Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Service Life of the Late Vaishnava Pandit Sonaram Chutia (part III)

Pandit Sonaram Chutia started his career as a teacher. In his lifetime, Sonaram Chutia served as a teacher in different schools.

In 1939, he joined Sibsagar Government Higher Secondary School as a science teacher. Later he joined Balama High school. It was at this time when Sonaram Chutia joined Jatiya Mahasabha (Indian National Congress) and participated in the Indian Freedom movement. He played an active role in the Quit India movement. For this he was arrested by the British and was sent to Jorhat Central Jail in 1942.

The late Pandit use to say that during that time the Jorhat Central Jail was turning into an educational institution. It was because during that time, the jail was full of patriots, freedom fighters and well educated people. In the jail, Sonaram Chutia met many well noted people like Gopinath Bordoloi, Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed, Padmadhar Chaliha, Debeswar Sarma, Amiya Kumar Das, Vijai Chandra Bhagavati, Dr. Harekrishna Das, Pitambar Dev Goswami and many more. The time that Sonaram Chetia spent in the jail had a great impact in his life. In fact, one could say that his stay in the jail came as a blessing from the Gracious Almighty. He was influenced and inspired to a great extent by the great minds, especially Pitambar Dev Goswami, who draws the mind of young Sonaram Chutia into spirituality and Vaisnavism.  Pitambar Dev Goswami was the Satradhikar of Garmur Satra. He gave Sonaram Chutia the holy scriptures that he had with him in the jail and asked Mr. Chutia to read those books. He asked Mr. Chutia to pay special attention to the Upanishadas. Thus, this was the beginning of the spiritual life of the late Pandit.

After spending 2 years 18 days in the jail, Mr. Chutia was released on 22nd December, 1944. However, he was put on house arrest for another 6 month. By this time, Mr. Chutia started reading various books. He was highly influenced by the Sankari culture and the Mahapurusia dharma, which is also known as Eka Sarana Hari Naam dharma, or simply Vaisnavism. Among all the books the Holy Srimad Bhagavata puran and the Holy Srimad Bhagavata Gita were his favourites. With the support, encouragement and blessings of Pitambar Dev Goswami, in the year of 1946, Mr. Chutia became a member of Srimanta Sankardeva Sangha, devoting himself to working for the organization for the rest of his life.

After being released from the jail, Mr. Chutia joined R.G Agarwala Higher Secondary school in Moran as a teacher. Later he served as the Rural Development officer in Golaghat.  In 1968, Mr. Chutia cracked the SCS examination and joined the Jaisagar Panchayati Raj Administration centre as the President and retired in the year of 1970. However, even after retirement Mr. Chutia could not give up his love for teaching. Thus, once again he joined Teok Rajabari Higher Secondary school as a teacher. And finally, in 30th May 1975, Mr. Chutia retired as the Headmaster of Teok Rajabari Higher Secondary school.

A Gadhian in life, Sonaram Chutia was a class X student when he saw Mahatma Gandhi for the first time, and met him personally later in Maharastra. Mr. Chutia waged a lifelong struggle against the social evil like cast system. In his lifetime he wrote many books. Some of these books are- Ishwaror Sarbopita, Naamdharma Prakash, Mahapurush Sri Sri Haridebor Soritra, Mahapurushiya Dharma aru Kormokanda, Ved aru Mahapurushiya Dharma etc.  He made a great contribution to Assamse literature. He remained the “Padadhikar” of Srimanta Sankardeva Sangha for 9 times and was the Chief-advisor of Srimanta Sankardeva Sangha during the last moment of his life. Late Vaisnava Pandit Sonaram Chutia was honoured as the freedom fighter by the Union Government of India in 1972 and the government of Assam in 1973. He also received the Srimanta Sankaradeva-Madhabdeva Award in 1994, and in the year of 2000 he was awarded with the prestigious Srimanta Sankaradeva award, instituted by the government of Assam to honour persons of eminence in the field of journalism, art, culture and literature.

Late Vaishnava Pandit Sonaram Chutia was a guiding star for lakhs of people. In fact, it is truly said by the the former president of Assam Sahitya Sabha and renowned Assamese literature Nagan Saikia –

“Vaishnava scholar Sonaram Chutia was like the guardian of the society in all aspects like social, spiritual and moral. In the time when the degeneration of the social, spiritual and moral values in the society was prevalent, late Sonaram Chutia stood as the lighthouse to guide the multitudes. His demise left the Assamese society without a guardian.”


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