GUWAHATI, Nov 30 � Grief-stricken mourners assembled in their hundreds at the Navagraha crematorium today in what was a fitting final tribute to Dr Indira (Mamoni Raisom) Goswami - the author and humanist who penned paeans in praise of humanity all her life.
The mortal remains of Dr Goswami were consigned to flames amidst Vedic rituals around 11-40 am with State honours. The atmosphere was sombre, as the massive gathering that included distinguished citizens from different walks, her family members, relatives, friends and admirers, and the common people in large numbers, bowed in silence in respect of the late author.
Twenty-one gunshots were fired in the air as a salute to the departed soul.
Breaking tradition, it was Mrinmoyee Goswami, niece and a close companion of the author, who lit the funeral pyre - a sacred ritual customarily reserved for the male members of a Hindu family. In a way this was symbolic of the liberal and progressive ethos which Dr Goswami strove to uphold throughout her life - both through her writings and her deeds.
Governor JB Patnaik and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi along with wife Dolly Gogoi were among those who paid their tributes to Dr Goswami at the funeral. Also present among others were AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita and All Assam Students' Union (AASU) adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya besides a number of ministers and top bureaucrats.
The Governor led the tribute-payers by placing a floral wreath on Dr Goswami's body. This was followed by the Chief Minister who placed floral wreaths on the author's body on behalf of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi as well.
Earlier, people continued to throng Dr Goswami's Gandhibasti residence since the morning hours to get a glimpse of their favourite author and pay their homage. This continued till 10 am after which Dr Goswami's body was taken out and carried on a bier by her admirers and relatives on their shoulders in a procession that proceeded towards Navagraha.
The procession which reached Navagraha around 10-30 am, was joined by many on the way. Eager onlookers were also seen crowding the roadside to have a view of Dr Goswami's mortal remains.
Mrinmoyee Goswami who lit the funeral pyre said that it was an honour to do so, and that the act was in consonance with the liberal spirit of Dr Goswami.