Renowned Assamese poet and Jnanpith winner Nilamani Phookan passed away at Guwahati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH) at the age of 89 on Thursday. Phookan was admitted to the GMCH on Wednesday night in critical condition and was undergoing treatment, stated the hospital officials.
Born in 1933, Phookan won the 56th Jnanpith Award, India’s highest literary award for the year 2020. He was also awarded the 1981 Sahitya Akademi Award in Assamese for his poetry collection, Kavita (Kabita) and he was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India in 1990 and received the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship, the highest literary honour in India, given by Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters in 2002.
His notable works include Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Manas-pratima, and Kabita. Phookan’s career started as a lecturer in 1964 at Arya Vidyapeeth College and worked until his retirement in 1992.
Assam Chief Minister Dr Sahitya Akademi Awardwhile condoling the death of renowned Assamese poet Nilmani Phookan said that his last rites will be performed with full state honour. “His death is an irreparable loss to Assam and the Assamese identity. I wish him eternal peace and extend my deepest condolences to the bereaved families,” the Assam Chief Minister said.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also expressed his deepest condolences on the demise of the noted Assamese poet.