GUWAHATI, March 13 - The prestigious Padmanath Vidyabinod literary award and the Bhuparjatak Ramnath Biswas literary award, given by the Ramanath Bhattacharya Foundation, Mumbai, were presented to poet Harekrishna Deka of Assam and poet Ratneshwar Hajra of Kolkata respectively at a solemn function held at the Vivekananda Kendra here today.
Each of the awards carries a cash prize of Rs 51,000, a citation and a memento, besides a specially designed scarf on muga cloth.
The function, conducted by the chief adviser of the Foundation and poet-journalist Sukumar Bagchi, was attended by distinguished personalities.
The welcome address was delivered by the general secretary of the Foundation and producer of Hindi TV serials Shyamashis Bhattacharya. It was followed by an inaugural borgeet by Mitali Dey and a devotional Bengali song by Sushanta Choudhury.
The president of the Foundation, Ramanath Bhattacharya, explained the background of initiating the two awards in memory of two of their ancestors � Padmanath and Ramnath � who were illustrious sons of undivided Assam.
An informative souvenir edited by Sukumar Bagchi and published by the Foundation was released by writer Anima Guha, who thanked the Foundation for awarding an Assamese poet and a Bengali poet together saying this was a positive gesture aimed at bringing the two communities closer.
In their acceptance speeches, both Harekrishna Deka and Ratneshwar Hajra expressed happiness and lauded the Foundation for their contribution in the fields of literature and culture.
Copies of the Padmanath memorial lecture on Jyotiprasad Agarwala by Prosenjit Chowdhury, who could not attend the function, were distributed among the audience.
Sumita Chakraborty, an academician from Kolkata who delivered the Ramnath Biswas memorial lecture, dwelt on the evolution of Bengali prose during the past one and a half century.
It may be mentioned that Padmanath (1868-1938) spent major parts of his life as a professor at Cotton College and was instrumental in the establishment of Assam Research Society, besides being one of the founder members of Asom Sahitya Sabha. On the other hand, Ramnath (1894-1955), participated in the freedom movement and later travelled four continents on bicycle, which earned him the title of �Bhuparjatak� or globetrotter. He had written over 30 travelogues depicting his journeys.