the members from Sylhet ganged up and the official members joined hands with them to defeat the resolution. The Statesman called the speech “impassioned”. Munwar Ali, an MLC from Sylhet said that an obnoxious resolution like this was never moved on the floor of the House.
American Baptist missonary Nathan Brown
Born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, he attended Williams College, where he graduated first in his class. He and his wife, whom he married in 1830, went on to serve as missionaries in Burma. Brown's original intention had been to translate the Bible into Burmese, but he soon found himself pulled into a mission along with Oliver Cutter and Mile Bronson in the Indian region of Assam.
In 1848, Brown published an Assamese grammar, followed by an Assamese translation of the New Testament in 1850. The language regained recognition in part due to Assamese publications edited by him, and his association with Hemchandra Barua.
With Rev. Oliver Cutter and Rev. Mile Bronson, he began a much more successful mission in what is now the NorthEast Indian State of Assam. Nathan Brown, Oliver Cutter and Miles Bronson, all missionaries, established a press in Sadiya, Assam in 1838, bringing a literary revolution in several Northeastern languages. Miles Bronson published the first Assamese-English Dictionary in 1846, and Nathan Brown published an Assamese Grammar in 1848, a translation of the New Testament in Assamese in 1850.
Perhaps the most interesting outcomes of the mission was the association of the Indian philosopher Dr. Hemchandra Barua, who studied English at the mission. Dr. Barua later became editor of the mission's local language magazine Arunodoy and went on to become publisher of The Assam Times, wherein he did much crusading for equal education of women and men, elder rights and other issues. As a reformer, Dr. Hemchandra in turn was an influence and inspiration for Nathan Brown.
Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton
Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton (1845-1915) was a Liberal MP who was elected from Nottingham East in 1906 to the British Parliament.
Dr John Berry White (-1898)
Dr John Berry White was the Director of Assam Railways and Trading Company Limited and served Dibrugarh town in similar capacity from 1881 to 1896. Apart from achieving smooth operations of business and trade for his company, Dr White also encouraged Assamese students to pursue career in medical education.
Dr White donated a considerable share of his earnings to set up a medical institution in the region. So, later Sir Henry Cotton, the then Chief Commissioner of Assam established the “Berry White Medical School” at Dibrugarh in the year 1898-99. After independence, the State Government converted the School into a full-fledged centre of medical education - Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh.
Moreover, Dr White also contributed a lot towards the progress of Assamese arts, culture and towards popularisation of the print media and the introduction of the Assamese language as the principal medium of instruction in the schools of Upper Assam.
He passed away at London in 1898.