Nirupama Kotoky
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Nirupama Kotoky

Nirupama Kotoky, a resident of Chenikuthi Hillside, Guwahati, has made remarkable contributions in the field of Assamese art and literature. She is known to have been closely associated with the "Sadou Asom Lekhika Samaroh Samiti". She is recognized to have exceptional skills in her description of travel expeditions.

Born in 1921, she was the daughter of the renowned educationist, scholar and advocate from Tezpur-Late Chandranath Sharma and wife of Mr. Shiva Prasad Kotoky of Sivsagar. Mother, Labanya Bala Devi was the daughter of Late Dimbeswar Baruah and father of Late Chandranath Sharma was the son of Deputy Collector Rai Bahadur Betharam Sharma. Late Chandranath Sharma was a famous actor and had a deep bonding with the famous ‘Ban Theatre’ of Tezpur. He was the founder President of the ‘Tezpur Sahitya Sabha’, President of A.B.H.A.U.S.H.A., President of Ramkrishna Sewa Ashram and remained Secretary of the Tezpur Ban Theater till his demise.

During that pre-independence time, it was customary for an Assamese conservative family to arrange for marriage of their girl child just after getting puberty. Hence, Chadranath Sharma, with due respect to such customs arranged for the marriage of his daughter, Nirupama Kotoky at an age of twelve years, when she was studying in fifth standard. This also forced her to her to conclude her school education from Tezpur M.E Girls School at class six. However to run family affairs she was trained adequately by her parents including all knitting and cutting works, sewing, embroidery etc, which was a must during those times. In present age also, her expertise is evident in cloth works.

Since childhood, Nirupama Kotoky was highly inspired by her father and sister Chandrabala Patangia Baruah in her voyage in art and literature, music and acting. Also, the urges to activity participate in local ‘Joymati’ Festival was anther source of motivation for creation of her art literary works. Inspiration from Late Dinanath Sharma, writer of the book ‘Nadai’, for writing articles and books was also a driving force.

She had recited her first composition titled ‘Joymati’ at Joymati Festival. She was also rewarded with silver medals for her acting performance as ‘Lora Raja’ and ‘Gadapani’ in Joymati Festival held at Tezpur Kolibari. She got the opportunity for singing at the age of five while welcoming great personality and writer Padma Nath Gohain Baruah as president of Joymati Festival. She was blessed to learn on music from personalities like Kalaguru Bishnu Rabha, Hridoyananda Agarwala, Neera Dogra, Indreswar Borthakur, Usha Bezbaruah etc.

Nirupama Kotoky’s literary journey started with writing of poems. ‘she was also editor of hand-writing magazine ‘Nizara’. Though she was intermittently slowed down in literary work by the family responsibility, she got pulled up as the opportunity comes. Her inner soul always starved for the writing. Persistent encouragement from her husband Shiva Prasad Kotoky also acted like a catalyst.

Few published works of Nirupama Kotoky were:

a) ‘Sagar-tirtha Aaru Purna Kumbha’, publisher- shiva Prasad Baruah, 1977, Guwahati.

b) ‘Devabhumi Badrinathar Paraa Devi Kanya- Kumari’, publisher- Shiva Prasad Baruah, 1973, Guwahati

c) ‘Borshno Devi’, publisher- Khagendra Narayan Dutta Baruah, 1986, Guwahati

d) ‘Namare Kakuti Karo Charan Kamal’, publisher- Anupam Baruah,1986, Guwahati

e) ‘Baan Rajar Nagarat Aaji Usgha Haran’,publisher- Khagendra Narayan Dutta Baruah,1987, Guwahati

Travel stories have long been established as an integral part of mainstream literary works. However, Assamese literature does not have a rich reserve of it. Nirupama Kotoky got influenced by Hem Baruah’s work ‘Sagar Dekhilu’ and works of ‘Sanku Maharaj’ in Bengali literature. Characteristics of Kotoky’s travel stories are her close observation and sensibility. In her first book ‘Devabhumi Badrinathar Para Devi Kanya-Kumari’, she has described various pilgrimages from Northern to Southern India and the itinerary.

Her second book ‘Sagar Tirtha Aaru Purna Kunbha’ emerged out of her tour during famous Kunbha Festival. It describes the lucid itinerary through Gujrat’s Dwaraka & Somanath and Haridwar. India’s most of the pilgrimage sites are located in nature’s paradise. Kotoky’s writings present this nature’s gift to the reader in a very eloquent way. She also visited various historical places like Aurangabad, Nashik, Ajanta, Ellora, Ujjain, Bhopal, Khajuraho, Gwalior, Khajuraho, Kurukshetra, Amitsar etc. and presented its description to the readers.

A poetry book titled ‘Nijara’ from Kotoky’s pen was ready for publication. Patriotism, love for nature, humanity, spirituality etc. remained the themes of poems from this book.

Nirupama Kotoky took active part in 1980’s ‘Assam Agitation’ bearing police atrocity including jail term. Her poems with revolutionary theme during that time were ‘Aai Toi Nakaribi Khed’, ‘Raktabeej’,‘Swahidar Smriti’, jaga Narayan’,‘Ashru Arghya’. Her poem titled ‘Kedarnath’ expresses the theme of respect for God; poem ‘Gabharu Nijara’ expresses eternal love and humanity; poem ‘Pranshna’ tries to establish relation from theories of ‘Upanishada’ to Modern life; poem ‘Anurag’ brings forward poet’s understanding on Life; poem ‘Jeevanar Khatian’ conveys achievement of human in life and spiritual value of life at death etc.

After marriage in 1934, at the age of thirteen, Nirupama Kotoky had mostly lived in jungle in Assam, where her husband worked. Various places during this period include Murkong Chelek, Bako, Loharghat, Sarbhof, Nagaon, Yamunamukh, Hojai, Goalpara, Pathakandi, Hailakandi, Tura, Mokakchang, Kohima, Duwenchang etc. Her favorite writings were from famous Bengali writers like Bankimchandra, Charatchandra, Prantosh Ghatak and Assamese poet Raghunath Choudhury and short stories of Abdul Malik.

She got a prosperous family life with Shivaprasad Kotoky, her sons are Jyotiprasad Kotoky (an engineer in ASEB) and Jayantaprasad Kakoty (a chemical engineer). Her only daughter got Rasaraj Lakhmi Nath Bezbaruah, who belonged to famous Rasaraj Lakhmi Nath Bezbaruah’s family. Husband Shivprasad Baruan also started writing after retirement from service life. His published books are ‘Aaranyak’ (partI & II), ‘Sanatan Dharmar Aabhash Aaru Ekasaran Vaishnav Dharmar Aatuguri’, ‘AlokarShandhaanat’ ‘Ajir Samuhia Samashyabali’.

It is worthwhile to mention that Nirupama Kotoky’s book titled ‘Kumayanar Bhraman Kahini’ was in the press at the time of publishing the original article. She was also planning to publish a book on her expeditions in Bhutan titled ‘Rupavati Bhutan’. She expects women community to come out from the household boundary and to take responsibilities towards society and nation building in equal footings with males. For Assamese females, Nirupama Kotoky is a live example of self-growth and evolution. Wish long lives of both Mr. & Mrs. Kotoky and hope their writings would show paths to others.




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