Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami - a Tribute by Nalini Prava Deka

It was a Tuesday morning and just sat in the verandah with a cup of tea in my hand. Suddenly I got a call from my youngest son, Jim, who is presently staying in Bangalore. Before I could gulp the tea on my mouth, he gave me the very unfortunate news.

"Did you hear that Mamoni 'baideu' is no more, ma? Got the news from the net."

I was dispirited at once and had nothing else to do than weep. I was flooded with memories of this wonderful human being and my encounters with her.

Within a month, two of the Assam's most renowned authors left for their heavenly abodes. It seems that the people of Assam are deprived of parents after their demise. We today miss our beloved Bhupen Da (Dr. Bhupen Hazarika) and Mamoni Baideu (Mamoni Raisom Goswami); the two souls who are known worldwide. Even when I know that man is mortal, but still, never wanted to see them leaving us forever.

Nalini Prava Deka with Mamoni Raisom Goswami
I met this Jnanpith Award winner author many times at different occasions as she was my neighbor, but met her frequently after 1968. That was the time when my husband Prof. Bhabananda Deka was posted in Delhi. He and couple of his friends took great effort in introducing Assamese Language in the MIL Department of Delhi University. That was when Mamoni Raisom Goswami came to meet him many times. After that Mamoni baideu joined the Delhi University in the same Assamese department. Since then Mamoni baideu kept a warm relationship with our family.

She was my inspiration for my creativity in writing. When she heard that I occasionally write, she kept on pressurising me to write constantly. She was a fan of my husband's books and works and they would often discuss about different authors of the world and their creative and written works.

In 2005, in the occasion of my father Pandit Dadhiram Thakuria's birth anniversary, a memorabilia book was published where many writers wrote about my father. My father was North Kamrup's first educated person. And that was the reason, the local people of our village along with my youngest brother Nripendra Nath Thakuria proposed to inaugurate the book through Mamoni Baideu in the village itself. Mamoni baideu came for the inauguration where the chief guest was my husband. I was overwhelmed and can never forget that day. Mamoni baideu hugged me and praised me for doing such a great thing.

I once told Mamoni baideu about my upcoming short story collection - 'Elandhu' (The Soot). And I asked her if she could inaugurate the book. She was more than happy to know that and told me that she would be glad to do that. But, I am unfortunate today that she's no more with us physically.

In 2010, on the occasion of birth anniversary of 'Bhattadev', a book was planned to be published on Bhattadev and his works at Byaskuchi, Assam. I was asked to collect a write-up for the same from Mamoni Baideu. I went to meet Mamoni baideu after a long time and she was very glad to see me. She asked me what to write and I gave her a brief. She asked me to sit with her for an hour so that she can complete the write-up and give it to me on the same day. We talked about different things and she mentioned to me that she was not keeping very well. She gave me a short memorabilia on Bhattadev which was later published in the book. That was the last time I met baideu before she left her physical world.

Dr. Maoni Raisom Goswami at the
residence of Prof Bhabananda Deke
In 2006, after my husband's demise, Baideu came to our residence in Sarania to share her condolences. She said that she could understand the loss as she had also lost her husband long time ago. But, she could survive through devoting time for writing and she had asked me to do the same. She said that Assam had lost a great soul like Bhabananda Deka and people would remember him always. Alas, today like a worst humor, I have to say the same thing about this wonderful lady.

She was a distinguished writer and a very wise person. But she was known for her modesty and humility. I think that's when a person becomes 'Mahatma' (Great Soul). It was always easy to be by her side. And one can never get tired of her words. She had many admirable qualities. Though this humble, polite, calm and steadfast person is not among us physically, but she will remain in our hearts for ever.

Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami was a great woman and left a legacy behind for everyone to cherish. Today I pray to God to bless her soul to rest in peace. My prayers and thoughts for her family as well. May God give them strength to face this difficult time.