Tarini Devi
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Tarini Devi was born in the year 1829(month of Falguna, 1751 Saka) in a satra of Jakhalabandha. Her father was late Haliram Dhekial Phukan and her mother was Kalyani Devi whose parental house was in Diphalu Satra of Nowgaon. Tarini Devi, one of the worthy children of Assam started to engage herself in the development of Assamese literature almost one hundred and fifty years back from today. She was the step sister of famous Anandaram Dhekiyal Phukan.

Both Anandaram and Tarini were very dear to their father Haliram Dhekial Phukan. Born and brought up in a cultured family; it was natural for Tarini Devi to have a strong attraction to learning. Eventually Haliram Dhekial Phukan made all arrangement of study for Tarini in his own household. He wanted his educated daughter to marry an educated youth of an aristocratic family. With this end and view in his mind he composed a poem in Sanskrit inserting some English word therein and sent the poem to all the Satras of Assam requesting a proper and lucid translation of the same. None but Raghudev Goswami of Jakhalabandha could send back him the correct rendering of the poem and finally Tarini Devi was married to that Raghudev Goswami, the Satradhikara of Jakhalabandha.

Her enthusiasm for literary works remained unabated even in her married life. Since Raghudev Goswami was also a man of letters, Tarini Devi was greatly inspired by her husband. He too composed several books and helped and inspired his wife also to engage in literary creativity. Tarini Devi tried to literate the unlettered women of her satra. As a housewife Tarini Devi had a great influence and domination over the members of her family.

Her husband Raghudev Goswami was a simple and easy going man and did not like to interfere in the household matters. So Tarini Devi had to manage all the household problems of their family. Because of her true leadership she can earn honor and loyalty from all the members of her family.

The eldest son of Tarini Devi was Chandrahass who rendered his service as a Postmaster in Kacher. After a few days of his joining in his service, Tarini Devi wrote a letter to her son advising him to resign from his service and asked him to join her in enlightening the people of their locality. Chandrahasa knew that this mother was very much interested in spreading literacy among the village people and he was also aware of the fact that his wife was totally illiterate. So he wrote a letter to his mother that unless and until a letter from his wife reached him he would not resign. Tarini Devi immediately called her daughter–in-law and started her education at her home and very soon a letter reached Chandrahasa from his wife Bhusita Devi and consequently he resigned and joined his mother to help her in her mission. Tarini Devi was also very wise in traditional medicine and was famous for various lore of incantations. Many people were cured from old ailments by her medicine and incantation.

Tarini Devi had seven sons and the couple decided to settle in Nartangram, presenltly known as Amolapatty, so as to facilitate their children’s education. In their new settlement they established a satra newly named as ‘Khagarijan Jakhalabandha Satra’. As the main Satra was in kaliabar, the Satradhikara used to stay frequently there. Raghudev Goswami seldom visited his new satra at Nartangram. Tarini Devi could have made all of her sons well educated and efficient but premature death had carried away four of them from her mother’s lap. The names of the surviving sons of Tarini Devi were Chandrahasa, Ganahasa and Gunahasa.

After the death of Raghudev Goswami Tarini Devi shifted the responsibility of her family to her sons and daughter-in-laws and engaged herself in social activities. She was a religious soul and her spirituality was enhanced more under the auspicious atmosphere of the Satra. She composed a number of religious songs expressing true love to her personal God. She left for her heavenly abode in the year 1892. A book named ‘Jakhalabandha Satrageet’ is found with various prayer songs along with Satrageet. Few lines of the referred Satrageet are cited here:

O manikut griha dware

Govinda viraje |

Aruna lochana kamala barana

Sasadhara abiraje ||

(The Lord resides in the temple. The brightness of his eyes and the hue of the lotus of His body surpass even the beauty of the moon)

She also wrote many prayer songs to be chanted in the evening prayer. These songs are chanted even today in various satras of Jakhalabandha. Apart from this, she also composed ‘Jhulan geet’. This Jhulan is celebrated with pump and show in Jakhalabandha. She published several books of religious songs and these are ‘Bhandra Mahar Nam’, ‘Ai Thakuranir Nam’, ‘Manashar Nam’, Nandotsavar Nam’,’Annapurna Pujar Nam’, ‘Daulajatrar Nam’ and many more. She also started the practice of celebrating ‘Pachati’(ceremony held by the women of Gokul to celebrate the birth of Sri Krishna) the Here is a sample of ‘pachatir Nam’:

Sakhi biyani bai e aha nandar ghare jao |

Purna brahma Krishna gakule janmise dekhibaka pao ||

Aha sakhi aha bai Nandar ghare jao |

Jashodara putra haise nayan bhari chao ||

(O Friend! O Sister! Please come; let us go to the household of Nanda to see the Great Lord who takes His birth there)

The simplicity of expression of her diction impressed the people very much. Tarini Devi was a popular, learned woman who dedicated her life for the good of the people. She devoted all her efforts to create awareness among the women of her locality enlightening them in the field of art, literature and culture.


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