The other Goswamis

Today when one hears the name Goswami one immediately thinks of Arnab. He, like our Prime Minister, probably has fan clubs as well as hate clubs. But there is more to the Goswami clan than Arnab. Not all of them are from Assam and Bengal. Anyway, we can start with extracts from a rather badly-written and over-long Wikipedia article:

You probably do not need to go through all of it, but this would serve as an starting point:

Goswami is an Indian Hindu, Brahmin title and surname, which also takes the form Gosai and Gussai.In Sanskrit “go” is a word with many meanings, including Earth and Cow and Swami means Lord. “Go” signifies either five senses, a ray of light, or cow. Goswami means, Master of the five senses (Panchendriya), a ray of light or master of cow. The surname Goswami  primarily occurs in  West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab states.

(end of edited part of Wikipedia article)

The Goswamis are well known as priests in several temples in Northern India (though the Namboodris from Kerala monopolize some of the bigger shrines).

Apart from TV journalism, many Goswamis have achieved prominence in different fields-even as sportsmen and sportswomen. A few of the better known persons with this surname are listed below, along with links.

  • Goswami Tulsidas, Hindu poet-saint
  • Arnab Goswami, television journalist from Assam
  • Bindiya Goswami, actress who became famous because of a supposed resemblance to Hema Malini
  • Chuni Goswami, footballer from Calcutta. Played in India’s 4th-placed team in the 1956 Olympics, besides a long stretch in Ranji Trophy cricket.
  • Jhulan Goswami, ICC Women’s Player of the Year 2007. Has captained India and was at one time considered to be the world’s fastest female bowler.
  • Manoj Kumar (born Harikrishna Giri Goswami), Bollywood actor who is sadly remembered more in recent years for being spoofed in a SRK film.
  • Rajiv Goswami, student leader famous for his self-immolation attempt in the anti-Mandal agitation in 1990.
  • Anil Goswami, Union Home Secretary of India whose career came to an abrupt end earlier this year.
  • Madhumita Goswami, badminton player.

The sporting Goswamis were all born in Bengal, while the actor Manoj Kumar was born in the then little-known town of Abbottabad in the former NWFP.