Shabda Silpo award for 2021 was awarded to novelist Chandrama Sarma for her Assamese novel Bananir Batere.
Renowned novelist and writer Phanindra Kumar Dev Chaudhury presented the award to Sarma at an event at Guwahati Press Club on March 26. The novel was formally released at the programme by Sahitya Akademi awardee, Harapriya Barukial Buragohain.
Set in Manas National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, the novel speaks about the conservation of wildlife. The novel is replete with interesting anecdotes relating to nature and wildlife.
The writer has very candidly expressed the view that Manas National Park, in spite of its rich status has failed to draw the attention of national as well as an international tourist because of its pathetic connectivity.
The novel speaks volumes about an NGO, named Banani and its immense contribution to Manas National Park in maintaining ecological balance. The novel can be said to be an in-depth research document on Manas National Park with quantitative and qualitative analysis, since its official establishment.
At the same time, it is flavoured with romance, thrill and adventure. A cocktail of scientific temperament with humanities, the novel depicts the contribution of Banani to the conservation and preservation of endangered species, like Pigmy hog, Hispid hare, Bengal Florican, etc.
Laudable efforts of various people like scientists and workers of Banani in preserving and conserving nature find its superb vent in the novel.
The interdependence of humans with nature and wildlife is very well illustrated. It also throws light on the role of abiotic and biotic components in sustaining life on earth. Multiple problems like human and elephant conflict, habitat destruction of wild animals, illegal enforcement and poaching also find a place in the novel. It also talks about the killing of unicorn rhinoceros, elephants, and tigers by human beings for their greed and ignorance.
Different characters involving adventure and love stories have made the novel awfully appealing. This is an ideal novel for any age group and for people, who love their planet earth.
The novelist deserves a big applause for the theme he has chosen and for her sense of responsibility towards society.
Rumi Sarma is Principal at Shrimanta Shankar Academy, Panbazar, Guwahati.