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Hem Chandra Baruah was a writer, editor, grammarian, lexicographer and social reformer of Assam. He is considered the father of Modern Assamese literature. Hem Chandra Baruah has many “firsts” to his credit and contribution towards Assamese literature. He compiled the first exhaustive Assamese dictionary “Hemkosh”. His ‘Asamiya Vyakaran’ was the first Assamese grammar in the Assamese language. He also introduced for the first time satire and criticism in Assamese literature.
Life of Hem Chandra Baruah
Hem Chandra Baruah was born at Sibsagar in Assam in 1835. His father’s name was Mukutaram Baruah. He was also known as Hem Baruah. He lost his father at an early age. He was appointed as an apprentice in the Deputy Commissioners’ office. Under the guidance of captain Brodie, the Deputy Commissioner of Sibsagar and the missionaries Bara learnt fair English. He became a regular contributor of the missionary weekly paper “Arunadai”. He became the Superintendent of the Judicial Commissioner’s office. He retired in 1882. He died in 1896.
Literary Career of Hem Chandra Baruah:
Hem Chandra Baruah is one of the most important names in the field of Assamese literature. He compiled the first exhaustive Assamese dictionary “Hemkosh”. In the dictionary spellings based on Sanskrit was first introduced. It became a standard lexicon of spellings, usage etc. His ‘Asamiya Vyakaran’ was the first Assamese grammar in the Assamese language. He has mentioned rules for spellings and syntax in the ‘vyakaran’ leaving no room for confusion. In 1860 was published his first literary work of value the Assamese Grammar. In 1873 he wrote a first premier of Assamese language. He authored “Assamese Marriage System” and two farcical plays “Kania Kirtan” and “Bahire Rang Sang Bhitare Koabhatoori”. He also edited the “Assam News” for sometime. He played a historic role as a writer of school books. He introduced for the first time satire and criticism in Assamese literature.