Other States

Former police chief, Kuladhar Saikia, elected Assam literary body president

A Fulbright scholar and winner of Sahitya Akademi Award (2015) for his short stories, he had retired as Assam police’s chief in November 2019 after a three-month extension

Some of Assam’s popular novelists and writers have been police officers, serving or retired. But it took more than a century for the State’s apex literary body to have a former man in uniform as its president.

On Thursday night, the Assam Sahitya Sabha elected former Director General of Police and writer Kuladhar Saikia as its president for the 2020-22 term. He bagged 269 of the total 619 votes polled, leaving far behind six other contenders, including former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta’s writer-wife Jayashree Goswami Mahanta.

The election was held during a meeting of the organisation in central Assam’s Hojai.

Among the other office-bearers elected was Mrinalini Devi, the mother of Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. She beat three contenders to become the vice-president of the literary body.

“I have been given the responsibility at a time when adapting to digital technology is crucial. My objective would also be to make the body more inclusive with the focus on developing and promoting the literature of various ethnic groups besides trying to take Assamese literature on a higher pedestal,” Mr. Saikia, who took over from Paramananda Rajbangshi, told The Hindu.

A Fulbright scholar and winner of Sahitya Akademi Award (2015) for his short stories, Mr. Saikia retired as Assam police’s chief in November 2019 after a three-month extension.

The Assam Sahitya Sabha was formed in 1917 with novelist, poet and dramatist Padmanath Gohain Baruah as its founder-president.

Lakshminath Bezbaroa, revered as the father of modern Assamese literature, was the sabha’s seventh president and music maestro Bhupen Hazarika, one of two Bharat Ratna awardees from Assam, its 59th.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 2:00:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/former-police-chief-kuladhar-saikia-elected-assam-literary-body-president/article30469983.ece

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