A big crowd has assembled in the chief commercial
centre of upper Assam, Tinsukia. The programmed has been organized in
order to honor a famous writer. The writer is a somber looking man with
his hair parted in between, sitting with a band of garlands on his neck,
and a ‘khorai’ kept in front of him as a mark of respect.
At the beginning of the shovg a group of little girls
perform a group song - "Gose Gose Paati Dile Phulore Khorai ..." (Trees
offer flowers as a khorai). Amidst the buzz of handclaps and praises, the
letter of honor was read: "The crownless king of the literary world of
Assam shri ...." That was the felicitation ceremony of the great poet
Lakshminath Bezbaruah. It was held in 1930. At the end of the programmed,
honorable Bezbaruah was taken to a house. In the house, some interesting
discussions started. A young boy also participated in these discussions.
"You have read a good number of books, dear. What is
your name P" Bezbaruah asked the young man.
"Anand Chandra Baruah" replied the boy with his head
bowed down. At this moment, the girl who participated in the group song
presented by the little girls entered the room. Bezbaruah called the girl
towards him affectionately and asked her name. The boy standing nearby
replied, "Pranita, Pranita Baruah. She sings and is quite good at studies.
Bezbaruah kept his hands on the girl’s head and gave her blessings, "You
will have to write when you grow up to be a big girl. You will be able to
write.... I give my blessings to you."
The house where Bezbaruah was taken after the ceremony
was the home of a famous businessman of Assam, the owner of tea gardens,
Someswar Baruah. The little girl who sang was his younger daughter Pranita.
The budding poet, who later became famous as Ananda Chandra Barauh was her
maternal uncle. Actually Pranita participated in the group song
presentation at the encouragement of Ananda Baruah.
Pranita was born at Tinsukia in 1922. It can be said
that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Because her father was
a famous businessman and tea gardener of upper Assam, a wealthy, rich
person, Pranita’s mother was an active lady in social circles which was
unusual in those times. She was the lifelong member of Tinsukia Women’s
Association. Apart from being a social worker, she was also a writer. She
has left behind a valuable piece of work for the women of Assam - I a
recipe book entitled ‘Laximir Ronclhaboda’ (°Lakhshmi’s cooking).
Pranita Baruah was a bright and sincere student right
from her childhood. She always stood first in her section. Including
studies, she and #her sister, I-Iemi Baruah also participated in all the
social functions and ceremonies organized in Tinsukia town. Together with
some girls, they brought out a handwritten magazine named as ‘Moloya’. The
article written by Pranita was selected for publication. Broadly speaking,
‘Moloya’ became a medium for Pranita to take her first steps into the
world of literature. She was also a regular writer for the very famous
children magazine ‘Okon’. In the pages of ‘Okon’ are imprinted the many
stories and other writings by young Pranita.
As per the traditions of the period, Pranita was
married at a Women Writers of Assam (Vol-II) tender age when she was in
class four. Her husband was the bright ‘Son of Assam’, Lakheswar Sarma. He
was from Jorhat. Sarma was a brilliant student. He passed his B.A. in
first class rank from Calcutta University and secured a gold medal as
topper, and later, completed his law from the same university and scored a
first class. He was appointed as Extra Assistant Commissioner (E.A.C)
under British government and later, promoted for Indian Administrative
After one year of marriage, Pranita was sent to her
husband’s home. Her school education was left incomplete. As Pranita was a
bright student, the headmaster of her school, Badan Chandra Bordoloi,
requested her parents not to stop her education. But due to the rigid
social norms of the times, her parents could not keep the request.
Even though she could not banish her education, her
quest for knowledge did not end. Her interest in learning brought her
close to books. Her husband supported her in this matter. Pranita
restarted her education at her husband’s home and passed her metric and
I.A. exams. But due to family responsibilities she could not excelling her
academic career. Although she could not take institutional degrees such as
B.A, M.A, she always maintained a close alliance with popular world
Due to her husband’s profession, she had to travel to
various places from Sivasagar to Dhubri. Everywhere Pranita had been able
to establish herself as a vigilant social worker. She was the president of
All Assam Moina Meeting and Parijaat in Dibrugarh. While Mr. Sarma was the
Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri, Srimati Pranita was associated with Women
organizations and Parijaat like organizations. After retirement, Mr.
Sarmaand his whole family shifted to Shillong. For the last ten years,"
Srimati Pranita Devi is an active member of Mukul organizations in
Shillong, and a regular Women Writers of Assam (Vol-II) article reader at
every meeting session of this organization.
In 1977, the third meeting of All Assam Women Writers
Organization was held at Jorhat and Mrs. Pranita Devi was invited as its
Chief Guest. In the 55"‘session of this organization held at Dumduma, Mrs.
Devi was again invited as a special guest.
Mrs. Pranita Devi is the mother of a son and three
daughters. The entire child grew up to become successful in their
respective careers and enhanced the glory and pride of their parents. As
all her children are settled in different places, Mrs. Devi is bound to
live a lonely life in Shillong. Still she is not demoralized and Wishes to
pass the remaining days of her life in greater literary pursuits. "It
appears that I am alive to Write, and will continue to be so", this is her
only inner desire.
Taking inspiration from her husband Sri Lakheswar Sarma,
Mrs. Devi started her writing carrier and brought Assamese literature
closer to World literature through translation works. Mr. Sarma himself
was a famous writer. ‘Matri’ (Mothr) and ‘Pompaiee Porloy Kahini’ (T he
story of Pompeii’s Destruction) are two of his famous translation Works.
In the midst of his busy schedule as a government officer he had written
several book like ‘Singha’, ‘Kornor Ramayan’, ‘Missimi Paharor Ranakhingha’,
‘Sumitra’, ‘The Administration Age Ice’ English), Aai Amreswri’, etc and
enriched the storehouse of Assamese literature. The influence of such a
distinguished and talented Writer husband is natural to fall on his wife.
Thus, Pranita Devi has selflessly served her motherland and language by
translating novels, stories, various eassys, and biography and written
some poems too, at a declining age.
It not that Pranita Devi has been felicitated and
honored by only All Assam Women Writer’s Association or Assam Sahitya
Sabha. In 1970, while on a foreign tour with her husband, she was honored
at the city of Eindhoven had organized this felicitation Women Writers of
Assam (Vol-II) ceremony. Some of the renowned and prominent members of the
club gifted her books as mark of respect, one of which consisted of
letters in which were recorded the pieces of conversations between Vincent
Van Gogh and Theo Gogh.
Once when Mr. Sarma went to Madras, the wife of
Education Secretary of Madras, Professor of Queen Marry College, Srimati
Bhadi Velu, arranged a felicitation ceremony in her college for Mrs.
Pranita Devi. In the ceremony Mrs. Devi gave a brief lecture on her
writing career: "She is a worthless writer. Still, a prestigious
institution like Queen Mary College decided to honor her which shows their
affection and respect for literature and creative works and sets up a
beautiful example. The Society which is full of such literary sensibility
will definitely garner and produce great literary works."
Till date, Mrs. Pranita Devi becomes thrilled whenever
she remembers such numerous ceremonies and events. The love and respect
that she was able to extract in and out of country is not only her
personal achievement but a matter of great pride and honor for the entire
Literary Works of Mrs. Pranita Devi:
Mrs. Pranita Devi is mainly a translator. There is a
great scarcity of books for children in Assamese. There is an urgent need
for books which will help in the mental and moral development of children.
Pranita Devi noted this lapse and translated some of the chosen children
books from world literature and forwarded a model in Assamese literature
and also filled this vacuum. The name of those books are- ‘Stories of Rome
and Gi-eece’, ‘Story of Fairy Land’." Many gods and goddess were
worshipped. Stories of Rome and Greece are based on those gods and
goddess. Stories from the hand of Women Writers of Assam (Vol-II) are also
based on the stories of our neighboring country, Myanmar, a collection of
one iffy tales rendered in Assamese language.
The best achievement of Pranita Devi’s literary career
is her translation of Ervingston’s world famous novel ‘Last for Life’ into
Assamese entitled ivnor Lalkha’. This translated novel was published in
1961. The novel is based on the true account of the life of the world
famous impressionistic artist Vincent Van Gogh who spent his entire life
in portraying human character in his canvas, presented his own ears as a
gift to his lover. Keeping intact the beauty of the original work, Mrs.
Devi provided an opportunity to the Assamese people to taste the delicacy
of such valuable piece of literature. As soon as the translated version
was published, many people wrote letters to her expressing their
gratitude. Ranjan Rajkumar, a reader wrote: "The translation has been done
in such a simple, lucid style that it appears to be an original work."
Another major work of Pranita Devi is her translation
of the novel Beyond Desire’, written by world famous novelist Pierre la
Murre, into Assamese named ‘Vaxonar Atit’. The novel depicts the heart
touching story of a music lover Felix Mendel San.
Mrs. Pranita Devi’s original novel ‘Dhonxirir Usoponu’
was published in 1961. This novel deals, in a moving manner, with the love
stories of the young man and woman of a village situated by the side of
the river Dhonxiri. The novel earned wide fame and accolades from its
Jaihind’, ‘Agnikon’, ‘Mousum Iettiya Name’, are the
collection of some chosen stories by the author. ‘Agnikon’ Women Writers
of Assam (Vol-II) was published in 1967 and ‘Mousum Ietiya Name’ in 1968.
Mrs. Pranita Devi was not confined to only translation works or story
writing. She had also contributed in the field of biographical writings.
‘Acharya Vinoba Bhave’ is one of her biographical works. Besides, she also
translated Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography ‘Story of My Life’ into Assamese
by the name ‘Mur_Iibonir Kotha’. Both the books were published in 1955 and
She also penned a book named ‘Pati-Patnir Dharma’ based
on the complex issue of the nature of relationships and duties between
husband and wife. Nevertheless this book was translated by Pranita Devi
from Rani Sindhu Rani’s Bengali book of the same title.
Mrs Pranita Devi also published two essays - ‘Madhuparka’,
‘Dhupdhuna’, and Written by her husband Lakheswar Sarma. Both the essays
were published 1963 and 1969 respectively.
In addition, she has also written a novel named ‘Xosa
Manuh’, collection of stories ‘Xonar Kharu Nalage Muk’, Grim Koar Xadhu’,
a book on children stories and ‘Prithivir Atit’ which remains yet to be
The book ‘Galapa Kintu Xosa’ by Pranita Devi is a work
of different quality It gives an account of the interesting events and
incidents in the life of famous men written in a story like manner. These
articles were published serially in the magazine ‘Baahi’ edited by Madhav
Chandra Bezbaruah and garnered applause from all the quarters of Assamese
Pranita Devi’s stories and essays appeared in various
literary magazines published at different times. She was a regular writer
in the Assamese newspaper ‘Natun Axorniya’ which was closed down.
Recently, her story ‘Xei Haahi Xei Sokulu’ published in Assamese newspaper
Hxorn Bani’ managed to bring tears into the eyes of many of its readers.
Of late, Mrs Pranita Devi has also started writing
poems. She has contributed more than two fifty poems for the book ‘Kaveri’.
Her poems are a reflection of a mind full of experience accumulated
through journeys to different parts of the world, and knowledge of world
literature. The poems, when published, will surely prove to be new marvel
in the field of Assamese literature.
To Conclude, blessed with the words of great poet
Bezbaruah, Srimati Pranita Devi had given her entire life to worship
literature and thereby served her mother language as well. With this, she
has been able to attain a permanent and dignified status among Assamese
writers. ‘I am alive to write’ -- May God fulfill this wish of the writer
and grant her along, healthy life so that her pen keeps on moving sharply