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Review of Hidden Love

 

An Amazing Endeavour

 

  - Hridayananda Gogoi

 

The style of developing a story, handling a subject of delicate importance, and starting a work of fiction into a book form is not only a strong step, but also a difficult task for a writer of fourteen years old. In such an age normally most teenagers choose some other things of their choice. But Angshumita Deka, a student of class VIII of Holy Child School, Guwahati has opted the first choice and made a laudable contribution offering her ever first fiction Hidden Love. The basics of the book is based on a delicate issue, a kind of superstitions, and its significance lies in the poignant treatment that she had had with maturity and tremendous hard labor.

The primary focus she has delivered is meant to highlight the ghostly believes, inhumane social injustice and to identify the innermost tune of a mother. With a mature outlook Angshumita has grasped the sensibilities of the mother, the believed witch Padma who failed to express her anguish of losing a child. She has overviewed the feelings and realizations of Padma through Riniki. In other words, Riniki is the self of the writer who has acquired adequate norms in finding out truth and goodness to her innocent heart. Her process of unfolding hidden aspects is quite receptive to her characters too. Obviously this indicates her control over all features of the story. The landscape she has painted for, even in a compact form, is enough to figure everything required for the development of the story. The Ratanpur, the origins of the story is a common place where, even in the time of space-home and e-age, people never ever had experienced a modern outlook. The writer depicts several consequences and occurrences of this backward place, although had history of freedom fighters like Ramnath. The depiction of those days with Ramnath indicates how the process of witch-hunting has been simply plaguing the society. And there remains no one to hear the voice of a woman.

 Her language, mood of expression, narration and over all her presentation exceeds in a significant way. Some times while she goes on in narrating, she follows such a finer craftsmanship that could easily remind not of her age but of her ability and growing upheavals. The characterization and dealings with the situations has not only empowered the momentum of the story, but also brings promises of the writer in the future. The characters like Dhaneshwari, great grandfather, Riniki and Padma are round in their fields whereas Param, Pakhi, Ramnath etc. are flat in their performances. But the most important aspect is that such characters are tightly blended with sensitive feelings.

The deep pathos evoked towards Padma articulates how the young writer has easily touched the vibrant feelings of others. Actually the poignant aspect of a womanís life has been illustrated through Padma. She has sacrificed her life without getting proper justice. The contempt against the dominative attitude of man and the conservative society is no less. But she, even her husband, is helpless in front of prevailing circumstances. Therefore, the sufferers, her children, had got nothing at last. The writer, in a brief manner has depicted miserable days of Padma and brought her as if the last victim of such witch-hunting. The inferno experienced by Padma and the result out of the negative social verdict given by the head of the village could not be engulfed with other social circumstances. The irony of this society is that such evil deeds are to be highlighted by fourteen years old budding talents like Angshumita. Although, the subject is very common, and still prevailing, nobody dares to question in such way as Angshumita has done. Her approach towards life can even put the so-called guardians of the society to shame.

Thus, the significance of the book lies in its humanism. The feminine self within the writer with its maturity has impact on some of her female characters. Her optimistic perspective towards life is noteworthy. Her bold courage makes it clear that she hasnít ignored faults of society. She has given a human touch to such issues. There is a wide range of scope for her to explore and experiment numerous subjects related to life. We hope to see more matured creations of this emerging fiction writer in the coming days. Leading publishing house The Visual Image has brought this particular fiction work. I personally feel that through this Hidden Love the publisher has made a commendable contribution in highlighting the maiden plight of a gifted writer. Congratulations Angshumita.

This writer can be contacted at hridayanandagogoi@gmail.com and through: www.asianviews.net

 

Rita Choudhuryís

Significant Work

'Deolungkhui'

 

The Vital Message

 

  - Hridaynanda Gogoi

Rita Choudhury has attained a unique place in the history of Assamese novels through her significant work 'Deolungkhui'. This particular novel, published last year, has also marked her transition into a higher position. The novel received wide acclaim. Her latest novel is 'Jahnabi'. Though very short in length and centered around only one plot, it depicts an important issue that now draws attention throughout the world--the consequences that have arisen because of the militancy. The conflict between good and evil gets focus in the writings of the writer who has found her own conclusion that humanity triumphs over all.

The story of the novel is very simple. Its appeal is the final answer. Nilakshi, whose husband Ananda Barua is kidnapped and subsequently killed by the extremist, has become mentally ill. She has lost her memory to an extent. Her dreams were shattered into pieces. Her mother-in-law Jaya Barua takes up the responsibility of looking after her. Ananda was the lone earning member with his small stationery shop. The small family was happy. But destiny had something else in store. Ananda refused to pay the extortion amount to the extremists. He used to keep the demand-letters confidentially so that nobody at home could get them. On the other hand, while he took his own decision of not paying his hard earning money, he kept a fixed deposit for his family so that they could get its interest after his death. His close friend Pranjal, a doctor, was aware of this and he asked him to pay a part only to get a reprieve from those extremists. But Ananda was adamant and as a result was kidnapped.

As if that was not enough; the worst was still to come. Nilakshi has not only lost her memory, but also her child. Nilakshi, pregnant at the time, falls down during a scuffle with the militants who forcibly take Ananda in a van to an undisclosed destination. Nilakshi regains her consciousness in hospital but loses her baby. This twin tragedy makes her life miserable. She starts speaking irrelevantly and makes a habit of waiting till midnight to receive her husband. On such a stormy and wild night, two militants, along with a woman come to their house and ask for shelter. That woman was about to deliver her baby. Jaya Barua could not deny them and agrees to take all possible care, in spite of her hatred and anger for those militants. Amidst heavy rains, she brings a doctor to save the child and his mother. She is bold enough to take that decision and realizes that only humanity could overpower all evils. Her son was kidnapped and killed by those militants, but while they are under her roof for safety and security, she should accept them with love and a helpful attitude. Nilakshi too comes to know that she has lost her husband as well, yet without any hatred; she takes care of the woman for a smooth delivery. Jaya Barua's plan to face the police and disguise the woman as Jahnabi, her second daughter-in-law, is an important aspect of the novel. The primary focus of Jaya Barua is to help Jahnabi and her attitude is humanitarian. Being a mother, she could not restrain herself from saving another mother, reflecting that humanity is above all.

Yet, the epilogue is waiting to hit the father of the child. He is the leader of those militants. He comes to pick up his wife and his newborn baby. The harsh words are pronounced then. The mother of the baby, Jahnabi realizes that their path was not the correct one, and refuses to go on the same way again. She asks her husband why he had given orders to kill Ananda, whose wife and mother had saved her, despite knowing that they were the killers. Her realization manages to touch an inner chord in her rebel husband who bids adieu, saying he will give a second thought to the ideology of militancy. The novelist has not given any final conclusion, but an indication is evidently there.The language of the novel is lucid and there is a mathematical precision in the execution of the plot. ******

Minakshi Goswami Borthakurís

Doriyolir Chorai

: Women Pathos


  -Dr. Neeva Rani Phukan

There is no dearth of short story writers in Assamese as far as the present scenario is concerned. But only handfuls among these new writers have been able to make a niche for themselves in this distinct field of literature. Being of the new generation, these writers are quite open to the new ideas and experiments. Some particular issues affecting personal life and social life, which were considered taboo talk till the twentieth century, are now finding its way into the short stories of these new writers. Whether be it bigamy, live-in relationship, or other sort of adultery the protagonist of the short stories of these new writers have always taken a bold stand and are candid in opinion. These writers no longer don the robe of the idealist or preacher but try to delve into certain situations and reasons so as to bring out some biter realities of life in front of the readers or society at large. Minakshi Goswami Borthakur is an aspiring short story writer among this crop of new writers who holds promise of a bright future ahead. Her maiden anthology of short stories titled Doriyolir Chorai is not only an exhaustive observation of human nature with its vice and virtues but also a humane approach to some problems plaguing personal life of an individual.

Altogether fourteen short stories have been included in this particular anthology of Goswami Borthakur. Most of the stories have a female character as the protagonist. The writer has selected her female characters from different walks of life. Whether be it Sandhya, Monika or Pallabi from the urban society or Bonti, Charulata and Aimoni from the rural society, each one of them is plagued by the same dejection, misery, betrayal and loneliness. The only difference is the environment and situation. In the title story 'Doriyolir Chorai' Sandhya and Dinesh are having a live -in relationship. After living together with Dinesh for some time she opted to temporarily step out of Dinesh's life. When she returned after a gap of one year she realized that Dinesh has changed a lot. In her absence he has got intimated with another girl. They have plans of marriage too. It is at this point that she realizes that her relationship with Dinesh is heading towards nowhere. It is only those cherished moments of their togetherness, which she can treasure in her heart. It is the unexplainable bliss derived from their live in relationship which maters and that which have a lasting impact in both their minds and heart. Rest everything is futile. Live in relationship is a new phenomena of modern life. This particular life style common to western society is making its way into modern Indian society. This trait is not above controversy. There are certain legal as well as social hazards related to such a relationship. The writer has tried to explore the emotional bearing of such a relationship through her characters. The ultimate realization of the female protagonist seems to project an enigmatic aspect of live in relationship.
Whether be it urban or rural set up, a woman has to face her personal challenges all-alone. When the tormentor is her spouse then even her near and dear ones distance themselves from her and show indifference to her problem. Monika faces such a situation in 'Chinnohosta'. Here her childhood friend Ajit comes to her rescue and inspires her to start life anew. Little does Monika realize that Ajit isn't different from other men who hanker after extra marital relationship. But when she realizes his selfish interest she recollects herself and thinking about Ajit's innocent wife and daughter, severs all ties with Ajit and resolves to lead an independent life of her own. But Aimoni in 'Tirotar Ghar' isn't so lucky as her urban counterpart Monika. The soft-spoken simple-minded village belle Aimoni suffers both physical and mental torture in her husband and in laws' hands for dowry. When her parents could no longer fulfill the demands of their urban-based son in law, they advised Aimoni to cope up with the situation at her in laws house. The quiet Aimoni obeyed her parents and left for her husband's house only to return back as a dead body to her parents' house. Being from the urban set up and educated, Aimoni got no such scope as Monika to live life in her own terms. Illiteracy and lack of courage in her part made the innocent Aimoni suffer and die a ghastly death. The writer has been able to illustrate this contrast well.

A woman has to go through numerous ordeals in conjugal life. The unmarried ones aren't spared either. Day in and day out they are being exploited or humiliated in some way or the other. Whither be it Noori-the married woman of the minority community or the young Chephali of the tea community, each one of them has her own tale to tell. It is only because of their physical attractiveness that men are drawn towards them. Noori is unable to secure the dignified status of a wife from her husband Anowar. For Anowar she is only a body to fulfill his physical needs. An officer of the tea garden named Bolin Barua is exploiting the young and naive Chephali. He robs herb of her virginity and leaves that tea garden for good. Circumstances forced her to marry Bodhen the tea laborer who had a soft corner for her. But she couldn't bear to see her illegitimate baby daughter and tried to kill the baby. But her husband Bodhen stopped her in time and told her that he knew about her illegitimate relationship with another person. Inspite of this he will accept the baby as his own. This humane aspect of Bodhen's character adds a distinct flavpour to the story "Bogi Chowalir Kandon."

The poignant aspect of a woman's life has been illustrated through characters like Bor Gosani, Bonti, Noori, Pechon and Chephali. Their contempt against the dominative attitude of man and the consevative society is no less. But they are helpless in front of prevailing circumstances. Moreover the fear of a negative social verdict is always there. Bor Gosani, in her bid to uphold the prestige of their family and for fear of social castigation, didn't rais her voice against the adultery commited by her husband Harakanta Gosain. As a result her later days became miserable. Her husband Naren too betrayed Pechon. In her case it was her younger sister towards whom her husband got physically attracted and brought her as his second wife. Only Pechon could experience the inferno, which was engulfing her in the form of the other woman in her husband's life. But both she and Bor Gosani were helpless against circumstances. Bonti's husband Naren left her soon after their marriage without even making the customary advances at her as her husband. He disappeared somewhere. Thinking for her future well being her shrewd and foresighted mother in law suggested her to get a child from someone else. A young man named Ananta who took shelter in their house fathered a child for Bonti. In this way the lonely woman Bonti was able to maintain her self-dignity as a married woman in a rural conservative society. But her dejection and anxiety is no less than other suffering women. Inspite of these characters of "Orani Tolar Mukh", "Sondhibat" and "Bon Bogarir Cha", a few shrewd characters like Pitkani in "Sondhibat" has the guts to turn conditions in her favour and yet lead the life of a normal house- wife. Some villagers may know her clandestine affairs. But nobody dares to question her about it. Her shrewd but candid approach towards life can even put the so- called guardians of society to shame.

The feminine self within the writer with its maturity has impact on some of her female characters. Her optimistic perspective towards life is noteworthy. But she hasn't ignored faults of society. She has given a human touch to such issues in some of her short stories. There is a wide range of scope for her to explore and experiment numerous topics related to life. We hope to see more matured creations of this emerging fiction writer in the coming days. Leading publishing house of Assam Jyoti Prakshan has brought this particular anthology of Minakshi Goswami Borthakur. We feel that through this anthology "Doriyolir Chorai" Jyoti Prakashan has made commendable contribution in highlighting the flight of a gifted writer. ****

Doriyolir Chorai / Minakshi Goswami Borthakur,/ published by Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati,2007.***







 

 


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