[Assam] Memoir about Assam by Dr Amrit Baruah
Rajen and Ajanta Barua
barua25 at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 27 10:38:46 IST 2008
Presenting here a Memoir about Assam written by Dr. Amrit Baruah of Maryland. It is a brief memoir (34 pages) about growing up in Assam during the 1930s, newly titled "Assam, India: Valley of Tea and Temples." The memorir was originally published under the title of "My Valley-Once Upon a Time".
Here are some background of Dr Baruah and how he came to write about his valley.
Once upon a time, in the thirtees, Dr. Amrit Baruah was born and grew up in Jorhat, the heart of the Assam valley, among modern tea gardens and ancient temples, when Assam may be considered a 'Shangrila' during the last days of British Raj. Then came the war which touched even a sleepy town like Jorhat. Then one day, when he was sixteen, Baruah left this valley for higher studies to Calcutta. Hardly did the boy realise that he left the valley for good. Since then he spent his time and life outside of Assam. In Bengal he came close to Rabindranath Tegore and to the Bengali culture. Then in 1952 he left for USA being one of the early Indian immigrants to this country. He studied in Harvard and Boston, and later taught in universities, worked in mental health area and community organisation, and have been living in the USA ever since. ....
And what happened to the valley, the Shangrila Assam, that he left behind? Did it haunt him from time to time? When he was in his own moments, it must have...
In this short personal memorir, Dr. Baruah tries to capture that old Assam, Assam that was once upon a time, Assam that we all lost. Baruah is a sensitive writer. He srtarts his memorir with the following sentences which bring to us vividly not only the reality but also the simplicity of that valley that was once upon a time.......
"Cheuni Ali was an important road of that valley. Mostly, it just lay there with its dusty surface. After a rain, it would turn to mud. Occasionally, a bullock cart would pass on it carrying a family or hay. On special hut (fair) days, a small crowd would traverse it carrying baskets on their heads...... Unlike the formidable highways, freeways, and beltways of America that make a deliberate attempt to bypass human habitations, Cheuni Ali went right thorugh the daily lives and dramas of village people. Rice fields with that necessary stagnant water were only ten feet away; the family pond of the villager was only some yards from the road...."
The memoir may be viewed (and downloaded from) the scribd.com site on the Internet. The address for doing so is:
Hope you will enjoy reading the memoir. Please give your comments.
More information about the assam