GUWAHATI, March 11 - �The present idea of development has deeply and fundamentally no knowledge of the people. We have already lost a lot of time linking democracy only with elections and electoral politics and not capturing the truth different societies represent.�
Professor Shiv Vishwanathan, eminent intellectual and social scientist, while delivering the Munin Barkotoki Memorial Lecture today, highlighted that India needed to become a nation of storytellers to sustain the diversities it has and also to sustain the democracy that has its roots in the diversities of the country.
Prof Viswanathan, who teaches at Jindal Global Law School and is a pioneer in the field of science and technology studies, while highlighting the fact that the language of development and the language of the Constitution have never understood India in its entirety, said that writers have the responsibility to play the role of the Opposition in a democracy by airing issues neglected during mainstream policy-making.
Beginning with the works of UR Ananthamurthy and Mahasweta Devi, Prof Viswanathan explained how the writers can be the custodians of marginal and defeated imagination which, in fact, should have Constitutional representation.
�It is a fantastic moment for writers to take on the role of the Opposition. Writers as storytellers can become the custodians of memories to give adequate space to the dissenting imagination,� he added.
The Munin Barkotoki Literary Awards for the years 2015 and 2016 were also given away today in the function presided over by eminent journalist and writer Dhirendra Nath Bezboruah. Each of the awards carries a citation, a memento, a collection of books and cash amounts.
Jyoti Khataniar and Pratim Barua received the Munin Barkotoki Literary Award for the year 2015. The same award for the year 2016 was given to Bhaskar Thakuria.
Khataniar�s award-winning work is a critical manuscript, Iman Somantoral Ne Segun Dudal. Making his mark as a literary critic, Khataniar is a publication consultant at the Krishna Kanta Handiqui State Open University.
Another recipient of the award, Pratim Barua, is a familiar name in Assamese poetry. His award-winning work is Aru Nibedita. Having three poetry collections to his credit, Pratim Barua�s poems have been published in leading newspapers.
The award winner for the year 2016, Dr Bhaskar Thakuria, is known for his unique style of storytelling that is reflected in his award-winning novel, Singhadwar. A writer and cultural worker, his writings cover a wide range of topics including social and scientific issues.