Chandra Prasad Saikia no more

He was 80 and leaves behind a son and two daughters. His wife Prabina Saikia predeceased him.

Saikia, editor of Assamese literary magazine Goriyoshi published by The Assam Tribune group of newspapers, was instrumental in organizing the first Guwahati Book Fair in 1984, when he was the secretary of the Publication Board, Asom and the fair has become an annual feature now. Saikia received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1995 for his book Maharathi.

Saikia was admitted to the Assam International Hospitals here on August 5 with respiratory problems. Earlier, one of his lungs was removed because of lung ailment and a permanent pacemaker was also installed in his body.

When admitted to the hospital this time, he had a problem of chronic renal failure besides the respiratory problems and underwent dialysis on three occasions. But in course of time he developed problems in his heart and today around 3 pm he was shifted to the ICU of the hospital but he was conscious. However, he suffered a cardio-respiratory arrest and was put on ventilator. He expired around 8:10 pm said hospital sources. His family members were present in the hospital when he breathed his last.

Born on July 8, 1927 at Amguri Jalukgaon in Sivasagar district, Saikia joined the Quit India movement in 1942 when he was a high school student. He served a four-month jail term in Sivasagar Jail in 1943 for his role in the country’s freedom struggle. He also spent another nine months in 1944 in Jorhat Jail.

Saikia completed his BA with Honours in English in 1950 and did his MA in 1954 from Calcutta University. He joined The Assam Tribune in 1956 as a sub-editor. In 1963 he left The Assam

Tribune and joined Assamese bi-weekly Asom Batori as its founder editor. In 1967 he joined the Publication Board, Asom, as its secretary. He edited the famous literary magazine Prakash published by the Publication Board and it became a household name soon. His tenure as the secretary of the Board is regarded as a high point in the history of the Publication Board. He left the Publication Board in 1986 and after two years, he joined Assamese daily Natun Dainik as its founder editor. In 1993, he joined the Tribune group and became the founder editor of the literary magazine Goriyoshi. He was presented the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel Maharathi in 1995 and later he also received the Katha award. He also edited Assamese weekly Asom Bani published from the Tribune group for a short period in 1998. He presided over the 65th Hajo session of the Asam Sahitya Sabha. Maharathi and Janmantar were two of his most acclaimed novels. He had also penned a large number of short stories that were well received by his critics and readers alike. He was also working on a novel on Jyotiprasad Agarwalla and a series on the Mahabharata.

The mortal remains of Saikia were brought to his Kharghuli residence tonight and the cremation will take place at the Nabagraha cremation ground tomorrow afternoon.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has mourned the death of Saikia and described his death as the end of an era. Former AGP minister Biraj Kumar Sarma has also condoled Saikia’s death.

(Assam Tribune)