Noted Assamese poet Nilmani Phukan and Konkani novelist Damodar Mauzo conferred with Jnanpith award for the year 2021. The Jnanpith Award is the highest and oldest literary award in India presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith. It was instituted in 1961 and is conferred only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral. The award is to a author for his “outstanding contribution towards literature”.
About the Jnanpith Awardees of 2021:
Reknowned Assamese poet and academic Nilmani Phookan was awarded the Jnanpith Award of 2021 for his “life long achievement” in the field of Assamese literature. He is third Assamese Jnanpith Awardee followed by Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya and Mamoni Raisom Goswami.
Nilmani Phookan was born in September 10, 1933 in Dergaon in Golaghat district of Assam. He worked as a lecturer in Arya Vidyapith College in Guwahati from 1964 to 1992. His notable literature works are Surya Heno Nami Ahe Ei Nadiyedi, Kabita, Gulapi Jamur Lagna etc. He also translated several Japanese and European poem into Assamese.
Nilmani Phookan was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese in 1981 for his poetry collection ‘Kobita’. In 1990 Government of India honored him by Padma Shri, the third highest civilian award of India. He also received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest literary honor in India, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, reserved for “the immortals of literature”. He was honored by D. Lit. by Dibrugarh University in 2019.
Konkani short story writer, novelist, critic and script writer Damodar Mauzo was born on 1 August 1944 in South Goa in the coastal village of Majorda. He got B.Com degree from R.A. Podar College of Commerce and Economics in Matunga Mumbai under Bombay University. During the Mumbai time he started writing short stories in Konkani. Later some of these were translated and published into English.
Damodar Mauzo’s notable literature works:
Short fiction- Gathon, Zagranna, Rumad Ful, Bhurgim Mhugelim tim, Sapan Mogi etc.
Novels- Sood, Karmelin, Tsunami Simon etc.
Children’s books- Ek Ashillo Babulo, Kani Eka Khomsachi, Chittarangi.
Biographical- Oshe Ghodle Shenoy Goembaab, Unch Haves Unch Mathem, A documentary film titled ‘Bhai Mauzo’ (produced by Sahitya Akademi, was made by Indranil Chakravarty on the life and work of the writer).
He was awarded by Sahitya Akademi in 1983 for his novel Karmelin. In 2011he won the Vimala V. Pai Vishwa Konkani Sahitya Puraskar award for his novel Tsunami Simon. His collection of Short stories Teresa’s Man and Other Stories from Goa was nominated for the Frank O’Connor International award in 2015.