Sonaram Chutia was an eminent Vaishnavite scholar. He was an educationalist, social reformer, and a freedom fighter.
Born in a very poor and lower caste family, the late Vaishnava Pandit spent his entire life fighting against the inhuman practices of the society. Struggling through the various obstacles in life, Pandit Sonaram Chutia was not only able to establish his own identity in the society but also he became a guiding star for the large number of downtrodden people of the society.
Pandit Sonaram Chutia was born to Jagiram and Phuleshwari Chutia on June 8th 1915, in Baam Kukurasowa village, Kakojan, in Jorhat district. Although he was born in a poor family, he was very good at his studies. Being a good and intelligent student, he was supported by the teachers in his school. However, as he was from a poor and lower caste family, he suffered from caste discrimination and injustice in every step of life. As a school student, when Pandit Chutia appeared for the “Britti examination”, which is a scholarship examination, his name did not appear in the list of the passed students. Since young Chutia was a brilliant student, his name not appearing on the list was very hard to accept to some of the teachers, especially to a teacher named Kashinath Changkakoti. Mr. Changkakoti investigated the matter and found that some selfish person had deducted 20 points from the total marks scored by young Chutia in the examination and consequently his name did not appear in the pass list. Mr. Changkakoti then informed the matter to the school authority and also threatened to do complain if the matter was not solved. Finally, with the help and support of Mr. Changkakoti, young Sonaram Chutia was declared passed. This was not the only incident in the life of the late Vaishnava Pandit.
In school, while doing his studies, young Chutia’s faced a lot of pain and trouble that a child of his age could ever bear. Sonaram Chutia studied at Jorhat Government Higher Secondary school. Because Sonaram Chutia belonged to a lower caste family, young Chutia was not allowed to stay in the hostel. Young Sonaram Chutia, was therefore forced to live in a rented house. However, at that time, Sonaram Chutia was too young to take care of himself. But, living in the rented house, he had to do everything by himself. He was required to carry fire-wood for cooking from his distant village to his rented house, do cooking and at the same time continue his studies. Also the school was quite a long distance away from his rented house, thus, he needed to walk a long distance from his rented house to reach his school. Now the question comes – How much a little child could handle?? Sonaram Chutia was a little child and doing all these works were far beyond the mental and physical ability of a child- Sonaram Chutia. Consequently, being hurt, disappointed and unable to manage the rigorous daily life activities, young Chutia decided to abandon his studies. However, with the blessings of the Gracious Almighty Hari, a teacher named Jehiruddin Ahmed from his school stopped young Sonaram Chutia from abandoning his studies and provided him with accommodation in a school godown. With the help of Mr. Ahmed, young Sonaram Chutia continued his studies and due to his hard-working nature and strong determination, at the year of 1935, Sonaram Chutia passed the Matriculation with letter marks in five subjects. That year, young Chutia was the only student to score letter marks in the Matriculation. This splendid result motivated young Chutia to continue his fight against injustice and caste discrimination, and to continue his studies.
( NOTE- The life of the Late Vaishnava Pandit Sonaram Chutia is very hard to narrate in writing. Thus, we are trying to cover some of the incidence from the life of the Late Pandit in parts. In this part, we have tried to throw light into the childhood of Pandit Chutia. The next part will be be published shortly)