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Sat, 22 Feb 2020

Northeast Today

A Rendezvous with a Literary Prodigy

A Rendezvous with a Literary Prodigy
May 09
12:05 2019

At a very young age, Debabhuson Borah has managed to carve a niche for himself as a literary critic. He won the prestigious Munin Borkotoky Literary Award 2018 for his book on literary criticism named “Nirbachon”. Debabhuson is an Assistant Professor at Majuli College by profession. Kaushik Deori managed to clasp a tête-à-tête from his chockablock schedule.




  1. What are your feelings after winning the Munin Borkotoky Literary Award 2018?

Ans: Munin Borkotoky Literary award is a prestigious award for the young writers. So naturally, I am happy that my name has been considered.


  1. Please describe the entire screening process of the award, right from submission of entries.

Ans: Munin Borkotoky Trust circulates notice each year, usually in May-June, in newspapers seeking work written in Assamese from young authors for the award. After a number of screenings at various levels, the awardee is selected.


  1. Share with us your educational background and tell us briefly about your M. Phil and PhD thesis.

Ans: I had my schooling at Majuli and studied science in my HS. I however changed my subject and took major in English for my graduation. I have done my masters in English from Gauhati University. I did my M.Phil on Chinua Achebe’s novels. My PhD was on Intertextuality and Modern Assamese Poetry.


  1. Your book “Nirbachon” is a compilation of literary criticisms on the works of various regional, national and international writers/authors. What were the yardsticks for choosing the works/authors?

Ans: I usually choose an author or a book for discussion only when I see some sort of importance on them.


  1. Literary criticism is a very niche genre and to be a prolific literary critic one needs to consume a lot of literature himself/herself. When did you develop interest in the genre?

Ans: I don’t yet consider myself an apt critic. I’m still a learner in this field; have to study many books, especially those on Western Literary Theory. I have developed interest towards literary criticism while I was studying in college. We had a paper on literary criticism which fascinated me.


  1.  Who are your favorite authors/poets? Let me rephrase it, which authors/poets do you take inspirations from?

Ans: There are a number of writers whom I admire.  To name a few is a difficult thing. Mamoni Raisom Goswami, Arundhati Roy, Saurabh Kumar Chaliha, Ajit Baruah, Gabriel Garcia Marquez are my all time favorites. As far as critics are concerned, I love the writings of T.S. Eliot and Roland Barthes.


  1. On a philosophical level, how important do you think it is for a writer to be empathetic and emotionally sound?

Ans: It depends, I think. But a creative writer should possess sensitivity. You can’t create something extraordinary unless you get attached emotionally with the subject.


  1. Many globally acclaimed stalwarts like writer-director Woody Allen and nobel laureate V S Naipaul are regarded as prodigies in their own right for their unparallel contribution to art and literature, but on a humane level they are regarded as misogynist, sex offender, and sadist for the treatment towards their wives/opposite sex. As a reader, a writer and a critical thinker yourself, on the conundrum of “Separating the art from the artist”, how far do you think it is possible? What is your stand on the matter?

Ans: I believe public life and private life should not be juxtaposed together. But a writer, nevertheless, should have, at least at one level, basic honesty to say the truth and break stereotypes.


  1. Language at one level is just the medium and it doesn’t cause any hindrance to the content. What do you think about the importance of preserving a language? Is it necessary at all?

Ans: Language is important. It’s after all a language which carries the essence of thought. While we employ any language, for me Assamese, care must be taken to preserve its nuances. While English has hegemonic sway over the vernaculars, it’s high time to work on and preserve them.


  1. The advent of social media has changed the landscape of literature. An Instagram story or a meme can be a pop-culture phenomenon. In this era of information overload, where do you see the old school/orthodox literary societies standing? What is your role in maneuvering the narrative?

Ans: Yes. You are right. Reading taste has changed. But there are many best-selling books we see each year. The medium is not the barrier. If you know the skills of telling a story, even in an orthodox book-text way, you sell. I mean one must know how to communicate with his readers.


  1. Aside from literature and academics, what are your other interests?

Ans: I like watching football. I played cricket in my childhood. Listen to music, watch movies, and play with our pets.


  1. Any word of advice for the new generation of writers/literary enthusiasts?

Ans: To be honest, I am not in a position to give suggestions to anyone. I am a learner myself. If I have to say something to my junior writers, I would say two things:

1. Read as much as you can.

2. Visit places and meet people to have myriad experiences of life.
Anyway thanks so much to Northeast Today and especially to Kaushik for considering me for the interview and giving me the opportunity to share my views with your esteemed readers.




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