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Arun Sarma gets Padma Shri
Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Jan 25 – Eminent playwright and dramatist Arun Sarma is the lone person from Assam to be honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri Award this year. Sarma has been nominated in the literature and education category. There was none from the North-east to be awarded the coveted Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhusan. Three eminent personalities from Manipur have been awarded Padma Shri, as has been one each from Meghalaya and Mizoram in various categories.

Sarma is one of Assam’s contemporary playwrights and is particularly known for his unconventional plays with some elements of drama. Besides drama, he has also authored over six novels detailing the Assamese way of life.

He has won the Asam Sahitya Sabha’s Best Playwright Award for two consecutive years and also has the rare distinction of having won the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2003 for his contributions to drama and the Sahitya Akademi award in 1998 for literature. He was also the recipient of the Assam Valley Literary Award in 2005.

He has 17 published plays and five published novels to his credit, besides editing several volumes of plays, written scripts for tele-films and radio documentaries.

Others from the North-east, who were honoured with Padma Shri included Haobam Ongbi Ngambi Devi (art), Rajkumar Achowba Singh (art) and Ayekpam Romba Meetei (social work), Bertha Gyndykes Dkhar and Lalzuia Colney.

Padma Awards, the country’s highest civilian awards are given in all disciplines of activities including art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service.

The awards are conferred by the President of India at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan some time around March-April.

Staff Reporter in Guwahati adds: Noted playwright Arun Sarma’s immediate reaction on hearing that he has been selected for the prestigious Padmashri Award was, did he deserve it. Accepting the recognition with humility and gratitude on behalf of the people of the State, Sarma said that it was up to the people of the State to assess whether he was worthy of the award.

While talking to The Assam Tribune, Sarma said that he has been questioning himself since the announcement of the award, whether he has been able to meet the expectations of the people and more particularly, of the theatre lovers.

“I have been associated with play writing for long and I accept the recognition on behalf of Assam and all the people who are engaged in creative pursuits, particularly the young generation who have excelled themselves,” said Sarma.

The playwright has invited the theatre lovers to come and view his latest creation Chitralekha to be staged at Rabindra Bhawan.