Ajali Tora Neog
 
   
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AJALI TORA NEOG

(1913-1949)

‘We ten sisters

Like ten precious breads of pearl adorn a garland

One of the pearls is sister khudkoni,

Why sister khudkoni have you left us alone

Snatching the garland of pearl.’

The Assamese meaning is

‘Ami Dohu Bai Bhani Dohuti Mukuta moni

Subhichilu Ekadhari Mala

Tare Tumi Etimoni Baidew Khudkoni

Kio Baru chingi guchi gola.’

This was the extract of a poem composed by Ajali Tora in her tender age. The poem composed at the death of our sister Khudkoni was also named Khudkon. At the time of composing the poem Ajali Tora Neog was born Ajali Tora Rajkhuwa.

Ajali Tora Neog, the daughter of an eminent litterateur, Benudhor Rajhowa was born on 5th December 1913, at Amolapatty of Dibrugarh town. Her mother Ratna Kumari Rajkhuwani was closely associated with Assam Pradeshik Mahila Samiti from its initial stage. Rajkhuwa’s residence at Dibrugarh was just like an open platform for literary discussion. Rajkhowa had a big family comprising of ten daughters and three sons. Some among them were artistes of considerable talent. The big residential complex Rajkhowa was agog with literary and cultural activities.

Being born and brought up in such a cultured family the seed of literature spontaneously sprouts in the mind of Ajali Tora. Grave by nature Ajoli Tora along with her study kept herself busy in writing in leisure hours. She got inspiration for writing from her father. ‘Bordoisila, Sarudoisila, Rangali Bihure Botara Dila’ was one of the poems composed by Ajali Tora when she was a teenager. Many such poems were composed by her but all were not published. Many such poems were lost and could not be traced out.

While Ajoli Tora was reading in school she was married to Dimbeswar Neog, famous literature of Assam, who belonged to Kamarphalia gaon, Sibsagar. Inspired by her husband Ashe now devoted herself more literary works and wrote a book on children named ‘Arabio Upaiynash Granthamala’. Her first three published books were ‘Alibaba Aru Dukuri Dokait’ (1931), ‘Sinbad Aru Satuti Jalaijatra’ (1933-1934) and ‘Alauddin Aru Eta Asarit Saki’ (1939). All these three books were highly applauded by ‘Sahitya Samrat’ Lakhminath Bezbaruah who hoped that being inspired by her literature father and husband she could contribute more to the store house of Assamese literature. Based on many foreign and national stories Ajoli Tora wrote for children to make them more imaginative and to help them to think more. Therefore she started writing biographies of those persons for whom Assam can take pride. Among those the biographic of Anandaram Dhekial Phukon (1936) and Gunabhiram Baruah are most noteworthy. For the biography named ‘Life sketch of Gunabhiram Baruah’ she received an award from Assam Sahitya Sabha. Barrister Jnanadabhiram Baruah, the worthy son Gunabhiram Baruah spoke highly of this book that it is an excellent work which can be prescribe as text book. She even collected data for writing life sketches of ‘Hemchandra Baruah, Rajani kanta Bordoloi, Rajani kumar Padmawati and Ratneswar Mahanta, but could not complete them. If she could have completed these works, these would valuable treasures for Assamese literature. Besides well establishing herself have been writer of children’s literature many of her articles and poems got space in the magazines and newspapers like Ghor Jeoti, Banhi Bordoisila, Batori, Asamiya, Bhromar, Amar Desh and Maloiya. Her first poem was ‘Bahagir Biya Git’. Her special interest on the development of women can be well guessed from the article ‘Nari Jagaran’ and ‘Samaj Sanskar’ published in Banhi in Saka 1853. She graced the meeting organized on the occasion of Jamutshav, birthday of Sri Sri Sankardev held at Sibsagar in 1948 as an appointed speaker and the Sabha commented that the lecture that she delivered was very rich in moral content.

Because of possessing extreme sincerity and patience Ajolitora inspite of performing all the household duties of a joint family could devote her time in literary activities. She even learnt Hindi language at home. Ajolitora wrote letters in correct Hindi to Kaka Saheb Kalelkar for which he termed Ajolitora as an elite woman.

Ajolitora had also great interest in music. In the All Assam Women’s Conference held in 1929 she was one of the first rank singers. Even after her marriage she sang Borgits, modern songs in organizations like ‘Bani Sanmilan’ of Jorhat etc for which she was highly praised and rewarded. While she was in North Lakhimpur she collected the women of the locality and at her direction a drama named ‘Basantir Abhishek’ was staged.

Ajolitora was an expert housewife. With the limited income of her husband she could run the family very efficiently. She possessed an artistic mind and she instead of buying decorative show pieces from market made use of anything and everything like scale of fish, broken bangles, broken tree branches, egg’s shell and gave shape to her dreams by making beautiful wall hanging, decorative show pieces like Taj Mahal, flower vase, lamp stand etc. She was also an expert weaver and she wove not only floral gamuchas but also all clothes necessary for her family. Her embroidery works admixtures with different colors of thread in pat and muga cloths testified her artistic taste and insight.

Ajolitora Neog decorated her house at Jorhat very nicely to suit to the poetic environment so that her poet husband might get inspiration from it. Two sweet scented sewali tress, one planted at the door step of the drawing room and another in front of the reading room of her husband spread eternal beauty with its sweet scent. Flowers like kharikajai, chandrakanti, togor planted by the side of the plinth seemed to give a warm welcome to all. It was because of the labor and the untiring efforts of Ajolitora, her husband got inspiration to compose poems sitting underneath the trees like coconut, betel nut and betel vine, Robab Tenga, Jamun, and Pomegranate etc. For all these her husband not only loved her but also respected her. Dimbeswar Neog named their house. ‘Suwani Poja’ because Suwani was the nick name of Ajoli tora. Gunabhiram Barua so much liked the name of the house that he occasionally writers to Dimbeswar Neog –‘I like the name of your house, ‘Suwani Poja’ is very excellent. It refers to your house, to your wife and to the sweetness of our language’.

Sweet laughter that lingered at her lips proved her innocence and simplicity. The dream of such an ideal women of Assam has not been turned in to reality but they remain a dream only. It seemed that the flower which she desires to sacrifice at the altar of Assamese literature had faded away. After living a short life of 36 years she breathed her last on 1st November 1949. At her death it seemed that the light which she was trying to kindle in the sky of Assamese literature had been covered by dark clouds. Thus ended the life of a woman with many promises and possibilities, but she is still immortal because of her contributions made towards children literature.

 

 

 

 
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