Kunjalata Devi
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Kunjalata Devi

Kunjalata Devi was born in a orthodox Brahmin family in Nagaon, the time when women in Assam did not have the privilege of education, child marriage was practiced in the society. Kunjalata Devi was born as the daughter o Late Bishnudev Sharma and Late Nagendra Devi at Amollapatty, Nagaon in the month of August, 1897.

Her father was a Brahmin Pandit and an influential person. Born in a family like that, Kunjalata Devi was brought up in an environment amidst rules and regulations. She had six siblings. Her brother, Late Purna Chandra Sharma was well known as ‘Advocate Purna’ in and around Nagaon. He was a freedom fighter and became a member of the parliament after India got freedom. At that time rules and regulations of the Brahmin society was very strict and girls were married off at a tender age. Father, Late Bishnudev Sharma tried hard to find a good match for his nine years old daughter. Failing to do so, one morning he promised himself that whomever he finds will marry off his daughter to him. Hearing this, the then Munshif of Tezpur, Late Hemchandra Goswami took the marriage proposal of Late Madhav Sharma, eldest son of Late Joydev Sharma of Tezpur and prepared for the marriage.

Mahadev Sharma went off to Kolkata for further studies leaving his newly wedded wife at home. In the year 1918, kunjalata Devi went to Kolkata with her husband and spent three years in Shree Shree Sardeswari Ashram under the guidance of Principal Shree Shree Gaurima of the ashram. In that ashram married women were kept for three years and taught to be a good housewife and knowledge was given to overcome hassles and lead on a good married life. Sanskrit, Bengali and English literature were taught in the ashram. There in Kunjalata Devi yook lesson till class nine. After three years Kunjalata Devi started to live with her husband in Bindastreet, Kolkata in a two storied building and started her married life with her husband. Her husband wrote many books at that time like Savitri, Buddhadev etc. The responsibility of publishing these books was taken by the then owner of Vivekananda society, brother of Vivekananda, Late Mohim Dutta Dev. With the help of Dutta, Mr. Sharma opened up his own press in Kolkata and published his children magazines Akan, Arun, Maina etc. Inspired by her husband in literature, Kunjalata Devi also wrote three books named ‘Bhaktajoy’, ‘Joymoti Kuwori’ and ‘Rani Durgawati’.

While staying in the ashram Kunjalata Devi evolved a very good relationship with Principal Shree Shree Gaurima. She had Knowledge on human life from Shree Shree Gaurima and becayce of that reason Shree Shree Gaurima asked for Kunjalata Devi’s first child if it was a girl as a guru- dakshina. Obliging the promise, Kunjala Devi gave her first child to the ashram at the age of five years. That child grew up to be Shreemati Ajitipuri Devi, present Principal of Shree Shree Saradeswari Ashram. Though the family suffered immense grief because of this, it was an example of a mother’s true belief and sacrifice.

Having shifted to Kolkata after marriage, Kunjalata Devi got the privilege to meet many talented personalities and get inspiration. Among them some noted personalities were wife of Ramkrishna Parmahansha Shree Shree Saradeswari Devi, Shree Shree Gaurima, brother of Vivekananda, Late Mahim Dutta etc. In addition to it she also went to place like Jaipur, Brindavan etc with Shree Gaurima and got immense pleasure touring the ashram of Ramkrishnan Mission in Various parts of India.

While staying in Kolkata she gave birth to a son and a daughter. In accordance she had to handle a lot of responsibilities in her life. At the time when India was fighting for its freedom her husband, Late Mahadev Sharma took active part in fighting for the country. Amidst all theses, family responsibilities could not confine Kunjalata Devi. She took active part in fighting for the country. She took part in discussions and committees in various parts of Assam along with her husband. She went to different places of Assam, Dhekiajuli, Tezpur, Besseria etc. and formed committees with noted freedom fighters like late Amio Kumar Das, Shreemati Puspalata Das, and Late Purnachandra Sharma etc.

Shreemati Kunjalata Devi was a well known social worker. She was felicitated in second All Assam Writer’s Association held in Mangoldoi. She was also the President of Tezpur women Silpa Samiti. In the last year of her life she kept herself involved in various holy institutions and woman establishments. Though, now she is ninety-four year old lady. Despite her wishes now, she is unable to involve herself with social works.

Shreemati Kunjalata Devi was proud to be the wife of an able gentleman, late Madhav Sharma who was an extremely talented person. They led a happy married life. She was the proud mother of three sons and three daughters (excluding the donated daughter). Eldest son, Shree Biswadev Sharma was noted minister in the ministry of Assam. Her middle son Shree Nandadev Sharma is well known musician in Assam. But her youngest son, Badal Sharma had a sudden death. The death of her husband and youngest son evoked immense grief at her old age. Shreemati Kunjalata Devi is now the leading lady of her big family consisting of her eldest son, Shree Biswadev Sharma, her daughter-in-law, grand children’s and has stepped on the last stage of her life.

On a fortunate day, we went to meet Shreemati Kunjalata Devi. On inquired of her previous life, she, with great difficulty managed to give us a brief detail remembering the beautiful instances of her life. All those have been put down in this article. She told us," You all are very late in approaching me. I am lost in myself now. This old age has led me to forget many things of my life". We wish her a long life. In answer to that she said, "It is a course to live, because with each passing day every part of my body is becoming weak. In this stage I pray to God to take my soul with him."

Literary success of Shreemati Kunjalata Devi: It has been mentioned earlier how Kunjalata Devi got inspiration from her husband while staying in Kolkata and wrote three books namely Rani Durgawati, Bhakta Joy and Joymoti Kumari. But it is very sad reality that none of the books are available now. All the books got burnt down the book shop of Late Bhabiram Kalita. And along with it is writing of Kunjalata Devi was lost forever. That is the reason we are now deprived of tasting the beautiful writings of Shreemati Kunjalata Devi. Still to know what subjects the books were written, we requested her to throw light on them. She herself gave us a brief account of her books.

1. Bhakta Joy: It was a book on how the disciples could win God with their faith and love for God. On presenting the importance of the subject, the writer also mentioned the story of disciple Dhruva. Indeed this book was an amazing piece of literature for children.

2. Joymoti Kuwori: Ahom princess Joymoti sacrificed her life in the hands of Saudang for the love for her country and her husband showing great courage. Despite of extreme punishment by Saudang, Joymoti did not give up and did not reveal about her husband’s enclosure.

3. Rani Durgawati: The story of Rani Durgawati from Indian History was revealed in this book. Rani Durgawati could not save her husband fighting for his country and she herself took up the sword and shield for her country and fought with the enemy symbolizing Indian Woman’s courage. This story was taken as the subject matter for the book.

It has been observed that the first book was written for children and the other two books were meant for the women. Another creation of Shreemati Kunjala Devi was "Jananayak Mahadev Shama". Due to the inconvenience in finding the books, the overall summary of the books, writings are not available to discuss. These beautiful writings should not be forgotten and if these are preserved with anyone’s efforts should be made to publish them. In accordance with the subject matter it has been seen that Shreemoti Kunjalata Devi was a great writer of the per-independence period.


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