GUWAHATI, March 2 � The first Mamoni Raisom Goswami (Dr Indira Goswami) National Literature Award, 2014, was presented today to one of the most widely acclaimed writers of India, Mahashweta Devi, also an activist who has dedicated her life to highlighting the struggle of the oppressed.
The award carries Rs 3 lakh, a citation, a memento and other gifts. Mahashweta Devi has donated Rs 1 lakh out of the award money to the charitable trust named after her.
The award was instituted by the apex literary body of the State, Asam Sahitya Sabha, with the support of the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) with an objective to keeping alive the memory and ideology of Mamoni Raisom Goswami who upheld humanity and played an active role to bring about social reforms.
Assam Governor JB Patnaik presented the award to the author who has always been advocating the rights of the exploited. Showering praises on Mamoni Raisom Goswami and Mahashweta Devi, Patnaik said that compassion was the moving element in both these authors and this was the outstanding trait of all great authors in the world.
�Mahashweta Devi has written more than 100 novels and books of short stories. They are mostly about poverty, ignorance, squalor, hunger and superstitions of the depressed humanity and its struggle for a rightful place in society,� Patnaik observed on the literary contributions of Mahashweta Devi.
On the other hand, expressing her immense happiness on being honoured with the award, Mahashweta Devi, who has always believed that real history is made by ordinary people, said that words are not sufficient to capture her emotions at the moment. �I am happy. I am without words,� she said, adding that such initiatives of honouring writers would give an impetus to the literary movement as well as take it to the public.
Mahashweta Devi, for whom the suffering human beings who refuse to accept defeat is a source of inspiration for creative endeavours, described Mamoni Raisom Goswami as an unparalleled writer gifted with an unparalleled expression.
The award presentation function held at ITA Pragjyoti Cultural Complex, Machkhowa, was attended by many prominent citizens including Asam Sahitya Sabha president Imran Shah, author Dr Ramkumar Mukhophadhya, MD of NRL Deepak Chakravorty and others.
Earlier, floral tribute was paid by the guests and family members before the portrait of Mamoni Raisom Goswami. A documentary on the life and contributions of Mamoni Raisom Goswami, directed by Jahnu Baruah, was also screened on the occasion.