Nirupama Hagzer
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 Nirupoma Hagzer

Her name is Nirupoma. She is one of the Dimasa girls of Assam. She is well known not only for her name but for her works. The time and environment that she was born and brought up was not suitable for women education. But even in that environment she became educated and contributed a lot not only to society but to the field of literature also.

Nirupama alias Nirupama Barman was born in 1924 in an aristocratic Dimasa Barman family in an unknown village, Vijaypur near Borkhula in the district of Kachar. Her father was Rajendra Barman, a reputed businessman of that time and her mother was Niradhani Barman. Rajendra Barman later expanded his business upto Lanka and became the third well known businessman of Lanka. As her father was well known in outside society and even outside India, he gave more importance on women’s education. In their own place as there was no provision for girl education he made arrangements in the Boys school for his daughter to study. Because at that time, only in Silchar of Kachar District there was the provision of women education. After completing primary education, continued her English education at home amidst multifarious domestic works. She had her interest and indomitable will to know the unknown things and to acquire more and more knowledge. Whatever she had seen and understood she wanted to express in black and white and so she took up the pen in her hand.’After Indian Independence in 1948, there started an agitation for forming a new state” Purbanchal” comprising some portions from other states and some portions of Kachar . Some of the local publics of that place supported the agitation. At that time Nirupama expressed her opinion against the formation of Purbanchal State in a newspaper named “Azad” which was then published from Kachar. Nirupma wrote-“Kachar was the ancient state of the Kacjaris and regarding Kachar no question of separate state could be raised“.Sri Nibaran Laskar, the then member of parliament highly praised the writings of Nirupama and encouraged her to continue her writings.

Being encouraged by him she continued her writings. She wrote in the manuscript magazine “Defnai” of Borkhula Chatra the articles of Nirupama in that magazine Defnai, one of the youths belonging to Dimasa community expressed his opinion as thus-“Nirupama is one of the Daochandis amongst Daosirilies”. The word Dao means “Bird” in Dimasa language and Daorili means ‘Aflock of Birds:. Acording to him Nirupama is a beautiful, red and green coloured among all the Daochandi birds. By this the youth wanted to mean that among all the writings of the youths, the writings of only one girl Nirupama was most attractive. The writings of Nirupama were highly praised by the youths and students “society and they gifted Nirupama a book “Karenge ya Morenge” which has encouraged Nirupama to continuous her writings. Thus had started the literary life of Nirupama.

The writings of Nirupama attracted my aunty Mrs. Hareshwari Hajuwari – then Hareshwari Brahma one of the prominent ladies of Boro- Kachari community. Both the ladies were attracted by their writings and friendship grew between them through letters. After many years both of them were introduced to each other. These things may seem irrelevant yet I have mentioned these. Because my aunt's friend is also my friend. I have known her from a long time. As my parents were also related with politics and literature, therefore my relation with Nirupama became close. It is also a matter of discussion how the context of politics comes to the literary life of Nirupama.

I have been entrusted by Sodou Asom Lekhika Samaroh Samiti to write the life sketch of Nirupama in order to publish in the third volume of ‘Lekhika’. This is a very attractive responsibility put on me, I have to know some important facts from my aunty in order to write her life sketch elaborately. So in order to meet her I went to her daughter’s place at Dispur. During our talk I asked my aunty how their marriage had been arranged and whether they knew each other before marriage.

My aunty replied –“what are you asking the wicked girl?” She even in that age with a shy smile replied-“I have not known him or seen him before”. Her face for a moment became bright remembering perhaps the colorful days of the youth of the past. I also smiled seeing the shy of my aunty. Before leaving her home she promised me to send books returning to Haflong from her daughter’s residence at Dispur.

She sent her books after a few days. The books composed by the were:

1.             Dimasa (Assamese)

2.             Dimasa A, Aa, Ka, Kha (Dimasa language but in Assamese script)

3.             Dimasa Bhasa Sikaha (Bengali)

4.             Mariong Pachaedi Kacheba Julu (Dimasa)

5.             Hagzer Henfong (Dimasa)

In her letter she also mentioned that she wrote a story book named “Dimasa Sadhua Katha”. As that book was not available in her hand so she could not send the book to me. Along with other things she also mentioned that “on that day you asked me about our marriage but I replied that we had not seen one another. I felt very shy to at that time.”

When my proposal for marriage came my mother felt very sad because I could not accept the marriage proposal. So my mother sent my marriage proposal to Marmi’s father ( to be husband). She reply sent by him reached my hand. In the letter he mentioned the various problems and opinions of various people. I thought that my mother could not reply to all these and therefore without the knowledge of my mother sent the reply to him. Thus through letters there was an exchange of our thoughts and views and thus both of us introduced to one another. Later when I met my aunty she told me that she got the courage to reply his letter because he reading the writings of Nirupama commented that she is one of the Danchandis among Daorilis.That man who praised of Nirupama was Deka Joybhadra. Joybhadra Hagzer was an ihabitant of Haflong and one of the promising youths of Dimasa-Kachari community.

Joybhadra in his marriage proposal mentioned some of the problems. Among thses the noteworthy were the rights and rituals connected with marriage. Because Joybhadra belonged to Haflong and Nirupama belonged to Kachar. There were differences in religion between the Dimasa’s of these two places. The Dimasas living in Haflong or North Kachar and the neighboring places followed their ancient religion. But the Dimasa- Kacharis living in North Kachar were initiated into Brahmanism during the reign of the Kachari king Govinda Chandra. From  that time on the Dimasa –Kacharis of Kachar performed their marriage following the rights and rituals of Brahmanism. Those people who were initiated into Brahmanism  during the reign of Raja Govinda Chandra wrote the title Barman and wore Logun (Holy Thread). But the Dimasas of North Kachar District performed there marriages by their own priests and by following their own right and rituals . Because of such controversies the marriage of Nirupama and Joybhadra remained pending for three  years.

In 1948, Nikhil Kachar Barman Samaroh was held in Kachar to which Biren Das Boro was invited to grace the occasion.  To that meeting many of the leading personalities were also invited. In that meeting a proposal was accepted that there should be marriage relations between the Barmans of Kachar and the Dimasa-Kacharis. The proposal was put forward by Upendra Kachari Dev, the then Principal of Barama College. Their marriage was performed after that meeting by their own priests and by following their own rights and rituals.

From the marriage of Nirupama we can get the idea regarding her invincible courage, patience to convince the society and her knowledge. Nirupama aunty asked me not to mention about her marriage. I also gave consent to her. But there is no example better then this to let the leaders know her courage. She also let me know that “all these are very long stories. many of the people of Kachar still comment that our marriage has violated the prevalent social customs”.

These things though not related to literary works, gave her courage which without displeasing anybody could convince the society and conquer the minds of all. This  was her husband who encouraged her in literary activities.

Her husband Joybhadra was a social activist, a thoughtful person and a shrewd politician. This person was the Deputy P.W.D. Minister from 1957. In 1958 In1958 he was elected to Rajya Sabha. From 1968 he was the member of Uttar Kachar Parboitya Jilla Parishad. They had three sons and three daughters. They were Bibhadra, Marimi, Silabhadra, Sumitra and Nomrota. All of them are now well established high officers.

Nirupama was introduced to her husband Joybhadra through her writings after completing her primary education. After marriage Nirupama passed M.E. Examination staying for six months in her parent’s residence. Joybhadra was very much pleased at the success of his “Daochandi”. She started to study again. She passed Matriculation Examination along with her third son Silabhadra. Still her desire for students remained unfulfilled. She said-“I have my desire for more studies but  could not fulfill.”

Let’s come to the activities of Nirupama Hagzer.

Her book “Dimasa” was a research book. The book was first published in 1974. In the preface of the book, Sri Nogen Saikia, the then secretary of Assamese people and culture we have to understand the socio-cultural life of the different tribes of Assam. Such studies will help the different tribes to find out their place in the vast Assamese nationality and to fill themselves one of the main portions of it.”

In order to have a detailed knowledge about the Dimasa Kacharis the study of the book “Dimasa” of Nirupama Hagzer is most essential . In that book on the heading , captioned”Dimasa Jati Parichay” she writes”Dimasa tribe is a branch of greater Kachari Tribe. But different historians opined differently regarding the name Dimasa. Many of the historians were of the view that”Dima” means big river or the Brahmaputra and “Sa”means son. That is why the Dimasas are the decendants of the people who lived across the banks of the Brahmaputra. But my opinion is different. If the people living across Dima or the Brahmaptyra are named Dimasa the why the other Kachari people living in the Brahmaputra valley are not named Dimasas. On the other hand the Dimasas identify the river Brahmaputra as “ Vilao” (Long River) and the Boros identify the Brahmaputra  as”Tilao”.

My assumption is that in the 14th century as the Ahoms drove aways the Kacharis from Sibsagar District they went to present Dimapur (Dimabong).During the reign of the Kacharis Dimapur known as Dimabong which can be known from ancient folk songs.The Dhansiri river flowing near Dimapur is known as “Dima” in Dimasa language. This river originates from Hajadisa and Prasahdumdu of North Kachar. The originate place – a village known as Dimadhru. This word means the source of Dima River. There is no doubt that as the village is situated across the Dima river so it is named as Dimapur. The descendants living there all themselves as Dimasa, just like the people of (Guwahatiya), the people of Dispur as Dispur –sa (Dispuriya), the people of Nogaon as Nogaon –sa (Nogaonya). Just like that, in the past the Dimapurias introduced themselves as Dimapur-sa and it can be believed that later they were known a Dimasa. How clear and simple is her explanation! An incomparable argument to be placed before the scholars! Feel if necessary to extract her few lines in order to give an idea regarding the history of the Dimasas.

In her book she also mentions the different division of the Dimasas-“ The Dimasas living in North Kachar are known as”Ha-Hausa “ i.e inhabitants of top hills and Dimasas of Sounth Kachar (Kachar district) are known as “Hauyarosha” which means inhibitants of broad fields. Just like that the Dimasas of  Nagaon district are known as “Demraj” and the Dimasas living  near Dijiua Hills and in Karbi Anglong are known as “ Dijuwasa”. The above mentioned Ha-Hausa, Hauyarosha, Demsa and Dijuawasa constitute the present Dimasa society.” This valuable research book will surely get a place in Assamese Literature.

She again writes-“The Dimasas were never the Hill Tribes. Those people who presently live in North Kachar and those who were regarded as Hill Tribes, they in the past were not actually hill tribes. Dima Raja after leaving Dimapur entered North Kachar. In the beginning of the 17th century when Dima Raja leaving his capital Maibong went towards plains and established his capital at Khaspur his subject also left the place-those people who live at present in North Kachar were different from other hill tribes. As a proof, it can be mentioned that the Dimasas of North Kachar are accustomed in doing wet rice cultivation then slash and burn cultivation (Jhum Kheti). At present the Dimasas of North Kachar are compelled to engage themselves in Jhum kheti for their livelihood.

Thus she in her book has shown clearly the different as pects of the Dimasas. Another book of Nirupama Hagzer captioned “Dimasa A,Aa,Ka,Kha” published in 1985 was written in Dimasa language but in Assamese scripts. She had to wait for long nine years in order to publish this book. In the foreword of this book  the then Deputy Director Sri Nogen Sharma had written as thus-“In the interest of unity and solidarity of a nation the contribution of Nirupama Hagzer should be recognized. Her contribution to this aspect by writing text books should be praise worthy”.

For those who’ desire to learn Dimasa language her another book “Dimasa Bhasa Aru Siksha” written in Bengali script is also a valuable asset. In this book few Dimasa words are found. These ase as such:

        Assamese                    Dimasa

·               Maa                            Maa, Buma

·               Deuta                              Pha, Buma

·               Dodai                               Bidi

·               Khuri                              Bumadi

I want to a doctor but did not meet him-Ang Dactar Niha –Tang Bamu Dactar Oke Maiya. Thus we can learn many Dimasa words.

Her other two books written in Dimasa language were “Mairong Pachaedi Kacheba Julu Parainodi (Bor-Rani)” and “Hagzer Chengfong”.In the first book Bor-Rani the maternal clan (Julu) the chief queen of Govinda Chandra of Kachar and in her second book paternal clan of Hagzer Chengfong were given in details.

There Is no need to explain about Julu and Chengfong. The Dimasas use the word Julu and Chengfong in order to describe their maternal and paternal clan. There are forty Julus or maternal clans and forty two Chengfongs inorder to describe the paternal clans.The name of some of the Julu clans are Gachauma, Rajanma, Chaidima and some of the Chengfong clans are Dadlagupu, Thauben and Hagzer etc. In Julu or maternal clan name of the grandmother, great grandmother are included. In Julu there comes no question of paternal identification. There cannot  be any marriage relation with the same maternal and paternal clan. But there can be marriage relations between the sons and daughters of maternal uncle and between the sons and daughters of their auntys (pehis) because the Julu of the mother is separate and Chengfong of the father of maternal uncle is also separate. Though the parents of the maternal uncle are of the same clan yet much importance is not given on paternal clan in respect of girls. In the same way, sister of aunty (pehi) and paternal grandfather are same but the Julu of the mother of the aunty (pehi) and Chengfong of the uncle (peha) are separate> The Julu of the mother and the aunty is not the same and the Changfong of the father and the uncle is also not the same .

In the book “Mairong Pachaedi” where maternal clan of queen Chandraprabha is described and from this we can know that Nirupama is a daughter of tenth generation of queen Chandraprabha. In her book she has also given the paternal clan of her husband Joybhadra Hagzaer. She had to undertake much pain and devote much time in  completing this research work.

In our society people generally give more importance on father’s clan. But in  Dimasa society importance is also given on mothers’ clan and identification of women. But women write the titles of their paternal clan and those titles are Hagzer, Thousen, Daulagupu etc.The Chengfong of Joybhadra Hagzer belongs to Hagzer branch and the Julu of Nirupama belongs to Julu Pachaedi Kacheba.

Nirupama after crossing 70 years of age was firmly determined to build working women’s hostel ay Haflong. She has her dream to compose a Anglo Assamese Dimasa Dictionary and in order to accomplish this work she has collected many of the datas. She is also closely related to Assam Pradekhik Mahila Samiti, Haflong Mahila Samiti and to Dimasa Mahila Samiti. She is now busy to revive the Dimasa Mahila Samiti which is almost dead.

As a respect, the Dimasa duyghter Nirupama is awarded Literary Pension. The ideal that she has shown will be a source of courage and inspiration to women society. God surely will bless her and give her longevity and a sound health.



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