Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Conversation with Ram Kumar Baruah – An Assamese Litterateur

There are many people working quietly and dedicatedly in the field of Assamese literature, but their contributions often go unnoticed. Such a person is Ram Kumar Baruah. Born in March 1949 in Sivasagar district, he is the son of freedom fighter and martyr Late Raghu Nath Sahu. His most recent books include ‘Tripura, Thimphu aru Maulingongoloi Goisilu‘ and ‘Sahadharmanir Hoite Lekhok Ankur Wattor Hanmukhat’. Enigmatic Horizon approached the litterateur for a conversation, and here we present our discussion with Mr. Ram Kumar Baruah:

EH: Let us start from your childhood. Tell us about your journey through formal education and your career.

RKB: I completed my schooling at Kowarpur High School in my village, and eventually I got admission to Cotton College in 1964. After completing the higher secondary stage, I took admission in Jorhat Engineering College and passed my B.E. from there in 1971. In 1972, I started my first job at M.E.S. (Shillong). After that, I worked in the Department of Flood Control and Irrigation. I retired as superintending engineer of the Water Resource Department in 2009.

EH: How did you get attracted to the field of literature?

RKB: I was always attracted to writing and literature. I have written many poems, articles, plays, and books. In my JEC days, I used to serve as a journalist in the English daily newspaper ‘The Assam Express’ since 1967 for the then-undivided Sivasagar district. In 1967-1968, I was recognized with a certificate of special position by the Pathsala Satya Sandhani Sahitya Parishad for an English article published in the “Joenco Journal.” My first book was Tumi Bisora Sobikhon, a collection of poems published in 1995. Up until now, I have written around 19 books. The latest one, Desh-Bideshor Kabita, is a collection of selected poems written by poets from different countries. The good news is that people have loved it immensely.

EH: You have written many books. What inspires you to go on writing?

RKB: I always had a habit of reading and writing poems, articles, and books on various topics. Especially after my retirement from my job in 2009, I was left with no workload and plenty of free time to spend. Spending the retired life fruitfully is a bit tough. Therefore, I chose the field of writing. Instead of wasting the free time in gossiping and watching shallow programs on television and social media, I chose to increase my attachment with the world of literature and travel. I have traveled to Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Bhutan with my wife. More than enjoyment, we got enlightenment from the places of these countries.

EH: You are involved with many organizations. At present, what are the names of the organizations you are involved with?

RKB: In 2013, I became the President of Uttar-Pub Sahitya Aaru Sanskritic Sanmilan. We used to work in different areas of the Northeast. We have gone to Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, etc. in order to conduct discussions, etc., on literature. The organization has almost 80 branches in Assam. I am a member of ‘Asom Sahitya Sabha’. I am also the President of the Sodou Asom Sahu Baishya Sanmillan, originally established in 1932. Through this organization, we conduct several social service programs. We have also proposed to the government that it give us the status of a council.

EH: Would you like to tell us the names of the books you have written?

RKB: My poem collection books include- Tumi Bisora Sobikhon, Mohakashor Prithivi, Prithivi Jononi Hol, Kobijon Roi Ase, and Desh Bideshor Kabita. I have also written books comprised of articles, which include Mandir aru Amar Dharma, Cinta Bisitraa, and Cintar Thupi. As I said, I have traveled to some countries. I have written some books on traveling, which include Cambodiar Pothot, Thailand Bhraman, Sri Lanka Bhramanor Abhigyata, and Tripura, Thimphu aru Maolingoloi Goisilo. I had also written a story book called Sikoli. In addition, I have written a play, Samidhan. I have edited some books and magazines as well.

EH: You have received lots of awards and recognitions at the international level too. Congratulations for that! Will you mention the names of some of them?

RKB: Yes, various organizations have given me a number of awards. Some of those are – ‘International Karmayogi Award 2020, Sahitya Ratna Bota, Sahitya Sanman Bota, Sahitya Mukut Bota, Sahitya Siromoni Bota, Bishnu-Jyoti Samannoy Bota 2019, Axom Gyan-Ratna Bota 2021, ASERENGA Rodali National Award 2019, ‘ASERENGA Rodali National Award 2021, NEBCUS Media Award, etc.

EH: What are your future plans, especially in the field of writing?

RKB: At present, my future plan is to gather the people and keep working for the Sodou Asom Sahu Baishya Sanmilan. In the field of writing, I have plans to write more and more books with valuable content. We will travel to the remote areas of Assam on behalf of our Pub Sahitya aaru Sanskritic Sanmilan and hold meetings there; and we will try to create a motivating environment for practicing proper reading and writing of Assamese literature among the people of those areas. I want to continue these activities in the future, too. Since I love traveling, I would like to visit some other countries as well. That’s been my simple plan till now.

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