Nilmani Phookan Jr breathes his last on January 19th, as the poet was suffering from ill health for the last few years. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sharma took to social media and congratulated the 90-year-old on being awarded one of the most prestigious literary awards in December 2021.
The poet bagged the award on 7th December 2020. He was the third person from Assam after Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya and Mamoni Roisom Goswami, to be awarded India’s highest literary honor.
Nilmani Phookan was born on 10th September 1933 in Dergaon, Assam. He initiated his writing journey in 1950. His inspiration driven by the nature lives of ordinary people filled with varied emotions such as pain and longingness in his poetry has molded a connection with the people of the state.
Poet Phookan continued his writing till a few years back, when he stopped working due to ill health.
The poet was a D.Litt from Dibrugarh University and was accorded several noted awards such as Sahitya Akademi Award in 1981, Padma Shri in 1990, and Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 2022.
Phookan was also an art critic specializing in folk art and folklore. He has also translated several poems from foreign languages, particularly Japanese into the local language.
He was given the title of ‘Jatiya Kabi’ and ‘Sahityacharya’ by the Assam Sahitya Sabha. The Sabha is also trying to make Phookan’s work more accessible to people.
Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Kobita, Manas-Pratima, Phuli Thaka Suryamukhi Phultor Phale, and Gulapi Jamur Lagna are some of Phookan’s best-known works.
Read more on The Sikkim Today.