Renowned Assamese poet and litterateur Nilmani Phookan was awarded the Jnanpith Award on Tuesday.

Phookan, one of the pioneers of modern Assamese poetry, has been chosen for the highest Indian literary award along with Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo.

Born in 1933 at Dergaon in upper Assam’s Golaghat district, Phookan did his post-graduation in History in 1961 from Guwahati University.

He is known for his simplistic representation in the genre of Assamese poetry.

Because of his early background and his artistic response to the language, Phookan had developed a deep interest in the rich folk culture and the native swings of life.

Phookan’s notable works include Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Golapi Jamur Lagna, and Kobita.

He is also one of Assam’s leading art critics of tribal and folk art.

Phookan is the third author from Assam to get this prestigious literary award. Earlier, eminent novelists late Birendra Kumar Bhattacharjee and Mamoni Raisam Goswami won the award.

Phookan was conferred with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981 for his poetry collection, Kavita (Kobita).

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1990 and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2002.

Jnanpith Award is presented annually by Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their outstanding contribution towards literature.

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