Indian Review Congratulates Mahim Bora on winning the Padma Shri (2011). And are proud to present to you the collections of short stories and poems in translation.
Mahim Bora (b.1926) (pronounced: Mohim Bora)was born at a tea estate of Sonitpur district.He is an M.A. in Assamese literature from Gauhati University and had been a teacher in the Nagaon College for most of his teaching career.He has now retired and lives at Nagaon.Mahim Bora spent a good part of his childwood in the culture-rich surroundings of rural Nagaon,where the river Kalong was the life-blood of a community.His impressionable mind was to capture a myriad memories of that childhood,later to find expression in his poems,short stories and novels with humour,irony and pathos woven into their texture.When this river was dammed up,its disturbing effect was on the entire community dependant on nature’s bounty.
Mahim Chandra Bora as a poet,who used novelty of themes, new symbolism and imagery ,and has thus generated skepticism and a high pitch of social consciousness in his poetry. His chief anthology of poems is Rangajivya(The Red Dragon-fly;1978).In his short stories ,he is a keen observer of folk and rural situations. His short story collections are :Kathanibari Ghat(The Ferry Station of Kathanibari;1961),Bohubhuji Tribhuj(1967),Eai Nadir Sonte(1975),Mai Pippali Aru Puja(I,Pippali and Worship,1967),Rati Phula Phul(The Flower that Blooms at Night;1977),and Barayatri(The Bridegroom’s Party;1980).His best story is “Kathanibari Ghat” on the theme of widowhood. He is a regular contributor of short stories to various periodicals .His other chief stories are : ‘Chakravat’, ‘Much aru Manuh’, ‘Top’, and ‘Tinir Tini Gol’.Bora’s narrative is always tempered with restraint. ‘Putala Ghaiz’ and ‘Herowa Digantara Maya’ are his novelettes,while Chinta Bichitra is a work on criticism. Interestingly he won the Sahitya Academi award for his novel ‘Adgani Mahir Hahi’ in 2001
Read 4 Short Stories of Mahim Bora translated by Lalit Sakia
Read 5 Poems of Mahim Bora translated by Krishna Dulal Barua.
The below short excerpt is from the article “Modern Assamese Short Stories by Upendranath Sarma” :
“The greatest stories of Mahim Bora are marked by colourful and imaginative descriptions. He paints the life of the village folk in glowing colours. His style is cultivated and is marked by economy of expression and exactly etched descriptive touches. Mahim Bora is a conscientious writer, conscious of his range. He doggedly refuses to stray into a world he does not know. He has eschewed exotic themes and forms as far as practicable.
Bora shows great skill in the delineation of natural setting and atmosphere. His descriptions are never extraneous and they fit into their situations. The way he creates the mood and atmosphere in stories like ‘Echerenga Smritir Jonak’ (A Streak of Moonlight of Reminscence), ‘Ras’ and ‘Top’ is difficult to match from contemporary Assamese fiction. His stories depict the hopes and desires, joys and sorrows, laughter and tears of rural life with great sympathy, under strict confines of the artistic form. In ‘Echerenga Smritir Jonak’ Bora has caught the impression of first love beautifully. His descriptions are marked by colour and rhythm, but there is nothing too much. The description of nature found in the story is presented symbolically. The symbolical suggestiveness of the moonlight reminds one of the symbol of rain in some modern overseas writer. His nature description is brief and self contained.
“The clear moonlight of the full moon night. Like a splash of milk split suddenly on the earthen floor, the moon light has clustered everywhere in pools, drains and all place”.
“As though someone softly emptied a basketful of sand of the Brahmaputra full of dazzling mica over my back”.
In such descriptions the inimitable style of Bezbaroa in classics like ‘Mor Jiban Sowarani’ has asserted itself.
In ‘Tritiya Shrenir Jatri’ (Passenger in the third Class) also we find a comparison of the past and the present, which is expressed in terms of ironical effusion. The story is important as it marks the transition into a materialistic post independence society which was fast replacing older idealistic morals.
The unhurried, steady advance of the narration, the use of broken fragments of speech, and the inevitable and sudden culmination of ‘Top’ cuts a deep impression upon the mind and the sudden revelation of the sense of guilt evoking in the subconscious of ‘Haribol Koka’s mind arouses a sense of pity in the mind of the sympathetic reader.
Though poetic in tone, Bora’s descriptions bring out the very essence of the theme of the story in which they are embedded. The Romantic heritage of the poetic sensibility has been utilised by Mahim Bora to the full, though, thematically he is fully aware of the harsh realities of life. Like Syed Abdul Malik, he also follows the path of ‘Romantic Realism’.
Bora’s lastest collection of stories-Rati Phula Phool contains some stories which are eminently readable; but it is doubtful if they have matched his stories published in the age of Ramdhenu. Here he depicts a number of moral lapses of a trivial nature, the growing indiscipline and laziness of the young generation, the lost moorings of the educated unemployed and a host of such themes. He has tried to catch the chaotic and aimless life of the present time in his collection, but Bora has not recaptured his ‘first fine careless rapture’ and the stories are lacking in his former class and vitality.”