Padma Bhushan U R Ananthamurthy speaks to Uddipana Goswami about the childish innocence he saw in Indira Goswami
Indira Goswami, for me, is not just a writer from Assam but truly an Indian writer, one who is important for every language in India. She is also one of the greatest women writers ever produced because in her writings there is nothing like an excessive ideological approach as we find in some women writers. She is open to experiences and deeply human – I will not say feminine or masculine, but deeply human – and she has lived a life of varied experiences.
I have had long talks with her because she married a South Indian. In her lifetime, she has gone through whatever pain and sorrow that a woman can go through, but there was no bitterness at all in her.
And when she took up the big political task of bringing peace to Assam, I remember telling her to be careful because innocent as she is, she may be misused by either the government or by the rebels. I warned her because I knew that neither side is fully dependable, and they might try to use her for their own ends.
There are many instances when I remember her concern and her affection. She had come to Karnataka once to stay with a relation of hers, one of our elders who is also a very great writer of the Kannada language named Maasthi Venkatesha Iyengar. He had also won the Jnanpith award. There was a special occasion organised to felicitate her and I remember her asking me sweetly and very innocently, like a schoolgirl almost, to speak on that occasion.
I have known her for quite some time. As the president of Sahitya Akademi I had invited her as a speaker many times, and I met her often in Delhi. We have also travelled together and talked a lot. She would tell me about her life and the plight of the widows in Vrindavan.
She was so open, as if there was nothing to hide about her life. I wish all of us were like her. I can never forget her, her kindness.