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Assam Valley Award conferred on Apurba Sarma
Staff Reporter

Noted Marathi writer Dr Chandrakant Patil (2nd L) presenting the 26th Assam Valley Literary Award to renowned litterateur Apurba Sarma (M) at a function organised by the Williamson Magor Education Trust at the Pragjyoti-ITA Centre for Performing Arts, Machkhowa in Guwahati on Sunday evening. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, March 6 - Noted litterateur Apurba Sarma was formally honoured with the 26th Assam Valley Literary Award at a function at Pragjyoti ITA Centre for Performing Arts here this evening. Eminent Marathi writer Dr Chandrakant Patil, who was the chief guest on the occasion, presented the award to Sarma.

The award instituted by the Williamson Magor Education Trust carries a citation, a trophy and Rs 4 lakh.

In his address, Dr Patil said that the longevity of civilization depended on the diversity of cultures in it, and that the more the jungle is rich in its biodiversity, higher the longevity it has.

“...monocultures are always short-lived. It is true about civilization also. It is only due to their cultural diversity that the oldest civilizations like India and China have remained vibrant and dynamic. Culture is never unchanging. May be slow but changes do take place in it. If a culture resists change and tries to retain its purity, then it is taking self-suicidal steps and leading itself towards a dangerous zone of extinction,” he observed.

Elaborating further, Dr Patil said that when a culture branches out, the direction of its offshoots was determined by the linguistic potential of that culture.

Moreover, he added, being an autonomous system language is capable of assimilating the dichotomies between knowledge and faith, history and present, individual and community, community and society, society and culture, progress and regression.

Expressing concern over the assault on cultures by religious terrorism, Dr Patil said that to ‘protect’ religion, “some of the followers of that religion become violent and they protest aggressively. Religious terrorism uses ultramodern systems of communication and weapons developed by technology, resulting into ‘super terrorism’.”

Dwelling on literature, Dr Patil said that to create literature, particularly fiction, one is required to have profound knowledge of life, creative imagination, alert facilities of perception, in-depth understanding of language, conscience, clarity regarding the history and evolution of particular form of literature, comparative study, and contemplative temperament to place the individual experience in a wider context, study of social conditions, among others.

In his acceptance speech, Sarma said that he accepted the honour as recognition of the lifelong literary pursuit of a humble author.

“As society passing through rationalism, reformation began respecting the individual, his opinions and beliefs, the entity of the author started gaining importance. The domain of literature belonged entirely to the author and he became its unquestioned master... But postmodern literary theory completely negated the role of the writer. Linguistics and semiotics gave the centrality to ‘text’,” he said.

Stating that it was imperative for a writer to be attracted to the inherent appeal and beauty of language right in childhood, Sarma said that a rich language was the writer’s bounty without which he was a destitute.

“It is this excitement with language which had me write apparently sincere and deliberately literary, otherwise hugely sentimental, long letters to my friends – something perhaps unimaginable to the present generation. But with age I learnt that writing was not just wordplay,” he said.

Sarma said that the complex and intricate world of creation demanded intense application and devotion.

Noted litterateur Dr Lakshminandan Bora also addressed the function, while RS Jhawar gave the welcome speech on behalf of the Williamson Magor Education Trust.

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