GUWAHATI, March 14 : The prestigious Padmanath Vidyabinod Literary Award and the Bhuparjatak (globe-trotter) Ramnath Biswas Literary Award, given by the Ramanath Bhattacharya Foundation, Mumbai were presented to Assamese poet Nilim Kumar of Guwahati and Bengali poet Ranajit Das of Kolkata respectively at a solemn function held at the Vivekananda Kendra here today, a press release stated.
Both the awards carry a cash prize of Rs 75,000, a citation and a memento, besides a specially designed scarf of muga cloth. The function was attended by many distinguished personalities in a packed auditorium. The awards were handed over by renowned artist Labu Senapati and retired professor Pannalal Goswami.
In his welcome address, the general secretary of the Foundation and renowned producer of Hindi TV serials Shyamashis Bhattacharya explained the background of initiating the two awards in memory of their two great ancestors — Pandit Padmanath and Bhuparjatak Ramnath — both of whom were illustrious sons of undivided Assam, and said that mainly because of his father Ramanath Bhattacharya’s zeal, the decision to give these awards was taken 11 years ago. Accordingly, today’s awards were presented for the year 2019, which was due last year, but the ceremony could not be held because of pandemic, Bhattacharya said and added that the prize money has been increased from Rs 51,000 to Rs 75,000 from this year.
A well-prepared and informative souvenir edited by Sudhangshu Sekhar Mukhopadhyay and published on the occasion by the Foundation was released by Pannalal Goswami. He thanked the Foundation for giving the awards to an Assamese poet and a Bengali poet together and said, this was a positive gesture in bringing the two communities closer.
Accepting the award, poet Nilim Kumar expressed gratitude and happiness for receiving the award given in the name of famous Pandit Padmanath. The Ramnath Biswas Literary Award recipient poet Ranajit Das offered sincere thanks to the Foundation authorities for their contribution in the fields of literature and culture.
Previous recipients of the awards include Assamese poets Ajit Barua, Hiren Bhattacharya, Nilamoni Phukan, Hirendranath Dutta, Bhaben Barua, Harekrishna Deka, Sananta Tanty, Sameer Tanti, Anubhav Tulsi and Bengali poets Bijit Kumar Bhattacharya, Pabitra Mukhopdhyay, Tarun Sanyal, Swapan Sengupta, Shyamal Kanti Das, Ratneshwar Hazra, Udayan Ghosh, Ajit Bairi, Pijush Raut.
Following the welcome address by the general secretary, a Satriya dance recital was presented by Samragyee Kashyap. The function ended with an interactive session conducted by Sudhangshu Sekhar Mukhopadhyay, where Anubhav Tulsi, a recipient of the previous year’s award also took an active part.
It may be recalled that both Padmanath (1868-1938) and Ramnath (1894-1955), in whose names the two awards are given, were born at Baniachang under Habiganj subdivision in the Sylhet district of undivided Assam. While Padmanath had a bright educational career, who spent major parts of his life as a professor in the Cotton College, Guwahati and was actively associated with literature and historical research of Assam with his pioneering research work titled Kamarupashasanavali, he was instrumental in the establishment of Assam Research Society and was also one of the founder-members of the Asam Sahitya Sabha. On the other hand, Ramnath had participated in the Indian freedom struggle as a member of the famous Anushilan Samiti and later travelled across the world on a number of journeys on bicycle, which earned him the title of ‘Bhuparjatak’ (globe-trotter). He had written over 30 travelogues depicting his vast experience during those journeys.