In the middle and later parts of the 20th century
many woman writers of Assam Contributed a lot towards the
development of Assamese literature. Late Hemalata Borah was
one of them. A Lady with multifarious talents, could establish
herself though her successful literary works.
Hemalata Borah was born in 21st of August, 1925 at
Kamalabari of Subdivision.Her father’s name was Hemalata Gogoi
and her mother was known as Kumudeswari Gogoi. Ancestral home
of Hemalata Gogoi was at Bejgaon near Gaurisagar of Sivsagar
district .After quitting the job of police sub inspector her
father joined the freedom movement of India. Among the ten
children of her parents Hemalata was the only daughter .So she
was brought up with love and affection of her parents and nine
Hemalata passed the matriculation examination from Phuleswari
Girls’ High School (now a Higher Secondary School ) of
Sivasagar and Passed I.A . and B.A. examinations from Handique
Girls’ College and Cotton College respectively, After getting
B.A degree she went to Delhi and got admitted into the course
of Home Science in Lady Arwin College. But she did not
complete the course and came back to Sivasagar and started her
working career as a teacher in Fuleswari Girls’ High School.
Till her marriage in 1952 she remained in service in that one
of the premier institutions of upper Assam which was
established as early as in 1915.
In 1952 Hemalata was was married to Deva Prasad Borah, the
third son of Purnananda Borah.He was a high ranking officer of
Forest department and Deva Prasad were blessed with two
daughter Geeti and Ruby. Hemalata proved herself to be a good
mother and took utmost care in shaping the career of her two
daughter. Geeti is married to Dr. Birendra Singh and along
with her husband and two daughter settled in Philadelphia(USA).
Her second daughter Ruby is married to Subbrajyoti Hazarika,
Son of Jogeswar Hazarika Guwahati. Both of them are top
ranking officer and welplaced in society.
Hemalata started her literary career when she was a school
girl. In this regard she was inspired by her father Hemalkanta
Gogoi and renowned literature Dr. Meheswar Neog. Her first
poem was published Tarun Asom, the Assamese weekly published
from Dibrugarh. The ‘Tarun Asom ‘was edited by Benudhar Sarmah
and published by Nandeswar Chakraborty. Hemalata’s writing are
scattered in various news papers and magazines like ‘Natun
Asomiya’. ‘Ganatantra,’ Dainik Asomiya’, ‘Gharua’, ‘Aideo’
etc. she had the opportunity to travel along with her husband.
She visited not only various places of Assam and north-east
India but also other parts of the country and abroad. She had
also the privilege of staying in some places for longer period
which helped her to know about these places, the people
residing in these places and their culture etc. She loved
peopl e and was interested to know the various aspects of
their culture. As a result she tried to interact with the
people of those unknown places which she visited. Through her
own efforts she could enrich her knowledge bank and
contributed in the literacy field of Assam through her
writings. She traveled remote areas of NEFA (NOW Arunachal
Pradesh) on foot and took immense pleasure observing are
enchanting beauty of nature of that hilly place.
The Literary works off Hemalata can be grouped into six
categories-article.Short Stories of traveling, biographies,
poems and songs. She authored the book-Seuijia paharar Maje
Maje, Mahachinar Bijoyar Swapna, Dalai Lama, Akashi pathedi
door Bidesoloi, Bhagwan Sir Sathya Sai Baba, Andaman Nicober
Dwipapunjar Maje Maje, Dr, Maheswar Neog wrote a letter to
Hemalata in 1962 suggesting her not to give up writing.At that
time he was the Pradhan Sampadak of the Asom Sahity Sabha .
Mrs. Omem Deori, the ex chairman of the Social welfare
Advisory Board of Arunachal Pradesh, appreciated the book. By
writing the two books- Seujia Paharar Maje Maje and Seujia
Kahini, Hemalata become the first Assamese write books on
state of North-east India.
The biography of Dalai Lama was published in 1975 . The book
proves to be precious assets of Assamese literature. There is
a poem in the book which reflects the unrest situation of the
Mizoram. A stanza of the poem goes like this –
Oh Turial river,
Why are you looking so dull?
Why do not we hear sound of music ?
Oh Turial river.
There is violence everywhere in your place.
Everywhere ther is discrimination among ,the races
Now I can understand
The reason of your dullness
And your silent suffering
As a story writer Hemalata achieved success. There are three
books of stories to her credit. These three books were
published in 1966,1990 and 1993 and the books were Galpamala,
Bhinna Swadar Galpa and Mitha Laga,Galpa respectively. In
Galpamala 17stories are included and most of the stories are
centered around female characters. There is a story titled
‘Herai Jowa Jiwan’ and the story depict the plight of a
daughter-in law. Her lawyer husband was quite indifferent to
his wife’s feelings. He blames his wife for any untoward
incident in the family. Her mother-in-law treats he as a maid
servant. The writer expresses her feelings in this manner –
Why cannot a mother-in-law consider her daughter-in-law as her
own daughter? What is the reason for this discrimination?
In ‘Bhinnaa Swadar Galpa’ there are 21 stories. The famous
story of brave Chinese Lady ‘Chang Mama’ or Mother Chaina’ is
included in the book. Hemalata’s stories are mostly based on
reality, Imagination finds little space in her stories. In
Mitha Lage Golpa,’ the writer’s soft corner towards the
downtrodden is well reflected. There is a story
titled’Bastawar paras and in that story there are a few lines
which clearly reflected the feelings on the writer’……….. her
friend’s do not like to sit or go with her because she is a
daughter of a poor tailor. She is also a human being with
tender feelings. She understands everything but does not
Hemalata Borah was an inborn poet. She loved to express her
feeling through poems. Love for nature, Humanity, patriotism
and spirituality are reflected in her poems. In her book
‘Kabitar Maladhari’ 48 poems are included and the poems titled
‘Swagatam” finds 1st place in the book while
‘Bidai’ is included in the last page of the book.
Fascinated by the enchanting beauty of nature the poet
expressers her feelings
Myrid colours of phagun
Makes the nature so beautiful
A sif a sixteen year old lady
……… (Kabitar Maladhari)
Spirituality reflects in this manner
In the path of
Peace , truth, love and Justice,
Today in the illuminating night of
My mind is searching you only,
With the innumerable downtrodden people.
In her poem ‘Jiwan Samudra’ Hemalata’s spiritual find
Boat of life
Moving in the current of time,
Searches for someone in infinity
Ending play in the transient world.
Looking into the nature beauty of hills, the poet’s mind Jumps
with unfathomable enjoyment.
So she sings-
From the other side of the hill,
Shows path to the dazzling streams
Coming down dancing
From the hill,
Offering love to it,
I also feel like singing song
In ‘Mitha Mitha Geet’ Hemalata Borah’s 31 songs have been
included. The songs carry the feelings of patriotism, love for
nature and spirituality. She sings-
This is an altar
Painted with the blood of martyrs.
Come ,lit a lamp
Who embraced the death
With a smiling face.
Not thinking of oneself,
Thinking only for
others (Mitha Mitha Geet)
In the Travelogue ‘Akashi Pathedi door Bidesol’ Hemalata
describes the places like London, Paris, Philadelphia,
Washington DC, New York, Pennsylvania etc. The book provides
lost of date and information.
There is a literary organisation in Dibrugarh- Dibrugarh
Mahila Sahitya Kanan and this organization was formed with the
untiring efforts of Hemalata. The aim of establishing this
literary organization was to encourage the women folk for
literary activities. She also took initiative in publishing a
magazine titled Mandakini? The Dibrugarh Mahila Sahitya Kanan
took birth in 1989 and in1990, the first issue of Mandakini
was published. The first editor of the magazine was late Eni
Hemalata engaged herself in socio welfare activities. While
staying in Arunachal Pradesh (Then NEFA) and Mizoram she
worked for the welfare of women In these two underdeveloped
Hemalata was fond of games. She played tennis, Badminton and
had efficiency in swimming. She was also expert in household
activities and with a creative mind decorated her house
artistically. She was associated with social as well as
educational institutions of Dibrugarh town. For her literary
contributions she was honoured with Purnima Baruah Memorial
Award in 1992.
Hemalata breated her last on 23rd of August 1995
and with that, life of an active lady came to end. She was
physically not well for a few years. Her left side of the body
was paralysed due to stroke when she was in America in 1991.
In spite of this she was regularly present in the afternoon
meeting of the Dibrugarh Mahila Sahitya Kanan. For the new
generation she will always remain as source of inspiration.