Academician, writer and Sahitya Akademi awardees translator; Guwahati-based Jyotsna Rout from Odisha has been a bridge between two cultures — of Assam and Odisha. A professor of Odia language and literature, she has translated novels of 10 prominent Assamese writers into Odia — her mother-tongue. Among these writers have been the stalwarts like Chandra Prakash Saikia, Bhabendra Nath Saikia, Indira Goswami, Harekrishna Deka, Nirupama Borgohain, Laxmi Narayan Bora and Apurba Sarma. Similarly, she has also translated the Madala Panji (chronicle of the Jagannath temple) and celebrated woman writer Prativa Ray's Ullanghan from Odiya to Assamese.
The first non-Assamese to be an executive member of the well-known Assam Sahitya Sabha and a life member of the Assam Women Writers' Forum, she has been the recipient of the Sabha's literary awards on two occasions. She has also been a regular writer for the prestigious Assamese monthly literary magazine Goriyasee. As the executive member of the Assam Sahitya Sabha, she has been instrumental in initiating a collaborative literary project of Odisha Sahitya Akademi and the Sabha recently.
The languages and cultures of Odisha and Assam have striking similarities and Jyotsna's works over the past two decades have duly explored it all. While 20 Assamese students study Odia language and literature under her guidance at the Guwahati University every year for the diploma programme, she has been a guide to five candidates for doctorate degree in the related field of research and study of comparative literature and culture.
Wife of an Inspector General of Police of Assam, Jyotsna shifted to this north eastern Indian state following her marriage to a young IPS officer who was posted to Assam 25 years ago. A master's degree holder in Odia language and literature then with a stint as a lecturer in Odia in a college in Odisha, she was always keen in learning languages.
“I had to learn the local language when we were posted to Assam. My husband also encouraged me to read Assamese newspapers that helped me a lot to appreciate Assamese literature and culture. I enjoyed reading Assamese literature and then I wished to translate these great works into my language to enable our people to share that joy,” recollects the much admired writer and cultural activist who is often referred to as an ambassador of both the cultures.