as an extraordinary gifted and noble woman in Assam, Srimati Ambika
Goswami was born at Sibsagar in 1920. Her father, Durganath Phukon, was
the nephew of the famous Kashinath Phukon. Her mother was Bhagwati Devi.
Out of the nine children of Duraganath Phukan, seven of them were
daughters. Mrs. Goswami was the fourth daughter of Duraganath Phukan.
Mrs. Goswami completed her primary education at
Sivasagar and high school at Dibrugarh. Due to the orthodox customs of the
times, she could not complete her education. While studying at seventh
standard when she was merely twelve years old, she had to embrace a
married life. Considering the burden on her father, she sacrificed her
childhood and accepted to tend a household as a second wife.
Her husband Umakanta Goswami was then a professor of
Cotton College. Later, he became the principle of the same, and was
finally appointed as the secretary of education Department.
Mrs. Goswami is a tender hearted woman and treats
everyone with affection. She is a mother figure not only to her family
members but also to their known circles. This benevolent nature led her to
encourage a labour girl to take up her education. She taught her sewing,
weaving, etc, in order to make her self- dependent. She also helped a
labour boy in completing his education and found him a suitable job. She
enjoys a divine happiness in such human works.
Another praiseworthy side of Mrs. Ambika Goswami is her
continual efforts for the enlistment of deprive and helpless women. She
has been working vigorously in order to make these women self dependent
and independent. As a result of her struggle, a ‘Women co-operative’ body
came into existence in Guwahati. She worked as the treasurer of this body
for many years. Not only this, she also established a widow home at
Chandmari at her own initiative. In this home, the women were trained in
works like sewing, weaving, knitting, etc so that they can earn their
livelihood. Her co-workers were Usha Devi, Kalindri Devi, Surbala Bordoloi,
and others. However, it is unfortunate and a matter of disdain that this
widow home set up for a noble and progressive cause was broken down by the
local people. Till today, she has not been able to forget the shock and
pain of such an apathetic deed, and encourages her friends to rebuild the
Mrs. Goswami is also a skilled weaver and a culinary
expert. She herself points out that she was taught weaving by a lady of
Kind-hearted, noble, affectionate Mrs. Goswami is not
happy at heart. She is, mentally and physically, weakened by disease and
Domestic life of Mrs. Goswami was not very
smooth-sailing. She had to encounter difficulties and problems, the pangs
of earthly existence. But, the strength of her personality led her to
overcome all her troubles.
In 1956, when Mrs. Goswami was only 37 years old, her
husband passed away. She had to struggle with the lone life of a widow,
and the entire responsibility of both father and mother fell on her.
Naturally the soft, tender strings of a woman’s heart become discordant.
The same thing happened in the case of Mrs. Goswami. A pall of gloom
blighted her heart and spirit.
At that time of her husband’s death, their elder son,
Satyabrat Goswami, had just passed his metric examination. The first
daughter became the famous writer of the first rank, Mamoni Goswami. The
other children, Sabita, Bubi, Arundhati and youngest son, Shivavarat, was
then studying at high school. The burden of constructing the future of
these little children troubled Mrs. Goswami.
Six years after her husband’s demise, the
brother-in-law Chandra Kanta Goswami also passed away. Now she had the
dual responsibility of looking after the children of her brother-in-law as
well. Still she did not surrender before fate or fell weak. She took her
work and family responsibility as a sacred ritual offered by life. With
her monthly affection, she was able to make them well-educated, miraculous
and worthy individuals.
There is an altogether different aspect of Mrs.
Goswami’s life-the literary side. Amidst the myriad troubles, business and
engagements of worldly life, she finds out time to write. She has
contributed poems, short stories, essays, etc if not many, at least a
little, to Assamese literature. A good number o articles and poems were
published in popular newspapers like ‘Jayanti’, ‘Bordoishila’, Dainik
Assam’, etc. she has also translated a poem by Rabindra Nath Tagore.
In the book ‘Xuwagmoni’ she contributed a
well-organized, rare collection of folk songs. The collection consists of
a sound number of devotional songs like Dhainaam, Nisukoni naam,
Barmahigeet naam, Mohkheduwa Geet, Bohuwar Geet, songs of Phul Konwar and
Moni Konwar, etc. In the "Introduction" the writer has mentioned that she
stared collecting these songs right from 1937, and that she paid more
emphasis on Bihu naam and Dhai naam. This book enjoys a special status in
Assamese folk literature.
Presently, many of her writings including poems, Biya
naam, Gokhai naam, prose works such as tales Mahabharata, stories of
Buddha are in manuscripts. The hymn composed in dedication to the goddess
existing in manuscript is remarkable. Mrs. Goswami has taken the
reasonability of collecting and compiling the articles written on her
husband, and of publishing the same. This collection will also include the
essays and biographies of saints penned down by Umakanta Goswami. She was
helped in this regard by her daughter and famous writer Mrs. Mamoni Raisom
At one time, her ‘Gokhai naam’ used to be aired
regularly from the Akashvaani centre, Guwahati. Mrs Goswami excels in the
art of painting. According to her, she learnt painting, and pencil art
from an artist called Bimal Bhatt. In addition, she is also a good actor.
She managed to extract praises and appreciation by her acting skills from
the viewers during her school life.
At present, Mrs. Goswami has been made a lifelong
member of All Assam Women Forum. She is also the member of Regional Women
Association of Assam. While being associated with these organizations, she
has carved out a way for self-enlightenment.
The patriot Mrs. Goswami participated actively in the
"Assam Movement" to banish foreigners out of Assam foreigners out of
Assam. The patriotic feeling was ingrained in her from childhood. Thus,
she still remembers and often sings the lines from a song heard during her
"This is my motherland Assam
Engulfed by beautiful mountains all around"
Mrs. Goswami has deep regards for Gandhiji. She says,"
I regard Gandhiji as a God". The inspiration to serve common people came
Keeping intact the reminiscences of beautiful past
days, the happy-sad moments, Mrs. Goswami, today, spends a lonely life at
her residence in Guwahati. The strength of heart is still not exhausted.
Work, as it seems, has become her life partner.
This lady is a great example for all mothers of our
country. Her dutifulness, pious nature, literary zeal will provide
inspiration to all the womenfolk. All of us regard and honor the principle
and dutiful Mrs. Goswami.