Mamoni Raisom Goswami (Dr. Indira Goswami)

Dr. Indira Goswami, popularly known by her pen name Mamoni Raison Goswami was born in Guwahati on 14 Nov. 1942. Her parents were Umakanta Goswami and Ambika Devi Goswami and her family was deeply associated with satra life of the Eksarana Dharma.

She studied at Latashil primary school, Guwahati, pine Mount school, Shillong and Tarini Charan Choudhury Girl’s H.S. school Guwahati and completed Intermediate in Arts from Handique Girl’s College, Guwahati. She did her graduation with honours in Assamese literature from Cotton College in Guwahati and finally secured Master Degree from Guwahati University.She was married to Madhavan Raisom, an Engineer from Karnataka in the years 1965. Unfortunately, his most tragic and untimely death took place in an accident in kashmir after one and half years of her marriage.

Dr. Goswami Joined Delhi University in the MIL department in 1971 and got her Phd. Degree in 1973 for her comparative study of Goswami Tulsidas Ramcharit Manas and Kandali Assamese Ramayana. Dr. Goswami father Sri Umakanta Goswami was a brilliant academician. He won gold medals since his school days, including a coronation memorial medal from the British Govt. in 1937. He appeared before the Simon commission and represented the Assam Govt. in the Economic Enquiry Committee held in Calcultta 1925.

Dr. Goswami’s mother Ambika Devi Goswami was an exceptional woman. She was proud of her distant lineage from Kashinath Phukan Bartamuli, a great historian and a very important minister in the court of the Ahom rulers.Most of the early childhood of Dr. Goswami was spent in Amranga village, Shillong and Guwahati. It is interesting that Dr. Goswami remembered both Amranga and Shillong as two fairy lands that she happened to live in.

Dr. Indira Goswami began writing from a very early stage of her life. Almost her entire life had been spent dedicated to writing. Her fictions generally deal with the life and sufferings of the downtrodden and underprivileged. The three novels Chenabor Srot, Ahiron and Mamore Dhara Taruwal are celebrated novels on the pitiable conditions of the migrant workers who work for the private construction companies far away from their homeland. One of her novels on widows Neelkantha Braja is on the terrible plight of the widows in Vrindavan. Her novel Datal Hatir UueKhowa Howdah (The Moth eaten Howadah) deals closely with the lifes of the share croppers and Brahmin widows in South kamrup. Rated a classic by the Sahitya Academi the novel is a bold depiction of the misery of the downtrodden and the order of the satra institution at the threshold of independence. This novel has been translated into all the major Indian languages. The Urdu translation of this novel was done by Tanveer Iqbal. The novel was made into a feature film ‘Adajya’. The film Adajya (The Flight), directed by Dr. Santana Bordoloi won a couple of International award. ‘Words from the Mist’ is a film made on her life and works which was directed by JahnuBarua.

One of the unique facts about Dr. Goswami’s writing is that her stories are not based on life and situation only of Assam. They cross boundaries. ChenaborSrot is based on the workers life in Kashmir. Similarly Ahiron is based in Madyapradesh. Mamore DharaTaruwal in Uttar pradesh while Nilakanthi Braja in Vrindavan. Her celebrated Novel on the 1984 and Sikh riots Tez Aru Dhulire Dhusarita Pristha is on the riot, that she saw with her naked eyes in Delhi.

She was also well known for her attempts to structure social changes both through her writing and through her role as mediator between the armed militant group United Liberation Front of Assam and the Govt. of India. Her involvement led to the formation of the peoples consultant Group, a peace committee. She referred to herself as an ‘Observer’ of the peace process matters than as a mediator or initiator.

Dr. Indira Goswami was a former professor and later she was the Professor Emeritus of Delhi University. She was also a scholar in Assamese and Ramayana literature. She had done extensive research on the spread of the Ramayana in Assam and the North Eastern region of India and had shown how much the facts reflect the social, political and cultural uniqueness of the region. Her voluminous work Ramayana from Ganga to Brahmaputra was published in 1976, released by former president of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sarma. She was awarded the International Tulsi Award for her contributions to the study of Ramayana.

She had established the ‘South East Asia Ramayana Research Centre’ in 2008 at her own premises with the motive of research on Ramayana, the great classic of the world the appeal of which has transcended geographical and cultural borders and has acted as a messenger of peace, hope and harmony among people cutting across castes, language and religion.