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Literary treasure trove

Book title: Nalinidhar Bhattacharyyar Srestha Sahitya Samalosana

Editor: Birendra Narayan Sarma

Publisher: Publication Board Assam

Pages: 531

Price: Rs 400

One of the most respected writers in Assam, Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya, has enriched Assamese literature through his poems and literary criticisms. From time to time, his opinion on different topics has helped readers understand things from a different perspective.

Birendra Narayan Sarma has taken the pain of collecting nonagenarian Bhattacharyya’s write-ups, sometimes leafing through old magazines, to give readers a book, Nalinidhar Bhattacharyyar Srestha Sahitya Samalosana (The best literary critiques by Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya).

The collection of Bhattacharyya’s 53 write-ups throws light on various issues and topics of literature. From social consciousness in Shakespeare’s plays to Rabindranath to Jyoti Prasad Agarwala to Assamese poetry, Bhattacharyya has discussed it all in the book. For Assamese readers, more specifically those interested in literature, the book can be a help in relishing the charm of literature.

In the article Kobitar Bhaxa (language of poetry) the writer observes that increase of quality poems in Assamese language is not proportionate to the increase in the number of poets. It is, Bhattacharyya explains, mainly because many poets are not as concerned about careful and appropriate use of language as they are about the present and the future of the society. He says a poet has twin responsibilities — one for society and the other for the language. Besides, a poet must know himself before starting to write.

The writer believes the future of Assamese poetry depends on the new generation. And, if the new generations fail to develop a “new language” for their poems, they would fail (Adhunik Asomiya Kobita Aaru Xamajik Potobhumi).

In Asomiya Upanyaxor Bibortan (Transition of Assamese Novels) Bhattacharyya discusses the changes in Assamese novel writing since its beginning to recent times. He observes that from the Ramdhenu age to the eighties, Assamese novelists had the required perseverance, the study and a “life vision”. But after that phase, there are few who have worked hard in writing a novel. To show the contrast in the advancement of novel writing in Assamese and western countries, Bhattacharyya mentions V.S. Naipaul.

Bhattacharyya says the environment in Assamese literature is not ripe, yet agrees with Naipaul’s concept that a time will come where “lesbianism” can be the main theme of a novel rather than “human being.” Sadly enough, in contrast to his observation, a few novels have already been written in Assamese on such topics.

The writer discusses Assamese writers like Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, Bishnu Rabha, Dimbeswar Neog, Nabakanta Barua, Nilamoni Phukan, Munin Borkataky, Chandraprasad Saikia, Keshab Mahanta, critic Hiren Gohain and poet Hiren Bhattacharjya.

In three write-ups Bhattacharyya discusses Bihu from its beginning to the modern influences. He has observed the kind of enthusiasm Bihu used to generate among people has subsided after it came to the stage. He says if people really love Bihu they must always remembers the villages, the place from where it started.

The publisher and the editor of the book has done a praiseworthy job by releasing the write-ups in book form.


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