Oxomiya Bhaxa Unnati Xadhini Xobha
Oxomiya Bhaxa Unnati Xadhini Xobha (Assamese: অসমীয়া ভাষা উন্নতি সাধিনী সভা, English: Assamese Language Development Society) was a literary organization formed on Saturday 25 August 1888 (1810 Saka). It is the precursor of the Asam Sahitya Sabha. The first secretary of this society was Shivaram Sarma Bordoloi. The prime objective of forming this society was the development of Assamese language and literature. This is the pioneering society to shape the then Assamese dialect to today’s state.
In the 8th decade of the 19th century the Assamese students studying in Calcutta took the Assamese language as the most important unifying factor for the formation of an Assamese nationality. Initially they formed messes in 50 Sitaram Ghosh Street and 62 Sitaram Ghosh Street in Calcutta. As the influx of students increased, the number of messes was also increased. Some important messes added later were 67 Mirzapur Street, 107 Amherst Street, 14 Pratap Chandra Lane, Eden Hospital Street mess etc. They initiated a number of inter-mess activities. Among them the most crucial one was the Tea Party, a social gathering over a cup of tea on every Wednesday and Saturday. They used to discuss various topics in this Tea Party and this is how the concept of Oxomiya Bhaxa Unnati Xadhini Xobha was mooted on Saturday 25 August 1888 (1810 Saka), at the 67 Mirzapur Street mess and this Tea Party was converted into a literary organization.
The objective of the society was elaborately discussed in the magazine Jonaki (Vol 5, No. 7) under the title "Axomiā Bhāxā Unnati Xādhini Xabhār Karjya Biboroni". It is as follows (English translation: Uddipan Dutta)-
|“||The objective of the Sabha is to find out solutions as to how an infant mother tongue would grow; how would it equalize the other rich and developed languages of the world and brighten the poor and gloomy face of Assam; how would it grow from the present weak and sick status to a healthy state. The development of Assamese language and literature is the primary aim of the organization. For that purpose it strives to preserve the old Assamese texts available, to translate different important books from Sanskrit and other languages into Assamese which are not available in the mother tongue, to develop reading habit among the masses to introduce pure grammar and orthography instead of the impure orthography and grammar, and to create one standard written language all through the areas of Assam.||”|
Some other activities
Among many other important decisions taken by the society, one was to publish a new monthly magazine and this is how Jonaki was born in 1889. The aim and objectives of the society was regularly discussed on the pages of Jonaki.
Long ago, Assamese actors used to stage plays jointly with Bengali actors under the aegis of the Bengali Amateur Theatre Party. But in 1903, a division of opinions among the artists from the two linguistic groups led the Assamese artists to the formation of the Baan Theatre. In 1906 the society decided to have a theatre exclusively for Assamese plays.
People associated with the society
Here is a list of those who played a pivotal role in the early imagination of Assamese identity.
- From the 50 Sitaram Ghosh Street mess: Benudhar Rajkhowa, Dalimchandra Bora, Lakshiprasad Chaliha, Ramakanta Baruah, Krishnaprasad Duwara, Ramakanta Barkakoti, Gunindranath Baruah, Golapalchandra Baruah, etc.
- From the 62 Sitaram Gosh Street mess: Lakhyeswar Sarma, Tirthanath Kakoti, Hemchandra Goswami, Kanaklal Baruah, Krishna Kumar Baruah, Chandra Kamal Bezbaruah, Ghanashyam Baruah, Kamalchandra Sarma and Lakshminath Bezbaroa etc.
- Dutta, Uddipan. "The Growth of Print Nationalism and Assamese Identity in Two Early Assamese Magazines". Sarai. p. 6. Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
- "Culture cradle inspires icon to end song drought - Bhupen Hazarika sings paean to glory of Ban Theatre at start of two-day centenary celebrations". The Telegraph. 5 September 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
- "Axomiā Bhāxā Unnati Xādhini Xabhār Karjya Biboroni". Jonaki. 5 (7).
- Theatrical movement in Assam by Babul Tamuly, Editorial, The Assam Tribune.