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‘A writer needs to be impartial, balanced and just’

 A Correspondent

Tezpur, May 7: “When it comes to writing, your pen should be free and liberated,” Sahitya Akademi awardee, noted Assamese writer and the Director of National Book Trust, Dr. Rita Chowdhury said at an august gathering on Sunday at Tezpur University’s Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha auditorium. “A writer needs to be impartial, balanced and just, not only to the characters he creates but also to the society at large,” she added.
 Dr. Chowdhury and Mitra Phukan, noted author, columnist and translator attended Arnaswat, an arts and literary festival organised by the Tezpur University Students’ Council as a part of the year-long silver jubilee celebrations of Tezpur University. Narrating her journey as a writer and activist, Dr. Chowdhury, author of the seminal books such as Tirthabhumi, Jala Padma, Deo Langkhui, Makam, and Chinatown Days, said that although she started her journey as a poet, she found comfort in writing novels. “When I wrote my first novel I was an absconding activist during the Assam Movement. In fact, as a part of Axam Xahitya Xabha’s competition for unpublished fiction manuscripts, when I first wrote a novel (Abirata Jatra) and won the first prize, I was in Dibrugarh jail,” she told the gathering.
 “These days, social media is also playing a crucial role in developing writing skills. I keep observing many young writers who share their writings on social media. Some of them write very well. One may not find a publisher immediately but nobody can stop you from writing on social media. That’s the beauty of these platforms,” she said.
 Referring to the Assam Movement, the celebrated author of the famous novel Ei Samay Sei Samay said that Assam Movement played a special role in her life and whenever she needed inspiration, she looked back at the Assam Movement from where she found purity, innocence and motivation to do something better for the society.
 Speaking on the occasion, noted writer Mitra Phukan recalled the challenges of writing in English during her initial days and opined that a good writer did not repeat the same thought or the characters. “Life is a journey and everything evolves with time and that’s why maybe the theme remains same but plot changes in our writings,” she said. Mitra Phukan, who is the author of The Collector’s Wife and A Monsoon of Music also said that a writer needed to be excited about his story and should be open to disagreement. “You don’t want a situation where everyone is agreeing with you, whatever you are writing. There has to be some disagreement, some provocation,” she said.
 She further added that a good writer travelled, interacted and observed things. Cautioning the young crowd, Phukan said that full-time writing was yet to be a full-fledged profession. A prolific translator, Phukan, who has translated Jnanpith awardee Birendra Kumar Bhattacharyya’s book Kobor Aru Phool (Blossoms in the Graveyard), told the audience that quite often people mixed editing and correction, which were two completely separate works.
 Earlier, the inaugural session of the lit fest was graced by Dr. Birubala Rabha, a distinguished personality and social activist as chief guest. It was followed by ‘Voice of Silence’, performed by renowned mime artiste Moinul Haque and his Mime Academy, Guwahati on Friday. A myriad of literary and art events were organized as part of the three-day literary festival aiming to provide a platform to the students to bring out their creativity and hone their skills. Events, competitions such as story and poetry writing, extempore speech, quiz and painting, and film screening were organized. A drama Ekhoni Nila Sador was performed as curtains came down on the glittering fest on Sunday.