Kabya Bharati Dharmeshwari Devi Baruani
 
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Kabya Bharati Dharmeswari Devi Baruani

(1812-1960)

With the sorrowful touch of heart, with the afflicting soul and with tearful eyes, Dharmeswari Devi Baruani created her anthology of poems ‘Phular Sarai" and she was stable enough to keep the boat of life firm in the midst of the tempest of the world and in leading her life she was quite indifferent to power, prestige and position.

Kabi tumityagi, ashahin pran

Kabita tomer sarbaswa dhan

Kabi pranam.

(Oh poetess, you are selfless without having any exceptation in life. Poetry is the only wealth that you have)

Dharmeswari Devi Baruani was born in Panchawati Ashrama, Guwahati. She was handicapped for a long time, but was deeply engrossed in creative work. The father of this noble daughter was Jaigyaram Sarma the mother’s name was Rambhapriya Devi. Jagyaram Sarma was ‘muktiyar’. The desire of the trembling soul of Baruani was like the ‘Satya Pathik’ (true traveler) of late Nalinibala Devi.

‘Pichaloi Ghuri

Nechaba Ulati

Joa Agbarhi Sanmukhaloi’

(Do not look back. Go ahead)

Though in present society effort is made to establish equal right between men and women and to prove the efficiency of women from different outlook and though the importance of women is realized, it was not easy for women get their recognition and identity. In the early part of the 19th century when environment for women was not a favorable one three poetess- Kabyabharati Dharmeswari Devi Baruani, Padmashree Nalinibala Devi and Jamuneswari Khataniar were able to have establishment in their life. Their contribution to Assamese poetry is sacred like the flame of a sacrificial fire, sweet as honey and heart touching like the tune of a lyre. When she had just started her married life with Durganath Barua she suffered from rheumatic pain. But her suffering could not make her mind depressed. Like the wave of a great sea thoughts of her serene heart stirred her mind and came out in the form poem. With utmost devotion to God she sang:

Sei Suratei Kabya kananat

Kabir Hridoi Juri

Kabitar Sot Bai Ulahere

Hiya Uthe Bhari Puri.

(The stream of poetry flows joyously making poet’s heart full with sweet tune blown in the garden of poetry)

Though the theme of poetry is of both happiness and pain, the theme of major portion of all literature is suffering. Affliction creates many poets even from the days of the Ramayana. Baruani also suffered a lot. She forgot the pain at the love and care shown to her by her husband. She wrote eulogizing her husband’s love:

Jadiuba saja nai deu

Bahirat okha Daul eti

Ki ashim Karuna Tomer

Kiba Sneh Dila Mor Prati

(You have showered me deep love though you have not constructed a tower expressing your love to me)

(Ashru Arghya)

But God is sometimes unkind to men and so with Baruani. After a few years of their conjugal life Baruani’s husband Durganath Barua expired she had to embrace the pain of widowhood. She expressed her feelings at the death of her husband:

‘Aji Mai jivanat akalsharia

Ache matho lagaria eti humuniah"- byarthata

Aru seibabe swamir ocharat akul prathna

‘Rugaklista dukhuni priyak

Niya dev ochar chapai’.

(I am lonely. Nobody is by my side except a deep sigh and failure. So I request my husband to take his ailing wife to his side)

She kept her nephew with her, he too left her. About her personal sorrow Sahityacharjya Atul Chandra Hazarika wrote:

Being lonely and physically handicapped, she was leading a helpless life and every organ of her body refused to co-operate with her as she was put in a fire ordeal. But she successfully over came the personal problems.

Dharmeswari Devi Baruani’s works in poetry are Phular Sarai, 1929, Pranar Parash, 1952, Ashrudhara aru Jivantari, 1963 and in these anthologies three trends in love are found------ love of Almighty, love of nature, and patriotism. The love and faith in God makes her optimist, love of nature widens her mental horizon and love of country arose fraternity and brotherhood in her children creating a sense of universal love in them. Dr Maheswar Neog wrote about her poetry:

‘Her mind which loves loneliness and high thinking is expressed in her poetry being refined and restrained by women like sentiment and sense of religion’.

The utmost faith in the creator of the universe is reflected in Baruani’s poetry. She wrote in Vishaw Prabah:

Maye bhango maye garho maye khanikar

Maye jivan dio vishaw manavar.

(I am the creator, I am the destroyer. It is I who give life to mankind)

The emancipation of soul is the basis of all philosophical thinking of India. Union of soul with supreme soul is the main goal of life which finds nice presentation in the poetry of Devi Baruani. She expressed her earnest desire to merge in the supreme soul and thereby to experience eternal bliss.

Tumi Mai Duyu Milim Jidina

Tomatei Haba Lin

Eketi Surat Edali Tarat

Bajam Milan Bin.

(When we meet each other, I shall be merged in thee. We shall play the same tune in the same string)

(Priyalai Padumi)

Her sincere surrender to God enriched her intellectually allays her bodily pain. She expressed the serenity gained through the meditation of God in the following lines:

Bukuedi Bai Jai Shital Nijara |

Jivanat Shanti Lovi Tripta Hai Pran || (Sahitya Sampad)

(The fountain of cold water is flowing on my bosom offering a soothing effect to my soul)

The poetess also depicted the landscape of green nature. She painted both the serene and terrible aspects of nature in poems like Sharat Sambher, Priyalai Padumi. Sakhiyati etc. The cruelty of man against the sublime nature and its destruction to fulfil their selfish interest has very beautifully been depicted by Baruani. In Baruani’s poetry nature is depicted in a very lively and beautiful manner. The ghat of a river, the open field, place beneath peepal tree, and side of a stream are often the meeting places young boys and girls. She vividly narrates:

Sandhiya Belika Gaware Sarala

Jiyari Boari Jak

Kashate Kalachi Khopate Malati

Chapehi Naire Kash.

(The women of village go to the river side taking pitchers to fetch water. They are decorating their braid with bunches of orchid. )

She wished everybody’s welfare and uplift. At the death of man of fame she considered it as the loss of her own family. She prayed for eternal bliss of the departed soul by creating verse in their name. She wrote at the departure of Bezbarua: Liberal minded Devi Boruani considered all people of Assam as the member of same household.

Bachakbania Kari Hemahar Satsari |

Katano Pindhala tumi Kantha Jananir || (Smrity Arghya)

(No body can count how many golden necklaces and bracelets you have presented to the neck of the motherland)

In 1956 she was conferred the title Kabya Bharati by the Asom Sahitya Sabha. The Assam Government has granted her literary pension in the later part of her life. She had a deep love for her mother tongue. She could not attend the Sabha due to her ill health. But feeling of her heart was expressed through poetry.

Sometimes the poet seemed to be very much desolate and in such a mood she sighed for the loss of her strength and fruitlessness of all her endeavor. But immediately she changed her mood and declares complacence that is derived from sacrifice. Being imprisoned in bed for a long time she had an earnest desire to roam in the open sky.

The life of Devi Baruani was blessed by the sincere love of her husband. Apart from that she was benefited by the love of her relatives and grandchildren which inspired her a lot in her literary creation. As she was childless, her husband consoled her saying that Pranar Parash, Phular Sharai are to be considered her offspring as they are created by herself from her own feeling and sentiment. She created her poems orally and her grandchildren put them in writing. Due to her weak eyesight she could not read her creation. It is really strange that she had strong mental strength in spite of her weak health. She was happy with what she possessed. Her life was full of suffering, but for that she complained to no one. Rather with utmost modesty she begs:

Bhikhyar Patrati mor

Kari Bharpur,

Dukhakei Diya Prabhu

Dukhei Madhur.

(O God! Please give me brimful sorrow. Because pathos is beautiful)

Expression of such modesty is very rare. Intensity of anger and protest is absent in her poetry. A tranquil, engrossed type of remorse peeps in her writing and that too is hidden by her lively thought. Concealing her pain carefully, she is overwhelmed with the love of God. An earnest desire for the union of two souls sometimes with the near and dear one and sometimes with the supreme soul is expressed and depicted here. We are proud of her for the rare wealth she gifted to Assamese literature. The example of her creative work should be an example for every woman. Those woman that cannot write due to hesitation and household problems, to them Boruani remain as a source of inspiration.

Devi Baruani breathed her last in 9th March 1960 at her own residence of Nijarapar, Guwahati.

 

 
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