Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma presented the 56th Jnanpith Award for the year 2021 to eminent Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan on Monday.
The ceremony was held at Rabindra Bhawan in the city.
Organised for the first time in Assam by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the event was also attended by Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, Cultural Affairs Minister Bimal Bora and Chairperson of Jnanpith Selection Board Pratibha Ray among others.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Sarma said that the country’s highest literary honour presented today to renowned poet Nilmani Phookan made the people of Assam proud and elated. He said that this honour was a great moment of achievement for the Assamese people and he thanked Bharatiya Jnanpith for presenting the prestigious award to the eminent poet.
Stating that while novelist Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya was the first recipient of the prestigious Jnanpith from Assam, which he received in 1979 and Mamoni Roisam Goswami being the second Assamese Jnanpith awardee got the award in the year 2000, Sarma said that repeating history, poet Nilmani Phookan received the Jnanpith exactly after two decades.
“Most of the poems of the poet Nilmani Phookan, who created the era of modern Assamese poetry, rich in quality that attracted the reader, have a beautiful picture of nature. Through poetry, he explores life, youth, love, joy, the world’s most common mysteries, nature, etc and many other subjects,” the Chief Minister said.
He said that Nilmani Phookan through his dedication to the task of writing poetry over the years and with his uniquely creative language and recurrent use of symbols and imagery gave a new dimension to modern Assamese poetry. He said that by presenting the Jnanpith to Phookan, Bharatiya Jnanpith has infused new energy into Assamese literature.
The Chief Minister further said that there is a need to take Phookan’s poetry to the world readers and expressed his desire to take the initiative through Assam Publication Board to translate his poems. (ANI)