Guwahati: Jnanpith awardee veteran Assamese poet Nilamoni Phukan passed away on January 19 at Gauhati medical college hospital in the city. The celebrated litterateur was 89-years-old. The soft-spoken gentleman was not feeling well for some time, and finally, he breathed his last at 11.55 am on January 19 2023.
He was the third Assamese writer to receive Jnanpith Award (after novelist Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya and Ramayani scholar Mamoni Raisom Goswami) last year (2022) in the city, Phukan is also known for visual art appreciation & criticism.
Nilamoni Phukan was also honoured with Padma Shri, Assam Valley Literary Award, Sahitya Akademi and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
Born at Dergaon in Eastern Assam on September 10, 1933, Phukan used to teach literature at Arya Vidyapeeth College in the city. He also translated many Japanese and European poems into Assamese. Some of his notable literary works include ‘Surya Heno Naami Aahe Ei Nodiyedi’, ‘Kabita’, ‘Manas-Pratima’, ‘Phuli Thoka Suryamukhi Phultor Phale’, ‘Golapi Jamur Lagna’, etc.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal also condoled his demise.
Following Phukan’s wish, his mortal remains were not brought to any places for public mourning except his residence at Durga Sarobar locality in the city.The cremation was performed at Bhootnath with the State honours in the presence of a small, distinguished gathering.