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Former Sabha president dies at 93

State honours for writer in Nagaon

By RAJIV KONWAR in Guwahati
  • Published 6.08.16

Guwahati, Aug. 5: Eminent writer and former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, Mahim Bora, 93, passed away at a private hospital here this morning.

Bora had suffered brain haemorrhage on Wednesday evening and was admitted to a private hospital in his hometown Nagaon, from where he was referred to Guwahati. He was admitted in a critical condition at GNRC Hospitals yesterday.

Bora is survived by his younger son, two daughters-in-law and grandchildren. His elder son had predeceased him.

His body was kept near Dighalipukhuri, around 100 metres from the Sabha office, where its members, along with All Assam Students' Union and other organisations, paid tribute. Bora served as the Sabha president in 1989.

Bora was cremated with state honours in Nagaon.

As a child, Bora learnt to swim in the Kolong. The river, which formed an intrinsic part of his childhood, left an indelible mark on his creations.

Using threads of imagination, Bora knitted childhood incidents and the hardship of people in his short stories and novels. When he wrote the popular short story Top (bait), it was the Xingipukhuri, the pond where he went fishing, that was on his mind. In fact, the fish became a symbol of life in his writing.

Since his family could not afford to give him proper education, it was taken care of by one of his maternal uncle.

Bora's literary journey began as a Class VII student when a classmate and he published a handwritten magazine, Moloya. His first short story, Havanar Surot, was published in the magazine.

Bora's short story collection Kathonibari Ghat left a deep impression on its readers. Kathonibari Ghat, Rox, Top, Mas aru Manuh are some of the popular stories of the collection written between 1947 and 1960. The book has been translated into Hindi, Bengali and Marathi.

He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Edhani Mahir Hahi. The novel, which depicts the relation between a boy and his maternal aunt, was a portrayal of the social life of pre-Independence Assam. Bora's only poetry collection - Ronga Jiya - established him as a key face of Assamese poetry. "Written in simple language, the poems are exceptional," said poet Jiban Narah.

Bora was president of the Doomdooma session of the Sabha. "Bora took the Sabha to the sar (sandbar) areas. His motto was to build a bridge between the sars and other areas. Several branches of the Sabha were formed on sars during his tenure," said Paramananda Rajbongshi, general secretary of the Sabha.

As the news of his demise spread, well-wishers rushed to the hospital in Guwahati and his residence at Amulapatti in Nagaon.

"He had dreamt of publishing a dictionary in Assamese and all major indigenous languages in the state. The dream remained unfulfilled," one of them said.