November Double Tragedy Hits Assam!

 The first to dissolve into eternity was the

legendary singer-poet-lyricist-writer-journalist-filmmaker 
Dr. Bhupen Hazarika  who passed away at a Mumbai Hospital on November 5, 2011. And now, the celebrated author-social reformer-academician Prof. Indira Goswami, better known by her pen name Mamoni Raisom Goswami, passed away at a Guwahati hospital on November 29, 2011.

Two noted personalities of Assam who have been rooted to the soil and totally committed to the people and the land they belonged to. They have been the torchbearers for Assam carrying themselves with numerous awards and recognitions at the national and international levels. Assam has been identified with their laurels and as their home state. While one got the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honor in Cinema in India, the other got the Jnanpith Award, the highest literary honor of the country. One is dearest ‘Da’ (elder brother) and the other is beloved ‘Baideo’ (elder sister) for all of the Assamese people. Losing them both now is proving to be one of the most painful moments of history for Assam.

Indira Goswami’s novels always focus on the downtrodden and women in particular. She delves deep into the problems society creates for them and rants out her thoughts through most powerful words that ushered in a new chapter in literature of Assam. Her novel on the conditions of widows has been acclaimed as an all time classic. Mamoni Baideo had herself suffered in her life—fighting with depression and suicidal tendencies since her childhood days and then fighting with life losing her husband after just 18 months of marriage. But she never accepted defeat and fought on to reach the peak of success.

Indira Goswami, with her tremendous love for her motherland, tried to structure a society based on peace by becoming a mediator between the extremists of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA—people in Assam pronounce it as ‘Aalfa’) and the Government of India. Thanks to her efforts a peace committee had been formed, but she preferred to call herself an observer rather than a mediator.

Mamoni Baideo’s last rites have been performed in Guwahati today with full state honors. A sense of tremendous pride can only be some consolation in this hour of grief and pain for the Assamese.  


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