Anandaram Dhekial Phukan
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan (1829 – 1859) was an renowned Assamese linguist and litterateur. He was one of the pioneers of Assamese language movement. He is known for his effort to reintroduce Assamese language as the official language of Assam. Due to his contributions for Assamese literature, Anandaram Dhekial Phukan is called as the “Father of Assamese Prose”.
Education, Marriage and Career:
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan was born on September 24, 1829 at Guwahati. His father was Haliram Dhekial Phukan, an Assistant Magistrate. Phukan completed his schooling from Guwahati. In 1841, Dhekial Phukan went to Calcutta for higher education and got enrolled in the Hindu College. He returned to Assam after studying 3 years at Hindu College. In Assam, Phukan continued his studies by taking lessons in English, Sanskrit and Urdu. In 1846, Phukan got married to Mahindri Phukanani. In 1849, Anandaram Dhekial Phukan got appointed as Dewan to Bijni Raj Estate. Later, he also served as Sub-Assistant Commissioner.
Contribution to Assamese Literature:
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan started write in the pages of Arunudoi, the first Assamese language journal. In the April, 1847 issue of Arunudoi, Phukan published an article titled “Englandor Biboron” (An account of England). In 1849, he published a two volume book title “Asomiya Lorar Mitra” (Assamese children’s friend). Later British made this a text book in schools of Assam. In 1855, Dhekial Phukan wrote a pamphlet titled “A Few Remarks on the Assamese Language”. Other literary works of Anandaram Dhekial Phukan include Asamiya Bhasa aru Asam Desar Desiya Bhasa aru Siksa (Assamese Language and the National Language and Education of Assam) and few legal works in Bengali language such as Aain O Byabastha, Sangraha Phukan Dewan Quaidabandi and Sadar Dewani Nishpatti.
Contribution to Assamese Language and Culture:
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan promoted Assamese culture and language. In 1836, Bengali was introduced as the official language of Assam. Phukan was not ready to accept that. He fought against the imposition. In 1835, Anandaram Dhekial Phukan submitted a memorandum to the case of Assamese language to the notice of Moffatt Mills. In 1855, Phukan wrote an anonymous pamphlet titled “A Few Remarks on the Assamese Language”. Through that pamphlet, Dhekial Phukan wanted to prove that Assamese language is completely different from Bengali. He referred to several old literature written in Assamese language. He pointed that out of 287 words in an Assamese passage, 112 words were completely different from from Bengali and 98 were derived from Sanskrit.
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan encouraged higher education and advocated women’s education in Assam. He taught his wife at home and his daughter was also well educated. He also advocated modernisation and use of science in agriculture.
Anandaram Dhekial Phukan was one of the eminent figures of early 19th century Assam. He devoted himself for achieving all round development of Assam. He not only helped in preserving Assamese language, but also worked for it’s development. Anandaram Dhekial Phukan died at an young age of thirty on June 18, 1859.
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