Author: Indira Goswami
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172011520
English translation of the Assamese Novel "One Kiowa Howdah" by Indira Goswami who has been awarded Jnanpith award, India's highest literary honor.
This novel centers around a sattra (religious Vaisnavite monastery) in a remote corner of North East India in the district of Kamrup in Assam. The adhikars or the head of the Sattras enjoyed immense privileges holding vast tracts of lands donated by the Ahom kings of Assam. This novel portrays vividly the wretched conditions of the lower inmates of the sattras such as the disciples, the tenant farmers, the mahouts and other villagers who were mostly opium addicts. The harrowing condition of the Brahmin widow's has also been portrayed with vivid details. .
The American Baptist Mission which came to Assam in 1836, had a strong hold over some parts of the Kamrup district. This story is also the story of a young missionary who goes to the Sattra to collect old Assamese manuscripts, and falls in love with the widowed daughter of the Gossoon. The consequences of this relationship is disastrous, ending in the death of the girl widow.