GUWAHATI, Feb 9 � Pitambardeva Goswami stood apart from the feudal posture of the Sattradhikars, the heads of the Vaishnavite monasteries of the State, with his down-to-earth approach towards linking the destiny of the Sattras (Vaishnavite monasteries) with that of the common people as a true follower of Srimanta Sankaradeva, the founder of Assamese neo-Vaishnavism.
He was for the uplift of the condition of the downtrodden people. He advocated widow remarriage, women empowerment and opposed child marriage. He was also a true Gandhian and courted arrest taking part in the freedom struggle of the country. But, lamentably, his life and exploits are not widely known, said noted scholar and writer Prof Sivanath Barman.
Prof Barman was releasing the book Satra Society and Culture: Pitambardeva Goswami and History of Garamur Satra written by the Aniruddhadeva Chair Professor of the Dibrugarh University History Department Dr Dambarudhar Nath at a function at the Guwahati Press Club here today.
He maintained that the Sattra institutions which developed as small islands of the egalitarian societies, later turned into cores of feudalism with the growing patronage of the kings. The Sattradhikars started behaving like feudal lords. But, Pitambardeva Goswami tried to bring about a drastic change in this attitude of the heads of the Vaishnavite monasteries with his life and deeds, said Prof Barman.
In his presidential address, former Vice Chancellor of Dibrugarh University Prof Kulendu Pathak said during the middle age, the conflict between the monasteries and the society in the Western countries resulted in the rise of the modern universities as the monasteries tried to confine knowledge within their precincts.
But here in Assam, the society has not been able to cause such a revolution against the uncalled-for activities of the Sattra institutions.
In his comment, Prof Nath said that the Sattra institutions of the State do not have any written history as per the modern historical methodology. Since he belonged to Garamur Sattra, he felt it his bounden duty to do something in this line for the Sattra.
Pitambardeva Goswami was a person who should be known all over the country and abroad and hence the book has been written in English, Dr Nath said.
The book has been published by the city-based DVS Publishers and the function was jointly organised by the publishers and the North East Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Historical Research.