Dibrugarh: Dr. Amiya Rajbongshi, who has been selected for the national award for Science Popularization, 2019 by the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India this year, was felicitated at the Indira Miri Conference Hall, Dibrugarh University (DU) jointly by Dr. HC Mahanta, Registrar, DU and Dhiren Deka, president of Assam Science Writers’ Association (ASWA) recently during the one-day workshop on “Popular Science Writing”.
The workshop, which was organized by Internal Quality Assessment Cell (IQAC), DU, in association with Assam Science Writers’ Association (ASWA), had its inaugural session with Dhiren Deka, president of ASWA, in the chair. Dr. HC Mahanta, Registrar of DU, inaugurated the workshop. Dr. Mukunda Rajbongshi, former Principal of North Lakhimpur, Girls’ College, who attended the function as chief guest, said, “Writing is a skill and skill is an art.” Citing the examples of George Orwell and others, he further said that to acquire perfection in writing required lifelong study.
Referring to Sudhkantha Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s style of singing and perfection in pronunciation, he also laid stress on pronunciation. Then only one would be able to spell the words correctly, he said. The other guest of honour, Dr Paramananda Mahanta, former Professor of Physics and former president of Assam Science Society, said that though the Assamese language was passing through a crisis now, the writings of the first Assamese newspaper Orunodoi published by the Baptist missionaries on various science topics were glaring examples of scientific writings.
The workshop, which had four technical sessions, was attended by 80 participants from different departments of DU and local colleges. Dr Dinesh Chandra Goswami, a popular science writer and a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award on children literature, and Dr Amiya Rajbongshi were the resource persons. In reply to her felicitation, Dr. Amiya Rajbongshi in her speech said that in the past the famous writers re-wrote their books several times before final publication.
She cited the example of Tolstoy who revised his famous novel War and Peace 15 times. She also referred to the book Cosmos written by Carl Sagan to drive home her point to show how painstakingly a science writer should devote his time to write a great book. She said that scientist Michael Faraday began writing first on popular science.
In India, it was started in 1818 while in Bengal it was in 1872 that writings on popular science were attempted by some individuals or groups. However, in independent India, it was the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru who tried the most to spread scientific temper among the people.