Bhabendranath Saikia: A Brief Celebration of Life

Dr. Bhabendranath Saikia was born in Nagaon on the 20th of
February, 1932, to Bidur Chandra Saikia and Champabala Saikia. Dr. Saikia
graduated from Nagaon Government Boys High School in 1948. He
received his Bachelor's degree from Cotton College in Science with
Honors. He received his Ph.D. from London University in Nuclear
Physics.

Dr. Saikia started his career as a faculty member at Gauhati
University in the Department of Physics. He had assumed several
positions of prominence such as the Secretary of University Textbook
Production Department, Chairman of the North East Frontier Railway
Agency, Chairman of Jyoti Chitraban, and Chairman of Assam Film
Limited. He was the founding Chief Editor of the Assamese weekly
Prantik. He was the editor of the children's magazine "Xo~fura".
Dr. Saikia was instrumental in the establishment of the Srimanta
Sankardew Kalakhetra in Guwahati and served as its Vice President.

Dr. Saikia's is one of Assam's most well-known authors and film-makers.
He was a great observer and analyst of life with a lucid and simple
pen. He enriched Assamese literature with several novels
and collections of short stories. A list of published books
include "Aatonkor Xexot" (1952), "Prohori" (1963), "Gohbor" (1969), "Brindaabon" (1969),
"Xendur" (1970), "Bhabendranath Xoikiaar Srestho Golpo" (1973),
"Srinkhol" (1975), "Torongo" (1979), "Ontorip" (1986), "Aakaax"(1988),
"Ei Bondoro Aabeli" (1988), "Romyobhumi" (1991), "Moromor Deutaa" (1991),
"Upokonotho" (1992),
"Xaanto-xishto-hristo-pusto Mohaadusto" (1996), "Mohaadustor Dushtobuddhi" (1998),
"Tumaalukor Bhaal Howk" (1998),
"Xaandhyo Bhromon" (1998), "Golpo aaru Xilpo" (edited by
Hridayananda Gogoi), "Jiwon Britto" (Auto-biography, 1999), "Jiwon Rekhaa"
(Selected journal entries), and "Shoy Doxokor Godyo" (edited by
Utpal Dutta).

Dr. Saikia received the Publication Board Award (Assam Government)
in 1973 for the "Xendur" collection of short stories. He received
the Sahitya Academy Award (New Delhi) in 1976 for his "Srinkhol"
collection of short stories. He received the Assam Valley Award
in 1990 for his unparalleled contribution to modern Assamese
literature. He received the 1998 Srimanta Sankaradew Award for
his untiring and influential work in Assamese literature and culture.
In 2001, Dr. Saikia was awarded the Padmasri by the Government of
India.

Dr. Saikia was also a bright star in the world of Asssamese film.
The movies Dr. Saikia directed are: "Xondhyaaraag" (1977), "Onirbaan" (1981),
"Ognisnaan" (1985), "Koolahol" (1988), "Xaarothi" (1991), "Aaborton" (1993), "Itihaax" (1996) and "Kaalxondhyaa". He received the Best Regional Film "Rojot Komol" Award in 1977, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1996
for his movies named above. For his movie "Ognisnaan", he received
the Best Screenplay Writing (India) award in 1985. Dr. Saikia also
produced a movie, "Dorpohoron" in Hindi based on a story by Rabindranath
Tagore. He also directed a short movie for the Small Deposit Division
using computer animation.

Dr. Saikia also wrote several screenplays and directed several
plays for the well-regarded Traveling Play companies of Assam. His plays are:
"Raamdhenu", "Ondokup", "Bondixaal", "Monikut", "Nilokontho", "Omrit",
"Jonmobhumi", "Dinobondhu", "Godhuli", "Gohbor", "Mohaaronyo", "Romyobhumi",
"Xotaabdi", etc.

For his enormous contribution to literature, film, theater, and play-writing, Dr. Saikia received the Komol Kumaari National (India) Award
in 2000.

---
Jugal Kalita, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sources:
1. "Xonkhipto Oxomiyaa Biswokooxh", Edition 1, Santanu Kaushik Baruwa,
Jyoti Prakasan, Panbzar, Guwahati, Assam 2002.
2. "Xotaadhik Oxomiyaa Xaahityik", Samin Kalita, Student Stores, Guwahati,
2001.

The author apologizes for any errors in translations from Assamese, particularly of proper names of organizations and awards.