Mamoni Raisom Goswami (1942-2011) - also known as Professor Indira Goswami, was a celebrated writer, novelist, editor, poet, scholar and litterateur from Assam, India. She is the second Assamese recipient of the 'Jnanpith Award', the highest literary award in India.
Mamoni Raisom Goswami was popularly known as 'Mamoni Baidew' among the people of Assam and her fans. She was born in Guwahati, Assam, on November 14, 1942. Her father was Umakanta Goswami and mother Ambika Devi. She was married to Madhaven Raisom Ayengar who died in a car accident after eighteen (18) months of marriage.
Dr. Goswami studied in Shillong and later studied Assamese Literature at Cotton College, Guwahati.
Mamoni Raisom Goswami published her first short-story collection 'Chinaki Morom' when she was just 13 years old. She wrote many novels and short-stories throughout her life on different subjects and was known for her attempts to structure social change through her writing. Among her writings, the Assamese novels like 'Datal Hatir Une Khowa Howda' (The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker), 'Mamore Dhora Tarowal aru Dukhon Uponyas' (The Rusted Sword and Two Other Novels), 'Chinnamastar Manuhto' (The Man from Chinnamasta) and 'Tej Aru Dhulire Dhusarita Prishta' (Pages Stained With Blood) are immensely popular. Mamoni Raison Goswami wrote about (twelve) 14 novels and nine (9) short stories in her lifetime. All of her works have been translated to English language.
She has also got a collection of poetry called 'Pain and Flesh'.
Dr. Goswami was in news for her role as mediator between Government of India and banned insurgency group 'ULFA' ( United Liberation Front of Assam). But She refered to herself an "observer" of the peace process rather than a mediator. Her involvement led to the formation of the People's Consultative Group, a peace committee.
In her lifetime, Mamoni Raisom Goswami receieved numerous awards which includes the 'Sahitya Akademi Award' in 1982, 'Jnanpith Award' in 2000, International 'Prince Claus Award' in 2008 and 'Kamal Kumari Foundation National Award'. She had refused the 'Padmashri Award' with a principled stand that having won 'Jnanpith', she was unable to accept fourth highest award.
Her works has been performed on stage and in films. The film 'Adajya' is based on one of her novels and won international awards. Director Jahnu Barua's 'Words From The Mist' is a film made on her life.
Mamoni Raisom Goswami worked at Sainik School in Goalpara, Assam, before going to Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh, for research work. Later she joined the University of Delhi as the Head of Assamese Department under the guidance of Prof Bhabananda Deka who was who was subservient in the introduction of Assamese Language in MIL Department of Delhi University (DU)..
Dr. Goswami suffered from depression and had many instances where she wanted to commit suicide. After the sudden death of her husband, she became addicted to sleeping tablets. That was the time she started devoting as much time as possible to writing and she claimed that she wrote just to live. Her autobiography conveys a sense of the pain, the restlessness and the suffering that she had undergone in various phases of her life.
After she complained of respiratory problems on February 12, 2011, Mamoni Raisom Goswami was brought to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital and was immediately put on ventilation. She passed away on November 29, 2011, at 7:46 AM, at the age of seventy (70) in the same hospital.