oldest Assamese writer was perhaps Hema Saraswati, who wrote the
famous Prahlada Charita
in the late 13th century AD. Madhava Kandalis'
translation of the Ramayana and Rudra Kandalis' translation of Drona Parva of Mahabharata
are the two classical Assamese works of the 14th
century AD. Durgavaraâ€™s
Giti Ramayana, poems and songs from the Puranas by Pitambara and Manakara and the mass of literature called Mantras
are the prominent works of the 15th century.
the height of the Bhakti Movement in Assam in the 15th
century, the poet Shankara Deva (1449-1568) emerged on the scene
and produced a host of devotional songs and translations from the
Sanskrit canon. Sankara Deva's masterpieces are Kirtana-ghosa,
Bhakti-pradipa, Rukmini-harana, Harischandra-upakhyana and Bali-chalana.
Rama Saraswatiâ€™s lucid translation of the Mahabharata
and Vadha Kavyas
(stories from the Puranas)
and Madhavadeva's Rajasuya
Yagna and Vara-Gita were the other popular works of the period.
Ahoms Kings of Assam also contributed greatly towards the
development of the Assamese literature. They produced a unique
collection of chronicles called Buranjis
(Court Chronicles), which comprised of political, judicial and
revenue records pertaining to the period 1228-1824 AD.
The Ahoms also produced great volumes of technical
literature on astrology, medicine, mathematics, music, dancing and
other subjects based on the Sanskrit works. Kaviraj Chakravarti's
translation of Brahmavairarta
Purana and Sakuntala and
Rajeswar Singha's Kitchakhadh
were the noteworthy works of the Ahoms.
the 16th to 19th centuries, numerous
translations from the Epics
and Puranas were produced along with the kavyas based on their stories.
Secular and romantic poems, biographies and devotional
anthologies were also produced in large numbers. In the modern
period the Christian missionaries Nathan Brown and Miles Bronson
helped in promoting writings in Assamese. While Brown produced the
Grammatical Notices of the
Assamese Language (1848), Bronson brought out the Assamese-English Dictionary (1867). The Bible was
translated into Assamese in 1813.
In 1839 another English missionary W.Robinson brought out
the first Assamese grammar in English called A
Grammar of the Assamese Language.
later half of the 19th century witnessed a flood of
literary activity in Assam. Hemachandra Barua (1835-1896), the
first great figure in modern Assamese literature, produced a work
on Assamese grammar called Asamiya-Vyakarana
(1895) and a dictionary called Hema
In the middle of the 19th Century Assamese
magazines like Arunodaya
Samvad Patra (1846) and Asam
Bandhu (1885) were launched. Anandaram Dhekial Phukan
(1829-96) and Gunabhiram Baruwa (1837-95) were the leading
luminaries of this period. Gunabhiram
Barua's (1837-1895) Rama-navami
(1857) and Hemchandra Barua's Kaniya-kirtana
(1861) were the earliest Assamese dramas.
trio of Chandra Kumar Agarwala (1867-1938), Lakshminath Bezbarua
(1867-1938) and Hemachandra Goswami (1872-1928) were the pioneers
of the new poetry movement in Assam. They started the monthly
magazine Jonaki in 1889. Agarwala
published two powerful works, Pratima
(1914) and Vin-Baragi
(1923). Bezbarua also
produced two collections of verses called Kadamkali
(1913) and Padum Kali.
His patriotic song O
mor aponar des (O My Own Country) is one of the most memorable
and popular pieces of literary work in Assamese. Hemchandra
Goswami brought out a collection of poems called Phular
generation of novelists and poets like Bholanath Das (1858-1928),
Kamlakanta Bhattacharya (1853-1927), Rajanikanta Bardalai
(1867-1939), Hiteshwar Barbarua (1876-1939), Padmanath Gohain
Barua (1871-1946), Benudhar Raj Khowa (1872-1935) and Raghunath
Chaudhari (1879-1966) wrote profusely on patriotic, social and
romantic subjects. Rajnikanta
Bardoloi was the pioneer of the Assamese novel.
His important novels include Mirijiyari
(1895), Manomati (1900),
Danduwa Drah (1909) and Rahadai
Ligiri (1930). Gohain's
poetic works include Phular
Caneki, Jurani (1900) and Lila
tradition of mystical poetry in Assamese was popularised by
Durgesvar Sharma (1882-1961) and Nalini Bala Devi (1898-1978).
The 'Omar Khayyam'
was translated into Assamese by Jatindranath Duara (1892-1978).
Other renowned poets in Assamese were Ratnakanta
Barrakakati (1897-1963), Parvati Prasad Barua (1904-1964),
Kamalesvar Chaliha (b.1904), Padmadhar Chaliha (1895-1968),
Jyotiprasad Agarwala (1903-1951), Prasannalal Choudhuri (b.1902),
Binanda Chandra Barua (b.1903) and Devakanta Barua (b.1914).
of the renowned contemporary writers in Assamese include Syed
Abdul Malik (b.1919), Jogesh Das (b.1927), Birendra Kumar
Bhattacharya (1927-1994), Bhirendra Phul Goswami, Indira Goswami,
Harendra Kumar Bhuyan, Arupa Patangia Kalita and Manoj Kumar