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Saturday, 17 March 2012


They say, some instances in one’s life are worth forgetting and some rare instances are worth their weight in gold. And truly, each moment of this interaction with one of the most knowledgeable individuals that we have come across, was worth a lifetime. The words she shared with us were the words of gold. One of the most popular literary geniuses in Assam, Late Dr Indira Goswami, popularly renowned as Mamoni Roisom Goswami, is the Prince Claus Award winner for literature and the winner of the reputed Gnanpith award. Spending time with her, listening to her experiences and her compendium of wise talks was a reminiscent of a dream come true for me. Months after her sad demise, I reflect back on those moments and realize that I was lucky enough to have met such a lustrous genius, who had her own way with words… I, being a curious 15 year old back then, blurted out questions at her, silly and cerebral alike. And she was more than pleased to answer them all, with an ever lasting smile that was as lucid as water...

The following are excerpts of that intriguing session.
1.     Ma’am, what are your thoughts when you write a story?

Ans: Well, writing a story is spontaneous…it is natural. The creativity while writing a story comes out by itself. Whenever I am writing a story, I only focus on the topic that I am writing. It follows with a deep flow of thought and a continuous sense of gravity.

2.     Who inspired you to write?
Ans:  My greatest inspiration has been my mother, Upen Lekharo…Moreover; I was also quite aided by my atmosphere. Kritinath Hazarika, I remember, once told me to write a story and wanted to see my hand in writing. Then…I wrote about an elephant which was gifted to me and my brother by our father. Surprisingly, the story was so well knit that it came to be published in Kritinath Hazarika’s journal. This was the genesis of my writing life.

3.   Do you think that creativity of students can only be developed through vernacular medium?

Ans:  According to me,…I think creativity is universal. But the limitation of vernacular medium is that the creativity of the student is not expressed at the broader level… (i.e) to the outer world. Hence, English is equally important to express one’s creativity at a more higher platform. It is a global language and the grip on its language is very much required.

4. Now-a-days, students opt for an English medium school. Do you think the importance given to the vernacular medium is declining.?

Ans: Well, it is declining, to say the least and it is happening at quite a large scale. It is necessary that a student should be well versed with his or her mother tongue as well as the other languages spoken in the community. This declination can be stopped,… if again the vernacular languages are include in the curriculum and are given equal importance as the other subjects. But again English cannot be ignored. It is the window to the outer world and one should expertise in it to earn higher accolades in creativity.

5. How have you been managing your writings with your job?

Ans: See… … after my husband’s tragic death, I was provided with a scholarship to research on Vrindavan and I accepted it even if I knew that melancholy was due. After a few years, I got a job in Delhi University to teach modern Indian language. But I am always at ease while writing. My colleagues and friends provide me the moral support that keeps me egging on and on.

6.  Mam, which novel or book would you recommend for us, the younger generation?

Ans:  Tulsidas’ Ramcharitamanas, because it has very high morals and teaches us the values of a successful life.

7. Ma’am, do you think that the beauty of the story is lost while translation?

Ans: Yes, it is very true that the vigour that you feel while reading an original work is lost after it’s translation in the other languages. The essence and the charm of the story is not quite the same. But… sometimes writings get better after translation. Like my Assamese novel got better after translation to the English as “The Man from Chinnamasta. But this happens once in a blue moon.

8. Keeping in mind, a great career ahead, what would you suggest for the students of Assam?

Ans: The students of Assam have a bright and a colorful future ahead of themselves. The students should actively take part in sports and physical education. … I remember, once Swami Vivekananda said, “You will learn more if you play football, rather than reading the Gita.”… This is because sports teaches us the long forgotten value of companionship and enhances the co-operative spirit within us and brings out the leadership capabilities. These values are of vital importance to survive in this competitive world. Sports channelize our extra knowledge. Moreover, we should be a true human and be spiritual. We should be humble and generous by nature in order to become a successful person ahead.

9.  Ma’am, can you please suggest at least five best colleges to pursue education in all the streams in Delhi?

Ans:  For Arts—The Stephens, Hindu
             For Science Stream—Ramdas, Stephens, Shyambal, Hindu and many more.

10. while writing a story, what do you think of mostly?

Ans:  Well… as I am a novelist, it is very important to end the story well, because the ending leaves the deepest impression on the reader’s minds. The entire success of the novel depends on the ending. If we know the ending, the beginning becomes lot easier.

11.  How was it possible for you to take an initiation on the ULFA peace? Do you think they will be able to succeed in their motive of making Assam a free, independent state?

Ans:  I am a humanist…I always wanted to write a novel on riot. One day, I suddenly got a phone call from Paresh Baruah. I always write, “I was human and was amidst the riot.” An independent Assam would be more chaotic to administer than the present day Assam but it is very true that our fellow compatriots inconsiderately neglect the North East.


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