17th Aug 2011
Nabakanta Barua was born on December 26, 1926 in Guwahati. His father was Nilakanta Barua. He was a school inspector and later teacher. His mother was Swarnalata Baruani. He had three brothers: Devakanta, Jivakanta, and Sivakanta. His brother Devakanta Barua is also a well-known Assamese poet, best known for poem collection Sagor Dekhisa. At first, the family lived in upper Assam, then moved to Puranigudam and lastly lived in Nagaon town.
He started his education at a nearby school, and then joined Govt. Mojolia School. In 1933 he was admitted to Nagaon govt boys in class 3, from there he completed his matriculation in 1941. After that, he was admitted to Cotton College, but he lost two years due to illness. In 1943, he went to Shantinikaton (West Bengal). In 1947 he completed his B.A. with English honors and in 1953 M. A. from Aligarh Muslim
He worked in Uttar Pradesh at Shikohabad at A.K collage, but the same year he had joined Jorhat's Jagannath Barooah College. In 1954, he joined Cotton College and worked there until 1964. From 1964 to 1967, he worked at Assam Madhyamik Shiksha Parisod as an officer of English education. He again joined Cotton College, retiring as a vice principal in 1984.
Nabakanta Barua was not only well known, respected and influential; he was also very prolific and prominent Assamese novelist and poet.. Barua wrote most criticized and recited poems like "Polokh", "Monot porne Arundhati", "Norokot DonJuan", and "Crussot DonJuan". Nabakanta Barua, also known as ‘Ekhud Kokaideu’.
Besides poems, Barua also took up writings for children in the form of short stories and novels when at a time; there were not even passable books written for children. He wrote many such books and continued to write for them until his death. Barua's contribution to Assamese art and literature includes 39 books in all: 11 poem collections, 5 novels, essays, short stories for children (Xeali palegoi ratanpur) and lyrics. Some of his works have been translated to different Indian languages. In 1984, he published the Assamese magazine Sirolu, later republished as Natun Sirolu.
His several collections, including Ratnaakar, Raban, Jati Aaru Keitaamaan Sketch (Jati and a Few Sketches, 1961), Mor Aaru Prithibir (Mine and the World’s, 1973), Dolongot Taamighoraa (The Tent on the Bridge), and Selected Poems (in English).
In 1975 he won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book Kokadeutar Har. He is the winner of the prestigious Padmabhusan award in 1976. His other honors include Assam Prakashan Parisod Award for Mur aru Prithibir in 1974, Assam Valley Literary Award in 1993, Soviet Land Nehru award, Kabir Samman and so on.
Nabakanta Barua along with Amulya Barua and Hem Barua were considered the renaissance of modern poetry in the state. Barua's part in other litterateur such as novels and short stories besides poetry were also significant and most contemporary of its times. Barua started his career in writings, mostly poems, during the Second World War and boomed around post-independence phase.
He served as president of Asam Sahitya Sabha's Dhing Adhibashan in 1968 and presided over Asom Sahitya Sabha's Bishwanath Chariali convention in 1990.