Swarna Goswami
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Swarna Goswami 

Swarma Goswami was born on July 1937. Her father late Hemkanta Goswami was a Satradhikar of Sipaha Satra at Dipota. The name of her mother was Bhugeswari Goswami.

As a writer she first appeared in Uruli’,‘Asombani’ and ‘Dainik Asom’. Her writings reflect the picture of social ethics, spiritual thoughts and perception, philosophy and socio-economic condition of society. Even at the age of 60 she was aspiring to fulfill her literary pursuits. Her husband Sri Atul Chanda Goswami was an Ex-MLA of Kaliabor Constituency, a worthy son of late Mohendra Nath Goswami, a satradhikar of ‘Madhav Ata Satra’ of Kaliabor. Her marriage gave her an independent life and also promoted her to devote wholeheartedly in her literary work. From 1952-53 onwards she had enriched the school magazine and newspapers by her writings, like short-stories, poems and articles. Her first book on poetry is ‘Garibar Betha’ -

‘Garib moi

Emuthi bhator babe mur hahakar

Etoki rupar babe odhin parar

Kunudin dekha nai hukhor puhor

Kunudin pua nai hukh jibanaor

Dekhu matTa dukhorei opar hopun

Sokur agot bhahe dukhor jiban’

                                  (Published in ‘Jharna’, First year, First Edition)

And her first short-story — ‘Triptir Hahi’ was published in ‘Pratipad’ (1952-1953). From that time onwards she was engaged in ‘non-stop’ writing in Sutradhar, continuing Parijat, Manuranjan, Natun Asomiya, Asom Bani, Rastrasewak, Uruli, Sarsa, Ariupam, Kalia-Bhumura, Bohana, Lekhika, Monikut, Mahajati, Jhankar, Ramdhenu, Gharua, Muktidut, Asoma, Astitwar Setana, Dainik Asom, Hadin, Azir Asom, Mukuta etc.

Moreover the All India Radio, Guwahati and Nagaon centers broadcasted light her one-act-play, essays, short stories, poems etc. she had participated in the discussion programme broadcasted by AIR Nagaon. She composed thirty poems and compiled a hand written poetry book titled ‘Priti’ while she was in class VIII at Baseria High School. Most of her poems published in school magazines and also in children columns of newspapers. She edited ‘Sewali’ a hand written magazine of class VIII and carried out her duty as an Assistant Secretary of the school union body. There are only three published books by Swarna Goswarni. (1)‘Godhulite Godhulite Doba Kuhai’ reflects the exquisite description of the Naamghars of Assam. Naamghar is not meant for a place of prayers and meetings only, it is a centre for learning cultural activities such as dancing, singing, playing musical instruments like Khul-Taal and acting. The trial of accused is also held in Naamghars. The Tithis of great personages — Sankardeva and Madhavdeva have been observed to recollect their virtues. The ambiance of Naamghar changes with the time. Now a days Naarnghars are well equipped with electric fans, lights etc. It is a right place to take decisions to save the cultural heritage of Assam. This book had received a prize in the tenth book competition among new literate group organized by the Govt of India in 1964. It was published in 1968 by a reputed publisher Srijut Bhabendra Narayan Dutta Baruah of Dutta Baruah and Company, Nalbari. In the preface of the book Dutta Baruah had written the words ‘the village of Assam reverberated with the sound of the hitting drum in every evening. It purifies the air of the surroundings. Under this atmosphere the Assamese Culture is building up. This is a precious treasure for the children of the country’.

Anami Chanda: This compiled edition of short stories was published by Sri Sri Madhav Ata publishing house in February 1971. The first three short stories are based on China’s aggression upon India in 1962. The rest of the stories are the unrestrained expression of particular moments of life. Though there are certain distinctive features of short stories the writers themselves have created such things at the time of their needs. The short stories of Swarna Goswami also have shown her self-styled techniques. All the stories of ‘Anaini Chanda’ reflect men’s natural endeavor to keep certain moments of life alive. The character such as Sewji in ‘Anarni Chanda’, Aunty in ‘Jyotshna Mami’ and Uddhava in ‘Jeevan aru Jonak’, the write made no effort to development in these characters. It is only an attempt to expose a glimpse of their lives which have animated their stories.

Short story is composed with various sentiments of life and that taste of life collected from various experiences have found in the stories of Swarna Goswarni. In the story, ‘Eta Binidra Bibhavori’ her acute observation is seen in the description of usual life story of Chandana through a simple girl named Banu. In ‘Jivan aru Junak’ the character of Uddhav exposes the mental conflict of a man when his dream is thwarted due to instability of economic or environmental condition. Uddhav said about a wall that exists between fancy and real state of mind- Moon beams are simply a thing of poetry-there is no truth in them. Only darkness is true, unless there is inner brightness, the outer illumination is valueless.

Swarna Goswami gives much importance on realism than imagination. This is another characteristic of her short stories. The language of short stories can also be called the life of that story. The stories of ‘Andmi Chanda’ with its simplicity of language draw the attention of readers. On the basis of its subject matter short stories can be divided into two. Event but and thoughtful. Her short stories are the mixtures of the two.

The experience of the writer, her imagination, thorough study, intense perception and psychological knowledge of the artist makes ‘Amami Chanda’ successful and full of sentiments. To say in brief that the joy and happiness, sorrow and weariness,and intense desire, union and separation, hopes and attraction, encouragement made appearance in the stories of Swarna Goswami. She was expert in expressing emotional attachment with little words. Another characteristic of her stories is suspense, as if something remained untold. Dr. Maheshwar Neog in the context of making review of her stories said- “After all, sharp sighted artist is fit for creating stories. The writer of ‘Ananu Chanda’ gives impression of fulfilling such need in Assamese short stories”.

Junbai Ei Beji Eti Diya”: In 1970, the book received Late Gopal Goswami best award in the short stories competition for children organized by the Assam Sahitya Sabha. It was published in 1979 by Bina library, Panbazar, a branch of a renowned publishing house of Kokrajhar. The writer briefly illustrates the expedition of moon by way of a story suitable for children.

Meanwhile many stories of Swarna Goswami have been published in the newspapers and magazines. All India Radio, Guwahati also broadcasted short stories namely Nitya Naimitik, Phutukar Fen, Britta Chuytta, Sabala Abala etc. Sile sar pale, hungui, Aei Road aei boroshun, Moromor palash, Rongar Dignta, Kolija bhongar gaari, Aokathar polokh, Jopar Talar Adhali, Madhurena Samapayet, sur etc., All won prizes in Assam short stories competition. The Judge gave his comment upon ‘Sue sar pale’ that “The main point of the story is its use of colloquial language of the locality of Nagaon. The language of the story reminds towards the language of ‘Jibanar Batot’ of Bina Baruah, though it has its uniqueness. Spontaneity is another quality of the story. Suspense of the story remains till the end of the story”. The story got first prize in All Assam story competition organized by the ‘Assamsese Sahitya Sora’ of Guwahati University on the occasion of silver jubilee held in 1989.

Jhilmli aru Koki, Jimi, Pipihat (published in ‘Muna bhorai rang anisu,a collection of short stories edited by Swarna Saikia), All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti. Hiya jali, Aokathar Polosh (published in Assam Bani, 8th April, 1988). Moromor Polash, Ditiya surab, Ronga Diganta etc. were successful as children stories. ‘Nabagraha’, a children’s book also got first prize in the competition of child fiction organized by All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti. Due to financial crisis some of her children books remained unpublished. As Seujia Pakapat, Sews Bisari, Luitor Epare Sipare, Mon korilei son, Kunaki, Deosai bali, Rashmi Jalar Roopkhata, Ghurni Botah, Kolija Bhongar Gaan, Khyane khyane Anukhyane are on the verge of publication.

Reading some of the stories of Swarna Goswami gives the impression of a eminist writer. Her stories: Nitya Naimitik, Sue sar pale, Sahala Abala, Hunguri, Apahuta Asura, Mon ketekir Rang, Deepa Nurse, Dr. Gogoi aru 42 number Bed, Plabon, Kolija Bhongar Gaan, Bohut swapna olop Bastab, Bitachyta, Soumya, Prahar, reflect feminist. She did not build the castle of literature based on outlook, imagination. She knew very well how pitiless the sinful heart of Suchitra of Upper class society. ‘Bitachyta’ as a successful story reveals the brutality of cultured educated, person over a little girl child named Jimly who is deprived of her due, though there is an Act of child labor.

The story named ‘Abatar’ gives the real picture of society.

“Raba sun Raba.Deka bra Abop ‘ie’ Hoboi. Alop Rong Dhemali kariboi mane Ei Bayashat prem piritir geet nagai kor Gitar sluk Aoraba Hen! Nadhriba, Nadhariba En Diyak Aru” (Oh, the young boys will be like that, at this stage they will have some fun. Let them enjoy their lives. It’s not time for reading Gita’s sluks. Don’t be serious. Let them go”

“Why did you say to make them free? No, never. I will teach their mothers a good lesson.”

Now it is not time for bearing the torture of the husband. In ‘Sue san pale’, Keteki a female character, unable to bear the torture of her husband at last took the guise of Samunda, attacked her husband with a knife and started dancing like Samunda. The story shows the uprising of women to adjudicate their rights. ‘Apahuta Asura’ is also a readable one. ‘Sabala Abala’ reflects the picture of the security of women in present-day society.

“Open the door, dearest! We are here to fulfill your physical desire.” The youths of the society even never spare the young girls with their widow mother to sleep safely at night. Not only that, the worst scene is that, when a white haired seventy year old grandfather like Prafulla Bhattacharjee focuses his motive in the following words - “just give me an hour’s company. I swear”. The woman was asked to satisfy his immoral desire but she was lucky to escape being misused.

Most of the stories of this sympathetic writer reflect human love. “It’s upto you whether you will take rikshaws or not. I want to say rikshaw puller is neither a machine nor a vulgar one. Like others, he is also a man of flesh and blood.” (Nigazi Thikana). In ‘Adin Anirban Ahisil’, the writer gives the picture of a man who never lost his temper in weal and woe, in ‘Hungui’, a man after fulfilling his lust lived in the society safely whereas the suffered woman with her illegitimate child has to survive with innumerable miseries. To unmask the hypocrisies of society there is the need of a woman like Sumitra. Swarna Goswami has also written stories based on the contemporary incidents. The stories like Borboli, Beduin, Kalyan Kharman, Ronga Diganta, Stabdha Samay are successful ones, though there is nothing like political and social records. Even the eternal things are not seen in the stories. Emotion or experiences are also not revealed in these stories.

Swarna Goswami has also written a number of articles which have been published in various newspapers and magazines. They are as follows: ‘Asomiya Sahityat Ram’ (natun Asomia), ‘Dakar Dristit Nan (Uruli), ‘Bihu aru Asomiya’ (natun Asomiya), ‘Mahilar Diha Naam’, ‘Loka Sanskritir Eli Samal’ (sutra-dhar), ‘Sri Sankardevar Rasanat Nan Barnana’ (sutradhar), ‘Gawat Bash kora Mohilar somoshya’ (mahajati), ‘Nuai Tuloni Biya: Eli lokachar’ (Sutradhar) ‘Aomiya buarir sabi’ (nilachal), ‘Sanderi Ai’ (satrasurya), ‘Sikshya aru sanskritir Dishot Kaliaboror Mahila: EU Sainu khatiyan’ (smritigrantha: Kaliabor collegeor Rupali Jayanti), ‘Asomiya sanskritir Rup kene hua Uchit’ (sarsha), (Asomiya lekhikar homoshya’) (natun dainik), ‘Unabinsha Shotikar Sahityat Narir mojyadar proti Sosetanata’ (Asomiya Sahiyat Nan), Asomiya Biya Namot Sikshyar Samal, (satarupa), ‘Ejak Anadrita sisur Artanad (Anupam). The language of her article is simple and Pleasant. Swarna Gowami occupies a remarkable place in the field of poetry. One of her Poem ‘Kolijar tezere lekha’ got first prize in North East literary competition organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day. All India Radio, Guwahati broadcasted this poem. It was also published in Asom Bani. Moreover, Sri Bipin Bora and Sri Thanu Bora of Kaliabor were taking initiative to publish it separately to circulate it among people. Srimati Bina Sarma, a teacher of Gohpur, Boro high school translated it into Nepali Language and published in a Nepali Newspaper. Few lines of the poem are as follows:

Pitai 0’

Biya nidi muk jadi ghorote rakhili heten,

Kaori khedai bhat khalo heten,

Aru dhuniya dehato ghunia nuhuakoi,

Santire thakibo panilo heten.

( 0’ father

If you had not given me in marriage and kept me at home

I will live by doing hard work.

And without destroying my beautiful body Will remain peacefully.)

Another poem named ‘Kaliaborar tukura sabi’ -

(Buranjie garaka

Buranjie parakha

Katanu katha, koto kahini

Koto kirti ase eikhon thait — Kaliabor is a famous historical place, full of glory)

The poem expresses a brief description of Kaliabor. Other poems published in magazines and newspapers are — ‘Akanir hakhi mararni pakhi’ (mukuta), ‘Dugdha jabber huhhra paporire (Kaliabor Sahitya Sabhapratika), Korbat Krishna Upajiba (Lekhika), Dawani (samoloy), Maj Sagarat Ghurar thake thaki (Sadinia Sambad), Pani (Sadin), Kathar Katha (Ganatranta), Nandibhringi Hol Mahadeu (Ganatranta), Anurodh (Abhijan), Muk Eti Bullet Dia (Asin kakali), Kheli meli (Rastraswala), Swagat Natun Purukh (mohajati), Jag, jag kurnbhakarna (Asomia nan kobikantha), Swahid pitrir proti (parag).

The language of her poems is devoid of complicacy. Whatever she wants to say presented straightforwardly before the reader. There is no other characteristic of modern Assamese poetry and classical note in her poetry.

Apart from short stories, poems and articles she has written a number of one-act-play. ‘Ahhirnanini’ is a play about ‘Jasodhara’ the wife of Buddha. All India Radio, Guwahati broadcasted this play, ‘Maramar Urn’ won the second prize in the one act play competition organized by All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti. This was published in Ram dhenu. The theme of the play is based on the day to day social incidents. The dialogues are lengthy but suited to the character. From beginning to end a tragic note is seen in the play. It would have been more entertaining, if there is any comic scene in the play. Besides, Swarna Goswami was capable of receiving appreciation by engaging students in performing the short one-act-play such as ‘Kuali’, ‘Saru

Mitra’(Translated), ‘Aborjona’, ‘Sei Mritu Aprajeya’ etc. In addition to these Swarna Goswami wrote essays of different taste. ‘Ejon Asorit Satra’‘Oh Bastav’ (Gnatranta), ‘Bibhinna Narir Monor Katha’ (Saptahik Nilchal), ‘Sakujuri’ (Parijat), Khusura Paikari (Mohajati), ‘Mohapurukhor Dihageet (Ganatranta), ‘Gupini hobahor Naam’ (Mohajati), ‘Amrit Priya Devi’ (Lekhikar Jibonee),

Khisiri (Rodali), ‘lswar Hokolute Ase’ (Rodali), ‘Saragar Hahiti Ase Tumar Hahit’ (Bohana), ‘Biya Biya Khel’ (Lekhika), Phalgustavor Geet (Natun Asomia), ‘Nabajug’ (Rastra Sewak), ‘Brajabala Dcvi’ (Lekhikar Jibonee), ‘Ekhon chithi’(Akhom Bani), ‘Eta Puroni sadhu’ (Ganatranta), and other unpublished writings are still preserved in her book-self.

Education:

Her primary education started at Diputa Girls’ MV School. When she was in primary school inspectors B.B.Leis came to visit their school. During that time, in middle Assam i.e. Nagaon, Darrang and Lakhimpur Districts, there was only one school inspector. Mrs Leis was satisfied in her performance and promoted her to to class I and also presented her a book named Srikhetra to inspire her.

Her high-school life began at Baseria High School. When she was in class five, the then education minister late Amiya Kumar Das in his visit to that school asked her to give a speech on ‘Education’. She was trembled with fear and the only words she uttered- ‘without education men are animals’. All started laughing but the minister gave her a ten rupee note and said- ‘this girl will become famous in future’. Swarna Goswami did not understand his words but she was delighted. She told everything to her parents. Her mother simply told her that — ‘read well - the words of great men always come true’. Due to certain reason she had to leave Baseria High School and admitted into Bihguri High School. Her first short story ‘Triptir Hahi’ was published in school magazine named ‘Pratipad’.

In 1953, she joined temporarily at Tezpur Girls’ MV School just after her matriculation examination.

In 1954, she passed Hindi final examination with first division from Misamari Hindi Training Center.

In 1955, Swarna Goswami secured 2d position in Hindi Bisarad Examination in Assam as a private candidate. In the same year she got a job as Hindi teacher at Baseria High School. Then Headmaster late Upendra Nath Saikia loved her most and inspired her with honest advice. In 1957, she privately appeared in l.A. examination and passed in second division. After that her job had been changed from Hindi teacher to Assistant Teacher.

In 1962, she got the opportunity to participate in a training programme - ‘Engraji Sikhyar Pranali’- performed by Gauhat-i University. In the final examination she was capable of securing first position.

In 1964, she was preparing privately to sit in the B.A. examination. But she couldnot succeed due to her marriage just four days ahead of her examination. She got a great shock with her result and never thought of appearing again.

During the tenure of her service, she established a Hindi Probodh Vidyalaya in the same place. The students of the Vidyalaya brought honour to both Swarna Goswami and the school by successfully coming out their examinations. She was a propagandist of Rastra Bhasa Prasar Samiti of Assam.

She was working as a founder Head mistress of a Girls’ High School at Shantipur of Kaliabar but left the job due to family problems. She was temporarily working at Koliabar High School and Jakhalabandha High School. Her family problem deprived her of doing permanent jobs.

Swarna Goswami, was the President of Kaliabar Lekhika Samaroh Samiti from 1981 onwards. From the inception of the Samiti she was inseparably associated with it. And from 1985 to 1994 she had been the Vice-President of All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti and later became an advisor of the Samiti. Life member of Asom Sahitya Sabha and Gynanmalini Sahitya Sabha of Singorapara, Swarna Goswami was also a member of Koliabar Sahitya Sabha and Kaliyabar Sahitya Kanon. Moreover she was an advisor of’Kaliabar Kabi Chakra’, ‘Ityadi’ and ‘North Kaliabar Gupini Mahila Samaj, ex-President of Madhatari Mahila Samiti and later an advisor.

Swarna Goswami was the President of the Kabi Sanmilan of Nazira Conference of All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti and also the inaugurator of ‘Kabi Sanmilan of Tinsukia Conference of the said Samiti. She also joined the conference held in Tezpur, Mangaldai, Nagaon, Golaghat, Nalbari, Tinsukia, Hatbor, Bukakhat and Nazira. She had recited poems in every poetess conference and received prizes participating in the competition organized by the Samiti. Moreover she had regularly contributed her writings to Lekhika the souvenir of All Assam Lekhika Samaroh Samiti.

Family Life:

Leaving her parental care she became the daughter in law of Kaliabor. Unfortunately as a house wife she became unsuccessful one. For long fifteen years from 1964-1979, in-spite of her utmost effort she failed to win the heart of the family members of her husband. She could not manage household duties properly. Feeling neglected, she tried to console herself by writing short stories, poems and articles etc. Only at bed time, when all other family members lied down in bed she started writing whatever came to her mind to express her mental agony. Sometimes when her baby child woke up and cried she took it into her lap and continued her writing till 1.30 am. If the writings were not upto her satisfaction she either tore it or burnt it, otherwise she kept it in her trunk. Thus she bagged a prize from Assam Sahitya Sabha for her book named ‘Junbai Ei, beji Eti Diya’.

In 1975, she bagged first position for her poem named ‘Kolijar Tezere Lekha’ in North East poetry competition celebrated on the occasion of Women's’ Day. But the said poem brought her a hard time in her life because the family members of her husband criticized the poem in the sense that the theme of the poem pointed towards their family. Even their relatives instigated them against her. Another poem ‘Ejak Rangkukur aru Moi’ was published in “Ganatranta”. The poem reads thus.

“Nihsanga nirastra mai,

Nati dirgha brikhar sakhar,

Pratiksha karisu ek ghrinita mrityu,

Brikshyar soupakhe Ben,

Aharnikhe ghuribo lagise,

Hingshra khudl-Lito krudhat Unmatta,

Rankukuror Dol’

One of their neighbors and a Head-master of an M.E School tried to give a wrong interpretation to the poem. At that time an article called ‘Asomia Buarir Sabi’ was also published in ‘Nilachal’ which had created a pitiable condition to her. Unable to bear such insult she decided to stay away from the family. She was thinking about the future of her five children and so she left that place in 1979.

Her husband being a politician remained silent in this regard. Because he did not like his social and political life to be disturbed by such things. Swarna Goswami had to sacrifice and bear all the responsibilities of their family. She could not manage her service life and family life simultaneously. At last she was bound to leave her job. Later she could not run her family properly due to meager income of her husband. As an Ex MLA, her husband earned only Rs 500 monthly as pension. As a result Swarna Goswami mentally broke down. Her brother and sister extended their helping hand to her. God’s grace and her intelligence helped her to bring up their children as worthy people. They have been engaged in various jobs and lessen the economic and mental pain of their mother. Her elder son is a science teacher, elder daughter is a subject teacher at a Girls higher Secondary School and her younger daughter is working as college teacher. The rest two completed their graduation and are doing Master Degree. As an ideal woman Swarna Goswani was a symbol of patience and endurance and a role model for women society.

Thus this tireless dignified literary and artistic soul who never succumbed to any obstacle was capable of shouldering her family burden along with her creative works. She enriched the edifice of Assamese literature.

May her everlasting creative writings live long.

 

 

 
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