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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Obituary - Arun Sarma(86) former SD, AIR Guwahati Passes Away



Assam's eminent theatre personality Arun Sarma passed away on 27.03.2017, World Theatre Day. He was 86. The thespian died at a private hospital in New Delhi at 5.30am. He was undergoing lung cancer treatment there since the third week of January. His body was brought to Guwahati this evening. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced that Sarma would be cremated with full state honours here tomorrow.

Sarma was the only Assamese to be honoured with both the Sangeet Natak Akademi and Sahitya Akademi awards. In 2010, he was houred with the Padma Shri. He is survived by his wife, son, daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law and three grandchildren.

Sarma stepped into the world of drama through the play Urukha Poja in 1952. The play was based on class division in the post-Independence era. Through decades-long untiring efforts since then, Sarma brought about a revolution to Assamese drama.

He has written 20 plays for the stage and 45 for the All India Radio (AIR). Sri Nibaron Bhattacharjya, Agnigarh, Aditir Atmokotha, Parashuram, Siyor, Buranji Path, Onya Ek Odhyay and Urukha Poja are some of his celebrated stage plays.

Dhumuha Jetiya Ahe was the first play by Sarma to be aired by the Guwahati centre of AIR in 1953. Kokhyasuto, Sthawor, Fill Up The Gaps, Dutye Eke Dui and Trisanku are some of his prominent radio plays.

Of his five novels, Axirbador Rong was the most popular and he got the Sahitya Akademi award for it n 1998. The novel knits communal tension, love, life of migrant families and also points out the lacuna in Hinduism. Its protagonist, Gajen, remains indelibly imprinted in the minds of readers. Gajen was a Hindu youth who loved a girl from a migrant Muslim family and gave her shelter when communal violence wiped out her entire village. When he learnt that there was no ceremony to convert people from other religions to Hinduism, Gajen converted to Islam to marry the helpless girl. The play was given a film adaptation by director Jahnu Barua as Ajeyo in 2013.

Sarma was born on November 3, 1931 in Dibrugarh. He studied in Tezpur High School and Cotton College here. He worked for a few months as a teacher in Chaiduar High School and then joined The Assam Tribune as a proof-reader before joining the Guwahati centre of AIR as a producer in 1960. He retired as its station director in 1986.

He was honoured with the Asam Sahitya Sabha (drama) Award (1967), Asom Natya Sanmilan Award (2001), Assam Valley Literary Award (2005), Sankaracharyya Avatar Award Literature (2010), Japan Prize International (1980), Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union Award (1982), Prix Futura Berlin Commendation Certificate (1983) and Akashvani Award.

Drama personality Baharul Islam said a few months ago Sarma had expressed a desire to watch his play Sri Nibaron Bhattacharjya on stage again. "We prepared to stage the play but before that he passed away and his wish remains unfulfilled," said Islam, who runs the drama school Srigal.

As the news of his death broke, condolences poured in. Asam Sahitya Sabha also lamented his demise.

"Till the last days of his life Sarma was actively associated with the drama movement in Assam. His demise is a great loss to the state," said Lakhinandan Bora, former Sabha president.

"Sarma was a great dramatist like Girish Karnad and Mohan Rakesh but unfortunately we did not try to patronise his creation outside the state to give him proper recognition in his lifetime," said Dulal Roy.

"Srimanta Xankardeb, Jyoti Prasad Agarwala and Arun Sarma - these three dramatists created a new genre in Assamese drama. As someone from the field of drama I had a close relationship with him. Even our drama group BAA was started with his drama Agnigarh," said director Anup Hazarika.

Writer Ratna Oja said Sarma always encouraged newcomers. All Assam Students' Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and state industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary also condoled Sarma's demise. 


Rajiv Konwar 
., Additional Reporting by Mans Pratim Dutta. 
Source & Credit : The Telegraph, 28/03/2017

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