GUWAHAT: Colonel Manoranjan Goswami, a man of diverse interests, passed away at the age of 78 on November 9, 2018 in Mumbai.
Born in January 1940 to Rajani Kanta Goswami and Shrimati Hiranmoyee Devi of Bharalumukh, Col Goswami was a distinguished army officer, a civil engineer, an advocate, a political and social activist, a television commentator and whatnot. He completed his matriculation from Sonaram High School in 1956, his pre-university from Cotton College, Guwahati and went on to do his degree in Civil Engineering from the Delhi College of Engineering. He decided to join the Army following the 1962 Chinese aggression, when as a student in Delhi, he was deeply moved by the Chinese incursion into NEFA in Assam (now Arunachal Pradesh). Trained in the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Colonel Goswami was commissioned into the 9th Engineer Regiment as an officer of the Madras Sappers. In a 30-year career in the Army, he served in the counter-insurgency zones in Mizoram, the tough terrains of the Border Roads Task Force in Rajasthan, and was in-charge of army recruitment in Himachal Pradesh, among multiple assignments.
After retirement from the Army, Colonel Goswami served in senior management roles in Bongaigaon Refineries and the National Small Industries Co-operation where he was instrumental in pioneering the growth of small industries across the Northeast. He participated and led trade delegations to Taiwan and Italy during that period.
In 1998, he briefly plunged into politics, during the Vajpayee era contesting as a BJP candidate from the Guwahati constituency. However, after the 1998 election, he slowly moved away from politics and began a new innings as an independent advocate and writer. In a short period, Colonel Goswami became a fellow of the Indian Council of Arbitrators and was instrumental in adjudicating some of the most complex matters of contract and legal complexity. He published eight books in Assamese. His short stories were uniquely crafted to capture moments from everyday life and wrap it in a form of fiction that was unique and soul searching. His prolific career as a fiction writer was recognized when he was awarded with the Axam Xahitya Xabha award in November 2017.
For the last 10 years of his life, Colonel Goswami was one of the most popular commentators of politics and issues concerning the Northeast.
Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal have condoled the death of Col. Goswami. In a message, Prof. Mukhi said that with his death, the state has lost a litterateur and a social worker. In a separate message, Sonowal underlined the contribution of Colonel Goswami to the society through his services in the defence forces and as a columnist and termed his death as an irreparable loss to the society. “His role in setting up the War Memorial at Dighalipukhuri in Guwahati would always be remembered,” Sonowal said.
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