(Last Updated on : 11-01-2013)
Non Fictional prose in Assamese Literature
marks two significant stages in development - Old and Modern Assamese prose. As it is, Non Fictional Prose is often based on facts, with pinches of fictional elements, a way of writing which is designated to instruct, to convey experience or reality through factual or spiritual revelation. Old Assamese prose essentially carried the strains of ethic-religiosity while modern prose serves and sustains practical purpose. During the rebirth era of Assamese literature, the contributions of the Baptist Mission journal, Oronodoi, are highly significant. Its prose style was modelled on the tradition of the Ahom chronicle. The main features of this journal were its terse and crisp expression, sustained elevation, preference of concrete images. The sentences were condensed and new words were used to suit indigenous idiom.
Influence of Oronodoi Writers on Assamese Non Fictional Prose
The Oronodoi was a journal that was dedicated to religion, science and general intelligence the prose style being more elastic. The Oronodoi tried to give Assamese language
a sense of perspective and a distinctive personality. There were two distinctive prose styles in the pages of the Oronodoi: Ahom chronicle style and the Vaishnava
style prose. The Oronodoi prose was secular. The Baptist Mission writers lacked basic grammar of Assamese language. Their style was disciplined. However the Oronodoi writers are credited for initiating a modern literary style as well as stabilising an idiom that was required for modern prose writings.
The prose of A. R. Dhekial Phukan had the essence of the Oronodoi style. He was far from sure-footed in his style. Assamese prose style reached distinctiveness and an individual literary idiom in the hands of H. G. Barua who is deftly considered as the father of our modern prose. He made the prose a more realistic, clear, flexible and urbane to match the social and literary demands of the time giving Assamese Language a grammatical basis and an enriched vocabulary and syntax.
Through his translated work like Swastharaksha or social satires like Bahire rangchang bhitare knowabhaturi or through his text-books like Adipath and Pathmala and grammar like Asamiya byakaran he gave the much-needed stability to Assamese language which was then at the cross-roads. He enlivened the literary dialogue of his time through constructive work: Asamiya byakaran, two dictionaries (Hemkosh and Parhasalia abhidan), two text-books (Adipath and Pathmala), besides analytical writings in journals like Asam Bilasini, Assam
News, Assam Bandhu, Mau, Assam Tara and Lora-bandhu.
Gunabhiram Barua was inspired by the enlightened socio-ethical thought of Raja Rammohan Roy
of West Bengal
. His works are written in an objective, analytical style. Some of his historical essays are: Asom atit aru bartaman, Saumar bhraman, Asomot manar seshchhuwa, Alikhit buranji, etc. He is the first biography writer (Anandaram Dhekial Phukanar jivan charit, 1880) in Assamese Language.
Development of Assamese Non fictional prose
Nilkumud Barua's Jivan darshan is a well-knit biography of Maniram Dewan which is written passionately. Ratneswar Mahanta wrote his notable research article Joymati Konwari during this period when prose grew and got stabilised as an independent medium. Jonaki
group of writers introduced a new epoch in prose. They were dedicated to the cause of imparting a dynamic local colour and embellishment of words of Sanskrit origin to Assamese language. L. N. Bezbaroa popularised the personal essay which was of a subjective style. This opened a new avenue for Assamese prose which already evolved into a comprehensive medium under the patronage of H. G. Barua and G. R. Barua of the pre-Jonaki affiliation. Rajani Bardoloi popularised a prose style that was remote and objective.
Jonaki writers brought about a growth in standard literary language as well as introduced Vaishnava studies with commentaries and critical notes. This had a far-reaching effect on research thereby initiating a vigorous literary campaign. It was in the magazine of Jonaki that articles like Ratneswar Mahanta's Asomot Man, Lambodar Bora's Asamiya bhasar jotani, Bishnuprasad Goswami's Sankardev were published. Literary and personal essays emerged under its patronage. An avenue of critical thought and personal emotion was laid bare. Deven Bezbarua's Asamiya bhasa aru sahityar buraniji was published in 1912. D. Bharali's, Asamiya bhasar maulik bichar aru sahiytar chinaki is another noteworthy-work that belongs to this genre.
Major writers of Assamese Non Fictional Prose
Rajani Bardoloi's prose is analytical, descriptive and picturesque that had an unconscious attachment for English syntax. His prose had graphic and original images. Bezbaroa's style is classified into two types: prose of satires and personal essays, and critical essays. Bezbaroa's Kripabar is touched with frolic and gentle humour. He chooses his words skilfully and places them at strategic places so that they scintillate. For suppleness of imageries and illustrations, His fictional prose had supple imagery and illustrations. Bezbaroa is credited to have laid the foundation of critical studies. His Sankardev (1912) is the first attempt to reconstruct Sankardeva's life on the basis of materials available in the carita puthis. It is written in a precise and clear style that shows his scholarly understanding. His Krishna katha, Tattakatha, critical study of Rukmini harana, kavya and lectures on Vaishnavism show depth of scholarship and understanding.
Kamalakanta Bhattacharjya's prose is radical, logical and rough. This roughness of style was temperamental. His style is scarcely lyrical and impassioned; it is terse and rugged throughout. Bhattacharjya's Gutidiyak chintar dhau, Astrabakra samhita, Astrabakrar atmajivani, Tupir dokan, Mor manat para katha were serialized in the journal Banhi during 1912. His Kah partha (1934) is a notable landmark in the logical style.
Hem Goswami is noted for his contributions to historical and literary research. Asamiya sahityar chaneki is his monumental work. He has several articles to his credit. His prose is sensitive to historical facts. P. N. Gohain-Barua's prose is categorized into two phases: prose of non-Sanskrit origin and prose of a conscious effort.
Satyanath Bora is an alert stylist, a crisp argumentative fervour reinstating his prose. Some of his literary contributions like Jivanar amiya witnessed two styles jostling against each other: natural and gloomy abstraction. His works are Sarathi, Kendra Sabha and Chintakali.
Lambodar Bora's style is passionate and rhythmic, occasionally figurative. His essays like Gan, Alankar aru darkar, Anandaram Barua, Kalidas aru Sakuntala reveal the author's power of comprehension. Bora gave balance and equipoise to the contemporary prose.
A. G. Rai-Chaudhury's prose lacks structural balance due to similar temperamental nature. Such striking force acquired by an imaginative choice of words and synonyms noted for vigorous tonal quality is a characteristic of his style. Rai-Chaudhury's books are Jagatar sesh adarsha, Dekadekarir Veda, Ahuti etc. Nilmani Phukan's has a synthetic style that flows naturally and has an unaffected eloquence. His works are Sahitya kala and Chintamani. T. R. Phukan has written about hunter's life in his own unique style. He has a popular book on sexology, Jaunatatta.