Mamoni Raisom Goswami
Popularly known as Mamoni Raisom Goswami, Indira Goswami was an Assamese poet, editor, writer, professor and scholar who was also known as Mamoni Baideo. She was the pole star of Assamese Literature. The only second Assamese recipient of the “Jnanpith Award”, Mamoni Baideo was born on 14 November 1942 in Guwahati.
Mamoni Raisom Goswami was born to Umakanta Goswami and Ambika Devi, who were very much attached to Sattra life of the Ekasarana Dharma. She was married to Madhevan Raisom Ayengar who died in a car accident after 18 months of their marriage. She studied at Latashil Primary School, Guwahati; Pine Mount School, Shillong; and Tarini Charan Girls' School, Guwahati and completed Intermediate Arts from Handique Girls' College, Guwahati. She majored in Assamese literature at Cotton College in Guwahati and secured a Master's degree from Gauhati University in the same field of study. Mamoni Raisom Goswami suffered from depression since her childhood. Even in the opening pages of her autobiography, “The unfinished Autobiography”, there is a mention of her inclination to jump into the Crinoline Falls located near their house in Shillong. Repeated suicide attempts marred her youth. After sudden death of her husband, she started taking heavy dose of sleeping tablets. After she was brought back to Assam, she joined the Sainik School, Goalpara.
After working at the Sainik School in Goalpara, Assam, she was persuaded by her teacher Upendra Chandra Lekharu to come to Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, and pursue research for peace of mind. Her expressions as a widow as well as an researcher finds life in her novel, “Nilakantha Braja” (The Blue necked braja). This novel is all about the radhaswamis of Vrindavan who lived in utter poverty and sexual exploitation in everyday life. One of the main issues which the novel revolves around is the lives of the widows for whom companionship beyond the walls of the ashram becomes impossible. The