Hemalata Borah
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Hemalata Borah

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 brothers.

Education:

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.

Family Life:

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.

Literary Career:

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

No peace

Now I can understand

The reason of your dullness

And your silent suffering

                                                                                           (Bichitra Mizoram)

 

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 express…….?

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

Autumn,

My mind is searching you only,

 With the innumerable downtrodden people.

(Kabitar Maladhari)

In her poem ‘Jiwan Samudra’ Hemalata’s spiritual find expression –

 

Boat of life

Moving in the current of time,

Searches for someone in infinity

Ending  play in the transient world.

                                                                                  (Kabitar Maladhari)

Looking into the nature beauty of hills, the poet’s mind Jumps with unfathomable enjoyment.

So she sings-

“Bright Sunshine

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

With them…”

(Kabitar Maladhari)

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

On it

For those

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 Phukan.

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 place.

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.

 

 

 
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