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Confessions: Dr. Indira Goswami
The mind and heart-touching revelation of the
Life of Mamoni Raisom

Each and every portion of my life and feelings are closely related to my entire works. I have also written my novels on the basis of an uneven reality. While writing my first complete novel 'Chenabor Xrot' I was staying at the work site of a small place named Riyashi on the banks of the river Chandrabhaga in Kashmir....... At that time when I reached that place then the construction of the piers of this significant bridge had just started. I got the opportunity to observe the labourers, engineers, the various workers and Harijans who always followed the company in it's project works. Considering this experience as resource I wrote the novel "Chenabor Xrot.' A unique sight of a site heaped with shuttering plates, compressors, vibrators, steel reinforcement rods, concrete mixture, crowbars, iron, panos crane etc. became visible before my eyes. Though there was imagination here, yet, reality played a key role...... Of course some incidents at that labour camp left me numbed and disturbed. On the first day of my arrival at this camp of Chenab I saw blazing fires near the barracks of the labourers. When I enquired about it my husband Madhaben Raisom was quite hesitant to reply at first, but I was not one who leaves thinking about a particular thing for a little while. He told me, "A terrible accident took place. While the work of well sinking was going on an accident took place. While the work of well sinking was going on, suddenly a well shrank below water level. Immediately water from outside came into the well with great force. Those men working below the well couldn't come out." With my naked eyes I saw the blazing cremation fires of these labourers quite near our satai quarters. That day I couldn't sleep the whole night. For a long time I got the smell of burnt human near our Satai quarter.........

I saw some more terrible accidents in the year 1966 at this camp of Chenab in Kashmir. A woman labourer known to us who came from Orissa along with a contractor, in broad day light and before every one's eyes committed suicide by jumping from the piers into the razor-edged strong current of water below. I even saw the smashed body of a labourer over whom a bucket of concrete weighing half ton fell from a track with loose screw while he was pushing trolley of concrete in a hurry over the temporary railway track in fear of the 'Mate.' One more accident occured in front of my eyes while I was there in this work site of the river Chandrabhanga. A temporary but strong bridge of wire rope was constructed near the new bridge across the river which construction was going on. This rope of iron was bound to the piers on both sides. This bridge starts shaking when a person sets foot on it. Below the bridge the frightful river Chenab i.e., the Chandrabhanga. It is hard to believe how terrible the current of this river can be near Riyashi if not seen by one's own eyes. A boat operated on wheels was also used to take the labourers and passengers across the river Chandrabhaga. As the current was strong iron ropes were bound to two poles. By the help of a pulley the boats were pulled from one bank to the other through the rope. Below there was the forceful current of the river!

A foreman whom we became acquainted with at the Khaoda camp in Kutch came to join at the Chenab branch after his transfer there. I could never cross this bridge all along holding firmly to the rope. It was also impossible for me to cross in the boat run by wheels as because I couldn't bear to see the forceful flow of current as like the glide of an injured snake. That day i.e. during the time of the joining of that person whom we met at Khaoda, I was crossing the bridge with firm steps catching hold of Madhu's hand. The tall hefty man, who came to join left his bedding roll wrapped with a blanket at the verandah of the temporary office constructed of satai and went inside the office to write his joining report. Perhaps at one time he crossed the stony path and sat on the boat run by pulley on a steel rope. Perhaps while crossing through that forceful current of the river he didn't think of taking much precaution while sitting..... Suddenly an uproar started among the labourers standing on the bank of the river. All of us ran to the bank and saw a strange sight. That man fell down from the boat run by pulley and disappeared totally. Nobody dared to go down into the water. Everyone stood helpless and stunned at the bank........ Far away a portion of the dhoti worn by him could be seen in the waves. After that there was nothing.

The scene of this man flowing away in the current of the river on the very first day of his joining at this camp remained as a pain in my heart. That night too, I couldn't sleep.
At the site of the Chandrabhaga........ all along I roamed about in the barracks of the labourers, the khalasi langar, the temporary hospital and the forest of Jamun trees and wild thorns on the bank of the river Chenab. Sometimes I crossed the stony spot of Chandrabhaga and the temporary bridge and visited the village of Riyashi and even the fort of Riyashi. I even went to the dense forest situated on the path to Moghla at the other side of the Chandra Bhaga. (I have written elaborately about one such unique journey in my book titled 'Adha Lekha Dostabez'.) At that time the fire of the battle with Pakistan had not ceased. We could distinctly see the convoys of the enemy soldiers far away from the paths of Rajourie and Poonch. Demolition Chambers were made making the heart of the piers of the bridge of Chandrabhaga hollow. The facility was kept so that if enemy make any sudden attack then ammunition would be put into these chambers and the bridge would be blown off. I got acquainted with several army officers of High rank and some common soldiers at Poonch, Rajourie, Akhnoor, etc., I became quite friendly with them....Yet, as I was not of much age and experiences limited, the novel 'Chenabor Xrot' written by me during that time wasn't my successful novel. But the scene of the camp at Chandrabhaga has been illustrated similar to that which I have seen with my own eyes.

* * *

That feeling of suicide of childhood days came to my mind once again. (Perhaps due to this longstanding feeling of my mind, the heroine of my novel 'Une Khowa Howda' based on the background of South Kamrup-Giribala commits suicide. Even in the novel 'Neelakanthi Braja' the heroine Saudamini resolved to commit suicide.)
I became ready to stand against all these curses of destiny. This task was like getting drenched with blood after having peeled off one's own skin. I was all set to peel off one skin and robe myself in another skin.

I couldn't dare to look up at the sky above my head. Though I was ready, one by one sleeping tablets started collecting inside my purse bag. Otherwise I kept note book, scented perfume and lipstick inside my purse. As if now those have been buried under sleeping tablets.

As if I myself couldn't understand what kind of test this was when I was all set to face the struggle of life. About three months after Madhu's death I went for my job at the Goalpara Sainik School.....

At this Sainik School in Goalpara I came to know about some mysterious aspects of male characters. Later on I brought those into my literature. In this Sainik school most were men along with these small soldiers. Perhaps I was the first woman teacher in this school. According to the rule of the school I had to be with these child soldiers from the time of parade until games and sports and their manners always reminded me of the soldiers seen at Khaoda in Kutchh, Akhnoor, Poonch, Rajourie in Kashmir etc. Again and again the sound of their boots, sound of their parading etc. made me stroll back into memory lanes. And I couldn't dare to look up at the sky above my head.
Within some of the small student soldiers of the Sainik school in Goalpara I saw extra-ordinary courage and perseverance.

I was quite certain that some amidst them will be extra ordinary soldiers in future.....
I have already said that I discovered some new aspects of male character in this Sainik school of Goalpara.

Similar to woman the story of the inner world of man differs from one another.
Each of their mental world is a mysterious cave. As if it is mere foolishness if we say proudly that we understand one another.

I met Guru Charan Singh at the Sainik School. He had boundless sympathy for me. Guru Charan taught English. He has been transfered to Kapoorthala in the Punjab before I left the school. Covering a long distance this Sikh youth came to meet me at Brindavan even. I rejected Guru Charan's love. But he didn't become my enemy for that reason. About sixteen years later when Sikh insurgents started terrible massacre to take revenge upon the Hindus for the riots of 1984, numerous police check posts were installed at the streets and lanes of Delhi. In those days if any Sikh youth was seen in a Hindu inhabited colony every body looked at him suspiciously.
(I saw the scene of that horrible riot of Delhi with my naked eyes. Standing at the balcony I saw the fire of the shops of the Sikhs which were set ablaze. The sky of Delhi took the colour of copper. The black ashes of various burnt up things floated above the sky like the feathers of sacrificed pigeon. A strange smell of burnt things spread all around).
The slum-dwellers....fell upon the devastated shops of the Sikhs as like vultures fall upon corpses. Before my eyes a seven year old boy went by wearing a pair of new shoes of a man's size. Following him were a crowd of people with looted things. They were slum dwellers staying around 'Birla Mill'. They were known to me. Gradually the copper coloured sky of Delhi turned black.... The massacre that took place after this cannot be exactly described. More than four thousand people were massacred. I took along with me a few Assamese students and went to meet those severely riot affected people at Kalyanpuri and Jahangirpuri. One of those families exhibited before me a turban drenched with blood. I caught sight of somebody's lock of long hair with flesh lying about. Pieces of demolished Gurudwaras, remains of burnt up vehicles heaped in a pile as like pieces of bones. Everything came in sight. A live evidence of the brutality and barbarity of man lay infront of my eyes. From where have this horde of beasts come? No, no, no one could say. The people of Kalyanpuri and Jahangirpuri never ever saw them before. Nobody knew from where they came and pounced upon their victims! Kill! Kill! Kill! Where is the time to flee? The funeral pyre of Indira Gandhi was burning till then...The police was nowhere to be seen. Somebody pointed out, "Over there stands the house of the Municipal Counsellor'. Except that all other houses have been pulled down. No one is hurting him even." A strange thing! A strange thing indeed! At that time a rumour spread all around that the Sikhs will attack our residential area at Roushanara Road with naked swords! We went up to the terrace and stood on guard, it was at that time that the words of Ghalib came to my mind...." Now the houses seem to be prisons, the floors executing grounds." ......At that time I myself kept guard up on the terrace along with the other people. Everyone in the colony kept guard. As the population of Sikhs along with women and children were more on Raushanara Road and as the Gurudwara situated on this road was also demolished, there was a frequent cry, they are coming, the Sikhs are coming with naked swords...As if the sky of Delhi took a harsh form. What was the colour in the water of the river Yamuna? That was black like ink and red like blood...In this riot the hospital of our Sikh doctor Jagga and the residence of lawyer Randheer Chawla was burnt to ashes.
During this time Guru Charan came and stood at my door. After sixteen years this Sikh youth came to see me, in order to know whether I am well or not?....Everyone looked up when they saw this Sikh youth entering into my house amidst this riot.....
Guru Charan came after sixteen years. I rejected Guru Charan's love and sent him away from the door step of that dark small room of the ruined temple at Brindavan. No, no there was no feeling of enemity! My eyes welled up with tears.
Later on I attempted to depict the intensity of relationship through the characters of my novels. The characters of flesh and blood whom I met in my life became my inspiration.

* * *
I tried to impute some aspects of live characters into the imaginary character of Harnam Singh Mastana (Jakhami Jatri)
I tried to depict the picture of invanquishible eternal love through the characters of Indranath, Ilimon, Giribala (Une Khowa Howda),Yashwant (Mamore Dhora Taruwal), Saudamini (Neelakanthi Braja), Officer Harsul (Ahiran) etc.
For me the object of this love isn't marriage alone. This love isn't limited to physical love alone....As if this heart is like a river, as if it merges into an endless sea. This is that sea which has no end.

While depicting this picture of eternal love through these characters the love of my late husband Madhaben Raisom towards me always came to my mind. Together with this my companion K.B. Satarawala's faithfulness towards me and the intimate feelings which I received from various personalities met in life came to my mind.
I tried to depict this attitude more intensely through the characters. As if I went on unearthening the deep vault of human character. Whether I am successful or not, this feeling never came to my mind. As if my duty was to go on digging. Perhaps I cannot give the exact definition of this inclination which made me create character associating reality and imagination. The urge to write was an undefinable pain. But this pain enveloped the body and mind as like having bathed in the golden sea of liberty.....At this point that famous quotation of the great poet Ghalib occurs in mind, "I wonder from where the flow of writing comes to me?....It seems as if those words of the feather-pen are the voices of heavenly nymphs."

* * *
At the time of writing the novel 'Neelakanthi Braja" I was at Brindavan. I have disclosed the entire story of Brindavan in my novel tittled "Adha Lekha Dostabez".I have tried to depict the agony experienced by me in those times through my character Saudamini the heroine.

The mental situation of Saudamini, her agony, resentment, grievance against some people of society, her regret at not being able to accept her second lover whole-heartedly and imagination of that terrible path of ruin indicated by this regret - all these have been illustrated based on the realistic gesture of my own life. Though I was all set to face the struggle, yet, the feeling to commit suicide became terribly intense. It became almost impossible to preserve the strength to live subjugating emotions by means of my education and wisdom after having accepted the consolations of lovers and well wishers who came forward to give me new life. In that state of mind I portrayed the character of Saudamini. Though the institutional Head of Institute of Oriental Philosophy Charan Bihari Goswami mentioned that 'Neelakanthi Braja' is the first novel ever written in an Indian language based on Brindavan, yet, I know it quite well that I have not attempted to portray the culture of Braja in that novel. I have only described the mental condition of the heroine and the condition of some temples of those times seen by my own eyes.

I roamed about the streets of Brindavan in mental agony. We were stunned to see the physical and financial misery of those old widows desiring to take shelter at the feet of Murlidhar Krishna of Braja. Those old widows hailed from Maimansigh, Bakura, Rajshahi, Kochbihar etc. A picture of a horrifying and cruel condition of poverty and inhumanity became visible before my eyes. I tried to help a few widows with the little resource of mine. I realised this at heart that even within the moss covered ruined ancient idol of the temple there lies hidden inspiration to live for these struggling widows.

I was indeed amazed at this longing of the widows to be with Murlidhar, that Murlidhar, who, gave them nothing in life apart from dishonour and insult. I came into intimate contact with these skeletal bodies with tattered clothes on their bodies and untidy hair manifesting the curse of widowhood upon them. I went to their dwellings-the small rooms. There were some small dark rooms in the courtyards of some ancient temples. There were around thirty such small rooms at a place named Harabari. I saw their unimaginable life style. They saved money for their funerals. How the pilgrim guides and middle men sometimes robbed that savings of those widows, this scene too, came to my notice. I came across even such unfortunate widows who lamented in the middle of the road after having lost their 'Funeral savings'. I also came across widows injured by Tongas and widows wrenching in pain in the middle of the road.
.....Many of then desired to die on the soil of Braja. They made their living by singing bhajans and dreamt of Murlidhar Krishna. That Krishna who involved every Gopi along with Radha in amorous sport playing on the flute?
Is the power of love so much? But did these old women worship Murlidhar Krishna as a lover alone? On was their love towards Murlidhar Krishna a manifestation of their dissatisfied sexual desire?
They were not concerned about the dust laden Parthasarathi Krishna at the battle field of Kurukshetra. Here no body was interested to discover the Krishna of history.
Every where there is the desire of Murlidhar Krishna! Murlidhar Krishna! It is said that Krishna never returned to Brindavan after having left from Brindavan to Dwaraka. There is no need of that Krishna here.
No, no, nobody wants this Krishna of Dwaraka. It is Murlidhar Krishna whose constant existence is there in Brindavan. As if it is with this Krishna that all the widows have a mysterious relationship.
My only sorrow is this that I was so involved in portraying the mental agony of Saudamini in 'Neelakanthi Braja' that inspite of getting chance I didn't accept the chance of portraying the outer world of Brindavan extensively. Once I asked a leader, "Why doesn't the government do anything for these Radheswami widows of Brindavan? Haven't these ashrams of Bhajan turned into immoral places?"
He replied, "Those are people of other states! People of Bengal. They have burdened our place with a social problem of their state."
I was thoroughly stunned, I dreamt that one day all these will unitedly voice protest. Let that voice of protest be sound of dry bones! Yet I believed that there is a power of truth. That is why a rebellious character of 'Neelakanthi Braja' always dreamed that a light is approaching near.

* * *
Once again I went to a different environment while writing the novel tittled 'Ahiran'. In the year 1974 I arrived at a place named Ahiran emed that today the silk of the umbrella used while welcoming her husband as a bride-groom is the skin of the body of her low-caste lover.
Does such a situation ever arises in someone's case?"
(Pp. 79, Dantal Haatir Une Khowa Howda, Upanyash Samagra, Second Edition, 2001)
In the same way as the dissatisfied hunger of Giribala, sometimes the flame of the fire of desire in Durga too, kindles up. In this way sometimes the torment of widowhood in Durga erupts and tries to achieve the desired things. The novelist has identified this behaviour of Durga through the stern observation of Giribala. Giribala discloses this before Mark :
"On that very day of my arrival father placed my bed near her's. Mark Sahab! Do you know what she did at night? She ran towards the pair of wooden sandals.
Clasping the wooden sandals to her breast she returned to her bed. Oh! The sight of her clothing slipping down from her breast and lie near her feet in a deranged state, the wooden sandals on her breasts.....sixteen years she did sleep together with her husband in the same bed! Both of them were like shadows of one another.
Mark Sahab, she always does like this.... The wooden sandals sprinkled with tulsi leaves and flowers on her breasts? Strange sounds coming out of her lips at dead of night.
Mark Sahab? Mark Sahab?"
(Pp. 100, Dantal Haatir Une Khowa Howda, Upanyash Samagra, Second Edition, 2001)
This behaviour of Durga is enough to illustrate her sexual desire. It can be seen that whether be it Durga or Giribala or Saru Gosani-all of them are discontented and the root cause of their discontentment lies in their personal lives. Of course, while depicting these characters, the novelist has not restricted her outlook around their personal lives alone. Infact the wider social sphere and their mental outlook as well, is being brought into consideration.
But at this point it is worth mentionable that both women and men has discontentment in life. The writer has more successfully illustration this picture of discontentment in woman than man. But this doesn't mean that she has ignored male characters concerning this aspect.

Through the male character Udaybhanu in her novel "Udaibhanur Charitra" this dissatisfied hunger has been clearly illustrated. Udaibhanu is both frustrated and betrayed. In quest of In the moonlit night the shuttering plates at the work site sparkled like bayonets of soldiers in a battlefield. The craines seemed to be storks standing still at the water-front......The excess piers at the embankment of the Ahiran seemed to be like towers of ancient mansions. The compressors covered with turpoline seemed to be caravans of camels. The sucksen pipes lay coiled up as a python. The reinforcement rods of steel were piled up in a heap like a mountain of rib bones of the labourers.....The violant sound of the generator, the Ghrr Ghrr sound of the concrete mixer, the sound of stone crusher....as if at that time I became one with all these.
Though the struggle of not being able to look up at the sky was still going on, yet, as if gradually I got the strength to look up at the sky above. Sometimes this evening sky of Madhya Pradesh appeared quite fascinating before my eyes. As if pieces of red and golden clouds were playing about. I felt as if some prince had torn his golden and red robe into pieces and threw it towards the sky.
I have already mentioned that I didn't see the formation of labourers' Union by labourers at the branch of river Chandrabhaga. With these eyes of mine I saw the labourers used like torn-shoes before every one and display of absolute silence even at the time of horrible accidents. But when I went to Ahiran in 1974, Union has been formed in this famous Private company.

I even saw labourers going out on rallies infront of the residence of the manager Barjor Satarawala. I also saw slogans written on the walls of the satai-made office. I stayed for a few months at the work site of the 'Sai Aqueduct' in Raibaraillie inthe year 1976 in order to write the novel 'Mamore Dhora Taruwal'. It was during my stay there that the task of retrenchment i.e. dismissal of the labourers started. List of dismissed labourers were being hung onto the wall of the satai-made office. At first the 'Daily paids' or 'Casual' labourers were dismissed. One by one list of dismissed labourers were hung outside the time-keeper's office. Chaos started among the sweepers, fitters, helpers, chowkidaars, cooks of the langars, servants at the guest house and the other labourers. During this period the union went on strike. They demanded that the dismissed labourers should immediately be taken back into work in the various branches of the company scattered all over India.
The strike went on in full swing.

The work of the company came to a standstill. Some union leaders staged hunger strike in front of the office of the company.
I observed this strike quite closely.
Holding red flags rallies of half-starved Harijans and other labourers passed by the barracks.

Gradually this strike took a terrible form. During this period I heard that a labour leader even shot down an engineer named Shirodkar of another branch.....Barjor Satarawala was also the manager of this Sai aqueduct. I was also worried for him. I went to the labourers who were on hunger strike. Gradually the ghastly form of this long-standing strike came to my notice. I depicted this very ghastly form in my novel 'Mamore Dhora Taruwal'. The strength of the labourers' Union about which I imagined in 'Ahiran', that imagination became almost devastated at the branch of the Sai aqueduct. I became acquainted with the leaders of this long-standing strike. I even discussed with them as because I was in the company of the manager of the aqueduct himself. I came to know many facts. That the company has bribed a few union leaders, facts like this came to my knowledge too.

One day a leader who took lead in the strike (He was a man from Bengal) asked me, "The manager doesn't talk at all, we have never ever come across such a person....How do you live in the company of such a person?"
.......The strike was unsuccessful. The interference of the local leader had much to do in this failure. Though I have preserved this failure of the strike as seen by my eyes, yet, at some parts I have added more colours. This innovation was essential to depict the truth powerfully. Many of its characters were imaginary. Some imaginary elements were also added to the main story.
I remained impartial and wrote the story of the strike. According to me impartiality is the greatest ornament of a writer.

As if somebody whispered into my ears, and reminded, "Writers ought to be like the sun above the sky." I myself don't know whether I am successful or not in expressing before people a true story seen by my eyes in the form of a novel. I believe that it is the reader who will determine this.

* * *
I got a different kind of pleasure while writing the novel 'Dantal Haatir Une Khowa Howda'. I was inspired to write this novel by a sattra of our ancestors situated at the south bank of the Brahmaputra. This Sattra was the centre of attraction in my childhood days. In those days I loved the free environment of the sattra more than the city of Guwahati! I didn't hesitate to go to this sattra even after remaining absent from my classes in school. At that time if there was a heaven for me then it was this Sattra. After the demise of my father the property of the sattra was managed by my uncle Chandrakanta Goswami. Of course the head of the sattra was one of my other uncles Ratnakanta. Uncle Chandra was quite affectionate towards me. Sometimes I went to the sattra on his bicycle. Sometimes our family went to the sattra sitting in an old Ford car. Our elephant was kept ready beneath a peepal tree on the bank of the river Jogolia. This was so because the condition of the road was so bad that half of the way the elephant had to pull the car. Uncle Ratna had his education staying at our residence. He was my favourite uncle. I know almost all the characters of the sattra. The buffon Kalia, the old Kauriya,old Cheru, money lender Cheniram, Soneswar Mahari38, the physician of Borihat, Shambhu, Dambhu, Sandhya, Sadha, Satari, Phulou, Ghontepi, Thaneswari and many such characters strolled about in a fascinating world....My most favourite character was a widowed grand mother who stayed all along by herself looking after her property below the Matia hills. In those childhood days I came into contact with those poor masses ruined by the habit of opium-eating.
Once upon a time we had elephants. But I saw only one elephant. Those memories of going for bath in the Jogolia riding on this elephant, strolling in the forest of the Matia hills riding on this elephant are still fresh....One by one each of the scenes become visible before my eyes....

......Over there my aunt is sitting infront of a fire of paddy husk....
At a corner of the courtyard tidy as the skin of a deer, under a shaddock tree small grand mother is praying to Lord Shiva with offerings of Karabi flowers and tulsi leaves. She has tied a mekhla around her breast.

.….Ah! Those people with bare bodies rushing towards the Matia hills with wooden clubs in hand. There is a tiger at the Matia hills. Chaos. I am waiting at the gate-house. I was bare-footed, spotted frock...wavy hair flying in the air....over there father and uncle are going to do the rites done after the funeral ceremony of grandfather. Over their heads is a large umbrella-of pink silk. As if the entire village is following them. Those songs sung by the women in praise of the Gosain are quite distinct to my ears. Mekhla around their breasts. Bare feet. Body-scent like the water of the Jogolia.
The old Kauria is following the procession at last playing on the clarion.....I can distinctly see the bones of his dark body......Over there is Sadha who is blind by an eye. A large hump on his back, skeletal body! Giving out peels of laughter he said, "Maichana, cann't walk, isn't it? Don't touch, don't touch, you will have to bath me!"
Over there is our huge elephant Rajendra! He has a sore on his leg. He is sleeping like a man.....Uncle assisted the vet coming across the river in applying medicine on the sore of his leg. The children of the sattra crowded to see this scene. They are nude. Their bodies are smeared with mud. Drum like stomachs with worms inside.
Ah! I am sitting inside the small room of the mahut Kalto. He is frying betel leaf in a pan. He is taking out small balls of opium from the fold of his dhoti and mixing it with the bettle leaf....... "Maichana what are you looking at!....It is quite agonising if I don't eat opium! Quite agonising!!"

.....Now I am entering into the wide forest within our compound holding onto the hand of my uncle!....A pleasant smell! Wild flower, sweet scented lemon! Saal, Simalu, Gomari, Nageswar, Khoira, Gandhasoroi......countless names were pronounced by uncle......He asked me to count the bee hives!
There can be heard bridal songs. Nalinibai is singing bridal songs....We the children are going out for a stroll towards Borihat in a bullock cart without bamboo curtains. In the bright light of the moon the elephant binding grounds seem to be the open locks of grand mother.

* * *
....In this way several such scenes related to our sattra situated at the southern bank of the Brahmaputra comes to my mind. Based on these memories and stories I have written my novel 'Dantal Haatir Une Khowa Howda'.
While writing this novel I felt as if I was moving about along with those favourite characters of mine of the past around this sattra.

........Of course there was tint of imagination in the story of the novel. Though I have selected the main characters of the novel from among my favourite characters, yet, there is much tint of imagination in these characters. During the period of writing while coming to Guwahati from Delhi several times, I went to the sattra....This sattra frequently reminded me of the pathetic tale of separation. Those characters who inspired me to write this novel are no more there. The Gosani who was the inspiration of writing about the character of Saru Gosani, has been burnt at one side of the Matia hill. I saw only half burnt wood and a heap of ashes as the remains of her funeral pyre. In 1989 I saw one more favourite character of mine in a pathetic condition. She was lying in a cow-shed as an ailing woman. During the day hours she was dragged out to the court yard and left out in the sun. Again she was dragged back into the cow-shed. When I stood in front of her she couldn't recognise me. When she recognised me then tears rolled down her cheeks. As if some invisible parts within the heart slide down. I felt such a vacuum then. I couldn't exactly express in writing how this agony of separation and meeting dear ones took me to a mysterious world. I loved every body equally with my heart.
Apart from the short stories a part of life is there within most of my novels. I love to knit the illusionary net of imagination and reality. I dream of deprived people achieving dignity. That the descriptions can give a realistic picture, I never fail to attend any response.

.......I also try to portray the descriptions of my short-story realistically.
During the time of writing the short story 'Hriday' the description of a morgue was also felt required. I thought that it would be proper for me to go and see a morgue of Delhi before giving such a description. One day I went to see a morgue situated near 'Sabji mandi' Baraf khana in Delhi along with a friend named Mahesh Gupta. Mahesh Gupta is an employee of Intelligence branch under the government of India.
This morgue was in front of the church built in memory of Doctor William Buttler by the Methodist Mission. On the day I went to this morgue, many dead bodies were been laid there who died at a train accident at chowki No. 2 of Delhi. Till then identification wasn't done. There was also a dead body of a girl who had committed suicide due to her failure in examination. I wonder why the in-charge of the morgue promptly gave me the permission to go inside, but a few police officers looked at me with suspicion. the in-charge ordered the servants to clear the path by removing the dead bodies and clean the blood stained bed of stone where post mortem is done. The doctor doing post-mortem looked at me suspiciously. He was relucant to answer to my questions properly. I went inside. Mahesh Gupta followed me with a handkerchief pressed to his nose. I didn't cover my nose with a handkerchief as because I have to give the exact description. i.e. I have to describe the smell even. At that time the smell of this room seemed to me like the smell of mouldy rice.

Of course clots of blood were still left on the stony bed even after it was cleaned up. There was slimy blood within the cracks still them. Two dead bodies were lying starked naked. Suddenly I saw Mahesh dashing out of the room and start vomiting. It was a little later that I saw the servants had left a severed head over a dead body in haste. The head rolled onto the floor and perhaps Mahesh Gupta stumbled against it. The strange fact is this that I wasn't the least disturbed at seeing such a scene.
I could give a complete description of this morgue in my short story titled 'Hriday'.
.....In this way I brought reality and imagination into my literature. Literature and life has become identical for me now.

[Compiled from various books of the writer, © The Writer]







 


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