Three writers from the Northeast were nominated for the Sahitya Akademi Award on Wednesday.
While Assamese writer Joyasree Goswami Mahanta won the prestigious literary award for her novel Chanakya, Bodo poet Phukan Chandra Basumatary was honoured for his poetry collection Akhai Athumniphrai.
L Birmangol Singh received the prize for his Manipuri novel Ei Amadi Adungeigi.
Born in 1960, Goswami Mahanta was a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam from 1999 to 2001.
She was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri in 2018.
Mahanta is wife of former Assam chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
“I received the news of being given the award but I am not as happy as I should be on hearing it due to the prevailing troubled situation in the state,” she said.
Mahanta said that she would distribute the prize money among the families of those killed during anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) protests in Assam.
“Young people have lost their lives for a cause and for their homeland and I have decided to pay my tribute to them by distributing the prize money among their families,” Mahanta said.
“I am deeply distressed and hurt at the betrayal by those elected to Parliament from the state and to the assembly on the CAA issue as it is not acceptable to the people of Assam,” she said.
Basumatary is an assistant professor of Bodo department at Bodoland University in Kokrajhar.
“I am feeling very happy for being selected by Sahitya Akademi for the prestigious award,” Basumatary said.
He has contributed a lot of articles and research papers in different journals, magazines in Boro, English, Hindi, Bengali and Assamese languages.