STAFF REPORTER GUWAHATI, March 18 - The Assam Valley Literary Award for year 2016 was presented to prolific writer and a vocal supporter of gender equality, Dr Arupa Patangia Kalita by accomplished Malayalam writer Prof K Satchidanandan at a programme at the Pragjyoti Cultural Complex here today. A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Dr Kalita has an immense body of work to her credit. She has authored several novels and collections of short stories, a number of which have been translated into English, Hindi and Bengali. Works like Mriganabhi, Ayananta, Arunimar Swadesh, Felani, Jaltarangar Sur among others have made her immensely popular among the readers. Her writings have also been included in textbooks.
Malayalam writer K Satchidanandan (second from right) presenting the Assam Valley Literary Award to Dr Arupa Patangia Kalita in Guwahati on Saturday. – AT Photo
The Assam Valley Literary Award was instituted in the year 1990 by the Willamson Magor Education Trust with the prime objective of honouring the stalwarts, who have kept alive the richness of Assamese literature and inspired a new generation of creative writers to keep alive Assam’s literary heritage. The award comprises a citation, a trophy and a draft of Rs 4 lakh.
Speaking as a chief guest, Prof Satchidanandan analysed the Indian literature in its singular and plural aspects. “Literature is absolutely language-based and language is a cultural phenomenon. Literature of any given language is sure to have its own specific character of forms and styles, nuances and association.
“Today we need to develop alternative genealogies that go beyond the hegemonic canon and travel to the deepest sprigs of popular creativity. Rather than a mechanical unitary concept, we need to develop a comparative concept, a fresh literary cartography, marking the areas of isolation and interaction, patterns specific to languages and influences that they share. Only then we will be able to overcome the binary opposition between the singular and plural concepts of Indian literature,” he said.
In her acceptance speech, Dr Kalita narrated her tryst with writing that started at a very early age. “My pen narrates the story of the soil I stand upon, the air I breathe, the sky I gaze upon, the times I am living in. I want my pen to be the sentinel of the people around me and their life’s tumult, their uncertainties and their endless sufferings,” she added.
Also speaking on the occasion, eminent litterateur Dr Lakshmi Nandan Bora lauded the Williamson Magor Education Trust for its various initiatives in the literary and social spheres. “The Assam Valley Award has high credibility, mainly because of its adherence to neutrality and secrecy maintained in selection procedure. The award has a positive impact and is held in high esteem in academic and literary world,” he added.
Earlier, RS Jhawar on behalf of the trust delivered the welcome speech.