Biography



Indira Goswami, popularly known as Mamoni Raisom Goswami is one of the most celebrated writers in India. Born in 1942 she has published several creative and sholarly works in Assamese and English. The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker, regarded as a classic in Assamese literature and excerpted in Masterpieces of Indian Literature (Sahitya Akademi) is a novel about the plight of Brahmin widows in Sattras of Assam; The Blue Necked Braja is perhaps the first novel written on the plight of Hindu widows popularly known as Radheswamis in Vrindavan; Pages Stained with Blood is a first person account of the Sikh-riots of 1984 in Delhi; The Man from Chinnamasta, is her most controversial and subversive novel which is a protest against the practice of animal sacrifice in the ancient Kamakhya Temple, in Guwahati, Assam; Pain and Flesh is her only published poetry collection in English. She is currently busy with a new novel based on a Bodo woman who took up arms against the British.

She has been honored with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for the novel “The Rusted Sword”, Assam Sahitya Sabha Award 1988, Bharat Nirman Award 1989, Sauhardya Award from Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan of Government of India 1992, Katha National Award for Literature 1993, Kamal Kumari Foundation National Award 1996 and in the year 2000 she won the country’s highest literary prize the Jnanpith Award. She has honorary D.Lit. degrees from several universities like Indira Gandhi National Open University, Rabindra Bharati University and Rajiv Gandhi University Arunachal Pradesh. For her unparalleled scholarly work in the field of Ramayani Studies she was awarded the International Tulsi Award from Florida University. Her ongoing pioneering efforts to bring peace in Assam through her crucial role in the peace talks between banned militant outfit ULFA and the Indian Government has brought a ray of hope to the twenty-eight-year violence-ridden atmosphere of the state.

“Words from the Mist” directed by Jahnu Barua is one of the many biographical films made on her eventful life.

In 2008, she became India’s first Principal Prince Claus Laureate.


“Indira Goswami is one of those rare figures whose achievements as a writer are closely paralleled by their accomplishments as a social and political activist.” ---Amitav Ghosh

“…its reading is an unforgettable experience.Whenever my mind wandered back to this sombre, penumbral and horrid atmosphere, I feel overpowered by awe.”---On The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker, Bhishma Sahni, New delhi, August 12 2000

"Indira Goswami is one of those rare souls who have been able to get an insight into the great power which is working behind this universe. In turn the endeavor to grapple with that finds reflection in this book and lends strength to it…This power that this metamorphosis has bestowed upon her has now became a matter of pride for every Assamese women.”---On The Moth Eaten Howdah of a Tusker, Amrita Pritam


"Her novel The Pages Stained With Blood captures the brutality and the distrust in the cityscape where the fugitives from justice and the perpetrators of crime are difficult to distinguish. To understand the complex nature of mercenary agents of crime, Indira even visited the infamous GB Road and spoke to the sex workers.
"The common thread in Indira Goswami’s immensely diverse and rich oeuvre is the concern for women. In her person and in her work this is echoed multifariously. Despite the complex interstices, I see no contradictions—only a holistic expression of India’s many challenges to women’s empowerment and a gifted writer moulding them into creative forms." 
---Malashri Lal