GUWAHATI, April 9 - The 19th century had witnessed the best of times and also the worst of times for the Assamese people, stated Prof Ranjit Kumar Dev Goswami, retired Professor of Tezpur University while delivering the fourth Devendranath Acharya Memorial Lecture at the Shilpgram auditorium, Panjabari here yesterday.
Addressing the function held under the presidentship of DN Chakravartty, Prof Goswami dwelt on the harrowing sufferings caused to the Assamese people during the depredations by the marauders from Burma and the Moamoria rebellion.
Prof Goswami said that the Assamese people under the dynamic leadership of Anandaram Dhekial Phukan, Hemchandra Baruah and Gunabhiram Baruah tried to regain their lost glory while getting themselves educated with modern education introduced by the British.
�While the Assamese people lost the national sovereignty under British imperialism, they were given the benefits of modern industrial civilisation already built up by the British,� he observed. He also narrated the conditions of the Assamese people as a society, as family members, and as individuals during the 19th century and referred to the leadership of the pioneers of the new Assamese renaissance.
He analysed the special characteristics of the writings of Devendranath Acharya who was awarded Sahitya Akademi for his epic work Kaalpurush.
Prof Goswami said that Acharya very dexterously portrayed the condition of the Assamese society and the way of life of the Assamese rural people with special reference to Gorokhiya Doul, a historically prominent place of upper Assam.
�Acharya had the skill to portray the feelings and lifestyles of the Assamese rural masses towards the end of the Ahom rule and about the changes brought about by the British administration,� he said.
He added that Acharya, besides shining brilliantly as a novelist of the first order and an accomplished short-story writer, was also a great poet and a thoughtful essayist.
DN Chakravartty, who knew Acharya since his childhood, said that Acharya used to get prizes in the competitions for his essay writings as a school student and was honoured with an international award by an American organization when he was serving as an engineer.
He added that Acharya, who lived only for 44 years, was one of the most meritorious engineers of Assam, who built the Assam Gas Company from its infancy as the largest profit earning public sector undertaking in the State.
Ranajit Sutrdhar recited a poem by Acharya while Mridul Baruah, secretary, Baligaon Milon Chora, offered the vote of thanks.