Sarojbala Dutta
 
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SAROJBALA DUTTA

(1885-1973)

Late Sarojbala Dutta was the first child of late Chandradhar Rajkhowa and Kanakeswari Rajkhowa. She was born in 1885 in Dibrugarh. At the time of her birth her father was working in Dibrugarh. Later on he had to take the charge of the ‘Maujadar of undivided Jaipur ‘Mauja’ (revenue circle) Benudhar Rajkhowa, the renowned litterateur of Assam was her uncle and Shailadhar Rajkhowa was her brother.

Situated on the bank of the river ‘Dihing’, the home of Benudhar Rajkhowa was a replica of an ancient Assamese family. It was a flourishing house with granary full of grains, garden full of fruits, fisheries with fishes, handloom elephant –all exhibits the affluence of the family. Sarojbala was brought up in the midst of such affluence.

Sarojbala Dutta had her education I Dibrugarh girl’s school. At that time Bengali was the medium of instruction in the educational institutions of Assam. After a few years of her education life, she was married to Nilambar Dutta. Her husband late Nilambar Dutta was an employee of Post and Telegraph department. But later on he left his job and started his work as a contractor.

Due to his hard labour and perseverance, Nilambar Dutta prospered a lot. Sarojbala assisted her husband shouldering the responsibility of the family. She was beautiful as well as competent in household chores. Her father in –law appointed weaver to teach her weaving as she was interested in this. She learnt this skill so nicely that she was able to receive first prize in several items in a handicraft exhibition held in Dibrugarh.

Sarojbala Dutta was the mother of six children. Her three daughters were Jnanabala Dutta, Rajbala Padmapati and the youngest one was Brajabala Dutta. Jnanabala was the wife of Heramba Prasad Borua of Jorhat. Rajbala was married to Padmapati of Tezpur but she died after six months of her marriage. This saddens the heart of Sarojbala very much. All her three sons were highly educated. She was not narrowing minded and as a housewife she was perfect and strict disciplinarian.

Sarojbala was a good singer of folksong like ‘ainam’ (devotional folk song sung by women to worship various female deities) and’ biyanam’ (marriage song) and lullaby. She knew how to play violin. She could chant the refrains from the Kritana and other Assamese scriptures. The sad demise of her daughter Rajbala in 1933 changed the course of her life. She gave up all forms of entertaining events like wadding, meeting, cinema and theatre. She confirmed herself to her house and kept herself busy in reading and chanting religious books and songs along with the female devotees of her locality. Her suffering at the death of her daughter finds expression in her anthology of poems "Proloy Kahini". Apart from that the anthology is the fine example of her poetic gift. In the preface to this anthology the renowned writer Rajani Kanta Bordoloi expressed his hope that the poems would be received with warmth by the readers.

Sarojbala started visiting the holy places of India with her husband seeking peace and solace for the afflicted soul. Returning from the pilgrimage she started to write another book narrating experience of her journey to holy places and the name of the book was ‘Shanti Sandhan ‘(search for peace). ‘Shanti Sandha’ can be given the credit of being the first travelogue written in Assamese language. Several literatures of that time specially Jnanaviram Borua highly appreciated the book.

Sarojbala went to her’ Kula guru’ the Satradhikar of Aunati Satra His holiness Sri Sri Hemachandra Goswami after coming back from pilgrimage and she was initiated by the ‘guru’. In the sacred association of the guru her restless soul achieved peace and serenity of rare quality.

Sarojbala Dutta could not complete her school education, In spite of this she had a deep yearing for learning and so she was a regular subscriber of Bengali magazine like ‘Bharatbarsha’, ‘Bashumati’ etc. She used to read Assamese news paper regularly at a time when Assamese news paper and magazines were not so available. The poems of Rabindra Nath were very favorites to her.

In 1942 Sarojbala lost her husband and from that time onward she kept herself busy in religious matters. She used to stay at a house built in the Satra so that she could have association with the’ guru’. She could enjoy pure bliss in the association of the ‘guru’ and she wove’ dhuti’ (lower garment of man) and Chadar (sheet worn on the upper body) and nicely designed gamosa for ‘gosain’. Later on she donated this house to the Satra to be used as guest house. But thus was takan by the erosion of the river the Brahmaputra.

Sarojbala had deep faith in ‘Nama Prashanga’ (chanting of holy name). But she never neglected the idol worship. According to her the mode of worship may be different but there is only one God. She died in May17, 1973 after suffering from ailment for twelve days. She was eighty eight years old when she died.

 

 
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