CHANDRAWATI DEVI KOTOKY
Late Chandrahans Goswami, the ‘Satradhlkar’ of
Jakhalabandha Satraz of Nagaon District had three sons and a daughter. The
illustrious sons were Satradhikar Jagat Chandra Goswami the veteran
lawyer, freedom tighter, litterature Brindavan Chandra Goswami and Golok
Chandra Goswami. Chandravati Devi was his sole daughter. Her mother's name
was Bhunsita Devi. Jagat Chandra Goswami succeeded Chandrahans Goswami as
Satradhikar of Jakhalabandha Satra.
Jagat Chandra Goswami studied Sanskrit in Benaras and
acquired a vast knowledge in the same. His deep knowledge in religious
texts expatiation in judgment of scriptures, "Sadha- Bhajan" (religious
practices) were well known to all. He was a very pious soul.
Jagat Chandra Goswami was very fond of his sole sister
Chandrawati Devi and blessed her with spiritual power. As a result,
Chandrawati Devi obtained a religious, moral bent of mind from her
childhood. She received respect and love from all quarters while offering
religious prayers and other devotional songs at ‘Namghars’ (community
prayer hall) of different places of Nagaon as well as in Assam.
Chandrawati Devi was born in 1897 on a Monday of mid
June and was brought up at the Jakhalabandha Satra. She passed her
childhood amid the disciplined religious atmosphere of the Satra.
Chandrawati Devi could not continue her education
beyond lower primary level as women education remained in a very confined
state in those days. She had discussed religious texts in details with her
elder brother Jagat Chandra Goswami. She had also learned by listening to
the recitation of religious texts and other hymns like Bhagavad, Gita etc.
Her parents made preparation of her marriage when she
was only eleven years of age. Her brother Jagat Chandra Goswami wished to
arrange her marriage within the same caste. But her brother Brindavan
Chandra Goswami arranged her marriage with his classmate Jogendra Nath
Kotoky of Purani Gudam in the first month of Assamese calendar in 1908.
She started her conjugal life in her husband’s ancestral house after two
years of marriage when she attained her puberty. The people from all
sections of Purani Gudam established a Middle English School and
Jogendra.nath joined there as head master. Jogendra Nath was a meritorious
student. He passed ‘Entrance’ Examination with scholarship. He received
F.A. degree with scholarship from Dhaka. But he could not continue his
study in Calcutta due to economic constraints. He later joined as sub
inspector in Excise Deptt of Assam Govt. after resigning from the school.
He settled down in Barpeta while Chandrawati Devi lived in Jakhalabandha
Satra. In the mean time he became father of two sons but at the death of
these two sons he gave up his job and joined in the Nagaon Govt. Boys'
school. Chandrawati Devi gave birth to four sons and a daughter later, but
lost two of her four sons and the daughter. The astonishing fact was that
when others went to condole her on the said demise of her children, she in
turn gave solace to them by reciting religious hymns.
Chandrawati’s lifestyle was very simple. She was
polite, faithful to God and cordial to all. She provide due respect to
everyone. She was sympathetic towards poor and helped them according to
her capacity. Chandrawati Devi was very meritorious. She wrote a book just
after passing lower primary class inheriting merit from her grand father
late Raghu Deva Goswami and grandmother late Tarini Devi. She was first to
compose verses on the mythical story of Sri Krishna and Rukmini's
marriage. She also composed books on "Aai Naam", "Biya Naam" etc. "Gunamala"
and "Tottomala" were her two more books. A few lines from her "Aai Naam"
as follows –
"Sari Sari Hoya Gupi trinote bosia
Durgak aradhe sobe kritanjali hoya
Padya argha madhuporka asmoni dile
Gupini hobhat asi bhobani bosile
Aair agotjoli ase jikimiki tora
Dukhialoi pelai dise juti phular mala
Bhakat botchola matrik hubha bor mage
Bate bate aai phure hishu umolai
Tap gusai hanta kora bhogowoti aai
Jiba dan diya matri pran dan diya
Bisphut bhoyor pora uddhar kori juwa."
Chandrawati Devi’s splendid writings were based on
religion and philosophy. The strong language and themes of the songs
composed by her fascinates the minds of the audience with spirituality.
She composed a philosophical song known as "Deh Bicharar Geet" in a unique
way. She started each line of the song with an Assamese alphabet. A few
lines from the song are mentioned below –
O-ye bule onadi ananta bhagawan
Aa-ye bule mayajat prokriti prodhan
E-ye bule ihokal subha sorasor
Dighoie bule iswaror mohima opar
U-ye bule umakanta shiva trinayan
Drighu-ye bule upasanta krishnar charan
Ri-ye bule hidayat dhyan kori juwa
No-ye bule lila khela rahasya amiya
A-ye bule elah nokoriba nor nari
Oi-ye bule oikantik bhojiu srihori
u-ye bule umkarante brahma sonaton
ou -ye bule oukhodhot bishnu humron.
The writer through her simple writing appealed the
people to have faith in the Supreme Being for salvation as the life is
very fragile. Her theoretical, philosophical explanation of life was to be
She was so simple by heart that when anybody asked for
her writings for publication, she gave her valued writings to them without
any second thought. But alas l it had been found that her writings were
published in other’s name and that was even during her life time. Whenever
someone drew her attention on such matter of plagiarism, she smiled and
expressed her happiness as ultimately her writings had reached the people
at least for whom she wrote. On several occasions, the noted professors of
philosophy remained spell bound by her explanation of critical
philosophical thoughts in simple language.
Chandrawati Devi suffered a lot from gastritis. An
unpublished manuscripts on gastritis has been found in which she described
as quoted below –
"Purba jonme kiba pap kori asu oti
Tar phale pittaruge bhunjaise durgoti
Dadash botsor mane pittarjalat
Kothur jantana kore khudra sarirat
Nanabidh baiu, pitta, ruge pira kore
Tothapitu prabhu mur mukhar lubhe nere
Agyan pamor mon porom lubhia
Luv domain muk prabhu kisu kora doya
Kune potiabo prabhu nedekha biyadhi
Tuwa padudoke mur hook mohukhodhi
Toju name har prabhu toju name goti
Tumar nameshe khondai homosta durgoti
Ghugola bemari moi hoilu jorahor
Tumar sorone matra udharibo para
Onek oukhodh khailu nohi tar hima
Dekhauk Krishna toju namor mohima
Janu Krishna toju naam porom amrit
Tumar bhaktar honge piayuk neet
Tebekhe durghur pitta rug hoibo dur
Koriuk Krishna muk karuna prasur
Tumi bine kune muk koribek tran
Srimadhusudan prabhu pokhilu saran
Ahi mane kripa muk kora jadupoti
Korjure prathana korisu chandrawoti."
She plunged herself at the feet of the Lord and prayed
to be relieved from all kinds pains and sufferings from this disease.
Chandrawati Kotoky was also known as Padmawati and
Konmai, though most of her contemporaries called her as "Chakradhari Aai".
She was a renowned social worker. This well known motherly figure rushed
to others whenever she had heard that anybody was in trouble and dismay.
She brought solace to the suffering souls through prayer and quoted verses
from religious scriptures like Gita, Bhagabat etc.
This pious soul breathed her last in the end of May in
1974. At her death, the people of Nagaon as well as of Assam had lost a
very popular sociable woman.