Biography of Nalini Bala Devi 

The social system of Assam was very conservative in the eighteenth century. Women’s education was not promoted and expanded at that time. Child marriage practices were prevalent in Assam at that time. But Nalini Bala Devi made her mark in the society by developing her talent through concentration in the midst of various obstacles and problems. Importantly, Nalini Bala Devi is strong enough to make an identity in society by taking on various pain and trauma as a challenge and not just as a literary figure but as a woman possessing personality.

Biography of Nalini Bala Devi

Biography of Nalini Bala Devi

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Table of Contents

NameNalini Bala Devi[1]
Date of BirthMarch 23, 1898
Place of BirthBarpeta, Assam
ParentsNaveen Chandra Bordoloi (Father), Hemanta Kumari (Mother) 
Awards1/Sahitya Akademi Award (1967)

2/Padma Shri Award (1977)

3/ Gain the All Assam Sanskrit Sanjivani Sabha” Kavyabharati title (1956)

4/ Central Government Literary Scholarship (1954)

5/Literary Pension of The Government of Assam (1948)
DeathDecember 24, 1977

Early Life

Nalini Bala Devi was born on March 23, 1898 to a cultural, religious and ideal family in Barpeta. Her father was Karmaveer Naveen Chandra Bordoloi and her mother’s name was Hemanta Kumari Devi.  Her father Karmaveer Naveen Chandra Bordoloi was the leader, social worker and an accomplished advocate of India’s freedom movement. Nalini Bala Devi’s grandfather Raibahadur Madhav Chandra Bordoloi was hakim/judge. The father of Nalini Bala Devi, who was known as the crownless emperor of Assam, at that time regularly wrote articles in Jonaki, Bijuli etc. He also composed music from time to time as well as a social drama called “Grihalaxmi”. Mastering these qualities of her father, she later concentrated on literary practice and managed to occupy a distinct place in the field of literature.

Importantly, during the time taken by Nalini Bala Devi to pursue schooling, it was not easy for women in Assam to pursue formal education at that time. Because it was a rule at that time for women to be confined within the boundaries of the house, there was no emphasis on the education aspect of women. But in the meantime, she took formal education at Bengali Primary School in Tezpur. She did not go to any formal education centre to pursue higher education even after pursuing primary education. Instead under her uncle Kirtinath Bordoloi’s supervision, in addition to studying in her own residence in English, Mathematics, Geography etc. Collegiate high school headmaster Yajneshwar Baruah from persons like Nishikanta etc., she pursued her education.

In the 18th century, Assam’s social system was governed by strict rules and child marriage was prevalent at that time. For which Nalini Bala Devi had to get married when she was just 12 years old. She was married to Jeeveshwar Changkakati, son of Krishnapran Changkakati of Nityananda Chaturvedi’s family of old Amlapatti in Sivasagar in 1909. But unfortunately, in 1917 her husband Jeeveshwar Changkakati died prematurely. Nalini Bala Devi returns to her father’s house with her four children after her husband’s death. Nalini Bala Devi’s fifth child was born only after her husband’s death.

But the important thing is that after unfortunately coming to the father’s house, her 5-year-old child putuli died in a fire accident. At one hand premature widowhood and on the other hand the death of her 5-year-old child had caused a lot of mental injury to Nalini Bala Devi. The responsibility of the child’s future in parallel with the most miserable experiences of life at a young age took her into a state of despair.

Also Read: Biography of Padmanath Gohain Baruah

Nalini Bala Devi as a Poet

Although she had to go through lots of problems, pain and troubles in her personal life but she later transformed this pain into creativity. She was able to make and give life new form through literary practices by lifting a pen in her hand. The sorrows of her life came to life as a poem. She composed the poems with the deep realization she received in real life. Her poems were divided into three subjects on the subject matter. 

a) Mystic poetry,

b) Patriotic poetry and

c)  Poems on various subjects.

Nalini Bala Devi picked up a pen in her hand at the age of ten. At that time, she introduced poetic talent by composing two poems, “Pita” and “Sandhya”. This was followed by the actual stream of poetry in the poems Anahuta and Paramtrishna written by her. Nalini Bala Devi wrote a poem called “Putuli” in the death of her son.  

Nalini Bala Devi who is known as an ultra- transcendental poet or mystic poet in Assamese Literature poetry, her collection of poems book “Sandhya Sur” was published in 1928. The collection of poems “Sandhya Sur” contained the popular poem “Janambhoomi” that touched everyone’s heart.

The second poetry book published by Nalinibala Devi is the “Hopunor Sur/Tune of Dreams” published in 1943. Other poetry collections published by her are “Parshmani” (1954), “Yugdevta” (1957), “Jagruti” (1960), “Alaknanda” ( 1967) and “Antim Sur/The Last Tune” published before death.

The Key Piller of Life

Nalini Bala Devi won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967 for her poem “Alaknanda”. Nalini Bala Devi is the first woman to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese literature. Importantly, several songs were added to this poetry book along with poetry. Mysticism, love of nature, patriotism, sadness, surrendering to God is the main feature of the Book of Alaknanda Poetry.

Apart from the published poetry collections, “Jonaki”, “Swapna Surabhi”, “Mandakini”, “Handhiyar Hopun/Evening Dream”, “Parsh”, “Sanjar Puravi” and “Meghdoot” are the unpublished poetry books of Nalini Bala Devi.

Prose Writings

Nalini Bala Devi, who is known as a poet, is also a well-known writer. Impeccable art rituals, easy language usage, solemn, meaningful descriptions, the philosophy of the poignant writing style are reflected in her prose writings. The address of the Assam Sahitya Sabha Leader reflects the Philosophy of her excellent prose composition.

Nalini Bala Devi has also written two biographies. Along with publishing a book called “Vishwadeepa” in 1961 with the biography of twenty-five famous women, Nalini Bala Devi wrote a biography of “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel” in 1966 describing the biography of Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. She also wrote a biography titled “Smriti Tirtha” in 1940 in memory of her father Karmaveer Naveen Chandra Bordoloi. This book is a book as a document of social and political life in Assam.

Nalini Bala Devi’s autobiography is called “Eri Aha Dinbur” (published in 1976). Importantly, this autobiography is a social document of Assam for decades. Through this autobiography, she describes the personal journey as well as the picture of India’s freedom struggle in the eyes of  Assam, the overall scene of the lives of women.

Nalini Bala Devi’s notable collection of essays is “Shantipath” published in 1971. The collection of this article also shows the influence of Indian philosophy. Her collection of ‘Manas Tirtha’ and ‘Naradiya Bhakti Sutra’ the two essays are still in unpublished condition/state.


Apart from poetry and articles, she also composed Drama. These are The Last Praja (1958), Parijat Abhishek, Prahlad (1958), Mirabai (1968). Apart from these, Jayamati, Janmashtami, Parajoy/Defeat, Puwati Puharar Kapani, Mahishasura, Mordini, Navjanma, Holi, Netai Dhubuni Ghat, Nati Puja, Bharat Vidushi, Assam Aausi etc. many of the dramas are still in unpublished condition.

Nalini Bala Devi was the first woman leader to hold the post of chairman of Assam Sahitya Sabha. She adorned the post of leader in the 23rd session of the Assam Sahitya Sabha held in Jorhat in 1954. Importantly Nalini Bala Devi was one of the founders of All Assam Maina Parijat. She also  served as a meeting leader in the Nagaon session of The Assam Sangha and The Provincial Women’s Committee.

Nalini Bala Devi, who received a literary pension from the Government of Assam in 1948, received a literary scholarship from the Central Government in 1954.  

Nalini Bala Devi, who was rich in leading among contemporary Indian mystic poets in parallel with being a best poet among the poets of the Assamese mystic genre, received the title of “Kavyabharati” in 1956 at the Nalbari session of the Assam branch of the All Assam Sanskrit Sanjivani Sabha. Nalini Bala Devi won the Padma Shri Award, the highest civilian honor of the Government of India, in 1977.


Nalini Bala Devi set a new example in the society by expressing through her works that no one can create a hang in achieving the goal if one has indomitable will power in mind and passion for work. Nalini Bala Devi’s hard life struggle in the midst of a strict policy-driven social system proved that having duty, determination, courage, concentration, to reach the goal and having firmness cannot hinder any factor from moving forward. Nalini Bala Devi, known as an ultra-transcendental poet in Assamese poetry literature, proved that people can also succeed without taking formal education. Nalini Bala Devi, who died on December 24, 1977, has left Assamese literature store with huge literary works. She is a pride for Assam and the Assamese.


1. When and where was Nalini Bala Devi born?

Ans: She was born in 23rd March 1898 at Guwahati, Assam.

2. When she was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award?

Ans: She was awarded with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1967 for her poem “Alaknanda”

3. When she was awarded with Padma Shri Award?

Ans: She was awarded with Padma Shri Award in 1977.

4. In how many subject her poems are divided into and what are the subject matters?

Ans: Her poems were divided into three subjects on the subject matters. 

a) Mystic poetry,

b) Patriotic poetry and

c)  Poems on various subjects.

5. What is the name of her first poem?

Ans: She wrote her first poem, ‘Pita‘ at age ten.

6. Name the poem she wrote on the death of her son?

Ans: She wrote a poem called “Putuli” in the death of her son.

7. What is the name of her autobiography?

Ans: Nalini Bala Devi’s autobiography is called “Eri Aha Dinbur” (published in 1976).

8.When did she received the title of Kavyabharati?

Ans: She received the title of “Kavyabharati” in 1956 at the Nalbari session of the Assam branch of the All Assam Sanskrit Sanjivani Sabha.

9. Name some of her notable works?

Ans: Some of her notable works are- ‘Pita‘, ‘Alaknanda‘, ‘Jagruti‘, ‘Parshmani‘, etc.

10. When did she died?

Ans: She died in December 24, 1977.

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