Jorhat, July 10: When roots run deep, the bonding is strong. Sivasagar is set to witness such a bonding on July 12 and 13 when brothers lost and scattered for centuries come together to pay their respects to Lakshminath Bezbaroa, the master storyteller, to whom they trace their roots.
The family tree prepared by the Bezbaruah clan as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of the great Assamese writer shows 1,037 descendants of Kolibor, who was their common ancestor including Bezbaroa’s.
Binoy Bhushan Baruah, a doctor and progeny who resides in Sivasagar, said there could be as many as 2,000 descendants of Kolibor as the family tree excludes the daughters.
“During the two day Bezbaruah Xamaroh, we will open a website and put up the family tree and also make space for daughters to be included,” he said.
Baruah said the family had got scattered during the many upheavals the region had witnesses like the Burmese invasions, the Moamoriya revolts and the British invasion. Some were traced to Garo foothills and many were found in Nagaon district.
“We advertised in newspapers and eliminated those who did not share our common ancestry as there are many Bezbaruahs, the title being bestowed indiscriminately by the king on all those who were practitioners of traditional medicines,” Baruah said.
Baruah’s son, Bhaskaryya Bhushan, narrated how two brothers Kolibor and Kolimon, practitioners of Ayurvedic medicines, had come to visit Pragjyotishpur from Mithila or Kanauj (there is some confusion) and had treated a number of patients there during an epidemic.
“As their fame spread, the then Ahom king Jayadhwaja Singha asked them to come to his court. Kolimon fled fearing that the king would imprison them but Kolibor came and was asked to cure the queen of some disease. Having done so, he was bestowed with the title of Bezbaruah and given royal patronage. It was Kolibor’s grandson Purushottam who donated a large piece of land at Kamalabari in Majuli for setting up a xatra. When the xatra, now known as the Uttar Kamalabari Xatra, was on the verge of being washed away by the Brahmaputra because of erosion, Lakshminath Bezbaroa’s father Dinanath, a government munsif, donated land he had bought on the island for setting up the xatra anew,” Bhaskaryya said.
Kolibor’s descendants include Piyali Barua, who was hanged by the British along with Maniram Dewan in Jorhat on February 26, 1858 for allegedly taking part in the Sepoy Mutiny, Radha Govinda Baruah, considered the architect of modern Guwahati, Hem Chandra Baruah, who wrote Hem Kosh, considered to be the first complete dictionary in Assamese, Chandra Kanta Baruah, who set up two commerce colleges in Jorhat and many others.